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TO JOHN ADAMS.
Passy, 29 April, 1781.
I enclose you extracts of two letters ministerial, found in the same packet with the former, written in the fond belief that the States were on the point of submitting, and cautioning the commissioners for peace
Et la vertu, pour se faire adorer,
At the third glass, the Viscount d'Houdetot sang;
"Guillaume Tell fut brave, mais sauvage;
At the ourth, the Viscountess sang;
"Je dis aussi, vive Philadelphie!
At the fifth, Madame de Pernan;
"Tous nos enfants apprendront de leurs mères
Tous les humains dans les bras d'un seul père."
At the sixth, Count de Tressan;
"Vive Sanoy! C'est ma Philadelphie
At the seventh, the Count d'Apché;
"Pour soutenir cette charte sacrée
Dinner being ended, Dr. Franklin was led by the Countess, accompanied by the whole family, into the gardens of Sanoy, where, under a rural arbor, he was presented by the gardener with a Virginia locust
not to promise too much respecting the future constitutions. They are indeed cautiously worded, but easily understood, when explained by two court maxims or assertions, the one of Lord Granville's, late President of the Council, that the King is the legislator of the colonies; the other of the present Chancellor, when in the House of Commons, that the Quebec constitution was the only proper constitution for colonies,
tree, which, at the request of the company, he planted with his own hands. The Countess at the same time repeated the following verses, which have been engraven on a marble pillar in the neighbourhood of that tree.
"Arbre sacré, durable monument
Du séjour qu'en ces lieux a daigné faire un sage,
De ces jardins devenu l'ornement,
De nos vœux et de notre encens;
Et puissiez-vous dans tous les âges,
A jamais respecté du temps,
Vivre autant que son nom, ses lois et ses ouvrages."
On their return, they were met by a band of music, which accom
panied the whole family in the following song.
"Que cet arbre, planté par sa main bienfaisante,
Elevant sa tige naissante
Au dessus du stérile ormeau,
Par sa fleur odoriférante,
Parfume l'air de cet heureux hameau.
La foudre ne pourra l'atteindre,
Elle respectera son faite et ses rameaux;
Franklin nous enseigna par ses heureux travaux
A la diriger ou à l'éteindre,
Tandis qu'il détruisait des maux
Pour la terre encore plus à plaindre."
After which they all proceeded to the Château. Towards evening Dr. Franklin was reconducted by the whole company to his carriage, and, before the door was shut, the Countess pronounced the following complimentary verses composed by herself.
'Législateur d'un monde, et bienfaiteur des deux,
L'homme dans tous les temps te devra ses hommages,
Et je m'acquitte dans ces lieux
De la dette de tous les âges."
ought to have been given to them all when first planted, and what all ought now to be reduced to. We may hence see the danger of listening to any of their deceitful propositions, though piqued by the negligence of some of those European powers, who will be much benefited by our revolution. I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.
TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS.
Passy, 4 May, 1781.
It is so long since I heard from you, that I begin to fear you are ill. Pray write to me, and let me know the state of your health. I enclose Morgan's account of his engagement with Tarleton. If he has not already received it, it may be agreeable to our friend the gazetteer of Leyden. Every thing goes well here, and I am ever, &c.
FROM MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.
London, 6 May, 1781.
Your dear, delightful letter made me most happy, particularly your account of yourself, as it proves that you are in good spirits, and pleased with your present situation. Your Dialogue with the Gout is written with your own cheerful pleasantry, and La belle et la mauvaise Jambe* recalls to my mind those happy hours we once passed in your society, where we were never
See Vol II. pp. 185, 194.
amused without learning some useful truth, and where I first acquired a taste pour la conversation badinante et réfléchie.
It is long since I have written to my ever valued friend; but the difficulty I find in conveying my letters safe to Passy is the only motive for my silence. Strange, that I should be under the necessity of concealing from the world a correspondence, which it is the pride and glory of my heart to maintain.
We have spent three months in London, but leave it to-morrow, that we may enjoy the beauties of a late spring at Twyford. My father grows every year fonder of that peaceful retirement; having found his endeavours to serve his country ineffectual, he yields to a torrent, which it is no longer in his power to oppose. I will confess, that, although I love reading and drawing sufficiently never to want amusement in the country, yet I have some few friends in town from whom I shall part with regret. We live very little in public, but a great deal with small private societies. They are the charm of life.
I have inquired after Mr. Small, but hitherto my inquiries have proved unsuccessful. Sir John Pringle has left London, and is gone to reside wholly in Scotland. I fear he is much straitened in his circumstances; he looks ill, and is vastly changed from what you remember him. Dr. Priestley is now on a short visit to his friends in town. I find he is settled much to his satisfaction at Birmingham, where he has the care of a pretty numerous congregation. Good Dr. Price calls on us often, and gives us hopes of a visit to Twyford. We value him no less on his own account, than for his steady attachment to our respectable friend.
The first opportunity we have of sending a parcel
to Paris, you may expect all our shades. You flatter us vastly by desiring them, as well as by every expression of esteem and affection for a family who know how to value your praise. Mr. Jones has undertaken the care of this letter. I feel grateful to him for giv ing me an opportunity of assuring you how much I do and ever shall continue to love you.
TO COURT DE GEBELIN.*
Indian Languages. - Mariner's Compass.
Passy, 7 May, 1781.
I am glad the little book † proved acceptable. It does not appear to me intended for a grammar to teach the language. It is rather what we call in English a spelling book, in which the only method observed is, to arrange the words according to their number of syllables, placing those of one syllable together, then those of two syllables, and so on. And it is to be
* Antoine Court de Gebelin, born at Nismes, in 1725, of a Protestant family, became a minister in that communion, first in the Cevennes, and next at Lausanne; which, however, he quitted, together with the clerical function, for the profession of literature at Paris, where he acquired so great a reputation as an antiquary and philologer, that he was appointed to superintend one of the museums. He lost much of his reputation, however, by his enthusiastic zeal in favor of animal magnetism. He died at Paris, May 13th, 1784. His great work is entitled, "Monde Primitif, analysé et comparé avec le Monde Moderne," nine volumes in quarto. The excellence of his character may be appreciated from the single fact, that, on quitting Switzerland, he voluntarily gave to his sister the principal part of his patrimony, reserving little for himself, and depending for a maintenance upon the exercise of his talents.-W. T. F.
† A Vocabulary of the language of one of the Indian tribes in North America.