« ZurückWeiter »
Of a similar economical character are the two following short pieces by Franklin :
1. NECESSARY HINTS TO THOSE THAT WOULD BE RICH.
“ The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.
“ For six pounds a-year you may have the use of one hundred pounds, provided you are a man of known prudence and honesty.
“ He that spends a groat a-day idly, spends idly above six pounds a year, which is the price of the use of one hundred pounds.
“He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, one day with another, wastes the privilege of using one hundred pounds each
“ He that idly loses five shillings worth of time, loses five shillings, and might as prudertly throw five shillings into the sea.
“ He that loses five shillings, not only loses that sum, but all the advantages that might be made by turning it in dealing ; which by the time that a young man becomes old, will amount to a considerable sum of money.
“ Again : he that sells upon credit, asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is to be kept out of it, therefore, he that buys upon credit, pays interest for what he buys; and he that pays ready money might let that money out to use, so that he that possesses any thing he has bought, pays interest for the use of it,
“ Yet in buying goods, it is best to pay ready money, because he that sells upon credit, expects to lose five per cent by bad debts; therefore he charges on all he sells upon credit, an advance that shall make up that deficiency.
“ Those who pay for what they buy upon credit, pay their share of this advance. “ He that paye ready money escapes, or may escape that charge.
penny saved is twoponce clear ;
A pin a day's a groat a year." 2. “THE WAY TO MAKE MONEY PLENTY IN EVERY MAN'S
POCKET. “ At this time when the general complaint is that 'money is scarce,' it will be an act of kindness to inform the moneyless how they may re
inforce their pockets. I will acquaint them with the true secret of money-catching--the certain way to fill empty purses and how to keep them always full. Two simple rules well observed will do all the business.
“First--Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions; and “Second--Spend one penny less than thy clear income.
“ Then shall thy hide-bound pocket soon begin to thrive, and shall never again cry with the empty belly-ache ; neither will creditors insalt thee,-nor want oppress--nor hunger bite,-nor nakedness freeze thee. The whole hemisphere shall shine brighter and pleasure spring up in every corner of thy heart. Now, therefore, embrace these rules and be happy. Banish the bleak winds of sorrow from thy mind and live independent. Then shalt thou be a man, and not hide thy face at the apa proach of the rich, nor suffer the pain of feeling little when the sons of fortune walk at thy right hand; for independency whether with little or much is good fortune, and placeth thee on even ground with the proud. est of the golden fleece. Oh! then let industry walk with thee in the morning, and attend thee until thou reachest the evening hour for rest. Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny. When all thy expenses are enumerated and paid, then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and brickler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it, wears a ring set with diamonds."
MISSION TO FRANCE IN 1776. Years before the rupture between England and the United States came to open warfare, and while Franklin in London was still strenuously exerting himself to avert the direful conflict and heal their differ. ences, he seems clearly to have foreseen and predicted the issue. in a letter to a French correspondent, dated 1770, he thus prophetically expresses himself :
* I see with pleasure, that we think pretty much alike on the snbjects of English America. We of the colonies have never insisted that we ought to be exempt from contributing to the expenses necessary to support the prosperity of the empire. We only assert that having par
liaments of our own, and not having representatives in that of Great Britain, our parliaments are the only judges of what we can, and what we ought to contribute in this case ; and that the English parliament has no right to take our money without our consent. In fact, the British empire is not a single state, it comprehends many; and though the parliament of Great Britain has arrogated to itself the power of taxing the colonies, it has no more right to do so, than it has to tax Hanover. We have the same king, but not the same legislature.
“ The dispute between the two countries has already lost England many millions sterling, which it has lost in its commerce, and America has in this respect been a proportionable gainer. This commerce consisted principally of superfluities--objects of luxury and fashion, which we can well do without, and the resolution we have formed of importing no more till our grievances are redressed, has enabled many of our infant manufactures to take root, and it will not be easy to make our people abandon them in future, even should a connexion more cordial than ever succeed the present troubles. I have, indeed, no doubt that the parliament of England, will finally abandon its present pretensions, and leave us to the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and privileges.
"B. FRANKLIN " With these impressions strongthened, besides having cause to cherish a bitter animosity against England on account of her oppressive policy in relation to the United States, Franklin set sail from America in October 1776, and reached Paris on the 21st of December, he being then in his 71st year. He found Mr. Deane there, and Mr. Lee joined them the next day, so that the commissioners were prepared to enter immediately upon their official duties. Shortly afterwards the Doctor removed to Passy, a pleasant village near Paris, where he took up his residence. The house which he there occupied was in every way convenient for him ; and raoreover it belonged to a zealous friend to the American cause.
The intelligence of Franklin's arrival in the French capital was immediately published and circulated throughout Europe. A French historian of the first celebrity speaks of him as follows:
“ By the effect which Franklin produced in France, one might say that he fulfilled his mission not with a court, but with a free people. Diplomatic etiquette did not permit him often to hold interviews with the ministers, but he associated with all the distinguished personages, who directed public opinion. Men imagined that they saw in him a
sage of antiquity, come back to give austere lessons and generous ex. amples to the moderns. They personified in him the republic of which he was the representative and the legislator. They regarded his virtues as those of his countrymen, and even judged of their physiognomy by the imposing and serene traits of his own. Happy was he who could gain admittance to see him in the house which he occupied at Passy. This venerable old man, it was said, joined to the demeanour of Phocion the spirit of Socrates. Courtiers were struck with his native dignity, and discovered in him the profound statesman. Young officers impatient to signalize themselves in another hemisphere, came to interrogate him respecting the military condition of the Americans; and when he spoke to them with deep concern and a manly frankness of the recent defeats, which had put his country in jeopardy, this only excited in them a more ardent desire to join and assist the republican soldiers.
“After this picture," continues the historian, “ it would be useless to trace the history of Franklin's negotiations with the court of France. His virtues and his renown negotiated for him; and before the second year of his mission had expired, no one conceived it possible to refuse fleets and an army to the compatriots of Franklin.”
Before the arrival of Franklin in France, there was a strong disposition in that country, to humble the pride of England by enabling her colonies to acquire independence; and he took care to foster every such sentiment, by publishing pamphlets calculated to establish a respectful opinion of the design as well as of the warlike and political posture of America. In his private conversation and correspondence, he spoke openly of his indignation against the mother country. Defenceless towns burnt in the midst of winter, slaves excited to revolt against their masters, and the savage Indians encouraged to assassinate and sack peaceable farmers, to butcher their wives and children, were injuries, he declared, in which his own ill-treatment by England was swallowed up and forgotten. These even whetted his resentment, and made him feel all thoughts of returning to her dominion as revolting and intolerable.
The business of the American commissioners in France was chiefly managed by Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Deane. The three functionaries having been authorised by their instructions to make application to any of the European powers and to solicit aids for prosecuting the war, Mr. Lee was deputed by his colleagues to undertake this service, first in Spain, and afterwards in Prussia. On these missions he was absent for nearly all the spring and summer. Dr. Franklin disapproved the policy
of seeking foreign alliances, and he had opposed this measure when it was under discussion in congress. He thought the dignity of the United States would be better sustained by waiting for the advances of other governments. The majority, however, were of a different opinion, and commissioners or ministers to different courts in Europe were from time to time appointed. Very little success attended these applications. Spain, for instance, was neither ready to enter into a treaty with the United States, nor to contribute essential aid for carrying on the war.
It was reported to the American commissioners about this period, that American prisoners who had been captured at sea, were treated with unjustifiable severity in England ; that some of them were compelled to enter the royal navy and fight against their friends and that others were sent to the British settlements in Africa and Asia. The commissioners wrote to Lord Stormont the British minister at the French court, suggesting an exchange of seamen thus captured for an equal number of British prisoners, who had been brought into France by an American cruiser. His lordship did not condescend to return an answer. They wrote again and drew from him the following laconic reply :
“ The King's ambassador receives no applications from rebels, unless they come to implore his Majesty's mercy.”
The paper containing this curt piece was sent back. “In answer to a letter,” say they, “which concerns some of the most material interests of humanity, and of the two nations, Great Britain and the United States, we received the enclosed indecent paper, which we return for your lordship’s more mature deliberation.” The British ministry, however, did not long uphold the arrogance of their ambassador. The number of captures made at sea by the American cruisers, soon convinced them of the policy of exchanging prisoners, according to the common usage of nations at war.
The multitude of foreign officers applying for letters of recommendation to Congress, or to General Washington was so great as to be a source of unceasing trouble and embarrassment. Scarcely had Dr. Franklin landed in France when applications began to throng upon him for active employment in the American army. They continued to the end of the war, coming from every country and written in almost every language of Europe. Some of the writers told only the story of their own exploits ; others enclosed the certificates of friends or of generals ander whom they had served ; while others were backed by the interest of persons of high rank and influence whom it was impossible to