« ZurückWeiter »
HUMOROUS, MORAL. AND
ON EARLY MARRIAGES.
Yoo desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on tli» •abject 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 connexions, 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 ren tiered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in na, ture'i favour, 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 should live to see their offspring educated. "Late children," says the Spanisii 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 lite; or.r 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 amongus, 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 conditions, 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, ewars not the value of its proportion to the set; what think you of the odd half of apairol scissors; it can't well cut any thing; 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 frenneut bandyi-.igs, are apt to end in angry earnest . lie studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and •cmperale. and you will be healthy. Be in geneni virtu
ous, 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,
ON THE DEATH Of HIS BROTHER,
MR. JOHN FRANKLIN.
I Condole with you. We have lost a most dear and valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A m-nisnot completely born until he be dead. Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, anew member added to their happy society? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that away is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, part with it freely, since the pain goes with it: and he who quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains, and possibilities of pains and diseases, it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.
Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first; and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should tyou and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow oud know where to fmd him?
TO THE LATE DOCTOR MATHER, OF BOSTON
I Beceivfd 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, ouch 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" any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as voir teem 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 both 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 the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He receiver! m• in his library; and, on my taking leave, showed ■ne 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' toward* him, when he said hasuly, "Stoop! stoop!" I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction; and upon this he said i4 mo: "You are young, and have the world before you: stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps?' This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use tome; 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 once hoped to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723. I visited it in 1733,I743,I753, and I763; and in 1773 I was in England. In I775 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 I783, hut couM not obtain my dismission from thisemployrkent here; and now I fear I shall never have that happmess. My best wishes however attend my dear com,try, "eslo periietua." It is now blessed with an excellent constitution : may it last for ever!
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: ami 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 beasts among our countrymen, who are endeavourmg to weaken that connexion.
Let us preserve our reputation, by performing our engagements; our credit, by fulfilling our contracts j ana our friends, by gratitude and kindness: for wo