Abbildungen der Seite

of the subscribers, they were but seventy; and, though I had no expectation then of going to England, and acting with them, I sent a contribution of twenty guineas; in consideration of which the Society were afterwards pleased to consider me a member.

I wish to the exertions of your manufacturers, who are generally excellent, and to the spirit and enterprise of your merchants, who are famed for fair and honorable dealing, all the success they merit in promoting the prosperity of your country.

I am glad our friend Small enjoys so much health, and his faculties so perfectly, as I perceive he does by his letters. I know not whether he is yet returned from his visit to Scotland, and therefore give you the trouble of the enclosed. My best wishes attend you, being ever, dear Sir, your most obedient servant,

B. Franklin.


Poor Laws. American Loyalists. French and English Governments.

Philadelphia, 5 November, 1789.

Dear Sir,

I received your several favors of April 23d, May 9th, and June 2d, together with the manuscript concerning Ventilation,* which will be inserted in our next volume.

I have long been of your opinion, that your legal provision for the poor is a very great evil, operating as it does to the encouragement of idleness. We have followed your example, and begin now to see our error, and, I hope, shall reform it. I find by your letters,

• See Vol. VI. pp. 307-384.


that every man has patience enough to bear calmly and coolly the injuries done to other people. You have perfectly forgiven the royalists, and you seem to wonder, that we should still retain any resentment against them for their joining with the savages to burn our houses, and murder and scalp our friends, our wives, and our children. I forget who it was that said, "We are commanded to forgive our enemies, but we are nowhere commanded to forgive our friends." Certain it is, however, that atrocious injuries done to us by our friends are naturally more deeply resented than the same done by enemies. They have left us, to live under the government of their King in England and Nova Scotia. We do not miss them, nor wish their return; nor do we envy them their present happiness.

The accounts you give me of the great prospects you have respecting your manufactures, agriculture, and commerce, are pleasing to me; for I still love England and wish it prosperity. You tell me, that the government of France is abundantly punished for its treachery to England in assisting us. You might also have remarked, that the government of England had been punished for its treachery to France in assisting the Corsicans, and in seizing her ships in time of full peace, without any previous declaration of war. I believe governments are pretty near equal in honesty, and cannot with much propriety praise their own in preference to that of their neighbours.

You do me too much honor in naming me with Timoleon. I am like him only in retiring from my public labors; which indeed my stone, and other infirmities of age, have made indispensably necessary.

I hope you are by this time returned from your visit to your native country, and that the journey has given a firmer consistence to your health. Mr. Penn's property in this country, which you inquire about, is still immensely great; and I understand he has received ample compensation in England for the part he lost.

I think you have made a happy choice of rural amusements; the protection of the bees, and the destruction of the hop insect. I wish success to your experiments, and shall be glad to hear the result. Your Theory of Insects appears the most ingenious and plausible of any, that have hitherto been proposed by philosophers.

Our new Constitution is now established with eleven States, and the accession of a twelfth is soon expected. We have had one session of Congress under it, which was conducted with remarkable prudence, and a good deal of unanimity. Our late harvests were plentiful, and our produce still fetches a good price, through an abundant foreign demand and the flourishing state of our commerce. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.


On the Affairs of France.

Philadelphia, 13 November, 1789.

It is now more than a year, since I have heard from my dear friend Le Roy. What can be the reason? Are you still living? Or have the mob of Paris mistaken the head of a monopolizer of knowledge, for a monopolizer of corn, and paraded it about the streets upon a pole.

Great part of the news we have had from Paris, for near a year past, has been very afflicting. I sincerely wish and pray it may all end well and happy, both

Vol. x. 52 Ii

for the King and the nation. The voice of Philosophy I apprehend can hardly be heard among those tumults. If any thing material in that way had occurred, I am persuaded you would have acquainted me with it. However, pray let me hear from you a little oftener; for, though the distance is great, and the means of conveying letters not very regular, a year's silence between friends must needs give uneasiness.

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

My health continues much as it has been for some time, except that I grow thinner and weaker, so that I cannot expect to hold out much longer.

My respects to your good brother, and to our friends of the Academy, which always has my best wishes for its prosperity and glory. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.


Convulsions in France. Great Britain and the
United States.

Philadelphia, 4 December 1789.

My Very Dear Friend,

I received your favor of August last. Your kind condolences on the painful state of my health are very obliging. I am thankful to God, however, that, among the numerous ills human life is subject to, one only of any importance is fallen to my lot; and that so late as almost to insure that it can be but of short duration.

The convulsions in France are attended with some

disagreeable circumstances; but if by the struggle she obtains and secures for the nation its future liberty, and a good constitution, a few years' enjoyment of those blessings will amply repay all the damages their acquisition may have occasioned. God grant, that not only the love of liberty, but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man, may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface, and say, "This is my country."

Your wishes for a cordial and perpetual friendship between Britain and her ancient colonies are manifested continually in every one of your letters to me; something of my disposition on the same subject may appear to you in casting your eye over the enclosed paper. I do not by this opportunity send you any of our Gazettes, because the postage from Liverpool would be more than they are worth. I can now only add my best wishes of every kind of felicity for the three amiable Hartleys, to whom I have the honor of being an affectionate friend and most obedient humble servant, B. Franklin.


Philadelphia, 17 December, 1789.

Dear Sister, You tell me you are desired by an acquaintance to ask my opinion, whether the general circumstances mentioned in the history of Baron Trenck are founded in fact; to which I can only answer, that, of the greatest part of those circumstances, the scene being laid in Germany, I must consequently be very ignorant; but of what he says as having passed in France, between the ministers of that country, himself, and me, I can speak positively, that it is founded in falsehood, and

« ZurückWeiter »