« ZurückWeiter »
observed, that Sa ki ma, for instance, is not three words, but one word of three syllables; and the reason that hyphens are not placed between the syllables is, that the printer had not enough of them.
As the Indians had no letters, they had no orthography. The Delaware language being differently spelt from the Virginian may not always arise from a dif ference in the languages; for strangers who learn the language of an Indian nation, finding no orthography, are at liberty in writing the language to use such compositions of letters as they think will best produce the sounds of the words. I have observed, that our Europeans of different nations, who learn the same Indian language, form each his own orthography according to the usual sounds given to the letters in his own. language. Thus the same words of the Mohawk language written by an English, a French, and a German interpreter, often differ very much in the spelling; and, without knowing the usual powers of the letters in the language of the interpreter, one cannot come at the pronunciation of the Indian words. spelling book in question was, I think, written by a German.
You mention a Virginian Bible. Is it not the Bible of the Massachusetts language, translated by Eliot, and printed in New England, about the middle of the last century? I know this Bible, but have never heard of one in the Virginian language. Your observations of the similitude between many of the words, and those of the ancient world, are indeed very curious.
This inscription, which you find to be Phenician, is, I think, near Taunton (not Jannston, as you write it). There is some account of it in the old Philosophical Transactions. I have never been at the place, but shall be glad to see your remarks on it.
The compass appears to have been long known in China, before it was known in Europe; unless we suppose it known to Homer, who makes the Prince, that lent ships to Ulysses, boast that they had a spirit in them, by whose directions they could find their way in a cloudy day, or the darkest night. If any Phenicians arrived in America, I should rather think it was not by the accident of a storm, but in the course of their long and adventurous voyages; and that they coasted from Denmark and Norway, over to Greenland, and down southward by Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, &c., to New England; as the Danes themselves certainly did some ages before Columbus.
Our new American Society will be happy in the correspondence you mention, and when it is possible for me, I shall be glad to attend the meetings of your Society,* which I am sure must be very instructive. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
Expedition against Arnold.— British Policy.
Passy, 14 May, 1781
You are a very good correspondent, which I do not deserve, as I am a bad one. The truth is, I have too much business upon my hands, a great deal of it foreign to my function as a minister, which interferes with my writing regularly to my friends. But I am nevertheless extremely sensible of your kindness in
* L'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.
sending me such frequent and full intelligence of the state of affairs on your side of the water, and in letting me see by your letters, that your health continues, as well as your zeal for our cause and country. I hope, that by this time the ship, which has the honor of bearing your name, is safely arrived. She carries clothing for nearly twenty thousand men, with arms, ammunition, &c., which will supply some of your wants; and Colonel Laurens will bring a considerable addition, if Providence favors his passage. You will receive from him the particulars, which makes my writing more fully by him unnecessary.
You mention my having enemies in America. You are luckier, for I think you have none here, nor anywhere. Your friends have heard of your being gone against the traitor Arnold, and are anxious to hear of your success, and that you have brought him to punishment. Enclosed is a copy of a letter from his agent in England, captured by one of our cruisers, and by which the price or reward he received for his treachery may be guessed at. Judas sold only one man, Arnold three millions. Judas got for his one man thirty pieces of silver, Arnold not a halfpenny a head. A miserable bargain! especially when one considers the quantity of infamy he has acquired to himself, and entailed on his family.*
The English are in a fair way of gaining still more enemies; they play a desperate game. Fortune may favor them, as it sometimes does a drunken dicer; but
The letter here mentioned was from a banker in London to General Arnold, stating that he had received from him bills to the amount of five thousand pounds sterling, which the banker said he had invested in the stocks. This was supposed to be the money paid to Arnold as the reward of his treachery. After the war, a pension was likewise granted to each of his children.
by their tyranny in the East, they have at length roused the powers there against them, and I do not know that they have in the West a single friend. If they lose their India commerce (which is one of their present great supports), and one battle at sea, their credit is gone, and their power follows. Thus empires, by pride, folly, and extravagance, ruin themselves like individuals. M. de la Motte Piquet has snatched from between their teeth a good deal of their West India prey, having taken twenty-two sail of their homeward bound prizes. One of our American privateers has taken two more, and brought them into Brest, and two were burnt; there were thirty-four in company, with two men-of-war of the line and two frigates, who saved themselves by flight, but we do not hear of their being yet got in.
I think it was a wise measure to send Colonel Laurens here, who could speak knowingly of the state of the army. It has been attended with all the success that perhaps could reasonably be expected, though not with all that was wished. He has fully justified your character of him, and returns thoroughly possessed of my esteem; but that cannot and ought not to please him so much, as a little more money would have done for his beloved army. This court continues firm and steady in its friendship, and does every thing it can for us. Can we not do a little more for ourselves? My successor (for I have desired the Congress to send me one) will find it in the best disposition towards us, and I hope he will take care to cultivate that disposition. You, who know the leading people of both countries, can perhaps judge better than any member of Congress of a person suitable for this station.
I wish you may be in a way to give your advice, when the matter is agitated in that assembly. I have
been long tired of the trade of minister, and wished for a little repose before I went to sleep for good and all. I thought I might have held out till the peace; but, as that seems at a greater distance than the end of my days, I grow impatient. I would not, however, quit the service of the public, if I did not sincerely think that it would be easy for the Congress, with your counsel, to find a fitter man. God bless you, and crown all your labors with success. With the highest regard and most sincere affection, I am, dear Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
I did myself the honor of writing to your Excellency pretty fully on the 12th of March, to which I beg leave to refer. Colonel Laurens arriving soon after, we renewed the application for more money.
His indefatigable endeavours have brought the good dispositions of this court to a more speedy determination of making an addition, than could well have been expected so soon after the former grant. As he will have an opportunity of acquainting you personally with all the particulars of importance, a circumstantial account of the transaction from me is unnecessary. I would only mention, that, as it is the practice here to consider early in the year the probable expenses of the campaign, and appropriate the revenues to the several necessary services, all subsequent and unexpected demands are extremely inconvenient and disa