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been circulated there, but that one of the most esteemed still retained a regard for me. Indeed, you are now almost the only one left me by nature; death having, since we were last together, deprived me of my dear Cooper, Winthrop, and Quincy.
I have not received the letter you mention to have sent me with some Memoirs, under cover to Dr. Price. I must have left Europe before they got to his hands; but he will doubtless send them to me by the first convenient opportunity. It was not necessary to make any apology for the liberty you say you have taken in those Memoirs, in making observations on my Queries upon light, for I am sure they will help me to understand it better, and that must make them agreeable to me. I shall be glad to see the whole volume,* which you are so kind as to promise me; and I hope in the course of a few months to be able to make returns, in a second volume of our Memoirs, f now in the press.
I sent to you by Mr. Gerry, some weeks since, Dr. Jeffries's account of his aerial voyage from England to France, which I received from him just before I left that country. In his letter, that came with it, he requests I would not suffer it to be printed, because a copy of it had been put into the hands of Sir Joseph Banks for the Royal Society, and was to be read there in November. If they should not think fit to publish it, as I apprehend may be the case, they having hitherto avoided meddling with the subject of balloons, I shall be glad to have the minutes returned to me. In the mean time, I thought it might afford some amusement to you and to your Society.* My acquaintance with Dr. Jeffries began by his bringing me a letter in France, the first through the air, from England. With best wishes of many happy new years to you, and good Madam Bowdoin, I have the honor to be, dear Sir, &c. B. Franklin^
* First volume of the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arta and Sciences.
f Transactions of the American Philosophical Society.
FROM THE DUKE DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD
Paris, 8 February, 1786.
My Dear Friend, I have heard of you through Mr. Jefferson and M. le Veillard. The latter showed me the letter, in which you announced to him your nomination to the office of President, and I admired the resolution which determined you to take upon yourself an employment so fatiguing, but in which you can labor effectually for the happiness of Pennsylvania, and for that of the other States, upon which the example of your own will assuredly have a great influence. I know that two powerful and nearly equal parties support different principles as the basis of the Constitution; but nobody Ls better qualified than yourself to conciliate both of them, and to obtain, not perhaps the constitution most absolutely perfect, but at least, as Solon said, the best which your fellow citizens are able to bear.
.•The paper was printed in London, entitled, "A Narrative of two Aerial Voyages," 4to. 1786.
f Extract from a letter to his sister.
"PhilaMphia, 24 January, 1786. Your letter to Mr. V. seems to me very proper and well written, and I think he was wrong in detaining the five dollars. But when we consider that he was under no legal obligation to pay a debt contracted by his son, we may be glad, that we have received so much of it, and that, when it is common to pay the interest of an old debt in ill language, he has paid you only in silence. It is a family I have formerly been in friendship with, and I would not have you trouble them with any further demands.
"I do not wonder at your blaming me for accepting the government [the office of President of Pennsylvania]. We have all of us wisdom enough to judge what others ought to do, or not to do, in the management of their affairs; and it is possible I might blame you as much if you were to accept the offer of a young husband. My example may teach you not to be too confident in your own prudence, as it teachea me not to be surprised at such an event, should it really happen."
This is the critical moment for the Americans. The return of peace and the certainty of independence demand of them a general revision of their laws, and the formation of new codes, no longer a servile imitation of the laws of England, but dictated by reason, conformed to their actual situation, and adapted to insure the happiness of States and individuals. In legislation you must be the teachers of the world, which is expecting from you some important lessons.
I will not trespass upon the time of so busy a man as yourself, and will therefore close by offering you the compliments of all my family, to which M. de Condorcet requests me to add his. That your life and health may be prolonged is the unanimous prayer of all those, who have ever heard of you. AIl . who have had the satisfaction of knowing you, add the hope, that they may retain a place in your friendship. I venture to believe, that I deserve this, by the sincere attachment and veneration which I feel for you.
Duke De La Rochefoucauld.
FROM THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE TO B. FRANKLIN.
Tour in Germany. — Prussia. — Austria. — Indian Vocabularies for the Empress of Russia,
Paris, 10 February, 1786.
My Dear Friend,
With unspeakable satisfaction I have heard of your safe arrival in America, and heartily wished I had been mingled in the happy crowd of your fellow citizens, when they saw you set your foot on the shore of Liberty. When your friends in Paris meet together, their first talk is of you. The wishes for you of a fortunate voyage, and pleasing sight of your family and friends, became a national sentiment. In my tour through Germany, I have been asked a thousand questions about you, when I felt equally proud and happy to boast of our affectionate intimacy.
Prussia and the Austrian dominions, with some parts of the German empire, the liberties of which have been so much spoken of in treaties and so little felt by the people, have been the object of my very agreeable journey.* The first class of people are, I found, misinformed, with respect to American affairs. What may be wrong, they know perfectly, with an addition of a thousand falsehoods; and I wish no ground was left for our enemies to found those falsehoods upon. Although they have an enthusiastic admiration of the virtues displayed by America during the war, yet it is a matter of doubt with them, (some sensible and feeling men excepted, particularly Prince Henry,) if free constitutions can support themselves. The King of Prussia himself is blinded by habit and prejudices. •
* Lafayette had recently returned from a tour through Germany. An account of this tour is contained in the Diplomatic Correspondence, VoL X. p. sa
That monarch's temper is very bad; the Emperor's not very quiet. But, the affairs of Great Britain being embarrassed, and our politics very pacific, I do not think any storm is to be feared. I have been happy to hear you have accepted the presidency of Pennsylvania. Nothing but that could speedily restore internal union, and remove the jealousies against neighbours. You will encourage federal measures, regulations for trade, a general system of militia; and, the more I learn the opinions of foreign nations, the more I wish for such arrangements, the necessity of which is obvious to almost every American. A committee, consisting of the intendants of finance, counsellors of state, and farmers-general, has been appointed to consider the affairs of American commerce. I shall attend regularly, but, as it is just begun, I cannot tell whether it will be very useful.
Enclosed I send you a vocabulary, which the Empress of Russia requests may be filled up with Indian words. You know her plan of a Universal Dictionary. I have thought you might send me the Delaware and Shawanese languages, with some others. Your commissioners for Indian affairs, Colonel Harmar and General Butler, will be able to superintend the business, which it is important to have well done, as the Empress, although I think to very little purpose, sets a great value upon it.*
Be so kind as to remember me most affectionately to your family, daughter, grandsons, son-in-law, and to all our friends in Philadelphia. My heart has been
• For other particulars respecting these Indian vocabularies, see Washington's Writings, Vol. IX. pp. 195, 301, 306.