Abbildungen der Seite

for English authors, ancient, present, and future, our people doubling every twenty years; and this will demand large and of course profitable impressions of your most valuable books. I would, therefore, if I possessed such rights, entail them, if such a thing be practicable, upon my posterity; for their worth will be continually augmenting. This may look a little like advice, and yet I have drunk no madeira these six months. The subject, however, leads me to another thought, which is, that you do wrong to discourage the emigration of Englishmen to America. In my piece on population, I have proved, I think, that emigration does not diminish but multiplies a nation. You will not have fewer at home for those that go abroad; and as every man who comes among us, and takes up a piece of land, becomes a citizen, and by our constitution has a voice in elections, and a share in the government of the country, why should you be against acquiring by this fair means a repossession of it, and leave it to be taken by foreigners of all nations and languages, who by their numbers may drown and stifle the English, which otherwise would probably become in the course of two centuries the most extensive language in the world, the Spanish only excepted? It is a fact, that the Irish emigrants and their children are now in possession of the government of Pennsylvania, by their majority in the Assembly, as well as of a great part of the territory; and I remember well the first ship that brought any of them over. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.


Tract on the Principles of Trade. Foundling Hospital.Double Spectacles.

Passy, 21 August, 1784.

My Dear Old Friend,

I received your kind letter of May 3d, 1783. I am ashamed that it has been so long unanswered. The indolence of old age, frequent indisposition, and too much business are my only excuses. I had great pleasure in reading it, as it informed me of your welfare.

Your excellent little work, The Principles of Trade, is too little known.* I wish you would send me a copy of it by the return of my grandson and secretary, whom I beg leave to recommend to your civilities. I would get it translated and printed here. And if your bookseller has any quantity of them left, I should be glad he would send them to America. The ideas of our people there, though rather better than those that prevail in Europe, are not so good as they should be; and that piece might be of service among them.

Since and soon after the date of your letter, we lost unaccountably, as well as unfortunately, that worthy, valuable young man you mention, your namesake, Maddison. He was infinitely regretted by all that knew him.

I am sorry your favorite charity t does not go on as you could wish it. It is shrunk indeed by your admitting only sixty children a year. What you have told your brethren respecting America is true. If you find it difficult to dispose of your children in England, it looks as if you had too many people. And yet you are afraid of emigration. A subscription is lately set on foot here to encourage and assist mothers in nursing their infants themselves at home; the practice of sending them to the Enfants trouves having risen here to a monstrous excess, as, by the annual bill, it appears they amount to near one third of the children born in Paris! The subscription is likely to succeed, and may do a great deal of good, though it cannot answer all the purposes of a foundling hospital. Your eyes must continue very good, since you can write so small a hand without spectacles. I cannot distinguish a letter even of large print; but am happy in the invention of double spectacles, which, serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were. If all the other defects and infirmities were as easily and cheaply remedied, it would be worth while for friends to live a good deal longer, but I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning. Adieu, and believe me ever yours most affectionately,

• See VoL II. p. 383.

t The Foundling Hospital, of which Mr. Whatley was the Treasurer.

B. Franklin.


General Melvill. Profession of Faith. The Old Testament.

Passy, 21 August, 1784.

Dear Sir,

Understanding that my letter intended for you by General Melvill . was lost at the Hotel d'Espagne, I take this opportunity by my grandson to give you the purport of it, as well as I can recollect. I thanked you for the pleasure you had procured me of the General's conversation, whom I found a judicious, sensible, and amiable man. I was glad to hear that you possessed a comfortable retirement, and more so that you had thoughts of removing to Philadelphia, for that it would make me very happy to have you there. Your companions would be very acceptable to the Library, but I hoped you would long live to enjoy their company yourself. I agreed with you in sentiments concerning the Old Testament, and thought the clause in our constitution, which required the members of Assembly to declare their belief, that the whole of it was given by divine inspiration, had better have been omitted. That I had opposed the clause; but, being overpowered by numbers, and fearing more might in future times be grafted on it, I prevailed to have the additional clause, "that no further or more extended profession of faith should ever be exacted." I observed to you too, that the evil of it was the less, as no inhabitant, nor any officer of government, except the members of Assembly, was obliged to make that declaration.

* Supposed to be Dr. Priestley. VOl. X. L * Judges, chap. hr.

So much for that letter; to which I may now add, that there are several things in the Old Testament, impossible to be given by divine inspiration; such as the approbation ascribed to the angel of the Lord, of that abominably wicked and detestable action of Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite.* If the rest of the book were like that, I should rather suppose it given by inspiration from another quarter, and renounce the whole.

By the way, how goes on the Unitarian church in Essex Street? And the honest minister of it,* is he comfortably supported? Your old colleague, Mr. Radcliff, is he living? And what became of Mr. Denham?

My grandson, who will have the honor of delivering this to you, may bring me a line from you; and I hope will bring me an account of your continuing well and happy.

I jog on still, with as much health, and as few of the infirmities of old age, as I have any reason to expect. But, notwithstanding the decay of my constitution, my regard for my old friends remains firm and entire. You will always have a good share of it, for I am ever with great and sincere esteem, dear Sir, &c

B. Franklin.


The Marquis de Lafayette. The Adjournment of Congress, and Dissolution of the Committee of the States.

Baltimore, 24 August, 1784.

Sir, As it may be a satisfaction to the friends of the Marquis de Lafayette to learn, that his visit to this country has been extremely flattering to its citizens, and that his reception has been marked by every circumstance expressive of gratitude and respect, I thought it would give pleasure to you, of whom I have often heard him express the liveliest regard, to have it in

* Theophilus Lindsey.

f Mr. M 'Henry was at this time a delegate in Congress from Maryland. He afterwards Berved for several years as Secretary of War, during the administrations of Washington and Adams.

« ZurückWeiter »