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our engagements; our credit by fulfilling our contracts; and friends by gratitude and kindness'; for we know not how soon we may again have occasion for all of them. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.
B. FRANKLIN. :
To Dr. PERCIVAL.
Remarks on Duelling. Dear Sir,
Passy, July 17, 1784. . I received yesterday by Mr. White, your kind letter of May 11th, with the most agreeable present of your new book.' I read it all before I slept, which is a proof of the good effects your happy manner has of drawing your reader on, by mixing little anecdotes and historical facts with your instructions. Be pleased to accept my grateful acknowledgments for the pleasure it has afforded me.
It is astonishing that the murderous practice of duelling, which you so justly condemn, should continue go long in vogue. Formerly when duels were used to determine law-suits, from an opinion that Providence would in every instance favor truth and right, with victory, they were excusable. At present, they decide nothing. A man says something, which another tells him is a lie. They fight; but whichever is killed, the point in dispute remains unsettled. To this purpose they have a pleasant little story here. A gentleman in a coffee-house desired another to sit further from him. Why so ? Because, Sir, you stink. That is an affront, and you must fight me.
* Moral and Literary Dissertations, ad edition.
I will fight you if you insist upon it; but I do not see how that will mend the matter. For if you kill me, I shall stink too;' and if I kill you, you will stink, if possible, worse than you do at present. How can such miserable singers as we are entertain so much pride, as to conceit that every offence against our imagined honor merits death? These petty princes in their own opinion would call that sovereign a tyrant, who should put one of them to death for a little uncivil language, though pointed at his sacred person : Yet every one of them makes himself judge in his own cause, condemns the offender without a jury, and undertakes himself to be the executioner. With sincere and great esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN."
P. S. Our friend, Mr. Vaughan, may perhaps communicate to you some conjectures of mine relating to the cold of last winter, which I sent him in return for the observations on cold of Professor Wilson. If he should, and you think them worthy so much notice, you may show them to your Philosophical Society,' to which I wish all imaginable success. Their rules appear to'me excellent.
To Mess. WEEMS AND GANT, Citizens OF THE me... UNITED STATES, LONDON.
1. On their wish to obtain Ordination.. Gentlemen, Passy, near Paris, July 18, 1784.
On receipt of your letter, acquainting me that the Archbishop of Canterbury? would not permit you to
· The Philosophical Society of Manchester of which Dr. Percival was one of the principal founders and ornaments.
2 Dr. Moore.
be ordained unless you took the oath of allegiance; I applied to a clergyman of my acquaintance for information on the subject of your obtaining ordination here. His opinion was, that it could not be done; and that if it were done, you would be required to vow obedience to the Archbishop of Paris. I next inquired of the Pope's Nuncio, whether you might not be ordained by their Bishop in America, powers being sent him for that purpose, if he has them not already. The answer was, the thing is impossible, unless the gentlemen become Catholics. -- This is an affair of which I know very little, and therefore I may ask questions and propose means that are improper or impracticable. But what is the necessity of your being connected with the Church of England ? Would it not be as well if you were of the Church of Ireland ? The religion is the same, though there is a different set of bishops and archbishops. Perhaps if you were to apply to the Bishop of Derry,' who is a man of liberal sentiments, he might give you orders as of that Church. If both Britain and Ireland refuse you; (and I ain not sure that the Bishops of Denmark or Sweden would ordain you, unless you became Lutherans) what is then to be done? Next to becoming Presbyterians, the Episcopalian Clergy of America, in my humble opinion, cannot do better than to follow the example of the first clergy of Scotland, soon after the conversion of that country to Christianity; who, when their King had built the Cathedral of St. Andrews, and requested the King of Northumberland to lend his bishops to ordain one for them, that their
! Lord Bristol.
clergy might not as heretofore be obliged to go to Northumberland for orders, and their request was, refused : they assembled in the Cathedral; and the mitre, crozier, and robes of a bishop being laid upon the altar, they, after earnest prayers for direction in their choice, elected one of their own number; when the King said to him, Arise, go to the allar, and receive your office at the hand of God. His brethren led him to the altar, robed him, put the crosier in his hand, and the mitre on his head, and he became the first Bishop of Scotland.
If the British islands were sunk in the sea and the surface of this globe has suffered greater changes), you would probably take some such method as this : and if they persist in denying you ordination, it is the same thing. An hundred years bence, when people are more enlightened, it will be wondered at, that men in America, qualified by their learning and piety to pray for and instruct their neighbours, should not be permitted to do it till they had made a voyage of 6,000 miles out and home, to ask leave of a cross old gentleman at Canterbury; who seems, by your account, to have as little regard for the souls of the people of Maryland, as King William's Attorney General, Seyinour, liad for those of Virginia. The Reverend Commissary Blair, who projected the College of that Province, and was in England to solicit benefactions and a charter; relates, that the Queen in the King's absence, having ordered Seymour to draw up the charter which was to be given, with £2000 in money, he opposed the grant; saying that the nation was engaged in an expensive war, that the money was wanted for better purposes, and he did not see the least occasion for a college in Virginia. Blair represented to him, that its intention was to educate and qualify young men to be ministers of the gospel, much wanted there'; and begged Mr. Attorney would consider that the people of Virginia had souls to be saved as well as the people of England. Souls ! (said he,) damn your souls. Make tobacco! I have the honor to be, 'gentenen, &c. ?
; " ! "B, FRANKLIN.
• To B. Vaughan, Esg. * . Restraints on Commerce.- Lurury and Industry. DEAR FRIEND,...!! Passy, July 26, 1784. . !" " I have received several letters from you lately, dated June 16, June 30, and July 13. I thank you for the information respecting the proceedings of your West India "merchants, or rather planters. The restraints, whatever they may be upon our commerce with your islands, will prejudice their inbabitants, I apprehend, more than us. It is wonderful how preposterously the affairs of this world are 'managed., Naturally one would imagine that the interests of a few particulars, should give way to general interest. But particulars manage their affairs with so much more application, industry, and address than the public do theirs, that general interest most commonly gives way to particular. We assemble parliaments and councils to have the benefit of their collected wisdom, but we necessamly have at the same time the inconvenience of their collected passions, prejudices, and private interests. By the help of these, artful men overpower the wisdom, and dupe its possessors ; and if we may judge by the acts, decrees, and edicts all the world over for regulating commerce, an assembly of wise men is the greatest fool upon earth,