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of the trade of that people, with whom they had long been acquainted ; and of the desire all Europe is now manifesting to obtain a share of that trade. Our ports are full of their ships, their merchants buying and selling in our streets continually, and returning with our products. Would this happen? Could such commerce be continued with us, if we were such a collection of scoundrels and villains as we have been represented to you? And insurrections against our rulers are not only unlikely, as the rulers are the choice of the people, but unnecessary; as if not liked they may be changed annually by the new elections. I own you have cause, great cause to complain of ***, but you are wrong to condemn a whole country by a single sample. I have seen many countries, and I do not know a country in the world in which justice is so well administered, where protection and favour have so little power to impede its operations, and where debts are recovered with so much facility. If I thought it such a country as it has been painted to you, I should certainly never return to it. The truth, I believe, is, that more goods have been carried thither from all parts of Europe, than the consumption of the country requires, and it is natural that some of the adventurers are willing to discourage others from following them, lest the prices should still be kept down by the arrival of fresh cargoes ; and it is not unlikely that some negligent or unfaithful factors sent thither, may have given such accounts to excuse their not making remittances." . And the English magnify all this, and spread it abroad in their papers, to dissuade foreigners from attempting to interfere with them in their commerce with us.
Your account of the Emperor's condescending conver
if I were
sation with you concerning me, is pleasing. I respect very much the character of that monarch, and think, that
one of his subjects, he would find me a good one. I am glad that his difference with your country is likely to be accommodated without bloodshed. The Courier de l'Europe, and some other papers, printed a letter on that difference, which they ascribed to me. Be assured, my friend, that I never wrote it, nor was ever presumptuous enough to meddle with an affair so much
my way. Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
To George Wheatley, Esq.
On sending him his Medallion. DEAR OLD FRIEND, Passy, May 19, 1785.
I received the very good letter you sent me by my grandson, together with your resemblance, which is placed in my chamber, and gives me great pleasure. There is no trade, they say, without returns, and therefore I am punctual in making those you have ordered.
I intended this should have been a long epistle, but I am interrupted, and can only add, that I am ever yours most affectionately,
To MR. JONATHAN WILLIAMS. (EXTRACT.)
Pussy, May 19, 1785. “ The conversations you mention respecting America are suitable. Those people speak what they wish; but she was certainly never in a more happy situation. They are angry with us, and speak all manner of evil of us; but we fourish notwithstanding. They put me in mind of a violent high church factor, resident in Boston, when I was a boy. He had bought upon speculation a Connecticut cargo of onions, which he flattered himself he might sell again to great profit, but the price fell, and they lay upon hand. He was heartily vexed with his bargain, especially when he observed they began to grow in the store he had filled with them. He showed them one day to a friend. Here they are, said he, and they are growing too! I damn them every day; but I think they are like the Presbyterians ; the more I curse them, the more they grow.” Yours,
To GEORGE WHEATLEY, Esg.
Moral and Philosophical Reflections— Foundling Hospi
tal at Paris--Office for Nurses—The Philadelphia Bank—The Cincinnati-Constitution of the United Stutes--Anecdote of three Greenlunders—Description of double Spectacles, &c. DEAR OLD FRIEND, Passy, May 23, 1785.
I sent you a few lines the other day, with my medallion, when I should bave written more, but was prevented by the coming in of a bavard, who worried me till evening. I bore with him, and now you are to bear with me: for I shall probably bavarder in answering your letter.
I am not acquainted with the saying of Alphonsus, which you allude to as a sanctification of your rigidity in refusing to allow me the plea of old age, as an excuse for my want of exactness in correspondence. What was that saying? You do not, it seems, feel any occasion for such an excuse, though you are, as you say, rising 75. But I
am rising (perhaps more properly falling) 80, and I leave the excuse with you 'till you arrive at that age ; perhaps you may then be more sensible of its validity, and see fit to use it for yourself.
I must agree with you that the gout is bad, and that the stone is worse. I am happy in not having them both together, and I join in your prayer, that you may live till you die without either. But I doubt the author of the epitaph you send me was a little mistaken, when 'he, speaking of the world, says, that
che ne'er cared a pin
It is so natural to wish to be well spoken of, whether alive or dead, that I imagine he could not be quite exempt from that desire; and that at least he wished to be thought a wit, or he would not have given himself the trouble of writing so good an epitaph to leave behind him. Was it not as worthy of his care that the world should say he was an honest and a good man? I like better the concluding sentiment in the old song, called the Old Man's Wish, wherein, after wishing for a warm house in a country town, an easy horse, some good authors, ingenious and cheerful companions, a pudding on Sundays, with stout ale, and a bottle of Burgundy, &c. &c. in separate stanzas, each ending with this burthen,
May I govern my passions with absolute sway,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
Irith a courage undaunted may I face my last duy ;
In the morning' when sober, in the evening when mellow,
For he governed his passions, &c. . But what signifies our wishing ? Things happen, after all, as they will happen. I have sung that wishing song a thousand times when I was young, and now find at fourscore that the three contraries have befallen me, being subject to the gout, and the stone, and not being yet master of all my passions.. Like the proud girl in my country, who wished and resolved not to marry a parson, nor a Presbyterian, nor an Irishman; and at length found herself married to an Irish Presbyterian parson. You see I have some reason to wish that in a future state, I may not only be as well as I was, but a little better.
And I hope it: for I too, with your poet, trust in God. And when I observe that there is great frugality, as well as wisdom, in his works, since he has been evidently sparing both of labour and materials; for by the various wonderful inventions of propagation, he has provided for the continual peopling his world with plants and animals, without being at the trouble of repeated new creations; and by the natural reduction of compound substances to their original elements, capable of being employed in new compositions, he has prevented the necessity of creating new matter; so that the earth, water, air, and perhaps fire, which being compounded form wood, do when the wood is dissolved, return, and again become air, earth, fire, and water; I say, that when I see nothing annihilated, and not even a drop of water wasted, I cannot suspect the annihilation of souls, or believe that he will suffer the daily waste of millions of minds ready made that now exist, and put himself to the continual trouble of making new ones. Thus finding my