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be added to counteract the other. Thus the number of competitors for great offices would be diminished, and the efforts of those, who still would obtain them, moderated.
Thank God we have now less connexion with the affairs of these people, and are more at liberty to take care of our own, which I hope we shall manage better.
We have a terrible winter here; such another in this country is not remembered by any man living. The snow has been thick upon the ground ever since Christmas; and the frost constant . My grandson joins in best compliments to yourself and Miss Laurens. With sincere esteem and affection, I have the honor to be, dear Sir, &c.
TO WILLIAM STRAHAN.
Political Disorders in England.
Paasy, 16 February, 1784.
I received and read with pleasure your kind letter of the 1st instant, as it informed me of the welfare of you and yours. I am glad the accounts you have from your kinswoman at Philadelphia are agreeable, and I shall be happy if any recommendations from me can be serviceable to Dr. Ross, or any others, friends of yours, going to America.
Your arguments, persuading me to come once more to England, are very powerful . To be sure, I long to see again my friends there, whom I love abundantly; but there are difficulties and objections of several kinds, which at present I do not see how to get over.
I lament with you the political disorders England at
present labors under. Your papers are full of strange accounts of anarchy and confusion in America, of which we know nothing, while your own affairs are really in a deplorable situation. In my humble opinion, the root of the evil lies not so much in too long, or too unequally chosen Parliaments, as in the enormous salaries, emoluments, and patronage of your great offices; and that you will never be at rest till they are all abolished, and every place of honor made at the same time, instead of a place of profit, a place of expense and burden.
Ambition and avarice are each of them strong passions, and when they are united in the same persons, and have the same objects in view for their gratification, they are too strong for public spirit and love of country, and are apt to produce the most violent factions and contentions. They should therefore be separated, and made to act one against the other. Those places, to speak in our old style (brother type), may be good for the chapel, but they are bad for the master, as they create constant quarrels that hinder the business. For example, here are two months that your government has been employed in getting its form to press; which is not yet fit to work on, every page of it being squabbled, and the whole ready to fall into pie. The founts too must be very scanty, or strangely out of sorts, since your compositors cannot find either upper or lower case letters sufficient to set the word Administration, but are forced to be continually turning for them. However, to return to common (though perhaps too saucy) language, do not despair; you have still one resource left, and that not a bad one, since it may reunite the empire. We have some remains of affection for you, and shall always be ready to receive and take care of you in case of distress. So if you have not sense and virtue enough to govern yourselves, e'en dissolve your present old crazy constitution, and send members to Congress.
You will say my advice "smells of Madeira." You are right. This foolish letter is mere chitchat between ourselves over the second bottle. If, therefore, you show it to anybody, (except our indulgent friends, Dagge and Lady Strahan) I will positively solless you. Yours ever most affectionately,
TO BENJAMIN VAUOHAN.
Reflections on the American Treaty with England.
Passy, March, 1784.
You mention, that I may now see verified all you said about binding down England to so hard a peace. I suppose you do not mean by the American treaty; for we were exceeding favorable, in not insisting on the reparations so justly due for the wanton burnings of our fine towns, and devastations of our plantations in a war, now universally allowed to have been originally unjust . I may add, that you will also see verified all I said about the article respecting the royalists, that it will occasion more mischief than it was intended to remedy, and that it would have been better to have omitted all mention of them. England might have rewarded them according to their merits at no very great expense. After the harms they had done to us, it was imprudent to insist on our doing them good.
I am sorry for the overturn you mention of those beneficial systems of commerce, that would have been exemplary to mankind. The making England entirely a free port would have been the wisest step ever taken for its advantage.
I wish much to see what you say a respectable friend of mine has undertaken to write respecting the peace. It is a pity it has been delayed. If it had appeared earlier, it might have prevented much mischief, by securing our friends in their situations; for we know not who will succeed them, nor what credit they will hold.
By my doubts of the propriety of my going soon to London, I meant no reflection on my friends or yours. If I hid any call there besides the pleasure of seeing those whom I love, I should have no doubts. If I live to arrive there, I shall certainly embrace your kind invitation, and take up my abode with you. Make my compliments and respects acceptable to Mrs. Vaughan. I know not what foundation there can be for saying that I abuse England as much as before the peace. I am not apt, I think, to be abusive; of the two, I had rather be abused.
Enclosed are the letters you desire. I wish to hear from you more frequently, and to have, through you, such new pamphlets as you may think worth my reading. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. Franklin.
FROM DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.
London, 2 March, 1784.
My Dear Friend,
Will you be so good as to transmit the enclosed
to Mr. Jay? I am sorry that we are going to lose
him from this side of the Atlantic. If your American
ratification should arrive speedily, I might hope to have the pleasure of seeing him again before his departure. As soon as I hear from you of the arrival of your ratification, I will immediately apply for the despatch of the British ratification. I wish very much to have the pleasure of conversing with you again. In hopes that that time may come soon, I have nothing further to say at present. Believe me always to be, what you have always known me to have been, a friend of general philanthropy, and particularly your ever most affectionate D. Hartley.
TO CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY OF CONGRESS.
Passy, 9 March, 1784
I received a few days since a letter from Annapolis, dated June the 5th, in your handwriting, but not signed, acquainting the Commissioners with the causes of delay in sending the ratification of the definitive treaty. The term was expired before that letter came to hand; but I hope no difficulty will arise from a failure in a point not essential, and which was occasioned by accidents. I have just received from Mr. Hartley a letter on the subject, of which I enclose a copy.
We have had a terrible winter, too, here, such as the oldest men do not remember, and indeed it has been very severe all over Europe.
I have exchanged ratifications with the ambassador of Sweden, and enclose a copy of that I received from him.
Mr. Jay is lately returned from England. Mr. Laurens is still there, but proposes departing for America next month, as does also Mr. Jay, with his family. Mr. Adams is in Holland, where he has been detained by business and bad weather. These absences have