Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

after I returned, discoursing with a gentleman concerning the artists of Birmingham, he said you would be a means of blinding all the readers in the nation; for the strokes of your letters being too thin and narrow, hurt the eye, and he could never read a line of them without pain. I thought, said I, you were going to complain of the gloss of the paper, some object to. “ No, no,” said he, “I have heard that mentioned, but it is not that; it is in the form and cut of the letters themselves ; they have not that height and thickness of the stroke, which makes the common printing so much the more comfortable to the eye.” -You see this gentleman was a connoisseur. In vain I endeavoured to support your character against the charge; he knew what he felt, and could see the reason of it, and several other gentlemen among his friends had made the same observation, &c. Yesterday be called to visit me,

upon the japanning business, which succeeded so well as to enable him to purchase a country house and to set up his carriage; each pannel of which was a distinct picture, and the whole might be considered as a pattern card of his trade. In 1750, he began business as a type-founder, on which he spent many hundreds before he could produce a letter to please himself. By perseverance he overcame all obstacles, and in 1756 published an edition of Virgil in quarto, which was followed by Paradise Lost, the Bible, Common Prayer, and several other works. In 1765, he applied to Dr. Franklin, then at Paris, to sound the literati there respecting the purchase of his types, but the proposal was not accepted. They were many years after purchased by the celebrated M. De Beaumarchais, and employed in the printing his edition of the works of Voltaire. Baskerville died at Birmingham, in 1775; and as he had an aversion to churchyards, he was by his own direction buried in a mausoleum erected on his own grounds. when, mischievously bent to try his judgment, I stepped into my closet, tore off the top of Mr. Caslou's' specimen, and produced it to him as yours, brought with me from Birmingham; saying, I had been examining it, since he spoke to me, and could not for my life perceive the disproportion he mentioned, desiring him to point it out to me. . He readily undertook it, and went over the several founts, shewing me every where what he thought instances of that disproportion; and declared, that he could not then read the specimen without feeling very strongly the pain he had mentioned to me. I spared him that time, the confusion of being told, that these were the types, he had been reading all his life with so much ease to his eyes; the types his adored Newton is printed with, on which he has pored not a little ; nay, the very types his own book is printed with; (for he is himself an author) and yet never discovered this painful disproportion in them, till he thought they were yours. I am, &c.

ANKLIN

To JOHN ALLEYNE, Esg.

On early Marriages. DEAR Jack, Craven Street, August 9, 1768.

You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections that have been made by numerous persons to your own. You may remember, when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marstages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather

[ocr errors]

An eminent type-engraver and letter-founder in London.

inclined to think, that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying, as when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder . friends of young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage, youth is sovner formed to regular and useful life; and possibly some of those accidents or connections, that might have injured the constitution, or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. Particular circumstances of particular persons, may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state ; but in general when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favor, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience, that there is not the same chance that the parents shall live to see their offspring educated. « Late children,” says the Spanish proverb, “are early orphans.A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be ! With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life ; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves ; such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blessed with more children; and from the mode among us, founded by nature, of every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Thence the swift progress of popu

lation among us, unparalleled in Europe. In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen ; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life-the fate of many here, who never intended it, but who having too long postponed the change of their condition, find, at length, that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume of a set of books, bears not the value of its proportion to the set : what think you of the odd half of a pair of scissars ? it can't well cut any thing; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher.. ins

Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe it. Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest, for slights in jest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry earnest. Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least, you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both ; being ever your affectionate friend,

B. FRANKLIN.'

To Michael Collinson, Esq.

Respecting Mr. Peler Collinson. DEAR SIR, [No date.] (supposed to be in 1768, or 1769.)

. Understanding that an account of our dear departed friend, Mr. Peter Collinson,' is intended to be given to the public, I cannot omit expressing my approbation of the design. The characters of good men are exemplary, and often stimulate the well disposed to an imitation, beneficial to mankind, and honorable to them, selves. And as you may be unacquainted with the following instances of his zeal and usefulness in promoting knowledge, which fell within my observation, I take the liberty of informing you, that in 1730, a subscription library being set on foot at Philadelphia, he encouraged the design by making several very valuable presents to it, and procuring others from his friends : and as the library

Peter Collinson, F. R. S. a very celebrated botanist, was descended from a family of ancient standing in the County of Westmoreland, but born himself in 1693, in Clement's Lane, Lombard Street. His parents realized a handsome fortune by trade in Gracechurch Street, the bulk of which coming to Peter, who was the eldest son, he was enabled to follow his favourite pursuit of natural history. He had one of the finest gardens in England, at Peckham, in Surrey, whence he removed in 1749 to Mill Hill, in the parish of Hendon in Middlesex, where he died in 1768. Mr. Collinson kept up a correspondence with men of science in all parts of the world, and he sent the first electrical machine that was ever seen in America, as a present to the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia. He was also a liberal contributor to the public library of that city; and an intimate friend of Dr. Franklin, who received from him many hints and papers on the subject of electricity.

« ZurückWeiter »