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FROM WILLIAM CARMICHAEL TO B. FRANKLIN.
Madrid, 9 July, 1784. DEAR SIR, I arrived here on the 26th of June. My first business was to present myself at Aranjuez, where the court then resided. I had, in some measure, engaged before my departure from Spain to return before the regal family left that residence. So far I have fulfilled my engagements. On this account I set off from Paris more abruptly than I wished to do. I do not know as yet, whether I may not have given more offence to my personal friends there, by the precipitation with which I left them, than I have given satisfaction to my political ones here, by the desire which I have manifested to return agreeably to my promise. I have, however, the consolation to find, that I have been received individually in a manner that is highly flattering to me.
I have delayed writing to your Excellency, because I expected to have an answer to send you to the letter, which you wrote to the Count de Campomanes by me. I have the honor to inform you, that you are chosen a member of the Royal Academy of History here, and that I shall have the pleasure of enclosing you the diploma, and the answer of the Count de Campomanes to your Excellency's letter, by the next post. The little works you gave me will soon appear in a Spanish dress. If they lose by the change of costume, I can assure you that it will not be the fault of the translator, who wishes to preserve the true sense, spirit, and simplicity of the original.
In a few days, as I hope to have more leisure, I shall have the honor of writing to you more explicitly. You seem to be a prophet on more than one occasion, for I shall have an opportunity of suggesting an idea, that you gave me with respect to China. In the mean time, I beg your Excellency to mention me in the proper manner to your grandson, and to all those who do me the honor to remember me, and to believe me, with the highest respect and the most sincere affection, &c.
FROM RICHARD PRICE TO B. FRANKLIN.
Dr. Price's Pamphlet on the American Revolution.
Letter from M. Turgot.
Newington Green, 12 July, 1784. DEAR SIR, I request your acceptance of the pamphlet, which accompanies this letter.* It is intended entirely for America, and you are one of the first persons to whom it has been communicated. Most of the few copies, which I have printed, will be conveyed to America, and I hope the United States will forgive my presumption in supposing myself qualified to advise them. Indeed, I almost feel myself ashamed at what I have done; but the consciousness which I have, that it is well intended, and that my address to them is the effusion of a heart that wishes to serve the best interests of society, helps to reconcile me to myself in this instance, and it will, I hope, engage the candor of others.
The letter from M. Turgot, which you will receive with this, stands at present in the press, and will stand there till I shall be made acquainted with your opinion concerning the propriety of making it public, by conveying it to the United States with my own pamphlet. The reason of my doubts about this is the charge of
* Entitled, “ Observations on the Importance of the American Recolution." VOL. X.
secrecy with which it concludes, and which you will find written in the margin. In compliance with this charge, I have hitherto kept this letter private, but lately I have considered, that probably it was only some apprehension of personal inconvenience, that led him to give this charge, and that consequently the obligation to comply with it ceased with his life. Dreading, however, everything that might be reckoned a breach of confidence, my scruples are continually returning upon me; and I feel them the more, when I think that possibly he may have left a family, which may suffer in France, when it appears there that he was so much a friend to liberty, as this letter will show him to have been.
In this state of mind, I cannot make myself easy in any other way, than by determining to request the favor of your judgment and to abide by it. Should you think, that no ill consequences can result, from publishing this letter, to any family that M. Turgot may have left, and that his death has freed me from any obligation to keep it secret, I will order it to be printed off, and send it to America with my pamphlet. Should you think the contrary, it shall be suppressed, and I shall depend on your being so good as to destroy the copy sent you. You will add much to the obligation I am under to you for all your friendship, by giving me a few lines on this subject as soon as may be convenient to you. Should you think it improper to write by the post, a letter or any parcel you may wish to convey to London, may be sent by Miss Wilkes, who is on a visit with the Duchess de la Valliere at Paris, and will return by the 2d of August.*
I wrote to you by the post about three months ago,
• M. Turgot's letter was published, and appended to Dr. Price's pamphlet.
and hope you received my letter. I have heard lately with pleasure, that you are pretty well. May your health, and life, and usefulness be continued as long as the course of nature will admit. Are we never to have the satisfaction of seeing you again in London ? I have lately been at Birmingham, to visit Dr. Priestley. He is very happy there, and going on successfully with his experiments.
Mrs. Price desires to be respectfully remembered to you. She is in a very weak and low state, but not worse than she has been for some time. We are thinking of spending the next month at Brighthelmston. Wishing you every blessing, I am, my dear friend, with the greatest regard, ever yours,
TO THOMAS PERCIVAL.
Remarks on Duelling.
Passy, 17 July, 1784. DEAR SIR, I received yesterday, by Mr. White, your kind letter of May 11th, with the most agreeable present of your new book.* I read it before I slept, which is a proof of the good effects your happy manner has of drawing your reader on, by mixing little anecdotes and historical facts with your instructions. Be pleased to accept my grateful acknowledgments for the pleasure it has afforded me.
It is astonishing that the murderous practice of duelling, which you so justly condemn, should continue so long in vogue. Formerly, when duels were used to determine lawsuits, from an opinion that Providence
• Moral and Literary Dissertations, 2d edition. — W. T. F.
would in every instance favor truth and right with victory, they were excusable. At present, they decide nothing. A man says something, which another tells him is a lie. They fight; but, whichever is killed, the point at dispute remains unsettled. To this purpose they have a pleasant little story here. A gentleman in a coffee-house desired another to sit further from him. “Why so ?” “Because, Sir, you stink.” “That is an affront, and you must fight me.” “I will fight you, if you insist upon it; but I do not see how that will mend the matter. For if you kill me, I shall stink too; and if I kill you, you will stink, if possible, worse than you do at present.” How can such miserable sinners as we are entertain so much pride, as to conceit that every offence against our imagined honor merits death? These petty princes in their own opinion would call that sovereign a tyrant, who should put one of them to death for a little uncivil language, though pointed at his sacred person; yet every one of them makes himself judge in his own cause, condemns the offender without a jury, and undertakes himself to be the executioner. With sincere and great esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
P.S. Our friend, Mr. Vaughan, may perhaps communicate to you some conjectures of mine relating to the cold of last winter, which I sent to him in return for the observations on cold of Professor Wilson. If he should, and you think them worthy so much notice, you may show them to your Philosophical Society,* to which I wish all imaginable success. Their rules appear to me excellent.
* The Philosophical Society of Manchester, of which Dr. Percival was one of the principal founders and ornaments. -- W. T. F.