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condemned, though they do not bring their slaves home, but sell them in the West Indies. The State, as such, has never, that I have heard of, given encouragement to the diabolical commerce; and there have always been fewer slaves in the New England governments than in any other British colonies. National reflections are seldom just, and a whole people should not be decried for the crimes of a few individuals.
Your inserting this may make that brave people some amends, and will oblige one of your customers, who is
TO MATHER BYLES.*
Electrical Points and Electricity.
Philadelphia, 1 January, 1788.
Dear Old Friend,
I duly received your kind letter of May 14th. I was then busily engaged in attending our general Convention, which, added to the ordinary current business of this government, took up so much of my time, that I was obliged to postpone answering many letters of friends, which gave occasion of mislaying some of them, and among those was yours, only last week come again to hand. I think I never received what you mention, respecting the University of Aberdeen; but the good will I might show on that occasion was not of importance enough to deserve your repeating the acknowledgment . It was in me only paying a debt; for I remember with gratitude, that I owe one of my first academical honors to your recommendation.
It gives me much pleasure to understand, that my
• A clergyman of Boston. For some biographical anecdotes respecting him, see Tudor's Life of James Otis, pp. 155-160.
points have been of service in the protection of you and yours. I wish for your sake, that electricity had really proved what it was at first supposed to be, a cure for the palsy. It is, however, happy for you, that, when old age and that malady have concurred to enfeeble you, and to disable you for writing, you have a daughter at hand to nurse you with filial attention, and to be your secretary, of which I see she is very capable, by the elegance and correctness of her writing in the letter I am now answering. I too have a daughter, who lives with me and is the comfort of my declining years, while my son is estranged from me by the part he took in the late war, and keeps aloof, residing in England, whose cause he espoused; whereby the old proverb is exemplified;
"My son is my son till he gets him a wife;
I remember you had a little collection of curiosities. Please to honor with a place in it the enclosed medal, which I got struck in Paris. The thought was much approved by the connoisseurs there, and the engraving well executed. My best wishes attend you, being ever your affectionate friend and humble servant,
FROM ALEXANDER SMALL TO B. FRANKLIN.
Affairs in England.—American Tories.
2 January, 178a
Dear Sir, On the receipt of your most agreeable favor, I immediately informed the Baldwin family of your kind mention of them. I certainly never received the first letter you allude to, this being the only letter I have been favored with by you since your return to your free country. People here think very differently of your freedom. In general we are of opinion, that your territory is too extensive for a popular government . Anarchy and despotism, they allege, must be the consequence. They therefore think it would be much wiser in you to adopt our limited government, as you have taken so many useful hints from us. You would naturally correct some errors, that have crept into our Constitution.
When you threw us off, I did expect, that we must have felt great diminution in our exports; but, what is singular, our people have been all constantly employed. We have some advantage over every nation in Europe. There is no nation in which the merchants have so great capitals, or are of so enterprising dispositions. We have fire and water everywhere, and ingenuity to turn them to the best advantage. We have the materials for great manufactories within ourselves; such as iron, steel, lead, copper, and tin. The whole island of Anglesea is found to be a mass of copper; and Mr. Wilkinson, who has the greatest foundery, I believe, in Europe, finds iron everywhere, and Mr. Wedgwood turns the clay, which does not turn to account with Mr. Wilkinson, into beautiful earthen ware. Did he make his exhibition of his very noble set sent to the Empress of Russia before you left England?
You see, that, so far as we can trace the descendants of attainted families, their honors are restored. The Irish Roman Catholic families are most of them either engrafted into foreign families, or are extinct. Those, whose lands were in the crown by modern forfeiture, have their estates restored to them. By a general act of grace, call back your banished people. Procure inhabitants, and they will in time, by their industry, create wealth. I think your present want of circulating cash may prove an advantage, as it may give a check to the luxury you had imported from us.
France may, by and by, exhibit a new scene of policy in Europe. Wealth, poured in upon her during the war, promises to restrain the power of the crown; and the King, as a reward for the assistance he gave you in renouncing your brethren, may have his own wings clipped. You will probably most abundantly punish Spain; for I dare prophesy, that in less than a century, you will take possession of Mexico. Thus the world goes round.
That you may live to see a good government established in your country, and happily enjoy what of life remains to you, is the sincere prayer of your affectionate, &.c. Alexander Small.
TO JOHN INGENHOUSZ.
Wars in Europe. — Russia and Turkey. — Public Credit in the United States.
Philadelphia, 11 February, 1788.
My Dear Old Friend, Your letter of September 28th, 1787, came to my hands but about two weeks since. It found me very ill with a severe fit of the stone, which followed a fall I had on the stone steps that lead into my garden, whereby I was much bruised, and my wrist sprained, so as to render me incapable of writing for several weeks. I therefore requested Mr. Vaughan to answer it for me, which he has done in his letter, that I enclose. I will . however, add a little, as my hand is much strengthened, though I still write with pain.
All the books you have sent to me, and to the Philosophical Society here, have been received. They will be acknowledged in our next volume. In the mean time please to accept our hearty thanks. There are few books published in these times, that contain so much new and useful knowledge as these you have written.
I lament with you the prospect of a horrid war, which is likely to engage so great a part of mankind. There is little good gained, and so much mischief done generally, by wars, that I wish the imprudence of undertaking them was more evident to princes; in which case I think they would be less frequent. If I were counsellor of the Empress of Russia, and found that she desired to possess some part of the dominions of the Grand Signior, I should advise her to compute the annual taxes raised from that territory, and make him an offer of buying it, at the rate of paying for it at twenty years' purchase. And if I were his counsellor, I should advise him to take the money, and cede the dominion of that territory. For I am of opinion, that a war to obtain it will cost her more than that sum, and the event uncertain, and that the defence of it will cost him as much; and, not having embraced the offer, his loss is double. But to make and accept such an offer, these potentates should be both of them reasonable creatures, and free from the ambition of glory, which perhaps is too much to be supposed.
I am glad that peace is likely to be established in your native country, with so little expense of blood, though it be done in a manner not agreeable to a great part of the nation. If the French had entered with the Prussians, and made it the seat of war, the mischief would have been infinite.