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Whatever may be reported by the English in Europe, you may be assured, that our people are almost unanimous in being satisfied with the Revolution. Their unbounded respect for all who were principally concerned in it, whether as warriors or statesmen, and the enthusiastic joy with which the day of the declaration of independence is everywhere annually celebrated, are indubitable proofs of this truth. In one or two of the States there have been some discontents on partial and local subjects; these may have been fomented, as the accounts of them are exaggerated, by our ancient enemies; but they are now nearly suppressed, and the rest of the States enjoy peace and good order, and flourish amazingly. The crops have been good for several years past, the price of country produce high, from foreign demand, and it fetches ready money; rents are high in our towns, which increase fast by new buildings; laborers and artisans have high wages well paid, and vast tracts of new land are continually clearing and rendered fit for cultivation.
The pains you have taken to translate the congratulatory addresses, which I received on my arrival, is a fresh proof of the continuance of your friendship for me, which has afforded me as much satisfaction as the addresses themselves, and you will readily believe, that for me this is not saying little; for this welcome of my fellow citizens has far surpassed my hopes. Popular favor, not the most constant thing in the world, stands by me. My election to the presidency for the second year was unanimous. Will this disposition continue the same for the third? Nothing is more doubtful. A man, who holds a high office, finds himself so often exposed to the danger of disobliging some one in the fulfilment of his duty, that the resentment of those, whom he has thus offended, being greater than the gratitude of those whom he has served, it almost always happens, that, while he is violently attacked, he is feebly defended. You will not be surprised, then, if you learn, that I have not closed my political career with the same eclat, with which it commenced.
I am sorry for what you tell me of the indisposition you have experienced. I sometimes wonder, that Providence does not protect the good from all evil and from every suffering. This should be so in the best of worlds; and, since it is not so, I am piously led to believe, that, if our world is not indeed the best, we must lay the blame on the bad quality of the materials of which it is made. I am, my dear friend, with sincere esteem and affection, ever yours,
FROM MATHER BYLES TO B. FRANKLIN.
Boston, 14 May, 1787.
Sir, It is long since I had the pleasure of writing to you by Mr. Edward Church, to thank you for your friendly mention of me in a letter, that I find was transmitted to the University of Aberdeen. I doubt whether you ever received it; but, under great weakness by old age and a palsy, I seize this opportunity of employing my daughter to repeat the thanks, which I aimed to express in that letter. Your Excellency is now the man, that I early expected to see you. I congratulate my country upon her having produced a Franklin, and can only add, I wish to meet you where complete felicity and we shall be for ever united. I am, my dear and early friend, your most affectionate and humble servant, M. Byles.
P. S. I refer you to the bearer, Mr. Pierpont, to inform you how my life, and that of my daughters, have been saved by your points.
TO THOMAS JORDAN, LONDON.
Reminiscences of his Friends.
Philadelphia, 18 May, 1787.
I received your very kind letter of February 27th, together with the cask of porter you have been so good as to send me. We have here at present what the French call vane assemblee des notables, a convention composed of some of the principal people from the several States of our confederation. They did me the honor of dining with me last Wednesday, when the cask was broached, and its contents met with the most cordial reception and universal approbation. In short, the company agreed unanimously, that it was the best porter they had ever tasted. Accept my thanks, a poor return, but all I can make at present.
Your letter reminds me of many happy days we have passed together, and the dear friends with whom we passed them; some of whom, alas! have left us, and we must regret their loss, although our Hawkesworth is become an Adventurer in more happy regions; and our Stanley * gone, "where only his own harmony can be exceeded." You give me joy in telling me, that you are "on the pinnacle of content." Without it no situation can be happy; with it, any. One means of becoming content with one's situation is the comparing it with a worse. Thus, when I consider how many terrible diseases the human body is liable to, I comfort myself, that only three incurable ones have fallen to my share, viz. the gout, the stone, and old age; and that these have not yet deprived me of my natural cheerfulness, my delight in books, and enjoyment of social conversation.
* John Stanley, an eminent musician and composer, became blind at the age of two years. — W. T. F.
I am glad to hear, that Mr. Fitzmaurice is married, and has an amiable lady and children. It is a better plan than that he once proposed, of getting Mrs. Wright to make him a wax-work wife to sit at the head of his table. For after all, wedlock is the natural state of man. A bachelor is not a complete human being. He is like the odd half of a pair of scissors, which has not yet found its fellow, and therefore is not even half so useful as they might be together.
I hardly know which to admire most; the wonderful discoveries made by Herschel, or the indefatigable ingenuity by which he has been enabled to make them. Let us hope, my friend, that, when free from these bodily embarrassments, we may roam together through some of the systems he has explored, conducted by some of our old companions already acquainted with them. Hawkesworth will enliven our progress with his cheerful, sensible converse, and Stanley accompany the music of the spheres.
Mr. Watmaugh tells me, for I immediately inquired after her, that your daughter is alive and well. I remember her a most promising and beautiful child, and therefore do not wonder, that she is grown, as he says, a fine woman. God bless her and you, my dear friend, and every thing that pertains to you, is the sincere prayer of yours most affectionately,
in his eighty-second year.
Vol. x. 39 z*
TO GEORGE WHATLEV.
United States Bank. — Commercial Treaty. — Scheme for Coining. — Dr. Riley.
Philadelphia, 18 May, 1787.
I received duly my good old friend's letter of the 19th of February. I thank you much for your notes on banks; they are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them. Our bank here has met with great opposition, partly from envy, and partly from those who wish an emission of more paper money, which they think the bank influence prevents. But it has stood all attacks, and went on well, notwithstanding the Assembly repealed its charter. A new Assembly has restored it; and the management is so prudent, that I have no doubt of its continuing to go on well. The dividend has never been less than six per cent, nor will that be augmented for some time, as the surplus profit is reserved to face accidents. The dividend of eleven per cent, which was once made, was from a circumstance scarce avoidable. A new company was proposed; and prevented only by admitting a number of new partners. As many of the first set were averse to this, and chose to withdraw, it was necessary to settle their accounts; so all were adjusted, the profits shared that had been accumulated, and the new and old proprietors jointly began on a new and equal footing. Their notes are always instantly paid on demand, and pass on all occasions as readily as silver, because they will always produce silver.
Your medallion is in good company; it is placed with those of Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, Marquis of Rockingham, Sir George Saville, and some others, who honored me with a show of friendly regard, when