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To Mrs. PARTRIDGE. On the Death of Ben Kent.-Orthodoxy. (EXTRACT.) Philadelphia, Nov. 25, 1788.
“ You tell me our poor friend Ben Kent is gone, I hope to the regions of the blessed; or at least to some place where souls are prepared for those regions ! I found my hope on this, that though not so orthodox as you and I, he was an honest man, and had his virtues. If he had any hypocrisy, it was of that inverted kind, with wbich a man is not so bad as he seems to be. And with regard to future bliss, I cannot help imagining that multitudes of the zealously orthodox of different sects, who at the last day may flock together, in hopes of seeing each other damned, will be disappointed, and obliged to rest content with their own salvation. Yours, &c.
To Mrs. Mecom, Boston. : (EXTRACT.) Philadelphia, Noo. 26, 1788. “I never see any
You mention there being often something in them to do me honor. I am obliged to them. On the other hand, some of our papers here are endeavouring to disgrace me. I have long been accustomed to receive more blame as well as more praise than I have deserved. 'Tis the lot of every public man. And I leave one account to balance the other.
As you observe, there was no d—n your souls in the
1 Dr. Franklin's sister.
story of the poker when I told it. The late dresser of it was probably the same, or perhaps of kin to him, who in relating a dispute that happened between Queen Anne and the Archbishop of Canterbury concerning a vacant mitre, which the Queen was for bestowing on a person the Archbishop thought unworthy, made both the Queen and the Archbishop swear three or four thumping oaths in every sentence of the discussion; and the Archbishop at last gained his point. One present at the tale being surprised, said, But did the Queen and the Archbishop swear so at one another? O! no, no, said the relator; that is only my way of telling the story. Yours, &c.
To MR. SMALL.
On the Stone.-- Expedient to assist Hearing.
Philadelphia, Feb. 17, 1789. DEAR FRIEND,
I have just received your kind letter of Nov. 29, and am much obliged by your friendly attention in sending me the receipt, which on occasion I may make trial of; but the stone I have being a large one, as I find by the weight it. falls with when I turn in bed, I have no hope of its being dissoluble by any medicine; and having been for some time past pretty free from pain, I am afraid of tampering. I congratulate you on the escape you
had by voiding the one you mention, that was as big as a kidney bean; had it been retained it might 'soon have become too large to pass, and proved the cause of much pain at times, as mine has been to me.
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 Enquiries 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 have sent those directions respecting ventilation to the Edinburgh Society. I hope you have added an account of the experience you had of it at 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 with 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 sum mer. 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 hand, particularly my last inclosing the apologue. You mention some of my friends being dead, but not their names.
Philadelphia, March 2, 1789. DEAR FRIEND,
Having now done with public affairs, which have hitherto taken up so much of my time, I shall endeavour 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 com I did receive was excellent, and gave me great pleasure. 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, nor the favor of the great.' The success of his crops depending 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 advanlage. I am too old to follow printing again myself, but loving the business, I have brought up my grand-son Benjamin to it, and have built and furnished a printing-house for him, which he now manages under my eye. 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 show's 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,