« ZurückWeiter »
of the stone, which is all I expect from it. It does not hurt my appetite; I sleep well, and enjoy my friends in cheerful conversation as usual. But, as I cannot use much exercise, I eat more sparingly than formerly, and I drink no wine.
I admire, that you should be so timid in asking leave of your good imperial master to make a journey for visiting a friend. I am persuaded you would succeed, and I hope the proposition I have repeated to you in this letter will assist your courage, and enable you to ask and obtain. If you come hither soon, you may, when present, get your book finished, and be ready to proceed with me to America. While writing this, I have received from Congress my leave to return; and I believe I shall be ready to embark by the middle of July, at farthest . I shall now be free from politics for the rest of my life. Welcome again, my dear philosophical amusements!
I see by a full page of your letter, that you have been possessed with strange ideas of America; that there is no justice to be obtained there, no recovery of debts, projects of insurrection to overturn the present government, &c. &c.; that a Virginia colonel . nephew of the governor, had cheated a stranger of a hundred thousand livres, and that somebody was imprisoned for only speaking of it; and the like very improbable stories. They are all fictions or misrepresentations. If they were truths, all strangers would avoid such a country, and foreign merchants would as soon carry their goods to sell in Newgate as America. Think a little on the sums England has spent to preserve a monopoly of the trade of that people, with whom they had long been acquainted; and of the desire all Europe is now manifesting to obtain a share of thai trade. Our ports are full of their ships, their merchants buying and selling in our streets continually, and returning with our products. Would this happen, could such commerce be continued with us, if we were such a collection of scoundrels and villains as we have been represented to you? And insurrections against our rulers are not only unlikely, as the rulers are the choice of the people, but unnecessary; as, if not liked, they may be changed annually by the new elections.
I own you have cause, great cause to complain of , but you are wrong to condemn the whole country by a single sample. I have seen many countries, and I do not know a country in the world in which justice is so well administered, where protection and favor have so little power to impede its operations, and where debts are recovered with so much facility. If I thought it such a country as has been painted to you, I should certainly never return to it . The truth, I believe, is, that more goods have been carried thither from all parts of Europe, than the consumption of the country requires, and it is natural that some of the adventurers are willing to discourage others from following them, lest the prices should still be kept down by the arrival of fresh cargoes; and it is not unlikely, that some negligent or unfaithful factors sent thither, may have given such accounts to excuse their not making remittances. And the English magnify all this, and spread it abroad in their papers, to dissuade foreigners from attempting to interfere with them in their commerce with us.
Your account of the Emperor's condescending conversation with you concerning me is pleasing. I respect very much the character of that monarch, and think, that, if I were one of his subjects, he would find me a good one. I am glad that his difference with your country is likely to be accommodated without bloodshed. The Courier de VEurope, and some other papers, printed a letter on that difference, which they ascribed to me. Be assured, my friend, that I never wrote it, nor was ever presumptuous enough to meddle with an affair so much out of my way. Yours, &c. B. Franklin.
TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.
Paasy, 3 Hay, 1785.
I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that I have at length obtained, and yesterday received, the permission of Congress to return to America. As my malady makes it impracticable for me to pay my devoirs at Versailles personally, may I beg the favor of you, Sir, to express respectfully for me to his Majesty, the deep sense I have of all the inestimable benefits his goodness has conferred on my country; a sentiment that it will be the business of the little remainder of life now left me, to impress equally on the minds of all my countrymen. My sincere prayers are, that God may shower down his blessings on the King, the Queen, their children, and all the royal family to the latest generations!
Permit me, at the same time, to offer you my thankful acknowledgments for the protection and countenance you afforded me at my arrival, and your many favors during my residence here, of which I shall always retain the most grateful remembrance. My grandson would have had the honor of waiting on you with this letter, but he has been some time ill of a lever.
With the greatest esteem and respect, and best wishes for the constant prosperity of yourself, and all your amiable family, I am, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant,
TO MRS. MARY HEWSON.
Pansy, 5 May, 1785. Mv DEAR, DEAR FRIEND,
I received your little letter from Dover, which gave me great pleasure, as it informed me of your happy progress so far in your way home. I hope the rest of your journey was as prosperous.*
You talk of obligations to me, when in fact I am the person obliged. I passed a long winter, which appeared the shortest of any I ever past. Such is the effect of pleasing society, with friends one loves.
I have now received my permission to return, and am making my preparations. I hope to get away in June. I promise myself, or rather flatter myself, that I shall be happy when at home. But, however happy that circumstance may make me, your joining me there will surely make me happier, provided your change of country may be for the advantage of your dear little family. When you have made up your mind on the subject, let me know by a line, that I may prepare a house for you as near me, and otherwise as convenient for you, as possible.
My neighbours begin to come out from Paris, and replace themselves in their Passy houses. They inquire after you, and are sorry you are gone before they could make themselves known to you. M. le Veillard, in particular, has told me at different times,
• Mrs. Hewson and her children had spent the winter with Dr. Franklin at Passy.
what indeed I knew long since, Cest une bien digne femme, cette Madame Hewson, une tres aimable femme. I would not tell you this if I thought it would make you vain; but that is impossible; you have too much good sense.
So wish me a good voyage, and, when you pray at church for all that travel by land or sea, think of your ever affectionate friend,
P. S. My love to William, and Thomas, and Eliza, and tell them I miss their cheerful prattle. Temple being sick, and Benjamin at Paris, I have found it very triste breakfasting alone, and sitting alone, and without any tea in the evening.
FROM M. DE RAYNEVAL TO B. FRANKLIN.
Versailles 8 May, 1785.
Sir, I have learned with the greatest concern, that you are soon to leave us. You will carry with you the affections of all France, for nobody has been more esteemed than you. I shall call on you at Passy, to desire you to retain for me a share in your remembrance, and renew to you personally the assurances of the most perfect attachment, with which I have the honor to be, Sir, &c .