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To W. Carmichael, Esq.' Madrid.
Respecting Dr. Franklin's enemies in America, and various
Dear Sir, Passy, April 12,1781.
I received your favor by M. Cabarras, and should have been glad if I could have rendered him any service here. He appears an amiable man, and expert in affairs. I have also your obliging letters of the 28th of February, and the 12th and SOth of March. I thank you much for your friendly hints of the operations of my enemies, and of the means I might use to defeat them. Having in view. at present no other point to gain but that of rest, I do not take their malice so much amiss, as it may farther my project, and perhaps be some advantage to you. * * * and * * * are open and so far honorable enemies; the * * *, if enemies, are more covered. I never did any of them the least injury, and can conceive no, other source of their malice but envy. To be sure. the excessive respect shown me here by all ranks of people, and the little notice taken of them, was a mortifying circumstance; but it was what I could neither prevent or remedy. Those who feel pain at seeipg others enjoy pleasure, and are unhappy, must meet daily with so many causes of torment, that I conceive them to be already in a state of damnation; and on that account, I ought to drop all resentment with regard to those two gentlemen. But I cannot help being concerned at the mischief their ill tempers will be continually doing in our public affairs, whenever they have any concern in them.
1 The American Charge d'Affaires. . VOl. I. F
I remember the maxim you mention of Charles V., yo y el Tiempo; and have somewhere met with an answer to it in this distich,
I and Time 'gaintt any two,
and I think the gentlemen you have at present to deal with, would do wisely to guard a little more against certain chances.
The price of the Biblioleca Hispana is too high for me. 1 thank you for the gazettes you sent me by the ambassador's courier. I received none by the last. I shall be exceedingly glad to receive the memoirs of the Sociedad Economica, and the Works on Political Economy of its founder. The Prince of Maceran, with several other persons of his nation, did me the honor of breakfasting with me on Monday last, when I presented the compliments you charged me with.
Mr. Cumberland has not yet arrived at Paris as far as 1 have heard.
The discontents in our army have been quieted. There was in them not the least disposition of revolting to the enemy.
1 thank you for the Maryland captain's news, which I hope will be confirmed. They have heard something of it in England, as you will see by the papers, and are very uneasy about it, as well as about their news from the East Indies. Yours affectionately,
To M. Court De Gerelin/ Paris.
Dear Sir, Passy, May 7, 1781.
I am glad the little book1 proved acceptable. It does not appear to me intended for a grammar to teach the language: it is rather what we call in English a spelling-book, in which the only method observed is, to arrange the words according to their number of syllables, placing those of one syllable together, then those of two syllables, and so on. And it is to be observed, that Sa ki ma, for instance, is not three words, but one word of three syllables; and the reason that hyphens are not placed between the syllables is, that the printer had not enough of them.
As the Indians had no letters, they had no orthography. The Delaware language being differently spelt from the Virginian, may not always arise from a difference in the languages;
1 Antoine Coniit De Gerelin, born at Nismes, in 1745, of a Protestant family, became a minister in that communion, first in the Cevennes, and next at Lausanne: which however he quitted, together , with the clerical function, for the profession of literature at Paris, where he acquired so great a reputation as an antiquary and philologer, that he was appointed to superintend one of the museums. He lost much of his reputation, however, by his enthusiastic zeal in favor of animal magnetism. He died at Paris, May 13,1784. His great work is intitled, " Monde Primitif, analyse et compare avec le Monde Moderne," 9 torn. 4to. The excellence of his character may be appreciated from the single fact, that on quitting Switzerland, he voluntarily gave to his sister the principal part of his patrimony, reserving little for himself, and depending for a maintenance upon tho exercise of his talents.
1 A vocabulary of the language of one of the Indian tribes in North America.
for strangers who learn the language of an Indian nation, finding no orthography, are at liberty in writing the language to use such compositions of letters as they think will best produce the sounds of the words. 1 have observed that our Europeans of different nations, who learn the same Indian language, form each his own orthography according to the usual sounds given to the letters in his own language. Thus the same words of the Mohock language written by an English, a French, and a German interpreter, often differ very much in the spelling; and without knowing the usual powers of the letters in the language of the interpreter, one cannot come at the pronunciation of the Indian words. The spelling-book in question was, I think, written by a German.
You mention a Virginian bible. Is it not the bible of the Massachusetts language, translated by Elliot, and printed in New England, about the middle of the last century? 1 know this bible, but have never heard of one in the Virginian language. Your observations of the similitude between many of the words, and those of the ancient world, are indeed very curious.
This inscription, which you find to be Phoenician, is, I think, near Taunton (not Jannston, as you write it). There is some account of it in the old Philosophical Transactions: I have never been at the place, but shall be glad to see your remarks on it.'
1 This supposed Phoenician inscription, it has been asserted, consisted only of marks made in the hard clay of a very steep bank on which the native Indians used to sit waiting the approach of wild ducks; and in the mean time sharpening the points of their flint stone arrow-heads, by nibbing them in different directions; by which indentures or impressions were made, which had the appearance of an inscription.
The compass appears to have been long known in China before it was known in Europe; unless we suppose it known to Homer, who makes the prince, that lent ships to Ulysses, boast that they had a spirit in them by whose directions they could find their way in a cloudy day, or the darkest night. If any Phoenicians arrived in America, I should rather think it was not by the accident of a storm, but in the course of their long and adventurous voyages; and that they coasted from Denmark and Norway, over to Greenland, and down southward by Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, &e. to New England; as the Danes themselves certainly did some ages before Columbus. •
Our new American society will be happy in the correspondence you mention, and when it is possible for me, I shall be glad to attend the meetings of your society,1 which I am sure must be very instructive. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.
To The Rev. Dr. Cooper, Boston.
New constitution of Massachusetts—Maintenance for the clergy—Scripture phrases, tfc.
Dear Sir, Passy, May 15, 1781.
I received your kind letter of February 1st, by Colonel Johonnot. Your sentiments of the present state of our affairs appear to me very judicious, and I am much obliged by your free communication of them. They are often of use here; for you have a name and character among us, that give weight to your opinions.
It gives me great pleasure to learn that your new constitution is at length settled with so great a degree of unanimity and general satisfaction. It seems to me upon the whole an
* L'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.