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FROM GIACOMO F. CROCCO TO B. FRANKLIN.
Cadiz, 25 November, 1783.
On the 15th of July last, I had the honor to acquaint your Excellency of my arrival in Europe, and that I was appointed by his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, bearer of the answer to the Congress, Sovereign of the Thirteen United States of North America, and that, according to my instructions, I was to meet at Paris the ambassador, that would be appointed by the Congress, to sign at the Court of Morocco the treaty of peace and commerce, agreeably to the proposals made to his Imperial Majesty, by Robert Montgomery, in his letter dated at Alicant, the 4th of January, 1783. Since I have been at the court of Madrid, where I had some commissions from the Emperor, and to see the execution of them, I came to this place, from whence I intend to embark in three or four months for Barbary, unless in the mean time I should receive an answer from your Excellency, with orders, that Mr. Richard Harrison should give me for my travelling charges fifteen hundred hard dollars, although the courts of Europe are accustomed to allow the ministers of my master at the rate of ten pounds sterling per day, while they are in Europe, to defray their expenses, besides presents for their good offices in those important affairs.
His Imperial Majesty was graciously pleased at my solicitation to agree, at the request of Congress, to grant them a treaty of peace (which other powers in Europe could not obtain but after many years), and my return, without the full execution of his commands, I apprebend may for ever indispose him against the United Provinces. I remain most truly, Sir, &c.
GIACOMO F. Crocco.
three successions of a set of a thousand each, in every kingdom of Europe, (gentlemen too, of equal or superior fortune,) no one of which sets, in the course of their lives, has done the good effected by this man alone! Good, not only to his own nation, and to his contemporaries, but to distant countries, and to late posterity; for such must be the effect of his multiplying and distributing copies of the works of our best English writers, on subjects the most important to the welfare of society.
I knew him personally but little. I sometimes met with him at the Royal Society and the Society of Arts; but he appeared shy of my acquaintance, though he often sent me valuable presents, such as Hamilton's Works,* Sidney's Works, &c., which are now among the most precious ornaments of my library. We might possibly, if we had been more intimate, have concerted some useful operations together; but he loved to do his good alone and secretly; and I find besides, in perusing these Memoirs, that I was a doubtful character with him. I do not respect him less for his error; and I am obliged to the editors, for the justice they have done me. They have made a little mistake in page 400, where a letter, which appeared in a London paper, January 7th, 1768, is said to have been written by Mr. Adams. It was written by me, and is reprinted in Mr. Vaughan's Collection of my Political Pieces, p. 231. This erratum is of no great importance, but may be corrected in a future edition.
I see Mr. Hollis had a collection of curious medals.
• There is here probably a fault of memory in regard to the name of the author; or perhaps an error of the press. The work alluded to, may have been “ Toland's Life of Milton," an elegant edition of which was published by Thomas Hollis.
If he had been still living, I should certainly have sent him one of the medals that I have caused to be struck here. I think the countenance of my Liberty would have pleased him. I suppose you possess the collection, and have the same taste. I beg you therefore to accept of one of these medals as a mark of my respect, and believe me to be, with sinccre esteem, &c.
FROM THE COUNT DE BRUHL TO B. FRANKLIN.*
Petworth, 10 October, 1783. SIR, I was very much flattered with the letter I had the pleasure to receive from your Excellency by means of the ingenious M. de Kempel's arrival in this country.t The favorable opinion you entertain of his tal
• Count de Bruhl was the minister of the Elector of Saxony to the court of Great Britain,
Kempel, the celebrated inventor of the Automaton Chess-player, was introduced to Dr. Franklin by letters from Vienna. M. Valltravers wrote to him ; " The occasion of this letter is furnished me by a very ingenious gentleman, M. Kempel, counsellor of his Imperial Majesty's finances for the kingdom of Hungary, who, on a furlough obtained for two years, is ready to set out for Paris, Brussels, and England, attended by his whole family, his lady, two sons, and two daughters; not only to satisfy his own curiosity, but also in a great measure that of the public. Endowed with a peculiar taste and genius for mechanical inventions and improvements, for which he sees no manner of encouragement in these parts, he means to impart several of his most important discoveries and experiments wherever they shall be best received and rewarded. As an amusing specimen of his skill in mechanics, and as a means at the same time of supporting his travelling charges, he intends to exhibit the figure of a Turk playing at chess with any player; and answering, by pointing at the letters of an alphabet, any question made to him. I saw him play twice without discovering his intelligent director anywhere in or about him. If there were nothing but the organization of his arm, hand, and fingers, besides the motions of his head, that alone would entitle him to no small admiration.
“Besides his chess-player, M. Kempel has amused himself with form
ents is alone sufficient to convince me of their extent and usefulness. I cannot find words to express the gratitude I feel for the honor of your remembrance. I shall, therefore, only beg leave to assure you, that it will be the pride of my life to have been noticed by one of the most distinguished characters of the age, and I shall endeavour, upon all occasions, to contribute my small mite of admiration to the universal applause, which your eminent qualities, as a philosopher and a politician, are so well entitled to. I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, &c.
THE COUNT DE BRUHL.
ing the figure of a child, uttering the first articulate sounds of elocution. Of these I have heard it pronounce distinctly upwards of thirty words and phrases. There remain but five or six letters of the alphabet, the expression of which he intends to complete at Paris." — Vienna, December 24th, 1782.
Chess was a favorite amusement with Dr. Franklin, and one of his best papers is written on that subject. See Vol. II. p. 187. He was pleased with the performance of the automaton. In a short letter, soon after his arrival in Paris, M. Kempel said to him; “If I have not, immediately on my return from Versailles, renewed my request, that you will be present at a representation of my automaton chess-player, it was only to gain a few days in which I might make some progress in another very interesting machine, upon which I have been employed, and which I wish you to see at the same time.” This machine was probably the speaking figure mentioned by Mr. Valltravers.
The inventor's name occurs with a various orthography, as Kempelen, Kemple, Kempl, but his autograph is Kempel.
FROM SAMUEL COOPER TO B. FRANKLIN. Impost of Five per Cent agreed to by the Legislature
Boston, 16 October, 1783.
The consul general of France kindly informing me, that a vessel was on the point of sailing for Brest, I have only a moment to inform you, that the House of Representatives for this State have this moment passed an act for a duty of five per cent, on all goods imported, for paying the interest of our national debt, according to the requisition of Congress. This measure has met with uncommon opposition here. Congress having voted to the officers of the army five years' whole pay after the war, instead of half-pay for life, a great popular disgust took place in the New England States. At the beginning of the present session of the General Court, a great majority of the Lower House were warmly determined against granting the impost to Congress, knowing that part of it would be applied to the payment of the officers. Near forty towns in this State had expressly instructed their representatives against such an impost. The Senate, however, judging more wisely, were almost unanimous in favor of it. Both Houses remained firm in their opinion, and it was concluded nothing could be done on this business, at least in the present session.
At this juncture, the Governor, who had before, in his speech to both Houses at the meeting of the Court, endeavoured to impress them with the importance of supporting public credit, made a second address to them, of the same import. It produced a conference between both Houses, and the effect of all has been a decision in the House of Representa