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bly cannot easily become dangerous to liberty. They are the servants of the people, sent together to do the people's business and promote the public welfare; their powers must be sufficient, or their duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable appointments, but a mere payment of daily wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their expences, so that having no chance for great places and enormous salaries or pensions, as in some countries, there is no bringing or bribing for elections. I wish old England were as happy in its government, but I do not see it. Your people, however, think their constitution the best in the world, and affect to despise ours. It is comforta. ble to have a good opinion of one's self, and of every thing that belongs to us, to think one's own religion, king, and wife, the best of all possible wives, kings, and religions. I remember three Greenlanders, who had travelled two years in Europe, under the care of some Moravian missionaries, and had visited Germany, Denmark, Holland and England, when I asked them at Philadelphia (when they were in their way home) whether, now they had seen how much more commodiously the white people lived by the help of the arts, they would not chuse to remain among us--their answer was, that they were pleased with having had an opportunity of seeing many fine things, but they chose to live in their own country :: which country, by the way, consisted of rock only, for the Moravians were obliged to carry earth in their ship from New York, for the purpose of making there a cabbage garden !
By Mr. Dollond's saying, that my double spectacles could only serve particular eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly informed of their construction, I imagine 2 N 4
it will be found pretty generally true, that the same convexity of glass through which a man sees clearest and best at the distance proper for reading, is not the best for greater distances. I therefore had formerly two pair of spectacles, which I shifted occasionally, as in travelling I sometimes read and often want to regard the prospects. Finding this change troublesome, and not always sufficiently ready, I had the glasses cut out and half of each kind associated in the same circle, the least convex, for distant objects the upper half, and the most convex, for reading, the lower half: by this means, as I wear my spectacles constantly, I have only to move my eyes up or down, as I want to see distinctly far or near, the proper glasses being always ready. This I find more particularly convenient since my being in France; the glasses that serve me best at table to see what I eat, being the best to see the faces of those on the other side of the table who speak to me, and when one's ears are not well accustomed to the sounds of a language, a sight of the movements in the features of him that speaks helps to explain; so that I understand French better by the help of my spectacles.
My intended translator of your piece, the only one I know who understands the subject as well as the lwo languages, which a translator ought to do, or he cannot make so good a translation, is at present occupied in an affair that prevents bis undertaking it; but that will soon be over.-I thank
for the notes. I should be glad to have another of the printed pamphlets.
We shall always be ready to take your children, if you send them to us; I only wonder, that since London draws to itself and consumes such numbers of your
country people, your country should not, to supply their places, want and willingly receive the children
you have to dispose of. That circumstance, together with the multitude who voluntarily part with their freedom as men, to serve for a time as lacqueys, or for life as soldiers in consideration of small wages, seems to me a proof that your island is over-peopled, and yet it is afraid of emigrations! Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me eyer,
Yours, very affectionately,
Philadelphia, May 18, 1787. I RECEIVED duly my good old friend's letter of the 19th of February, with a copy of one from Mr. Williams, to whom I shall communicate it when I see him, which I expect to do. He is generally a punctual correspondent, and I am surprised you have not heard from bim.
I thank you much for your notes on banks; they are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them. Our bank here has met with great opposition, partly from envy, and partly from those who wish an emission of more paper-money, which they think the bank influence prevents. But it has stood all attacks, and went on well notwithstanding the assembly repealed its charter; a new assembly has restored it; and the management is
so prudent, that I have no doubt of its continuing to go on well. The dividend has never been less than 6 per cent, nor will that be augmented for some time, as the surplus profit is reserved to face accidents. The dividend of 11 per cent, which was once made, was from a circumstance scarce avoidable. A new company was proposed, and prevented only by admitting a number of new partners. As many of the first set were averse to this, and chose to withdraw ; it was necessary to settle their accounts; so all were adjusted, the profits shared that had been accumulated, and the new and old proprietors jointly began on a new and equal footing. Their notes are always instantly paid on demand, and pass on all occasions as readily as silver, because they will always produce silver.
Your medallion is in good company, it is placed with those of Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, Marquis of Rockingham, Sir George Savil, and some others, who honoured me with a share of friendly regard when in England. I believe I have thanked you for it, but I thank you again.
I believe with you, that if our plenipotentiary is desirous of concluding a treaty of commerce, he may need patience. But if I were in his place, and not otherwise instructed, I should be apt to say, Take your own time, gentlemen. If the treaty cannot be made as much to your advantage as to ours, don't make it. I am sure the want of it is not more to our disadvantage than to yours. Let the merchants on both sides treat with one another. Laissez les faire.
I have never considered attentively the congress scheme for coining, and I have it not now at hand, so that at present I can say nothing to it. The chief uses of coining seem to ascertain the quantity. : But the metals, and saving the time that would otherwise be spent in weighing to ascertain the quantity. But the convenience of fixed values to pieces is so great as to force the currency of some whose stamp is worn off, that should have assured their fineness, and which are evidently not of half their due weight; this is the case at present with the sixpences in England, which one with another do not weigh three-pence,
that ing 1
You are now 78, and I am $2. You tread fast upon my heels: but, though you have more strength and spirit, you cannot come up with me till I stop; which must now be soon; for I am grown so old as to have buried most of the friends of my youth; and I now often hear persons, whom I knew when children, called old Mr. such a one, to distinguish them from their sons now men grown, and in business; so that by living twelve years beyond David's period, I seem to have intruded myself into the company of posterity, when I ought to have been a-bed and asleep. Yet had I
gone at 70, it would have cut off 12 of the most active
years of my life, employed too in matters of the greatest iinportance; but whether I have been doing good or mischief, is for time to discover. I only know that I intended well, and I hope all will end well.
Be so good as to present my affectionate respects to Dr. Rowley. I am under great obligations to him, and shall write to him shortly. It will be a pleasure to him to hear that my malady does not grow sensibly worse, and that is a great point: for it has always been so tolerable, as not to prevent my enjoy