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dertake any thing like a reformation in matters of religion, When we can sow good seed, we should however do it, and wait, when we can do no better, with patience nature's tiine for their sprouting. Some lie many years in the ground, and at length certain favorable seasons or circumstances bring them forth with vigorous shoots and plentiful productions.
Had I been at home as you wish, soon after the peace, I might possibly have mitigated some of the severities against the royalists, believing as I do that fear and error rather than malice occasioned their desertion of their country's cause, and adoption of the King's. The public resentment against them is now so far abated, that none who ask leave to return are refused, and many of them now live among us much at their ease. As to the restoration of confiscated estates, it is an operation that none of our politicians have as yet ventured to propose. They are a sort of people that love to fortify themselves in their projects by precedent. · Perhaps they wait to see your government restore the forfeited estates in Scotland to the Scotch, those in Ireland to the Irish, and those in England to the Welch.
I am glad that the distressed exiles who remain with you have received, or are likely to receive, some compensation for their losses, for I commiserate their situation. It was clearly incumbent on the King to indemnify those he had seduced by his proclamations : but it seems not so clearly consistent with the wisdom of parliament to resolve doing it for him. If some mad King should think fit in a freak to make war upon his subjects of Scotland, or upon those of England, by the help of Scotland and Ireland (as Vol. I.
the Stuarts did) may he not encourage followers by the precedent of these parliamentary gratuities, and thus set his subjects to cutting one another's throats, first with the hope of sharing in confiscations, and then with that of compensation in case of disappointment? The council of brutes without a fable were aware of this. Lest that fable may perhaps not have fallen in your way, I inclose a copy of in abunding the winter se treba i
Your commercial treaty with France seems to show a growing improvement in the sentiments of both nations in the economical science. All Europe might be a great deal happier, with a little more understanding. We in America have lately bad a convention for framing a new constitution. Inclosed I send you be resul berations. Whether it will be generally acceptable and carried into execution is yet to be seen, but present apo pearances are in its favor.
I am always glad to hear from you, and.. fare. I remember with pleasure the happy ays spent together. Adieu, and believe me ever my car friend, yours most affectionately,
To M. DUPONT DE NEMOURS, AT PARIS. New Constitution of the United States— Principles i
Philadelphia, June 9, 1788.
I have received your favor of Decembe 31, with the extract of a letter which you wish to have translated and published here. But seven States having,
before it arrived, ratified the new Constitution, and others being daily expected to do the same, after the fullest discussion in convention, and in all the public papers, 'till every body was tired of the argument; it seemed too late to propose delay, and especially the delay that must be occasioned by a revision and correction of all the separate Constitutions. For it would take at least a year to convince thirteen States that the Constitutions they have practised ever since the revolution, without observing any imperfections in them so great as to be worth the trouble of amendment, are nevertheless so ill formed as to be unfit for continuation, or to be parts of a federal government. And when they should be so convinced, it would probably take some years more to make the counections. An eighth State has since acceded, and when a ninth is added, which is now daily expected, the Constitution will be carried into execution. It is probable however that at the first meeting of the new Congress, various amendments will be proposed and discussed, when I hope your Ouvrage sur les principes et le bien des republiques en général. &c. &c. may be ready to put into their hands; and such a work from your hand I am confident, though it may not be entirely followed, will afford useful hints, and produce advantages of importance. But we must not expect that a new government may be formed, as a game of chess may be played, by a skilful hand, without a fault. The players of our game are so many, their ideas so different, their prejudices so strong and so various, and their particular interests independent of the general seeming so opposite, that not a move can be made that is not contested ; the numerous objections confound the understand
ing; the wisest must agree to some unreasonable things, that reasonable ones of more consequence may be obtained, and thus chance has its share in many of the determinations, so that the play is more like tric-trac with a box of dice.
We are much pleased with the disposition of your government to favour our commerce, manifested in the late réglement. You appear to be possessed of a truth which few governments are possessed of, that A must take some of B's produce, otherwise B will not be able to pay for what he would take of A. But there is one thing wanting to facilitate and augment our intercourse. It is a dictionary, explaining the names of different articles of manufacture, in the two languages. When I was in Paris 1 received a large order for a great variety of goods, particularly of the kind called hardwares, i. e. wares, of iron and steel : and when I shewed the invoice to your manufacturers, they did not understand what kind of goods or instruments were meant by the names : nor could any English and French dictionary be found to explain them. So I sent to England for one of each sort, which might serve both as explanation and as a model, the latter being of importance likewise, since people are prejudiced in favour of forms they have been used to, though perhaps not the best. They cost me 25 guineas, but were lost by the way, and the peace coming on the scheme dropped. It would however, as I imagine, be well worth receiving. For our merchants say we still send to England for such goods as we want, because there they understand our orders, and can execute then precisely. With great and sincere esteem, I am, &c. . . B. FRANKLIN.
To the PRINTER OF THE EVENING HERALD.
Justification of the State of Massachusetts, against certain
..meie Censures in the British Papers.. :D
The British news.writers are very assiduous in their endeavours to blacken America. Should we not be careful not to afford them any assistance by censures of one another, especially by censures not well founded ?
I lately observed in one of your papers, the conduct of the State of Massachusetts reflected on as being inconsistent and absurd, as well as wicked, for attempting to raise a tax by a Stamp Act, and for carrying on the Slave Trade.
The writer of those reflections might have considered, that their principal objection to the Stamp Tax, was, its
being imposed by a British parliament, which had no · right to tax them, for otherwise a tax by Stamps is perhaps
to be levied with as little inconvenience as any other that can be invented. Ireland has a Stamp Act of its own; but should Britain pretend to impose such a tax on the Irish people they would probably give a general opposition to it, and ought not for that to be charged with inconsistence.
One or two merchants in Boston, employing ships in the abominable African trade, may deservedly be condemned, though they do not bring their slaves home, but sell them in the West Indies. The State as such, has never, that I have heard of, given encouragement to the diabolical commerce; and there has always been fewer slaves in the New England governments, than in any other British colonies. National reflections are seldom just,