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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, every thing 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 Vallière 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.
TO MESSRS. WEEMS AND GANT, CITIZENS OF THE
UNITED STATES IN LONDON.
Ordination of American Clergymen of the Episcopal
Passy, 18 July, 1784. GENTLEMEN, On receipt of your letter, acquainting me that the Archbishop of Canterbury would not permit you to be ordained, unless you took the oath of allegiance, I applied to a clergyman of my acquaintance for information on the subject of your obtaining ordination here. His opinion was, that it could not be done; and that, if it were done, you would be required to vow obedience to the Archbishop of Paris. I next inquired of the Pope's Nuncio, whether you might not be ordained by their Bishop in America, powers being sent him for that
purpose, if he has them not already. The answer was, “The thing is impossible, unless the gentlemen become Catholics.”
This is an affair of which I know very little, and therefore I may ask questions and propose means that are improper or impracticable. But what is the necessity of your being connected with the Church of England? Would it not be as well, if you were of the Church of Ireland ? The religion is the same, though there is a different set of bishops and archbishops. Perhaps if you were to apply to the Bishop of Derty, who is a man of liberal sentiments, he might give you orders as of that Church. If both Britain and Ireland refuse you, (and I am not sure that the Bishops of Denmark or Sweden would ordain you, unless you become Lutherans,) what is then to be done? Next to becoming Presbyterians, the Episco
palian clergy of America, in my humble opinion, cannot do better than to follow the example of the first clergy of Scotland, soon after the conversion of that country to Christianity. When their King had built the Cathedral of St. Andrew's, and requested the King of Northumberland to lend his bishops to ordain one for them, that their clergy might not as heretofore be obliged to go to Northumberland for orders, and their request was refused; they assembled in the Cathedral; and, the mitre, crosier, and robes of a bishop being laid upon the altar, they, after earnest prayers for direction in their choice, elected one of their own number; when the King said to him, " Arise, go to the altar, and receive your office at the hand of God.” His brethren led him to the altar, robed him, put the crozier in his hand, and the mitre on his head, and he became the first Bishop of Scotland.
If the British Islands were sunk in the sea (and the surface of this globe has suffered greater changes), you would probably take some such method as this; and, if they persist in denying you ordination, it is the same thing. A hundred years hence, when people are more enlightened, it will be wondered at, that men in America, qualified by their learning and piety to pray for and instruct their neighbours, should not be permitted to do it till they had made a voyage of six thousand miles out and home, to ask leave of a cross old gentheman at Canterbury; who seems, by your account, to have as little regard for the souls of the people of Maryland, as King William's Attorney-General, Seymour, had for those of Virginia. The Reverend Commissary Blair, who projected the College of that Province, and was in England to solicit benefactions and a charter, relates, that, the Queen, in the King's absence, having ordered Seymour to draw up the charter,