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line to be received from me, and as a taking leave. Present my best and most sincere respects to your good mother, and love to the rest of the family, to whom I wish all happiness; and believe me to be, while I do live, yours most affectionately,
TO CHARLES CARROLL.*
Philadelphia, 25 May, 1789. DEAR FRIEND, I am glad to see by the papers, that our grand machine has at length begun to work. I pray God to bless and guide its operations. If any form of government is capable of making a nation happy, ours I think bids fair now for producing that effect. But, after all, much depends upon the people who are to be governed. We have been guarding against an evil that old States are most liable to, excess of power in the rulers; but our present danger seems to be defect of obedience in the subjects. There is hope, however, from the enlightened state of this age and country, we may guard effectually against that evil as well as the rest.
My grandson, William Temple Franklin, will have the honor of presenting this line. He accompanied me to France, and remained with me during my mission. I beg leave to recommend him to your notice, and that you would believe me, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
* Mr. Carroll was at this time a Senator in Congress from Maryland. The first Congress under the new Constitution had recently convened in New York. In March, 1776, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Carroll had been joint commissioners, appointed by the Continental Congress with instructions to form a union between the Canadas and the United Colonies. See Vol. VIII. p. 178.
TO RICHARD PRICE.
Reflections on Life and Death.
Philadelphia, 31 May, 1789. MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, I lately received your kind letter, enclosing one from Miss Kitty Shipley, informing me of the good Bishop's decease, which afflicted me greatly. My friends drop off one after another, when my age and infirmities prevent my making new ones; and, if I still retained the necessary activity and ability, I hardly see among the existing generation where I could make them of equal goodness. So that the longer I live I must expect to be the more wretched. As we draw nearer the conclusion of life, nature furnishes us with more helps to wean us from it, among which one of the most powerful is the loss of such dear friends.
I send you with this the two volumes of our Transactions, as I forget whether you had the first before. If you had, you will please to give this to the French Ambassador, requesting his conveyance of it to the good Duke de la Rochefoucauld.
My best wishes attend you, being ever, with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN.
Philadelphia, 3 June, 1789.
sire, the Memoirs of my Life. But of late I am so interrupted by extreme pain, which obliges me to have recourse to opium, that, between the effects of both, I have but little time in which I can write any thing. My grandson, however, is copying what is done, which will be sent to you for your opinion by the next vessel; and not merely for your opinion, but for your advice; for I find it a difficult task to speak decently and properly of one's own conduct; and I feel the want of a judicious friend to encourage me in scratching out.
I have condoled sincerely with the Bishop of St. Asaph's family. He was an excellent man. Losing our friends thus one by one, is the tax we pay for long living; and it is indeed a heavy one.
I have not seen the King of Prussia's posthumous works; what you mention makes me desirous to have them. Please to mention it to your brother William, and that I request him to add them to the books I have desired him to buy for me.
Our new government is now in train, and seems to promise well. But events are in the hand of God. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO MRS. JANE MECOM.
Philadelphia, 3 August, 1789. DEAR SISTER,
- I am glad to learn, that you have at length got some of the letters I so long since wrote to you. I think your postoffice is very badly managed. I expect your bill, and shall pay it when it appears. I would have you put the books into our cousin's hands, who will dispose of them for you, if he can, or return
them hither. I am very much pleased to hear, that you have had no misunderstanding with his father. Indeed, if there had been any such, I should have concluded, it was your fault; for I think our family were always subject to being a little miffy.
By the way, is our relationship in Nantucket quite worn out? I have met with none from thence of late years, who were disposed to be acquainted with me, except Captain Timothy Folger. They are wonderfully shy. But I admire their honest plainness of speech. About a year ago I invited two of them to dine with me. Their answer was, that they would, if they could not do better. I suppose they did better; for I never saw them afterwards, and so had no opportunity of showing my miff, if I had one.
I shall make the addition you desire to my superscriptions, desiring in return that you will make a subtraction from yours. The word Excellency does not belong to me, and Doctor will be sufficient to distinguish me from my grandson.* This family joins in love to you and yours.
TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.
Philadelphia, 16 September, 1789. DEAR SIR, My malady renders my sitting up to write rather painful to me; but I cannot let my son-in-law, Mr. Bache, part for New York, without congratulating you by him on the recovery of your health, so precious to us all, and on the growing strength of our new government under your administration. For my own personal ease, I should have died two years ago; but, though those years have been spent in excruciating pain, I am pleased that I have lived them, since they have brought me to see our present situation. I am now finishing my eighty-fourth year, and probably with it my career in this life; but in whatever state of existence I am placed in hereafter, if I retain any memory of what has passed here, I shall with it retain the esteem, respect, and affection, with which I have long been, my dear friend, yours most sincerely,
* On this point his sister replied; “I was a little suspicious whether Excellency was according to rule in addressing my brother at this time; but I did not write the address; and of late, because he lives nearer than cousin Williams, I have sent my letters to Dr. Lathrop, who is very obliging to me, and I thought he must know what is right, and I gave no directions about it. But I shall do it another time." — August 23d.
FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO B. FRANKLIN.
New York, 23 September, 1789. DEAR SIR, The affectionate congratulations on the recovery of my health, and the warm expressions of personal friendship, which were contained in your letter of the 16th instant, claim my gratitude. And the consideration, that it was written when you were afflicted with a painful malady, greatly increases my obligation for it.
Would to God, my dear Sir, that I could congratulate you upon the removal of that excruciating pain, under which you labor, and that your existence might close with as much ease to yourself, as its continuance has been beneficial to our country and useful to mankind; or, if the united wishes of a free people, joined with the earnest prayers of every friend to science and humanity, could relieve the body from pains or infirmities, that you could claim an exemp