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The cause of liberty and America has been greatly obliged to you. I hope you will live long to see that country florish under its new constitution, which 1 am sure will give you great pleasure. Will you permit me to express another hope, that now your friends are in power, they will take the first opportunity of showing the sense they ought to have of your virtues and your merit! . ■
Please to make my best respects acceptable to Mrs. Shipley, and embrace for me tenderly all our dear children. With the utmost esteem, respect, and veneration, 1 am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, .
B. Franklin. ,
To Dr. Ingenhausz.1
Jtrfteclions on misunderstandings between friends—M. La
voisier's experiment—American affairs.
(extract.) Passy, June 21, 1782.
I am sorry that any misunderstanding should arise
between you and Dr. . The indiscretions of friends
on both sides often occasion such misunderstandings. When they produce public altercations, the ignorant are diverted at the expense of the learned. I hope, therefore, that you will omit the polemic piece in your French edition, and take no public notice of the improper behavior of your friend; but go on with your excellent experiments, produce facts, improve science, and do good to mankind. Reputation will follow, and the little injustices of contemporary laborers will be forgotten: my example may encourage you, or else I should not mention it. You know that when my papers were first published, the Abb6 Nollet, then high in reputation, attacked them in a book of letters. An answer was expected
1 John Ingenhausz, F.R.S. an eminent physician and chemist, born at Breda, 1730, died in 1799.
from me, but I made none, to tliat book nor to any other. They are now all neglected, and the truth seems to be established: you can always employ your time better than in polemics.
Monsieur Lavoisier the other day showed an experiment at the Academy of Sciences, to the Comte du Nord, that is said to be curious. He kindled an hollow charcoal, and blew into it a stream of dephlogisticated air. In this focus, which is said to be the hottest fire human art has yet been able to produce, he melted platina in a few minutes.
Our American affairs wear a better aspect now than at any time heretofore. Our councils are perfectly united; our people all armed and disciplined. Much and frequent service as militia, has indeed made them all soldiers. Our enemies are much diminished, and reduced to two or three garrisons; our commerce and agriculture florish. England at length sees the difficulty of conquering us, and no longer demands submission, but asks for peace. She would now think herself happy to obtain a federal union with us, and will endeavor it; but perhaps will be disappointed, as it is the interest of all Europe to prevent it. I last year requested of congress to release me from this service, that I might spend the evening of life more agreeably in philosophic leisure; but I was refused. If I had succeeded, it was my intention to make the tour of Italy, with my grandson, pass into Germany, aud spend some time happily with you, whom I have always loved, ever since I knew you, with uninterrupted affection. We have lost our common friend, the excellent Pringle ! * How many pleasing hours you and I have passed
1 Sir John Pringle, Bart, born in Roxburghshire, in 1707, physician to the queen's household, afterwards to the king, and president tonlie Royal Society; died in 1782. He wrote "Observations an Diseajes of the Army," fye. ■Sc
together in his company! 1 mast soon follow him, being now in my seventy-seventh year; but you have yet a prospect of many years of usefulness still before you, which I hope you will fully enjoy; and I am persuaded you will ever kindly remember your truly affectionate friend,
Tomiss Alexander. (extract.) Passy, June 24, 1782.
"I am not at all displeased that the thesis and dedication with which we were threatened are blown over, for I dislike much all sorts of mummery. The republic of letters lias gained no reputation, whatever else it may have gained, by the commerce of dedications : I never made one, and I never desired that one should be made to me. When I submitted to receive this, it was from the bad habit I have long had of doing every thing that ladies desire me to do: there is no refusing any thing to Madame la Marck, nor to you. 1 have been to pay my respects to that amiable lady, not merely because it was a compliment due to her, but because I love her, which induces me to excuse her not letting me in; the same reason I should have for excusing your faults, if you had any. I have not seen your papa since the receipt of your pleasing letter, so could arrange nothing with him respecting the carriage. During seven or eight days I shall be very busy: after that you shall hear from me, and the carriage shall be at your service. How could you think of writing to me about chimneys and fires, in such weather as this! Now is the time for the frugal lady you mention to save her wood, obtain plus de chaleur, and lay it up against winter, as people do ice against summer. Frugality is an enriching virtue; a virtue I never could acquire in myself: but I was once lucky enough to find it in a wife, who thereby became a fortune to me. Do you possess it f If you do, and I were twenty years younger, I would give your father one thousand guineas for you. I know you would be worth more to me as a menaghe; but I am covetous and love good bargains. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours most affectionately,
To Mr. Hotton.'
Relative to the murder of some Moravian Indians.
My Old And Dear Friend, Pa$sy, Julyl, 1782.
A letter written by you to M. Bertin, ministre d'Etat, containing an account of the abominable murders committed by some of the frontier people on the poor Moravian Indians, has given me infinite pain and vexation. The dispensations of Providence in this world puzzle my weak reason: I cannot comprehend why cruel men should have been permitted thus
i 1 James Hutton, son of Doctor Hutton, (who in the early partof his life had been a bookseller) was for many years secretary to the society of Moravians. He died April 25, 1796, in his 80th vear, at i Oxstead Cottage, Surry; and was buried in the Moravian cemetery at Chelsea. He was a well-known character, and very generally esteemed. He was a faithful brother of the Moravian fraternity fifty-five years; the latter part of his life was spent literally in going about •doing good, and his charities were confined to no sect. He married a lady of the Moravian nation and religion, but had no children, and was a widower some years before his death. Mr. Hutton possessed strong sense, with quick feelings and apprehensions, which the illumination of his countenance evinced even at seventy, though his difficulty of hearing was such, that he could only converse by the assistance of an ear-trumpet. He was highly esteemed by their present majesties, and well known to many of the nobility and men of letters: nor was he refused admittance to the highest ranks, (even at Buckingham House) though his ardent benevolence inclined him greatly to neglect his own dress, that he might the better feed the hungry and cover the naked.
to destroy their fellow-creatures. Some of the Indians may be supposed to have committed sins, but one cannot think the little children had committed any worthy of death. Why has a single man in England, who happens to love blood, and to hate Americans, been permitted to gratify that bad temper by hiring German murderers, and joining them with his own, to destroy in a continued course of bloody years, near 100,000 human creatures, many of them possessed of useful talents, virtues^ and abilities, to which he has no pretension? It is he who has furnished the savages with hatchets and scalping knives, and engages them to fall upon our defenceless farmers, and murder them with their wives and children, paying for their scalps, of which the account kept in America already amounts, as I have heard, to near two thousand! Perhaps the people of the frontiers, exasperated by the cruelties of the Indians, have been induced to kill all Indians that fall into their hands without distinction; so that even these horrid murders of our poor Moravians may be laid to his charge. And yet this man lives, enjoys all the good things this world can afford, and is surrounded by flatterers who keep even his con* science quiet by telling him he is the best of princes! I wonder at this, but I cannot therefore part with the comfortable belief of a divine Providence; and the more I see the impossibility; from the number and extent of his crimes, of giving equivalent punishment to a wicked man in tnis life, the more I am convinced of a future state, in which all that here appears to be wrong shall be set right, all that is crooked made straight. In this faith let you and I, my dear friend, comfort ourselves; it is the only comfort in the present dark scene of things that is allowed us.
I shall not fail to write to the government of America, urging that effectual care may be taken to protect and save the remainder of those unhappy people.