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report, has resigned. I believe, when he offered to do so, he had such an opinion of his importance, that he did not think it would be accepted; and that it would be thought prudent rather to set our grant aside than part with him. His colleagues in the ministry were all glad to get rid of him, and perhaps for this reason joined more readily in giving him that mortification. Lord Dartmouth succeeds him, who has much more favorable dispositions towards the colonies. He has heretofore expressed some personal regard for me, and I hope now to find our business with the Board more easy to transact.
Your observations on the state of the Islands did not come to hand, till after Lord Rochford had withdrawn his petition.* His Lordship and the promoters of it were so roasted on the occasion, that I believe another of the kind will not very soon be thought of. The Proprietor was at the expense of the opposition; and, as I knew it would not be necessary, and thought it might be inconvenient to our affairs, I did not openly engage in it; but I gave some private assistance, that I believe was not without effect. I think too that Mr.
Jackson's opinion was of great service. I would lodge a copy of your paper in the Plantation Office against any similar future applications, if you approve of it. I only think the Island holders make too great a concession to the crown, when they suppose it may have a right to quitrent. It can have none, in my opinion, on the old grants from Indians, Swedes, and Dutch, where none was reserved. And I think those grants so clearly good, as to need no confirmation; to obtain which I suppose is the only motive for offering such quitrent. I imagine, too, that it may not be amiss to
* Islands in the Delaware River, to which Lord Rochford had made a claim.
affix a caveat in the Plantation Office, in the behalf of holders of property in those islands, against any grant of them that may be applied for, till they have had timely notice, and an opportunity of being fully heard. Mr. Jackson is out of town, but I shall confer with him on the subject as soon as he returns. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
Petition to the King. Lord Dartmouth appointed Minister of American Affairs.
London, 3 September, 1772.
I write this line, just to acknowledge the receipt of your several favors of July 15th and 16th, containing the resolves of the House relating to the governor's salary, and the petition to the King.
Lord Dartmouth, now our American minister, is at present in the country, and will probably not be in town till the season of business comes on. I shall then immediately put the petition into his hands, to be presented to his Majesty. I may be mistaken, but I imagine we shall not meet the same difficulty in transacting business with him, as with his predecessor, on whose removal I congratulate you and the Assembly most heartily. I shall write fully by some of the next Boston ships; at present can only add, that, with the sincerest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.
Moral Algebra, or Method of deciding doubtful
London, 19 September, 1772.
In the affair of so much importance to you, whereIn you ask my advice, I cannot, for want of sufficient premises, counsel you what to determine; but, if you please, I will tell you how. When those difficult cases occur, they are difficult, chiefly because, while we have them under consideration, all the reasons pro and con are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us.
To get over this, my way is, to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one pro, and over the other con; then during three or four days' consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different times occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights; and, where I find two (one on each side) that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I find a reason pro equal to some two reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two reasons con, equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the balance lies; and if, after a day or two of farther consideration, nothing new that is of mportance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly. And, though the weight
of reasons cannot be taken with the precision of algebraic quantities, yet, when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less liable to make a rash step; and in fact I have found great advantage from this kind of equation, in what may be called moral or prudential algebra.
Wishing sincerely that you may determine for the best, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN.
TO JOHN BARTRAM.
Rhubarb.- - Upland Rice.- Chinese Tallow Tree.
London, 17 October, 1772.
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, I received some time since the enclosed letter from Dr. Hope; and lately the gold medal it mentions was delivered to me for you. By the first ship directly to Philadelphia, I shall send it, in the care of some safe hand, thinking it not so well to hazard it with this letter round through New York.
I hope the rhubarb you have sown and distributed will be taken care of. There seems to me no doubt of its doing as well with us as in Scotland. Remember, that for use the root does not come to its perfection of power and virtue in less than seven years. The physicians here, who have tried the Scotch, approve it much, and say it is fully equal to the best imported. I send you enclosed a small box of Upland rice, brought from Cochin China. It grows there on dry grounds, and not in water like the common sort. Also a few seeds of the Chinese tallow tree. They have been carefully preserved in bringing hither by
Mr. Ellis's method. I had them from him, and he tells me they may grow under your skilful care. My love to Mrs. Bartram, and all yours, from your affectionate friend, B. FRANKLIN.
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
Petition to the King put into the Hands of Lora
London, 4 November, 1772.
Lord Dartmouth, our American minister, came to town last week, and held his first levee on Wednesday, when I paid my respects to him, acquainting him at the same time, that I should in a few days wait upon him, on business from Boston; which I have accordingly since done, and have put your petition to the King into his Lordship's hands, that being the regular
He received me very obligingly, made no objection to my acting as agent without an appointment assented to by the governor, as his predecessor had done, so that I hope business is getting into a better train. I shall use my best endeavours in supporting the petition, and write you more fully by the next ship to Boston. In the mean time I remain with great respect, your most obedient and humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.