Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

To Miss CATHERINE LOUISA Shipley.'
On the Death of her Father.

Philadelphia, April 27, 1789.

It is only a few days since the kind letter of my dear young friend, dated December 24, came to my hands. I had before in the public papers met with the afflicting news that letter contained. That excellent man has then left us !-his departure is a loss not to his family and friends only, but to his nation, and to the world : for he was intent on doing good, had wisdom to devise the means, and talents to promote them. His sermon before the society for propagating the gospel, and “ his speech intended to be spoken,are proofs of his ability as well as his humanity. Had his counsels in those pieces been attended to by the ministers, how much bloodshed might have been prevented, and how much expense and disgrace to the nation avoided!

Your reflections on the constant calmness and composure attending bis death are very sensible. Such instances seem to show, that the good sometimes enjoy in dying a foretaste of the happy state they are about to enter.

According to the course of years I should have quitted this world long before him: I shall however not be long in following. I am now in my eighty-fourth year, and the last year has considerably enfeebled me; so that I hardly expect to remain another. You will then, iny dear friend, consider this as probably the last line to be received from me, and as a taking leave. Present my best and most

A daughter of the Bishop of St. Asaph.

sincere respects to your good mother, and love to the rest of the family, to whom I wish all happiness; and believe me to be, while I do live, yours most affectionately,

B. FRANKLIN.

TO THE Rev. Dr. PRICE.

ness.

Reflections on Life and Death.

Philadelphia, May 31, 1789. MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,

I lately received your kind letter, inclosing one from Miss Kitty Shipley, informing me of the good bishop's decease, which afflicted me greatly. My friends drop off one after another, when my age and infirmities prevent my making new ones, and if I still retained the necessary activity and ability, I hardly see among the existing generation where I could make them of equal good

So that the longer I live I must expect to be the more wretched. As we draw nearer the conclusion of life, nature furnishes with more helps to wean us from it, among which one of the most powerful is the loss of such dear friends.

I send you with this the two volumes of our transactions, as I forget whether you had the first before. If you had, you will please to give this to the French Ambassador, requesting his conveyance of it to the good Duke de la Rochefoucault.

My best wishes attend you, being ever, with sincere and great esteem, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. FRANKLIN.

Vol. I.

R

To B. VAUGHAN, Esq.

Relative to his own Memoirs.

Philadelphia, June 3, 1789. MY DEAREST FRIEND,

I received your kind letter of March 4, and wish I may be able to complete what you so earnestly desire, the Memoirs of my life. But of late I am so interrupted by extreme pain, which obliges me to have recourse to opium, that between the effects of both, I have but little time in which I can write any thing.' My grand-son however is copying what is done, which will be sent to you for your opinion by the next vessel; and not merely for your opinion but for your advice; for I find it a difficust task to speak decently and properly of one's own conduct; and I feel the want of a judicious friend to encourage me in scratching out.

I have condoled sincerely with the Bishop of St. Asaph's family. He was an excellent man. Losing our friends thus one by one, is the tax we pay for long living; and it is indeed a heavy one!

I have not seen the King of Prussia's posthumous works; what you mention makes me desirous to have them. Please to mention it to your brother William, and that I request he would add them to the books I have desired him to buy for me.

Our new Government is now in train, and seems to promise well. But events are in the hand of God! I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. FRANKLIN.

To Mr. Wright, LONDON.
State of America.--Abolition of the Slave Trade.

Philadelphia, Nov. 4, 1789.
DEAR FRIEND,

I received your kind letter of July the 31st, which gave me great pleasure, as it informed me of the welfare both of yourself and your good lady, to whom please to present my respects. I thank you for the epistle of your yearly meeting, and for the card (a specimen of printing) which was inclosed.

We have now had one Session of Congress which was conducted under our new constitution, and with as much general satisfaction as could reasonably be expected. I wish the struggle in France may end as happily for that nation. We are now in the full enjoyment of our new government for eleven of the states, and it is generally thought that North Carolina is about to join it. Rhode Island will probably take longer time for consideration.We have had a most plentiful year for the fruits of the earth, and our people seem to be recovering fast from the extravagance and idle habits which the war had introdaced; and to engage seriously in the contrary habits, of temperance, frugality and industry, which give the most pleasing prospect of future national felicity. Your merchants, however, are, I think, imprudent in crowding in upon us such quantities of goods for sale here, which are not written for by ours, and are beyond the faculties of this country to consume, in any reasonable time. This surplus of goods is therefore, to raise present muney, sent to the vendues, or auction-houses, of which we have six or seven in and near this city; where they are sold fre

quently for less than prime cost, to the great loss of the indiscreet adventurers. Our newspapers are doubtless to be seen at your coffee-houses near the exchange; in their advertisements you may observe the constancy and quantity of this kind of sales; as well as the quantity of goods imported by our regular traders. I see in your English newspapers frequent mention of our being out of credit with you; to us it appears that we have abundantly too much, and that your exporting merchants are rather out of their senses.

I wish success to your endeavours for obtaining an aholition of the Slave Trade. The epistle from your yearly meeting for the year 1758, was not the first sowing of the good seed you mention; for I find by an old pamphlet in my possession, that GEORGE Keith, near an hundred years since, wrote a paper against the practice, said to be

given forth by the appointment of the meeting held by him, at Philip James's house, in the city of Philadelphia, about the year 1693;" wherein a strict charge was given to friends, “ that they should set their negroes at liberty after some reasonable time of service, &c. &c.” And about the year 1728, or 29, I myself printed a book for Ralph Sandyford, another of your friends in this city, against keeping negroes iu slavery; two editions of which he distributed gratis. And about the year 1736 I printed another book on the same subject for Benjamin Lay, who also professed being one of your friends, and he distributed the books chiefly among them. By these instances it appears that the seed was indeed sown in the good ground of your profession, (though much earlier than the time you mention) and its springing up to effect at last, though so late, is some confirination of Lord Bacon's observation,

« ZurückWeiter »