Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

names for science. The vacancy I have the honor of filling was made by the death of the late celebrated Van Swieten of Vienna. This mark of respect from the first academy in the world, which Abbé Nollet, one of its members, took so much pains to prejudice against my doctrines, I consider as a kind of victory without ink-shed, since I never answered him. I am told he has but one of his sect now remaining in the Academy. All the rest, who have in any degree acquainted themselves with electricity, are as he calls them Franklinists.* Yours, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

TO ANTHONY BENEZET.T
On the Slave Trade.

London, 22 August, 1772.
DEAR FRIEND,
I made a little extract from yours of April 27th, of
the number of slaves imported and perishing, with

• The following is the reply, which Dr. Franklin wrote to the Duke de Vrillière, who had informed him of his having been chosen a member of the Royal Academy at Paris.

“Dear Sir; It was with the greatest pleasure I received the information your Grace has condescended to give me, of my nomination by the King to fill a vacancy in the Academy of Sciences, as Associé Etranger. I have a high sense of the great honor thereby conferred on me, and beg that my grateful acknowledgments may be presented to his Majesty. With the greatest respect, &c." - London, September 4th, 1772.

† A distinguished philanthropist, who was born in France, but passed the larger part of his life in Philadelphia. He belonged to the Society of Friends. He was remarkable for his disinterestedness and beneyolence in all the affairs of life ; but the objects, to which his thoughts and his time were the most earnestly devoted, were the amelioration of the condition of the negroes and the abolition of the slave trade. His writings are supposed to have had considerable influence in preparing the public mind for this latter event in the United States, which was finally consummated in the year 1808. He died at Philadelphia, May 3d, 1784, at the age of seventy-one.

some close remarks on the hypocrisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable commerce by laws for promoting the Guinea trade; while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and the equity of its courts, in setting free a single negro. This was inserted in the London Chronicle, of the 20th of June last.

I thank you for the Virginia address, which I shall also publish with some remarks. I am glad to hear that the disposition against keeping negroes grows more general in North America. Several pieces have been lately printed here against the practice, and I hope in time it will be taken into consideration and suppressed by the legislature. Your labors have already been attended with great effects. I hope, therefore, you and your friends will be encouraged to proceed. My hearty wishes of success attend you, being ever, my dear friend, yours affectionately,

B. FRANKLIN.

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY.

Lord Hillsborough's Resignation. Lord Dartmouth succeeds him. Lord Rochford.

London, 22 August, 1772. DEAR FRIEND, I acknowledged before the receipt of your favor of May 14th, since which I have no line from you. It will be a pleasure to render any service to Mr. Tilghman, whom you recommended.

The acts passed in your winter and spring sessions I have not yet received; nor have I heard from Mr. Wilmot, that they have been presented.

Lord Hillsborough, mortified by the Committee of Council's approbation of our grant, in opposition to his VOL. VIII.

2

report, has resigned. I believe, when he offered to do so, he had such an opinion of his importance, that he did not think it would be accepted ; and that it would be thought prudent rather to set our grant aside than part with him. His colleagues in the ministry were all glad to get rid of him, and perhaps for this reason joined more readily in giving him that mortification. Lord Dartmouth succeeds him, who has much more favorable dispositions towards the colonies. He has heretofore expressed some personal regard for me, and I hope now to find our business with the Board more easy to transact.

Your observations on the state of the Islands did not come to hand, till after Lord Rochford had withdrawn his petition.* His Lordship and the promoters of it were so roasted on the occasion, that I believe another of the kind will not very soon be thought of. The Proprietor was at the expense of the opposition; and, as I knew it would not be necessary, and thought it might be inconvenient to our affairs, I did not openly engage in it; but I gave some private assistance, that I believe was not without effect. I think too that Mr. Jackson's opinion was of great service. I would lodge a copy of your paper in the Plantation Office against any similar future applications, if you approve of it. I only think the Island holders make too great a concession to the crown, when they suppose it may have a right to quitrent. It can have none, in my opinion, on the old grants from Indians, Swedes, and Dutch, where none was reserved. And I think those grants so clearly good, as to need no confirmation; to obtain which I suppose is the only motive for offering such quitrent. I imagine, too, that it may not be amiss to affix a caveat in the Plantation Office, in the behalf of holders of property in those islands, against any grant of them that may be applied for, till they have had timely notice, and an opportunity of being fully heard. Mr. Jackson is out of town, but I shall confer with him on the subject as soon as he returns. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

* Islands in the Delaware River, to which Lord Rochford had made a claim.

B. FRANKLIN.

TO THOMAS CUSHING. Petition to the King. Lord Dartmouth appointed Minister of American Affairs.

London, 3 September, 1772 SIR, I write this line, just to acknowledge the receipt of your several favors of July 15th and 16th, containing the resolves of the House relating to the governor's salary, and the petition to the King.

Lord Dartmouth, now our American minister, is at present in the country, and will probably not be in town till the season of business comes on. I shall then immediately put the petition into his hands, to be presented to his Majesty. I may be mistaken, but I imagine we shall not meet the same difficulty in transacting business with him, as with his predecessor, on whose removal I congratulate you and the Assembly most heartily. I shall write fully by some of the next Boston ships ; at present can only add, that, with the sincerest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.

Moral Algebra, or Method of deciding doubtful
Matters with One's Self.

London, 19 September, 1772. DEAR SIR, In the affair of so much importance to you, wherein you ask my advice, I cannot, for want of sufficient premises, counsel you what to determine ; but, if you please, I will tell you how. When those difficult cases occur, they are difficult, chiefly because, while we have them under consideration, all the reasons pro and con are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us.

To get over this, my way is, to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one pro, and over the other con; then during three or four days' consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different times occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights; and, where I find two (one on each side) that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I find a reason pro equal to some two reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two reasons con, equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out the five ; and thus proceeding I find at length where the balance lies; and if, after a day or two of farther consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly. And, though the weight

« ZurückWeiter »