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TO JOHN JAY.*

Passy, 10 May, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I received your kind letter of the 8th of March, enclosing the resolution of Congress, permitting my return to America, for which I am very thankful, and am now preparing to depart the first good opportunity. Next to the pleasure of rejoining my own family will be that of seeing you and yours well and happy, and embracing once more my little friend, whose singular attachment to me I shall always remember.

I shall be glad to render any acceptable service to Mr. Randall. I conveyed the bayberry wax to Abb6 de Chalut, with your compliments, as you desired. He returns his with many thanks. Be pleased to make my respectful compliments acceptable to Mrs. Jay, and believe me ever, with sincere and great respect and esteem, &c. B. Franklin.

P. S. The striking of the medals being now in agitation here, I send the enclosed for consideration.

TO CHARLES THOMSON.

Passy, 10 May, 1785.

Dear Sir, An old gentleman in Switzerland, long of the magistracy there, having written a book entitled Du Qouvernement et des Mceurs, which is thought to contain many matters, that may be useful in America, desired to know of me how he could convey a number of printed copies, to be distributed gratis among the members of Congress. I advised his addressing the package to you by way of Amsterdam, whence a friend of mine would forward it. It is accordingly shipped there on board the Van Berckel, Captain W. Campbell. There are good things in the work, but his chapter on the liberty of the press appears to me to contain more rhetoric than reason. With great esteem, I am ever, &c. B. Franklin.

* Mr. Jay was now Secretary of Foreign Affairs, having been chosen as successor to Mr. Livingston, who had resigned.

VOL. X. 22 O

TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS.

Passy, 19 May, 1785.

The conversations you mention respecting

America are suitable. Those people speak what they wish; but she was certainly never in a more happy situation. They are angry with us, and speak all manner of evil of us; but we flourish, notwithstanding. They put me in mind of a violent High Church factor, resident in Boston, when I was a boy. He had bought upon speculation a Connecticut cargo of onions, which he flattered himself he might sell again to great profit, but the price fell, and they lay upon hand. He was heartily vexed with his bargain, especially when he observed they began to grow in the store he had filled with them. He showed them one day to a friend. "Here they are," said he, "and they are growing too! I damn them every day; but I think they are like the Presbyterians; the more I curse them, the more they grow." Yours,

B. Franklin.

TO GEORGE WHATLEY.

Passy, 19 May, 1785.

Dear Old Friend,

I received the very good letter you sent me by my grandson, together with your resemblance, which is placed in my chamber, and gives me great pleasure. There is no trade, they say, without returns, and therefore I am punctual in making those you have ordered.

I intended this should have been a long epistle, but I am interrupted, and can only add, that I am ever yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.

FROM COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

Regrets Dr. Franklin's Departure. .fissures him of the Esteem of the King.

Translation.

Versailles, 22 May, 1785.

Sir,

I have learned with much concern of your retiring, and of your approaching departure for America. You cannot doubt but that the regrets, which you will leave, will be proportionate to the consideration you so justly enjoy.

I can assure you, Sir, that the esteem the King entertains for you does not leave you any thing to wish, and that his Majesty will learn with real satisfaction, that your fellow citizens have rewarded, in a manner worthy of you, the important services that you have rendered them.

I beg, Sir, that you will preserve for me a share in your remembrance, and never doubt the sincerity of the interest I take in your happiness. It is founded on the sentiments of attachment, of which I have assured you, and with which I have the honor to be, &,c.

De Vergennes.

TO GEORGE WHATLEY.

Moral and Philosophical Reflections. Foundling Hospital at Paris. Cincinnati. American Confederation. Anecdote of three Greenlanders. Double Spectacles.

Paesy, 23 May, 1785.

Dear Old Friend,

I sent you a few lines the other day, with my medallion, when I should have written more, but was prevented by the coming in of a bavard, who worried me till evening. I bore with him, and now you are to bear with me; for I shall probably bavarder in answering your letter.

I am not acquainted with the saying of Alphonsus, which you allude to as a sanctification of your rigidity, in refusing to allow me the plea of old age, as an excuse for my want of exactness in correspondence. What was that saying? You do not, it seems, feel any occasion for such an excuse, though you are, as you say, rising seventy-five. But I am rising (perhaps more properly falling) eighty, and I leave the excuse with you till you arrive at that age; perhaps you may then be more sensible of its validity, and see fit to use it for yourself. *»

I must agree with you, that the gout is bad, and that the stone is worse. I am happy in not having them both together, and I join in your prayer, that you may live till you die without either. But I doubt the author of the epitaph you send me was a little mistaken, when he, speaking of the world, says, that

"he ne'er cared a pin What they said or may say of the mortal within."

It is so natural to wish to be well spoken of, whether alive or dead, that I imagine he could not be quite exempt from that desire; and that at least he wished to be thought a wit, or he would not have given himself the trouble of writing so good an epitaph to leave behind him. Was it not as worthy of his care, that the world should say he was an honest and a good man? I like better the concluding sentiment in the old song, called Tlie Old Man's Wish, wherein, after wishing for a warm house in a country town, an easy horse, some good authors, ingenious and cheerful companions, a pudding on Sundays, with stout ale, and a buttle of Burgundy, &e. &c, in separate stanzas, each ending with this burthen,

"May I govern my passions with absolute sway,
Grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay;"

he adds,

"With a courage undaunted may I face my last day,
And, when I am gone, may the better sort say,

'In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow,
He 's gone, and has not left behind him his fellow;
For he governed his passions, Sic.'"

But what signifies our wishing? Things happen, after aD, as they will happen. I have sung that wishing song a thousand times, when I was young, and now find, at fourscore, that the three contraries have befallen me, being subject to the gout and the stone, and not being yet master of all my passions. Like the proud girl in my country, who wished and re

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