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greeable consequences of the jealousy, envy and ill-will, of his countrymen. Let us go back with our calculation from this young noble, the five hundreth and twelfth part of the present knight, through his nine generations, till we return to the year of the institution. He must have had a father and mother, they are two; each of them had a father and mother, — they are four. Those of the next preceding generation will be eight, the next sixteen, the next thirty-two, the next sixty-four, the next one hundred and twenty-eight, the next two hundred and fifty-six, and the ninth in this retrocession five hundred and twelve, who must be now existing, and all contribute their proportion of this future Chevalier de Cincinnatus. These, with the rest, make together as follows: 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512
Total . 1022
One thousand and twenty-two men and women contributors to the formation of one knight! And, if we are to have a thousand of these future knights, there must be now and hereafter existing one million and twenty-two thousand fathers and mothers, who are to contribute to their production; unless a part of the number are employed in making more knights than one. Let us strike off, then, the twenty-two thousand, on the supposition of this double employ, and then consider whether, after a reasonable estimation of the number of rogues, and fools, and scoundrels, and prostitutes, that are mixed with and help to make up necessarily their million of predecessors, posterity will have much reason to boast of the noble blood of the then existing set of chevaliers of Cincinnatus. The future genealogists, too, of these chevaliers, in proving the lineal descent of their honor through so many generations (even supposing honor capable in its nature of descending), will only prove the small share of this honor which can be justly claimed by any one of them, since the above simple process in arithmetic makes it quite plain and clear that, in proportion as the antiquity of the family shall augment, the right to the honor of the ancestor will diminish; and a few generations more would reduce it to something so small as to be very near an absolute nullity. I hope, therefore, that the order will drop this part of their project, and content themselves, as the knights of the Garter, Bath, Thistle, St. Louis, and other orders of Europe do, with a life enjoyment of their little badge and riband, and let the distinction die with those who have merited it. This, I imagine, will give no offence. For my own part, I shall think it a convenience, when I go into company where there may be faces unknown to me, if I discover by this badge the persons who merit some particular expression of my respect; and it will save modest virtue the trouble of calling for our regard, by awkward, roundabout intimations of having been heretofore employed as officers in the continental service. The gentleman who made the voyage to France, to provide the ribands and medals, has executed his commission. To me they seem tolerably done; but all such things are criticized. Some find fault with the Latin, as wanting classical elegance and correctness; and, since our nine universities were not able to furnish better Latin, it was a pity, they say, that the mottoes had not been in English. Others object to the title, as not properly assumable by any but General Washington, and a few others who served without pay. Others object to the bald eagle, as looking too much like a dindon or turkey. For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character: he does not get his living honestly : you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. With all this injustice, he is never in good case, but, like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward: the little king-bird, not bigger than a sparrow, attacks him boldly, and drives him out of the district. He is, therefore, by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America, who have driven all the king-birds from our country; though exactly fit for that order of knights which the French call Chevaliers d'Industrie. I am, on this account, not displeased that the figure is not known as a bald eagle, but looks more like a turkey. For, in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours; the first of the species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and served up at the wedding-table of Charles IX. He is besides (though a little vain and silly, 'tis true, but not the worse emblem for that) a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm-yard with a red coat on. I shall not enter into the criticisms made upon their Latin. The gallant officers of America may not have the merit of being great scholars, but they undoubtedly merit much as brave soldiers from their country, which should, therefore, not leave them merely to fame for their virtutis premium, which is one of their Latin mottoes. Their esto perpetua —another—is an excellent wish, if they meant it for their country; bad, if intended for their order. The States should not only restore to them the omnia of their first motto,” which many of them have left and lost, but pay them justly, and reward them generously. They should not be suffered to remain, with all their new-created chivalry, entirely in the situation of the gentleman in the story which their omnia reliquit reminds me of. You know everything makes me recollect some story. He had built a very fine house, and thereby much impaired his fortune. He had a pride, however, in showing it to his acquaintance. One of them, after viewing it all, remarked a motto over the door — OIA vanitas. “What,” says he, “is the meaning of this OIA! 'Tis a word I don’t understand,” “I will tell you,” said the gentleman: “I had a mind to have the motto cut on a piece of smooth marble, but there was not room for it, between the ornaments, to be put in characters large enough to be read. I therefore made use of a contraction, anciently very common in Latin manuscripts, whereby the m's and n's in words are omitted, and the omission noted by a little dash above, which you may see there, so that the word is omnia—omNIA VANITAs.” “Q,” said his friend, “I now comprehend the meaning of your motto, -it relates to your edifice, and signifies that if you have abridged your omnia, you have nevertheless left your VANITAs legible at full length,” I am, as ever, your affectionate father, B. FRANKLIN.
[To DR. MATHER, Boston.]
PAssy, May 12, 1784.
REv. SIR: I received your kind letter, with your excellent advice to the people of the United States, which I read with great pleasure, and hope it will be duly regarded. Such writings, though they may be lightly passed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, the effects may be considerable. Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy I met with a book entitled “Essays to do Good,” which, I think, was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by a former possessor that several leaves of it were torn out, but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking as to have an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good than on any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.
You mention your being in your seventy-eighth year: I am in my seventy-ninth; we are grown old together. It is now more than sixty years since I left Boston, but I remember well hoth your father and grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received me in his library, and, on my taking leave, showed me a shorter way out of the house through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said, hastily, “Stoop, stoop " I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man that never missed any occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me, “You are goung, and have the world before you: STOOP as you go through 7t, and you may miss many hard thumps.” This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people, by their carrying their heads too high.
I long much to see again my native place, and to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723; I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763. In 1773 I was in England; in 1775 I had a sight of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy. I did hope to have been there in 1783, but could not obtain my dismission from this employment here; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes, however, attend my dear country. Esto perpetua. It is now blest with an excellent constitution; may it last forever ! This powerful monarchy continues its friendship for the United States. It is a friendship of the utmost importance to our security, and should be carefully cultivated. Britain has not yet well digested the loss of its dominion over us, and has still at times some flattering hopes of recovering it. Accidents may increase those hopes, and encourage dangerous attempts. A breach between us and France would infallibly bring the English again upon our backs; and yet we have some wild heads annong our countrymen, who are endeavoring to weaken that connection | Let us preserve our reputation by performing our engagements; our credit, by fulfilling our contracts; and friends, by gratitude and kindness; for we know not how soon we may again have occasion for all of them. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &c., B. FRANKLIN.
American Ertravagance — Anecdote — Commerce — Forest Lands— Elements of Wealth. - PAssy, July 26, 1784.
* * * You ask “what remedy I have for the growing luxury of my country, which gives so much offence to all English travellers, without exception.” I answer that I think it exaggerated, and that travellers are not good judges whether our luxury is growing or diminishing. Our people are hospitable, and have indeed too much pride in displaying upon their tables before strangers the plenty and variety that our country affords. They have the vanity too of sometimes borrowing one another's plate to entertain more splendidly. Strangers, being invited from house to house, meeting every day with a feast, imagine what they see is the ordinary way of living of all the families where they dine, when perhaps each family lives a week after upon the remains of the dinner given.
It is, I own, a folly in our people to give such offence to English travellers, The first part of the proverb is thereby veri