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lence the nation, and Providence gave it leaders and governors exactly calculated to lead it to its just punishment. But, whatever my habitual love to my native country was, I thank God I always had a feeling for the welfare of the English nation, which superseded all local considerations; and I am happy in my hopes, that real political liberty, with all its concomitant and consequent happiness, will be established in that branch of the English nation, which Providence planted and nurtured in America. Providence now holds this out to them, and may they have the temper and wisdom to see what is their real interest, or, at least, to take the advice of those who do see. If God grants you life and health, what a glorious scene in this great drama have you before you, in giving and persuading your country to take your advice, as to the settlement of their independence in a sovereignty free and efficient to all the purposes of liberty and their real interest. I have the pleasing consciousness to think, that my Memoir addressed to them, will not, when understood, be entirely useless and inefficient to those ends.
Adieu, my dear friend. You are going to a new world, formed to exhibit a scene which the old world never yet saw. You leave me here in the old world, which, like myself, begins to feel, as Asia hath felt, that it is wearing out apace. We shall never meet again on this earth; but there is another world, where we shall meet, and where we shall be understood, and those of us, who shall not have our reward here, will have it in all fulness there. If you receive this, pray let me hear from you before you depart, but more especially, if you have leisure, when you arrive at
* A tract entitled, "Memorial addressed to the Sovereigns of America," published, 1783.
home. Studying the state of this country, with reference to what I know (as the workman knows his own. metier) of America, I see many things which might be useful for America to copy. A temperate spirit and a homely wisdom have established real liberty and actual happiness here, with surer and a longer permanency, than any other country ever yet enjoyed in quiet. I shall not neglect to collect these experiences with reference to America; and if I can communicate them to you, or to any one where I can be sure they will be of use, I will with pleasure do it; and the more so, as I find, that the very spirit and true foundation of the constitutions of this country have not been understood; first, by scribbling voyagers; and next, less so by speculating writers, who write from system, not from fact. Once more, my dear friend, adieu. May you have an easy passage, with as little pain as possible, and a happy arrival at your home. Remember your old and affectionate friend,
TO MRS. MARY HEWSON.
Leaves Passy. - Travels to Havre in the King's Litter. Passy, 4 July, 1785.
By this post I have given orders to engage a fine ship, now at London, to carry me and my family to Philadelphia. My baggage is already on the Seine, going down to Havre, from whence, if the captain cannot call for us there, we shall cross the channel, and meet him at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight. The ship has a large, convenient cabin, with good lodgingplaces. The whole to be at my disposition, and there
is plenty of room for you and yours. You may never have so good an opportunity of passing to America, if it is your intention. Think of it, and take your resolution; believing me ever your affectionate friend, B. FRANKLIN.
P. S. Love to the dear children. If Mr. Williams is returned to London, he will inform you of the particulars. If not, you may inquire of Wallace, Johnson, and Muir, merchants, London, to be heard of at the Pennsylvania Coffee-House, Birchin Lane. The ship is to be at Cowes the 1st of August.
TO CLAUDIUS CRIGAN, BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN.
Practicability and Expediency of establishing a Bishop in America.
Passy, 5 July, 1785.
I received the too complaisant letter your Lordship did me the honor of writing to me by the Reverend Mr. Christian, who has also communicated some of your views for the benefit of religion in the United States of America, requesting my opinion, which I have given him, but will repeat in this letter, lest I should not in every particular have been rightly apprehended.
It is proper to be understood, that those States consist of thirteen distinct and separate sovereignties, each governed by its own laws, in which no one religious sect is established as predominant, but there is a general toleration of all; and, should any thing be enacted by one of them in favor of a particular sect, it would have no operation in the others. The Congress, though formed by delegates from each State chosen annually,
has powers extending only to those general affairs of political government, that relate to the whole, but no authority whatever is given to them in ecclesiastical matters. And I therefore think, they will do nothing, either to encourage or discourage the introduction of a bishop in America. For myself, I can only say as a private person, that I think such an officer may be of use to the Episcopalians, not only for the better government of their clergy, but for preventing the expense and risk that attend the sending of their young men to England for ordination. He should, however, have power to consecrate other bishops, so as to prevent for ever the necessity of sending to England for successors in that station, otherwise he will hardly be so well received.
The great difficulty will be to make proper provision for his support. I doubt whether any of the governments will establish such support, and I have not much confidence, that any thing considerable may be obtained by private contributions. My reasons are, that the Episcopalians in most of the States are very small in number, compared with the inhabitants of other persuasions; and, where they are a majority, they do not generally see the necessity or utility of a resident bishop, and they apprehend some inconvenience in it. Of this there was a strong instance in Virginia, some years before the late Revolution. The inhabitants of that Province were almost wholly of the Church of England, and their House of Commons of course the same. Yet that House unanimously censured, in strong terms, the proposition of some of their own clergy for introducing a bishop, and thanked others who opposed and defeated the project, as may be seen in the following extract from their Journal.
"Friday, July 12th, 1772. Resolved, nemine contra
dicente, that the thanks of this House be given to the Reverend Mr. Henley, the Reverend Mr. Gwatkin, the Reverend Mr. Hewit, and the Reverend Mr. Bland, for the wise and well-timed opposition they have made to the pernicious project of a few mistaken clergymen for introducing an American bishop; a measure by which much disturbance, great anxiety and apprehension, would certainly take place among his Majesty's faithful American subjects, and that Mr. Richard Henry Lee and Mr. Bland do acquaint them therewith."
The apprehension mentioned in the Resolve, I imagine must have been an apprehension of expense to maintain a bishop suitable to his dignity, and of attempts to oblige the laity to defray such expense by taxes or tythes, or at least of their being solicited for voluntary contributions, there being at present no fund appointed for such purpose, nor any thing hitherto given but a farm, by legacy, in Rhode Island. If, however, the laity should have changed their minds, and wish now to have a bishop, whom they would engage to support by voluntary contributions, in that case, I imagine, none of the governments would forbid it, but the support would probably be too small and too precarious to be a sufficient encouragement.
Mr. Christian asked my opinion, whether your making a tour incognito through that country might not be a prudent measure? Whatever prospect or hope there may be of your greater usefulness to religion in our extensive country than in the little Isle of Man, yet, as you have a family, I certainly cannot advise your making any hasty application to your government for your removal, or taking any step that may hazard the loss of a present sure support against a contingent future and precarious. Therefore, to enable yourself to form a better judgment, it might be well to see