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should be printed in England for that country, as well as here for this, and I shall gladly leave it to your friendly management.
We have now had one session of Congress under our new Constitution, which was conducted with, I think, a greater degree of temper, prudence, and unanimity, than could well have been expected, and our future prospects seem very favorable. The harvests of the last summer have been uncommonly plentiful and good; yet the produce bears a high price, from the great foreign demand. At the same time, immense quantities of foreign goods are crowded upon us, so as to overstock the market, and supply us with what we want at very low prices. A spirit of industry and frugality is also very generally prevailing, which, being the most promising sign of future national felicity, gives me infinite satisfaction.
Remember me most respectfully and affectionately to your good mother, sisters, and brother, and also to my dear Dr. Price; and believe me, my dearest friend, yours most sincerely,
P. S. I have not received the Philosophical Transactions for the two or three last years. They are usually laid by for me at the Society's house, with my name upon them, and remain there till called for. I shall be much obliged to you, if you can conveniently take them up and send them to me.
Your mention of plagiarism puts me in mind of a charge of the same kind, which I lately saw in the British Repository, concerning the Chapter of Abraham and the Stranger. Perhaps this is the attack your letter hints at, in which you defended me. The truth is, as I think you observe, that I never published that
Chapter, and never claimed more credit from it, than what related to the style, and the addition of the concluding threatening and promise. The publishing of it by Lord Kames, without my consent, deprived me of a good deal of amusement, which I used to take in reading it by heart out of my Bible, and obtaining the remarks of the Scripturians upon it, which were sometimes very diverting; not but that it is in itself, on account of the importance of its moral, well worth being made known to all mankind.* When I wrote that in the form you now have it, I wrote also another,† the hint of which was also taken from an ancient Jewish tradition; but, not having the same success with it as the other, I laid it aside, and have not seen it for thirty years past, till within these few days a lady of my acquaintance furnished me with a copy, which she had preserved. I think however it is not a bad one, and send it to you enclosed.
TO JOHN WRIGHT, LONDON.
United States. - Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Philadelphia, 4 November, 1789.
I received your kind letter of July the 31st, which gave me great pleasure, as it informed me of the wel
See the Parable against Persecution, Vol. II. p. 118. For some time after this Apologue first appeared, Dr. Franklin was charged with having published it as his own, whereas it was given to the world by Lord Kames without his consent or knowledge; nor did he ever claim any other originality in regard to it, than what he has mentioned above. But whoever will compare it as printed in this work, with the sources whence it was derived, will see that its chief point and beauty consist in the dress and additions, which it received from his hand; and indeed to this dress and these additions is to be ascribed the importance, that has been attached to it.
Probably the Parable on Brotherly Love. See Vol. II. p. 123.
fare both of yourself and your good lady, to whom please to present my respects. I thank you for the epistle of your yearly meeting, and for the card, a specimen of printing, which was enclosed.
We have now had one session of Congress, which was conducted under our new Constitution, and with as much general satisfaction as could reasonably be expected. I wish the struggle in France may end as happily for that nation. We are now in the full enjoyment of our new government for eleven of the States, and it is generally thought that North Carolina is about to join it. Rhode Island will probably take longer time for consideration.
We have had a most plentiful year for the fruits of the earth, and our people seem to be recovering fast from the extravagance and idle habits, which the war had introduced; and to engage seriously in the country habits of temperance, frugality, and industry, which give the most pleasing prospect of future national felicity. Your merchants, however, are, I think, imprudent in crowding in upon us such quantities of goods for sale here, which are not written for by ours, and are beyond the faculties of this country to consume in any reasonable time. This surplus of goods is, therefore, to raise present money, sent to the vendues, or auction-houses, of which we have six or seven in and near this city; where they are sold frequently for less than prime cost, to the great loss of the indiscreet adventurers. Our newspapers are doubtless to be seen at your coffeehouses near the Exchange. In their advertisements you may observe the constancy and quantity of this kind of sales; as well as the quantity of goods imported by our regular traders. I see in your English newspapers frequent mention of our being out of credit with you; to us it appears, that we have abundantly
too much, and that your exporting merchants are rather out of their senses.
I wish success to your endeavours for obtaining an abolition of the Slave Trade. The epistle from your Yearly Meeting, for the year 1758, was not the first sowing of the good seed you mention; for I find by an old pamphlet in my possession, that George Keith, near a hundred years since, wrote a paper against the practice, said to be "given forth by the appointment of the meeting held by him, at Philip James's house, in the city of Philadelphia, about the year 1693;" wherein a strict charge was given to Friends, "that they should set their negroes at liberty, after some reasonable time of service, &c. &c." And about the year 1728, or 1729, I myself printed a book for Ralph Sandyford, another of your Friends in this city, against keeping negroes in slavery; two editions of which he distributed gratis. And about the year 1736, I printed another book on the same subject for Benjamin Lay, who also professed being one of your Friends, and he distributed the books chiefly among them. By these instances it appears, that the seed was indeed sown in the good ground of your profession, though much earlier than the time you mention, and its springing up to effect at last, though so late, is some confirmation of Lord Bacon's observation, that a good motion never dies; and it may encourage us in making such, though hopeless of their taking immediate effect.
I doubt whether I shall be able to finish my Memoirs, and, if I finish them, whether they will be proper for publication. You seem to have too high an opinion of them, and to expect too much from them.*
* Dr. Franklin did not complete his Memoirs to a later date than that of his first public mission to England, in the year 1757. Shortly after his death, they were continued to the end of his life by Dr. Stuber, and
I think you are right in preferring a mixed form of government for your country, under its present circumstances; and if it were possible for you to reduce the enormous salaries and emoluments of great officers, which are at bottom the source of all your violent factions, that form might be conducted more quietly and happily; but I am afraid, that none of your factions, when they get uppermost, will ever have virtue enough to reduce those salaries and emoluments, but will rather choose to enjoy them.
I enclose a bill for twenty-five pounds, for which, when received, please to credit my account, and out of it pay Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, of Jeffries Square, and Mr. William Vaughan, his brother, of Mincing
were first published in the Columbian Magazine. This Continuation has often been printed in connexion with the autobiography. In HARDIE'S New Universal Biographical Dictionary, (Vol. IV. p. 292,) is a brief notice of the author's life. The following sketch has been furnished by Dr. John W. Francis, of New York.
"Henry Stuber was cut off too early in life to afford materials for much beyond the ordinary record of an obituary register. He was descended from German parents, and was born in Philadelphia, as nearly as can be ascertained, about the year 1770. The traditional accounts concerning him are eminently favorable as to his natural capacity, his various attainments, and his moral worth. He evinced throughout his brief career an ardent love of literature and science; and, though his circumstances were narrow, he pursued them more with the desire of promoting useful and benevolent designs, than with a view to selfish remuneration. He acquired the rudiments of the Greek, Latin, and German languages, under the direction of the learned Dr. Kunze, at that time connected with the University of Pennsylvania, and was one of his favorite pupils when Dr. Kunze left the city of Philadelphia for New York, in 1784. These languages he acquired with a remarkable facility; they were, however, but auxiliaries to his investigations in almost every branch of human inquiry, to which he seems to have directed his energies. The stock of knowledge, which he thus accumulated, laid a broad foundation for his intended career. His acquaintance with the different branches of physical and mental research now led him to a close study of Medicine, and he was graduated with honor in that profession. His health, how ever, forbade him more than a very partial exercise of its responsible trusts. Very early thereafter, peculiar opportunities presenting, he ob