Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

aunt to ask it, and I can scarce think she would have refused him the favour.

“I am glad to hear Jamey is so good and diligent a workman; if he ever sets up at the goldsmith's business, he must remember that there is one accomplishment without which he cannot possibly thrive in that trade (i. e., to be perfectly honest). It is a business that, though ever so uprightly managed, is always liable to suspicion; and if a man is once detected in the smallest fraud it soon becomes public, and every one is put upon their guard against him; no one will venture to try his hands, or trust him to make up their plate; so at once he is ruined. I hope my nephew will therefore establish a character as an honest and faithful as well as skilful workman, and then he need not fear employment.

“And now, as to what you propose for Benny, I believe he may be, as you say, well enough qualified for it; and when he appears to be settled, if a vacancy should happen, it is very probable he may be thought of to supply it; but it is a rule with me not to remove any officer that behaves well, keeps regular accounts, and pays duly; and I think the rule is founded on reason and justice. I have not shown any backwardness to assist Benny, where it could be done without injuring another. But if my friends require of me to gratify not only their inclinations, but their resentments, they expect too much of me. Above all things, I dislike family quarrels; and when they happen among my relations, nothing gives me more pain. If I were to set myself up as a judge of those subsisting between you and brother's widow and children, how unqualified must I be, at this distance, to determine rightly, especially having heard but one side. They always treated me with friendly and affectionate regard; you have done the same. What can I say between you but that I wish you were reconciled, and that I will love that side best that is most ready

to forgive and oblige the other. You will be angry with me here for putting you and them too much upon a footing, but I shall nevertheless be

“ B. FRANKLIN.”

Miss Stevenson, Wanstead.

“ Craven-street, May 16, 1760. “I send my good girl the books I mentioned to her last night. I beg her to accept of them as a small mark of my esteem and friendship. They are written in the familiar, easy manner for which the French are so remarkable; and afford a good deal of philosophic and practical knowledge, unembarassed with the dry mathematics used by more exact reasoners, but which is apt to discourage young beginners.

“I would advise you to read with a pen in your hand, and enter in a little book short hints of what you find that is curious or that may be useful; for this will be the best method of imprinting such particulars in your memory, where they will be ready either for practice on some future occasion if they are matters of utility, or at least to adorn and improve your conversation if they are rather points of curiosity. And as many of the terms of science are such as you cannot have met with in your common reading, and may, therefore, be unacquainted with, I think it would be well for you to have a good dictionary at hand, to consult immediately when you meet with a word you do not comprehend the precise meaning of. This may at first seem troublesome and interrupting; but it is a trouble that will daily diminish, as you will daily find less and less occasion for your dictionary, as you become more acquainted with the terms; and in the mean time you will read with more satisfaction, because with more understanding. When any point occurs in which you would be glad to have farther information than your book affords you, I beg you would not in the least apprehend that I should think it a trouble to receive and answer your questions. It will be a pleasure, and no trouble. For though I may not be able, out of my own little stock of knowledge, to afford you what you require, I can easily direct you to the books where it may most readily be found. Adieu, and believe me ever, my dear friend,

“ B. FRANKLIN.”

66

66
Lord Kames.

“ Portsmouth, August 17, 1761. “ MY DEAR LORD, "I am now waiting here only for a wind to waft

a me to America, but cannot leave this happy island and my friends in it without extreme regret, though I am going to a country and a people that I love. I am going from the Old World to the New, and I fancy I feel like those who are leaving this world for the next; grief at the parting ; fear of the passage; hope of the future: these different passions all affect their minds at once, and these have tendered me down exceedingly. It is usual for the dying to beg forgiveness of their surviving friends if they have ever offended them. Can you, my lord, forgive my long silence, and my not acknowledging till now the favour you did me in sonding me your excellent book ? Can you make some allowance for a fault in others which you have never experienced in yourself; for the bad habit of postponing from day to day what one every day resolves to do to-morrow? A habit that grows upon us with years, and whose only excuse is we know not how to mend it. If you are disposed to favour me, you will also consider how much one's mind is

a

taken up and distracted by the many little affairs one has to settle, before the undertaking such a voyage, after so long a residence in a country; and how little, in such a situation, one's mind is fitted for serious and attentive reading, which, with regard to the Elements of Criticism, I intended before I should write. I can now only confess and endeavour to amend. In packing up my books, I have reserved yours to read on the passage. I hope I shall therefore be able to write to you upon it soon after my arrival. At present I can only return my thanks, and say that the parts I have read gave me both pieasure and instruction; that I am convinced of your position, new as it was to me, that a good taste in the arts contributes to the improvement of morals; and that I have had the satisfaction of hearing the work universally commended by those who have read it.

“And now, my dear sir, accept my sincere thanks for the kindness you have shown me, and my best wishes of happiness to you and yours. Wherever I am, I shall esteem the friendship you honour' me with as one of the felicities of my life; I shall endeavour to cultivate it by a more punctual correspondence; and I hope frequently to hear of your welfare and prosperity.

B. FRANKLIN.”

66

To the same. *

London, April 11, 1767. “ MY DEAR LORD, I received your obliging favour of January the 19th. You have kindly relieved me from the pain I had long been under. You are goodness itself. I ought to have answered yours of December 25, 1765. I never received a letter that contained sentiments more suitable to my own.

* Lord Kames had written to Dr. Franklin as early as 1765, when the first advices reached England of the disorders occasioned by the attempts to carry the stamp-act into execution; and he had written a second letter to him on the same subject in the beginning of 1767. This is a copy of Dr. Franklin's answer to these letters.

VOL. II.-11

It found me under much agitation of mind on the very important subject it treated. It fortified me greatly in the judgment I was inclined to form (though contrary to the general vogue) on the then delicate and critical situation of affairs between Great Britain and the colonies, and on that weighty point, their union. You guessed aright in supposing that I would not be a mute in that play. I was extremely busy, attending members of both houses, informing, explaining, consulting, disputing, in a continual hurry from morning to night, till the affair was happily ended. During the course of its being called before the House of Commons I spoke my mind pretty freely. Enclosed I send you the imperfect account that was taken of that examination ; you will there see how entirely we agree, except in a point of fact, of which you could not but be misinformed; the papers at that time being full of mistaken assertions, that the colonies had been the cause of the war, and had ungratefully refused to bear any part of the expense of it. I send it you now, because I apprehend some late accidents are likely to revive the contest between the two countries. I fear it will be a mischievous one. It becomes a matter of great importance, that clear ideas should be formed on solid principles, both in Britain and America, of the true political relation between them, and the mutual duties belonging to that relation. Till this is done they will be often jarring. I know none whose knowledge, sagacity, and impartiality qualify him so thoroughly for such a service as yours do you. I wish, therefore, you would consider it. You may thereby be the happy instrument of great good to the nation, and of preventing

« ZurückWeiter »