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fixing the value and rates of our gold and silver. Or, perhaps, a bank might be established that would answer all purposes. Indeed I think with you, that those merchants here, who have made difficulties on the subject of the legal tender, have not understood their own interest. For there can be no doubt, that should a scarcity of money continue among us, we shall take off less of their merchandise, and attend more to manufacturing, and raising the necessaries and superfluities of life among ourselves, which we now receive from them. And perhaps this consequence would attend our making no paper money at all of any sort, that being thus by want of cash driven to industry and frugality, we should gradually become more rich without their trade, than we can possibly be with it, and, by keeping in the country the real cash that comes into it, have in time a quantity sufficient for all our occasions. But I suppose our people will scarce have patience to wait for this.
I have received the printed votes, but not the laws. I hear nothing yet of any objection made by the Proprietaries to any of them at the Board of Trade.
Please to present my duty to the Assembly, with thanks for their care of me, and assure them of my most faithful services. With sincerest esteem and respect, I am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
439. TO JOHN CANTON1
Craven Street, Aug. 25, 1767.
Your affectionate Friend
I think it was said to be in some Part of the Bull, & in its Progress towards the Sun. M. Monnier discover'd & observ'd it.
440. TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY2
London, August 28, 1767.
I have no letter of yours since my last, in which I answered all preceding ones.
Last week I dined at Lord Shelburne's, and had a long conversation with him and Mr. Conway (there being no other company) on the subject of reducing American expense. They have it in contemplation to return the management of Indian affairs into the hands of the several provinces on which the nations border, that the colonies may bear the charge of treaties, &c., which they think will then be managed more frugally, the treasury being tired with the immense drafts of the superintendants, &c. I took the opportunity of urging it as one means of saving expense in supporting the out-posts, that a settlement should be made in the Illinois country; expatiated on the various advantages, viz. furnishing provisions cheaper to the garrisons, securing the country, retaining the trade, raising a strength there which on occasion of a future war, might easily be poured down the Mississippi upon the lower country, and into the Bay of Mexico, to be used against Cuba or Mexico itself. I mentioned your plan, its being approved by Sir William Johnson, the readiness and ability of the gentlemen concerned to carry the settlement into execution, with very little expense to the crown, &c. The secretaries appeared finally to be fully convinced, and there remained no obstacle but the Board of Trade, which was to be brought over privately, before the matter should be referred to them officially. In case of laying aside the superintendants, a provision was thought of for Sir William Johnson.
1 There are nine letters and notes from Franklin to Canton in the " Canton Papers," collected by John Canton, M. A., F. R. S., and his son, William Canton, and given by Edwin Canton to the Royal Society, in 1870. — Ed.
2 From "The Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), Phila., 1817 Vol. VI, p. 253. — Ed.
We had a good deal of farther discourse on American affairs, particularly on paper money: Lord Shelburne declared himself fully convinced of the utility of taking off the restraint, by my answer to the Report of the Board of Trade. General Conway had not seen it, and desired me to send it to him, which I did next morning. They gave me expectation of a repeal next session, Lord Clare being come over: but they said there was some difficulty with others at the Board, who had signed that Report; for there was a good deal in what Soame Jenyns had laughingly said, when asked to concur in some measure, / have no kind of objection to it, provided we have heretofore signed nothing to the contrary.
In this conversation I did not forget our main Pennsylvania business, and I think made some farther progress, though but little. The two secretaries seemed intent upon preparing business for next Parliament, which makes me think, that the late projects of changes are now quite over, and that they expect to continue in place. But whether they will do much or little, I cannot say.
Du Guerchy,1 the French ambassador, is gone home, and Monsieur Durand is left minister plenipotentiary. He is extremely curious to inform himself in the affairs of America; pretends to have a great esteem for me, on account of the abilities shown in my examination; has desired to have all my political writings, invited me to dine with him, was very inquisitive, treated me with great civility, makes me visits, &c. I fancy that intriguing nation would like very well to meddle on occasion, and blow up the coals between Britain and her colonies; but I hope we shall give them no opportunity.
I write this in a great hurry, being setting out in an hour on another journey with my steady, good friend, Sir John Pringle. We propose to visit Paris. Durand has given me letters of recommendation to the Lord knows who. I am told I shall meet with great respect there; but winds change, and perhaps it will be full as well if I do not. We shall be gone six weeks. I have a little private commission to transact, of which more another time.
1 Claude-Francois-Louis Regnier, Comte de Guerchy (1715-1767), ambassador to London 1763-1767. — Ed.
Communicate nothing of this letter but privately to our friend Galloway. I am your affectionate father,
441. TO MISS MARY STEVENSON1 (p. c.)
Paris, Sept. 14, 1767.
I am always pleas'd with a Letter from you, and I flatter myself you may be sometimes pleas'd in receiving one from me, tho' it should be of little Importance, such as this, which is to consist of a few occasional Remarks made here, and in my Journey hither.
Soon after I left you in that agreable Society at Bromley, I took the Resolution of making a Trip with Sir John Pringle into France. We set out the 28th past. All the way to Dover we were furnished with PostChaises, hung so as to lean forward, the Top coming down over one's Eyes, like a Hood, as if to prevent one's seeing the Country; which being one of my great Pleasures, I was engag'd in perpetual Disputes with the Innkeepers, Hostlers, and Postilions, about getting the Straps taken up a Hole or two before, and let down as much behind, they insisting that the Chaise leaning forward was an Ease to the Horses, and that the contrary would kill them. I suppose the chaise leaning forward looks to them like a Willingness to go forward, and that its hanging back shows a Reluctance. They added other Reasons, that were no Reasons at all, and made me, as upon a 100 other Occasions, almost wish that Mankind had never been endow'd with a reasoning Faculty, since they know so little how to make use of it, and so often mislead themselves by it, and that 1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M. D. — Ed.