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Use of Owen in Agriculture— Congratulations — Political Prospects. LoNDoN, February 21, 1769. MY DEAR FRIEND: I received your excellent paper on the preferable use of oxen in agriculture, and have put it in the way of being communicated to the public here. I have observed in America that the farmers are more thriving in those parts of the country where horned cattle are used than in those where the labor is done by horses. The latter are said to require twice the quantity of land to maintain them, and, after all, are not good to eat; at least, we don't think them so. Here is a waste of land that might afford subsistence for so many of the human species. Perhaps it was for this reason that the Hebrew law-giver, having promised that the children of Israel should be as numerous as the sands of the sea, not only took care to secure the health of individuals, by regulating their diet, that they might be fitter for producing children, but also forbid their using horses, as those animals would lessen the quantity of subsistence for men. Thus we find, when they took any horses from their enemies, they destroyed them; and, in the commandments, where the labor of the ox and ass is mentioned and forbidden on the Sabbath, there is no mention of the horse, probably, because they were to have none; and, by the great armies suddenly raised in that small territory they inhabited, it appears to have been very full of people.* Food is always necessary to all, and much the greatest part of the labor of mankind is employed in raising provisions for the mouth. Is not this kind of labor, then, the fittest to be the standard by which to measure the values of all other labor, and, consequently, of all other things, whose value depends on the labor of making or procuring them 2 May not even gold and silver be thus valued? If the labor of the farmer in producing a bushel of wheat be equal to the labor of the miner in producing an ounce of silver, will not the bushel of wheat just measure the value of the ounce of silver ? The miner must eat : the farmer, indeed, can live without the ounce of silver, and so, perhaps, will have some advantage in settling the price. But these discussions I leave to you, as being more able to manage them ; only, I will send you a little scrap I wrote, some time since, on the laws prohibiting foreign commodities. I congratulate you on your election as President of the Edinburgh Society. I think I formerly took notice to you, in conversation, that I thought there had been some similarity in our fortunes, and the circumstances of our lives. This is a fresh instance, for by letters just received I find that I was, about the same time, chosen President of our American Philosophical Society, established at Philadelphia. I have sent by sea, to the care of Mr. Alexander, a little box, containing a few copies of the late edition of my books, for my friends in Scotland. One is directed for you, and one for your society, which I beg that you and they would accept as a small mark of my respect. With the sincerest esteem and regard, B. FRANKLIN.
* There is not in the Jewish law any express prohibition against the use of horses; it is only enjoined that the kings should not multiply the breed, or carry on trade with Egypt for the purchase of horses. (Deut. 17 : 16.) Solomon was the first of the Kings of Judah who disregarded this ordinance. He had forty thousand stalls of horses, which he brought out of Egypt. (1 IKings 4: 26 and 10: 28.) From this time downwards, horses were in constant use in the Jewish armies. It is true that the country, from its rocky surface and unfertile soil, was extremely unfit for the maintenance of those animals. – Note by Lord Aames.
P. S. I am sorry my letter of 1767, concerning the American disputes, miscarried. I now send you a copy of it from my book. The examination mentioned in it you have, probably, seen. Things daily wear a worse aspect, and tend more and more to a breach and final separation.
[To JoHN ALLEYNE.]
CRAven-streET, August 9, 1768.
DEAR JACK : You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections that have been made by numerous persons to your own. You may remember, when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth, on both sides, to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying as when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And, if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life; and, possibly, some of those accidents or connections that might have injured the constitution, or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. Particular circumstances of particular persons may, possibly, sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but, in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favor, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience, that there is not the same chance that the parents shall live to see their offspring educated. “Late children,” says the Spanish proverb, “are early orphans.” A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be: With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves, such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blessed with more children; and from the mode among us, founded by nature, of every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Thence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe. In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life, — the fate of many here, who never intended it, but who, having too long postponed the change of their condition, find at length that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume of a set of books bears not the value of its proportion to the set: what think you of the odd half of a pair of scissors? it can't well cut anything; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher. Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe it. Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest; for slights in jest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry earnest. Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least, you will, by such conduct, stand the best
chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both; being ever your affectionate
friend, B. FRANKLIN.
[To william FRANKLIN.]
The Boston Resolutions — Parliamentary Anecdote.
DEAR SIR: The resolutions of the Boston people concerning trade make a great noise here. Parliament has not yet taken notice of them, but the newspapers are in full cry against America. Colonel Onslow told me at court, last Sunday, that I could not conceive how much the friends of America were run upon and hurt by them, and how much the Grenvillians triumphed. I have just written a paper for next Tuesday's Chronicle, to extenuate matters a little.
Mentioning Colonel Onslow, reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of this session in the House between him and Mr. Grenville. The latter had been raving against America, as traitorous, rebellious, &c., when the former, who has always been its firm friend, stood up and gravely said that in reading the Roman history he found it was a custom among that wise and magnanimous people, whenever the Senate was informed of any discontent in the provinces, to send two or three of their body into the discontented provinces, to inquire into the grievances complained of, and report to the Senate, that mild measures might be used to remedy what was amiss, before any severe steps were taken to enforce obedience. That this example he thought worthy our imitation in the present state of our colonies, for he did so far agree with the honorable gentleman that spoke just before him as to allow there were great Ciscontents among them. He should therefore beg leave to ...ove that two or three members of Parliament be appointed to £o over to New England on this service. And, that it might not be supposed he was for imposing burdens on others that he would not be willing to bear himself, he did at the same time declare his own willingness, if the House should think fit to appoint them, to go over thither with that honorable gentleman. Upon this there was a great laugh, which continued some time, and was rather increased by Mr. Grenville's asking, “Will the gentleman engage that I shall be safe there ! Can I be assured that I shall be allowed to come back again to make the report?” As soon as the laugh was so far subsided as that Mr. Onslow could be heard again, he added, “I cannot absolutely engage for the honorable gentleman's safe return; but, if he goes thither upon this service, I am strongly of opinion the event will contribute greatly to the future quiet of both countries.” On which the laugh was renewed and redoubled. If our people should follow the Boston example in entering into resolutions of frugality and industry, full as necessary for us as for them, I hope they will, among other things, give this reason, — that 'tis to enable them more speedily and #. to discharge their debts to Great Britain; this will soften a little, and at the same time appear honorable, and like ourselves. Yours, &c., B. FRANKLIN.
[To willIAM FRANKLIN.]
Riots in London.
DEAR SoN : Since my last, — a long one, of March 13th, – nothing has been talked or thought of here but elections. There have been amazing contests all over the kingdom, twenty or thirty thousand pounds of a side spent in several places, and inconceivable mischief done by debauching the people and making them idle, besides the immediate actual mischief done by drunken mad mobs to houses, windows, &c. The scenes have been horrible. London was illuminated two nights running at the command of the mob, for the success of Wilkes, in the Middlesex election: the second night exceeded anything of the kind ever seen here on the greatest occasions of rejoicing; as even the small cross streets, lanes, courts, and other out-ofthe-way places, were all in a blaze with lights, and the principal streets all night long, as the mobs went round again after two o'clock, and obliged people who had extinguished their candles to light them again. Those who refused had all their windows destroyed. The damage done and expense of candles has been computed at fifty thousand pounds; it must have been great, though, probably, not so much.
The ferment is not yet over, for he has promised to surrender himself to the court next Wednesday, and another tumult is then expected; and what the upshot will be no one can yet