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P. S. Captain Willet is to leave London on his return about the 1st of August . Your son Ben, and all this family, join in the hope of your resolving to
FROM WILLIAM COCKE TO B. FRANKLIN.
Concerning a new State called Franklin.
State of Franklin, 15 June, 1788.
I make no doubt but you have heard, that the good people of this country have declared themselves a separate State from North Carolina; and that, as a testimony of the high esteem they have for the many important and faithful services you have rendered to your country, they have called the name of their State after you. I presume you have also heard the reasons, on which our separation is founded, some of which are as follows; that North Carolina had granted us a separation on certain well-known conditions, expressed in an act of the General Assembly of that State, which conditions, we think, she had no right to break through without our consent, as well as the consent of Congress. We therefore determine strictly to adhere to the conditions expressed in said act, and doubt not but Congress will be uniform in their just demands, as well as honorable in complying with their resolve to confirm all the just claims of such persons, as have purchased land under the laws of North Carolina, Car which they have paid that State.
The confidence we have in the wisdom and justice of the United States inclines us to leave every matter of dispute to their decision, and' I am expressly empowered and commanded to give the United States full assurance, that we shall act in obedience to their determination, provided North Carolina will consent that they shall become the arbiters. I had set out with the intention to wait on Congress to discharge the duties of the trust reposed in me, but I am informed, that Congress will adjourn about the last of this month; and I will thank you to be so kind as to favor me with a few lines by the bearer, Mr. Rogers, to inform me when Congress will meet again, and shall be happy to have your sentiments and advice on so important a subject. I have the honor to be, &c.
* Mrs. Hewson soon afterwards came over with her family to America, and established herself at Philadelphia. See VoL VII. p. 151.
TO NOAH WEBSTER.
On a Reformed Alphabet.
Philadelphia, 18 June, 1786.
I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me the 24th past, with the scheme enclosed of your reformed alphabet. I think the reformation not only necessary, but practicable; but have so much to say to you on the subject, that I wish to see and confer with you upon it, as that would save much time in writing; sounds, till such an alphabet is fixed, not being easily explained or discoursed of clearly upon paper.
I have formerly considered this matter pretty fully, and contrived some of the means of carrying it into execution, so as gradually to render the reformation general. Our ideas are so nearly similar, that I make no doubt of our easily agreeing on the plan; and you may depend on the best support I may be able to give it, as a part of your Institute* of which I wish you would bring with you a complete copy, having as yet seen only a part of it. I shall then be better able to recommend it as you desire. Hoping to have soon the pleasure of seeing you, I do not enlarge, but am with sincere esteem, Sir, &,c.
FROM THE MARQUIS DE CHASTELLUX TO B. FRANKLIN.
Chastellux's Travels in America. — His Translation of Humphreys's Poem.
Paris, 21 June, 1786.
Mv Sear Sir, I owe to you, on every account, the homage which I now take the liberty of offering. It was by your agency, that the Revolution of North America was mainly prepared and effected; it was your hand, acting secretly like the hand of Providence, which led me to that new continent; and, when there, I felt proud and happy to labor pro viribus meis in the great work, which you have contributed so much to bring to a glorious consummation. No American, I venture to affirm, could be more sincerely attached to this cause than I have been. I could not, therefore, see your country in any but a favorable light; and, if my love of truth occasionally called forth a gentle censure, my best wishes always took the place of my admiration, when the latter was compelled to be silent. Moreover, I have had the good fortune to succeed, precisely where success was most flattering. None of my readers have reached the end of my work, without a deep feeling of love and respect for your fellow citizens, and no one has ever refused me the praise of being animated by the same sentiments.*
* Grammatical Institute of the English Language, published in 1784
When you were in France, there was no need of praising the Americans. We had only to say, Look, here is their representative. But, however worthily your place may have since been filled, it is not unseasonable to arouse anew the interest of a kind-hearted but thoughtless nation, and to fix, from time to time, its attention upon the great event, to which it has had the happiness of contributing. Such has been my motive, in translating Colonel Humphreys's poem.t My success has fully equalled, and even surpassed, my expectation. Not only has the public received the work with favor, but it has succeeded perfectly at court, especially with the King and Queen, who have praised it highly.
I take the liberty of offering to you this translation, although it can have but little value to those, who have seen the original. But you are perfectly acquainted with our language, and, knowing better than any one else both the difficulty of translating into French verse, and of giving to prose sufficient sprightliness and brilliancy to express poetic ideas, you will be able to defend me before those, who may blame the freedom I have allowed myself; for I have taken more pains to render my work an agreeable one to read, than to make it an exact and faithful translation. Be this as it may, my intention will be my best excuse, and my attachment to you my best title to your indulgence. It is not my talents, that I wish to display before you, but the sentiments of respect and devotion with which I have the honor to be, &.c.
* This letter was accompanied with a copy of the Marquis de Chutellux's Travels in America, which had recently been published.
f A Poem addressed to the Armies of the United States, which was translated into French by the Marquis de Chastellux. See HumruRLTs's Miscellaneous Works, pp. 9 - 15.
The Marquis De Chastellux.
P. S. Have the kindness to present my respects to Mr. and Mrs. Bache. I have no doubt, that the ladies of Philadelphia are as attentive to you as those of Paris; and I believe that I could find no one to recall me to their recollection in a more acceptable manner than yourself. Please to present my particular respects to Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Powel, Mrs. Meredith, Miss Cadwalader, and Mrs. Craig.
TO MRS. JANE MECOM.
On Bad Spelling.
Philadelphia, 4 July, 178ft
You need not be concerned, in writing to me,
about your bad spelling; for, in my opinion, as our alphabet now stands, the bad spelling, or what is called so, is generally the best, as conforming to the sound of the letters and of the words. To give you an instance. A gentleman received a letter, in which were these words, — Not finding Brown at horn, I delivered your meseg to his yf. The gentleman finding it bad spelling, and therefore not very intelligible, called his lady to help him read it. Between them they picked out the meaning of all but the yf, which they could not understand. The lady proposed calling her chambermaid, because Betty, says she, has the best knack at reading bad spelling of any one I know. Betty came, and was surprised, that neither