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TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM.
Dungannon Resolutions. — Trade between Ireland and
Passy, 2 October, 1783. DEAR SIR, I have just received your very kind letter of the 16th past. I rejoice sincerely to hear of your safe return to your own country, family, and friends, and of the success of your election.
It is a pleasing reflection, arising from the contemplation of our successful struggle, and the manly, spirited, and unanimous resolves at Dungannon, that liberty, which some years since appeared in danger of extinction, is now regaining the ground she had lost, that arbitrary governments are likely to become more mild and reasonable, and to expire by degrees, giving place to more equitable forms; one of the effects this of the art of printing, which diffuses so general a light, augmenting with the growing day, and of so penetrating a nature, that all the window-shutters, which despotism and priestcraft can oppose to keep it out, prove insufficient.
In answer to your question, respecting what may be necessary to fix a trade between Ireland and America, I may acquaint you between ourselves, that there is some truth in the report you may have heard, of our desiring to know of Mr. Hartley whether he was empowered or instructed to include Ireland in the treaty of commerce proposed to us, and of his sending for instructions on that head, which never arrived. That treaty is yet open, may possibly be soon resumed; and it seems proper, that something should be contained in it to prevent the doubts and misunderstandings that may hereafter arise on the subject, and secure to Ireland the same advantages in trade that England may obtain. You can best judge whether some law or resolution of your Parliament may not be of use towards gaining that point.
My grandson joins with me in wishes of every kind of felicity for you, Lady Newenham, and all amiable family. God bless you, and give success to your constant endeavours for the welfare of your country. With true and great respect and esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.
TO THOMAS BRAND HOLLIS.
Eulogium of Thomas Hollis.
Passy, 5 October, 1783. SIR, I received but lately (though sent in June) your most valuable present of the Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, who was truly, as you describe him in your letter, “a good citizen of the world, and a faithful friend of America.” America, too, is extremely sensible of his benevolence and great beneficence towards her, and will ever revere his memory. These volumes are a proof of what I have sometimes had occasion to say, in encouraging people to undertake difficult public services, that it is prodigious the quantity of good that may be done by one man, if he will make a business of it. It is equally surprising to think of the very little that is done by many; for, such is the general frivolity of employments and amusements of the rank we call gentlemen, that every century may have seen
three successions of a set of a thousand each, in every kingaom of Europe, (gentlemen too, of equal or superior fortune,) no one of which sets, in the course of their lives, has done the good effected by this man alone! Good, not only to his own nation, and to his contemporaries, but to distant countries, and to late posterity; for such must be the effect of his multiplying and distributing copies of the works of our best English writers, on subjects the most important to the welfare of society.
I knew him personally but little. I sometimes met with him at the Royal Society and the Society of Arts; but he appeared shy of my acquaintance, though he often sent me valuable presents, such as Hamilton's Works, * Sidney's Works, &c., which are now among the most precious ornaments of my library. We might possibly, if we had been more intimate, have concerted some useful operations together; but he loved to do his good alone and secretly; and I find besides, in perusing these Memoirs, that I was a doubtful character with him. I do not respect him less for his error; and I am obliged to the editors for the justice they have done me. They have made a little mistake in page 400, where a letter, which appeared in a London paper, January 7th, 1768, is said to have been written by Mr. Adams. It was written by me, and is reprinted in Mr. Vaughan's Collection of my Political Pieces, p. 231. This erratum is of no great importance, but may be corrected in a future edition.
I see Mr. Hollis had a collection of curious medals. If he had been still living, I should certainly have sent him one of the medals that I have caused to be struck here. I think the countenance of my Liberty would have pleased him. I suppose you possess the collection, and have the same taste.
* There is here probably a fault of memory in regard to the name of the author; or perhaps an error of the press. The work alluded to, may have been “Toland's Life of Milton,” an elegant edition of which was published by Thomas Hollis.
I beg you therefore to accept of one of these medals as a mark of my respect, and believe me to be, with sinccre esteem, &c.
FROM THE COUNT DE BRUHL TO B. FRANKLIN.*
Petworth, 10 October, 1783. SIR, I was very much flattered with the letter I had the pleasure to receive from your Excellency by means of the ingenious M. de Kempel's arrival in this country.f The favorable opinion you entertain of his tal
Count de Bruh) was the minister of the Elector of Saxony to the court of Great Britain,
+ Kempel, the celebrated inventor of the Automaton Chess-player, was introduced to Dr. Franklin by letters from Vienna. M. Valltravers wrote to him ; “ The occasion of this letter is furnished me by a very ingenious gentleman, M. Kempel, counsellor of his Imperial Majesty's finances for the kingdom of Hungary, who, on a furlough obtained for two years, is ready to set out for Paris, Brussels, and England, attended by his whole family, his lady, two sons, and two daughters; not only to satisfy his own curiosity, but also in a great measure that of the public. Endowed with a peculiar taste and genius for mechanical inventions and improvements, for which he sees no manner of encouragement in these parts, he means to impart several of his most important discoveries and experiments wherever they shall be best received and rewarded. As an amusing specimen of his skill in mechanics, and as a means at the same time of supporting his travelling charges, he intends to exhibit the figure of a Turk playing at chess with any player; and answering, by pointing at the letters of an alphabet, any question made to him. I saw him play twice without discovering his intelligent director anywhere in or about him. If there were nothing but the organization of his arm, hand, and fingers, besides the motions of his head, that alone would entitle him to no small admiration.
“ Besides his chess-player, M. Kempel has amused himself with form
ents is alone sufficient to convince me of their extent and usefulness. I cannot find words to express the gratitude I feel for the honor of your remembrance. I shall, therefore, only beg leave to assure you, that it will be the pride of my life to have been noticed by one of the most distinguished characters of the age, and I shall endeavour, upon all occasions, to contribute my small mite of admiration to the universal applause, which your eminent qualities, as a philosopher and a politician, are so well entitled to. I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, &c.
THE COUNT DE BRUHL.
ing the figure of a child, uttering the first articulate sounds of elocution. Of these I have heard it pronounce distinctly upwards of thirty words and phrases. There remain but five or six letters of the alphabet, the expression of which he intends to complete at Paris.” — Vienna, December 24th, 1782.
Chess was a favorite amusement with Dr. Franklin, and one of his best papers is written on that subject. See. Vol. II. p. 187. He was pleased with the performance of the automaton. In a short letter, soon after his arrival in Paris, M. Kempel said to him; “If I have not, immediately on my return from Versailles, renewed my request, that you will be present at a representation of my automaton chess-player, it was only to gain a few days in which I might make some progress in another very interesting machine, upon which I have been employed, and which I wish you to see at the same time.” This machine was probably the speaking figure mentioned by Mr. Valltravers.
The inventor's name occurs with a various orthography, as Kempelen, Kemple, Kempl, but his autograph is Kempel.