Abbildungen der Seite

next Thursday's Chronicle, to extenuate matters a little.

“Mentioning Colonel Onslow reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of this session in the house between him and Mr. Grenville. The latter had been raving against America, as traitorous, rebellious, &c., when the former, who has always been its firm friend, stood up and gravely said, that in reading the Roman history, he found it was a custom among that wise and magnanimous people, whenever the senate. was informed of any discontent in the provinces, to send two or three of their body into the discontented provinces to inquire into the grievances complained of, and report to the senate, that mild measures might be used to remedy what was amiss before any severe steps were taken to enforce obedience. That this example he thought worthy our imitation in the present state of our colonies, for he did so far agree with the honourable gentleman that spoke just before him as to allow there were great discontents among them. He should therefore beg leave to move, that two or three members of Parliament be appointed to go over to New-England on this service. And that it might not be supposed he was for imposing burdens on others that he would not be willing to bear himself, he did at the same time declare his own willingness, if the house should think fit to appoint them, to go over thither with that honourable gentleman. Upon this there was a great laugh, which continued some time, and was rather increased by Mr. Grenville's asking, Will the gentleman engage that I shall be safe there? Can I be assured that I shall be allowed to come back again to make the report ? As soon as the laugh was so far subsided as that Mr. Onslow could be heard again, he added, 'I cannot absolutely engage for the honourable gentleman's safe return; but if he goes thither upon this service, I am strongly of opinion

VOL. II.-12

the event will contribute greatly to the future quiet of both countries.' On which the laugh was renewed and redoubled.

“If our people should follow the Boston example in entering into resolutions of frugality and industry, full as necessary for us as for them, I hope they will, among other things, give this reason, that 'tis to enable them more speedily and effectually to discharge their debts to Great Britain; this will soften a little, and, at the same time, appear honourable, and like ourselves. Yours, &c.,


[ocr errors]



" To Dr. Priestley.

Passy, June 7, 1782. 6 DEAR SIR, “I received your kind letter of the 7th April, also one of the 3d of May. I have always great pleasure in hearing from you, in learning that you are well, and that you continue your experiments. I should rejoice much if I could once more recover the leisure to search with you into the works of nature; I mean the inanimate or moral part of them : the more I discovered of the former, the more I admired them; the more I know of the latter, the more I am disgusted with them. Men I find to be a sort of beings very badly constructed, as they are generally more easily provoked than reconciled, more disposed to do mischief to each other than to make reparation, much more easily deceived than undeceived, and having more pride and even pleasure in killing than in begetting one another. In what light we are viewed by superior beings, may be gathered from a piece of late West India news, which, possibly, has not yet reached you. A young angel being sent down to this world on some business for the first time, had an old courier-spirit

assigned him as a guide; they arrived over the seas of Martinico, in the middle of the long day of obstinate fight between the fleets of Rodney and De Grasse. When through the clouds of smoke he saw the fire of the guns, the decks covered with mangled limbs, and bodies dead or dying, the ships sinking, burning, or blown into the air, and the quantity of pain, misery, and destruction, the crews yet alive were thus with so much eagerness dealing round to one another, he turned angrily to his guide, and said, you blundering blockhead, you are ignorant of your business ; you undertook to conduct me to the earth, and you have brought me into hell! No, sir, says the guide, I have made no mistake; this is really the earth, and these are men. Devils never treat one another in this cruel manner; they have more sense, and more of what men (vainly) call humanity.

“But to be serious, my dear old friend, I love you as much as ever, and I love all the honest souls that meet at the London Coffee-house. I only wonder how it happened that they and my other friends in England came to be such good creatures in the midst of so perverse a generation. I long to see them and you once more, and I labour for peace with more earnestness, that I may again be happy in your sweet society.

“Yesterday the Count du Nord* was at the Academy of Sciences, when sundry experiments were exhibited for his entertainment; among them, one by M. Lavoisier, to show that the strongest fire we yet know is made in charcoal blown upon with dephlogisticated air. In a heat so produced, he melted platina presently, the fire being much more powerful than that of the strongest burning mirror. Adieu, and believe me ever, yours_most affectionately,



[ocr errors]

# The Grand-duke of Russia, afterward the Emperor Paul I.

[ocr errors]

To the same.

London, September 19, 1772. “ DEAR SIR, “ In the affair of so much importance to you, wherein you ask my advice, I cannot, for want of sufficient premises, counsel you what to determine; but, if you please, I will tell you how. When those difficult cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because, while we have them under consideration, all the reasons, pro and con, are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us. To get over this, my way is, to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns, writing over the one pro and over the other con: then, during three or four days' consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives that at different times occur to me for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights, and where I find two (one on each side), that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I find a reason pro equal to some two reasons con I strike out the thrée. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out the five ; and, thus proceeding, I find at length where the balance lies; and if, after a day or two of farther consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly, And though the weight of reasons cannot be taken with the precision of algebraic quantities, yet, when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge' better, and am less liable to make a rash step; and, in fact, I have found great advantage from

this kind of equation, in what may be called moral or prudential algebra.

• Wishing sincerely that you may determine for the best, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,


[ocr errors]

Mr. Mather, Boston.

“ London, July, 4, 1773. “ REVEREND Sir, "The remarks you have added on the late proceedings against America are very just and judicious ; and I cannot see any impropriety in your making them, though a minister of the gospel. This kingdom is a good deal indebted for its liberties to the public spirit of its ancient clergy, who joined with the barons in obtaining Magna Charta, and joined heartily in forming the curses of excommunication against the infringers of it. There is no doubt but the

claim of Parliament, of authority to make laws binding on the colonies in all cases whatsoever, includes an authority to change our religious constitution, and estab. lish popery or Mohammedanism, if they please, in its stead; but, as you intimate, power does not infer right ; and as the right is nothing and the power (by our increase) continually diminishing, the one will soon be as insignificant as the other.

You seem only to have made a small mistake in supposing they modestly avoided to declare they had a right, the words of the act being, that they have, and of right ought to have, full power, &c.

“ Your suspicion that sundry others besides Governor Bernard'had written hither their opinions and councils, encouraging the late measures to the prejudice of our country, which have been too much heeded and followed,' is, I apprehend, but too well founded. You call them traitorous individuals,' whence I collect that you suppose them of our own

« ZurückWeiter »