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FROM MISS CATHERINE LOUISA SHIPLEY TO
On the Death of her Father, the Bishop of St. Asaph.
Bolton Street, 24 December, 1788.
My Dear Friend, It is a great while since I wrote to you, and still longer since I heard from you; but I have now a particular pleasure in writing to one, who had long known and loved the dear good parent I have lost.* You will probably, before you receive this, have heard of my father's death; his illness was short, and terminated in an apoplexy. He was seldom perfectly in his senses for the last four days, but such constant calmness and composure could only have attended the deathbed of a truly good man. How unlike the ideas I had formed to myself of death, which, till now, I had only seen at a distance, and heard of with terror. The nearer his last moment approached, the more his ideas seemed elevated; and, but for those whom living he had loved with tenderness, and dying he still felt interested for, he showed no regret at leaving this world. I believe his many virtues have called down a blessing on his family, for we have all been supported under this severe affliction beyond what I could have imagined; and, though sorrow will for a time get the better of every other sensation, I feel now that the strongest impression left by his death is the desire of imitating his virtues in an humbler sphere of life.
affording some explanation of the tardiness of Congress in attending to Dr. Franklin's accounts, it is enough to state, that Mr. Arthur Lee was one of the Commissioners of the Treasury, by whom those accounts were first to be examined.
* The Bishop of St Asaph died in London, on the 9th of December,
My dear mother's health, I hope, will not have suffered materially; and she has every consolation to be derived from the reflection, that, for forty-five years, it was the study of her life to make the best of husbands happy.' He, in return, has shown that his attention to her ease and comfort did not end with his life. He was happily preserved to us so long as to be able to leave all his family in good circumstances. I fancy my mother, Bessy, and I, shall live at Twyford, but at present no place is settled.
May I flatter myself, that you will still feel some affection for the family of your good old friend, and let me have the happiness of hearing it from yourself? I shall request Dr. Price to send this letter. My mother, brother, and sisters, beg to be all most kindly remembered. Believe me, dear Sir, your faithful and obliged Catherine Louisa Shipley.
FROM RICHARD PRICE TO B. FRANKLIN.
Death of the Bishop of St. rfsaph. — Dr. Rush. — Federal Constitution. — Affairs in England.
Hackney, December, 1788.
My Dear Friend, I have been desired by Miss Kitty Shipley to convey to you the enclosed letter, and I cannot at present find any way of conveying it except by the packet . It will inform you of the death of one of your warmest friends, and the best of bishops. Ever since the American war, I have been honored with much of his attention and friendship; and I cannot but mourn the loss, which his family, his friends, and the world have sustained. His family are in a state of deep concern, but at the same time inquisitive about you, and anxious to receive some information about you. You can be nowhere more beloved or respected.
I have heard with pain, that you have been suffering under the gout and stone, two sad maladies; but, alas! it is impossible that our bodily frame, as it wears out, and approaches to its dissolution, should not subject us to sufferings. Happy are those, who, in such circumstances, can look back on a life distinguished by such services as yours have been. There is, I trust, beyond the grave, a world where we shall all meet, and rise to greater happiness than any we have enjoyed here.
Will you be so good as to deliver my compliments to Dr. Rush. You have, I know, too much to do, and too many letters to answer, and therefore I can only wish that Dr. Rush would give me an account of you. He has frequently favored me with letters, and they generally gratify me highly by informing me of the state of affairs in the United States. His last letter was dated in May, and I answered it in June by Mr. Bishop, a gentleman from Connecticut, who was returning from his travels through France and Germany.
I rejoice to find that the Federal Constitution has been adopted by the States. This confirms me in the hope, that a state of things is commencing there more favorable to human rights, than any that has yet been known in this world. One of the circumstances, in which I am most disposed to rejoice, is, the separation which has taken place there of religion from civil policy, and the free scope given to discussion and improvement, by abolishing the interposition of civil power in matters of speculation, and extending equal protection to all religious sects, as far as they avoid injuring one another.
I received some time ago a letter from Dr. White, Will you, should he happen to come in your way, deliver to him my respectful and grateful acknowledgments. I have thought it needless to trouble him with an answer to his letter. He probably soon found, that it was not possible to assist Mr. Workman, the person he recommended, in the manner he proposed.
Our King's insanity has brought us in this country into a state, that threatens us with much confusion. The Prince of Wales is likely to bring with him into power the coalition party. The King may recover, and this party may be soon routed again. A relapse may produce another rout, or the Prince, after being invested with power, may be too tenacious of it; and thus the worst evils may arise. The coalition party, however, will hardly do us more mischief than the late ministry seems to me to have done, by connecting us in such a manner with Prussia, Hesse, and Holland, as to subject us to the danger of being involved soon in another continental war. But I have gone beyond the bounds I intended in this letter. Accept my ardent wishes, that the remainder of your life may be as happy as possible. In hopes of not being forgotten by you, I am ever most affectionately yours,
TO THE AHBE MORELLET.* ,
Philadelphia, 30 December, 1788.
My Dear Friend, The suspension of the packet has interrupted our correspondence. It is a long, a very long time, since I have had any news from Auteuil. I lately learned from M. de Chaumont, that a great many letters, which I had sent to New York, remained there several months, no packet having sailed for France.
* Translated from a French copy, as published in the Mimoira dt VAbbt Morclltt.
Let me know, I pray you, if you have received from me some remarks on the reasons alleged by the English for their refusal to deliver up the military posts on our frontiers. I sent them to you, more than a year since, in return for your excellent little humorous piece Des Guichets, and for your Essai de Cometologie, which have amused me and several of my friends very much. In this dearth of news from the Academy of Auteuil, I read over and over again, with pleasure always new, your letters and those of the Abb6 de La Roche, and the pieces which you sent me, in July, 1787, and the scrawl, as she herself calls it, of the good lady,* whom we all love, and whose remembrance I shall cherish while a breath of life remains; and whenever, in my dreams, I transport myself to France, to visit my friends there, I go first to Auteuil.
I send you something rather curious; some songs and music composed in America, and the first of our productions in that line. I thought some of them might be to your taste, from their simplicity and pathos. The poetry of the fifth pleases me particularly, and I wish you, or M. de Cabanis, to translate it into your own language, so that the translation may be sung to the same air.
My letter will be handed to you by Mr. Gouverneur Morris, formerly member of Congress, and a member of the Convention which framed the Federal Constitution. He is much esteemed here by all who know
• Madame Helvetius.