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letter to the president, of the 12th March, 1781, and of repeating my request therein contained, relative to my grandson. I enclose likewise extracts of letters from Messrs. Jay and Laurens, which both shew the regard those gentlemen have for him, and their desire of his being noticed by the congress.'
To Sir Joseph BANKS, President of the Royal Society, London, DEAR SIR,
Pussy, Sept. 9, 1782. I have just received the very kind, friendly letter you were so good as to write to me by Dr. Broussonnet. Be assured that I long earnestly for a return of those peaceful times, when I could sit down in sweet society with my English philosophical friends, commumicating to each other new discoveries, and proposing improvements of old ones ; all tending to extend the power of man over matter, avert or diminish the evils he is subject to, or augment the number of his enjoyments: Much more happy should I be thus employed in your most desirable conpany, than in that of all the grandees of the earth projecting plans of mischief, however necess sary they may be supposed for obtaining greater good.
I am glad to learn by the Doctor that your great work goes on. I admire your magnanimity in the undertaking, and the perseverance with which you have prosecuted it.
I join with you most perfectly in the charming wish you so well express, “ that such measures may be taken by both parties as may tend to the elevation of both, rather than the destruction of either.” If any thing has happened endangering one of them, my comfort is, that I
See pages 77 and 78 of this volume.
endeavoured earnestly to prevent it, and gave honest, faithful advice, which if it had been regarded would have been effectual. And still, if proper means are used to produce, not only a peace, but what is much more interesting, a thorough reconciliation; a few years may heal the wounds that have been made in our happiness, and produce a degree of prosperity of which at present we can hardly form a conception. With great and sincere esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant,
To Mr. F. HOPKINSON, PHILADELPHIA. Planting Trees in Philadelphia.Newspaper Abuse. (EXTRACT.)
Passy, Dec. 24, 1782. “I thank you for your ingenious paper in favor of the trees. I own I now wish we had two rows of them in every one of our streets. The comfortable shelter they would afford us, when walking, from our burning summer suns, and the greater coolness of our walls and pavements, would, I conceive, in the improved health of the inhabitants amply compensate the loss of a house now and then by fire, if such should be the conseqaence: but a tree is soon felled; and as axes are at hand in every neighbourhood, may be down before the engines arrive.
You do well to avoid being concerned in the pieces of personal abuse, so scandalously common in our newspapers, that I am afraid to lend any of them here, 'till I have examined and laid aside such as would disgrace us; and subject us among strangers to a reflection like that used by a gentleinan in a Coffee-house to two quarrellers, who after a mutually free use of the words, rogue, villain,
rascal, scoundrel, &c. seemed as if they would refer their dispute to him: I know nothing of you, or your affairs, said he; I only perceive that you know one another.
The conductor of a newspaper, should, methinks, consider himself as in some degree the guardian of his country's reputation, and refuse to insert such writings as may hurt it. If people will print their abuses of ove another, let them do it in little pamphlets, and distribute them wbere they think proper. It is absurd to trouble all the world with them; and unjust to subscribers in distant places, to stuff their paper with matters so unprotitable and so disagreeable.' With sincere esteem and affection, I am, my dear friend, ever yours, B. FRANKLIN.
TO THE RIGHT HON. EARL OF BUCHAN, Acquisition of Lands and forming Settlements in America. My LORD,
Passy, March 17, 1783. I received the letter your Lordship did me the honor of writing to me, and am obliged by your kind congratulations on the return of peace, which I hope will be lasting,
With regard to the terms on which lands may be
'A law to forbid and to punish Newspaper calumny would now be styled, an Infringement of the Liberty of the Press : But this Liberty of the Press consisting merely in the Liberty that perhaps fifty persons in a community, who are capable of writing for the public, claim of abusing at their pleasure all the rest who cannot write, one would think that even a writer who had a moderate share of good nature with common sensibility, should think it no bad bargain if he were to give up his Liberty of abusing others, in exchange for the privilege of not being abused himself.
(See also a Letter “ On the Abuse of the Press," Maroh 30, 1788.] acquired in America, and the manner of beginning new settlements on them, I cannot give better information than may be found in a book lately printed in London, under some such title as Letters from a Pennsylvanian Farmer, by Hector St. John. The only encouragements we hold out to strangers are, a good climate, fertile soil, wholesome air and water, plenty of provisions and fuel, good pay for labour, kind neighbours, good laws, liberty, and a hearty welcome : the rest depends on a man's own industry and virtue. Lands are cheap, but they must be bought. All settlements are undertaken at private expence : the public contributes nothing but defence and justice.' I should not however expect much emigration from a country so much drained of men as yours' must have been by the late war; since the more have left it, the more room, and the more encouragement remains for those who staid at home. But this you can best judge of; and I have long observed of your people, that their sobriety, frugality, industry, and honesty, seldom fail of success in America, and of procuring them a good establishment among us.
I do not recollect the circumstance you are pleased to mention of my having saved a citizen at St. Andrew's, by giving a turn to his disorder; and I am curious to know what the disorder was, and what the advice I gave which proved so salutary. With great regard I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient and most bumble servant,
I Scotland. It was a fever in which the Earl of Buchan, then Lord Cadross, lay sick at St. Andrew's; and the advice was, not to blister, according to the old practice and the opinion of the learned Dr, Simson, brother of the celebrated geometrician at Glasgow.
To Mrs. Hewson.'
On the Death of her Mother.-Invitation to come to Passy.
Passy, January 27, 1783. “The departure of my dearest friend, which I learn from your last letter, greatly affects me.
To meet with her once more in this life was one of the principal motives of my proposing to visit England again before my return to America. The last year carried off my friends Dr. Pringle and Dr. Fothergill, and Lord Kaimes and Lord Le Despencer; this has begun to take away the rost, and strikes the hardest. Thus the ties I had to that country, and indeed to the world in general, are loosened one by one; and I shall soon have no attachment left to make me unwilling to follow.
I intended writing when I sent the eleven books, but lost the time in looking for the first. I wrote with that; and hope it came to hand. I therein asked your counsel about my coming to England: on reflection, I think I can, from my knowledge of your prudence, foresee what it will be; viz. not to come too soon, lest it should seem braving and insulting some who ought to be respected. I shall therefore omit that journey till I am near going to Ainerica, and then just step over to take leave of my friends, and spend a few days with you. I purpose bring
1 Widow of the eminent anatomist of the name, and formerly Miss STEVENSON, to whom several of Dr. Franklin's letters on philosophical subjects are addressed.
2 Refers to Mrs. Hewson's Mother.