« ZurückWeiter »
Having served my time of three years as president, I have now renounced all public business, and enjoy the otium cum dignitate. My friends indulge me with their frequent visits, which I have now leisure to receive and enjoy. The Philosophical Society, and the Society for Political Inquiries meet at my house, which I have enlarged by additional building, that affords me a large room for those meetings, another over it for my library, now very considerable, and over all some lodging rooms. I have seven promising grand-children by my daughter, who play with and amuse me, and she is a kind attentive nurse to me when I am at any time indisposed ; so that I pass my time as agreeably as at my age (83) a man may well expect, and have little to wish for, except a more easy exit than my malady seems to threaten.
The deafness you complain of gives me concern, as if great it must diminish considerably your pleasure in conversation. If moderate, you may remedy it easily and readily, by putting your thumb and fingers behind your ear, pressing it outwards, and enlarging it as it were, with the hollow of your hand. By an exact experiment I found that I could hear the tick of a watch at forty-five feet distance by this means, which was barely audible at twenty feet without it. The experiment was made at midnight when the house was still. I am glad you ħave sent those directions respecting ventila
to the Edinburgh Society. 1 hope you have added an account of the experience you had of it in Minorca. If they do not print your paper send it to me, and it shall be in the 'third volume which we are about to publish of our transactions.
Mrs. Hewson joins withi us in best wishes for your health and happiness. Her eldest son has gone through his studies at our college, and takes his degree. The youngest is still there, and will be graduated this summer. My grandson
presents his respects; and I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
You never mention the receipt of any letters from me. I wish to know if they come to band, particularly my last enclosing the apologue.' You mention some of my old friends being dead, but not their names.
To Mrs. GREENE.
Philadelphia, March 2, 1789. DEAR FRIEND,
Having now done with public affairs, which have hitherto taken up so much of my time, I shall endeavor to enjoy, during the small remainder of life that is left to me, some of the pleasures of conversing with my old friends by writing, since their distance prevents my hope of seeing them again,
I received one of the bags of sweet corn you was so good as to send me a long time since, but the other never came to hand; even the letter mentioning it, though dated December 10, 1787, has been above a year on its way, for I received it but about two weeks since from Baltimore in Maryland. The corn I did receive was excellent, and gave me great pleabure. Accept my hearty thanks.
I am, as you suppose in the above-mentioned old letter, much pleased to hear that my young friend Ray is “smart in the farming way," and makes such substantial fences. I think agriculture the most honorable of all employments, being the most independent: the farmer has no need of popular favor,
See WRITINOS, Part III. Sect. 8.
nor the favor of the great: the success of his crops dependo ing only on the blessing of God upon his honest industry. I congratulate your good spouse, that he, as well as' myself, is now free from public cares, and that he can bend his whole attention to his farming, which will afford him both profit and pleasure; a business which nobody knows better how to manage with advantage. I am too old to follow printing again myself, but loving the business, I have brought up my grandson Benjamin to it, and have built and furnished a printing-house for him, which he now manages under'my eyes I have great pleasure in the rest of my grand-children, who are now in number eight, and all promising, the youngest only six months old, but shows signs of great good-nature. My friends here are numerous, and I enjoy as much of their conversation as I can reasonably wish; and I have as much' health and cheerfulness as can well be expected at my age, now eighty-three. Hitherto this long life has been tolerably happy; so that if I were allowed to live it over again, I should make no objection, only wishing for leave to do, what authors do in a second edition of their works, correct some of my errata. Among the felicities of my life I reckon your friendship, which I shall remember with pleasure as long as that life lasts ; being ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
To Miss CATHERINE LOUISA SAIPLEY."
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,
! A daughter of the bishop of St. Asaph.
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 his 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 epfeebled me ; so that I hardly expect to remain another. You will then, my dear friend, consider: this as probably the last line to be received from me, and as a taking leave. Present my best and most 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,
TO THB Rev. DR. PRICE
Philadelphia, May 31, 1789. MX VERY DEAR FRIEND,
I lately received your kind letter, enclosing 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 preyent my making new.ones; and if I still retained the necessary activity and ability, 1 hardly see among the existing generation where I could make them of equal goodness. 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 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 bis 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,
To B. VAUGHAN, Esg.
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