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I, who, in the character or your physician, have saved you from the palsy, dropsy, and apoplexy? one or other of which would have done for you long ago, but for me.
Franklin.--I submit, and thank you for the past, but intreat the discontinuance of your visits for the future: for in my mind one had better die, than be cured so dolefully. Permit me just to hint, that I have also not been unfriendly to you. I never feed physician, or quack of any kind, to enter the list against you; if then you do not leave me to my repose, it may be said you are ungrateful too,
Gout.--I can scarcely acknowledge that as any objection. As to quacks, I despise them; they may kill you, indeed, but cannot injure me. And as to regular physicians, they are at last convinced, that the gout, in şuch a subject as you are, is no disease, but a remedy; and wherefore cure a remedy ?- but to our business There.
Franklin.-Oh! Oh!-for heaven's sake leave me; and I promise faithfully, never more to play at chess, but to take exercise daily, and live temperately.
Gout. I know you 100 well. You promise fair ; but, after a few months of good health, you will return to your old habits; your fine promises will be forgotten like the forms of the last year's clouds. Let us then finish the account and I will go. But I leave you with an assurance of visiting you again at a proper time and place; for my object is your good, and you are sensible now, that I am your real friend,
TO TO MISS HUBBARD.
On the Deuth of Relatives*.
Philadelphia, Feb. 22, 1756. I CONDOLE with you, We have lost a most dear and valuable relationt. But it is the will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead.' Why then should we grieve, that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society ? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent, that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He, who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it: and he, who quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains, and possibilities of pains and diseases, it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.
* From the Columbian Magazine, Vol. I. p. 208. Editor,
Dr. Frauklin's brother, Mr. John Franklin,
Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first, and be is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together : and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him ?
TO MADAME BRILLIANT.
The Ephemera an Emblem of human Life.* YOU may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spent that happy day, in the delightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopt a little in one of our walks, and staid some time behind the company. We had been shown numberless skeletons of a kind of litile fly, called an ephemera, whose successive generations, we were told, were bred and expired within the day. I happened to see a living company of them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in conversation. You know I understand all the inferior animal tongues: my too great application to the study of them is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I have made in your charming language. I listened through curiosity to the discourse of these little creatures; but as they, in their national vivacity, spoke three or four
* From the American Museum, Vol. VIII. p. 188. It was written dur. ing the author's residence at Passy, and a translation of it at that time appeared in one of the Parisian periodical publications. This appears to be the original piece. Editor.
together, I could make but little of their conversation. I found, however by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, one a cousin, the other a muscheto ; in which dispute they spent their time, seemingly as regardless of the shortness of life, as if they had been sure of living a month. Happy people! thought I, you live certainly under a wise, just, and mild government, since
you have no public grievances to complain of, nor any subject of contention, but the perfections and imperfections of foreign music. I turned my
head from them to an old grey-headed one, who was single on another leaf, and talking to himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to whom I am so inuch indebted for the most pleasing of all amuseInents, her delicious company, and heavenly harmony.
" It was,” says he, “the opinion of learned philosophers of our race, who lived and flourished long before my tiine, that this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could not itself subsist more than eighteen hours; and I think there was some foundation for that opinion: since, by the apparent motion of the great luminary, that gives life to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of our earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal death and destruction. I have lived seven of those hours; a great age, being no less than four hundred and twenty minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long? I have seen generations born, Aourish, and expire. My present friends are the children and
grand. grand-children of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas no more! And I must soon follow them; for, by the course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight minutes longer. What now avails all my toil and labour, in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy! What the political struggles I have been engaged in, for the good of my com-patriot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosophical studies, for the benefit of our race in general! for in politics (what can laws do without morals ?) our present race of ephemeræ will in a course of minutes become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched: and in philosophy how small our progress! Alas! art is long, and life is short? My friends would comfort me with the idea of a name, they say, I shall leave behind me; and they tell me, I have lived long enough to nature and to glory. But what will fame be to an ephemera, who no longer exists? and what will become of all history in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in universal ruin?".