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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 VAUGHAN.
Reflections on the American Treaty with England.
Passy, March, 1784. DEAR SIR, 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 to London, I meant no reflection on my friends or yours. If I had 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,
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
TO CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY OF CONGRESS.
Passy, 9 March, 1784. SIR, 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 occasioned some delays in our business, but not of much importance.
The war long expected between the Turks and Russians is prevented by a treaty, and it is thought an accommodation will likewise take place between them and the Emperor. Every thing here continues friendly and favorable to the United States. I am pestered continually with numbers of letters from people in different parts of Europe, who would go to settle in America, but who manifest very extravagant expectations, such as I can by no means encourage, and who appear otherwise to be very improper persons. To save myself trouble, I have just printed some copies of the enclosed little piece, which I purpose to send hereafter in answer to such letters. Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to Congress, and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, &c.
TO HENRY LAURENS.
Passy, 12 March, 1784. DEAR SIR, I write this in great pain from the gout in both feet; but my young friend, your son, having informed me that he sets out for London to-morrow, I could not let slip the opportunity, as perhaps it is the only safe one that may occur before your departure for America. I wish mine was as near.
I think I have reason to complain, that I am so long without an answer from Congress to my request of recall. I wish rather to die in my own country than here; and though the upper part of the building appears yet tolerably firm, yet, being undermined by the stone and gout united, its fall cannot be far distant. VOL. X.
You are so good as to offer me your friendly services. You cannot do me one more acceptable at present, than that of forwarding my dismission. In all other respects, as well as that, I shall ever look on your friendship as an honor to me; being with sincere and great esteem, dear Sir, &c.
P. S. March 13. Having had a tolerable night, I . find myself something better this morning. In reading over my letter, I perceive an omission of my thanks for your kind assurances of never forsaking my defence, should there be need. I apprehend that the violent antipathy of a certain person to me may have produced some calumnies, which, what you have seen and heard here may enable you to refute. You will thereby exceedingly oblige one, who has lived beyond all other ambition, than that of dying with the fair character he has long endeavoured to deserve. As to my infallibility, which you do not undertake to maintain, I am too modest myself to claim it, that is, in general; though when we come to particulars, I, like other people, give it up with difficulty. Steele says, that the difference between the Church of Rome, and the Church of England on that point, is only this; that the one pretends to be infillible, and the other to be never in the wrong. In this latter sense, we are most of us Church of England men, though few of us confess it, and express it so naturally and frankly, as a certain lady here, who said, “I do not know how it happens, but I meet with nobody, except myself, that is always in the right; Je ne trouve que moi qui a toujours raison."
My grandson joins me in affectionate respects to you and the young lady; with best wishes for your health and prosperity.