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a State that must require a great Addition to his Expence, when he will be less able to supply it. If you think that in the mean time it will be some Amusement to Sally to visit her Friends here and return with me, I should have no Objection to her coming over with Capt. Falkener, provided Mrs. Falkener comes at the same time as is talk'd of. I think too it might be some Improvement to her.1 I am at present meditating a Journey somewhere, perhaps to Bath & Bristol;as I begin to find a little Giddiness in my head, a token that I want the Exercise I have yearly been accustomed to. I long to see you & be with you, being as ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate Husband,
437. TO GEORGE CROGHAN1
London, August 5, 1767.
Sir, I return you many thanks for the box of elephants' tusks and grinders. They are extremely curious on many accounts; no living elephants having been seen in any part of America by any of the Europeans settled there, or remembered in any tradition of the Indians. It is also puzzling to conceive what should have brought so many of them to die on the same spot; and that no such remains should be found in any other part of the continent, except in that very distant country, Peru, from whence some grinders of the same kind formerly brought, are now in the museum of the Royal Society. The tusks agree with those of the African and Asiatic elephant in being nearly of the same form and texture, and some of them, notwithstanding the length of time they must have lain, being still good ivory. But the grinders differ, being full of knobs, like the grinders of a carnivorous animal; when those of the elephant, who eats only vegetables, are almost smooth. But then we know of no other animal with tusks like an elephant, to whom such grinders might belong.
1 She did not go to England, as is here proposed, but was married to Mr. Richard Bache on the 29th of October following. She was then twenty-three years old, having been born September nth, 1744. — Ed.
2 George Croghan (died 1782), British crown agent with the Indians. He had been for twenty years a trader among the Indians at the time this letter was written. See Introduction, Vol. I, pp. 85-86. See also letter to Abbe Chappe, January 31, 1768.— Ed.
It is remarkable, that elephants now inhabit naturally only hot countries where there is no winter, and yet these remains are found in a winter country; and it is no uncommon thing to find elephants' tusks in Siberia, in great quantities, when their rivers overflow, and wash away the earth, though Siberia is still more a wintry country than that on the Ohio; which looks as if the earth had anciently been in another position, and the climates differently placed from what they are at present.
With great regard, I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
438. TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY1
London, August 8, 1767. Dear Sir, I have before me your favours of April 23, May 21 and 26. The confusion among our great men still continues as much as ever, and a melancholy thing it is to consider, that, instead
1From "The Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), Phila., 1817, Vol. VI, p. 249. — Ed.
of employing the present leisure of peace in such measures as might extend our commerce, pay off our debts, secure allies, and increase the strength and ability of the nation to support a future war, the whole seems to be wasted in party contentions about places of power and profit, in court intrigues and cabals, and in abusing one another.
There has lately been an attempt to make a kind of coalition of parties in a new ministry, but it fell through, and the present set is like to continue for some time longer, which I am rather pleased with, as some of those who were proposed to be introduced are professed adversaries to America, which is now made one of the distinctions of party here; those who have in the two last sessions shown a disposition to favour us, being called by way of reproach, Americans; while the others, adherents to Grenville and Bedford, value themselves on being true to the interests of Britain, and zealous for maintaining its dignity and sovereignty over the colonies.
This distinction will, it is apprehended, be carried much higher in the next session, for the political purpose of influencing the ensuing election. It is already given out that the compliance of New York, in providing for the quarters, without taking notice of its being done in obedience to the act of Parliament, is evasive and unsatisfactory. That it is high time to put the right and power of this country to tax the colonies out of dispute, by an act of taxation, effectually carried into execution, and that all the colonies should be obliged explicitly to acknowledge that right. Every step is taking to render the taxing America a popular measure here, by continually insisting on the topics of our wealth and flourishing circumstances, while this country is loaded with debt, great part of it incurred on our account, the distress of the poor here by the multitude and weight of taxes, &c. &c.; and though the traders and manufacturers may possibly be kept in our interest, the idea of an American tax is very pleasing to the landed men, who therefore readily receive and propagate these sentiments wherever they have influence.
If such a bill should be brought in, it is hard to say what would be the event of it, or what would be the effects. Those who oppose it, though they should be strong enough to throw it out, would be stigmatized as Americans, betrayers of Old England, &c., and perhaps, our friends by this means being excluded, a majority of our adversaries may get in, and then the act infallibly passes the following session. To avoid the danger of such exclusion, perhaps little opposition will be given, and then it passes immediately. I know not what to advise on this occasion, but that we should all do our endeavours on both sides the water to lessen the present unpopularity of the American cause, conciliate the affections of people here towards us, increase by all possible means the number of our friends, and be careful not to weaken their hands and strengthen those of our enemies, by rash proceedings on our side, the mischiefs of which are inconceivable. Some of our friends have thought that a publication of my Examination here, might answer some of the above purposes, by removing prejudices, refuting falsehoods, and demonstrating our merits with regard to this country. It is accordingly printed, and has a great run. I have another piece in hand, which I intend to put out about the time of the meeting of Parliament, if those I consult with shall judge that it may be of service.1 The next session of Parliament will probably be a short 1 Probably "Causes of the American Discontents before 1768." — Ed.
one, on account of the following election. And I am now advised by some of our great friends here to see that out, not returning to America till the spring. My presence indeed is necessary there to settle some private affairs. Unforeseen and unavoidable difficulties have hitherto obstructed our proceedings in the main intent of my coming over, and perhaps (though I think my being here has not been altogether unserviceable) our friends in the Assembly may begin to be discouraged and tired of the expense. If that should be the case, I would not have you propose to continue me as agent at the meeting of the new Assembly: my endeavours to serve the province, in what I may while I remain here, shall not be lessened by that omission.
I am glad you have made a trial of paper money, not a legal tender. The quantity being small, may perhaps be kept in full credit notwithstanding; and if that can be avoided, I am not for applying here again very soon for a repeal of the restraining act. I am afraid an ill use will be made of it. The plan of our adversaries is to render Assemblies in America useless; and to have a revenue independent of their grants, for all the purposes of their defence, and supporting governments among them. It is our interest to prevent this. And, that they may not lay hold of our necessities for paper money, to draw a revenue from that article, whenever they grant us the liberty we want, of making it a legal tender, I wish some other method may be fallen upon of supporting its credit. What think you of getting all the merchants, traders, and principal people of all sorts, to join in petitions to the Assembly for a moderate emission, the petition being accompanied with a mutual engagement to take it in all dealings at the rates fixed by law? Such an engagement had a great effect in