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“I send you with this the two volumes of our Transactions, as I forget whether you had the first before. If you had, you will please to give this to the French ambassador, requesting his conveyance of it to the good Duke de la Rochefoucauld. My best wishes attend you, being ever, with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affection. ately,
" B. Vaughan.
“Philadelphia, June 3, 1789. “MY DEAREST FRIEND, “I received your kind letter of March 4, and wish I may be able to complete what you so earnestly desire, the Memoirs of my Life. But of late I am so interrupted by extreme pain, which obliges me to have recourse to opium, that between the effects of both I have but little time in which I can write anything. My grandson, however, is copying what is done, which will be sent to you for your opinion, by the next vessel; and not merely for your opinion, but for your advice; for I find it a difficult task to speak decently and properly of one's own conduct; and I feel the want of a judicious friend to encourage me in scratching out.
“I have condoled sincerely with the bishop of St. Asaph's family. He was an excellent man. Losing our friends thus one by one is the tax we pay for long living; and it is indeed a heavy one!
“I have not seen the King of Prussia's posthumous works; what you mention makes me desirous to have them. Please to mention it to your brother William, and that I request he would add them to the books I have desired him to buy for me.
“Our new government is now in train, and seems to promise well. But events are in the hand of God! I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
“ Dr. Rush.
“ Philadelphia [Without date, but supposed to be in 1789.] “MY DEAR FRIEND, “During our long acquaintance you have shown many instances of your regard for me, yet I must now desire you to add one more to the number, which is, that if you publish your ingenious discourse on the moral sense, you will totally omit and suppress that extravagant encomium on your friend Franklin, which hurt me exceedingly in the unexpected hearing, and will mortify me beyond conception if it should appear from the press.
“Confiding in your compliance with this earnest request, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, .
To Miss Catharine Louisa Shipley.
Philadelphia, April 27, 1789. “It is only a few days since the kind letter of my dear young friend, dated December 24, came to my hands. I had before, in the public papers, met with the afflicting news that letter contained. That excellent man has then left us! his departure is a loss, not to his family and friends only, but to his nation and to the world : for he was intent on doing good, had wisdom to devise the means, and talents to promote them. His sermon before the Society for Propagating the Gospel, and “ his speech intended to be spoken,” are proofs of his ability as well as his humanity. Had his counsels in those pieces been attended to by the ministers, how much bloodshed might have been prevented, and how much expense and disgrace to the nation avoided !
“ Your reflections on the constant calmness and composure attending his death are very sensible. Such instances seem to show that the good some
times enjoy, in dying, a foretaste of the happy state they are about to enter.
“ According to the course of years, I should have quitted this world long before him: I shall, however, not be long in following. I am now in my eighty-fourth year, and the last year has considerably enfeebled me, so that I hardly expect to remain another. You will then, my dear friend, consider this as probably the last line to be received from me, and as a taking leave.
“Present my best and most sincere respects to your good mother, and love to the rest of the family, to whom I wish all happiness; and believe me to be, while I do live, yours most affectionately,
“ B. FRANKLIN."
(Withoute date.) “ DEAR SIR, “I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of, guards and guides, and may favour particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear its displeasure, or to pray for its protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion, that though your reasonings are subtle, and may prevail with some readers, you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that subject, and the consequence of printing this piece will be, a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits against the wind, spits in his own face. But were you to succeed, do you imagine any good would be
done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantages of virtue and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point of its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue
which you now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth to be raised into the company of men should prove his manhood by beating his mother. I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person, whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification from the enemies it may raise against you, and, perhaps, a great deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it? I intend this letter itself as a proof of my friendship, and, therefore, add no professions to it; but subscribe simply yours,
Copy of the last Letter written by Dr. Franklin.
Philadelphia, April 8, 1790. SIR, “I received your letter of the 31st of last past, relating to encroachments made on the eastern lim
its of the United States by settlers under the British government, pretending that it is the western, and not the eastern river of the Bay of Passamaquoddy which was designated by the name of St. Croix, in the treaty of peace with that nation; and requesting of me to communicate any facts which my memory or papers may enable me to recollect, and which may indicate the true river which the commissioners on both sides had in their view to establish as the boundary between the two nations.
“ Your letter found me under a severe fit of my malady, which prevented my answering it sooner, or attending, indeed, to any kind of business. Í now can assure you that I am perfectly clear in the remembrance that the map we used in tracing the boundary was brought to the treaty by the commissioners from England, and that it was the same that was published by Mitchell above twenty years before. Having a copy of that map by me in loose sheets, I send you that sheet which contains the Bay of Passamaquoddy, where you will see that part of the boundary traced. I remember, too, that in that part of the boundary we relied much on the opinion of Mr. Adams, who had been concerned in some former disputes concerning those territories. I think, therefore, that you may obtain still farther light from him.
" That the map we used was Mitchell's map, Congress were acquainted at the time, by letter to their secretary for foreign affairs, which I suppose may be found upon their files.
“I have the honour to be, with the greatest esteem and respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
“ B. FRANKLIN. “ To Thomas Jefferson, " Secretary of State of the United States."