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Full text of "The writings of Benjamin Franklin;"

I 



THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

VOLUME IX 



E 
e 

THE WRITINGS 






BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

COLLECTED AND EDITED 
WITH A LIFE AND INTRODUCTION 

BY 

ALBERT HENRY SMYTH 



VOLUME IX 
1783-1788 




THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD. 

1906 
All rights rtstrotd 



l-l 



COPYRIGHT, 1906, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1906. 



1 \ 



Nortoooti 

J. 8. Cashing & Co. Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



CONTENTS 



VOLUME IX 

NO. PACE 

1384. To Gaetano Filangieri. January 11, 1783 I 

1385. To Richard Oswald. January 14, 1783 .... 3 

1386. To Comte de Vergennes. January 1 8, 1783 ... 8 

1387. To John Adams. January 19, 1783 8 

1388. To Robert R. Livingston. January 21, 1783 ... 9 

1389. To Comte de Vergennes. January 25, 1783 . . .10 

1390. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. January 27, 1783 . . .11 

1391. To John Sargent. January 27, 1783 .... 13 

1392. To Charles W. F. Dumas. February 17, 1783 . . 15 

1393. To John Coakley Lettsom. March 6, 1783 ... 15 

1394. To Robert Morris. March 7, 1783 17 

1395. To Robert R. Livingston. March 7, 1783 . . .18 

1396. To Comte de Vergennes. March 9, 1783 . . . .18 

1397. To Comte de Vergennes. March 16, 1783 . . .19 

1398. To the Earl of Buchan. March 17, 1783 .... 20 

1399. To Jonathan Shipley. March 17, 1783 .... 22 

1400. To Sir William Jones. March 17, 1783 .... 24 

1401. To John Dickinson. March 23, 1783 .... 25 

1402. To David Hartley. March 23, 1783 26 

1403. To Comte de Vergennes. March 24, 1783 ... 27 

1404. To Emmanuel de Rohan. April 6, 1783 .... 28 

1405. To M. Rosencrone. April 15, 1783 ..... 29 

1406. To Robert R. Livingston. April 15, 1783 ... 30 

1407. Introduction of Professor Marter. April 22, 1783 . . 35 

1408. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. April 26, 1783 .... 36 

1409. To Robert R. Livingston. April 27, 1783 ... 37 

1410. To Comte de Vergennes. May 4, 1783 .... 37 

1411. To Comte de Vergennes. May 5, 1783 .... 38 

1412. To Comte de Vergennes. May 5, 1783 .... 39 

1413. To David Hartley. May 8, 1783 40 

1414. To Jan Ingenhousz. May 16, 1783 41 



vi CONTENTS 

PAGE 

14! 5. Recommendation of a Galley Slave. May 22, 1783 46 

1416. To Comte de Vergennes. May 23, 1783 . ... 47 

1417. To Comte de Vergennes. June 3, 1783 47 

1418. To Philippe-Denis Pierres. June 10, 1783 . 47 

1419. To Robert R. Livingston. June 12, 1783 ... 49 

1420. To Prince des Deuxponts. June 14, 1783 . . 5 

1421. On the Shock by the Electric Bottle, and the Density of 

Glass. June 14, 1783 5 2 

1422. To Baron de Steel. June 16, 1783 53 

1423. To Captain Nathaniel Falconer. June 1 8, 1783 . . 54 

1424. To Comte de Vergennes. July 4> 1783 57 

1425. To Henry Laurens. July 6, 1783 . . . 5 8 

1426. To Robert R. Livingston. July 22, 1783 . . 59 

1427. To Comte de Vergennes. July 24, 1783 .... 73 

1428. To Sir Joseph Banks. July 27, 1783 73 

1429. Note by Benjamin Franklin upon a letter addressed to him 

by Thomas Barclay, July 28, 1783 75 

1430. To Captain Nathaniel Falconer. July 28, 1783 . . 77 

1431. To Comte de Vergennes. August 1 6, 1783 ... 78 

1432. To Henry Laurens. August 21, 1783 . . . 78 

1433. To Sir Joseph Banks. August 30, 1783 .... 79 

1434. To Elias Boudinot. August 31, 1783 .... 86 

1435. To Charles J. Fox. September 5, 1783 . . . .86 

1436. To David Hartley. September 6, 1783 .... 87 

1437. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. September 7, 1783 ... 89 

1438. To John Jay. September 10, 1783 91 

1439. To Josiah Quincy. September n, 1783 93 

1440. To Elias Boudinot. September 13, 1783 .... 96 

1441. To Richard Price. September 1 6, 1783 .... 99 

1442. To Elias Boudinot. September 27, 1783 . . . . 101 

1443. From Maximilien-Marie-Isidore Robespierre to Benjamin 

Franklin. October i, 1783 101 

1444. To Sir Edward Newenham. October 2, 1783 . . .102 

1445. To Thomas Brand Hollis. October 5, 1783 . . . 103 

1446. To Sir Joseph Banks. October 8, 1783 . . . .105 
1447- To David Hartley. October 1 6, 1783 . . . . 107 

1448. To Edward Nairne. October 1 8, 1783 . . . .108 

1449. To David Hartley. October 22, 1783 . . . .109 

1450. To Elias Boudinot. November i, 1783 . . . . 110 

1451. To Sir Joseph Banks. November 21, 1783 . . .113 



CONTENTS vii 

HO. PACK 

1452. To Sir Joseph Banks. December i, 1783 . . .119 

1453. To Henry Laurens. December 6, 1783 . . . .122 

1454. To Comte de Vergennes. December 6, 1783 . . . 124 

1455. To William Hodgson. December 10, 1783 . . . 124 

1456. To Sir Joseph Banks. December 15, 1783 . . . 125 

1457. To Comte de Vergennes. December 15, 1783 . . -125 

1458. To William Carmichael. December 15, 1783 . . . 126 

1459. To Giacomo Francesco Crocco. December 15, 1783 . 128 

1460. To Thomas Mifflin. December 25, 1783 . . . .129 

1461. To Robert Morris. December 25, 1783 . . . .135 

1462. To Ebenezer Hazard. December 26, 1783 . . . 140 

1463. To Thomas Mifflin. December 26, 1783 .... 140 

1464. To Thomas Mifflin. December 26, 1783 .... 143 

1465. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. December 26, 1783 . . .143 

1466. To Samuel Cooper. December 26, 1783 . . . .144 

1467. To Elias Boudinot. December 26, 1 783 . . . .146 

1468. To Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur. 1783 . . 147 

1469. On Immigration. (To an Unknown Correspondent.) 1783 149 

1470. To John Jay. January 6, 1784 150 

1471. To Samuel Chase. January 6, 1784 152 

1472. To David Hartley. January 7, 1784 . . . .154 

1473. To Jan Ingenhousz. January 1 6, 1784 . . . . 155 

1474. To Comte de Vergennes. January 17, 1784 . . . 157 

1475. To Mrs. Georgiana Hare-Naylor. January 25, 1784 . . 159 

1476. To Mrs. Sarah Bache. January 26, 1784 . . . . 161 

1477. To Charles W. F. Dumas. February i, 1784 . . . 168 

1478. To Henry Laurens. February 12, 1784 .... 169 

1479. To William Strahan. February 1 6, 1784 . . . -171 

1480. To Jean Baptiste Le Roy. February 25, 1784 . . .173 

1481. To Comte de Vergennes. February 26, 1784 . . . 173 

1482. To John Paul Jones. March 4, 1784 .... 174 

1483. To Benjamin Vaughan. March 5, 1784 .... 174 

1484. To Comte de Vergennes. March 5, 1784. . . . 176 

1485. To Charles Thomson. March 9, 1784 . . . .176 

1486. To Henry Laurens. March 12, 1784 .... 178 

1487. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. March 19, 1784 . . . .181 

1488. To La Sabliere de la Condamine. March 19, 1784 . . 181 

1489. To M. Mazue. March 19, 1784 183 

1490. An Economical Project. March 20, 1784 . . . .183 

1491. To John Paul Jones. March 25, 1784 .... 189 



VIII 



NO. 



CONTENTS 



1492. To John Adams. March 31, 1784 ..... 19 

1493. To Charles Thomson. March 31, 1784 . . . .190 

1494. To Madame Brillon. March 31, 1784 . . . .191 

1495. To Charles Thomson. April 16, 1784 . . . .191 

1496. To John Walter. April 17, 1784 193 

1497. To David Hartley. April 17, 1784 . . . . .196 

1498. To Benjamin Webb. April 22, 1784 . . . . 197 

1499. To Henry Laurens. April 29, 1784 198 

1500. To Benjamin Vaughan. April 29, 1784 . . . . 199 

1501. A Letter from China. May 5, 1784 200 

1502. To Samuel Mather. May 12, 1784 208 

1503. To Thomas Mifflin. May 12, 1784 210 

1504. To Henry Laurens. May 13, 1784 211 

1505. To Charles Thomson. May 13, 1784 . . . .212 

1506. To Mr. and Mrs. Jay. May 13, 1784 .... 214 

1507. To Comte de Vergennes. May 31, 1784 .... 215 

1508. Meteorological Imaginations and Conjectures. May, 1784 215 

1509. To David Hartley. June 2, 1784 219 

1510. To Conde de Campomanes. June 5, 1784 . . . 221 

1511. To Charles Thomson. June 14, 1784 .... 224 

1512. To Thomas Mifflin. June 1 6, 1784 225 

1513. Loose Thoughts on a Universal Fluid. June 25, 1784 . 227 

1514. Of the Paper Money of the United States of America. 

July 3, 1784 231 

1515. To Thomas Percival. July 17, 1784 . . . . 236 

1516. To Mason Weems and Edward Gant. July 18, 1784 . 238 

1517. To Benjamin Vaughan. July 26, 1784 .... 240 

1518. To Comte de Mercy Argenteau. July 30, 1784 . . 248 

1519. To Messrs. Sears and Smith. August 4, 1784 . . .249 

1520. To John Adams. August 6, 1784 250 

1521. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. August 15, 1784 . . .251 

1522. To William Franklin. August 16, 1784 . . . .252 

1523. To Richard Price. August 1 6, 1784 254 

1524. To Benjamin West. August 17, 1784 . . . .257 

1525. To Lord Howe. August 18, 1784 258 

1526. To William Strahan. August 19, 1784 . . . .259 

1527. To George Whatley. August 21, 1784 . . . .264 

1528. To Joseph Priestley. August 21, 1784 . . . .266 

1529. To William Temple Franklin. August 25, 1784 . . 268 

1530. To Comte de Vergennes. September 3, 1784 ... 269 



CONTENTS ix. 

NO. PACK 

1531. To Benjamin Vaughan. September 7, 1784 . . . 269 

1532. To William Temple Franklin. September 8, 1784 . . 270 

1533. To an Unknown Correspondent. September 12, 1784 . 272 

1534. To William Temple Franklin. September 13, 1784 . . 272 

1535. To William Temple Franklin. October 2, 1784 . . 274 

1536. To William Carmichael. October u, 1784 . . . 274 

1537. To Charles Thomson. October 16, 1784 .... 276 

1538. To William Temple Franklin. October 18, 1784 . . 277 

1539. To Charles Thomson. November n, 1784 . . . 278 

1540. To Richard Bache. November u, 1784 . . . .278 

1541. To Messrs. Wital and Pauche. November 15, 1784 . 279 

1542. To Dr. Brav. November 22, 1784 280 

1543. To Thomas Jefferson. November 23, 1784 . . .281 

1544. To ? 1784 282 

1545. To Samuel Jackson Pratt. 1784 283 

1546. To David Hartley. January 3, 1785 .... 284 

1547. To Richard Price. February I, 1785 . . . .286 

1548. To John Jay. February 8, 1785 287 

1549. To Richard Henry Lee. February 8, 1785 . . . 289 

1550. To Comte de Windisch-Gratz. February 22, 1785 . . 290 

1551. To William Strahan. March 5, 1785 . . . .290 

1552. To Benjamin Vaughan. [On the Criminal Laws and the 

Practice of Privateering.] March 14, 1785 . . . 291 

1553. To Richard Price. March 18, 1785 300 

1554. To William Carmichael. March 22, 1785 . . . . 301 

1555. To Richard Henry Lee. April 12, 1785 . . . .302 

1556. To Jonathan Williams. April 13, 1785 .... 303 

1557. To Benjamin Vaughan. April 21, 1785 .... 304 

1558. To Antoine-Alexis-Francois Cadet de Vaux. April 28, 1785 307 

1559. To Jan Ingenhousz. April 29, 1785 307 

1560. To Comte de Vergennes. May 3, 1785 .... 321 

1561. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. May 5, 1785 . . . .322 

1562. To Jonathan Williams. May 5, 1785 .... 324 

1563. To John Jay. May 10, 1785 325 

1564. To Charles Thomson. May 10, 1785 . . . .326 

1565. To Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bache. May 10, 1785 . . 327 

1566. To Marshal de Castries. May 1 6, 1785 . . . .328 

1567. To Jonathan Williams. May 19, 1785 .... 329 

1568. To Caleb Whitefoord. May 19, 1785 . . . . 330 

1569. To George Whatley. May 19, 1785 331 



CONTENTS 



1570. To George Whatley. May 23, 1785 33* 

1571. To Christopher Wyvill. June 1 6, 1785 339 

1572. On the Elective Franchises enjoyed by the Small Boroughs 

in England. June 16, 1785 34o 

1573. To Thomas Barclay. June 19, 1785 . -343 

1574. To . June 20, 1785 345 

1575. To Jean-Jacques Caffieri. June 20, 1785 . . . 346 

1576. To Francis Maseres. June 26, 1785 .... 347 

1577. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. June 26, 1785 . . . 35 1 

1578. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. July 4, 1785 35 2 

1579. To Edward Bridgen. July 4, 1785 353 

1580. To Claudius Crigan. July 5, 1785 353 

1581. To Granville Sharp. July 5, 1785 357 

1582. To David Hartley. July 5, 1785 359 

1583. To Jonathan Williams. July 5, 1785 . . . .36 

1584. To Comte de Salmes. July 5, 1785 36 

1585. To John Paul Jones. July 9, 1785 3 62 

1586. To Charles-Joseph Mathon de la Cour. July 9, 1785 . 362 

1587. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. July 13, 1785 . . . . 363 

1588. To Madame Helvdtius. July 19, 1785 . . . . 364 

1589. To Benjamin Vaughan. July 24, 1785 . . . 365 

1590. To Ruellan & Co. July 25, 1785 366 

1591. To Jean Holker. July 25, 1785 367 

1592. To Ferdinand Grand. July 25, 1785 . . . .368 

1593. To Andre* Limozin. July 25, 1785 370 

1594. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. July 26, 1785 .... 370 

1595. To J. Coakley Lettsom. July 26, 1785 . . . .371 

1596. To Madame Helve'tius. July 27, 1785 . . . 372 

1597. To David Le Roy [Maritime Observations] . August, 1785 372 

1598. To Jan Ingenhousz [On the Causes and Cure of Smoky 

Chimneys]. August 28, 1785 ..... 413 

1599. Description of a new Stove for burning of Pitcoal, and 

consuming all its Smoke. August, 1785 . . . 443 

1600. To John Jay. September 19, 1785 463 

1601. To George Washington. September 20, 1785 . . . 464 

1602. To Governor William Greene and Mrs. Greene. Septem- 

ber 20, 1785 465 

1603. To John Jay and Mrs. Jay. September 21, 1785 . . 466 

1604. To Thomas Paine. September 27, 1785 . . . .467 

1605. To Francis Childs. October I, 1785 . . . .468 



CONTENTS xi 

NO. PACK 

1606. To Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont. October 20, 1785 . 469 

1607. To Madame Helve'tius. October 20, 1 785 . . . 470 

1608. To Ferdinand Grand. October 20, 1785 .... 471 

1609. To David Hartley. October 27, 1785 .... 472 

1610. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. October 30, 1785 . . . 473 

1611. To Samuel Elbert. November 5, 1785 .... 474 

1612. To Messrs. Sears and Smith. November 14, 1785 . . 475 

1613. To John Bard and Mrs. Bard. November 14, 1785 . . 476 

1614. To Charles-Joseph Mathon dela Cour. November 18, 1785 476 

1615. To George Clinton. January I, 1786 .... 477 

1616. To James Bowdoin. January I, 1786 .... 478 

1617. To Jonathan Williams. January 19, 1786 . . . 480 

1618. To Jonathan Williams. January 27, 1786 . . . 481 

1619. To Ferdinand Grand. January 29, 1786 .... 482 

1620. Description of an Instrument for taking down Books from 

high Shelves. January, 1786 ..... 483 

1621. To Jonathan Williams. February 12, 1786 . . . 486 

1622. To Jonathan Williams. February 16, 1786 . . . 487 

1623. To Jonathan Shipley. February 24, 1786 . . .488 

1624. To Ferdinand Grand. March 5, 1786 .... 492 

1625. To Benjamin Rush. March n (?), 1786 .... 494 

1626. To M. Le Veillard. March 16, 1786 .... 495 

1627. To Ferdinand Grand. March 20, 1786 .... 497 

1628. To Thomas Jefferson. March 20, 1786 .... 499 

1629. To Daniel Roberdeau. March 23, 1786 .... 500 

1630. To Jean-Baptiste Le Roy. March 27, 1786 . . . 501 

1631. To Abbe* de la Roche. April, 1786 502 

1632. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. April 8, 1786 . . . .506 

1633. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. April 25, 1786 .... 508 

1634. To Andrew Strahan. May 6, 1786 509 

1635. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. May 6, 1786 .... 510 

1636. To Mrs. Mary Hewson. May 30, 1786 .... 513 

1637. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. June 3, 1786 . . . .514 

1638. To John Franklin, William Hooker Smith, and John 

Jenkins, in Council. June u, 1786 . . . 515 

1639. To Charles Thomson. June 18, 1786 . . . -517 

1640. To Noah Webster. June 1 8, 1786 518 

1641. To Jan Ingenhousz. June 27, 1786 519 

1642. To . July 3, 1786 (?) 520 

1643. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. July 4, 1786 522 



xii CONTENTS 



PAGE 



1644. To Charles Thomson. July 6, 1786 5 2 3 

1645. To John Jay. July 6, 1786 5 2 5 

1646. To Dr. Arthaud. July 9, 1786 5 26 

1647. To Noah Webster. July 9, 1786 5 2 7 

1648. To Ferdinand Grand. July n, 1786 . . - 5 2 7 

1649. To Joseph Priestley. July 29, 1786 5 28 

1650. To Richard Price. July 29, 1786 5 2 9 

1651. To Benjamin Vaughan. July 31, 1786 . . . -53 

1652. To Mathew Carey. August 10, 1786 . . . . 533 

1653. To William Cocke. August 12, 1786 . . . -534 

1654. To Jean-Baptiste Le Roy. August 15, 1786 . . . 535 

1655. To Ferdinand Grand. August 15, 1786 .... 536 

1656. To John Jay. August 24, 1786 . 537 

1657. On Thermometers. September 13, 1786 . . . . 538 

1658. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. September 21, 1786 . . . 539 

1659. To Mile. Le Ray de Chaumont. October 7, 1786 . . 541 

1660. To Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont. October 7, 1786 . 542 

1661. To Charles Pettit. October 10, 1786 . . . -543 

1662. To Charles Biddle. November 2, 1786 . . . . 545 

1663. To Abb de la Roche. November 20, 1786 . . 546 

1664. To William Hunter. November 24, 1786 . . . . 547 

1665. To Thomas Wight, Jr. November 25, 1786 . . . 549 

1666. To . November 25, 1786 549 

1667. To Edward Bancroft. November 26, 1786 . . . 550 

1668. To Captain Thomas de Ugarta Y Lianes. December 16, 

1786 551 

1669. To Captain Nathaniel Falconer. December 16, 1786 . 552 

1670. To Charles Thomson. January 25, 1787 .... 553 

1671. To Alexander Small. February 19, 1787 . . . . 555 

1672. To Nevil Maskelyne. March 29, 1787 . . . -557 

1673. To M. le Veillard. April 15, 1787 558 

1674. To the Due de la Rochefoucauld. April 15, 1787 . -563 

1675. T O Comte d'Estaing. April 15, 1787 . . . .566 

1676. To the Marquis de Chastellux. April 17, 1787 . . . 567 

1677. To Messrs, the Abbe's Chalut and Arnaud. April 17, 1787 569 

1678. To the Marquis de Lafayette. April 17, 1787 . . . 569 

1679. To Jean-Baptiste Le Roy. April 1 8, 1787 . . .572 

1680. To Thomas Jefferson. April 19, 1787 . . . -573 

1681. To Ferdinand Grand. April 22, 1787 . . . -575 

1682. To Abb Morellet. April 22, 1787 577 



CONTENTS xiii 

NO. PAGE 

1683. To Francis Childs. May 8, 1787 !. ... 580 

1684. To Thomas Jordan. May 1 8, 1787 582 

1685. To William Herschell. May 1 8, 1787 . . . . 584 

1686. To John Adams. May 18, 1787 585 

1687. To Richard Price. May 1 8, 1787 585 

1688. To George Whatley. May 1 8, 1787 587 

1689. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. May 30, 1787 .... 589 

1690. Speech in the Convention; On the Subject of Salaries. 

June 2, 1787 . . . 590 

1691. Speech in a Committee of the Convention; On the Pro- 

portion of Representation and Votes. June n, 1787 . 595 

1692. Motion for Prayers in the Convention. June 28, 1787 . 600 

1693. Proposal for Consideration in the Convention for forming 

the Constitution of the United States. June 30, 1787 . 602 

1694. To John Paul Jones. July 22, 1787 604 

1695. To Caleb Whitefoord. July 27, 1787 .... 605 

1696. To S. Osgood and A. Lee. August 31, 1787 . . .606 

1697. Speech in the Convention, at the Conclusion of its Delib- 

erations. September 17, 1787 607 

1698. To Arthur St. Clair and other Delegates in Congress. 

September 20, 1787 609 

1699. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. September 20, 1787 . . .612 

1700. To Alexander Small. September 28, 1787 . . . 614 

1701. To Professor Landriani. October 14, 1787 . . .617 

1702. To Gaetano Filangieri. October 14, 1787 . . . 618 

1703. To Ferdinand Grand. October 22, 1787 .... 619 

1704. To Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont. October 22, 1787 . 620 

1705. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. November 4, 1787 . . . 620 

1706. To Comte de Buffon. November 19, 1787 . . . 622 

1707. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. December n, 1787 . . .623 

1708. To . December 15, 1787 624 

1709. To Samuel Elbert. December 16, 1787 . . . .625 

1710. To the Printer of the Evening Herald. 1787 (?) . . 627 

1711. On sending Felons to America. 1787 (?) . . . 628 

1712. To John Ross. January 21, 1788 630 

I 7 I 3 To Samuel Osgood and Walter Livingston. January 31, 1788 631 

1714. To Count de Moustiers. February 10, 1788 . . 632 

1715. To Jan Ingenhousz. February u, 1788 . . . .633 

1716. To Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur. February 16, 

1788 636 



xiv CONTENTS 

PAGB 

1717. To M. Le Veillard. February 17, 1788 .... 636 

1718. To the Editors of the Pennsylvania Gazette. [On the 

Abuse of the Press.] March 30, 1788 .... 639 

1719. To Mrs. Collas. April 12, 1788 642 

1720. To Madame Brillon. April 19, 1788 .... 643 

1721. To M. Le Veillard. April 22, 1788 645 

1722. To Madame Helv^tius. April 23, 1788 .... 646 

1723. To Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. j May 4, 1788 . . .648 

1724. To the Princess Dashkow. May 7,1788. . . . 649 

1725. To Rev. John Lathrop. May 31, 1788 . . . .649 

1726. To James Bowdoin. May 31, 1788 652 

1727. To Mather Byles. June i, 1788 655 

1728. To M. Le Veillard. June 8, 1788 657 

1729. To Dupont de Nemours. June 9, 1788 . . . .658 

1730. To Mathew Carey. June 10, 1788 660 

1731. To John Jay. June 27, 1788 662 

1732. To George Clinton. July 10, 1788 663 

1733. To Benjamin Chambers, and the other Gentlemen of Cham- 

bersburgh. September 20, 1788 664 

1734. To the Due de la Rochefoucauld. October 22, 1788 . 665 

1735. To Miss Flainville. October 23, 1788 . . . .667 

1736. To Madame Lavoisier. October 23, 1788 . . . 667 

1737. To Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. October 23, 1788 . . 669 

1738. To Jan Ingenhousz. October 24, 1788 .... 670 

1739. To Dupont de Nemours. October 24, 1788 . . .671 

1740. To M. Le Veillard. October 24, 1788 . . . 673 

1741. To Benjamin Vaughan. October 24, 1788 . . . 675 

1742. To Ferdinand Grand. October 24, 1788 .... 677 

1743. To Madame Helve'tius. October 25, 1788 . . . 678 

1744. To Jean-Baptiste Le Roy. October 25, 1788 . . . 679 

1745. To Don Diego Gardoqui. October 26, 1788 . . . 679 

1746. To Joseph Elam. November 10, 1788 . . . .680 

1747. To the Due de la Rochefoucauld. November 13, 1788 . 68 1 

1748. To Francis Childs. November 19, 1788 . . . . 682 

1749. To Mrs. Elizabeth Partridge. November 25, 1788 . . 682 

1750. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. November 26, 1788 . . . 684 
1751- To Cyrus Griffin. November 29, 1788 . . . .686 
1752. To William Vaughan. December 9, 1788 . . . 688 
1753- To Abbe' Morellet. December 10, 1788 .... 690 
1754. To Charles Thomson. December 29, 1788 . . .691 



CONTENTS 



1755. To the Editor of the Federal Gazette : A Comparison of the 
Conduct of the Ancient Jews and of the Anti-Federalists 
in the United States of America. 1788. . . .698 



TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS 

A. P. S American Philosophical Society. 

B. M British Museum. 

B. N Bibliotheque Nationale. 

D. S. W. . Department of State, Washington. 

H Harvard University. 

L. C Library of Congress. 

L. L Lenox Library. 

Lans Lansdowne House. 

M. H. S Massachusetts Historical Society. 

P. C Private Collection. 

P. H. S Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

P. R. O Public Record Office. 

P. R. O. A. W. I Public Record Office : America and 

West Indies. 
P. A. E. E. U Paris Departement des Affaires 

Etrangeres, Etats-Unis. 

U. of P University of Pennsylvania. 

Y Yale University. 

B Bigelow. 

F Benjamin Franklin. 

S Sparks. 

V Benjamin Vaughan. 

W. T. F W. T. Franklin. 

Franklin's Mss. exist in several forms. He made a rough draft of 
every letter that he wrote ; he then made a clean copy to send away, and 
often retained a letter-press copy. To indicate the state of the docu- 
ment, the following abbreviations are used: d. = draft, trans. = transcript, 
1. p. = letter-press copy. 



1384. TO GAETANO FILANGIERI l (p. c.) 

Passy, January 11, 1783 

The letter you did me the honour of writing to me in August 
last came to my hands when I lay ill of two painful disorders, 
which confined me near three months, and with the mul- 
tiplicity of business that followed obliged me to postpone 
much of my correspondence. I have yesterday received a 
second letter from you, and I now, without further delay, sit 
down to answer them both. 

The two first volumes of your excellent work, which were 
put into my hands by M. Pio, 2 1 perused with great pleasure. 
They are also much esteemed by some very judicious persons 
to whom I have lent them. I should have been glad of another 
copy for one of those friends, who is very desirous of pro- 
curing it; but I suppose those you mention to have sent to 
M. Pio did not arrive. I was glad to learn that you were 
proceeding to consider the criminal laws, None have more 
need of reformation. They are everywhere in so great dis- 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin " (1817), Vol. I, 

p. 121. 

Gaetano Filangieri (1752-1788), an eminent Italian publicist. The 
" excellent work " referred to above was " Scienza della Legislazione." The 
first two volumes were published in Naples in 1 780. They made a great sen- 
sation, and gave Filangieri at once the foremost place among the publicists of 
Europe. The above letter was, in 1873, in the possession of Prince de Filan- 
gieri Satriano, a grandson of Gaetano Filangieri. ED. 

2 Charge d' Affaires of the court of Naples. ED. 

VOL. ix B i 



2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

order, and so much injustice is committed in the execution of 
them, that I have been sometimes inclined to imagine less 
would exist in the world if there were no such laws, and 
the punishment of injuries were left to private resentment. 
I am glad, therefore, that you have not suffered yourself to be 
discouraged by any objections or apprehensions, and that we 
may soon expect the satisfaction of seeing the two volumes 
on that subject which you have now under the press. 1 

With regard to your project of removing to America, though 
I am sure that a person of your knowledge, just sentiments, 
and useful talents would be a valuable acquisition for our 
country, I cannot encourage you to undertake hastily such a 
voyage ; because for a man to expatriate himself is a serious 
business, and should be well considered, especially where the 
distance is so great and the expense of removing thither with 
a family, of returning if the country should not suit you, will 
be so heavy. I have no orders or authority of any kind to 
encourage strangers with expectations of employment by our 
government, nor am I empowered to be at any expense in 
transporting them ; though our country is open, and strangers 
may establish themselves there, where they soon become 
citizens and are respected according to their conduct. Men 
know, because they feel, the inconveniences of their present 
situation; but they do not know those that may, if they 
change, attend the new one. I wish, therefore, you could see 
that country by yourself before you carry thither the lady 
with whom you propose to be united in marriage. 2 You will 
then be able to form a good judgment how far the removal 

1 They were published in 1783. ED. 

2 In 1783 Filangieri married Caroline de Frendel, governess of the infanta, 
the second daughter of the King of Naples. ED. 



1783] TO RICHARD OSWALD 3 

is likely to be advantageous, and may proceed on surer 
grounds. England has now acknowledged our indepen- 
dence, and the sovereignty of our government ; and several 
states of Europe who think a commerce with us may be 
beneficial to them are preparing to send ministers to reside 
near the Congress. It is possible to establish a profitable 
trade between the kingdom of Naples and America. Should 
your court be of that opinion, and think fit to employ some 
one to visit our several States and take information of our 
productions and wants, the nature of our commerce, etc., etc., 
perhaps it could not find a fitter person than yourself for 
such a mission. I would afford you all the assistance in my 
power towards its due execution, and by this means your 
voyage would not only be without expense to you, but might 
afford you some profit. 



1385. TO RICHARD OSWALD (LANS.) 
Passy, January 14, 1783. 

SIR, 

I am much obliged by your Information of your intended 
Trip to England. I heartily wish you a good Journey and a 
speedy Return, and request your kind Care of a Packet for 
Mr. Hodgson. 

I inclose two Papers, that were read at different times 
by me to the Commissioners ; they may serve to show, if you 
should have occasion, what was urged on the Part of Amer- 
ica on certain Points ; or may help to refresh your Memory. 
I send you also another Paper, which I once read to you 
separately. It contains a Proposition for improving the Law 



THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

of Nations, by prohibiting the Plundering of unarmed and 
usefully employed People. I rather wish than expect, that it 
will be adopted. But I think it may be offered with a better 
Grace by a Country, that is likely to suffer least and gain most 
by continuing the ancient Practice; which is our Case, as 
the American Ships, laden only with the gross Productions 
of the Earth, cannot be so valuable as yours, filled with Sug- 
ars or with Manufactures. It has not yet been considered 
by my Colleagues, but if you should think or find that it 
might be acceptable on your Side, I would try to get it inserted 
in the general Treaty. I think it will do honour to the 
Nations that establish it. 

With great and sincere Esteem, I am, Sir, your most obedi- 
ent and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



Propositions relative to Privateering, communicated to Mr. 

Oswald. 

It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the oc- 
casions of war, and the inducements to it, should be dimin- 
ished. 

If rapine is abolished, one of the encouragements to war 
is taken away, and peace therefore more likely to continue 
and be lasting. 

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas, a 
remnant of the ancient piracy, though it may be accidentally 
beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profitable 
to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorizes it. In 
the beginning of a war, some rich ships, not upon their guard, 
are surprised and taken. This encourages the first adven- 



1783] TO RICHARD OSWALD 5 

turers to fit out more armed vessels, and many others to do the 
same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful, 
arm their merchant ships better, and render them not so easy 
to be taken ; they go also more under protection of convoys ; 
thus, while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the 
vessels subject to be taken, and the chances of profit, are 
diminished, so that many cruises are made, wherein the ex- 
penses overgo the gains; and, as is the case in other lotter- 
ies, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of adventurers 
are losers, the whole expense of fitting out all the privateers, 
during a war, being much greater than the whole amount of 
goods taken. Then there is the national loss of all the labour 
of so many men during the time they have been employed in 
robbing; who, besides, spend what they get in riot, drunken- 
ness, and debauchery, lose their habits of industry, are rarely 
fit for any sober business after a peace, and serve only to in- 
crease the number of highwaymen and housebreakers. Even 
the undertakers, who have been fortunate, are by sudden 
wealth led into expensive living, the habit of which continues 
when the means of supporting it ceases, and finally ruins 
them ; a just punishment for their having wantonly and un- 
feelingly ruined many honest, innocent traders and their 
families, whose subsistence was employed in serving the 
common interests of mankind. 

Should it be agreed and become a part of the law of nations, 
that the cultivators of the earth are not to be molested or 
interrupted in their peaceable and useful employment, the in- 
habitants of the sugar islands would perhaps come under the 
protection of such a regulation, which would be a great ad- 
vantage to the nations who at present hold those islands, since 
the cost of sugar to the consumer in those nations consists 



6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

not merely in the price he pays for it by the pound, but in the 
accumulated charge of all the taxes he pays in every war, to 
fit out fleets and maintain troops for the defence of the islands 
that raise the sugar, and the ships that bring it home. But 
the expense of treasure is not all. A celebrated philosophi- 
cal writer remarks, that, when he considered the wars made 
in Africa, for prisoners to raise sugars in America, the num- 
bers slain in those wars, the numbers that, being crowded in 
ships, perish in the transportation, and the numbers that die 
under the severities of slavery, he could scarce look on a mor- 
sel of sugar without conceiving it spotted with human blood. 
If he had considered also the blood of one another, which the 
white nations shed in fighting for those islands, he would have 
imagined his sugar not as spotted only, but as thoroughly 
dyed red. On these accounts I am persuaded, that the sub- 
jects of the Emperor of Germany, and the Empress of Russia, 
who have no sugar islands, consume sugar cheaper at Vienna, 
and Moscow, with all the charge of transporting it after its 
arrival in Europe, than the citizens of London or of Paris. 
And I sincerely believe, that if France and England were to 
decide, by throwing dice, which should have the whole of 
their sugar islands, the loser in the throw would be the gainer. 
The future expense of defending them would be saved ; the 
sugars would be bought cheaper by all Europe, if the inhab- 
itants might make it without interruption, and, whoever im- 
ported the sugar, the same revenue might be raised by duties 
at the customhouses of the nation that consumed it. And, 
on the whole, I conceive it would be better for the nations now 
possessing sugar colonies to give up their claim to them, let 
them govern themselves, and put them under the protection 
of all the powers of Europe as neutral countries, open to the 



I73] TO RICHARD OSWALD ^ 

commerce of all, the profits of the present monopolies being 
by no means equivalent to the expense of maintaining them. 

Article. 

If war should hereafter arise between Great Britain and 
the United States, which God forbid, the merchants of either 
country then residing in the other shall be allowed to remain 
nine months to collect their debts, and settle their affairs, and 
may depart freely, carrying off all their effects without moles- 
tation or hindrance. And all fishermen, all cultivators of the 
earth, and all artisans or manufacturers unarmed, and in- 
habiting unfortified towns, villages, or places, who labour for 
the common subsistence and benefit of mankind, and peace- 
ably follow their respective employments, shall be allowed to 
continue the same, and shall not be molested by the armed 
force of the enemy in whose power by the events of the war 
they may happen to fall ; but, if any thing is necessary to be 
taken from them, for the use of such armed force, the same 
shall be paid for at a reasonable price. And all merchants 
or traders with their unarmed vessels, employed in commerce, 
exchanging the products of different places, and thereby ren- 
dering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human 
life more easy to obtain, and more general, shall be allowed 
to pass freely, unmolested. And neither of the powers, 
parties to this treaty, shall grant or issue any commission to 
any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or de- 
stroy such trading ships, or interrupt such commerce. 



8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1386. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES l (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, January 18, 1783. 
SIR, 

Agreable to the Notice just received from your Excellency, 
I shall acquaint Mr. Adams with your desire to see us on 
Monday before ten o'clock, at Versailles ; and we shall en- 
deavour to be punctual. My other Colleagues are absent; 
Mr. Laurens being gone to Bath, in England, to recover his 
Health, and Mr. Jay into Normandy. I shall bring my 
Grandson, as you direct. With great Respect, I have the 
honour to be, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1387. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 
Passy, January 19, 1783. 

SIR, 

Late last night I received a note from Count de Vergennes, 
acquainting me that it is very essential he should have a con- 
ference with us, and requesting that I would inform my col- 

1 The following is the note from Vergennes to which the above is a reply : 

"Versailles, January 18, 1783. 
" SIR, 

" It is essential that I should have the honour of conferring with you, Mr. 
Adams, and your other colleagues, who are in Paris. I therefore pray you to 
invite these gentlemen to come out to Versailles with you on Monday, before 
ten o'clock in the morning. It will be well, also, if you will bring your grand- 
son. It will be necessary for much writing and translating from English into 
French to be done. The object for which I ask this interview's very inter- 
esting to the United States. I have the honour to be, Sir, 

"DE VERGENNES." ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 9 

leagues. He desires that we may be with him before ten on 
Monday morning. If it will suit you to call here, we may go 
together in my carriage. We should be on the road by eight 
o'clock. With great regard, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1388. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, January 21, 1783. 

SIR, 

I have just received your letters of November pth and 
December 3d. 1 This is to inform you, and to request you to 
inform the Congress, that the preliminaries of peace between 
France, Spain, and England, were yesterday signed, and a 
cessation of arms agreed to by the ministers of those powers, 
and by us in behalf of the United States, of which act, so far 
as relates to us, I enclose a copy. I have not yet obtained a 
copy of the preliminaries agreed to by the three crowns, but 
hear, in general, that they are very advantageous to France 
and Spain. I shall be able, in a day or two, to write more 
fully and perfectly. Holland was not ready to sign prelimi- 
naries, but their principal points are settled. Mr. Laurens is 
absent at Bath, and Mr. Jay in Normandy, for their healths, 
but will both be here to assist in forming the definitive treaty. 
I congratulate you and our country on the happy prospects 
afforded us by the finishing so speedily this glorious revolu- 
tion, and am, with great esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 See "Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. IV, pp. 31, 45. ED. 



10 



THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 



1389. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 25. 1783 

SIR, 

I received the Letter your Excellency did me the honour 
of writing to me the 3ist of the last Month, relative to the 
fresh pecuniary Aid which the King was dispos'd to grant 
to the Congress. I received also a second Letter on the same 
Subject, Dated the i6th Instant. I am extremely sensible 
of his Majesty's Goodness in according a new Loan to the 
United States of Six Millions, and I accept the same in their 
Behalf with the most perfect Gratitude. Considering the 
enormous Expence this extensive War must occasion to his 
Majesty I did hope to avoid the Necessity of repeating their 
original Request of a larger Sum ; and with that View have 
had many Consultations & considered various Schemes 
with our Banker M r Grand, for procuring Money elsewhere. 
This with other Circumstances occasioned my so long Delay 
in Answering, which I beg you would excuse. None of those 
Schemes proving practicable, I am constrain'd by my Orders 
humbly to request that the Matter may be reconsidered ; and 
that at least Six Millions more may be added. As Peace will 
diminish both the King's Expence and ours, I hope this Re- 
quest may be granted and that it may be sufficient for our 
Occasions. I am however ready to enter into and sign the 
Contract your Excellency mentions for whatever Sum his 
Majesty's Wisdom & Goodness shall think fit to direct. 
I inclose the Resolutions of Congress, impowering me to 



1783] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON n 

borrow the Twenty Millions ; in which their Sense of his 
Majesty's Friendship is strongly express'd. 
I am, with great Respect, 
Sir, 

Your Excellency's most obedient 
& most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1390. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON l (p. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 27. 1783. 

The Departure of my dearest Friend, 2 which I learn 
from your last Letter, greatly affects me. To meet with her 
once more in this Life was one of the principal Motives of 
my proposing to visit England again, before my Return to 
America. The last Year carried off my Friends Dr. Pringle, 
and Dr. Fothergill, Lord Kaims, and Lord le Despencer. 
This has begun to take away the rest, and strikes the hardest. 
Thus the Ties I had to that Country, and indeed to the 
World in general, are loosened one by one, and I shall soon 
have no Attachment left to make me unwilling to follow. 

I intended writing when I sent the 1 1 Books, but I lost the 
Time in looking for the i2th. I wrote with that; and hope 
it came to hand. I therein ask'd your Counsel about my 
coming to England. On Reflection, I think I can, from my 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. An 
auto, draft is in L. C. ED. 

2 Mrs. Stevenson, the mother of Mrs. Hewson. Her last letter to Frank- 
lin is dated July 24, 1782 (U. of P.). Upon it Franklin wrote, "this good 
woman, my dear Friend, died the first of January following. She was about 
my Age." ED. 



12 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Knowledge of your Prudence, foresee what it will be, viz. not 
to come too soon, lest it should seem braving and insulting 
some who ought to be respected. I shall, therefore, omit 
that Journey till I am near going to America, and then just 
step over to take Leave of my Friends, and spend a few days 
with you. I purpose bringing Ben with me, and perhaps may 
leave him under your Care. 

At length we are in Peace, God be praised, and long, very 
long, may it continue. All Wars are Follies, very expensive, 
and very mischievous ones. When will Mankind be con- 
vinced of this, and agree to settle their Differences by Ar- 
bitration? Were they to do it, even by the Cast of a Dye, 
it would be better than by Fighting and destroying each 
other. 

Spring is coming on, when Travelling will be delightful. 
Can you not, when your children are all at School, make a 
little Party, and take a Trip hither? I have now a large 
House, delightfully situated, in which I could accommodate 
you and two or three Friends, and I am but half an Hour's 
Drive from Paris. 

In looking forward, Twenty-five Years seems a long Period, 
but, in looking back, how short ! Could you imagine, that 
'tis now full a Quarter of a Century since we were first ac- 
quainted? It was in 1757. During the greatest Part of the 
Time, I lived in the same House with my dear deceased 
Friend, your Mother; of course you and I saw and con- 
vers'd with each other much and often. It is to all our 
Honours, that in all that time we never had among us the 
smallest Misunderstanding. Our Friendship has been all 
clear Sunshine, without the least Cloud in its Hemisphere. 
Let me conclude by saying to you, what I have had too 



1783] TO JOHN SARGENT 13 

frequent Occasions to say to my other remaining old Friends, 
"The fewer we become, the more let us love one another." 
Adieu, and believe me ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1391. TO JOHN SARGENT 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Jan* 27. 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received and read the Letter you were so kind as to write 
to me the 3d instant, with a great deal of Pleasure, as it in- 
form 'd me of the Welfare of a Family, whom I have so long 
esteem'd and lov'd, and to whom I am under so many Ob- 
ligations, which I shall ever remember. Our Correspondence 
has been interrupted by that abominable War. I neither 
expected Letters from you, nor would I hazard putting you in 
Danger by writing any to you. We can now communicate 
freely; and next to the Happiness of seeing and embracing 
you all again at Halstead, will be that of hearing frequently 
of your Health and Prosperity. 

Mrs. Sargent and the good Lady, her Mother, are very 
kind in wishing me more happy Years. I ought to be satis- 
fy'd with those Providence has already been pleas'd to afford 
me, being now in my seventy-eighth ; a long Life to pass 

1 John Sargent, a merchant in London, and a director of the Bank of 
England, was M.P. for Midhurst (1754-1764) and for West Looe, 1765-1768. 
He lived at Halstead Place, Kent, which property he bought from Robert 
Ralph Foley. He died at Tunbridge Wells, September 20, 1791. Mrs. Sar- 
gent died December 5, 1792. Their "eldest son" was John Sargent, M.P. 
for Seaford (1790). He married Charlotte, daughter and heiress of Richard 
Bettesworth, Esq., of Petworth, Sussex. He died in 1830, having had six sons 
and three daughters. He wrote "The Mine, a Dramatic Poem" (1785). ED. 



I 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

without any uncommon Misfortune, the greater part of it in 
Health and Vigor of Mind and Body, near Fifty Years of it 
in continu'd Possession of the Confidence of my Country, in 
public Employments, and enjoying the Esteem and affection- 
ate, friendly Regard of many wise and good Men and Women, 
in every Country where I have resided. For these Mercies 
and Blessings I desire to be thankful to God, whose Pro- 
tection I have hitherto had, and I hope for its Continuance 
to the End, which now cannot be far distant. 

The Account you give me of your Family is pleasing, except 
that your eldest Son continues so long unmarried. I hope 
he does not intend to live and die in Celibacy. The Wheel of 
Life, that has roll'd down to him from Adam without Inter- 
ruption, should not stop with him. I would not have one 
dead unbearing Branch in the Genealogical Tree of the Sar- 
gents. The married State is, after all our Jokes, the happiest, 
being conformable to our Natures. Man & Woman have 
each of them Qualities & Tempers, in which the other is de- 
ficient, and which in Union contribute to the common Felicity. 
Single and separate, they are not the compleat human Being ; 
they are like the odd Halves of Scissors ; they cannot answer 
the End of their Formation. 

I am concern'd at the Losses you have suffered by the War. 
You are still young and active enough to retrieve them, and 
Peace, I hope, will afford the Opportunity. 

You mention nothing of my good friend Mrs. Deane, or 
her amiable Sisters, whom I sometimes saw with you, nor of 
Mr. Chambers. I hope they are all well & happy. Present 
my Respects to Mrs. Sargent, whom I love very much, and 
believe me ever, my dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1783] TO JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM 15 



1392. TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 1 

Passy, February 17, 1783 

DEAR SIR : It is a long time since I have had the pleasure 
of hearing from you. I hope, however, that you and yours 
continue well. 

The bearers, Mr. President Wheelock and his brother, go to 
Holland on a public-spirited design, 2 which you will find 
recommended by many eminent persons in America. 

I beg leave to request for these gentlemen your civilities 
and best counsels, as they will be entire strangers in your 
country. 

With great esteem, I am ever, dear sir, your faithful, humble 
servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

1393- TO JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM 8 
DEAR SIR, Passy, March 6, 1783. 

I received your favour of September last. It found me 
labouring under a painful disorder, which continued long, and 

1 From " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " (Bigelow), Vol. VIII, 
p. 258. ED. 

2 To procure money for Dartmouth College. Jonathan Trumbull wrote to 
Franklin, November 9, 1782 (A. P. S.), reminding him "of the circumstances 
of the first institution of the University of Dartmouth in the State of New 
Hampshire, that the late venerable D r Wheelock was indefatigable in his 
endeavours to civilise and christianize the Indian natives, and to promote 
humanity, literature and piety, and for that end sought and obtained bene- 
factions in London ; . . . the Doctor's worthy son, the honorable John 
Wheelock Esq" is now the President, and in imitation of his father's virtues, 
and to bring to perfection the institution so happily begun and prospered, is 
intrusted and authorized by its Trustees to sollicite benefactions in France and 
Holland to compleat that laudable beneficial & liberal undertaking." ED. 

8 First published by Sparks (Vol. IX, p. 493). Dr. Lettsom (1744-1815), 



16 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

put me much behind hand in my correspondence. I thank 
you for the valuable publications that accompanied it, par- 
ticularly those of your own composition, which I read with 
pleasure. 

Our late excellent friend * was always proposing something 
for the good of mankind. You will find instances of this in 
one of his letters which I enclose, the only one I can at present 
lay my hand on. I have some very valuable ones in America, 
if they are not lost in the late confusions. You will be so 
kind as to return it to me, after having extracted from it what 
you may think proper. Just before I left England, he, in 
conjunction with Mr. Barclay and myself, laboured hard to 
prevent the coming war, but our endeavours were fruitless. 
This transaction is alluded to in the paragraph that begins 
at the bottom of the first page. If we may estimate the good- 
ness of a man by his disposition to do good, and his constant 
endeavours and success in doing it, I can hardly conceive 
that a better man has ever existed. 

I desire to be considered as a subscriber, if there is a sub- 
scription, for two sets of his works, 2 which I will pay for on 
demand. With great esteem, I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

an eminent physician, came of a Quaker family of Cheshire origin. He was 
one of the founders (1770) of the General Dispensary and of the Medical 
Society of London, and participated in many other philanthropic projects. 
He published a " Life of John Fothergill," his patron, in 1783. ED. 

1 Dr. John Fothergill. ED. 

2 The works of Dr. John Fothergill, edited by J. C. Lettsom, 3 volumes, 
8vo, 1783. ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT MORRIS 17 

1394. TO ROBERT MORRIS 1 

Passy, March 7, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

With this I send you a copy of the last contract I made with 
this court, respecting the late loan of six millions, the terms 
of the loan, and the times of repayment. It was impossible 
for me to obtain more, and, indeed, considering the state of 
finances and expenses here, I wonder I have obtained so 
much. You will see by the enclosed Gazette, that the govern- 
ment is obliged to stop payment for a year of its own bills of 
exchange, drawn in America and the East Indies ; yet it has 
advanced six millions to save the credit of ours. You will, I 
am sure, do all in your power to avoid drawing beyond your 
funds here ; for I am absolutely assured, that no farther aid 
for this year is to be expected ; and it will not be strange, that 
they should suffer your bills to take the same fate with their 
own. 

You will also see in the contract fresh marks of the King's 
goodness towards us, in giving so long a term for payment, 
and forgiving the first year's interest. I hope the ravings of 
a certain mischievous madman 2 here against France and its 
ministers, which I hear of every day, will not be regarded in 
America, so as to diminish in the least the happy union that 
has hitherto subsisted between the two nations, and which is 
indeed the solid foundation of our present importance in 
Europe. With great esteem, I am ever, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 First published by Sparks (Vol. IX, p. 494). ED. 
* John Adams. ED. 
VOL. ix c 



18 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1395. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Paris, March 7, 1783. 

SIR, 

I but this moment hear of this Opportunity, by which I 
can only send you a line to acquaint you, that I have con- 
cluded the Treaty with Sweden, which was signed on 
Wednesday last. You will have a Copy by the first good 
Opportunity. It differs very little from the plan sent me ; in 
nothing material. 1 The English Court is in confusion by 
another change of Ministry, Lord Shelburne and his friends 
having resigned ; but it is not yet certainly known who will 
succeed, tho' Lord North and Mr. Fox are talked of as two, 
they being reconciled ! I cannot add, but that I am, with 
great Esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. The Change in the Ministry is not supposed of any 
Importance respecting our definitive Treaty, which must con- 
form to the Preliminaries ; but we shall see. 



1396- TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, March 9, 1783. 

SIR, Mr. Barclay, our consul-general, waits upon your 
Excellency with a complaint of a gross affront and injury 
offered to the Congress of the United States, at L'Orient, by 
some English merchants residing at Bourdeaux, to which I 

1 This treaty is printed in the public Journals of Congress, Vol. IV, p. 241, 
under the date of July 29, 1783. ED. 



1783] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 19 

beg your Excellency's attention, and that you would order 
such measures to be taken for redress as the nature of the 
case will appear to require. I am, with great respect, sir, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1397. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, March 16, 1783. 

Sra: I received the letter your Excellency did me the 
honour of writing to me respecting the means of promoting 
the commerce between France and America. Not being 
myself well acquainted with the state of that commerce, I 
have endeavoured by conversation with some of our merchants 
to obtain information. They complain in general of the 
embarrassment it suffers by the numerous internal demands 
of duties, searches, etc., that it is subjected to in this country. 
Whether these can be well removed, and the system changed, 
I will not presume to say. The enclosed letters may, how- 
ever, inform your Excellency of some of the circumstances, 
and probably Mr. Barclay, our consul, may furnish others. 
In general I would only observe that commerce, consisting in 
a mutual exchange of the necessities and conveniences of life, 
the more free and unrestrained it is, the more it flourishes ; and 
the happier are all the nations concerned in it. Most of the 
restraints put upon it in different countries seem to have been 
the projects of particulars for their private interest, under 
pretence of public good. Your Excellency has no doubt seen 
the bill now under consideration in the British Parliament 
respecting their trade with America, and will consider how 



20 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

far it may be practicable to give facilities to the future trade 
between America and your sugar islands, as well as with 
France, similar to those which seem now to be projected by 
England. I myself wish most earnestly that France may 
reap speedily those great advantages from the American 
Commerce, which she has so well merited by her generous 
aids in freeing it from its former monopoly ; and every thing 
in my power to promote that desirable end may be depended 
on. With great respect, I am, sir, your Excellency's most 

obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1398. TO THE EARL OF BUCHAN 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, March 17, 1783. 

MY LORD, 

I received the Letter your Lordship did me the honour 
of writing to me the i8th past, and am oblig'd by your kind 
Congratulations on the return of Peace, which I hope will be 
lasting. 

With regard to the Terms on which Lands may be acquired 
in America, and the Manner of beginning new Settlements 
on them, I cannot give better Information than may be found 
in a Book lately printed in London, under some such Title 

1 David Steuart Erskitie, eleventh Earl of Buchan [1742-1829], during his 
father's life bore the title of Lord Cardross. He made various attempts to 
reform the method of electing Scotch representative peers. He founded the 
society of antiquaries of Scotland. He was a frequent contributor to The 
Gentleman's Magazine. He corresponded with Horace Walpole, who " tried 
everything but being rude to break off the intercourse." He claimed Wash- 
ington, whom he characterized as " illustrious and excellent " as his " cousin " 
and "friend." In 1792 he sent to President Washington a snuff box made 
from the tree which sheltered Sir William Wallace. ED. 



1783] TO THE EARL OF BUCHAN 21 

as Letters from a Pensilvania Farmer, by Hector St. John. 1 
The only Encouragements we hold out to Strangers are, a 
good Climate, fertile Soil, wholesome Air and Water, plenty 
of Provisions and Fuel, good Pay for Labour, kind Neigh- 
bours, good Laws, Liberty, and a hearty Welcome ; the rest 
depends on a Man's own Industry and Virtue. Lands are 
cheap, but they must be bought. All Settlements are under- 
taken at private Expence; the Publick contributes nothing 
but Defence and Justice. I should not, however, expect 
much Emigration from a Country so much drain'd of Men 
as yours must have been by the late War; since the more 
have left it, the more Room and the more Encouragement 
remain for those who staied at home. But this you can best 
judge of ; and I have long observed of your People, that their 
Sobriety, Frugality, Industry, and Honesty seldom fail of 
Success in America, and of procuring them a good Establish- 
ment among us. 

I do not recollect the Circumstance you are pleas'd to men- 
tion, of my having sav'd a citizen of St. Andrew's, by giving 
a Turn to his disorder ; and I am curious to know what the 
Disorder was, and what the Advice I gave which proved so 
salutary. 2 With great Regard, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 For information concerning Crevecoeur, see infra, No. 1468, p. 147. 
ED. 

8 " It was a fever of which the Earl of Buchan, then Lord Cardross, lay ill at 
St. Andrews ; and the advice was not to blister, according to the old practice, 
and the opinion of the learned Doctor Simpson, brother of the celebrated 
geometrician at Glasgow." W. T. F. 

In A. P. S. is the original letter from Buchan to F., to which the above is a 
reply. It is dated February 18, 1783, and in it the Earl writes: 

" You were entitled to a civic crown on my account a great many years ago, 
when, at the University of St. Andrews, you gave a turn to the career of a 



THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 
1399- TO JONATHAN SHIPLEY (L. c.) 

Passy, March 17, 1783. 
' ' ' 

I received with great pleasure my dear and respected 
Friend's letter of the 5th Instant, as it informed me of the 
Welfare of a Family I so much esteem and love. 

The Clamour against the Peace in your Parliament would 
alarm me for its duration, if I were not of opinion with you, 
that the Attack is rather against the Minister. I am con- 
fident, none of the opposition would have made a better 
Peace for England, if they had been in his Place ; at least, I 
am sure that Lord Stormont, who seems loudest in Railing 
at it, is not the Man that could have mended it. My Reasons 
I will give you, when I have, what I hope to have, the great 
happiness of seeing you once more, and conversing with you. 

They talk much of there being no Reciprocity in our Treaty. 
They think nothing, then, of our passing over in silence the 
Atrocities committed by their Troops, and demanding no 
satisfaction for their wanton Burnings and Devastations of 
our fair Towns and Countries. They have heretofore confest 
the War to be unjust, and nothing is plainer inr Reasoning 

disorder, which then threatened my life. You have, since that time, done so 
much, and Heaven has at last been pleased to bless and crown your endeavours 
with so much success, that civic crowns of a more important nature are due to 
you, and certainly await you, if there is any such thing as public gratitude on 
the face of the earth. 

" Many of my acquaintances in this part of the world seem disposed to seek 
for an asylum on the other side of the Atlantic ; and, knowing my steady 
attachment and affection to a people, who received my great-grandfather 
[Henry Erskine, third Lord Cardross, who emigrated to South Carolina. ED.] 
when an exile, or rather a fugitive from his country, during the administration 
of Lauderdale in Scotland, have applied to me for information on the subject 
of settling in the United States." ED. 



1783] TO JONATHAN SHIPLEY 23 

than that the Mischiefs done in an unjust War should be 
repaired. Can Englishmen be so partial to themselves, as 
to imagine they have a right to Plunder and destroy as much 
as they please, and then, without satisfying for the Injuries 
they have done, to have Peace on equal Terms? We were 
favourable, and did not demand what Justice entitled us to. 
We shall probably be blamed for it by our Constituents; 
and I still think it would be the Interest of England volun- 
tarily to offer Reparation of those Injuries, and effect it as 
much as may be in her power. But this is an interest she 
will never see. 

Let us now forgive and forget. Let each Country seek its 
Advancement in its own internal Advantages of Arts and 
Agriculture, not in retarding or preventing the Prosperity of 
the other. America will, with God's blessing, become a 
great and happy Country ; and England, if she has at length 
gained Wisdom, will have gained something more valuable, 
and more essential to her Prosperity, than all she has lost; 
and will still be a great and respectable Nation. Her great 
Disease at present is the number and enormous Salaries and 
Emoluments of Office. Avarice and Ambition are strong Pas- 
sions, and, separately, act with great Force on the human 
Mind ; but, when both are united, and may be gratified in the 
same Object, their violence is almost irresistible, and they 
hurry Men headlong into Factions and Contentions, destruc- 
tive of all good government. As long, therefore, as these great 
Emoluments subsist, your Parliament will be a stormy Sea, 
and your Public Councils confounded by private Interests. 
But it requires much Public Spirit and Virtue to abolish them ; 
more perhaps than can now be found in a Nation so long 
corrupted. I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



24 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1400. TO SIR WILLIAM JONES 1 

Passy, March 17, 1783. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I duly received your obliging letter of November i5th. 
You will have since learned how much I was then, and have 
been continually engaged in public affairs, and your goodness 
will excuse my not having answered it sooner. You an- 
nounced your intended marriage with my much respected 
friend, Miss Anna Maria, which I assure you gave me great 
pleasure, as I cannot conceive a match more likely to be happy, 
from the amiable qualities each of you possesses so plentifully. 
You mention its taking place, as soon as a prudent attention 
to worldly interests would permit. I just now learn from Mr. 
Hodgson, that you are appointed to an honourable and profit- 
able place in the Indies ; so I expect now soon to hear of the 
wedding, and to receive the profile. With the good Bishop's 
permission, I will join my blessing with his ; adding my wishes, 
that you may return from that corrupting country, with a 
great deal of money honestly acquired, and with full as much 
virtue as you carry out with you. 

The engraving of my medal, which you know was pro- 
jected before the peace, is but just finished. None are yet 
struck in hard metal, but will be in a few days. In the mean 

1 Sir William Jones (1746-1794), the distinguished Oriental scholar, was 
appointed in March, 1783, Judge of the high court at Bengal. The appoint- 
ment long coveted by him was delayed because of his uncompromising hostility 
to the American war. He was knighted March 19, 1783, and in April he was 
married to Anna Maria, eldest daughter of Jonathan Shipley, bishop of St. 
Asaph. During his residence in India (1783-1794) he founded the Bengal 
Asiatic Society, and made numerous contributions to the " Asiatic Researches." 
The letter is printed here from Sparks, Vol. IX, p. 500. ED. 



1783] TO JOHN DICKINSON 25 

time, having this good opportunity by Mr. Penn, I send you 
one of the tpreuves. You will see that I have profited by 
some of your ideas, and adopted the mottos you were so kind 
as to furnish. 

I am at present quite recovered from my late illness, and 
flatter myself that I may in the ensuing summer be able to 
undertake a trip to England, for the pleasure of seeing once 
more my dear friends there, among whom the Bishop and 
his family stand foremost in my estimation and affection. 
I thank you for your good wishes respecting me. Mine for 
your welfare and prosperity are not less earnest and sincere ; 
being with great truth, dear Sir, your affectionate friend, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1401. TO JOHN DICKINSON * (L. c.) 

Passy, March 23* 1783 

SIR : Permit me to congratulate your Excellency on your 
advancement to the Presidency of Pennsylvania, wherein I 
hope you may find opportunities of doing much good to your 
Country, the only Consideration that can make an elevated 
situation agreeable to a reasonable Mind. 

Mr. Penn, 2 son of our late Proprietary, purposes going 
over shortly, and will do me the honour of delivering this line 
to you. He appears to me, in the short acquaintance I have 
had with him, to be an amiable young Gentleman of a prom- 
ising valuable Character, and if any Recommendations of 
mine to your Civilities and Friendship could be thought 
necessary, he should have them fully. But I confine myself 

1 Then president of the state of Pennsylvania. ED. 

2 John, son of Thomas Penn. ED. 



26 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

here to what regards the Family in general. They think the 
late Act of Assembly respecting their Lands has done them 
great Injustice. Not being in the Country when it was made, 
and being unacquainted with the Reasonings upon which it 
was founded, I have only been able to say that I did not 
believe any Injustice was intended, and that the offered Com- 
pensation had been supposed an equitable one. I have not 
heard that the Family was considered as delinquent in the 
Affair of the Revolution. But as I find it is imagined that 
some Suspicions of their being unfavourable to it have per- 
haps prejudiced the Assembly against them, and that the 
Warmth of the Times has produced a harder Treatment of 
their Interests than would otherwise have been thought of, 
I would beg leave to mention it to your Excellency's Con- 
sideration, whether it would not be reputable for the Province, 
in the cooler Season of Peace to reconsider that Act, and if 
the Allowance made to the Family should be found inadequate, 
to regulate it according to Equity, since it becomes a Virgin 
State to be particularly careful of its Reputation, and to 
guard itself not only against committing Injustice, but 
against even the suspicion of it. 

With great Esteem and Respect I have the honour to be, etc. 

B. F. 

1402. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 

DEAR SIR, Pass y March 2 3> '783. 

I received the letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me, requesting a recommendation to America, of Mr. Joshua 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin (1817), Vol. 
II, p. 326. ED. 



1783] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 27 

Grigby. I have accordingly written one, and, having an 
opportunity the other day, I sent it under cover to Mr. Ben- 
jamin Vaughan. The general proclamations you wished for, 
suspending or rather putting an end to hostilities, are now 
published; so that your " heart is at rest," and mine with it. 
You may depend on my joining my hearty endeavours with 
yours in " cultivating conciliatory principles between our 
two countries"; and I may venture to assure you, that if 
your bill for a provisional establishment of the commerce had 
passed as at first proposed, a stipulation on our part in the 
definitive treaty, to allow reciprocal and equal advantages 
and privileges to your subjects, would have been readily 
agreed to. With great and sincere esteem, I am ever, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1403. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

(A. P. s.) 

Passy, March 24, 1783. 
SIR, 

I am desirous of printing a translation of the Constitutions 
of the United States of America, published at Philadelphia, 
in 1781, by order of Congress. Several of these Constitu- 
tions have already appeared in the English and American 
newspapers ; others have appeared elsewhere ; but there has 
never yet been a complete translation of them. That, of 
which I have the honour to speak to your Excellency, being 
an octavo volume, contains the different Constitutions of the 
United States, their treaty with France, and no foreign matter. 
I have made arrangements for this purpose with M. Pierres, 
who is ready to commence the impression, and I hope that 
your Excellency will give your approbation. 



28 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

M. Pierres will need a permit from the Keeper of the Seals 
for printing and selling this work, after having furnished me 
with the number of copies agreed upon. As I strongly desire, 
that this translation may appear at an early day, I shall feel 
under great obligations to your Excellency, if you will have 
the goodness to request the Keeper of the Seals to send the 
order without delay; and, should the formalities required for 
the purpose demand any considerable time, to request him 
to authorize by letter M. Pierres to proceed with the work. 

I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1404. TO EMMANUEL DE ROHAN 1 

Passy April 6, 1783. 

MY LORD, 

I have the honour to address to your Eminent Highness 
the medal, which I have lately had struck. 2 It is a homage 
of gratitude, my Lord, which is due to the interest you have 
taken in our cause ; and we no less owe it to your virtues, and 
to your Eminent Highness's wise administration of govern- 
ment. 

Permit me, my Lord, to demand your protection for such 
of our citizens as circumstances may lead to your ports. 
I hope that your Eminent Highness will be pleased to grant 
it to them, and kindly receive the assurances of the pro- 
found respect with which I am, my Lord, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Grand master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and ruler of Malta 
(1775-1797)- ED. 

2 See letter to R. R. Livingston, March 4, 1782. -ED. 



1783] TO M. ROSENCRONE 29 

1405. TO M. ROSENCRONE 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, April 15, 1783. 

SIR, 

M. de Walterstorff 2 has communicated to me a Letter 
from your Excellency to him which affords me great Pleasure, 
as it expresses in clear and strong Terms the good Dis- 
position of your Court to form Connections of Friendship and 
Commerce with the United States of America. I am confi- 
dent, that the same good Disposition will be found in the 
Congress; and, having acquainted that respectable Body 
with the Purport of your Letter, I expect a Commission will 
soon be sent, appointing some Person in Europe to enter into 
a Treaty with his Majesty the King of Denmark, for the 
Purposes desired. 

In the mean time, to prepare and forward the Business 
as much as may be, I send, for your Excellency's Considera- 
tion, such a Sketch as you mention, form'd on the Base of 
our Treaty with Holland, on which I shall be glad to receive 
your Excellency's Sentiments. And I hope that this Trans- 
action, when compleated, may be the means of producing 
and securing a long and happy Friendship between our two 
Nations. 

To smooth the Way for obtaining this desirable End, 
as well as to comply with my Duty, it becomes necessary for 
me on this Occasion to mention to your Excellency the 
Affair of our three Prizes, which, having during the War 
entered Bergen as a neutral and friendly Port, where they 

1 Minister of foreign affairs at Copenhagen. ED. 

8 See the following letter, to R. R. Livingston, April 15, 1783. ED. 



30 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

might repair the Damages they had suffered, and procure 
Provisions, were, by an order of your Predecessor in the Office 
you so honourably fill, violently seized and delivered to our 
Enemies. I am inclined to think it was a hasty Act, pro- 
cured by the importunitys and Misrepresentations of the 
British Minister, and that your Court could not, on reflection, 
approve of it. But the Injury was done, and I flatter myself 
your Excellency will think with me, that it ought to be re- 
paired. The Means and Manner I beg leave to recommend to 
your Consideration, and am, with great Respect, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1406. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (L. c.) 

Passy, April 15, 1783. 

SIR, 

You complain sometimes of not hearing from us. It is 
now near three Months since any of us have heard from 
America. I think our last Letters came with General de 
Rochambeau. There is now a Project under Consideration 
for establishing Monthly Packet Boats between France and 
New York, which I hope will be carried into Execution ; our 
Correspondences then may be more regular and frequent. 

I send herewith another Copy of the Treaty concluded with 
Sweden. I hope, however, that you will have received the 
former, and that the Ratification is forwarded. The King, 
as the Ambassador informs me, is now employ'd in exam- 
ining the Duties payable in his Ports, with a View of lowering 
them in favour of America, and thereby encouraging and 
facilitating our mutual Commerce. 



1783] TO ROBERT JR. LIVINGSTON 31 

M. de Walterstorff Chambellan du Roy de Dannemarck, 
formerly Chief Justice of the Danish West India Islands, 
was last year at Paris, where I had some Acquaintance with 
him, and he is now return'd hither. The Newspapers have 
mention'd him as intended to be sent Minister from his Court 
to Congress; but he tells me no such Appointment has yet 
been made. He assures me, however, that the King has a 
strong Desire to have a Treaty of Friendship and Commerce 
with the United States; and he has communicated to me a 
Letter, which he received from M. Rosencrone, the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs, expressing that Disposition. I enclose 
a Copy of the Letter; and, if the Congress shall approve of 
entring into such a Treaty with the King of Denmark, of 
which I told M. de Walterstorff I made no doubt, they will 
send to me, or whom else they shall think proper, the necessary 
Powers and Instructions for that purpose. In the mean 
time, to keep the Business in Train, I have sent to that Min- 
ister, for his Consideration, a Translation of the Plan, mutatis 
mutandis, which I receiv'd from Congress for a Treaty with 
Sweden, accompanied by a Letter, of which likewise I enclose 
a Copy. I think it would be well to make it one of the In- 
structions to whoever is commission'd for the Treaty, that he 
previously procure Satisfaction for the Prizes mention'd in 
my Letter. 

The Definitive Treaties have met with great Delays, partly 
by the Tardiness of the Dutch, but principally by the Dis- 
tractions in the Court of England, where, for six or seven 
Weeks, there was properly no Ministry, nor any Business 
effected. They have at last settled a Ministry, but of such a 
Composition as does not promise to be lasting. The Papers 
will inform you who they are. It is now said, that Mr. 



32 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Oswald, who sign'd the Preliminaries, is not to return here, 
but that Mr. David Hartley comes in his stead to settle the 
definitive. A Congress is also talk'd of, and that some use 
is therein to be made of the Mediation formerly proposed 
of the Imperial Courts. Mr. Hartley is an old Friend of mine, 
and a strong Lover of Peace, so that I hope we shall not have 
much difficult Discussion with him; but I could have been 
content to have finish'd with Mr. Oswald, whom we always 
found very reasonable. 

Mr. Laurens, having left Bath, mended in his Health, is 
daily expected at Paris, where Messrs. Jay and Adams still 
continue. Mr. Jefferson has not yet arriv'd, nor the Romulus, 
in which Ship I am told he was to have taken his Passage. 
I have been the more impatient of this Delay, from the Ex- 
pectation given me of full Letters by him. It is extraordinary, 
that we should be so long without any Arrivals from America 
in any Port of Europe. We have as yet heard nothing of the 
Reception of the preliminary Articles in America, tho' it is 
now nearly 5 Months since they were signed. Barney, 
indeed, did not get aVay from hence before the Middle of 
January, but Copies went by other Ships long before him; 
he waited some time for the Money he carried, and after- 
wards was detained by violent contrary Winds. He had a 
Passport from England, and I hope arriv'd safe ; tho' we have 
been in some Pain for him, on Ace* of a Storm soon after he 
sail'd. 

The English Merchants have shown great Eagerness to 
reassume their Commerce with America ; but apprehending 
that our Laws, prohibiting that Commerce, would not be 
repeal'd till England had set the Example by repealing theirs, 
the Number of Vessels they had loaded with Goods have been 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 33 

detain'd in Port, while the Parliament have been debating 
on the Repealing Bill, which has been alter'd two or three 
times, and is not yet agreed upon. It was at first propos'd 
to give us equal Privileges in Trade with their own Subjects, 
repealing thereby, with respect to us, so much of their Navi- 
gation Act, as regards Foreign Nations. But that Plan 
seems to be laid aside, and what will finally be done in the 
Affair is yet uncertain. 

There is not a Port in France, and few in Europe, from 
which I have not receiv'd several Applications of Persons 
desiring to be appointed Consuls for America. They gen- 
erally offer to execute the Office for the Honour of it, with- 
out Salary. I suppose the Congress will wait to see what 
Course the Commerce will take, and in what Places it will fix 
itself, in order to find where Consuls will be necessary, before 
any Appointments are made, and perhaps it will then be 
thought best to send some of our own People. If they are 
not allow'd to Trade, there must be a great Expence for 
Salaries. If they may trade, and are Americans, the Fortunes 
they make will mostly settle at last in our own Country. The 
Agreement I was to make here respecting Consuls, has not 
yet been concluded. The Article of Trading is important. 
I think it would be well to reconsider it. 

I have caused to be struck here the Medal, which I for- 
merly mention'd to you, the Design of which you seem'd to 
approve. I inclose one of them in Silver, for the President 
of Congress, and one in Copper for yourself ; the Impression 
on Copper is thought to appear best, and you will soon 
receive a Number for the Members. I have presented one 
to the King, and another to the Queen, both in Gold, and 
one in Silver to each of the Ministers, as a monumental 

VOL. IT D 



34 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Acknowledgment, which may go down to future Ages, of the 
Obligations we are under to this Nation. It is mighty well 
received, and gives general Pleasure. If the Congress ap- 
prove of it, as I hope they will, I may add something on the 
Die (for those to be struck hereafter) to show that it was done 
by their Order, which I could not venture to do till I had 
Authority for it. 

A multitude of People are continually applying to me 
personally, and by Letters, for Information respecting the 
means of transporting themselves, Families, and Fortunes 
to America. I give no Encouragement to any of the King's 
subjects, as I think it would not be right in me to do it with- 
out their Sovereign's approbation; and, indeed, few offer 
from France but Persons of irregular Conduct and desperate 
Circumstances, whom we had better be without ; but I think 
there will be great Emigrations from England, Ireland, and 
Germany. There is a great Contest among the Ports, which 
of them shall be of those to be declared FreeioT the American 
Trade. Many applications are made to me to interest myself 
in the behalf of all of them; but having no Instructions on 
that head, and thinking it a Matter more properly belonging 
to the Consul, I have done nothing in it. 

I have continu'd to send you the English Papers. You 
will often see Falshoods in them respecting what I say and 
do and write, &c. You know those Papers too well to make 
any Contradiction of such Stuff necessary from me. 

Mr. Barclay is often ill, and I am afraid the Settlement 
of our Accounts will be, in his Hands, a long Operation. 
I shall be impatient at being detain'd here on that Score 
after the Arrival of my Successor. Would it not be well to 
join Mr. Ridley with Mr. Barclay for that Service? He re- 



1783] INTRODUCTION OF PROFESSOR MARTER 35 

sides in Paris, and seems active in Business. I know not, 
indeed, whether he would undertake it, but wish he may. 

The Finances here are embarrass'd, and a new loan is 
propos'd by way of Lottery, in which, it is said by some 
Calculators, the King will pay at the Rate of 7 per cent. 
I mention this to furnish you with a fresh convincing Proof 
against Cavillers of the King's Generosity towards us, in lend- 
ing us Six Millions this year at 5 per cent, and of his con- 
cern for our Credit, in saving by that Sum the Honour of 
Mr. Morris's Bills, while those drawn by his own Officers 
abroad have their Payment suspended for a Year after they 
become due. You have been told, that France might help 
us more liberally if she would. This last Transaction is a 
Demonstration of the contrary. 

Please to show these last Paragraphs to Mr. Morris, to 
whom I cannot now write, the Notice of this Ship being 
short ; but it is less necessary, as Mr. Grand writes him fully. 

With great Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 
P. S. Mr. Laurens is just arrived. 



1407. INTRODUCTION OF PROFESSOR MARTER 

(A. P. S.) 
Passy, April 22, 1783. 

SIR, 

M. Marter, Professor of Natural History in the Service of 
the Emperor, being appointed to make a Collection of Plants 
and Animals from the four Quarters of the World, for his 
Imperial Majesty's Botanic Gardens and Menagerie, proposes 
to begin his Operations by a Journey thro* the Countries 
under the Government of the United States of America. He 



36 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

is strongly recommended to me by his Excellency the Am- 
bassador from that Court ; and I take leave to recommend 
him not only to the Civilities you are pleas'd in bestowing on 
Strangers of Merit but to all the Assistances and Facilities 
your Station & the Influence attending it, may enable you 
to afford him in the Execution of his Commission, being 
persuaded that your Zeal for the Increase of Useful^ Science, 
as well as the Respect due to his August Employer, will in- 
duce you to render Mr. Marter such Services with Pleasure. 
I have the honour to be very respectfully, 

Sir, 

Your [Excellency's] 
15 Copies [B. FRANKLIN.] 



1408. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, April 26, 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received in its time your kind Letter of Feb. 22. I am 
sensible of the Prudence of your Advice respecting my coming 
to England, and shall follow it. Accept my Thanks for that, 
and for your kind Invitation to Cheam, when I do come ; but 
the little left of Life at my Age will, perhaps, hurry me home, 
as soon as I can be quit of my Employment here. I should, 
indeed, have great Pleasure in seeing you, and in being some 
time with you and your little Family. I cannot have all I 
wish. 

Mr. Williams is now here with his Family. I shall men- 
tion to him his not answering your Letter. We talk'd yester- 
day of you, and of his Friend Dolly, whom I have not forgotten, 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



1783] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 37 

as she supposes. He express'd the highest Esteem and Re- 
gard for you both. My Love to her when you see her. 
I send you some more of the little Books, and am ever, my 

dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1409. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, April 27, 1783. 
SIR, 

The Count del Veome, an Italian Nobleman of great dis- 
tinction, does me the honour to be the Bearer of this. I have 
not the Satisfaction to be personally acquainted with this 
Gentleman, but am much solicited by some of my particular 
friends, to whom his Merits and Character are known, to 
afford him this Introduction to you. He is, I understand, a 
great Traveller, and his view in going to America is merely 
to see the Country and its great Men. I pray you will show 
him every Civility, and afford him that Counsel, which as a 
Stranger he may stand in need of. With great respect, I am, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1410. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, May 4, 1783. 

SIR : I have considered the proposal of M. le Marq. de 
Se*gur to cede to the Congress the military stores left by M. 
de Rochambeau at Baltimore, 1 and I am of opinion that it is 

1 A la reception de cette lettre, vous prendres les ordres du General 
Washington pour les dispositions qui devront preceder 1'embarquemont de la 



38 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

probable a part of them may be acceptable, if not the whole, 
and that possibly some of the different States may be inclined 
to purchase what the Congress should not want. But as I am 
ignorant of what may or may not be wanted by the Congress, 
and have no orders to purchase or procure more stores than 
have already been provided here, I can enter into no agree- 
ment respecting them. If a power be'sent to the ambassador 
or consul to treat with the Congress or the separate States 
concerning them, it may be the most probable means of dis- 
posing of them to advantage. 

I am with respect, sir, your Excellency's most obedient and 
humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1411. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, May 5, 1783. 

SIR : I have the honour to communicate to your Excel- 
lency herewith three articles proposed between Mr. Hartley 
and the American Commissioners respecting commerce. He 
has sent them to his court for their approbation. I doubt 
their obtaining it. But we shall see. 

I am, with respect, sir, your Excellency's most obedient 
and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

legion, celui des detachement que vous commandez, de la grosse artillerie 
laissee a Baltimore et enfin des soldats malades qui n'ont pu suivre les regi- 
ments dontils font partie." Segur to Lauzun, Jan. 23, 1783. ED. 



1783] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 39 

1412. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, May 5, 1783. 

SIR, 

It was my intention to pay my devoirs at Versailles to- 
morrow. I thank your Excellency, nevertheless, for your 
kind admonition. 1 I omitted two of the last three days, from 
a mistaken apprehension, that, being holidays, there would 
be no court. Mr. Laurens and Mr. Jay are both invalids; 
and, since my last severe fit of the gout, my legs have con- 
tinued so weak, that I am hardly able to keep pace with the 
ministers who walk fast, especially in going up and down 
stairs. 

I beg you to be assured, that whatever deficiency there may 
be of strength, there is none of respect in, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 In a letter dated May 5, 1783 (to which the above letter is a reply) Ver- 
gennes wrote : 

" I have received the two letters of yesterday and to-day, which you have 
done me the honour to write to me, and a copy of the three articles discussed 
between the Commissioners of the United States and Mr. Hartley. You are 
aware, that I shall want a sufficient time to examine them before submitting to 
you the observations, which may relate to our reciprocal interests. Receive, 
in the mean time, my sincere thanks for this communication. 

M I hope to have the honour of seeing you to-morrow at Versailles. I trust 
you will be able to be present with the foreign ministers. It is observed, that 
the Commissioners from the United States rarely show themselves here, and 
inferences are drawn from it, which I am sure their constituents would dis- 
avow, if they had a knowledge of them. I have the honour to be, &c. 

" DE VERGENNES." ED. 



40 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1413. TO DAVID HARTLEY (p. R. o.) 

Passy, May 8, 1783. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I send you enclosed the copies you desired of the papers I 
read to you yesterday. 1 I should be happy if I could see, 
before I die, the proposed improvement of the law of nations 
established. The miseries of mankind would be diminished 
by it, and the happiness of millions secured and promoted. If 
the practice of privateering could be profitable to any civilized 
nation, it might be so to us Americans ; since we are so situ- 
ated on the globe, as that the rich commerce of Europe with 
the West Indies, consisting of manufactures, sugars, &c., is 
obliged to pass before our doors, which enables us to make 
short and cheap cruises, while our own commerce is in such 
bulky, low-priced articles, as that ten of our ships taken by 
you are not equal in value to one of yours, and you must come 
far from home, at a great expense, to look for them. I hope, 
therefore, that this proposition, if made by us, will appear 
in its true light, as having humanity only for its motive. 
I do not wish to see a new Barbary rising in America, and 
our long extended coast occupied by piratical states. I fear, 
lest our privateering success in the two last wars should 
already have given our people too strong a relish for that most 
mischievous kind of gaming, mixed blood ; and, if a stop is 
not now put to the practice, mankind may hereafter be more 
plagued with American corsairs, than they have been and 
are with the Turkish. Try, my friend, what you can do, 
in procuring for your nation the glory of being, though the 

1 See the Article about privateering, to R. Oswald, January 14, 1783. ED. 



1783] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 41 

greatest naval power, the first who voluntarily relinquished 
the advantage that power seems to give them, of plundering 
others, and thereby impeding the mutual communications 
among men of the gifts of God, and rendering miserable mul- 
titudes of merchants and their families, artisans, and culti- 
vators of the earth, the most peaceable and innocent part of 
the human species. With great esteem and affection, I am 

ever, my dear friend, yours most sincerely, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1414. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ (L. c.) 

Passy, May 16, 1783. 

DEAR FRIEND : I have before me your three Favours of 
Feb 26, April 8 and 29,* the last delivered to me yesterday by 
Mr. Robertson, to whom I shall show the Respect due to 
your Recommendation. 3 I am asham'd of being so long in 
Arrear in my Correspondence with you, but I have too much 
Business. I will now endeavour to answer your Letters, 
and hope I may be able to do it without Interruption. 

I never received the Letter you mention, wherein you asked 
my leave to dedicate your Book to me. I should immediately 
have given my Consent, esteeming it a great honour to be so 
remembred by you, and handed down to Posterity as having 
your Friendship. The Cast of your Profile came safe to hand, 

1 These letters are all in A. P. S. ED. 

2 " The bearer of this, Mr. James Robertson, being arrived at Paris from a 
tour thro Italie, after having spent some time in Vienna, where he followed my 
experiments and became one of my friends, has begged the favour of me to 
send him an introductory letter to you." Ingenhousz to Franklin, April 29, 
1783. ED. 



42 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

and gives me Pleasure, as I think it very like. Pray what is 
the Composition? 

My Journey to Italy, and thence to Vienna, is yet an Un- 
certainty. I thank you however for your kind Advice re- 
specting the Conduct of it. 1 

I have long since been tired of the Acquaintance and cor- 
respondence of Mr. V. ; 2 having but a small Remnant left of 
Life, I cannot afford to attend to his endless Discourse and 
numerous long Letters, and visionary Projects. He wants 
to be employed in our Affairs, but he manages his own so 
badly that one can have but little Confidence in his Prudence. 
I pity him however, tho' I see no possible means of serving 
him. 

I thank you for the friendly Congratulations on the Peace, 
and Cautions respecting our future Conduct ; they are good 
and wise. 3 

Mr. Wharton's Treatment of you gives me pain. He 
never writes to me. I forget whether I have already sent you 
the Extract of his Letter to Dr. Bancroft, so I enclose a 
Copy. I enclose also a part of a Philadelphia Newspaper, 
by which you will see that your Name and Writings are 
already known in our Country. With regard to your Prop- 



1 Ingenhousz advised Franklin to go to Italy through Austria " because 
from Vienna to the Venetian territory you have not a single difficult or dan- 
gerous road." He also advised a broad Italian carriage, " the French car- 
riages are in general too narrow, and the English too low." ED. 

2 Rudolph Valltravers, an impecunious gentleman of Vienna who wrote 
interminable letters to Franklin, and constantly solicited his aid and favour in 
obtaining some position in Europe or America. ED. 

3 " Now you are a free and independent people, you ought to be mindfull of 
the old proverb, felix quam faciunt aliena pericula cautent ! and prevent 
disunion among yourselves. You have had open enemies, now you will have 
inobservable ones." Ingenhousz, Feb. 26, 1783. ED. 



1783] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 43 

erty in the Public Funds, I have no doubt of its being secure 
according to the Value it had when it was plac'd there, but 
I can say nothing as to the particulars of its Situation or 
Amount; Mr. Williams can better inform you. I have re- 
quested him to do it. 

It is long since I have seen M. Le Begue. 1 He is much 
in the Country. I have heard nothing of the Printing of 
your Book. 

Your Experiment of burning the Wire has been made here 
with the greatest Success. My grandson had it try'd at Mr. 
Charles' Lecture, where it gave great Satisfaction & was much 
admir'd. 

I have not yet found Leisure to explain the Fireplace, but 
hope for it, when I am quit of my present Station. 

I have been, as you know, so little in America for these last 
25 Years, that I am unqualified to answer the Request of Mr. 
Veinbrenner concerning the Names and Solidity of Houses 
there. 2 

A new Set of Merchants have grown up into Business, of 
whom I know nothing ; and the Circumstances of the old ones 
whom I formerly knew may have been much altered by Time, 
or by the War. It is besides, an invidious & dangerous 
Thing for me to give such a distinguishing List, if I were able 
to do it. My best Advice to your Commercial People is, to 
send over a discreet, intelligent Person, with instructions to 

1 Achille-Guillaume le Begue de Presles (1735-1807), Rousseau's physician 
and friend, had been requested by Ingenhousz to superintend the publication 
of his book in Paris, but he had not replied for a long time to any of Ingen- 
housz's letters. ED. 

2 M. Veinbrenner, by order of Prince Kaunitz, first minister of state, had 
written to Franklin for information about " the solidity of merchants in 
America." ED. 



44 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

travel thro' the Country, observe the Nature of the Commerce, 
find out what of your Commodities are wanted there, and in 
what Quantities & Proportions ; & what of the Produce of the 
Country can be purchased to make advantageous Returns. 
Such a Man on the Spot may obtain better Informations of 
Characters than I can possibly give, and may make the 
Connections desired with those that he finds to merit Con- 
fidence. If your People should think fit to take this Step, I 
will give Letters of Recommendation introductory of the 
Person, and which may be useful to their Design. Please 
to acquaint Mr. Veinbrenner of this, presenting my respects. 
I have already given such Letters at [mutilated] have received 
no intimation, except from you, that a Proposition for such a 
Treaty would be acceptable to His Imperial Majesty. 1 I 
shall however venture to propose it to the Ambassador when 
I request his forwarding to you this Letter. The Commodi- 
ties you mention as Productions of the Emperor's Dominions 
are all wanted in America, and will sell there to Advantage. 2 

I will send you another Piece of the Soap you mention 
when I can have a good Opportunity. I now send you one 
of the Medals I have caused to be struck here, which has the 
good Luck to be much approved. [Mutilated, part of draft 
cut off.] 

With regard to the Statuary 8 you mention, I hardly think 

1 A commercial treaty. ED. 

2 " The articles of exportation from this country are chiefly copper, steel, 
mercury, and glass as fine as English. Hungarian wines begin also to be an 
object. From the low countries the chief exporting objects are lace and lin- 
nens." Ingenhousz, April 8, 1783. ED. 

8 Giuseppi Ceracchi of Rome. Count Lacy, " the greatest favorite of the 
Emperour," requested Ingenhousz to ask Franklin whether Ceracchi " should 
goe over to America in expectation of being employed in erecting or making 
marmor and such like monuments. . . . Marechal Lacy added, that, in case 



1783] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 45 

it can be worth his while at present to go to America hi Ex- 
pectation of being employ'd there. Private Persons are not 
rich enough to encourage sufficiently the fine Arts ; and 
therefore our Geniuses all go to Europe. In England at 
present, the best History Painter, West; the best Portrait 
Painter, Copley; and the best Landscape Painter, Taylor, 
at Bath, are all Americans. And the Public being burthen'd 
by its War Debts, will certainly think of paying them before 
it goes into the Expence of Marble Monuments. He might, 
indeed, as you hint, be easily paid in Land, but Land will 
produce him nothing without Labour ; and he and his Work- 
men must [incomplete]. 

after a few years such an Artist may find Employment; 
and possibly we may discover a white Marble. 

I am glad you have made the experiments you mention, 
and with success. You will find that the holes are not made 
by the impulse of the fluid moving in certain directions, 
but by circumstances of explosion of parts of the matter; 
and I still think my explanation of the holes in the vane 
probable, viz. that it was the explosion of tin against parts 
of the copper plate that were almost in a state of fusion, and 
therefore easily burst through either on one side or the other, 
as it happened. The bursting of the twelve bottles all at 
once, I take to be owing to small bubbles in the substance 
of the glass, or grains of sand, into which a quantity of the 
electric fluid had been forced and compressed while the bottles 



there was a prospect of finding employment there, and money should be scarce, 
gouvernment could grant him land." Ingenhousz, April 29, 1 783. This is the 
only reference made by Franklin to Ceracchi, who has long been credited with 
the making of the bust of Franklin which is now known to have been the 
work of Caffieri. ED. 



46 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

were charging; and when the pressure was suddenly taken 
off by discharging the bottles, that confined portion by its 
elastic force expanding caused the breach. My reasons for 
thinking, that the charge did not pass by those holes you will 
find in a former letter; and I think you will always find, that 
the coating within and without is forced both ways by the 

explosion of these bubbles. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



141 S. RECOMMENDATION OF A GALLEY SLAVE 

(A. P. S.) 
Passy, May 22. 1783 

SIR, 

The Bearer Pierre Andre* Gargaz is Author of a very 
humane Project for establishing a perpetual Peace. This 
has interested me much in his Behalf. He appears to me a 
very honest sensible Man, & worthy of better Fortune: 
For tho' his Project may appear in some respects chimerical, 
there is Merit hi so good an Intention. He has serv'd faith- 
fully 20 Years as a Galley-Slave, and now requests Letters 
of Rehabilitation, that he may enjoy for the Rest of his Life 
the Douceurs that State would be attended with: If this 
Request of his is not improper, & you can assist him in pro- 
curing such Letters You will do me a most sensible Pleasure. 
He will show you authentic Certificates of his good Conduct. 
With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, 

Sir, 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

[To whom it may Concern.] 



1783] TO PHILIPPE-DENIS PIERRES 47 

1416. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, May 23, 1783 

SIR : I beg leave to recommend earnestly to your Ex- 
cellency's attention the enclosed petition and papers from 
Mr. Price, an honest, worthy American, who was to my knowl- 
edge very serviceable to our army in Canada, and much 
esteemed by the Congress. I shall be very thankful if you 
can procure for him the order he desires. With great respect, 
I am, sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble 
servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1417. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, June 3, 1783 

SIR : Having long known Mr. Williams to be a very 
just man in all his transactions, I hope the favour he re- 
quests of a surse'ance may be granted to him, being con- 
fident that it will be employed to the complete satisfaction 
of his creditors. I therefore earnestly pray your Excellency 
to obtain it for him. With great respect, I am, sir, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1418. TO PHILIPPE-DENIS PIERRES 1 (A. p. s.) 
g m Passy, June 10, 1783. 

I received the Exemplaire of the Constitutions. I in- 
tended to have waited on M. le Garde des Sceaux yesterday, 

1 This celebrated printer of Versailles, a member of the Academies of Dijon, 



48 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

at Versailles, but was prevented. I shall write to him to-day. 
The Ratification of the Swedish Treaty is arrived, so that 
there is no farther Obstruction to the Publication. I desire 
to have 50 of the 8vos bound in Calf and letter'd, and 50 
half bound, that is, between Pasteboards with a Sheepskin 
Back, and Letter'd, but not cut. I desire also 6 of the 4tos 
copies bound in Morocco. I am, with great esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 1 

Lyons, Rouen, and Orleans, died at Dijon, February 28, 1808, at the age of 
sixty-eight. At Franklin's request he instructed B. F. Bache in the principles 
of typography. He left an unfinished work, " L'Art de 1'Imprimerie." ED. 
1 Pierres wrote to Franklin, June 27, 1783 (A. P. S.), as follows : 

" MONSIEUR, 

" Vous devez 8tre etonne sans doute de ne point recevoir de ma part les 
exemplaires des Constitutions de 1'Amerique que je vous ai promis le 20 du 
courant, jour que j'ai eu 1'honneur de vous voir. 

" En vous quittant j'ai etc chez M. de Neville. On m'a montre le nouvel 
embargo mis sur cet ouvrage; c'est une note que M. le Garde des Sceaux a 
ecrite a cote de la permission, la voici : * a condition que 1'ouvrage passera 
encore sous les yeux de M. le Comte de Vergennes avant d'Stre distribu6.' 
On m'a dit qu'il etoit a propos que j'en envoyasse un exemplaire a M. le Comte 
de Vergennes, c'est ce que j'ai fait en rentrant chez moi : j'y ai joint la lettre 
dont je vous envoie copie. J'attends la reponse de ce Ministre pour la faire 
passer aussitfit a M. le Garde des Sceaux qui 1'enverra a M. de Neville, pour 
enfin aprs tout cela m'autoriser a faire la distribution. 

" Vous voyez, Monsieur, que Paris ne ressemble point du tout a Philadel- 
phie et qui'il nous faudrait ici un second Franklin, s'il pouvoit en exister deux, 
pour nous delivrer de toutes ces entraves, entraves que je ne puis ni ne dois con- 
damner, puisque je suis citoyen. 

" Cela ne m'emp&che pas, Monsieur, de faire en attendant relier et brocher 
et je serois en etat actuellement de vous livrer tous vos exemplaires, si les 
reglements auxquels je suis assujetti m'en donnoient la liberte. Aussitdt que 
je serai de"gage de toutes les entraves que je viens de vous detailler, j'aurai 
Vhonneur de vous en faire part. 

" Je suis avec un profond respect, Monsieur, 

" Votre tres humble et 
" tres obeissant serviteur 
(Signed) " PIERRES." 

ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON' 49 

1419. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (D. s. w.) 

Passy, June 12, 1783. 
SIR, 

I wrote to you fully by a vessel from Nantes, which I hope 
will reach you before this. If not, this may inform you, 
that the ratification of the treaty with Sweden is come, and 
ready to be exchanged when I shall receive that from Con- 
gress; that the treaty with Denmark is going on, and will 
probably be ready before the commission for signing it 
arrives from Congress. It is on the plan of that proposed 
by Congress for Sweden. 

Portugal has likewise proposed to treat with us, and the 
ambassador has earnestly urged me to give him a plan for 
the consideration of his court, which I have accordingly 
done, and he has forwarded it. The Congress will send com- 
missions and instructions for concluding these treaties to 
whom they may think proper ; it is only upon the old authority, 
given, by a resolution, to myself with Messrs. Deane and 
Lee, to treat with any European powers, that I have ven- 
tured to begin these treaties in consequence of overtures from 
those crowns. 

The definitive treaty with England is not yet concluded, 
their ministry being unsettled in their minds as to the terms 
of the commercial part; nor is any other definitive treaty 
yet completed here, nor even the preliminaries signed of 
one between England and Holland. It is now five months 
since we have had a line from you, the last being dated the 
i3th of January; of course we know nothing of the reception 

VOL. IX E 



S o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

of the Preliminary Articles, or the opinion of Congress 
respecting them. We hoped to receive before this time such 
instructions as might have been thought proper to be sent 
to us for rendering more perfect the definitive treaty. We 
know nothing of what has been approved or disapproved. 
We are totally in the dark, and therefore, less pressing to 
conclude, being still (as we have long been) in daily expecta- 
tion of hearing from you. By chance only, we learn that 
Barney is arrived, by whom went the despatches of the Com- 
missioners, and a considerable sum of money. No acknowl- 
edgment of the receipt of that money is yet come to hand, 
either to me or M. Grand. I make no doubt that both you 
and Mr. Morris have written, and I cannot imagine what 
has become of your letters. With great esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I beg leave to recommend to your civilities the 
bearer of this, Dr. Bancroft, whom you will find a very in- 
telligent, sensible man, well acquainted with the state of 
affairs here, and who has heretofore been employed in the 
service of Congress. I have long known him, and esteem 
him highly. 



1420. TO PRINCE DES DEUXPONTS (A. p. s.) 

June 14 1783 

WITHOUT Information what are the Productions & Manu- 
factures of the Palatinate & of Bavaria and their Prices of 
which M 1 Franklin is totally ignorant, it is impossible for 
him to say what of them will be proper for a Commerce with 



1783] TO PRINCE DBS DEUX FONTS 51 

the United States of America. He can only answer in gen- 
eral, that America purchases from Europe all kinds of 
Woolens & Linnens warp & fine proper for Clothing of 
Men & Women ; with a variety of Iron & Steele Manufactures. 
And she pays in Tobacco, Rice, Indigo, Bills of Exchange or 
Money. If the Electorates above mentioned, can furnish 
any of those Manufactures cheaper than France, Holland, or 
England, they may thereby obtain a Share of the American 
Commerce. But it will be prudent for the Merchants to 
send a discreet intelligent Man with a small Cargo of Samples 
of all their kinds of Goods, in order to obtain a thorough 
Knowledge of the Nature of the Commerce in that Country, 
and of the Kinds of Goods & proportions of their Quanti- 
ties, that are most in demand there, before they hazard the 
making of large Adventures. There is no doubt but that 
the Commerce of the German States will be favourably re- 
ceiv'd in America, where a great many People of that Nation 
are established. MT F. will give it all the Encouragement 
that can be expected of him; but he cannot take upon him 
to point out and name as he has been desired the most Solid 
Houses of Commerce there, having been long absent from 
that Country, and the War having probably made a Change 
in the Circumstances of many. 1 

1 The above letter was written by Franklin in lead pencil upon the back of 
the following note addressed to him by M. le Prince des Deuxponts : 

" M. le Prince des Deuxponts s'est deja adresse a Monsieur Franklin pour 
savoir si PElectorat Palatin et le Duche de Baviere pourroient entrer en liaison 
de commerce avec les treize Etats unis de 1'Amerique. Mais n'en ayant obtenu 
qu'une reponse trop vague pour tre transmise \ ses commettans, il le prie 
tres instamment de vouloir bien lui specifier par ecrit quelles seroient les pro- 
ductions et les objets d'industrie qui pourroient le plus aisement donner de la 
consistance a ce projet et le faire prosperer. II insiste sur ,cette reponse 
parce qu'on la lui demande et il se flatte que Monsieur Franklin verra d'un 



THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 



1421. ON THE SHOCK BY THE ELECTRIC BOT- 
TLE, AND THE DENSITY OF GLASS 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, June 14, 1783. 
SIR, 

I received some time since the letter you honoured me 
with, containing your hypothesis for explaining the shock 
given by the electric bottle, on which you seem to desire my 
opinion. It is many years since I was engaged in those 
pleasing studies, and my mind is at present too much occu- 
pied with other and more important affairs to permit my 
returning to them. I cannot therefore examine your in- 
genious hypothesis with the attention it appears to merit. 
You will find in a letter of mine to Dr. Lining, dated March 
1 8th, 1755, that I abandoned my hypothesis of the greater 
density of glass in the middle than near its surfaces, as con- 
tributing to produce the effect, because I found the effect to 
be the same after I had ground that part away. 

And I think you might likewise try yours by an easy ex- 
periment. Take a plate of lead twelve inches square ; cover 
one of its sides with a coat of bees' wax, about one line thick; 
upon that apply closely a thin plate of lead eight inches 
square, so as to leave a margin of two inches all round. 
Electrify this composition of lead and wax, and try if you can 

ceil favorable 1'empressement que temoignent plusieurs Etats de 1'Allemagne 
d'avoir des rapports avec une nouvelle puissance qui est en tres grande 
partie son ouvrage. 

" Paris, le 14 Juin 1783." 

Charles, Prince des Deuxponts, elder brother of King Maximilian of Bavaria, 
was the nephew of Duke Christian of Zweibriick, who was the husband of 
Franklin's esteemed friend Madame de Forbach. ED. 

1 It is not known to whom this letter was written. ED. 



1783] TO BARON DE STAEL 53 

receive a shock from it ; if not, you may draw thence a fur- 
ther argument to support your hypothesis, because the wax, 
though a non-conductor, is not elastic, any more than pure 
lead. I see you are endowed with a genius for the study of 
nature; and I would recommend it to you to employ your 
time rather in making experiments, than in making hypoth- 
eses and forming imaginary systems, which we are all too 
apt to please ourselves with, till some experiment comes and 
unluckily destroys them. Wishing you success in your in- 
quiries, I have the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1422. TO BARON DE STAEL (A. p. s.) 

Passy, le 16 Juin 1783 

MONSIEUR, 

J'ai ref u la Lettre que votre Excellence m'a fait 1'honneur 
de m'ecrire le 13 de ce Mois, pour me faire Part que vous 
avez reu de votre Cour la Ratification du Traite* conclu 
entre nos deux Nations: J'attens de Jour en Jour la Rati- 
fication du Congres, J des que je 1'aurai refue je m' empres- 
serai de vous en faire Part, a fin que nous puissions faire les 
Echanges reciproques. 

Le Desir que temoigne sa Majeste* Swedoise, (et dont M* 
le C tc de Creutz votre Predecesseur, m'avez instruit avant 
son depart) d'avoir pour resider aupres d'Elle, de la Part des 
Etats Unis, quelqu'un qui porte mon Nom, m'honore et 
me flatte infiniement; ainsi que les Termes obligeants dont 
vous vous etes servis pour me rapeller cet desir. Je m'em- 
presserai de le faire connoitre au Congres, et je ne doute 
pas que e Corps ne se prete a faire tous ce qui peut etre 



54 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

agreable a un Souverain pour qui ils ont tant d'estime, 
J qui a etc* le premier de 1'Europe a nous offrir son Amide*. 

J'ai 1'honneur d'etre une respectueuse Consideration et 
un sincere attachement, de Votre Excellence 
Le tres humble et tres obeissant 
serviteur 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 1 



1423. TO CAPTAIN NATHANIEL FALCONER 2 

(P. H. S.) 
Passy, June 18. 1783 

DEAR FRIEND 

I received your kind Letters of May 15. and June y. 3 
and was very glad to hear of your Welfare and safe Arrival 
in England. I wish you much Success in entring again 
upon your old Occupation, and should be happy if I could 

1 This letter was in reply to the following : 

"Paris, June 13, 1783. 
" SIR, 

" I have just received his Majesty's ratification of the treaty of commerce 
concluded with the United States, which I shall have the honour to send you 
as soon as it can be exchanged for the one from Congress. 

" Permit me, Sir, on this occasion to repeat the request, which the ambas- 
sador has made you, respecting Mr. Franklin, your grandson. He had the 
honour to tell you, that it would afford the King a pleasure to have a person 
residing with him, in the capacity of the minister of Congress, who bears your 
name in conjunction with such estimable qualifications as young Mr. Franklin 
possesses. He charged me before he departed, to repeat to you the same 
assurances, and you will allow me to add, on my part, my best wishes for the 
success of this matter. I have the honour to be, &c. 

" LE BARON DE STAEL." 

Eric-Magnus, Baron de Stael-Holstein (1749-1802), was newly accredited 
Swedish ambassador to France at the time of the writing of this letter. Three 
years later he married the daughter of M. Necker. ED. 

2 The trans, of this letter in P. H. S. is endorsed " copied from the original 
in possession of Peter Thompson of Philad." ED. 

8 These letters are in A. P. S. ED. 



1783] TO CAPTAIN NATHANIEL FALCONER 55 

be ready to return in a ship under your Care. But I have 
not yet receiv'd the Permission I requested from Congress, 
nor do I know anything of their Intentions respecting me or 
my Grandson, having no Letter later than the i3th of Janu- 
ary. I am surpriz'd they did not take the opportunity of 
writing by you. We are here totally in the Dark as to their 
Opinion of the Preliminary Articles of the Peace, which we 
sent by Capt. Barney in the Washington ; who sail'd from 
L'Orient the iyth of January, and carried with our Dis- 
patches a large Sum of Money; we have not so much as 
heard with Certainty of his Arrival. I beg you will give 
me what Information you can of these Particulars and any 
others that you may think interesting to me and mine. Is 
it true that M r Morris has resigned his Office, and that the 
Constitution of Pensilvania is to be altered in October? 
Was any one appointed to succeed me here, or who was in- 
tended? I never long'd so much to be at home, and am 
afraid that if my Discharge is delay'd I shall be oblig'd to 
stay here another Winter. 

I am glad to hear from you of the Welfare of my old Friends 
MT. Jackson and MF. Watley. 1 If you see them again, please 
to present my best Respects to them. I have still a regard 
for Mf. Strahan in remembrance of our ancient Friendship, 
tho' he has as a Member of Parliament dipt his Hands in 
our Blood. He was always as credulous as you find him. 2 

1 Captain Falconer dined June 6, 1783, with Richard Jackson and George 
Whatley, at the Post Office. ED. 

a " I have been over to your old friends Mr. Strawns and find him just the 
same man, believes every Ly he hears against the United States, the French 
army and our Army have been killing each other, and that we shall be glad to 
come to this country again. Let these Gentlemen believe all this for I am 
very sure I do not." (Falconer.) ED. 



S 6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

He told me a little before I left London that there was News 
of a Scotch Sergeant's having alone met a party of 40 Ameri- 
can Soldiers, disarmed them, and brought them. Prisoners 
into Boston. This he appeared to believe, and may there- 
fore well believe the Lie you mention of the French Troops 
& our Army killing each other. His believing such Fals- 
hoods would be Less consequence, if he did not propagate 
them by his Chronicle, in the last of which that I have seen 
there are two lying letters said to be from New York of 
April 13 but actually fabricated in London. In refutation 
of his story of our quarrelling & fighting with the French 
Troops I send you enclosed part of a Pennsylvania Journal 
of May 7 which I wish you would give to him, and I doubt 
not but he will have the Candour to publish it. It will there 
appear authentically that the most perfect harmony sub- 
sisted between them to the last. My Grandson presents 
his Respects to you, as does M r Hartley. We are all (Thanks 
to God) well & hearty: But I am uneasy about Barney, 
fearing he may be lost, and therefore beg you would as soon 
as possible inform me if you know anything of his Arrival. 
With great and sincere Esteem, I am ever, my dear Friend, 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Tell me everything you know about the Arrival & Recep- 
tion of the News respecting the Peace, and whether it is true 
that the Articles were kept some time secret, & why; for 
we have received no intelligence from Government & know 
not what to believe or think. 

To Capt. Nath 11 Falconer 
at the Pennsylvania Coffee House 
Birchin Lane 
London. 



1783] TO COAfTE DE VERGENNES 57 

1424. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES ' (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, July. 4, 1783. 

SIR, 

I have the honour to communicate to your Excellency, by 
Order of Congress, their Resolution of the 2d of May. It 
will explain itself; and I can add no Arguments to enforce 
the Request it contains, which I have not already urged with 
an Importunity that nothing but a Sense of Duty could oblige 
me to use, when I see so clearly that it is painful to you as 
well as to me. I confide also much more in the Representa- 
tion M. de la Luzerne has probably made to you on the Affair. 
I will only say, that from a perfect Knowledge I have of 
their present Situation, no Favour of the Kind from his 
Majesty could ever be more essentially serviceable to the 
United States, or make a more lasting Impression. 

I send withal an Address the Congress has just made to 
the several States, wherein you will see the Steps they are 
taking to procure the necessary Funds, for answering all 
Engagements; in which I have no doubt they will succeed. 
Your Excellency will also see there, the Manner in which I 
have written on the Subject ; and you will find that the Con- 
tract of July last was ratified, and with Expressions of Grati- 
tude, in January last, tho' the Original Ratification is not 
yet come to hand 

With great Respect, I am, Sir, 

Your Excellency's most 

obedient and most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 There is an auto, draft of this letter in L. C. It is printed by Bigelow 
but dated July 14. ED. 



5 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1425. TO HENRY LAURENS 1 (P. c.) 

Passy, July 6, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

We have been honoured with several of your Letters, 
and we have talk'd of writing to you, but it has been de- 
layed. I will therefore write a few Lines in my private 
Capacity. 

Our Negotiations go on slowly, every Proposition being 
sent to England, and Answers not returning very speedily. 
Captain Barney arrived here last Wednesday, & brought 
Dispatches for us as late as the first of June. The Prelimi- 
nary Articles are ratified. But General Carleton, in Vio- 
lation of those Articles, has sent away a great number of 
Negroes, alleging, that Freedom having been promised them 
by a Proclamation, the Honour of the Nation was con- 
cern'd, &c. Probably another Reason may be, that, if they 
had been restor'd to their Masters, Britain could not have 
hop'd any thing from such another Proclamation hereafter. 

Mr. Hartley calPd yesterday to tell us, that he had receiv'd 
a letter from Mr. Fox, assuring him that our Suspicions of 
affected Delays or Change of System on their Side were 
groundless; and that they were sincerely desirous to finish 
as soon as possible. If this be so, and your health will per- 
mit the Journey, I could wish your Return as soon as pos- 
sible. I want you here on many Accounts, and should be 
glad of your Assistance in considering and answering our 
public Letters. There are Matters in them of which I can- 
not conveniently give you an Account at present. Nothing 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Simon Gratz. ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 59 

could be more seasonable than Success in the Project you 
proposed, but we have now very little expectation. Please 
to give my love to your valuable and amiable son and 
daughter, and believe me, with sincere esteem, and Affection, 
Dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1426. TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON (L. c.) 

Passy, July 22, 1783. 
SIR, 

You have complain'd, sometimes with reason, of not hear- 
ing from your foreign Ministers ; we have had cause to make 
the same Complaint, six full Months having interven'd be- 
tween the latest date of your preceding Letters and the re- 
ceipt of those by Captain Barney. During all this time we 
were ignorant of the Reception of the Provisional Treaty, 
and the Sentiments of Congress upon it, which, if we had 
received sooner, might have forwarded the Proceedings on 
the Definitive Treaty, and, perhaps, brought them to a Con- 
clusion at a time more favourable than the present. But 
these occasional Interruptions of Correspondence are the in- 
evitable Consequences of a State of War, and of such remote 
Situations. Barney had a short Passage, and arrived some 
Days before Colonel Ogden, who also brought Dispatches 
from you, all of which are come safe to hand. We, the Com- 
missioners, have in our joint Capacity written a Letter to 
you, which you will receive with this. 

I shall now answer yours of March 26, May 9, and May 
3 1. 1 It gave me great Pleasure to learn by the first, that the 

1 See "Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. IV, pp. 84, 107, 109. ED. 



60 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

News of the Peace diffused general Satisfaction. I will not 
now take upon me to justify the apparent Reserve, respect- 
ing this Court, at the Signature, which you disapprove. We 
have touch'd upon it in our general Letter. 1 I do not see, 
however, that they have much reason to complain of that 
Transaction. Nothing was stipulated to their Prejudice, and 
none of the Stipulations were to have Force, but by a sub- 
sequent Act of their own. I suppose, indeed, that they have 
not complain' d of it, or you would have sent us a Copy of 
the Complaint, that we might have answer'd it. I long since 
satisfied Comte de V. about it here. We did what appear'd 
to all of us best at the Time, and, if we have done wrong, 
the Congress will do right, after hearing us, to censure us. 
Their Nomination of Five Persons to the Service seems to 
mark, that they had some Dependence on our joint Judg- 
ment, since one alone could have made a Treaty by Direc- 
tion of the French Ministry as well as twenty. 

I will only add, that, with respect to myself, neither the Let- 
ter from M. Marbois, 2 handed us thro' the British Negocia- 
tors (a suspicious Channel), nor the Conversations respecting 
the Fishery, the Boundaries, the Royalists, &c., recommend- 
ing Moderation in our Demands, are of Weight sufficient in 
my Mind to fix an Opinion, that this Court wish'd to restrain 
us in obtaining any Degree of Advantage we could prevail 
on our Enemies to accord ; since those Discourses are fairly 
resolvable, by supposing a very natural Apprehension, that 

1 See " Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. X. p. 187. ED. 

2 Marquis de Barbe-Marbois (1745-1837), secretary of the French legation, 
at Philadelphia ; minister plenipotentiary in Germany ; major of Metz ; 
President of "Conseil des Anciens" ; Conseiller d'Etat; directeur in 1801; 
President of "Cour des Comptes " ; senator (1813) ; garde des Sceaux under 
Louis XVIII ; member of the " Academie des Inscriptions." ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 61 

we, relying too much on the Ability of France to continue the 
War in our favour, and supply us constantly with Money, 
might insist on more Advantages than the English would be 
willing to grant, and thereby lose the Opportunity of making 
Peace, so necessary to all our Friends. 

I ought not, however, to conceal from you, that one of my 
Colleagues * is of a very different Opinion from me in these 
Matters. He thinks the French Minister one of the greatest 
Enemies of our Country, that he would have straitned our 
Boundaries, to prevent the Growth of our People ; contracted 
our Fishery, to obstruct the Increase of our Seamen; and 
retained the Royalists among us, to keep us divided; that 
he privately opposes all our Negociations with foreign Courts, 
and afforded us, during the War, the Assistance we receiv'd, 
only to keep it alive, that we might be so much the more 
weaken 'd by it ; that to think of Gratitude to France is the 
greatest of Follies, and that to be influenced by it would ruin 
us. He makes no Secret of his having these Opinions, ex- 
presses them publicly, sometimes in presence of the English 
Ministers, and speaks of hundreds of Instances which he 
could produce in Proof of them. None of which however, 
have yet appear'd to me, unless the Conversations and Letter 
above-mentioned are reckoned such. 

If I were not convinc'd of the real Inability of this Court 
to furnish the further Supplys we ask'd, I should suspect these 
Discourses of a Person in his Station might have influenced 
the Refusal; but I think they have gone no farther than to 
occasion a Suspicion, that we have a considerable Party of 
Antigallicans in America, who are not Tories, and conse- 
quently to produce some doubts of the Continuance of our 

1 John Adams. ED. 



62 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Friendship. As such Doubts may hereafter have a bad 
Effect, I think we cannot take too much care to remove them ; 
and it is, therefore, I write this, to put you on your guard, 
(believing it my duty, tho' I know that I hazard by it a mortal 
Enmity), and to caution you respecting the Insinuations of 
this Gentleman against this Court, and the Instances he 
supposes of their ill will to us, which I take to be as imaginary 
as I know his Fancies to be, that Count de V. and myself are 
continually plotting against him, and employing the News- 
Writers of Europe to depreciate his Character, &c. But 
as Shakespear says, "Trifles light as Air," 1 &c. I am per- 
suaded, however, that he means well for his Country, is 
always an honest Man, often a wise one, but sometimes, and 
in some things, absolutely out of his senses. 

When the Commercial Article, mentioned in yours of the 
26th was struck out of our propos'd Preliminaries by the 
then British Ministry, the reason given was, that sundry 
Acts of Parliament still in force were against it, and must 
be first repeal'd, which I believe was really their Intention, 
and sundry Bills were accordingly bro't in for that purpose ; 
but, new Ministers with different Principles succeeding, a 
commercial Proclamation totally different from those Bills 
has lately appeared. I send enclosed a Copy of it. We shall 
try what can be done in the Definitive Treaty towards setting 
aside that Proclamation; but, if it should be persisted in, it 
will then be a Matter worthy the attentive Discussion of 
Congress, whether it will be most prudent to retort with a 
similar Regulation in order to force its Repeal (which may 
possibly tend to bring on another Quarrel), or to let it pass 
without notice, and leave it to its own Inconvenience, or 

1 "Othello," III, in, 222. ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 63 

rather Impracticability, in the Execution, and to the Com- 
plaints of the West India Planters, who must all pay much 
dearer for our Produce, under those Restrictions. 

I am not enough Master of the Course of our Commerce 
to give an Opinion on this particular Question, and it does 
not behove me to do it ; yet I have seen so much Embarrass- 
ment and so little Advantage in all the Restraining and Com- 
pulsive Systems, that I feel myself strongly inclin'd to be- 
lieve, that a State, which leaves all her Ports open to all the 
World upon equal Terms, will, by that means, have foreign 
Commodities cheaper, sell its own Productions dearer, and 
be on the whole the most prosperous. I have heard some 
Merchants say, that there is 10 per cent Difference between 
Will you buy ? and Will you sell ? When Foreigners bring 
us their Goods, they want to part with them speedily, that they 
may purchase their Cargoes and despatch their Ships, which 
are at constant Charges in our Ports ; we have then the Ad- 
vantage of their Will you buy ? And when they demand our 
Produce, we have the Advantage of their Will you sell? 
And the concurring Demands of a Number also contribute 
to raise our Prices. Thus both those Questions are in our 
favour at home, against us abroad. 

The employing, however, of our own Ships and raising a 
Breed of Seamen among us, tho' it should not be a matter 
of so much private Profit as some imagine, is nevertheless 
of political Importance, and must have weight in consider- 
ing this Subject. 

The Judgment you make of the Conduct of France in 
the Peace, and the greater Glory acquired by her Moderation 
than even by her Arms, appears to me perfectly just. The 
Character of this Court and Nation seems, of late years, to 



64 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

be considerably changed. The Ideas of Aggrandizement by 
Conquest are out of fashion, and those of Commerce are more 
enlightened and more generous than heretofore. We shall 
soon, I believe, feel something of this in our being admitted 
to a greater Freedom of Trade with their Islands. The Wise 
here think France great enough ; and its Ambition at present 
seems to be only that of Justice and Magnanimity towards 
other Nations, Fidelity and Utility to its Allies. 

The Ambassador of Portugal was much pleas'd with the 
Proceedings relating to their Vessel, which you sent me, and 
assures me they will have a good Effect at his Court. He 
appears extremely desirous of a Treaty with our States; I 
have accordingly propos'd to him the Plan of one (nearly the 
same with that sent me for Sweden), and, after my agreeing 
to some Alterations, he has sent it to his Court for Approba- 
tion. He told me at Versailles, last Tuesday, that he ex- 
pected its Return to him on Saturday next, and anxiously 
desired that I would not despatch our Pacquet without it, 
that Congress might consider it, and, if approv'd, send a 
Commission to me or some other Minister to sign it. 

I venture to go thus far in treating, on the Authority only 
of a kind of general Power, given formerly by a Resolution 
of Congress to Messrs. Franklin, Deane, and Lee ; but a 
special Commission seems more proper to compleat a 
Treaty, and more agreable to the usual Forms of such Busi- 
ness. 

I am in just the same Situation with Denmark; that 
Court, by its Minister here, has desired a Treaty with us. 
I have propos'd a Plan formed on that sent me for Sweden; 
it had been under Consideration some time at Copenhagen, 
and is expected here this Week, so that I may possibly send 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 65 

that also by this Conveyance. You will have seen by my 
Letter to the Danish Prime Minister, that I did not forget 
the Affair of the Prizes. What I then wrote, produc'd a 
verbal Offer made me here, of 10,000 Sterling, propos'd to 
be given by his Majesty to the Captors, if I would accept 
it as a full Discharge of our Demand. I could not do this, 
I said, because it was not more than a fifth Part of the Esti- 
mated Value. In answer, I was told, that the Estimation 
was probably extravagant, that it would be difficult to come at 
the Knowledge of their true Value, and that, whatever they 
might be worth in themselves, they should not be estimated 
as of such Value to us when at Bergen, since the English prob- 
ably watched them, and might have retaken them in their 
Way to America ; at least, they were at the common Risques 
of the Seas and Enemies, and the Insurance was a consider- 
able Drawback; that this Sum might be considered as so 
much sav'd for us by the King's Interference; for that, if 
the English Claimants had been suffered to carry the Cause 
into the common Courts, they must have recovered the 
Prizes by the Laws of Denmark; it was added, that the 
King's Honour was concern'd, that he sincerely desir'd our 
Friendship, but he would avoid, by giving this Sum in the 
Form of a Present to the Captors, the Appearance of its being 
exacted from him as the Reparation of an Injury, when it 
was really intended rather as a Proof of his strong Disposi- 
tion to cultivate a good Understanding with us. 

I reply'd, that the Value might possibly be exaggerated; 
but that we did not desire more than should be found just upon 
Enquiry, and that it was not difficult to learn from London 
what Sums were insur'd upon the Ships and Cargoes, which 
would be some Guide; and that a reasonable Abatement 

VOL. IX F 



66 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

might be made for the risque ; but that the Congress could 
not, in justice to their Mariners, deprive them of any Part 
that was truly due to those brave Men, whatever Abatement 
they might think fit to make (as a Mark of their Regard for 
the King's Friendship) of the Part belonging to the publick; 
that I had, however, no Instructions or Authority to make 
any Abatement of any kind, and could, therefore, only 
acquaint Congress with the Offer, and the Reasons that 
accompanied it, which I promised to state fully and candidly 
(as I have now done), and attend their Orders; desiring only 
that it might be observ'd, we had presented our Complaint 
with Decency, that we had charg'd no Fault on the Danish 
Government, but what might arise from Inattention or Pre- 
cipitancy, and that we had intimated no Resentment, but 
had waited, with Patience and Respect, the King's Deter- 
mination, confiding, that he would follow the equitable Dis- 
position of his own Breast, by doing us Justice as soon as 
he could do it with Conveniency ; that the best and wisest 
Princes sometimes erred, that it belong'd to the Condition 
of Man, and was, therefore, inevitable, and that the true 
Honour in such Cases consisted, not in disowning or hiding 
the Error, but in making ample Reparation; that, tho' I 
could not accept what was offered on the Terms proposed, 
our Treaty might go on, and its Articles be prepared and 
considered, and, in the mean time, I hoped his Danish 
Majesty would reconsider the Offer, and make it more ade- 
quate to the Loss we had sustained. Thus that matter rests ; 
but I hourly expect to hear farther, and perhaps may have 
more to say on it before the Ship's Departure. 

I shall be glad to have the Proceedings you mention re- 
specting the Brig Providentia. I hope the Equity and Justice 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 67 

of our Admiralty Courts respecting the Property of Strangers 
will always maintain their Reputation; and I wish particu- 
larly to cultivate the Disposition of Friendship towards us, 
apparent in the late Proceedings of Denmark, as the Danish 
Islands may be of use to our West India Commerce, while 
the English impolitic Restraints continue. 

The Elector of Saxony, as I understand from his Minister 
here, has thoughts of sending one to Congress, and proposing 
a Treaty of Commerce and Amity with us. Prussia has 
likewise an Inclination to share in a Trade with America, 
and the Minister of that Court, tho' he has not directly pro- 
pos'd a Treaty, has given me a Pacquet of Lists of the several 
Sorts of Merchandise they can furnish us with, which he 
requests me to send to America for the Information of our 
Merchants. 

I have received no Answer yet from Congress to my Re- 
quest of being dismiss'd from their Service. They should, 
methinks, reflect, that if they continue me here, the Faults 
I may henceforth commit, thro' the Infirmities of Age, will 
be rather theirs than mine. I am glad my Journal afforded 
you any Pleasure. I will, as you desire, endeavour to con- 
tinue it. I thank you for the Pamphlet ; it contains a great 
deal of Information respecting our Finances. We shall, as 
you advise, avoid publishing it. But I see they are publish- 
ing it in the English Papers. I was glad I had a copy authen- 
ticated by the Signature of Secr y Thomson, by which I could 
assure M. de Vergennes, that the Money Contract I had 
made with him was ratified by Congress, he having just 
before express'd some uneasiness to me at its being so long 
neglected. I find it was ratified soon after it was receiv'd, 
but the Ratification, except in that Pamphlet, has not yet 



68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

come to hand. I have done my best to procure the farther 
Loan directed by the Resolution of Congress. It was not 
possible. I have written on that Matter to Mr. Morris. 
I wish the rest of the Estimates of Losses and Mischiefs 
were come to hand ; they would still be of Use. 

Mr. Barclay has in his Hands the Affair of the Alliance 
and Eon Homme Richard. I will afford him all the Assist- 
ance in my Power, but it is a very perplex'd Business. That 
Expedition, tho' for particular Reasons under American 
Commissions and Colours, was carry'd on at the King's 
expence, and under his Orders. M. de Chaumont was the 
Agent appointed by the Minister of the Marine to make the 
Outfit. He was also chosen by all the Captains of the Squad- 
ron, as appears by an Instrument under their Hands, to be 
their Agent, receive, sell, and divide Prizes, &c. The Crown 
bought two of them at public Sale, and the Money, I under- 
stand, is lodg'd in the Hands of a responsible Person at 
L'Orient. M. de Chaumont says he has given in his Accounts 
to the Marine, and that he has no more to do with the Affair, 
except to receive a Ballance due to him. That Account, 
however, is I believe unsettled, and the Absence of some of 
the Captains is said to make another Difficulty, which re- 
tards the Completion of the Business. I never paid or re- 
ceiv'd any thing relating to that Expedition, nor had any other 
Concern in it, than barely ordering the Alliance to join the 
Squadron, at M. de Sartine's Request. I know not whether 
the other Captains will not claim a Share in what we may 
obtain from Denmark, tho' the Prizes were made by the 
Alliance, when separate from the Squadron. If so, that is 
another Difficulty in the way of making Abatement in our 
Demand, without their Consent. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 69 

I am sorry to find, that you have Thoughts of quitting the 
Service. I do not think your Place can be easily well supply 'd . 
You mention, that an entire new Arrangement, with respect 
to foreign Affairs, is under Consideration. I wish to know 
whether any Notice is likely to be taken in it of my Grandson. 
He has now gone through an Apprenticeship of near seven 
Years in the ministerial Business, and is very capable of 
serving the States in that Line, as possessing all the Requisites 
of Knowledge, Zeal, Activity, Language, and Address. He 
is well lik'd here, and Count de Vergennes has express'd to 
me in warm Terms his very good Opinion of him. The late 
Swedish Ambassador, Count de Creutz, who has gone home 
to be Prime Minister, desir'd I would endeavour to procure 
his being sent to Sweden, with a public Character, assuring 
me, that he should be glad to receive him there as our Minister, 
and that he knew it would be pleasing to the King. The 
present Swedish Ambassador has also propos'd the same thing 
to me, as you will see by a Letter of his, which I enclose. 1 
One of the Danish Ministers, M. Walterstorff, who will prob- 
ably be sent in a public Character to Congress, has also ex- 
press'd his Wish, that my Grandson may be sent to Denmark. 
But it is not my Custom to solicit Employments for myself, 
or any of my Family, and I shall not do it in this Case. I 
only hope, that if he is not to be employ'd in your new Arrange- 
ment, I may be informed of it as soon as possible, that, while 
I have Strength left for it, I may accompany him in a Tour 
to Italy, returning thro' Germany, which I think he may 
make to more Advantage with me than alone, and which I 
have long promis'd to afford him, as a Reward for his faith- 
ful Service, and his tender filial Attachment to me. 

1 See letter to Baron de Stael, June 16, 1783. ED. 



7 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

July 25. While I was writing the above, M. Walterstorff 
came in, and delivered me a Pacquet from M. de Rosen- 
crone, the Danish Prime Minister, containing the Project 
of the Treaty with some proposed Alterations, and a Paper 
of Reasons in support of them. Fearing that we should not 
have time to copy them, I send herewith the Originals, rely- 
ing on his Promise to furnish me with Copies in a few Days. 
He seemed to think, that the Interest of the Merchants is 
concerned in the immediate Conclusion of the Treaty, that 
they may form their Plans of Commerce, and wish'd to know 
whether I did not think my general Power, above mentioned, 
sufficient for that purpose. I told him, I thought a particular 
Commission more agreable to the Forms ; but, if his Danish 
Majesty would be content for the present with the general 
Authority, formerly given me, I believ'd I might venture to 
act upon it, reserving, by a separate Article, to Congress a 
Power of shortning the Term, in Case any Part of the Treaty 
should not be to their mind, unless the Alteration of such 
Part should hereafter be agreed on. 

The Prince de Deux-Ponts was lately at Paris, and ap- 
ply'd to me for Information respecting a Commerce which 
is desired between the Electorate of Bavaria and America. 1 
I have it also from a good Hand at the Court of Vienna, 2 that 
the Emperor is desirous of establishing a Commerce with us 
from Trieste as well as Flanders, and would make a Treaty 
with us, if propos'd to him. Since our Trade is laid open, and 
no longer a Monopoly to England, all Europe seems desirous 
of sharing in it, and for that purpose to cultivate our Friend- 
ship. That it may be better known everywhere, what sort 
of People, and what kind of Government they will have to 

1 See letter to Prince des Deuxponts, June 14, 1783. ED. 

2 Dr. Jan Ingenhousz. ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON 71 

treat with, I prevailed with a Friend, the Due de Rochefou- 
cauld, to translate our Book of Constitutions into French, and 
I presented Copies to all the foreign Ministers. I send you 
one herewith. They are much admired by the Politicians 
here, and it is thought will induce considerable Emigrations 
of substantial People from different Parts of Europe to 
America. It is particularly a Matter of Wonder, that, in the 
Midst of a cruel War raging in the Bowels of our Country, 
our Sages should have the Firmness of Mind to sit down 
calmly and form such compleat Plans of Government. They 
add considerably to the Reputation of the United States. 

I have mentioned above the Port of Trieste, with which 
we may possibly have a Commerce, and I am told that many 
useful Productions and Manufactures of Hungary may be 
had extreamly cheap there. But it becomes necessary first 
to consider how our Mediterranean Trade is to be protected 
from the Corsaires of Barbary. You will see by the enclos'd 
Copy of a Letter I receiv'd from Algiers, the Danger two of 
our Ships escap'd last Winter. I think it not improbable 
that those Rovers may be privately encouraged by the English 
to fall upon us, to prevent our Interference in the Carrying 
Trade ; for I have in London heard it is a Maxim among the 
Merchants, that, if there were no Algiers, it would be worth 
England's while to build one. I wonder, however, that the 
rest of Europe do not combine to destroy those Nests, and 
secure Commerce from their future Piracies. 

I made the Grand Master of Malta a Present of one of 
our Medals in Silver, writing him a Letter, of which I enclose 
a Copy ; l and I believe our People will be kindly receiv'd in 

1 See letter to Emmanuel Rohan, grand master of Malta, April 6, 1783. 
ED. 



72 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

his Ports; but that is not sufficient; and perhaps, now we 
have Peace, it will be proper to send Ministers, with suitable 
Presents, to establish a Friendship with the Emperor of 
Morocco, and the other Barbary States, if possible. Mr. 
Jay will inform you of some Steps, that have been taken by a 
Person at Alicant, without Authority, towards a Treaty with 
that Emperor. I send you herewith a few more of the above- 
mentioned Medals, which have given great Satisfaction to 
this Court and Nation. I should be glad to know how they 
are lik'd with you. 

Our People, who were Prisoners in England, are now all 
discharg'd. During the whole War, those who were in For- 
ton prison, near Portsmouth, were much befriended by the 
constant charitable Care of Mr. Wren, a Presbyterian Min- 
ister there, who spared no Pains to assist them in their Sick- 
ness and Distress, by procuring and distributing among them 
the Contributions of good Christians, and prudently dispensing 
the Allowance I made them, which gave him a great deal of 
trouble, but he went through it chearfully. I think some 
public Notice should be taken of this good Man. I wish the 
Congress would enable me to make him a Present, and that 
some of our Universities would confer upon him the Degree 
of Doctor. 1 

The Duke of Manchester, who has always been our Friend 
hi the House of Lords, is now here as Ambassador from Eng- 

1 This suggestion was not overlooked. Congress sent him a vote of thanks 
for his humane and benevolent attention to the American prisoners, which was 
conveyed to him in a letter from the President. The degree of Doctor in 
Divinity was conferred upon him by the College at Princeton, in New Jersey. 
See letter to Hodgson, Dec. 10, 1783. 

Dr. Thomas Wren died at Portsmouth, on the 3Oth of October, 1787, at the 
age of sixty-three. A well-written obituary notice of him is contained in The 
Gentleman 1 s Magazine for November of that year. ED. 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 73 

land. I dine with him to-day, (26th,) and, if any thing of 
Importance occurs, I will add it in a Postcript. Be pleased 
to present my dutiful Respects to the Congress, assure them 
of my most faithful Services, and believe me to be, with great 

and sincere Esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1427. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

A Passy, ce 24 Juillet, 1783. 

M. Franklin a 1'honneur d'envoyer a Monsieur le Comte 
de Vergennes un exemplaire des Constitutions des Etats 
Unis de PAme'rique, qu'il le prie de vouloir bien accepter. 

M. Franklin prend la liberte* d'envoyer en m^me temps 
ceux destines pour le Roi et la Famille Royale ; et il prie Mon- 
sieur le Comte de Vergennes de vouloir bien les faire par- 
venir a leur destination, suivant la forme qui lui paroitra 
convenable. 



1428. TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS (L. c.) 

Passy, July 27, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your very kind letter by Dr. Blagden, 1 and es- 
teem myself much honoured by your friendly Remembrance. 

1 Sir Charles Blagden (1748-1820), a physician who entered the army as a 
medical officer. He was elected F. R. S. in 1772, and succeeded Matthew 
Maty, as secretary of the Royal Society, May 5, 1784, a post of honour for 
which he was indebted to his lifelong friend, Sir Joseph Banks. " Blagden, 
sir," said Dr. Johnson, " is a delightful fellow." He died suddenly in Paris at 
the house of the chemist Berthollet. ED. 



74 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

I have been too much and too closely engaged in public 
Affairs, since his being here, to enjoy all the Benefit of his 
Conversation you were so good as to intend me. I hope soon 
to have more Leisure, and to spend a part of it in those 
Studies, that are much more agreable to me than political 
Operations. 

I join with you most cordially in rejoicing at the return of 
Peace. I hope it will be lasting, and that Mankind will at 
length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have 
Reason and Sense enough to settle their Differences without 
cutting Throats; for, in my opinion, there never was a good 
War, or a bad Peace. What vast additions to the Con- 
veniences and Comforts of Living might Mankind have ac- 
quired, if the Money spent in Wars had been employed in 
Works of public utility ! What an extension of Agriculture, 
even to the Tops of our Mountains: what Rivers rendered 
navigable, or joined by Canals : what Bridges, Aqueducts, 
new Roads, and other public Works, Edifices, and Improve- 
ments, rendering England a compleat Paradise, might have 
been obtained by spending those Millions in doing good, 
which in the last War have been spent in doing Mischief ; in 
bringing Misery into thousands of Families, and destroying 
the Lives of so many thousands of working people, who 
might have performed the useful labour ! 

I am pleased with the late astronomical Discoveries made 
by our Society. 1 Furnished as all Europe now is with 
Academies of Science, with nice Instruments and the Spirit 
of Experiment, the progress of human knowledge will be 
rapid, and discoveries made, of which we have at present no 
Conception. I begin to be almost sorry I was born so soon, 

1 The Royal Society. ED. 



1783] NOTE ON LETTER OF THOMAS BARCLAY 75 

since I cannot have the happiness of knowing what will be 
known 100 years hence. 

I wish continued success to the Labours of the Royal Society, 
and that you may long adorn their Chair; being, with the 

highest esteem, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Dr. Blagden will acquaint you with the experiment 
of a vast Globe sent up into the Air, much talked of here, 
and which, if prosecuted, may furnish means of new knowl- 
edge. 



1429. NOTE BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN UPON A 
LETTER ADDRESSED TO HIM BY THOMAS 
BARCLAY, JULY 28, 1783 l (P. A. E. E. u.) 

WHEN the Ship Alliance belonging to the Congress was at 
POrient, under the Command of Capt. Jones, Moylan and 
C Merchants there, were appointed to supply the Ship with 
what was necessary during her stay. 

1 The letter upon which the above is written is as follows : 

"Auteuil 28 July 1783. 
" SIR, 

" I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I received last post a 
Letter from Mess? Schweighauser and Dobree of Nantes under whose care the 
Arsenal belonging to the United States is placed, informing me that their Part- 
ner at L'Orient Mess? Puchelberg and C., had some months ago laid an 
attachment on all the Arms and other Military supplies under the Care of 
Mess? Schweighauser and Dobree. 

"I need not inform your Excellency of the nature of the transaction, as it 
fell immediately under your own inspection, but I beg leave to say that unless 
Government passes some signal Censure on those persons who have brought the 
Execution my office will be embarrass'd beyond description. 

" I beg Sir you will lay the matter in its proper light before the Ministers, 



7 6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Capt. Landais taking Possession of the Ship surreptitiously 
in the absence of Capt. Jones, apply'd to one Puchelberg, a 
Commis of Mf Schweighauser, for some Provisions, who not 
only without Orders either from me or Mr Schweighauser, but 
contrary to express Orders from both, furnished the same, 
pretending that Landais demanded them in the name and 
on Account of the Navy-Board of Boston. 

Payment was afterwards demanded of me, whichlrefus'd, 
referring the Matter to the said Navy-Board. It was also 
demanded of his Employer Schweighauser, who it seems ref us'd 
also, probably because the Disbursement was made contrary 
to Orders. 

This Man, Puchelberg, has on this Account, arrested the 
Property of the United States, in whose Hands soever he 
could find any. 

The Consul of the States complains of it as an Injury, and 
an Insult. And it is certain, that great Inconveniencies will 
follow, if such Proceedings are permitted, and if every man 
who pretends a Demand against any Foreign Power, how- 
ever ill-founded, may arrest the Effects of that Power in 
France; for so the arms, ammunition, Clothing, &c., pur- 
chased in France, and depended on for important Opera- 
tions of Government, may be stopt by any private Person, 
perhaps under Direction of an Enemy, and those Operations 
defeated; and the United States can never hereafter with 
safety make any such Purchases in France. 

and obtain as soon as possible the dismission of this attachment and of those 
laid on the Alliances prize money. 

"These attachments have been held in suspence several months to the 
great determent of the Public business under my care, and at the imminent 
risk of a heavy loss in the final payment. 

" I have the honor to be etc, 

"THO? BARCLAY." ED. 



1783] TO CAPTAIN NATHANIEL FALCONER 77 

It is therefore submitted to consideration, whether the said 
arrests ought not only to be immediately discharg'd, but the 

Arrester punish'd for his Insolence. 

B. F. 



1430. TO CAPTAIN NATHANIEL FALCONER 

(P. H. S.) 
Passy, July 28, 1783. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your favour of the i8th. 1 

Capt. Barney brought us the Dispatches we so long ex- 
pected. M*. Deane as you observe is lost : D. r . Bancroft is 
I believe steady to the Interest of his Country, and will make 
an agreeable passenger if you can take him. You desire to 
know something of the State of Affairs here. Everything 
goes well with respect to this Court & the other Friendly 
Powers. What England is doing, or means to do; or why 
the Definitive Treaty is so long delay'd, I know perhaps less 
than you do ; as, being in that Country, you may have Op- 
portunities of hearing more than I can. For myself I am at 
present as hearty & well as I have been these many years; 
and as happy as a Man can be where everybody strives to 
make him so. 

The French are an amiable People to live with : They love 
me, & I love them. Yet I do not feel myself at home, & I 
wish to die in my own Country. Barney will sail this Week 
without Despatches. A good voyage to you, my friend ; and 
may God bless you. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Mn A. P. S. Er>. 



78 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1431. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, August 16, 1783. 

SIR, 

I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the 
English ministry do not agree to any of the propositions that 
have been made, either by us or by their minister here ; and 
they have sent over a plan for the definitive treaty, which con- 
sists merely of the preliminaries formerly signed, with a short 
introductory paragraph, and another at the conclusion, con- 
firming and establishing the said preliminary articles. My 
colleagues seem inclined to sign this with Mr. Hartley, and so 
to finish the affair. I am, with respect, Sir, your Excellency's, 
&c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1432. TO HENRY LAURENS l (L. L.) 

Passy, Aug. 21. 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

I do not doubt but you have written to some one or other 
of your Colleagues since your Arrival in England: and as 
we have heard nothing from you, I thought it necessary by a 
Line to inform you that none of your Letters are come to 
Hand. 

After making and sending over many Propositions of ours 
and of M* Hartley's, and long Delays of Answers, it is come 
finally to this, that the Ministers propose our signing as a 
Definitive Treaty the Preliminary Articles, with no Alteration 

1 Then at Bath. ED. 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 79 

or Addition, except a Paragraph of Preamble setting forth 
that the following Articles had been agreed to & a concluding 
Paragraph confirming them. Thus I suppose the Affair will 
be concluded. Wishing Health & Happiness to you & yours; 
I am ever, with sincere & great Esteem, Dear Sir, 

Your most obed. hum. Servt. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1433. TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS (u. of P.) 

Passy, Aug. 30. 1783. 

SIR, 

On Wednesday the 27 th Instant, the new aerostatic Ex- 
periment, invented by Mess? Mongolfier of Annonay l was 
repeated by M r . Charles; Professor of Experimental Phi- 
losophy at Paris. 

A hollow Globe 12 feet diameter was formed of what is 
called in England Oiled Silk, here Taffetas gommte, the Silk 
being impregnated with a Solution of Gum-elastic in Lint- 
seed Oil, as is said. The Parts were sewed together while 
wet with the Gum, and some of it was afterwards passed over 
the Seams, to render it as tight as possible. 

It was afterwards filled with the inflammable Air that is 
produced by pouring Oil of Vitriol upon Filings of Iron, 
when it was found to have a Tendency upwards so strong as 
to be capable of lifting a Weight of 39 Pounds, exclusive of 
its own weight which was 25 Ib, and the Weight of the Air 
contain'd. 

It was brought early in the Morning to the Champ de Mars, 

1 Stephen and Joseph Montgolfier, sons of Peter Montgolfier, a paper 
maker at Annonay. ED. 



8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

a Field in which Reviews are sometimes made, lying between 
the Military School and the River. There it was held down 
by a Cord, till 5 in the Afternoon, when it was to be let loose. 
Care was taken before the Hour to replace what Portion had 
been lost of the inflammable Air, or of its Force, by injecting 
more. 

It is supposed that not less than 50,000 People were assem- 
bled to see the Experiment. The Champ de Mars being 
surrounded by Multitudes, and vast Numbers on the opposite 
Side of the River. 

At 5 o Clock Notice was given to the Spectators by the 
Firing of two Cannon, that the Cord was about to be cut. 
And presently the Globe was seen to rise, and that as fast as 
a Body of 12 feet diameter with a force only of 39 pounds, 
could be suppos'd to move the resisting Air out of its way. 
There was some Wind, but not very strong. A little Rain 
had wet it, so that it shone, and made an agreable Appear- 
ance. It diminish'd in Apparent Magnitude as it rose, till it 
enter 'd the Clouds, when it seem'd to me scarce bigger than 
an Orange, and soon after became invisible, the Clouds 
concealing it. 

The Multitude separated, all well satisfied & much de- 
lighted with the Success of the Experiment, and amusing 
one another with Discourses of the various Uses it may pos- 
sibly be apply'd to, among which many were very extrava- 
gant. But possibly it may pave the Way to some Discoveries 
in Natural Philosophy of which at present we have no Con- 
ception. 

A Note secur'd from the Weather had been affix'd to the 
Globe, signifying the Time & Place of its Departure, and 
praying those who might happen to find it, to send an Account 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 81 

of its State to certain Persons at Paris. No News was heard 
of it till the next Day, when Information was receiv'd, that it 
fell a little after 6 oClock at Gonesse, a Place about 4 Leagues 
distance ; and that it was rent open, and some say had Ice 
in it. It is suppos'd to have burst by the Elasticity of the 
contain'd Air when no longer compress'd by so heavy an 
Atmosphere. 

One of 38 feet Diameter is preparing by M. Mongolfier 
himself at the Expence of the Academy, which is to go up in a 
few Days. I am told it is constructed of Linen & Paper, and 
is to be filled with a different Air, not yet made public, but 
cheaper than that produc'd by the Oil of Vitriol of which 
200 Paris Pints were consum'd hi filling the other. 

It is said that for some Days after its being fill'd, the Ball 
was found to lose an eighth Part of its Force of Levity in 24 
Hours : Whether this was from Imperfection in the Tightness 
of the Ball, or a Change in the Nature of the Air, Experiments 
may easily discover. 

I thought it my Duty, Sir, to send an early Account of this 
extraordinary Fact, to the Society which does me the honour 
to reckon me among its Members; and I will endeavour to 
make it more perfect, as I receive farther Information. 
With great Respect, I am, Sir, 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

P. S. 

Since writing the above, I am favoured with your kind Letter 
of the 25^ I am much oblig'd to you for the Care you have 
taken to forward the Transactions, as well as to the Council 
for so readily ordering them on Application. Please to 
accept and present my Thanks. 

I just now learn, that some Observers say, the Ball was 150 

VOL. IX G 



82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

seconds in rising, from the Cutting of the Cord till hid in the 
Clouds; that its height was then about 500 Toises, but, 
mov'd out of the Perpendicular by the Wind, it had made a 
Slant so as to form a Triangle, whose base on the Earth was 
about 200 Toises. It is said the Country people who saw it 
fall were frightened, conceiv'd from its bounding a little when 
it touch'd the Ground, that there was some living Animal in 
it, and attack'd it with Stones and Knives, so that it was 
much mangled; but it is now brought to Town & will be 
repaired. 

The great one of M. Mongolfier, is to go up as is said, from 
Versailles, in about 8 or 10 Days. It is not a Globe but of a 
different form, more convenient for penetrating the Air. It 
contains 50,000 cubic Feet, and is supposed to have a Force 
of Levity equal to 1500 pounds weight. A Philosopher here, 
M. Pilatre de Rozier, has seriously apply'd to the Academy 
for Leave to go up with it, in order to make some Experiments. 
He was complimented on his Zeal and Courage for the Pro- 
motion of Science, but advis'd to wait till the Management 
of these Balls was made by Experience more certain & safe. 
They say the filling of it in M. Mongolfier's Way will not cost 
more than half a Crown. One is talk'd of to be no feet 
Diameter. Several Gentlemen have ordered small ones to 
be made for their Amusement; one has ordered four of 15 
feet diameter each; I know not with what Purpose; but 
such is the present Enthusiasm for promoting & improving 
this Discovery, that probably we shall soon make consider- 
able Progress in the Art of constructing and Using the 
Machines. 

Among the Pleasantries Conversation produces on this 
Subject, some suppose Flying to be now invented, and that 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 83 

since Men may be supported in the Air, nothing is wanted 
but some light handy Instruments to give and direct Motion. 
Some think Progressive Motion on the Earth may be ad- 
vanc'd by it, and that a Running Footman or a Horse slung 
& suspended under such a Globe so as to leave no more of 
Weight pressing the Earth with their Feet, than perhaps 8 or 
10 Pounds, might with a fair Wind run in a straight Line 
across Countries as fast as that Wind, and over Hedges, 
Ditches, & even Waters. It has been even fancied that in 
time People will keep such Globes anchored in the Air, to 
which by Pullies they may draw up Game to be preserved 
in the Cool, & Water to be frozen when Ice is wanted. And 
that to get Money, it will be contrived to give People an 
extensive view of the Country, by running them upon an 
Elbow Chair a Mile high for a Guinea, &c. &c. 

[A Pamphlet is printing in which we are to have a full and 
perfect Account of the Experiments hitherto made, & I will 
send it to you. M. Mongolfier's Air to fill the Globe has 
hitherto been kept secret. Some suppose it to be only com- 
mon Air heated by passing thro' the Flame of burning Straw, 
& thereby extreamly rarified. If so its Levity will soon be 
diminished by Condensation when it comes into the cooler 
Regions above. 

Sept. 2d. I add this paper just now given me, B. F. 
The print contains a view of Champ de Mars, and the ball 
in the air with this subscription: 

Experience de la machine ae"rostatique de M e88r8 ' de Mont- 
golfier, d'Anonai en Vivarais, re*epe*te*e a Paris le 27 Aout. 1783 
au Champ de Mars, avec un ballon de taffetas enduit de 
gomme elastique, de 36 pieds 6 onces de circonference. Le 
ballon plein d'air inflammable a e*te* executd par Mons. 



84 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Robert, en vertu d'une souscription Rationale, sous la di- 
rection de Mr. Faujas de Saint Fond (et M. Charles). 

N. B. M. Charles' name is wrote with pen, not en- 
graved. 

Calculas du Ballon do 12 pieds de diametre enleve* le 
Mercredy 27 Aout 1783. 

Circonference du grand cercle ... 37 pieds 

Diametre 12 

74 
37 



Surface 444 

Tiers du rayon 2 



Solidite 888 pieds cubes 

Air atm. a 12 gros le pied .... 12 

1776 
888 

Pesanteur de 1'air atm 10,656 gros 

26 f 8 /i6 

ounces 



2 5> 1 133 2 / 8 3 lb - 4 ounces. 

6 52 

L'air atmospherique dont le ballon occupait la place, 
pesant 83 Ib. 4 onces et sa force pour s'elever etant de 40 Ib. 
il falloit que son enveloppe et Pair inflammable qu'elle conten- 
oit ne pesassent que 42 Ib. 4 onces. L'enveloppe en pesoit 
25, reste pour 1'air inflammable 18 Ib. 4 onces. 

En supposant le ballon de 6 pieds de diametre, son volume 
etant le 8me, du ier le poids de 1'air dont il occupoit la place 
seroit le 8me, de 83 Ib., 4 onces = 10 Ib., 6 onces, 4 gros. 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 85 

L'air inflammable \ de 18 lb., 4 onces = 2 lb., 4 onces, 4 gros. 
L'enveloppe \ de 25 lb., = 6 lb., 4 onces. Les dernieres 
valeurs reunies sont 8 lb., 8 onces, 4 gros, qui otes de 10 lb., 
6 onces, 4 gros pesanteur de Pair atmospherique dont le 
ballon occupoit la place, laisse pour sa force d 'elevation i lb., 
14 onces.] * 

1 The paragraphs in brackets are not found in the draft in U. of P., but they 
exist in a letter press copy now owned (March, 1906) by Dodd, Mead & Co. 
To this letter Sir Joseph Banks wrote in reply, September 13, 1783 (A. P. S.) : 

" DEAR SIR, 

" The having it in my power to answer with precision the numerous questions 
which are asked me by all sorts of people concerning the aerostatique experi- 
ment which such as they may be are suggested by every newspaper now printed 
here and considered as a part of my duty to answer is an obligation for which 
I am indebted to you and an obligation of no small extent I consider it. I 
lament that the vacation of the Royal Society will not permit me to lay your 
paper before them as a Body immediately ; but it shall be the first thing they 
see when we meet again as the conciseness & intelligence, with which it is 
drawn up, preclude the hopes of any thing more satisfactory being receiv'd. 

" Most agreable are the hopes you give me of continuing to communicate 
on this most interesting subject. I consider the present day, which has opened 
a road into the air, as an epoche from whence a rapid increase of the stock of 
real knowledge with which the human species is furnish'd must take its date; 
and the more immediate effect it will have upon the concerns of mankind 
greater than any thing since the invention of shipping which opened our way 
upon the face of the water from land to land. If the rough effort which has 
now been made meets with the improvement that other sciences have done 
we shall see it used as a counterpoise to absolute gravity a broad-wheeld 
waggon travelling with 2 only instead of 8 horses the breed of that Rival 
animal in course diminishd & the human species increasd in proportion. 

" I have thought as soon as I return from my present banishment of con- 
structing one and sending it up for the purpose of an electrical kite a use to 
which it seem particularly adapted. Be pleased to direct your Favors to Soho 
Square ; they are sent to me without delay wherever I am. Believe me, your 
obliged & obedient servant Jos: BANKS." 

Sir Joseph Banks's letters are almost entirely without punctuation. He 
seems to have been especially hostile to the comma. Like Timothy Dexter 
he might have filled a page with miscellaneous points and invited his readers 
"to pepper the dish to suit themselves." ED. 



86 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1434. TO ELIAS BOUDINOT * (D. s. w.) 

Passy, August 31, 1783. 

SIR, 

After a continued course of treating for nine months, the 
English ministry have at length come to a resolution to lay 
aside, for the present, all the new propositions, that have 
been made and agreed to, their own as well as ours ; and they 
offer to sign again as a Definitive Treaty, the articles of 
November the 3oth, 1782, the ratifications of which have 
already been exchanged. We have agreed to this, and on 
Wednesday next, the third of September, it will be signed, 
with all the definitive treaties, establishing a general peace, 
which may God long continue. I am, with great respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1435. TO CHARLES J. FOX (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 5, 1783. 

SIR, 

I received in its time the letter you did me the honour of 
writing to me by Mr. Hartley ; and I cannot let him depart 
without expressing my satisfaction in his conduct towards us, 
and applauding the prudence of that choice, which sent us a 
man possessed of such a spirit of conciliation, and of all that 
frankness, sincerity, and candor, which naturally produce 
confidence, and thereby facilitate the most difficult negocia- 
tions. Our countries are now happily at peace, on which I 
congratulate you most cordially ; and I beg you to be assured, 

1 President of Congress. ED. 



1783] TO DAVID HARTLEY 87 

that as long as I have any concern in public affairs, I shall 
readily and heartily concur with you in promoting every 
measure that may tend to promote the common felicity. 
With great and sincere esteem and respect, I have the honour 
to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 1 



1436. TO DAVID HARTLEY 2 (p. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 6, 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Enclosed is my letter to Mr. Fox. I beg you wou'd assure 
him, that my expressions of Esteem for him are not mere 
professions. I really think him a Great Man, and I cou'd not 
think so, if I did not think he was at bottom, and wou'd 
prove himself a good one. Guard him against mistaken 
notions of the American people. You have deceived your- 
selves too long with vain expectations of reaping advantage 

1 The above letter was written in acknowledgment of the following letter 
from Charles James Fox, April 19, 1783: 

" SIR, 

" Although it is unnecessary for me to introduce to your acquaintance a 
gentleman so well known to you as Mr. Hartley, who will have the honour 
of delivering to you this letter, yet it may be proper for me to inform you, that 
he has the full and entire confidence of his Majesty's ministers upon the sub- 
ject of his mission. 

" Permit me, Sir, to take this opportunity of assuring you how happy I 
should esteem myself, if it were to prove my lot to be the instrument of com- 
pleting a real and substantial reconciliation between two countries, formed by 
nature to be in a state of friendship one with the other, and thereby to put the 
finishing hand to a building, in laying the first stone of which I may fairly 
boast that I had some share. I have the honour to be, with every sentiment 
of regard and esteem, Sir, &c. C. J. Fox." ED. 

2 From a copy in the possession of Mrs. L. Z. Leiter. A trans, exists in 
L. C. Passages in brackets are found only in L. C. trans. ED. 



88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

from our little discontents. We are more thoroughly an 
enlightned people, with respect to our political interests, 
than perhaps any other under heaven. Every man among us 
reads, and is so easy in his circumstances as to have leisure 
for conversations of improvement, and for acquiring Infor- 
mation. Our domestic misunderstandings, when we have 
them, are of small extent, tho' monstrously magnified by 
your microscopic newspapers. He who judges from them, 
that we are falling into anarchy, or returning to the obedience 
of Britain, is like one who being shewn some spots in the Sun, 
shou'd fancy, that the whole Disk would soon be overspread 
by them, and that there wou'd be an end of Daylight. The 
great body of Intelligence among our people surrounds and 
overpowers our petty dissensions, as the Sun's great mass of 
fire diminishes and destroys his Spots. Do not therefore 
any longer delay the Evacuation of New York, in the vain 
hopes of a new revolution in your favour, if such a hope has 
indeed had any effect in causing that delay. [It is now nine 
months since the evacuations were promised.] You expect 
with reason, that the people of New York should do your 
Merchants justice in the payment of their old debts; Con- 
sider the injustice you do them in keeping them so long out 
of their habitations, and out of their business, by which they 
might have been enabled to make payment. 

There is no truth more clear to me than this, that the great 
interest of our two Countries is a thorough reconciliation. 
Restraints on the freedom of Commerce and intercourse 
between us, can afford no advantage equivalent to the Mis- 
chief they will do by keeping up ill humour, and promoting a 
total alienation. Let you and I, my dear Friend, do our best 
towards securing and advancing that reconciliation. We 



1783] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 89 

can do nothing, that in a dying hour will afford us more solid 
satisfaction. 

[I wish you a prosperous journey, and a happy sight of 
your friends. Present my best respects to your good brother 
and sister, and] believe me ever, with sincere and great 
esteem, yours affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1437. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, Sept. 7, 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letter of the Qth past. I am glad, 
that the little Books are pleasing to you and your Children, 
and that the Children improve by them. I send you here- 
with some more of them. 

My grandson Bache has been four Years at School at Ge- 
neva, and is but lately come home to me here. I find Rea- 
son to be satisfied with the Improvement he has made in his 
Learning. He translates common Latin readily into French, 
but his English has suffer'd for want of Use ; tho' I think he 
would readily recover it, if he were awhile at your School at 
Cheam, and at the same time be going on with his Latin and 
Greek. You were once so kind as to offer to take him under 
your Care; would that be still convenient to you? He is 
docile and of gentle Manners, ready to receive and follow good 
Advice, and will set no bad Example to your other Children. 
He gains every day upon my Affections. 

I long much to see you and yours, and my other Friends 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



9 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

in England, but I have not yet determined on the Journey. 
Our definitive Treaty of Peace being now sign'd, I have in- 
deed less to confine me here, and might make a short Excur- 
sion without much Inconvenience; but short Days and 
Winter are coming on, and I think I can hardly undertake 
such an Expedition before the Spring of next Year. 

With regard to the future Establishment of your Children, 
which you say you want to consult me about, I am still of 
Opinion, that America will afford you more Chances of doing 
it well than England. All the means of good Education are 
plenty there, the general Manners are simple and pure, Temp- 
tations to Vice and Folly fewer, the Profits of Industry in 
Business as great and sure as in England; and there is one 
Advantage more, which your Command of Money will give 
you there, I mean the laying out a Part of your Fortune in 
new Land, now to be had extreamly cheap ; but which must 
be increas'd immensely in Value, before your Children come 
of Age, by the rapid Population of the Country. If you 
should arrive there while I live, you know you may depend 
on every Assistance in my Power to afford you, and I think 
my Children will have a Pleasure too in serving their Father's 
Friend. I do not offer it as a Motive, that you will be much 
esteem'd and respected there ; for that you are, and must be, 
everywhere; but give me leave to flatter myself, that my 
being made happier in my last Years by your Neighbourhood 
and Society may be some Inducement to you. 

I forwarded your Letter to Mr. Williams. Temple is 
always with me, being my Secretary. He presents his Re- 
spects to you. I have been lately ill with a Fit of the Gout, 
if that may indeed be called a Disease. I rather suspect it 
to be a Remedy, since I always find my Health and Vigour of 



1783] TO JOHN JAY 91 

Mind improv'd after the Fit is over. I am ever, my dear 

Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. You say you are a little afraid that our Country is 
spoiled. Parts of it have indeed suffered by the War, those 
situated near the Sea : but the body of the Country has not 
been much hurt, and the Fertility of our Soil, with the In- 
dustry of our People, now that the Commerce of all the World 
is open to us, will soon repair the Damages receiv'd, and in- 
troduce that Prosperity, which we hope Providence intends 
for us, since it has so remarkably favoured our Revolution. 



1438. TO JOHN JAY 1 

Passy, September 10, 1783. 

SIR, 

I have received a letter from a very respectable person in 
America, containing the following words, viz. 

"It is confidently reported, propagated, and believed by 
some among us, that the Court of France was at the bottom 
against our obtaining the fishery and territory in that great 
extent, in which both are secured to us by the treaty ; that our 
minister at that court favoured, or did not oppose, this design 
against us; and that it was entirely owing to the firmness, 
sagacity, and disinterestedness of Mr. Adams, with whom Mr. 
Jay united, that we have obtained these important advan- 
tages." 2 

1 Printed in "Diplomatic Correspondence " (Sparks), Vol. II, p. 482 ; and 
in "Life of John Jay" (W Jay), Vol. II, p. 125. ED. 

2 This extract is from a letter written by Dr. Cooper of Boston, and dated 
May 5th, 1 783. In a preceding paragraph, Dr. Cooper says : " There is a party 



92 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

It is not my purpose to dispute any share of the honour 
of that treaty, which the friends of my colleagues may be dis- 
posed to give them; but, having now spent fifty years of my 
life in public offices and trusts, and having still one ambition 
left, that of carrying the character of fidelity at least to the 
grave with me, I cannot allow that I was behind any of them 
in zeal and faithfulness. I therefore think, that I ought not 
to suffer an accusation, which falls little short of treason to my 
country, to pass without notice, when the means of effectual 



among us disposed to avail themselves of every incident, and of all personal 
resentments, to weaken and divide our public counsels, and injure the alliance. 
Regard to the general good, as well as private and the most constant friend- 
ship, oblige me to state things as they are." Then comes the extract in the 
text. Dr. Cooper adds : " It has also been said, from the same quarter, that 
the court of France secretly traversed Mr. Adams's views in Holland for 
obtaining from the United Provinces an acknowledgment of our indepen- 
dence; and that the same part has been acted in Spain and Russia. All these 
things are incredible to me ; and, though they make some impression at present, 
truth is great and will prevail. Care, I hope, will be taken both at Congress 
and in Europe, as far as public prudence will permit, to state, as soon as may 
be, these matters in a just light, and to prevent the public mischiefs, as well as 
private injuries, that may arise from misapprehensions in matters of this 
moment." 

A copy of the whole of this letter was sent by Dr. Franklin to Count de 
Vergennes, and it is now contained among the American papers in the 
Archives des Affaires Etrangeres at Paris. Dr. Franklin likewise sent to Con- 
gress a copy of his correspondence with Messrs. Jay and Adams on this sub- 
ject. M. de la Luzerne, in writing to Count de Vergennes some months after- 
wards, said : " Dr. Franklin has at last aroused himself from the apathy with 
which till now he seems to have regarded the attacks of his colleagues. He 
has sent to Congress the copy of the letter, which he had written to Mr. Jay 
and Mr. Adams, requesting these two ministers to explain themselves respect- 
ing a report, which had gone abroad, that he did not unite in procuring for the 
United States admission to the fisheries, and that he was disposed to con- 
clude a treaty of peace without securing this advantage to the eastern States. 
Mr. Jay, in his letter to Dr. Franklin, renders full justice to him on this point, 
and affirms in a positive manner, that he concurred with a zeal equal to his 
intelligence and experience in all the articles of the peace." S. 



1783] TO JOSIAH QUINCY 93 

vindication are at hand. You, Sir, were a witness of my con- 
duct in that affair. To you and my other colleagues I appeal, 
by sending to each a similar letter with this, and I have no 
doubt of your readiness to do a brother Commissioner justice, 
by certificates that will entirely destroy the effect of that 
accusation. I have the honour to be, with much esteem, &C. 1 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1439. TO JOSIAH QUINCY ' (p. c.) 

Passy, September u, 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Mr. Storer told me, not long since, that you complained of 
my not writing to you. You had reason, for I find among 
your Letters to me two unanswered, viz, those of May 25, 
and Dec. 17. 1781. The truth is, I have had too much Busi- 
ness to do for the publick, and too little Help allowed me ; so 
that it became impossible for me to keep up my private Cor- 
respondences. I promised myself more Leisure when the 
Definitive Treaty of Peace should be concluded. But that 
it seems is to be followed by a Treaty of Commerce, which 
will probably take up a good deal of Time, and require much 
Attention. I seize this little Interim to sit down and have 
a little Chat with my Friends in America. 

I lament with you the many Mischiefs, the injustices, the 
Corruption of Manners, &c., &c., that attended a depreciating 
Currency. It is some Consolation to me, that I wash'd my 

1 A copy of this letter was sent to Mr. Adams. Replies were received from 
Mr. Adams, September 13, 1783, and Mr. Jay, September n, 1783, the sub- 
stance of which will be found in Volume X of this edition. ED. 

a From the original in the possession of Josiah P. Quincy, Esq. ED. 



94 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Hands of that Evil by predicting it in Congress, and proposing 
Means, that would have been effectual to prevent it if they 
had been adopted. Subsequent Operations that I have 
executed, demonstrate that my Plan was practicable. But 
it was unfortunately rejected. Considering all our Mistakes 
and Mismanagements, it is wonderful we have finished our 
Affair so well, and so soon. Indeed, I am wrong in using 
that Expression, We have finish' d our Affairs so well. Our 
Blunders have been many, and they serve to manifest the 
Hand of Providence more clearly in our Favour; so that we 
may much more properly say, These are thy Doings, O Lord, 
and they are marvellous in our Eyes. 

Mr. Storer, whom you recommended to me is now in Eng- 
land. He needed none of the Advice you desired me to give 
him. His Behaviour here was unexceptionable, and he 
gained the Esteem of all that knew him. 

The epitaph on my dear and much esteemed young Friend, 1 
is too well written to be capable of Improvement by any Cor- 
rections of mine. Your Moderation appears in it, since the 
natural affection of a Parent has not induced you to exag- 
gerate his Virtues. I shall always mourn his Loss with you ; 
a Loss not easily made up to his Country. 

How differently constituted was his noble and generous 
Mind from that of the miserable Calumniators you mention ! 
Having Plenty of Merit in himself, he was not jealous of the 
Appearance of Merit in others, but did Justice to their 
Characters with as much Pleasure as these People do Injury. 
It is now near two Years since your Friendship induced you to 
acquaint me with some of their Accusations. I guess'd easily 
at the Quarter from whence they came ; but, conscious of my 

1 Josiah Quincy, Junior. ED. 



1783] TO JOSIAH QUINCY 95 

Innocence, and unwilling to disturb public Operations by 
private Resentments or Contentions, I pass'd them over in 
Silence; and have not, till within these few days, taken the 
least Step towards my Vindication. Inform'd that the Prac- 
tice of abusing me continues, and that some heavy Charges 
are lately made against me respecting my Conduct in the 
Treaty, written from Paris and propagated among you, I 
have demanded of all my Colleagues that they do me Justice, 
and I have no doubt of receiving it from each of them. I did 
not think it necessary to justify myself to you, by answering 
the Calumnies you mentioned. I knew you did not believe 
them. It was improbable, that I should at this Distance 
combine with anybody to urge the Redemption of the Paper 
on those unjust Terms, having no Interest in such Redemp- 
tion. It was impossible, that I should have traded with the 
Public Money, since I had not traded with any Money, either 
separately or jointly with any other Person, directly or indi- 
rectly, to the Value of a Shilling since my being in France. 
And the Fishery, which it was said I had relinquished, had 
not then come in question, nor had I ever dropt a Syllable 
to that purpose in word or writing; but was always firm in 
this Principle, that, having had a common Right with the 
English to the Fisheries while connected with that Nation, and 
having contributed equally with our Blood and Treasure in 
conquering what had been gained from the French, we had 
an undoubted Right on breaking up our Partnership, to a 
fair Division. As to the two Charges of Age and Weakness, I 
must confess the first, but I am not quite so clear in the latter; 
and perhaps my Adversaries may find that they presumed 
a little too much upon it, when they ventur'd to attack me. 
But enough of these petty Personalities. I quit them to 



96 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

rejoice with you, in the PEACE God has blest us with, and in 
the Prosperity it gives us a prospect of. The Definitive Treaty 
was signed the third instant. We are now Friends with 
England and with all Mankind. May we never see another 
War ! for in my opinion there never was a good War, or a bad 
Peace. Adieu, believe me ever, my dear Friend, yours most 

affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1440. TO ELIAS BOUDINOT (L. c.) 

Passy, Sept 13, 1783. 

SIR, 

I received, a few Days since, the private Letter your Ex- 
cellency did me the honour of writing to me of the 8th of June. 
I regret with you the Resignation of the late Secretary. Your 
present Cares are encreas'd by it, and it will be difficult to find 
a Successor of equal Abilities. 

We found no difficulty in decyphering the Resolution of 
Congress. The Commissioners have taken no Notice of it hi 
our public Letter. 

I am happy that both the Device and Workmanship of the 
Medal are approoved with you, as they have the good Fortune 
to be by the best Judges on this Side the Water. It has been 
esteemed a well-tim'd, as well as a well-merited Compliment 
here, and has had good Effects. Since the two first which 
you mention as received, I have sent by different Opportuni- 
ties so many, as that every Member of Congress might have 
one. I hope they are come safe to hand before this time. 
I wrote a long Letter to Mr. Livingston by Mr. Barney, to 
which I beg leave to refer, inclosing a Copy. 



1783] TO ELIAS BOUDINOT 97 

We had, before signing the Definitive Treaty, receiv'd the 
Ratification of the preliminary Articles by his Britannic Maj- 
esty, exchang'd with us by Mr. Hartley for that of the Con- 
gress. I send herewith a Copy of the first and last Clauses. 

In a former Letter, I mentioned the volunteer Proceedings 
of a Merchant at Alicant, towards obtaining a Treaty between 
us and the Emperor of Morocco. We have since receiv'd a 
Letter from a Person l who says, as you will see by the Copy 
enclos'd, that he is sent by the Emperor to be the Bearer of 
his Answer to the United States, and that he is arriv'd in 
Spain on his way to Paris. He has not yet appear'd here, and 
we hardly know what Answer to give him. I hope the send- 
ing a Minister to that Court, as recommended in my last, 
has been taken into Consideration, or at least that some 
Instructions respecting that Nation have been sent to your 
Minister in Spain, who is better situated than we are for 
such a Negotiation. 

The Minister from Denmark often speaks to me about 
the propos'd Treaty, of which a Copy went by Barney. No 
Commission to sign it, nor any Instructions from Congress 
relating to it, are yet arriv'd; and, tho' press'd, I have not 
ventur'd to do any thing further in the Affair. 

I forward herewith a Letter to the Congress from the City 
of Hamburgh. 2 I understand that a good Disposition towards 
us prevails there, which it may be well to encourage. 

No answer has yet been given me from the Court of Portu- 
gal, respecting the Plan of a Treaty concerted between its 
Ambassador here and me. He has been unwell and much in 
the Country, so that I have not seen him lately. I suspect 

1 Giacomo Crocco. ED. 

See M Diplomatic Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. IV, p. 88. ED. 

VOL. IX H 



98 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

that the false or exaggerated Reports of the distracted Situa- 
tion of our Government, industriously propagated thro'out 
Europe by our Enemies, have made an Impression in that 
Kingdom to our Disadvantage, and inclined them to hesitate 
in forming a connection with us. Questions asked me, and 
Observations made by several of the foreign Ministers here, 
convince me, that the idle Stories of our Disunion, Contempt 
of Authority, Refusal to pay Taxes, &c. ; have been too 
much credited, and been very injurious to our Reputation. 

I sent before a Copy of the Letter I wrote to the Grand 
Master of Malta, 1 with a present of our Medal. With this 
you will have a Copy of his Answer. I send also a Copy of a 
Note I received from the Pope's Nuncio. 2 He is very civil 
on all Occasions, and has mention'd the Possibility of an ad- 
vantageous Trade America might have with the Ecclesiastical 
State, which he says has two good Ports, Civita Vecchia, and 



This Court continues favourable to us. Count de Ver- 
gennes was resolute in refusing to sign the Definitive Treaty 
with England before ours was signed. The English Ministers 
were offended, but comply'd. I am convinc'd that Court 
will never cease endeavouring to disunite us. We shall, I 
hope, be constantly on our Guard against those Machinations ; 
for our Safety consists in a steady adherence to our Friends, 
and our Reputation in a faithful Regard to Treaties, and in a 
grateful Conduct towards our Benefactors. 

I send herewith sundry Memorials recommended to my 

1 See letter dated April 6, 1783. ED. 

2 For the reply of the Pope's Nuncio, July 28, 1783 (D. S. W.), see 
" Diplomatic Correspondence " (Wharton), Vol. VI, p. 614. ED. 

3 Name not given in draft. ED. 



1783] TO RICHARD PRICE 99 

Care by M. le Comte de Vergennes, viz. one respecting a 
Claim of Messi'rs Fosters, of Bordeaux, one of M. Pecquet, 
and one of M. Bayard. The Congress will take such Notice 
of them as they shall think proper. With great Esteem and 
Respect, I have the Honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1441. TO RICHARD PRICE (L. c.) 

Passy, Near Paris, Sept. 16, 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND: Having this Opportunity by Mr. 
Bingham, 1 who has the Honour of being known to you, I 
seize it to thank you for your excellent Book, and other 
Favours, and to let you know that I continue well, except a 
little Gout, which perhaps is no more a disease than a Remedy. 
Mr. Petrie inform'd me of your being also well with Mrs. 
Price lately at Brighthelmstone, which gave me great Pleas- 
ure : Please to present my affectionate Respects to that good 
Lady. 

All the Conversation here at present turns upon the Bal- 
loons fill'd with light inflammable Air, and the means of 
managing them, so to give men the Advantage of Flying. One 
is to be let off on Friday next at Versailles, which it is said will 
be able to carry up 1000 pounds' weight I know not whether 
inclusive or exclusive of its own. 

I have sent an Account of the former to Sir Joseph Banks, 
our President, and shall be glad to hear if the Experiment 
is repeated with Success in England. Please to forward him 
the enclos'd Print. 

1 U. S. Commercial agent at Martinique. ED. 



100 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Inflammable Air puts me in mind of a little jocular Paper 
I wrote some years since in ridicule of a prize Question given 
out by a certain Academy on this side the Water, and I enclose 
it for your Amusement. On second Thoughts, as it is a 
mathematical Question, and perhaps I think it more trifling 
than it really is, and you are a Mathematician, I am afraid 
I have judg'd wrong in sending it to you. Our Friend, Dr. 
Priestly, however, who is apt to give himself Airs, and has a 
kind of Right to every thing his Friends produce upon that 
Subject, may perhaps like to see it, and you can send it to 
him without reading it. 1 

We have at length sign'd our preliminary Articles as defini- 
tive. All the Additions we have been so long discussing, 
being referred to a future Treaty of Commerce. I have now 
a little Leisure, and long to see and be merry with the Club, 
but I doubt I cannot undertake the Journey before Spring. 
Adieu, and believe me ever, my dear Friend, yours most 
affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 

They make small Balloons now of the same material with 
what is called Gold-beater's Leaf. Inclos'd I send one, which 
being fill'd with inflammable Air by my Grandson, went up 
last Night, to the Cieling in my Chamber, and remained 
rolling about there for some time. Please give it also to Sir 
Joseph Banks. If a Man should go up with one of the large 
ones, might there not be some mechanical Contrivance to 
compress the Globe at pleasure; and thereby incline it to 
descend, and let it expand when he inclines to rise again? 

1 In reference to Franklin's bagatelle upon " Perfumes." Dr. Price replied : 
" Mr. Dagge bro't me your paper on a mathematical prize question, proposed 
by the Royal Academy of B[russels]. I conrey'd this to Dr. Priestley, and we 
have been entertained with the pleasantry of it, and the ridicule it contains." 
ED. 



1783] FROM ROBESPIERRE TO FRANKLIN 101 

1442. TO ELIAS BOUDINOT (D. s. w.) 
Passy, September 27, 1783. 

SIR, 

Mr. Thaxter, late Secretary of Mr. Adams, who is charged 
with all our Dispatches, that were intended to go by the 
French packet Boat, writes from L'Orient, that tho' he ar- 
rived there two days before the time appointed for her Sailing, 
he missed reaching her by four hours ; but another light Ves- 
sel was fitting, and would sail the 2ist Instant, in which he 
hoped to arrive at New York nearly as soon as the Packet. 
We shall send Duplicates by the next from hence. 

In the mean time I inclose a printed Copy of the definitive 
Treaty, which I hear is ratified. Indeed we have the Rati- 
fication of the Preliminaries. 

Mr. Hartley, when he left us, expected to return in three 
weeks, in order to proceed with us in forming a Treaty of 
Commerce. The new Commission that was intended for us 
is not yet come to hand. With great Respect, I have the 
honour to be, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1443. FROM MAXIMILIEN-MARIE-ISIDORE 
ROBESPIERRE TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1 

(U. OF P.) 
MONSIEUR 

Une sentence de proscription rendue par les echevins de St. Omer centre 
les conducteurs 61ectriques m'a presente 1'occasion de plaider au conseil 
d'Artois la cause d'une decouverte sublime, dont le genre humain vous est 
redevable. Le desir de contribuer a deraciner les prejuges qui s'opposoient 
a ses pr ogres dans notre province m'a porte a faire imprimer le plaidoyer que 

1 See supra, Vol. I, p. 105. ED. 



102 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

j'ai prononce dans cette affaire. J'ose espirer, Monsieur, que vous daignerer 
recevoir avec bonte un exemplaire de cet ouvrage, dont Pobjet etoit d'engager 
mes concitoiens a accepter un de vos bienfaits; heureux d'avoir pu Stre utile 
a mon pays, en determinant ses premiers magistrats a accueillir cette im- 
portante decouverte; plus heureux encore si je puis joindre a cet avantage 
Phonneur d'obtenir le suffrage d'un homme dont le moindre merite est d'etre 
le plus illustre scavant de 1'univers. 

J'ai I'honneur d'Stre avec respect 
Monsieur 

Votre tres humble 
et tres obeissant serviteur 

A Arras le I 8bre 1783 de Robespierre, avocat 

au conseil d'Artois. 



1444. TO SIR EDWARD NEWENHAM 1 

Passy, Oct. 2, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just received your very kind letter of the i6th past. 
I rejoice sincerely to hear of your safe return to your own coun- 
try, family, and friends, and of the success of your election. 

It is a pleasing reflection, arising from the contemplation 
of our successful struggle, and the manly, spirited, and unani- 
mous resolves at Dungannon, that liberty, which some years 
since appeared in danger of extinction, is now regaining the 
ground she had lost, that arbitrary governments are likely 
to become more mild and reasonable, and to expire by degrees, 
giving place to more equitable forms ; one of the effects this 
of the art of printing, which diffuses so general a light, aug- 
menting with the growing day, and of so penetrating a nature, 
that all the window-shutters despotism and priestcraft can 
oppose to keep it out, prove insufficient. 

In answer to your question respecting what may be neces- 

1 From " The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," Vol. I, 
p. 454- ED. 



1783] TO THOMAS BRAND HOLLIS 103 

sary to fix a trade between Ireland and America, I may ac- 
quaint you between ourselves, that there is some truth in the 
report you may have heard, of our desiring to know of Mr. 
Hartley whether he was empowered or instructed to include 
Ireland in the treaty of commerce proposed to us, and of his 
sending for instructions on that head, which never arrived. 
That treaty is yet open, may possibly be soon resumed ; and 
it seems proper, that something should be contained in it to 
prevent the doubts and misunderstandings that may here- 
after arise on the subject, and secure to Ireland the same ad- 
vantages in trade that England may obtain. You can best 
judge whether some law or resolution of your Parliament 
may not be of use towards gaining that point. 

My grandson joins me in wishes of every kind of felicity 
for you, Lady Newenham, and all your amiable family. God 
bless you, and give success to your constant endeavours for 
the welfare of your country. With true and great respect and 

esteem, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1445. TO THOMAS BRAND HOLLIS 1 

(L. C.) 
Passy, near Paris, Octo r 5, 1783. 

Sm, 

I received but lately (tho* sent in June) your most valuable 
present of the Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Esf, who was 
truly, as you describe him in your letter, "a good Citizen of 
the World, and a faithful Friend of America." America, 

1 Thomas Brand, upon inheriting the property of Thomas Hollis, assumed 
the name of Hollis. The Memoirs of Thomas Hollis were published by Francis 
Blackburne (1780). ED. 



io 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

too, is extremely sensible of his Benevolence and great Benefi- 
cence towards her, and will ever revere his Memory. These 
Volumes are a Proof of what I have sometimes had occasion 
to say, in encouraging People to undertake difficult Public 
Services, that it is prodigious the quantity of Good that may be 
done by one Man, if he will make a Business of it. It is 
equally surprizing to think of the very little that is done by 
many; for, such is the general Frivolity of the Employments 
and Amusements of the rank we call Gentlemen, that every 
Century may have seen 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 cotemporaries, 
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, tho he often sent me valu- 
able Presents, such as Hamilton's Works, 1 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 perus- 
ing these Memoirs, that I was a doubtful Character with him. 

1 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. S. 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 105 

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 ap- 
peared in a London Paper, January yth, 1768, is said to have 
been written by Mr. Adams. It was written by me, and is re- 
printed in Mr. Vaughan's Collection of my Political Pieces, 
p. 231. This Eratum is of no great importance, but may be 
corrected in a future Edition. 

I see Mr. Hollis had a Collection of curious Medals. 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 sincere 
esteem, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1446. TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS (u. OF p.) 

Passy, Oct. 8, 1783 

SIR, 

The Publick were promis'd a printed particular Account 
of the Rise & Progress of the Balloon Invention, to be pub- 
lish'd about the End of last Month. I waited for it, to send 
it to you expecting it would be more satisfactory than any thing 
I could write ; but it does not yet appear. We have only at 
present the enclos'd Pamphlet which does not answer the 
Expectation given us. I send you with it some Prints. That 
of the Balloon lately rais'd at Versailles is said to be an exact 
Representation. I was not present, but am told it was fill'd 
in about ten minutes by means of burning Straw. Some say 



106 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Water was thrown into the Flame, others that it was Spirits 
of Sal Volatile. It was suppos'd to have risen about 200 
Toises : But did not continue long at that height, was car- 
ried horizontally by the Wind and descended gently as the Air 
within grew cooler. So vast a Bulk when it began to rise so 
majestically in the Air, struck the Spectators with Surprise 
and Admiration. The Basket contain'd a Sheep, a Duck 
& a Cock, who except the Cock received no Hurt by the Fall. 
The Duke de Crillon made a Feast last Week in the Bois 
de Boulogne just by my Habitation, on Occasion of the Birth 
of two Spanish Princes. After the Fireworks, we had a 
Balloon of about 5 feet Diameter, fill'd with permanent in- 
flammable Air. It was dismiss'd about One o' Clock in the 
Morning. It carried under it a large Lanthorn with Inscrip- 
tions on its Sides. The Night was quite calm and clear, so 
that it went right up. The Appearance of the Light dimin- 
ish'd gradually till it appear'd no bigger than one of the 
Stars, and in about 20 minutes I lost sight of it entirely. It 
fell the next Day on the other side of the same Wood near the 
Village Boulogne, about half after 12, having been suspended 
in the Air n hours and a half. It lodg'd in a Tree, and was 
torn in getting it down; so that it cannot be ascertain'd 
whether it burst when above or not, tho' that is suppos'd. 
Smaller Repetitions of the Experiment are making every 
day in all Quarters. Some of the larger Balloons that have 
been up, are preparing to be sent up again, in a few Days ; 
but I do not hear of any material Improvements yet made 
either in the mechanical or chemical Parts of the Operation. 
Most is expected from the new one undertaken upon Subscrip- 
tion by Messieurs Charles & Robert, who are Men of Science 
and mechanical Dexterity. It is to carry up a Man. I send 



1783] TO DAVID HARTLEY 107 

you enclos'd the Proposals, which it is said are already 
subscribed to by a considerable Number, and likely to be 
carried into Execution. If I am well at the Time, I 
purpose to be present, being a Subscriber myself, and shall 
send you an exact Account of Particulars. 

With great Esteem and Respect for yourself and the 
Society ; I have the honour to be, 
Sir, 



1447. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 (p. c.) 

Passy Oct 16, 1783 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I have nothing material to write to you respecting public 
affairs, but I cannot let Mr. Adams who will see you go with- 
out a line, to inquire after your welfare, to inform you of 
mine, & to assure you of my constant respect and attachment. 

I think with you, that your Quaker article is a good one, 
and that men will in time have sense enough to adopt it, but 
I fear that time is not yet come. 

What would you think of a proposition, if I sh'd make it, 
of a family compact between England, France, and America? 
America w d be as happy as the Sabine Girls, if she c d be the 
means of uniting in perpetual peace her father and her hus- 
band. What repeated follies are these repeated wars ! You do 
not want to conquer & govern one another. Why then sh'd 
you continually be employed in injuring & destroying one 
another? How many excellent things might have been done 
to promote the internal welfare of each country ; what Bridges, 
roads, canals, and other usefull public works & institutions, 

1 From the private collection of Mrs. L. Z. Leiter. ED. 



io8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

tending to the common felicity, might have been made and 
established with the money and men foolishly spent during 
the last seven centuries by our mad wars in doing one another 
mischief! You are near neighbours, and each have very 
respectable qualities. Learn to be quiet and to respect each 
other's rights. You are all Christians. One is The Most 
Christian King, and the other Defender of the Faith. Mani- 
fest the propriety of these titles by your future conduct. " By 
this," says Christ, "shall all men know that ye are my Dis- 
ciples, if ye love one another." "Seek peace, and ensue it." 

Adieu. 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1448. TO EDWARD NAIRNE 

Passy, October 18, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your favour of August 14th, 1 by Mr. Sykes, with 
the book of directions for using your patent electric machine. 
The machine itself is also come to hand in good order, after 
some delay on the road ; and I think it very ingeniously con- 
trived indeed ; I wish your success in the sale may be equal 
to its merits. The experiments in your pamphlet gave me 
pleasure, and I shall be glad to see the account you mention 
of the shortening of wires by lightning. 

What you have heard of the eyes of sheep forced out by a 
stroke of lightning which killed them, puts me in mind of hav- 
ing formerly seen at Philadelphia six horses all killed by light- 
ning in a stable, every one of whom appeared to have bled at 

1 This letter is in A. P. S. ED. 



1783] TO DAVID HARTLEY 109 

the eyes, nose, and mouth ; though I do not recollect that any 
of their eyes were out. 1 

You are so good as to consider how much my time has been 
taken up, and to excuse on that account my being a bad corre- 
spondent. Near three years ago I began a letter to you on the 
subject of hygrometers. I had written three folio pages of it, 
when I was interrupted by some business ; and, before I had 
time to finish it, I had mislaid it. I have now found it, and, 
having added what I suppose I had intended to add, I enclose 
it. You can judge better than myself, whether my idea of 
such an instrument is practicable and may be useful. 

If you favour me with another line, let me know how Mrs. 
Nairne does, and your amiable children. With great esteem, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1449. TO DAVID HARTLEY 2 

Passy, Oct. 22, 1783. 

I received my dear friend's kind letter of the 4th instant 
from Bath with your proposed temporary convention, which 
you desire me to show to my colleagues. They are both by 
this time in London, where you will undoubtedly see and con- 

1 " I have lately met with a circumstance of the effects of Lightning which I 
never heard of before. My authority is part of a letter from the Duke of 
Marlborough to Professor Hornby of Oxford, who is now at Ramsgate for his 
Health, where he read it to me. A Gentleman told the Duke that in the Storm 
of Lightning which happened lately in Oxfordshire he had several of his Sheep 
killed under a Tree. I think it was thirteen, & that when they came to examine 
them, they found that everyone of them had the Balls of their Eyes forced out." 
(Nairne). ED. 

a From " The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," Vol. II, p. 
408. ED. 



no THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

verse with them on the subject. The apprehension you men- 
tion, that the cement of the confederation may be annihilated, 
&c., has not, I think, any foundation. There is sense enough 
in America to take care of their own china vase. 1 I see much 
in your papers about our divisions and distractions, but I 
hear little of them from America ; and I know that most of 
the letters, said to come from there with such accounts, 
are mere London fictions. I will consider attentively the 
proposition above mentioned, against the return of my col- 
leagues, when I hope our commission will have arrived. 

I rejoice to hear that your dear sister's recovery advances, 
and that your brother is well. Please to present my affection- 
ate respects to them, and believe me ever yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1450. TO ELIAS BOUDINOT (L. c.) 

Passy, Nov. i, 1783. 

SIR, 

Inclosed is a copy of my last, which went by the English 
Pacquet. I heard after I wrote it, that, the French Packet 
putting back by contrary winds, Mr. Thaxter had an oppor- 
tunity of getting on board her, and that she sailed the 26th of 
September. 

The mentioned new Commission is not yet come to hand. 
Mr. Hartley is not returned, and I hear will stay for the meet- 
ing of Parliament, which is to be the nth instant, and not 
come hither till the Recess of the Christmas Holidays. Mr. 
Jay went to England about three weeks since on some per- 

1 A reference to Franklin's familiar comparison of the British Empire to a 
China vase : 'twere a great pity to break it. ED. 



1783] TO ELI AS BOUDINOT in 

sonal affairs ; and Mr. Adams followed last week to see that 
Country, and take some Exercise during the vacancy of 
Business. 

This Court is now at Fontainebleau, but will return to Ver- 
sailles in a few days. Its good Disposition towards us con- 
tinues. The late failure of payment in the Caisse d'Escompte, 
an institution similar to the Bank of England, occasioned 
partly by its having gone too far in assisting the government 
with Money, and the Inability of the Government to support 
their Credit, tho extremely desirous of doing it, is a fresh Proof 
that our not obtaining a farther Loan was not occasioned 
by want of Good will to assist us, as some have unjustly sup- 
posed, but by a real want of the Means. Money is at present 
unaccountably scarce here; what is arrived and expected in 
Spain since the Peace, it is thought, will set things to rights. 
The Govern* has proposed a second Lottery for this year, by 
which they borrow 24 Millions, and it filled readily. This 
helps, and the Caisse d'Escompte goes on again with its 
operations; but it is said the Interest paid by the Lottery 
Plan is nearly 7 per cent. 

I have received the Duplicates of your Excellency's Letter 
of the i $th July, to the Commissioners, which is very satis- 
factory, tho' it came to hand but lately. The first, sent vid 
New York, has not yet appeared. I have sent Copies of it 
to the Hague and Madrid. The substance is published in 
several Papers. 

I have acquainted the Minister of Sweden, that I have 
received the Ratification of the Treaty; and he has writ- 
ten to me, that he shall be in town in a few days, when he 
will make the Exchange. The conclusion of the Danish 
Treaty waits only for the Commission and Instructions from 



ii2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Congress. The Ambassador of Portugal informed me lately, 
that his Court had our proposed Plan under Consideration, 
and that we should soon hear from them. I sent it to Con- 
gress by Barney, and hear the Ship is arrived. A Commis- 
sion and Instructions will be wanting for that also, should the 
Congress be disposed to conclude a Treaty with that Nation. 

I see by the Public Prints that the Congress have ratified 
the Contract I made with the Minister here, respecting the 
Loans and Aids we had received ; but the Ratification itself, 
tho' directed to be sent me, has never come to hand, and I 
am often asked for it. I beg it may be forwarded by the first 
opportunity. 

There has been with me lately M. Pierre du Calvet, a 
Merchant of Montreal, who, when our army was in Canada, 
furnished our Generals and Officers with many things they 
wanted, taking their Receipts and Promisory notes for pay- 
ment; and, when the English repossessed the Country, he 
was imprisoned, and his Estate seized, on account of the ser- 
vices he had rendered us. He has shown me the Originals 
of his Papers, which I think are genuine. He produced also 
a quantity of Congress Paper, which he says he received in pay- 
ment for some of the Supplies, and which appeared to me of 
our first Emissions, and yet all fresh and clean, as having 
passed thro' no other hands. When he was discharged from 
Prison, he could not obtain permission to go into the United 
States to claim the Debt, but was allowed to go to England ; 
and from thence he came hither to sollicit payment from me. 
Having no authority to meddle with such Debts, and the sum 
being considerable, I refused, and advised him to take Pas- 
sage for America, and make his application to Congress. He 
said he was grown old, much broken and weakned by near 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 113 

three years* Imprisonment, and that the voyage from Canada 
to London had like to have been too much for him, he being 
sick all the Way ; so that he could not think of another, tho' 
Distressed for want of his Money. He appears an honest 
Man, and his case a hard one. I have therefore undertaken 
to forward his Papers, and I beg leave to recommend them 
to the speedy Consideration of Congress, to whom I request 
you would be pleased to present my dutiful respects, and 
assure them of my most faithful Services. With great 

Esteem and Regard, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1451. TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS (u. of p.) 

Passy, Nov. 21, 1783 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your friendly Letter of the 7 th Inst. I am glad 
my Letters respecting the Aerostatic Experiment were not un- 
acceptable. But as more perfect Accounts of the Construc- 
tion and Management of that Machine have been and will 
be published before your Transactions, and from which Ex- 
tracts may be made that will be more particular & therefore 
more satisfactory, I think it best not to print those Letters. 
I say this in answer to your Question for I did not indeed write 
them with a view of their being inserted. M. Faujas de St. 
Fond acquainted me yesterday, that a Book on the Subject 
which has been long expected, will be publish'd in a few Days, 
and I shall send you one of them. Enclos'd is a Copy of the 
Proces verbal taken of the Experiment made yesterday in the 
Garden of the Queen's Palace la Muette where the Dauphin 
now resides, which being near my House I was present. This 

VOL. IX I 



ii 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Paper was drawn up hastily, & may in some Places appear 
to you obscure; therefore I shall add a few explanatory 
Observations. 

This Balloon was larger than that which went up from Ver- 
sailles, and carried the Sheep, &c. Its Bottom was open, 
and in the middle of the Opening was fix'd a kind of Basket 
Grate in which Faggots and Sheaves of Straw were burnt. 
The Air rarified in passing thro' this Flame rose in the Bal- 
loon, swell'd out its Sides & fill'd it. 

The Persons who were plac'd in the Gallery made of 
Wicker, and attach'd to the Outside near the Bottom, had 
each of them a Post thro' which they could pass Sheaves of 
Straw into the Grate to keep up the Flame, & thereby keep 
the Balloon full. When it went over our Heads, we could see 
the Fire which was very considerable. As the Flame slack- 
ens, the rarified Air cools and condenses, the Bulk of the Bal- 
loon diminishes and it begins to descend. If these in the 
Gallery see it likely to descend in an improper Place they can, 
by throwing on more Straw, & renewing the Flame, make it 
rise again, and the Wind carries it farther. 

La Machine poussee par le Vent s'est dirigZe sur une des 
Allies du Jardin. That is, against the Trees of one of the 
Walks. The Gallery hitch'd among the top Boughs of those 
Trees which had been cut and were stiff, while the Body of the 
Balloon lean'd beyond & seem'd likely to overset. I was 
then in great Pain for the Men, thinking them in danger of 
being thrown out, or burnt; for I expected that the Bal- 
loon being no longer upright, the Flame would have laid 
hold of the Inside that lean'd over it. But by means of some 
Cords that were still attach'd to it, it was soon brought up- 
right again, made to descend, & carried back to its place. It 
was however much damag'd. 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 115 

Planant sur I'Horizon. When they were as high as they 
chose to be, they made less Flame, and suffer'd the Ma- 
chine to drive horizontally with the Wind, of which however 
they felt very little, as they went with it, and as fast. They 
say they had a charming View of Paris & its Environs, the 
Course of the River, &c. but that they were once lost, not 
knowing what Part they were over, till they saw the Dome 
of the Invalids, which rectified their Ideas. Probably while 
they were employ'd in keeping up the Fire, the Machine 
might turn, and by that means they were desorienU as the 
French call it. 

There was a vast Concourse of Gentry in the Garden, who 
had great Pleasure in seeing the Adventures go off so chear- 
fully, & applauded them by clapping, &c. but there was at 
the same time a good deal of Anxiety for their Safety. Mul- 
titudes in Paris saw the Balloon passing; but did not know 
there were Men with it, it being then so high that they could 
not see them. 

Developant du Gaz. That is, in plain English, burning 
more Straw; for tho' there is a little Mystery made, concern- 
ing the kind of Air with which the Balloon is filFd I conceive 
it to be nothing more than hot Smoke or common Air rari- 
fy'd, tho' in this I may be mistaken ; 

Ayant encore dans leur Galerie le deux tiers de leur appro- 
visionment. That is, their Provision of Straw; of which 
they carried up a great Quantity. It was well that in the 
hurry of so hazardous an Experiment, the Flame did not hap- 
pen by any accidental Mismanagement to lay hold of this 
Straw; tho' each had a Bucket of Water by him, by way of 
Precaution. 

One of these courageous Philosophers, the Marquis d'Ar- 



Ii6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

landes, did me the Honour to call upon me in the Evening 
after the Experiment with Mr. Mongolfier the very ingenious 
Inventor. I was happy to see him safe. He inform'd me 
they lit gently without the least Shock, and the Balloon was 
very little damag'd. 

[This method of filling the balloon with hot air is cheap 
and expeditious, and it is supposed may be sufficient for cer- 
tain purposes, such as elevating an engineer to take a view 
of an enemy's army, works, etc., conveying intelligence into 
or out of a besieged town, giving signals to distant places, or 
the like. 

[The other method of filling a balloon with permanently 
elastic inflammable air, and then closing it, is a tedious opera- 
tion, and very expensive ; yet we are to have one of that kind 
sent up in a few days. It is a globe of twenty-six feet diameter. 
The gores that compose it are red and white silk, so that it 
makes a beautiful appearance. A very handsome triumphal 
car will be suspended to it, in which Messrs. Robert, two 
brothers, very ingenious men, who have made it in concert 
with Mr. Charles, propose to go up. There is room in 
this car for a little table to be placed between them, on which 
they can write and keep their journal ; that is, take notes of 
everything they observe, the state of their thermometer, ba- 
rometer, hygrometer, etc., which they will have more leisure 
to do than the others, having no fire to take care of. They 
say they have a contrivance which will enable them to de- 
scend at pleasure. I know not what it is, but the expense of 
this machine, filling included, will exceed, it is said, ten thou- 
sand livres. 

[This balloon of only twenty-six feet diameter, being filled 
with air ten times lighter than common air, will carry up a 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 117 

greater weight than the other, which though vastly bigger, 
was filled with an air that could scarcely be more than twice 
as light. Thus the great bulk of one of these machines, with 
the short duration of its power, and the great expense of fill- 
ing the other, will prevent the invention being of so much use 
as some may expect, till chemistry can invent a cheaper light 
air producible with more expedition. 

[By the emulation between the two parties running high, the 
improvement in the construction and management of the bal- 
loons has already made a rapid progress, and one cannot say 
how far it may go. A few months since the idea of witches 
riding thro* the air upon a broomstick, and that of philoso- 
phers upon a bag of smoke, would have appeared equally 
impossible and ridiculous. 

[These machines must always be subject to be driven by 
the winds. Perhaps mechanic art may find easy means to 
give them progressive motion in a calm, and to slant them 
a little in the wind. 

[I am sorry this experiment is totally neglected in England, 
where mechanic genius is so strong. I wish I could see the 
same emulation between the two nations as I have seen the 
two parties here. Your philosophy seems to be too bashfuL 
In this country we are not so much afraid of being laughed at. 
If we do a foolish thing, we are the first to laugh at it ourselves,, 
and are almost as much pleased with a bonmot or a good 
chanson, that ridicules well the disappointment of a project, 
as we might have been with its success. It does not seem 
to me a good reason to decline prosecuting a new experiment 
which apparently increases the power of a man over matter, 
till we can see to what use that power may be applied. When 
we have learnt to manage it, we may hope some time or other 



Ii8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

to find use for it, as men have done for magnetism and elec- 
tricity, for which the first experiments were mere matters of 
amusement. 

[This experiment is by no means a trifling one. It may be 
attended with important consequences that no one can fore- 
see. We should not suffer pride to prevent our progress in 
science. 

[Beings of a frank and [sic] nature far superior to ours have 
not disdained to amuse themselves with making and launch- 
ing balloons, otherwise we should never have enjoyed the light 
of those glorious objects that rule our day and night, nor have 
had the pleasure of riding round the sun ourselves upon the 
balloon we now inhabit. 

[With great and sincere esteem, I am, dear sir, your most 
obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Nov. 25th. The proce*s verbal to which this letter 
relates went by last post. I have now got the within men- 
tioned book, but it being too bulky to send by post, I shall 
try to get it forwarded to you by the Duke of Manchester's 
courier, who goes usually on Thursdays. I enclose one of 
the plates of it, which gives a perfect representation of the 
last great balloon. You can put it in its place when you 
receive the book. B. F.] l 

1 The paragraphs enclosed in brackets are not found in the draft in U. of 
P., but exist in a letter press copy now (March, 1906) owned by Dodd, Mead, 
& Co. ED. 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 119 

1452. TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS l (P. c.) 

Passy, December i. 1783. 

DEAR SIR : In mine of yesterday I promised to give you 
an account of Messrs. Charles & Robert's experiment, which 
was to have been made this day, and at which I intended to 
be present. Being a little indisposed, and the air cool, and 
the ground damp, I declined going into the garden of the 
Tuileries, where the balloon was placed, not knowing how 
long I might be obliged to wait there before it was ready to 
depart, and chose to stay in my carriage near the statue of 
Louis XV., from whence I could well see it rise, and have an 
extensive view of the region of air through which, as the wind 
sat, it was likely to pass. The morning was foggy, but about 
one o'clock the air became tolerably clear, to the great satis- 
faction of the spectators, who were infinite, notice having 
been given of the intended experiment several days before in 
the papers, so that all Paris was out, either about the Tuileries, 
on the quays and bridges, in the fields, the streets, at the win- 
dows, or on the tops of houses, besides the inhabitants of all 
the towns and villages of the environs. Never before was a 
philosophical experiment so magnificently attended. Some 
guns were fired to give notice that the departure of the balloon 
was near, and a small one was discharged, which went to an 
amazing height, there being but little wind to make it deviate 
from its perpendicular course, and at length the sight of it was 
lost. Means were used, I am told, to prevent the great bal- 
loon's rising so high as might endanger its bursting. Several 

1 Letter press copy in possession of Dodd, Mead, & Co. ED. 



120 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

bags of sand were taken on board before the cord that held 
it down was cut, and the whole weight being then too much 
to be lifted, such a quantity was discharged as to permit its 
rising slowly. Thus it would sooner arrive at that region 
where it would be in equilibrio with the surrounding air, 
and by discharging more sand afterwards, it might go higher 
if desired. Between one and two o'clock, all eyes were grati- 
fied with seeing it rise majestically from among the trees, 
and ascend gradually above the buildings, a most beautiful 
spectacle. When it was about two hundred feet high, the 
brave adventurers held out and waved a little white pen- 
nant, on both sides their car, to salute the spectators, who re- 
turned loud claps of applause. The wind was very little, 
so that the object though moving to the northward, continued 
long in view; and it was a great while before the admiring 
people began to disperse. The persons embarked were Mr. 
Charles, professor of experimental philosophy, and a zealous 
promoter of that science ; and one of the Messieurs Robert, 
the very ingenious constructors of the machine. When it 
arrived at its height, which I suppose might be three or four 
hundred toises, it appeared to have only horizontal motion. 
I had a pocket-glass, with which I followed it, till I lost sight 
first of the men, then of the car, and when I last saw the bal- 
loon, it appeared no bigger than a walnut. I write this at 
seven in the evening. What became of them is not yet known 
here. I hope they descended by daylight, so as to see and 
avoid falling among trees or on houses, and that the experiment 
was completed without any mischievous accident, which the 
novelty of it and the want of experience might well occasion. 
I am the more anxious for the event, because I am not well 
informed of the means provided for letting themselves down, 



1783] TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS 121 

and the loss of these very ingenious men would not only 
be a discouragement to the progress of the art, but be a sensi- 
ble loss to science and society. 

I shall enclose one of the tickets of admission, on which the 
globe was represented, as originally intended, but is altered 
by the pen to show its real state when it went off. When the 
tickets were engraved the car was to have been hung to the 
neck of the globe, as represented by a little drawing I have 
made in the corner. 

I suppose it may have been an apprehension of danger in 
straining too much the balloon or tearing the silk, that 
induced the constructors to throw a net over it, fixed to a 
hoop which went round its middle, and to hang the car to 
that hoop. 

Tuesday morning, December 2 d . I am relieved from my 
anxiety by hearing that the adventurers descended well near 
L'Isle Adam before sunset. This place is near seven leagues 
from Paris. Had the wind blown fresh they might have gone 
much farther. 

If I receive any further particulars of importance, I shall 
communicate them hereafter. 

With great esteem, I am, dear sir, your most obedient 
and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Tuesday evening. Since writing the above I have 
received the printed paper and the manuscript containing 
some particulars of the experiment, which I enclose. I hear 
further that the travellers had perfect command of their car- 
riage, descending as they pleased by letting some of the in- 
flammable air escape, and rising again by discharging some 
sand ; that they descended over a field so low as to talk with 



122 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

the labourers in passing, and mounted again to pass a hill. 
The little balloon falling at Vincennes shows that mounting 
higher it met with a current of air in a contrary direction, an 
observation that may be of use to future aerial voyagers. 



1453. TO HENRY LAURENS (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 6. 1783. 

DEAR SIR : I received your kind Letter of the 28th past, 
and I send you herewith the anonymous Brussels Letter, as 
you desire. 1 When I had last the Pleasure of seeing you at 
Passy, I forgot to mention to you that Mr. Ridley, soon after 
your Departure for the south of France, calPd upon me with 
a Request that I would let him see that Letter, and then that 
I would let him take it home with him, which I comply'd 
with, understanding it was to show it to Mr. Adams. Some 
Days after he acquainted me that the Handwriting was like 
that of M. de Neufville's Clerk, and propos'd to have it com- 
pared with some of Neufville's Letters in my Possession, which 
at his Desire I lent him. When he return'd them he remarked 
some Similarities, which I did not think very striking. What 
appeared most so to me at the time was the very long Stroke 
or Dash of the Pen across the Top of the small /, thus /, tho' 
I did not think that conclusive; and I have since observed 
it to be a more general Practice in Writing than I imagin'd. 
I indeed seldom make that Mark to my *'s, except when they 
are double ; Yet I find when I do make it, it is nearly as long 
as in the Brussels Letter; and I see in your last that you do 

1 The letter from Charles de Weissenstein. ED. 



1783] TO HENRY LAURENS 123 

the same, the Dash sometimes passing over the whole word in 
which the / is placed. I saw neither Mr. Barclay nor Mr. 
Adams on that Occasion, but Mr. Ridley only. I suppose the 
Opinion you mention as pronounc'd, might be by them at 
Auteuil. I enclose the other anonymous, and the two Letters 
of Neufville, that you may compare them and judge for 
yourself. 

We think of nothing here at present but of Flying ; the Bal- 
loons engross all Conversation. Messrs. Charles and Robert 
made a Trip last Monday thro' the Air to a Place farther dis- 
tant than Dover is from Calais ; and could have gone much 
farther if there had been more Wind and Daylight. They 
have perfect Command of the Machine, descending and rising 
again at pleasure. The Progress made in the Management 
of it has been rapid, yet I fear it will hardly become a common 
Carriage in my time, tho' being the easiest of all Voitures it 
would be extreamly convenient to me, now that my Malady 
forbids the Use of the old ones over a Pavement. 

The kind Enquiry made respecting me by the Person you 
mention does not surprize me. He is so unequal in his Tem- 
per, and so different from himself on different Occasions, that 
I should not wonder if he sometimes lov'd me. 

The promis'd Commission is not yet come to my hands, 
nor have I any Advices from the Congress later than the Qth 
of September. 

My Grandson joins me in affectionate Respects to you and 
Miss Laurens, and best Wishes for your Health and Pros- 
perity. With great and sincere Esteem I am ever, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



124 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 



1454. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 

(P. A. E. E. U.) 
(L. C.) 
Passy, December 6, 1783. 

SIR, Being now disabled by the Stone which in the easiest 
Carriage gives me Pain, wounds my Bladder, and occasions 
me to make bloody Urine, I find I can no longer pay my 
Devoirs personally at Versailles, which I hope will be excused. 
I have yet received from Congress no Answer to my Request 
of being recall'd. In the meantime I must beg your Excel- 
lency to receive my Respects by my Grandson, with such 
Matters as I may occasionally have to communicate, he being 
Secretary of the Legation. I am, with great and sincere 
Respect, sir, etc., B. FRANKLIN. 

1455. TO WILLIAM HODGSON (A. p. s.) 
DEAR SIR Passy Dec. 10. 1783 

Having represented to Congress the Services rendered to 
our Prisoners by the Rev? M r Wren, I have the Pleasure of 
transmitting their Thanks, together with a Diploma from the 
College at Princetown, 1 which I beg you would forward to him 
with my Respects. I shall not fail to recommend my Friend 
for the Consulship, 2 being with unalterable Esteem & Affec- 
tion TV c . 
Dear Sir, 

Your most o. & m. h. S. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Charge me with this Postage & that to Portsmouth 

1 See letter to Robert R. Livingston, July 22, 1783. ED. 

2 See this recommendation in a letter to Thomas Mifflin, President of Con- 
gress, December 26, 1783. ED. 



1783] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 125 

1456. TO SIR JOSEPH BANKS (u. of P.) 

Passy, Dec. 15. 1783 

DEAR SIR, 

You have probably had enough of my Correspondence 
on the Subject of the Balloons, yet I cannot forbear sending 
you M r Charles's Account of his Voyage, which contains some 
Circumstances that are curious & Interesting. And per- 
haps you may for a Conclusion have one more Letter from me 
by him, if he makes the Flight said to be intended the first 
fair Wind from Paris to London. 
With great Esteem, I am ever Dear Sir, 

Your most obedient 

Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 

1457. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (P. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, December 15, 1783 

SIR: I understand that the bishop or spiritual person 
who superintends or governs the Roman Catholic clergy 
in the United States of America resides in London, and is 
supposed to be under obligations to that court, and subject 
to be influenced by its ministers. This gives me some uneasi- 
ness, and I cannot but wish that one should be appointed to 
that office who is of this nation and who may reside there 
among our friends. I beg your Excellency to think a little of 
this matter, and to afford me your counsels upon it. 1 With 
the greatest respect, I am, sir, etc., R FRANKLIN. 

1 The vicar-apostolic of London at this time had ecclesiastical jurisdiction 
over the Roman Catholics of the United States. The fear of the inOuence 



126 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1458. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 1 

Passy, December 15, 1783. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I am much concerned to find by your letter to my grandson, 
that you are hurt by my long silence, and that you ascribe it 
to a supposed diminution of my friendship. Believe me, that 
is by no means the case ; but I am too much harassed by a 
variety of correspondence, together with gout and gravel, 
which induce me to postpone doing what I often fully intend 
to do, and particularly writing, where the urgent necessity of 
business does not seem to require its being done immediately, 
my sitting too much at the desk having already almost killed 
me; besides, since Mr. Jay's residence here, I imagined he 
might keep you fully informed of what was material for you 
to know; and I beg you to be assured of my constant and 
sincere esteem and affection. 

I do not know whether you have been informed, that a Mr. 
Montgomery, who lives at Alicant, took upon himself (for 
I think he had no authority) to make overtures last winter, 
in behalf of our States, towards a treaty with the Emperor of 
Morocco. In consequence of his proceedings I received a 
letter in August from a person, who acquainted me, that he 
was arrived in Spain by the Emperor's order, and was to come 
to Paris, there to receive and conduct to Morocco the minister 

which the English spiritual head might exert over the Irish Catholics caused 
Franklin to write this letter to Count de Vergennes, and also to consult upon 
the same subject with M*. de Cice, archbishop of Bordeaux. Rev. John 
Carroll was appointed superior of the clergy of the United States in 1784. 
ED. 

1 From " Diplomatic Correspondence " (Sparks), Vol. II, p. 492. ED. 



1783] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 127 

of Congress appointed to make that treaty, intimating at the 
same time an expectation of money to defray his expenses. 
I communicated the letter to Mr. Jay. The conduct of Mr. 
Montgomery appeared to us very extraordinary and irregular ; 
and the idea of a messenger from Morocco coming to Paris 
to meet and conduct a minister of Congress, appearing absurd 
and extravagant, as well as the demand of money by a person 
unknown, I made no answer to the letter; and I know not 
whether Mr. Jay made any to Mr. Montgomery, who wrote 
about the same time. But I have lately received another 
letter from the same person, a copy of which I enclose, to- 
gether with my answer open for your perusal, and it is sub- 
mitted to your discretion whether to forward it or not. The 
Mr. CroccOy who writes to me, having been, as he says, at 
Madrid, you possibly may know more of him than I can, and 
judge whether he is really a person in credit with the Emperor, 
and sent as he pretends to be, or not rather an Escroc, as the 
French call cheats and impostors. 

I would not be wanting in any thing proper for me to do 
towards keeping that Prince in good humour with us, till the 
pleasure of Congress is known, and therefore would answer 
Mr. Crocco, if he be in his employ; but am loth to commit 
myself in correspondence with a jripon. It will be strange, if, 
being at Madrid, he did not address himself to you. With 
great and unalterable regard, I am ever, my dear friend, yours 
most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



128 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

1459. TO GIACOMO FRANCESCO CROCCO l 

Paris, December 15, 1783. 
SIR, 

I have just received the letter you did me the honour of 
writing to me the 25th past. I did indeed receive your former 
letter of July, but, being totally a stranger to the mentioned 
proceedings of Mr. Montgomery, 2 and having no orders from 
Congress on the subject, I knew not how to give you any satis- 
factory answer, till I should receive further information ; and 
I communicated your letter to Mr. Jay, minister of the United 
States for Spain, in whose district Mr. Montgomery is, and 
who is more at hand than I am for commencing that negotia- 
tion. 

Mr. Jay, who is at present in England, has possibly writ- 
ten to you, though his letter may have miscarried, to acquaint 
you, that Mr. Montgomery had probably no authority from 
Congress to take the step he has done, and that it was not 
likely, that they, desiring to make a treaty with the Emperor, 
would think of putting his Majesty to the trouble of sending 
a person to Paris to receive and conduct their minister, since 
they have ships, and could easily land him at Cadiz, or present 
him at one of the Emperor's ports. We have, however, writ- 
ten to Congress, acquainting them with what we had been 
informed of the good and favourable disposition of his Im- 
perial Majesty to enter into a treaty of amity and commerce 
with the United States; and we have no doubt but that, as 

1 From " Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States" (Sparks), Vol. 
I, P- 373- ED. 

2 Robert Montgomery of Alicant. ED. 



1783] TO THOMAS MIFFLIN 129 

soon as their affairs are a little settled, which, by so severe a 
war carried on in the bowels of their country by one of the 
most powerful nations of Europe, have necessarily been much 
deranged, they will readily manifest equally good dispositions, 
and take all the proper steps to cultivate and secure the friend- 
ship of a monarch, whose character I know they have long 

esteemed and respected. I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1460. TO THOMAS MIFFLIN 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 25, 1783. 

SIR, 

Not having heard of the Appointment of a new Secretary 
for foreign Affairs, I take the Liberty of addressing this De- 
spatch directly to your Excellency. I received by Capt. 
Barney a Letter from the late President, directed to the Com- 
missioners, dated November the i , with a Set of Instructions, 
dated the 2Qth of October, a Resolution of the same Date 
respecting Hamburgh, and another of the ist of November, 
relating to Capt. Paul Jones, all which will be duly regarded. 

Capt. Jones, in passing thro' England, communicated these 
Papers to Mr. Adams, then at London. Mr. Adams, dis- 
appointed hi not finding among them the Commission we 
had been made to expect, empowering us to make a Treaty 
of Commerce with England, wrote to me, that he imagin'd 
it might be contain'd in a Packet that was directed to me, and 
requested to be immediately informed ; adding, that, in case 
no such Commission was come, he should depart directly 
for Holland; so I suppose he is now there. Mr. Laurens 

1 Elected President of Congress, November 3, 1783. ED. 
VOL. IT K 



I 3 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

is gone to England, with an Intention of embarking soon for 
America. Mr. Jay is at Bath, but expected here daily. 
The English Ministers, the Duke of Manchester and Mr. 
Hartley, are both at present in Parliament. As soon as 
either of them return, we shall endeavour to obtain an 
additional Article to the Treaty, explaining that mentioned 
in the Instructions. 

The Affairs of Ireland are still unsettled. The Parliament 
and Volunteers are at variance ; the latter are uneasy, that, 
in the late Negociations for a Treaty of Commerce between 
England and America, the British Ministers had made no 
mention of Ireland, and they seem to desire a separate Treaty 
of Commerce between America and that kingdom. 

It was certainly disagreable to the English Ministers, that 
all their Treaties for Peace were carried on under the Eye of 
the French Court. This began to appear towards the Conclu- 
sion, when Mr. Hartley refus'd going to Versailles, to sign 
there with the other Powers our definitive Treaty, and in- 
sisted on its being done at Paris, which we in good humour 
comply'd with, but at an earlier Hour, that we might have 
time to acquaint le Comte de Vergennes before he was to 
sign with the Duke of Manchester. 

The Dutch Definitive was not then ready, and the British 
Court now insists on finishing it either at London or the Hague. 
If, therefore, the Commission to us, which has been so long 
delay'd, is still intended, perhaps it will be well to instruct us 
to treat either here or at London, as we may find most con- 
venient. 

The Treaty may be conducted, even there, in Concert 
and in the Confidence of Communication with the Ministers 
of our Friends, whose Advice may be of Use to us. 



1783] TO THOMAS MIFFLIN* 131 

With respect to the British Court, we should, I think, 
be constantly upon our Guard, and impress strongly upon our 
Minds, that, tho' it has made Peace with us, it is not in truth 
reconcil'd either to us, or to its loss of us, but still flatters itself 
with Hopes, that some Change in the Affairs of Europe, or 
some Disunion among ourselves, may afford them an Oppor- 
tunity of Recovering their Dominion, punishing those who 
have most offended, and securing our future Dependence. 
It is easy to see by the general Turn of the Ministerial News- 
papers (light things, indeed, as Straws and Feathers, but like 
them they show which way the Wind blows), and by the ma- 
lignant Improvement their Ministers make, in all the Foreign 
Courts, of every little Accident or Dissension among us, the 
Riot of a few Soldiers at Philadelphia, the Resolves of some 
Town Meetings, the Reluctance to pay Taxes, &c., all which 
are exaggerated, to represent our Government as so many 
Anarchies, of which the People themselves are weary, and the 
Congress as having lost its Influence, being no longer re- 
spected ; I say it is easy to see from this Conduct, that they 
bear us no good Will, and that they wish the Reality of what 
they are pleas'd to imagine. They have, too, a numerous 
Royal Progeny to provide for, some of whom are educated in 
the military Line. In these Circumstances we cannot be 
too careful to preserve the Friendships we have acquired 
abroad, and the Union we have established at home, to secure 
our Credit by a punctual Discharge of our Obligations of 
every kind, and our Reputation by the wisdom of our Coun- 
cils : Since we know not how soon we may have a fresh Occa- 
sion for Friends, for Credit, and for Reputation. 

The extravagant Misrepresentations of our Political State 
: : n foreign Countries, made it appear necessary to give them 



I 3 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

better Information, which I thought could not be more effec- 
tually and authentically done, than by publishing a Transla- 
tion into French, now the most general Language in Europe, 
of the Book of Constitutions, which had been printed by Order 
of Congress. This I accordingly got well done, and presented 
two Copies, handsomely bound, to every foreign Minister 
here, one for himself, the other more elegant for his Sover- 
eign. It has been well taken, and has afforded Matter of 
Surprise to many, who had conceived mean Ideas of the State 
of Civilization in America, and could not have expected so 
much political Knowledge and Sagacity had existed in our Wil- 
dernesses. And from all Parts I have the satisfaction to hear, 
that our Constitutions in general are much admired. I am 
persuaded, that this Step will not only tend to promote the 
Emigration to our Country of substantial People from all 
Parts of Europe, by the numerous Copies I shall disperse, 
but will facilitate our future Treaties with foreign Courts, 
who could not before know what kind of Government and 
People they had to treat with. As, in doing this, I have 
endeavoured to further the apparent Views of Congress in 
the first Publication, I hope it may be approved, and the 
Expence allowed. I send herewith one of the Copies. 

Our Treaties with Denmark and Portugal remain unfin- 
ish'd, for want of Instructions respecting them from Congress, 
and a Commission empowering some Minister or Ministers 
to conclude them. The Emperor of Morocco, we understand, 
has expressed a Disposition to make a Treaty of Amity and 
Commerce with the United States. A Mr. Montgomery, 
who is a Merchant settled at Alicant, has been, it seems, 
rather forward in proposing a Negociation, without Authority 
for so doing, and has embarrass'd us a little, as may be seen 



1783] TO THOMAS MIFFLIN 133 

by some Letters I enclose. 1 Perhaps it would be well for 
the Congress to send a Message to that Prince, expressing 
their Respect and Regard for him, till such time as they may 
judge it convenient to appoint an Ambassador in form, fur- 
nish'd with proper Presents, to make a Treaty with him. The 
other Barbary States, too, seem to require Consideration, if we 
propose to carry on any Trade in the Mediterranean ; but, 
whether the Security of that Trade is of sufficient importance 
to be worth purchasing at the Rate of the Tributes usually 
exacted by those piratical States, is a matter of doubt, on which 
I cannot at present form a Judgment. 

I shall immediately proceed, in pursuance of the first In- 
struction, to take the proper Steps for acquainting his Imperial 
Majesty of Germany with the Dispositions of Congress, hav- 
ing some reason to believe the Overture may be acceptable. 
His Minister here is of late extreamly civil to me, and we are 
on very good Terms. I have likewise an intimate Friend at 
that Court. 

With respect to other Powers, it seems best not to make 
Advances at present, but to meet and encourage them when 
made, which I shall not fail to do, as I have already done 
those of Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal. Possibly Ham- 
burgh, to whom I have forwarded the Letter of Congress, 
may send a Minister to America, if they wish for a Treaty, 
to conclude it there. They have no Minister here. 

I have lately receiv'd a Memorial from the Minister of Den- 
mark, respecting a Ship of that Nation, the Providentia, 
taken by one of our Privateers and carried into Boston. I en- 
close a Copy of it, and request to be furnished with Direc- 
tions and Informations for the answer. It may be well to 

1 The letters from G. F. Crocco. ED. 



I 3 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

send me a Copy of the Proceedings in the Courts. From a 
Perusal of the Papers communicated with it, I am satisfied 
that the Cargo was clearly British Property. 

We have hitherto enter'd into no Engagements respecting 
the arm'd Neutrality, and, in obedience to the fifth Instruction, 
we shall take care to avoid them hereafter. The Treaty 
between this Court and the United States, for regulating the 
Powers, Privileges, &c. of Consuls, is at length compleated, 
and is transcribing in order to be signed. I hope to transmit 
a Copy by the next Packet. I have received the Congress 
Ratification of the two Money Treaties, which will be soon 
exchanged, when I shall send Copies of them with that of 
Sweden. 

I have given, and shall continue to give, Capt. Paul Jones 
all the Assistance in my Power, towards Recovering the Prize 
Money; and I hope it may soon be accomplish'd. 

When Mr. Jay returns, I shall desire him to make the 
Enquiry directed in the fourth Instruction, respecting the 
Expedition under that Commodore, and report thereon to 
Congress. In the mean time I can answer respecting one of 
the Questions, that the King paid the whole Expence, and that 
no part of it has ever been plac'd to the Account of Congress. 
There exists indeed a Demand of one Puchelberg, 1 a Person 
in the Employ of M. Schweighauser, of about 30,000 Livres, 
for Provisions and other things furnish'd to Capt. Landais, 
after he took the Alliance out of the Hands of Capt. Jones: 
But, as the Ship was at that time under the King's Supply 
who, having borrow'd her for the Expedition when fitted for 
Sea and just ready to sail with Mr. Adams, had ordered her 
to be deliver'd in the same Condition, free of all Charges ac- 
cru'd, or accruing, by her being in Holland and in L'Orient, 

1 See supra, Vol. VIII, p. 132. ED. 



1783] TO ROBERT MORRIS 135 

and as M. Puchelberg had not only no Orders from me to 
furnish Capt. Landais, but acted contrary to my Orders 
given to M. Schweighauser, and contrary to the Orders of 
M. Schweighauser himself, I refused to pay his Account, 
which besides appeared extravagant, and it has never yet 
been paid. 

I shall do my best in executing the third Instruction, re- 
specting our Claim upon Denmark. I have written to London 
to obtain, if possible, an Ace 1 of the Sums insured upon the 
Ships delivered up, as such an Ace* may be some Guide in 
the Valuation of the Prizes. 

A Captain Williams, formerly in the British Service, and 
employed upon the Lakes, has given me a Paper containing 
Information of the State of the back Country. As those 
Informations may possibly be of some use, I send herewith the 
Paper. Mr. Carmichael has sent me the Accounts of the 
Money Transactions at Madrid. As soon as Mr. Jay re- 
turns, they will be examined. 

Be pleased to present my dutiful Respects to Congress, and 
assure them of my most faithful Services. With great Esteem 
and Regard, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 1 



1461. TO ROBERT MORRIS (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 25, 1783. 

SIR, 

I have received your Favour of the 30 th of September, for 
which I thank you. My Apprehension, that the Union be- 

1 The " Set of Instructions," alluded to in this letter, may be found in the 
" Diplomatic Correspondence " (Sparks), Vol. X, p. 222. The resolutions re- 
specting Hamburg and Paul Jones are contained in the " Secret Journal of 
Congress," Vol. Ill, pp. 416, 430. S. 



136 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

tween France and our States might be diminished by Accounts 
from hence, was occasioned by the extravagant and violent 
Language held here by a Public Person, in public Company, 
which had that Tendency ; and it was natural for me to think 
his Letters might hold the same Language, in which I was right ; 
for I have since had Letters from Boston informing me of it. 
Luckily here, and I hope there, it is imputed to the true Cause, 
a Disorder in the Brain, which, tho' not constant, has its Fits 
too frequent. I will not fill my Letter with an Account of 
those Discourses. Mr. Laurens, when you see him, can give 
it to you ; I mean such as he heard in Company with other 
Persons, for I would not have him relate private Conversa- 
tions. They distress'd me much at the time, being then at 
your earnest Instances soliciting for more aids of Money; 
the Success of which Solicitation such ungrateful and provok- 
ing Language might, I feared, have had a Tendency to prevent. 
Enough of this at present. 

I have been exceedingly hurt and afflicted by the Difficulty 
some of your late Bills met with in Holland. As soon as I 
receiv'd the Letter from Messrs. Willinck & Co., which I 
inclose, I sent for Mr. Grand, who brought me a Sketch of his 
Account with you, by which it appeared that the Demands 
upon us, existing and expected, would more than absorb 
the Funds in his Hands. We could not indulge the smallest 
Hope of obtaining further Assistance here, the Public Finances 
being in a state of Embarrassment, private Persons full of 
Distrust occasioned by the late Stoppage of Payment at the 
Caisse d'Escompte, and money in general extreamly scarce. 
But he agreed to do what I propos'd, lend his Credit in the 
Way of Drawing and Redrawing between Holland and Paris, 
to gain Time till you could furnish Funds to reimburse Messrs. 



1783] TO ROBERT MORRIS 137 

Willenck & Co. I believe he made this Proposition to them 
by the Return of the Express. I know not why it was not 
accepted. Mr. Grand, I suppose, will himself give you an 
Account of all the Transaction, and of his Application to 
Messrs. Couteulx & Co. ; therefore, I need not add more upon 
this disagreable Subject. 

I have found Difficulties in settling the Account of Salaries 
with the other Ministers, that have made it impracticable 
for me to do it. I have, therefore, after keeping the Bills 
that were to have been proportioned among us long in my 
hands, given them up to Mr. Grand, who, finding the same 
Difficulties, will, I suppose, return them to you. None has 
come to hand for the two or three last Quarters, and we are 
indebted to his Kindness for advancing us Money, or we must 
have run in Debt for our Subsistence. He risques in doing 
this, since he has not for it your Orders. 

There arise frequently contingent Expences, for which no 
provision has yet been made. In a former letter to the Sec- 
retary for Foreign Affairs, I gave a List of them, and desired 
to know the Pleasure of Congress concerning them. I have 
only had for Answer, that they were under Consideration, 
and that he believed House-Rent would not be allowed; 
but I am still in Uncertainty as to that and the Rest. I wish 
some resolutions were taken on this Point of Contingencies, 
that I may know how to settle my Accounts with Mr. Barclay. 
American Ministers in Europe are too remote from their Con- 
stituents to consult them, and take their Orders on every 
Occasion, as the Ministers here of European Courts can easily 
do. There seems, therefore, a Necessity of allowing more to 
their Discretion, and of giving them a Credit to a certain 
Amount on some Banker, who may answer their Orders; 



138 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

for which, however, they should be accountable. I mention 
this for the sake of other Ministers, hoping and expecting 
soon to be discharg'd myself, and also for the Good of the 
Service. 

The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly 
blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. 
I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance 
against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the 
People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the In- 
terest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem 
to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, 
is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the 
People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay 
by some Law. 

All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, 
his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, abso- 
lutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the 
Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the 
Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of 
Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of 
it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Con- 
servation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, 
is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of : 
But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property 
of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who 
may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Wel- 
fare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that 
does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and 
live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits 
of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support 
of it. 



1783] TO ROBERT MORRIS 139 

The Marquis de la F., 1 who loves to be em ploy 'd in our 
Affairs, and is often very useful, has lately had several Con- 
versations with the Ministers and Persons concern'd in form- 
ing new Regulations, respecting the Commerce between our 
two Countries, which are not yet concluded. I therefore 
thought it well to communicate to him a Copy of your Letter, 
which contains so many sensible and just Observations on that 
Subject. He will make a proper Use of them, and perhaps 
they may have more Weight, as appearing to come from a 
Frenchman, than they would have if it were known that 
they were the Observations of an American. I perfectly 
agree with you in all the Sentiments you have express'd on 
this Occasion. 

You have made no Answer to the Proposition I sent of 
furnishing Tobacco to the Farmers General. They have 
since made a Contract with Mess" Alexander & Williams 
for the same Purpose but it is such a one as does not prevent 
their making another with you if hereafter it should suit you. 

I am sorry for the Publick's sake, that you are about to 
quit your Office, but on personal Considerations I shall con- 
gratulate you ; for I cannot conceive of a more happy Man, 
than he, who having been long loaded with public Cares, 
finds himself reliev'd from them, and enjoying private repose 
in the Bosom of his Friends and Family. 

The Government here has set on foot a new Loan of an 
Hundred Millions. I enclose the Plan. 

It is thought very advantageous for the Lenders. You may 
judge by that how much the Money is wanted, and how sea- 
sonable the Peace was for all concerned. 

If Mr. Alexander, who is gone to Virginia, should happen 

1 Lafayette. ED. 



140 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

to come to Philadelphia, I beg leave to recommend him to 
your Civilities as an old Friend of mine whom I very much 
esteem. 

With sincere Regard & Attachment, I am ever, Dear Sir, 

Your most etc. 
[B.F.] 

1462. TO EBENEZER HAZARD 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 26, 1783 

SIR, 

I am desired by the General Post Office of Great Britain 
to recommend to your Consideration a Sketch of an Adver- 
tisement respecting the Packet Boats, which they think it 
may be useful to publish. You will do in it what you think 
proper. Perhaps you have already done what is necessary. 
As I was formerly long connected with that Office and have 
Friends in it, if I can be of Use in forwarding any Arrange- 
ments you have to propose for the Benefit of yours, you may 

command freely, Sir, 

Your most obedient Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1463. TO THOMAS MIFFLIN (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 26, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, 

I congratulate you very sincerely on your Appointment 
to that very honourable Station, the Presidency of Congress. 
Every Testimony you receive of the public Sense of your 
Services and Talents, gives me Pleasure. 

1 From the original in the possession of Samuel Hazard, Esq., of German- 
town, a great-grandson of Ebenezer Hazard. ED. 



1783] TO THOMAS MIFFLIN -141 

I have written to you a long Letter on Business, in my 
quality of Minister. This is a private Letter, respecting my 
personal Concerns, which I presume to trouble you with on 
the Score of our ancient Friendship. 

In a Letter of the i2th of March, 1781, I stated my Age 
and Infirmities to the Congress, and requested they would 
be pleased to recall me, that I might enjoy the little left me 
of the Evening of Life in Repose, and in the sweet Society 
of my Friends and Family. I was answered by the then 
President, that, when Peace should be made, if I persisted 
in the same Request, it should be granted; I acquiesc'd; 
the Preliminaries were signed in November, 1782, and I then 
repeated my Petition. 1 A year is past, and I have no Answer. 
Undoubtedly, if the Congress should think my continuing 
here necessary for the public Service, I ought, as a good 
Citizen, to submit to their Judgment and Pleasure; but, as 
they may easily supply my Place to advantage, that cannot 
be the Case. I suppose, therefore, that it is merely the multi- 
plicity of more important Affairs, that has put my Request 
out of their Mind. What I would then desire of you is, to 
put this Matter in Train to be moved and answer'd as soon as 
possible, that I may arrange my Affairs accordingly. 

In the first Letter above mentioned, to which I beg leave 
to refer you, I gave a Character of my Grandson, William 
Temple Franklin, and solicited for him the Favour and Pro- 
tection of Congress. I have nothing to abate of that Char- 
acter; on the contrary, I think him so much improved as to 
be capable of executing, with Credit to himself and Advan- 
tage to the Public, any Employment in Europe the Congress 
may think fit to honour him with. He has been seven Years 

1 See letter to Robert R. Livingston, dated December 5th, 1782. ED. 



I 4 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

in the Service, and is much esteem'd by all that know him, 
particularly by the Minister here, who, since my new Dis- 
order (the Stone) makes my going to Versailles inconvenient 
to me, transacts our Business with him in the most obliging 
and friendly manner. It is natural for me, who love him, to 
wish to see him settled before I die, in some Employ that may 
probably be permanent ; and I hope you will be so good to me, 
as to get that Affair likewise moved and carried thro' in his 
Favour. 

He has, I think, this additional Merit to plead, that he has 
serv'd in my Office as Secretary several Years, for the small 
Salary of 300 Louis a Year, while the Congress gave 1000 a 
Year to the Secretaries of other Ministers, who had not half 
the Employ for a Secretary that I had. For it was long before 
a Consul was sent here, and we had all that Business on our 
hands, with a great deal of Admiralty Business in examining 
and condemning Captures, taken by our Cruisers and by the 
French Cruisers under American Commission; besides the 
constant Attendance in examining and recording the Accept- 
ances of the Congress Bills of Exchange, which has been, 
f rom*the immense Number, very fatiguing ; with many other 
extra Affairs, not usually occurring to other Ministers, such 
as the Care of the Prisoners in England, and the constant 
Correspondence relating to them; in all of which he serv'd 
me as Secretary, with the Assistance only of a Clerk at low 
Wages (50 Louis a Year), so that the Saving has been very 
considerable to the Public. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1783] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 143 

1464. TO THOMAS MIFFLIN (D. s. w.) 

Passy, December 26, 1783. 
SIR, 

If the Congress should think it fit to have a Consul for the 
United States in London, and do not appoint one of our own 
countrymen to that office, I beg leave to mention the Merits 
of Mr. William Hodgson, 1 a Merchant of that City, who has 
always been a zealous friend of America, was a principal 
promoter of the Subscription for the relief of American 
Prisoners, and Chairman of the Committee for dispensing 
the Money raised by that Subscription. He also took the 
Trouble of applying the Moneys I furnished him with when 
the Subscription was exhausted, and constantly assisted me 
in all the negociations I had with the British Ministers, in 
their favour, wherein he generally succeeded, being a man of 
weight and credit, very active, and much esteemed for his 
probity and Integrity. These his Services, continued steadily 
during the whole War, seem to entitle him to the favourable 
notice of Congress, when any occasion offers of doing him 
Service or pleasure. With great respect, I have the honour 

to * &c ' B. FRANKLIN. 



1465. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 2 (p. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 26, 1783. 

DEAR POLLY, 

In reading Mr. Viny's Letter, when I receiv'd it, I miss'd 
seeing yours, which was written behind it in a Corner. I 

1 See letter to William Hodgson, December 10, 1783. ED. 

2 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



144 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

thank you much for your kind Offer respecting my Grandson. 
I was fully resolv'd on sending him in September last, and 
engag'd Mr. Jay, one of my Colleagues, then going to Eng- 
land, to take him over in his Company. But, when it came 
to be propos'd to him, he show'd such an Unwillingness to 
leave me, and Temple such a Fondness for retaining him, 
that I concluded to keep him till I should go over myself. 
He behaves very well, and we love him very much. 

I send herewith two different French Grammars, not 
knowing which to prefer, Opinions here being divided. 
Your French Master may take his Choice, and you will pre- 
sent the other to my Godson, as my New Year's Gift, with 
the two Volumes of Synonymes Francises, an excellent Work. 
They will be left at Mr. Hodgson's, Merchant in Coleman 
Street, where you may have them on sending for them. 

Adieu, my dear Friend. I long to see you and yours, but 
God only knows when that may happen. I am, neverthe- 
less, yours most affectionately, B FRANKLIN 

January ist, 1784. Health, and prosperity, and many 
happy years to my dear friend and her children, for whom 
I send the enclosed little books. 



1466. TO SAMUEL COOPER (L. c.) 

Passy, Dec. 26, 1783. 

DEAR SIR: I have received your Favour of the i6th 
October, and am much obliged by the Intelligence it contains. 1 

1 This letter is in A. P. S. The intelligence it contained was " that the 
House of Representatives for this State [Massachusetts] have this moment 



1783] TO SAMUEL COOPER 145 

I am happy to hear that your Government has agreed to 
furnish Congress with the Means of discharging the national 
Debt. The Obstruction that Measure met with in some of 
the States has had many mischievous Effects on this side the 
Water; it discouraged the Loan going on in Holland, and 
thereby occasioned a Protest of some of Mr. Morris' Bills. 
Nothing can recover our Credit in Europe and our Reputa- 
tion in its Courts, but an immediate proof of our Honesty 
and Prudence by a general Provision in all the States for the 
punctual Payment of the Interest and the final regular Dis- 
charge of the Principal. I hope we will never deserve, nor 
any longer appear likely to deserve, the Reproof given to an 
Enthusiastical Knave in Pennsylvania, who being called upon 
for an old Debt, said to his Creditors: Thou must have a 
little more patience; I am not yet able to pay thee. Give 
me then your bond, says the Creditor, and pay me Interest. 
No, I cannot do that; I cannot in conscience either receive 
or pay Interest, it is against my Principle. You have then 
the Conscience of a Rogue, says the Creditor: You tell me 
it is against your Principle to pay Interest; and it being 
against your Interest to pay the Principal, I perceive you do 
not intend to pay me either one or t'other. 

My young Friend, your Grandson, must have had a long 
Passage, since he was not arrived when you wrote. Indeed 
all the Vessels that left Europe for America about the time 
he did have had long Passages which makes me less uneasy 
on his account. I hope he is in your Arms long before this 
time. His father never made any Provision here for his 

passed an Act for a Duty of 5 per cent on all goods imported for paying the 
Interest of our National Debt, according to the Requisition of Congress." 
ED. 

VOL. IX L 



I 4 6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1783 

Return that I have heard of, and therefore I have drawn on 
you for the Ballance of the Account as you directed. 

I wrote you a too long letter some time since, respecting 
Mr. A.'s Calumnies, 1 of which perhaps it was not necessary 
to take so much notice. 

The Government of England is again disordered. The 
Lords have rejected the ministry's favorite Bill for demolish- 
ing the Power of the India Company. The Commons have 
resented it by some angry Resolutions, and it is just now 
reported here that the Ministers are dismissed and the Parlia- 
ment dissolved. Of this we have not yet certain advice, 
but expect it hourly. 

There are hopes that the War against the Turks will blow 
over; the rather, as all Flames are apt to spread, and the late 
belligerent powers have all need of a continued Peace ; This 
however, is not certain, and it behoves us to preserve with 
Care our Friends and our Credit abroad, and our Union at 
home, as we know not how soon we may have occasion for 
all of them. 

With great and sincere Esteem, I am ever, my dear Friend, 
yours, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1467. TO ELIAS BOUDINOT 2 (P.O.) 

Passy, Dec. 26, 1783. 

SIR, 

Your two Letters to the Commissioners, dated at Prince- 
ton the 27th of October and ist of November, and one to me 
of the first of November came duly to Hand; Mr. Adams 

1 Mr. John Adams. ED. 

2 From the original in the possession of Mr. George C. Thomas. ED. 



1783] M1CHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN DE CREVECCEUR 147 

saw the public Letters in England, Capt. Jones having landed 
with them at Plymouth. We thank you much for the In- 
telligence they contain. I am now alone here, Mr. Jay being 
at Bath, with Mr. Laurens, and Mr. Adams either in England 
or Holland : But I have written fully to the new President 
respecting the Instructions etc. communicated with your 
Letters. And now, Sir, give me leave to congratulate you 
on the fortunate Events that have distinguished your Presi- 
dency, and on your honourable Retreat from it into private 
Life. The first well-improv'd may make us all happy, and 
the last must make you so ; for I can hardly conceive a hap- 
pier Being than the Man, who, having been long laden with 
public Cares and fatigu'd by every-body's Business, is al- 
low'd to retire into the Bosom of his Family, and enjoy 
Otium cum dignitate. 

With great and sincere Respect, I have the honour to be, 
Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1468. TO MICHEL-GUILLAUME-JEAN DE 

CREVEOEUR 1 (L. c.) 

SIR : I have perused the foregoing Memoir, and having 
formerly had some Share in the Management of the Pacquet 
Boats between England and America, I am enabled to fur- 
nish you with some small Remarks. 

The Project is good, and if carried into Execution will cer- 
tainly be very useful to Merchants immediately, and profit- 

1 This letter is without date, but it must have been written either late in 
December, 1783, or early in January, 1784. ED. 



I 4 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN- FRANKLIN [1783 

able to the Revenue of the Post- Office at least after some 
time; because not only Commerce increases Correspond- 
ence, but Facility of Correspondence increases Commerce, 
and they go on mutually augmenting each other. 

Four Packet Boats were at first thought sufficient between 
Falmouth and New York, so as [to] dispatch one regularly the 
first Wednesday in every Month. But by Experience it was 
found that a fifth was necessary ; as without it, the Regularity 
was sometimes broken by Accidents of Wind and Weather, 
and the Merchants disappointed and their Affairs deranged, 
a Matter of great Consequence in Commerce. A fifth Packet 
was accordingly added. 

It is probable, as you observe, that the English will keep 
up their Packets. In which Case I should think it advise- 
able to order the Dispatch of the French Packets in the inter- 
mediate times, that is on the third Wednesdays. This 
would give the Merchants of Europe and America Oppor- 
tunities of Writing every Fortnight. And the English who 
had miss'd Writing by their own Packet of the first Wednes- 
day, or have new Matter to write which they wish to send 
before the next Month, will forward their Letters by the 
Post to France to go by the French Packet, and vice 
versa, which will encrease the Inland Postage of both 
Nations. 

As these Vessels are not to be laden with Goods, their 
Holds may, without Inconvenience, be divided into separate 
Apartments after the Chinese Manner, and each of those 
Apartments caulked tight so as to keep out Water. In which 
case if a Leak should happen in one Apartment, that only 
would be affected by it, and the others would be free; so 
that the Ship would not be so subject as others, to founder 



1783] ON IMMIGRATION 149 

and sink at Sea. 1 This being known would be a great En- 
couragement to Passengers. 

I send you a Copy of a Chart of the Gulf Stream, which 
is little known by European Navigators, and yet of great 
Consequence ; since in going to America they often get into 
that Stream and unknowingly stem it, whereby the Ship is 
much retarded and the Voyage lengthened enormously. 

The directions being imperfectly translated and expressed 
in French, I have put them more correctly in English. I 
have the honour to be, etc., 



1469. ON IMMIGRATION (L. c.) 

TO AN UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT 

Your Queries concerning the Value of Land hi different 
Circumstances & Situations, Modes of Settlement, &c. &c. 
are quite out of my Power to answer; having while I lived 
in America been always an Inhabitant of Capital Cities, and 
not in the way of learning any thing correctly of Country 
Affairs. There is a Book lately published in London, 
written by Mr. Hector St. John, its Title, Letters from an 
American Farmer, 2 which contains a good deal of Informa- 
tion on those Subjects; and as I know the Author to be an 
observing intelligent Man, I suppose the Information to be 

1 See " Maritime Observations," letter to David Le Roy. ED. 

2 " Letters from an American Farmer, describing certain provincial situa- 
tions, manners and customs not generally known ; . . . written for the infor- 
mation of a friend in England, by J-Hector Saint John, a farmer in Pennsyl- 
vania." London, Thomas Davies, 1 782. ED. 



ISO THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

good as far as it goes, and I recommend the Book to your 
perusal. 

There is no doubt but great Tracts may be purchased on 
the Frontiers of Virginia, & the Carolinas, at moderate Rates. 
In Virginia it used to be at 5^ Sterling the 100 Acres. I know 
not the present Price, but do not see why it should be higher. 

Emigrants arriving pay no Fine or Premium for being ad- 
mitted to all the Privileges of Citizens. Those are acquired 
by two Years Residence. 

No Rewards are given to encourage new Settlers to come 
among us, whatever degree of Property they may bring with 
them, nor any Exemptions from common Duties. Our Coun- 
try offers to Strangers nothing but a good Climate, fertile 
Soil, wholesome Air, Free Governments, wise Laws, Liberty, 
a good People to live among, and a hearty Welcome. Those 
Europeans who have these or greater Advantages at home, 
would do well to stay where they are. 



1470. TO JOHN JAY 1 (L.C.) 



DEAR SIR, Pass * Jan ' 6 > 

I received your kind letter of the 26th past, 2 and imme- 
diately sent that inclosed to Mrs. Jay, whom I saw a few days 
since with the children, all perfectly well. It is a happy 
thing that the little ones are so finely past the small-pox, 
and I congratulate you upon it most cordially. 

It is true, as you have heard, that I have the stone, but not 
that I have had thoughts of being cut for it. It is as yet 
very tolerable. It gives me no pain but when in a Carriage 

1 Only an incomplete transcript exists in L. C. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 



1784] TO JOHN JAY 151 

on the Pavement, or when I make some sudden quick move- 
ment. If I can prevent its growing larger, which I hope to do 
by abstemious living and gentle exercise, I can go on pretty 
comfortably with it to the end of my Journey, which can now 
be at no great distance. I am chearful, enjoy the company 
of my Friends, sleep well, have sufficient appetite, and my 
Stomach performs well its Functions. The latter is very 
material to the preservation of Health. I therefore take 
no Drugs, lest I should disorder it. You may judge that 
my Disease is not very grievous, since I am more afraid of 
the Medicines than of the Malady. 

It gives me pleasure to learn from you, that my Friends 
still retain their Regard for me. I long to see them again, 
but I doubt I shall hardly accomplish it. If our Commis- 
sion for the Treaty of Commerce were arrived, and we were 
at liberty to treat in England, I might then come over to you, 
supposing the English Ministry disposed to enter into such 
a Treaty. 

I have, as you observe, some enemies in England, but 
they are my enemies as an American] I have also two or 
three in America, who are my Enemies as a Minister; but 
I thank God there are not in the whole world any who are 
my Enemies as a Man; for by his grace, thro' a long life, 
I have been enabled so to conduct myself, that there does 
not exist a human Being who can justly say, " Ben. Franklin 
has wrong'd me." This, my friend, is in old age a comfort- 
able Reflection, ifou too have, or may have, your Enemies ; 
but let not that render you unhappy. If you make a right 
use of them, they will do you more good than harm. They 
point out to us our Faults ; they put us upon our guard, and 
help us to live more correctly. 



I 5 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

My Grandsons are sensible of the honor of your Re- 
membrance, and join their respectful Compliments and 
best wishes with those of, dear Sir, your affectionate humble 

servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1471. TO SAMUEL CHASE 1 (A. P. s.) 

Passy, Jan. 6, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I duly receiv'd your Letter of the i8th of September, 2 with 
the Papers that accompanied it : but being at that time afflicted 
with two painful Disorders, the Gout and Gravel, I could not 
then give any Attention to Business; and, before my Re- 
covery, the Letters and Papers were both most unaccountably 
missing. I spent Hours, from time to time, in searching for 
them, and delay'd writing in continual Hopes of finding them, 
which I was not able to do till within these few Days, when 
on removing a writing-press in my Closet, I discover'd that 
they had fallen and lay conceaPd behind it. 

I had deliver'd the Letter you enclos'd to the Marquis de 
la Fayette, and, as the Court was then at Fontainebleau, 
and I could not follow it by reason of my Illness, I requested 
him to sound M* le Marquis de Castries on the subject of the 
Loss of your Ship. 3 He did so ; and the Result of the Con- 
versation was, that, if you thought fit to prosecute the Matter, 

1 Samuel Chase (1741-1811), signer of the Declaration of Independence, 
was the companion of Franklin and Charles Carrol in their mission to Canada. 
ED. 

2 A long letter, written from London, and now in A. P. S. ED. 

8 The Matilda, a ship owned by Dorsey, Wheeler & Co., of Baltimore, of 
which company Chase was a member. The ship was captured by a British 
frigate, The Perseverance. ED. 



1784] TO SAMUEL CHASE 153 

you should present a Memorial, upon which he might regu- 
larly take the Affair into Consideration. You mentioned 
your coming to Paris before finishing your other Business, 
in case I should think there was a Probability of obtaining 
Compensation, either from the Property of the Captain, or 
the Generosity of the Prince. I have not yet been able to 
learn any thing of the Captain's Circumstances ; and as clear 
Proof of his Delinquency must precede an Application to the 
King, and perhaps the Protest of Captain Belt will hardly 
be thought sufficient Testimony, and other Evidences corrob- 
orating cannot be obtained but with great Expense & Loss 
of Time, and the Chicanery practis'd in the Courts here to 
procure Delay is immense and endless; on these Considera- 
tions I cannot advise your coming hither for the Purpose of 
such a Prosecution to the Prejudice of your other Affairs; 
tho' I shall be happy to see you, when it may be convenient 
to you, and, when you are here, we will take the Advice of 
some judicious Persons, and if it appears possible for me to 
serve your Cause, I shall do it with great Pleasure. 

M. de Rochambeau was not in Town, but I forwarded 
Mr. Carrol's letter to him. I have written, as you desired, 
to Brest, and as soon as I receive an Answer, I will com- 
municate it to you. I am not enough acquainted with the 
French Laws or Customs to inform you what Claims the 
Widow of M. le Vache l may have on his Property. I only 
think I have heard, that Marriages by a Protestant Minister 
are not deemed valid. I will make inquiry. 

Since writing the above, I am inform 'd that, if celebrated 

1 M. Jean Lcvache de Vanburn, volunteer in the Artillery of Maryland, and 
captain in the army, married Ann Howard of Annapolis. He was believed 
to have perished at sea. ED. 



I 5 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

in a Protestant Country according to the Laws of that Coun- 
try, they are deem'd valid here ; as are also the Marriages of 
Protestants here, if in the Chapel of a Protestant Ambassador. 
I shall be glad to hear, that you have succeeded in Re- 
covering the Publick Money, and that you continue to enjoy 
your Health, being, with sincere and great Esteem, dear Sir, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1472. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 7, 1784. 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I have this moment rec d your favour of the 25th past, 
acquainting me with the change in administration. I am 
[not] sure that in reforming the constitution, which is some- 
times talked of, it w d not be better to make your great officers 
of state hereditary, than to suffer the inconvenience of such 
frequent and total changes. Much Faction and Cabal w d 
be prevented by having a hereditary First L d of the Treasury, 
a hereditary L d Chancellor, Privy Seal, President of the 
Council, Secretary of State, First L d of the Admiralty, &c. 
&c. It will not be said that the duties of these officers being 
important, we cannot trust to nature for the chance of requisite 
talents, since we have a hereditary set of judges in the last 
resort, the House of Peers; an hereditary King; and in a 
certain German University an hereditary professor of Mathe- 
matics. 

We have not yet heard of the arrival of our Express in 
America, who carried the Definitive Treaty. He sailed the 

1 From a copy in Hartley's handwriting, in the collection of Mrs. L. Z. 
Leiter. ED. 



1784] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 155 

26th of September. As soon as the ratification arrives, I 
shall immediately send you word of it. With great esteem 
I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1473. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 16, 1784. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I have this day received your Favor of the 2d Inst. Every 
Information in my power, respecting the Balloons, I sent you 
just before Christmas, contained in Copies of my letters to Sir 
Joseph Banks. There is no Secret in the Affair, and I make 
no doubt that a Person coming from you would easily obtain 
a sight of the different Balloons of Montgolfier and Charles, 
with all the Instructions wanted; and, if you undertake to 
make one, I think it extremely proper and necessary to send 
an ingenious man here for that purpose : otherwise, for want 
of attention to some particular circumstance, or of not being 
acquainted with it, the Experiment might miscarry, which, 
in an affair of so much public Expectation, would have bad 
consequences, draw upon you a great deal of Censure, and 
affect your Reputation. It is a serious thing to draw out 
from their Affairs all the Inhabitants of a great City and its 
Environs, and a Disappointment makes them angry. At 
Bordeaux lately a person who pretended to send up a balloon, 
and had received Money from many People, not being able 
to make it rise, the populace were so exasperated that they 
pulled down his house, and had like to have killed him. 

It appears, as you observe, to be a discovery of great Im- 
portance, and what may possibly give a new turn to human 



I S 6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

Affairs. Convincing Sovereigns of the Folly of wars may 
perhaps be one Effect of it; since it will be impracticable for 
the most potent of them to guard his Dominions. Five 
thousand Balloons, capable of raising two Men each, could not 
cost more than Five Ships of the Line; and where is the 
Prince who can afford so to cover his Country with Troops 
for its Defence, as that Ten Thousand Men descending from 
the Clouds might not in many places do an infinite deal of 
mischief, before a Force could be brought together to repel 
them? It is a pity that any national Jealousy should, as you 
imagine it may, have prevented the English from prosecuting 
the Experiment, since they are such ingenious Mechanicians, 
that in their hands it might have made a more rapid progress 
towards Perfection, and all the Utility it is capable of afford- 
ing. 

The Balloon of Messrs. Charles and Robert was really 
filled with inflamable air. The Quantity being great, it was 
expensive, and tedious filling, requiring two or three days and 
nights constant Labour. It had a soupape, [or valve,] near 
the top, which they could open by pulling a string and 
thereby let out some air when they had a mind to descend; 
and they discharged some of their Ballast of Sand when they 
would rise again. A great deal of Air must have been let out 
when they landed, so that the loose part might envelope one 
of them : yet, the car being lightned by that one getting out of 
it, there was enough left to carry up the other rapidly. They 
had na Fire with them. That is only used in M. Montgolfier's 
globe, which is open at Bottom, and straw constantly burnt 
to keep it up. This kind is sooner and cheaper filled ; but 
must be much bigger to carry up the same weight ; since Air 
rarified by Heat is only twice as light as common Air, and 



1784] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 157 

inflamable Air is ten times lighter. M. de Morveau, a 
famous Chemist at Dijon, has found an inflamable Air that 
will cost only a 25th part of the Price of what is made by 
oil of Vitriol poured on Iron Filings. They say it is made 
from Sea Coal. Its comparative Weight is not mentioned. 
Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1474. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 17, 1784. 

SIR ; I received the Letter your Excellency did me the 
honour of writing to me the i$th Instant, inclosing one 
from a certain Schaffer, who calls himself Lieutenant- Colonel 
of the Continental Militia, requesting that you would cause 
to be returned to him a Bill of Exchange for 60 Dollars that 
has my Name on it, and which with his other Papers, has been 
seiz'd and deposited in the "Greffe criminel du chatelet," 
and complaining that neither the consul nor myself afford 
him any Protection; and you are pleased to desire my Sen- 
timents on the Affair. 

This same Schaffer has been in Paris now about three 
Years, but this is the first time I have heard any mention of 
his military Character; he brought a little Money with him, 
as I understood, to purchase Goods, but he soon fell into the 
hands of a Set of Sharpers, and being a young Man of very 
little Understanding, having neither Good Sense enough to 
be an honest Man nor Wit enough for a Rogue, though with a 
strong Inclination, they first cheated him (as he complained 



158 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

to me) and then join'd with him to cheat others. For this 
purpose they got his Name inserted in the Almanack Royal 
of 1782 and 1783 among the Bankers, and the Title of John 
Schaffer & Compagnie, Commissionaires des Etats-Unis de 
I'Amerique, Rue des Fosses, St. Marcel, to which Title they 
had not the smallest Pretence ; but it served to give them some 
Credit with the honest but ignorant Shop-keepers of Paris, with 
whose Complaints of our Commissionaires not Paying I have 
been greatly troubled. It is by thus running hi Debt, and by 
borrowing where he could, that he has for some time subsisted ; 
and I understand that for some of these Escroqueries he is now 
in Prison. When he was there the first time, about two Years 
ago, not having then so bad an Opinion of him, I interested 
myself in his Favour, endeavored to accommodate his Affairs, 
and lent him some Money in his Distress, which he never 
repaid, and yet on various Pretences of Sickness and Misery 
has obtained more from me lately, but I am now quite tired 
of him as is also Mr. Barclay, and if I have refused to make 
use of any Interest I may be supposed to have to screen him 
from Punishment, it is because I think it prostituting the 
interest of a minister to employ it in protection of knaves ; 
and I am really ashamed to appear in his favour, and afraid 
that my doing it would tend to lessen the weight of any Ap- 
plication I might hereafter have occasion to make in behalf 
of an honester Man. The Bill he mentions is I suppose one 
of the Loan-Office Interest Bills sent to him by his Brother 
thro' the hands of Mr. Barclay, which I accepted, and it will 
be paid when presented to Mr. Grand. I make no Objection 
to its being deliver'd up to him, though the Creditors, perhaps, 
who prosecute him may, for whose Use probably his Effects 
have been seized. 



1784] TO MRS. GEORGIAN A HARE-BAYLOR 159 

The Account he gives of his Riches, is I believe, altogether 
as fictitious as his Character [of] Lieut. -Colonel and Commis- 
sionaire des Etats-U[nis] but that his father and Brother-in- 
law are resp[ectable] persons in Pennsylvania is true. Mr. 
Barclay [has] some Knowledge of them : for their sakes if 
[the] Punishment of the carcan, which I [hear is] intended 
for him, could be commuted for [a] less fletrissant, a longer 
Banishment, or [such] like, I should be glad, and if your 
Excellency can obtain this for him without too much Trouble 
I shall, in their Behalf, acknowledge it as a Favour. 

With great Respect, I am, sir, your Excellency's most 

obedient and most humble Servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I return the Letter endors'd. I take it to be 
written by one Beaumont, his advocate. 



1475. TO MR S- GEORGIANA HARE-NAYLOR 1 

(L. C.) 

Passy, Jan. 25, 1784. 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Your Letter of the i2th Inst. came duly to hand. I con- 
gratulate you & M* Hare on your Marriage, & wish you 
every Felicity. 

I will answer your Enquiries as well as I can. The Cul- 
tivators of Land are a respectable Part of our People in 
Pensilvania, being generally Proprietors of the Land they 
cultivate, out of whom are chosen the Majority of our Magis- 

1 Georgiana Shipley, daughter of the Bishop of St. Asaph, married in 1 783 
Francis Hare-Naylor (1753-1815) of Hurstmonceaux, Sussex, author of plays, 
novels, and " History of the Helvetic Republics." ED. 



160 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

trates, Legislators, &c. And a Year's Residence gives a 
Stranger all the Rights of a Citizen. I am not much ac- 
quainted with Country Affairs, having been always an In- 
habitant of Cities; but I imagine a good Plantation ready 
form'd, with a Dwelling House, &c. may be bought for half 
the Sum you mention to be now in your Possession, and that 
the other half would amply furnish the Stock &c. necessary 
for working the Land to Advantage. A Farm of two or three 
Hundred Acres, in the hands of a Man who understands Ag- 
riculture and will attend to it, is capable of furnishing Sub- 
sistence to a Family. If this may be the Case with M r Hare, 
you see that your 300^ a Year l will be an accumulating Fund, 
providing for the Establishment of Children, and for a Retire- 
ment of Ease & Comfort in Old Age. The Law is also an 
honourable Profession with us, and more profitable than 
Agriculture ; and if M r Hare is already acquainted with the 
English Common Law, which is the Basis of ours, he might 
be admitted to practice immediately, and would find but little 
Difficulty in acquiring a Knowledge of our few Additions to, 
or Variations of that Law ; I have known in my time several 
considerable Estates made by that Profession. But the Study 
is dry and laborious and long, that is requisite to arrive at 
Eminence; and if M r Hare has not already gone thro' it, 
he will consider whether he has the Habits of Application, 
Industry & Perseverance that are necessary. Not knowing 
his Character & Disposition it is impossible for me to advise 
well, or to judge whether sitting down quietly in some cheap 
part of Europe, and living prudently on two-thirds of your 
Income, may not be preferable to any Scheme in America. 

1 An annuity settled upon the Hare-Naylors by the Duchess of Devonshire 
after the Bishop of St. Asaph had refused to recognize Hare. ED. 



1784] TO MRS. SARAH BACHE 161 

I can only say, that if I should be there when you are, my best 
Counsels and Services will not be wanting, and to see you 
happily settled & prosperous there would give me infinite 
Pleasure; but I have not yet obtained Leave to go home, 
and am besides in my Both Year; of course if I ever arrive 
there my stay can be but short. While I do exist, wherever 
it is, you will find me with unalterable Esteem & Affection, 

my dear Friend, 

Yours most sincerely. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1476. TO MRS. SARAH BACHE (L. c.) 

Passy, Jan. 26, 1784. 

MY DEAR CHILD, 

Your Care in sending me the Newspapers is very agre- 
able to me. I received by Capt. Barney those relating to the 
Cincinnati. My Opinion of the Institution cannot be of much 
Importance; I only wonder that, when the united Wisdom 
of our Nation had, in the Articles of Confederation, mani- 
fested their Dislike of establishing Ranks of Nobility, by 
Authority either of the Congress or of any particular State, a 
Number of private Persons should think proper to distinguish 
themselves and their Posterity, from their fellow Citizens, 
and form an Order of hereditary Knights, in direct Opposition 
to the solemnly declared Sense of their Country ! I imagine 
it must be likewise contrary to the Good Sense of most of 
those drawn into it by the Persuasion of its Projectors, who 
have been too much struck with the Ribbands and Crosses 
they have seen among them hanging to the Buttonholes of 
Foreign Officers. And I suppose those, who disapprove of 

VOL. IX M 



162 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

it, have not hitherto given it much Opposition, from a Prin- 
ciple somewhat like that of your good Mother, relating to 
punctilious Persons, who are always exacting little Observ- 
ances of Respect; that, "if People can be pleased with small 
Matters, it is a pity but they should have them." 

In this View, perhaps, I should not myself, if my Advice 
had been ask'd, have objected to their wearing their Ribband 
and Badge according to their Fancy, tho' I certainly should 
to the entailing it as an Honour on their Posterity. For 
Honour, worthily obtain'd (as for Example that of our 
Officers), is in its Nature a personal Thing, and incommuni- 
cable to any but those who had some Share in obtaining it. 
Thus among the Chinese, the most ancient, and from long 
Experience the wisest of Nations, honour does not descend, 
but ascends. If a man from his Learning, his Wisdom, or 
his Valour, is promoted by the Emperor to the Rank of Man- 
darin, his Parents are immediately entitled to all the same 
Ceremonies of Respect from the People, that are established 
as due to the Mandarin himself ; on the supposition that it 
must have been owing to the Education, Instruction, and 
good Example afforded him by his Parents, that he was ren- 
dered capable of serving the Publick. 

This ascending Honour is therefore useful to the State, 
as it encourages Parents to give their Children a good and 
virtuous Education. But the descending Honour, to Pos- 
terity who could have no Share in obtaining it, is not only 
groundless and absurd, but often hurtful to that Posterity, 
since it is apt to make them proud, disdaining to be employed 
in useful Arts, and thence falling into Poverty, and all the 
Meannesses, Servility, and Wretchedness attending it ; which 
is the present case with much of what is called the Noblesse 



1784] TO MRS. SARAH BACHE 163 

in Europe. Or if, to keep up the Dignity of the Family, 
Estates are entailed entire on the Eldest male heir, another 
Pest to Industry and Improvement of the Country is intro- 
duc'd, which will be folio wed by all the odious mixture of pride 
and Beggary, and idleness, that have half depopulated [and 
decultivated] Spain ; occasioning continual Extinction of Fam- 
ilies by the Discouragements of Marriage [and neglect in the 
improvement of estates]. 1 

I wish, therefore, that the Cincinnati, if they must go on 
with their Project, would direct the Badges of their Order to 
be worn by their Parents, instead of handing them down to 
their Children. It would be a good Precedent, and might 
have good Effects. It would also be a kind of Obedience to 
the Fourth Commandment, in which God enjoins us to 
honour our Father and Mother, but has nowhere directed us 
to honour our Children. And certainly no mode of honour- 
ing those immediate Authors of our Being can be more effec- 
tual, than that of doing praiseworthy Actions, which reflect 
Honour on those who gave us our Education ; or more becom- 
ing, than that of manifesting, by some public Expression or 
Token, that it is to their Instruction and Example we ascribe 
the Merit of those Actions. 

But the Absurdity of descending Honours is not a mere 
Matter of philosophical Opinion; it is capable of mathe- 
matical Demonstration. A Man's Son, for instance, is but 
half of his Family, the other half belonging to the Family of 
his Wife. His Son, too, marrying into another Family, his 
Share in the Grandson is but a fourth ; in the Great Grand- 
son, by the same Process, it is but an Eighth; in the next 
Generation a Sixteenth ; the next a Thirty-second ; the next 

1 Passages in brackets are not found in the draft in L. C. ED. 



164 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

a Sixty-fourth; the next an Hundred and twenty-eighth; 
the next a Two hundred and Fifty-sixth; and the next a 
Five hundred and twelfth; thus in nine Generations, which 
will not require more than 300 years (no very great Antiquity 
for a Family), our present Chevalier of the Order of Cin- 
cinnatus's Share in the then existing Knight, will be but a 
5 1 2th part; which, allowing the present certain Fidelity of 
American Wives to be insur'd down through all those Nine 
Generations, is so small a Consideration, that methinks no 
reasonable Man would hazard for the sake of it the disagreable 
Consequences of the Jealousy, Envy, and 111 will of his 
Countrymen. 

Let us go back with our Calculation from this young Noble, 
the 5 1 2th part of the present Knight, thro' his nine Genera- 
tions, till we return to the year of the Institution. He must 
have had a Father and Mother, they are two. Each of them 
had a father and Mother, they are four. Those of the next 
preceding Generation will be eight, the next Sixteen, the next 
thirty-two, the next sixty-four, the next one hundred and 
Twenty-eight, the next Two hundred and fifty-six, and the 
ninth in this Retrocession Five hundred and twelve, who must 
be now existing, and all contribute their Proportion of this 
future Chevalier de Cincinnatus. These, with the rest, make 
together as follows: 

2 

4 

8 

16 

3* 

64 
128 
256 

JI2 

Total 1 02 2 



1784] TO MRS. SARAH BACHE 165 

One Thousand and Twenty-two Men and Women, contrib- 
utors to the formation of one Knight. And, if we are to 
have a Thousand of these future knights, there must be now 
and hereafter existing One million and Twenty-two Thou- 
sand Fathers and Mothers, who are to contribute to their 
Production, unless a Part of the Number are employ 'd in 
making more Knights than One. Let us strike off then the 
22,000, on the Supposition of this double Employ, and then 
consider whether, after a reasonable Estimation of the Num- 
ber of Rogues, and Fools, and Royalists and Scoundrels and 
Prostitutes, that are mix'd with, and help to make up neces- 
sarily their Million of Predecessors, Posterity will have much 
reason to boast of the noble Blood of the then existing Set 
of Chevaliers de Cincinnatus. [The future genealogists, too, 
of these Chevaliers, in proving the lineal descent of their 
honour through so many generations (even supposing honour 
capable in its nature of descending), will only prove the small 
share of this honour, which can be justly claimed by any one 
of them ; since the above simple process in arithmetic makes 
it quite plain and clear that, in proportion as the antiquity 
of the family shall augment, the right to the honour of the an- 
cestor will diminish ; and a few generations more would re- 
duce it to something so small as to be very near an absolute 
nullity.] I hope, therefore, that the Order will drop this part 
of their project, and content themselves, as the Knights of 
the Garter, Bath, Thistle, St. Louis, and other Orders of 
Europe do, with a Life Enjoyment of their little Badge and 
Ribband, and let the Distinction die with those who have 
merited it. This I imagine will give no offence. For my 
own part, I shall think it a Convenience, when I go into a 
Company where there may be Faces unknown to me, if I 



166 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

discover, by this Badge, the Persons who merit some particu- 
lar Expression of my Respect ; and it will save modest Virtue 
the Trouble of calling for our Regard, by awkward round- 
about Intimations of having been heretofore employed in 
the Continental Service. 

The Gentleman, who made the Voyage to France to pro- 
vide the Ribands and Medals, has executed his Commission. 
To me they seem tolerably done; but all such Things are 
criticis'd. Some find Fault with the Latin, as wanting classic 
Elegance and Correctness ; and, since our Nine Universities 
were not able to furnish better Latin, it was pity, they say, 
that the Mottos had not been in English. Others object to 
the Title, as not properly assumable by any but Gen. Wash- 
ington, [and a few others] who serv'd without Pay. Others 
object to the Bald Eagle as looking too much like a Dindon, 
or Turkey. For my own part, I wish the Bald Eagle had not 
been chosen as the Representative of our Country; he is a 
Bird of bad moral Character; he does not get his living 
honestly; you may have seen him perch'd on some dead 
Tree, near the River where, too lazy to fish for himself, he 
watches the Labour of the Fishing-Hawk; and, when that 
diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to 
his Nest for the support of his Mate and young ones, the 
Bald Eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. With all 
this Injustice he is never in good Case ; but, like those among 
Men who live by Sharping and Robbing, he is generally poor, 
and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank Coward; the 
little KingBird, not bigger than a Sparrow, attacks him boldly 
and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no 
means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati 
of America, who have driven all the Kingbirds from our 



1784] TO MRS. SARAH BACHE 167 

Country ; though exactly fit for that Order of Knights, which 
the French call Chevaliers d 'Industrie. 

I am, on this account, not displeas'd that the Figure is not 
known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turk'y. For 
in Truth, the Turk'y is in comparison a much more respect- 
able Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. 
Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turk'y was 
peculiar to ours ; the first of the Species seen in Europe being 
brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv'd 
up at the Wedding Table of Charles the Ninth. 1 He is, 
[though a little vain and silly, it is true, but not the worse 
emblem for that,] a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate 
to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards, who should pre- 
sume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on. 

I shall not enter into the Criticisms made upon their Latin. 
The gallant officers of America may [not have the merit of 
being] be no great scholars, but they undoubtedly merit 
much, [as brave soldiers,] from their Country, which should 
therefore not leave them merely to Fame for their " Virtutis 
Premium" which is one of their Latin Mottos. Their " Esto 
perpetua" another, is an excellent Wish, if they meant it for 
their Country; bad, if intended for their Order. The 
States should not only restore to them the Omnia of their 
first Motto, 2 which many of them have left and lost, but pay 
them justly, and reward them generously. They should not 

1 A learned friend of the Editor's has observed to him, that this is a mis- 
take, as Turkeys were found in great plenty by Cortes, when he invaded and 
conquered Mexico, before the time of Charles the Twelfth. That this, and 
their being brought to old Spain, is mentioned by Peter Martyr of Anghiera, 
who was Secretary of the Council to the Indies, established immediately after 
the discovery of America, and personally acquainted with Columbus. W. T. F. 

8 " Omnia reliquit servare rempublicam." ED. 



168 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

be suffered to remain, with [all] their new-created Chivalry, 
entirely in the Situation of the Gentleman in the Story, which 
their omnia reliquit reminds me of. You know every thing 
makes me recollect some Story. He had built a very fine 
House, and thereby much impair'd his Fortune. He had a 
Pride, however, in showing it to his Acquaintance. One of 
them, after viewing it all, remark'd a Motto over the Door, 
"OIA VANITAS." "What," says he, "is the Meaning of 
this OIA ? it is a word I don't understand." " I will tell you," 
said the Gentleman; "I had a mind to have the Motto cut 
on a Piece of smooth Marble, but there was not room for it 
between the Ornaments, to be put in Characters large enough 
to be read. I therefore made use of a Contraction antiently 
very common in Latin Manuscripts, by which the w's and w's 
in Words are omitted, and the Omission noted by a little 
Dash above, which you may see there ; so that the Word is 
omnia, OMNIA VANITAS." "O," says his Friend, "I now 
comprehend the Meaning of your motto, it relates to your 
Edifice ; and signifies, that, if you have abridged your Omnia, 
you have, nevertheless, left your VANITAS legible at full 
length." I am, as ever, your affectionate father, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1477- TO CHARLES W. F. DUMAS 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, Feb. I, 1784. 
DEAR SIR, 

I receiv'd duly yours of the 23rd past, as well as those 
therein mentioned, with the Enclosed for the Office of Foreign 

1 From the original in the autograph collection of Mr. Simon Gratz. ED. 



1784] TO HENRY LAURENS 169 

Affairs, all of which except the last are forwarded, and that 
will go next Wednesday. I thank you for the Opportunity 
given me of seeing the Intelligence they contain. I sent you 
5 or 6 Weeks since, a Packet containing some fresh American 
Newspapers. You do not mention receiving them. They 
went by a Person whose Name I have forgot. He had for- 
merly been in the House of Messrs de Neufville. I wrote 
at the same time a few Lines. I am ever, Dear Sir, 
Your faithful humble 
Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I condole with you on the Loss of the Ship men- 
tion'd in the enclos'd Newspaper. 



1478. TO HENRY LAURENS l (L. c.) 

Passy, February 12, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your favour of the 3d instant by your son, with the 
newspapers, for which I thank you. The disorders of that 
government, whose constitution has been so much praised, 
are come to a height that threatens some violent convulsion, 
if not a dissolution ; and its Physicians do not even seem to 
guess at the cause of the disease, and therefore prescribe in- 
sufficient remedies, such as place bills, more equal representa- 
tion, more frequent elections, &c. &c. In my humble opinion, 
the malady consists in the enormous salaries, emoluments, and 
patronage of great offices. Ambition and avarice are sep- 
arately strong passions. When they are united in pursuit 

1 From a transcript in L. C. ED. 



170 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

of the same object, they are too strong to be governed by com- 
mon prudence, or influenced by public spirit and love of coun- 
try ; they drive men irresistibly into factions, cabals, dissen- 
sions, and violent divisions, always mischievous to public 
councils, destructive to the peace of society, and sometimes 
fatal to its existence. As long as the immense profits of these 
offices subsist, members of the shortest and most equally 
chosen parliaments will have them in view, and contend for 
them, and their contentions will have all the same ruinous 
consequences. 

To me, then, there seems to be but one effectual remedy, 
and that not likely to be adopted by so corrupt a nation; 
which is, to abolish these profits, and make every place,of 
honour a place of burthen. By that means the effect of one of 
the passions above-mentioned would be taken away, and some- 
thing would be added to counteract the other. Thus the 
number of competitors for great offices would be dimin- 
ished, and the efforts of those who still would obtain them 
moderated. 

Thank God we have now less connection with the affairs 
of these people and are more at liberty to take care of our own, 
which I hope we shall manage better. 

We have a terrible winter here ; such another in this coun- 
try is not remembered by any man living. The snow has been 
thick upon the ground ever since Christmas; and the frost 
constant. My Grandson joins in best compliments to your- 
self and Miss Laurens. With sincere esteem and affection, 
I have the honour to be, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1784] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 171 

1479. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN (L. c.) 

Passy, Feb. 16, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I receiv'd and read with Pleasure your kind Letter of the 
first Inst, 1 as it inform'd me of the Welfare of you and yours. 
I am glad the Accounts you have from your Kinswoman at 
Philadelphia 2 are agreable, and I shall be happy if any Rec- 
ommendations from me can be serviceable to Dr. Ross, 8 or 
any other friend of yours, going to America. 

Your arguments, persuading me to come once more to 
England, are very powerful. To be sure, I long to see again 
my Friends there, whom I love abundantly; but there are 
difficulties and Objections of several kinds, which at present 
I do not see how to get over. 

I lament with you the political Disorders England at pres- 
ent labours under. Your Papers are full of strange Accounts 
of Anarchy and Confusion in America, of which we know 
nothing, while your own Affairs are really in a Situation de- 
plorable. In my humble Opinion, the Root of the Evil lies 
not so much in too long, or too unequally chosen Parliaments, 
as in the enormous Salaries, Emoluments, and Patronage 
of your great Offices ; and that you will never be at rest till 
they are all abolish'd, and every place of Honour made at the 

1 A. P. s. ED. 

* Strahan had acknowledged warmly " the very friendly and effectual patron- 
age " Franklin's family in America had afforded his " poor, helpless and sin- 
gularly distressed kinswoman, than whom none can be more grateful, or more 
deserving the great kindness you have shewn her." ED. 

Dr. Ross had spent some time in the East as physician to the army; his 
health failing, he returned to follow his profession in North America. ED. 



172 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

same time, instead of a Place of Profit, a place of Expence and 

burthen. 

Ambition and avarice are each of them strong Passions, 
and when they are united in the same Persons, and have the 
same Objects in view for their Gratification, they are too 
strong for Public Spirit and Love of Country, and are apt to 
produce the most violent Factions and Contentions. They 
should therefore be separated, and made to act one against 
the other. Those Places, to speak in our old stile (Brother 
Type), may be for the good of the Chapel, but they are bad 
for the Master, as they create constant Quarrels that hinder 
the Business. For example, here are near two Months that 
your Government has been employed in getting its form to 
press; which is not yet fit to work on, every Page of it being 
squabbled, and the whole ready to fall into pye. The Founts 
too must be very scanty, or strangely out of sorts, since your 
Compositors cannot find either upper or lower case Letters 
sufficient to set the word ADMINISTRATION, but are f orc'd to be 
continually turning for them. However, to return to com- 
mon (tho' perhaps too saucy) Language, don't despair; you 
have still one resource left, and that not a bad one, since it 
may reunite the Empire. We have some Remains of Affec- 
tion for you, and shall always be ready to receive and take 
care of you in Case of Distress. So if you have not Sense 
and Virtue enough to govern yourselves, e'en dissolve 
your present old crazy Constitution, and send members to 
Congress. 

You will say my Advice "smells of Madeira" You are 
right. This foolish Letter is mere chitchat between our- 
selves over the second bottle. If, therefore, you show it to 
anybody, (except our indulgent Friends, Dagge and Lady 



1784] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES "173 

Strahan) I will positively Solless you. Yours ever most 
affectionately, B. F[RANKLIN.] 



1480. TO JEAN BAPTISTE LE ROY (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Feb. 25, 1784 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Enclosed I send you a Letter * and sundry Papers I lately 
rec d from M r Eckhardt of Utrecht, a most ingenious Mech- 
anician whom I first knew in London. You will see what he 
desires and what Answer I have made him. If you can do 
him any Service, I need not pray you to do it, because you 
have a Pleasure in assisting Genius. Show if you please 
what he says of the Baloons, to M r Montgolfier. I long to 

see you, being ever 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1481. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Feb. 26, 1784. 

SIR : Mr. Williams, desiring no farther Surseance against 
the Bulk of his Creditors, with whom he has amicably arranged 
his Affairs, and to whom he proposes to do exact Justice, I 
the more willingly join my Request with his, that he may be 
secured against the small Number remaining, who aim at 
forcing him to favour them to the Prejudice of the others. I 

am, with great Respect, Sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 The postscript to this letter from Eckhardt, January 18, 1784, is in A. P. 
S. ED. 



174 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 
1482. TO JOHN PAUL JONES * 

Passy, March 4, 1784. 

SIR : I return herewith the paper you communicated to 
me yesterday. I perceive by the extract from M. de Sartine's 
letter that it was his intention that all the charges which had 
accrued upon the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough 
should be deducted from the prize-money payable to the 
captors, particularly the expense of victualling the seamen 
and prisoners, and that the liquidation of those charges 
should be referred to me. This liquidation, however, never 
was referred to me, and, if it had been, I should have been 
cautious of acting in it, having received no power from the 
captors, either French or Americans, authorizing me to de- 
cide upon anything respecting their interests. And I cer- 
tainly should not have agreed to charge the American captors 
with any part of the expense of maintaining the 600 pris- 
oners in Holland till they should be exchanged for Americans 
in England, as was your intention, and as we both had been 
made to expect. With great esteem I have the honour to 
be, etc., B. FRANKLIN. 

1483. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 2 

DEAR SIR, Pass * March $> ^ 

You mention, that I may now see verified all you said about 
binding down England to so hard a peace. I suppose you do 

1 Printed from "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Bigelow), 
Vol. VIII, p. 452. -ED. 

2 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), 
Vol. I, p. 457. ED. 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN '175 

not mean by the American treaty; for we were exceeding 
favourable, in not insisting on the reparations so justly due 
for the wanton burnings of our fine towns, and devastations 
of our plantations in a war, now universally allowed to have 
been originally unjust. I may add, that you will also see 
verified all I said about the article respecting the royalists, 
that it will occasion more mischief than it was intended to 
remedy, and that it would have been better to have omitted 
all mention of them. England might have rewarded them 
according to their merits at no very great expense. After 
the harms they had done to us, it was imprudent to insist on 
our doing them good. 

I am sorry for the overturn you mention of those benefi- 
cial systems of commerce, that would have been exemplary 
to mankind. The making England entirely a free port 
would have been the wisest step ever taken for its advan- 
tage. 

I wish much to see what you say a respectable friend of mine 
has undertaken to write respecting the peace. It is a pity it 
has been delayed. If it had appeared earlier, it might have 
prevented much mischief, by securing our friends in their 
situations ; for we know not who will succeed them, nor what 
credit they will hold. 

By my doubts of the propriety of my going soon to London, 
I meant no reflection on my friends or yours. If I had any 
call there besides the pleasure of seeing those whom I love, 
I should have no doubts. If I live to arrive there, I shall 
certainly embrace your kind invitation, and take up my abode 
with you. Make my compliments and respects acceptable 
to Mrs. Vaughan. I know not what foundation there can be 
for saying that I abuse England as much as before the peace. 



176 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

I am not apt, I think, to be abusive ; of the two, I had rather 
be abused. 

Enclosed are the letters you desire. I wish to hear from 
you more frequently, and to have, through you, such new 
pamphlets, as you may think worth my reading. I am ever, 

my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN 



1484. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (A. p. s.) 

Passy, March 5, 1784. 

SIR, I received the letter which your Excellency did me 
the honour of writing to me, 1 respecting the necessity of pro- 
ducing legal proof of the arrangement made with the creditors 
mentioned in Mr. Williams' state of his affairs. I am much 
obliged by the attention you are so good as to afford this 
business on my recommendation, and I send herewith the 
original of those arrangements, for your inspection. With 

great respect, I am, sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. These papers being Mr. Williams' only discharge, 
he requests they may be returned to him after examination. 



1485. TO CHARLES THOMSON 2 
g IR Passy, March 9, 1784. 

I received a few days since a letter from Annapolis, dated 
June the 5th, in your handwriting, but not signed, acquaint- 

1 A letter dated March 4, 1784, and written in reply to Franklin's letter of 
February 26, 1784. ED. 

2 From " Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States" (Sparks), Vol. 
IP-377- ED. 



1784] TO CHARLES THOMSON 177 

ing the Commissioners with the causes of delay in sending the 
ratification of the definitive treaty. The term was expired 
before that letter came to hand ; but I hope no difficulty will 
arise from a failure in a point not essential, and which was 
occasioned by accidents. I have just received from Mr. 
Hartley a letter on the subject, of which I enclose a copy. 

We have had a terrible winter, too, here, such as the oldest 
men do not remember, and indeed it has been very severe all 
over Europe. 

I have exchanged ratifications with the ambassador of 
Sweden, and enclose a copy of that I received from him. 

Mr. Jay is lately returned from England. Mr. Laurens 
is still there, but proposes departing for America next month, 
as does also Mr. Jay, with his family. Mr. Adams is in 
Holland, where he has been detained by business and bad 
weather. These absences have occasioned some delays in 
our business, but not of much importance. 

The war long expected between the Turks and Russians 
is prevented by a treaty, and it is thought an accommodation 
will likewise take place between them and the Emperor. 
Everything here continues friendly and favourable to the 
United States. I am pestered continually with numbers of 
letters from people in different parts of Europe, who would 
go to settle in America, but who manifest very extravagant 
expectations, such as I can by no means encourage, and who 
appear otherwise to be very improper persons. To save 
myself trouble, I have just printed some copies of the en- 
closed little piece, which I purpose to send hereafter in answer 
to such letters. Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to 
Congress, and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, dear 
Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 

VOL. IX N 



I 7 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

1486. TO HENRY LAURENS (L. c.) 

Passy, March 12 th , 1784 

DEAR SIR : I received your kind letter by Mr. Chollet 
with the Pamphlets and newspapers, and since, a paper of 
the 5th, which came under cover to Mr. Grand. I am much 
obliged to you for these Communications. 

Your sentiments and mine respecting the continual Drafts 
on Europe coincide perfectly. I have just received a letter 
from Mr. Carmichael dated the i4th past, in which he says; 
" Bills from Congress come to hand from time to time, some 
of which Mr. M. has advised me of ; the others I am at a loss 
what to do with ; but having no Instructions to the contrary 
I cannot refuse accepting them. I should be glad to know 
your sentiments thereon." All I can say to him in answer is, 
that it will behove him to consider where he can find Funds 
for Payment, since there is not the smallest Probability that I 
shall be able to assist him from hence. Sure it must be some 
unavoidable necessity that induces so prudent a Man as 
Mr. Morris to take such Measures : and the several States 
must be much to blame to leave him under that necessity. 

I heartily wish you success in your Endeavors to recover 
your 2,800 from the Treasury. I know too well the Dex- 
terity of that Board (Dexterity is acquired by much Practice) 
in fighting off Payments, not to think you very lucky if you 
can obtain your Right by only mounting twice more their 70 
steps. 

The Commission for a Commercial Treaty, ordered to be 
prepared by the Vote of May last, is indeed not yet come to 
hand; but by their sending us repeatedly Copies of that 



1784] TO HENRY LAURENS 179 

Vote ; and nothing more, it looks as if they thought we might 
proceed, by virtue of it, to prepare a Plan of a Treaty. Hav- 
ing written expressly on the subject, we may expect soon to 
know their minds more perfectly. 

I thank you much for your information of the proceedings 
of the West India People. It seems to me that we cannot be 
much hurt by any selfish Regulations the English may make 
respecting our Trade with their Islands. Those who at pres- 
ent wish to kick the Hedge-hog, will grow tired of that sport 
when they find their own Toes bleed. 

I have just received a letter from the Secretary of Congress, 
Mr. Thomson, of which I inclose a Copy. The Term for 
exchanging the Ratifications was expired before it came to 
hand. Mr. Hartley having frequently written to me to know 
if the Ratification was arrived, I have communicated to him 
this Letter, that he might see the delay was occasioned only 
by qnforeseen Accidents, and that we had reason to expect 
receiving it by the return of the Washington Packet. I do not 
imagine that any difficulty will be occasioned by this Circum- 
stance; but perhaps it may not be amiss, if you are well 
enough, to see Mr. Hartley on the subject, and should any 
Agreement to extend the Term be necessary, you can enter 
into it as well as if we were all present. 

I write this in great pain from the Gout in both Feet ; but 
my young friend, your son, having informed me that he sets 
out for London to-morrow, I could not slip the opportunity, 
as perhaps it is the only safe one that may occur before your 
departure for America. I wish mine was as near. I think I 
have reason to complain, that I am so long without an answer 
from Congress to my request of Recall. I wish rather to die 
in my own Country than here; and though the upper part 



i8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

of the Building appears yet tolerably firm, yet, being under- 
min'd by the Stone and Gout united, its Fall cannot be far 
distant. 

You are so good as to offer me your friendly Services. You 
cannot do me one more acceptable at present, than that of 
forwarding my Dismission. In all other respects, as well as 
that, I shall ever look on your Friendship as an Honour to me ; 
being with sincere and great esteem, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P.S. March 13** Having had a tolerable night, I find 
myself something better this morning. In reading over my 
letter, I perceive an Omission of my thanks for your kind 
Assurances of never forsaking my Defence, should there be 
need. I apprehend that the violent Antipathy of a certain 
person to me may have produced some Calumnies, which, 
what you have seen and heard here may enable you easily to 
refute. You will thereby exceedingly oblige one, who has 
lived beyond all other Ambition, than that of dying with the 
fair Character he has long endeavoured to deserve. As to 
my Infallibility, which you do not undertake to maintain, I 
am too modest myself to claim it, that is, in general; tho' 
when we come to particulars > I, like other, people, give it up 
with difficulty. Steele says, that the difference between the 
Church of Rome, and the Church of England on that point, 
is only this; that the one pretends to be infallible, and the 
other to be never in the wrong. In this latter Sense, we are 
most of us Church of England men, though few of us confess 
it, and express it so naturally and frankly, as a certain great 
Lady here, who said, "I don't know how it happens, but I 
meet with nobody, except myself, that is always in the right ; 
// n'y a que moi qui a toujours raison" 



1784] TO LA SABLIERE DE LA CONDAMINE 181 

My Grandson joins me in affectionate Respects to you and 
the young lady ; with best wishes for your Health and Pros- 
perity. 

1487. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON l (P. c.) 

Passy, March 19, 1784. 

You will forget me quite, my dear old Friend, if I do not 
write to you now and then. 

I still exist, and still enjoy some Pleasure in that Existence, 
tho' now in my 79 th year. Yet I feel the Infirmities of Age 
come on so fast, and the Building to need so many Repairs, 
that in a little time the Owner will find it cheaper to pull it 
down and build a new one. I wish, however, to see you first, 
but I begin to doubt the Possibility. My Children join in 
Love to you and yours, with your affectionate Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1488. TO LA SABLIERE DE LA CONDAMINE 2 

(A. P. S.) 
Passy, March 19, 1784 

SIR, 

I received the very obliging Letter you did me honour of 
writing to me the 8 th Inst. with the epigram 8 &c. for which 
please to accept my Thanks. 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 

2 A physician who wrote to Franklin from " Chateau de Colet a Steroman 
de Beauvoir, par St. Marcellin, en Dauphine, le 8 Mars 1784" (A. P. S.). He 
was the author of" Memoires sur PInoculation de la Petite Verole," Paris, 1768 
ED. 

8 " Epigramme sur les Balons aerostatiques dont tout le monde raffole 
aujourd'hui. 

Charles, Pilatres, Montgolfier, 
Vos balons aerostatiques, 



1 82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

You desire my Sentiments concerning the Cures perform'd 
by Comus & Mesmer. I think that in general, Maladies 
caus'd by Obstructions may be treated by Electricity with 
Advantage. As to the Animal Magnetism, so much talk'd 
of, I am totally unacquainted with it, and must doubt its 
Existence till I can see or feel some Effect of it. None of 
the Cures said to be perform'd by it, have fallen under my 
Observation ; and there being so many Disorders which cure 
themselves and such a Disposition in Mankind to deceive 
themselves and one another on these Occasions; and living 
long having given me frequent Opportunities of seeing certain 
Remedies cry'd up as curing everything, and yet soon after 
totally laid aside as useless, I cannot but fear that the Expec- 
tation of great Advantage from the new Method of treating 
Diseases, will prove a Delusion. That Delusion may how- 
ever in some cases be of use while it lasts. There are in every 
great rich City a Number of Persons who are never in health, 
because they are fond of Medicines and always taking them, 
whereby they derange the natural Functions, and hurt their 
Constitutions. If these People can be persuaded to forbear 

J'en conviens, sont fort magnifiques ; 
Mais, on ne S9auroit s'y fier. 
Laissons a chacun son domaine ; 
Dieu fit les airs pour les oiseaux, 
Aux poissons il donna les eaux, 
Et la terre a 1'espece humaine, 
Cultivons-la mes chers amis, 
Traivaillons, c'est la mon avis ; 
Nous en ferons mieux nos affaires ; 
Tandisque est fous imprudens, 
Livres a leurs doctes chimeres, 
Iront, voyageurs temeraires, 
Prendre la lune avec les dents." 

This feu d' esprit was sent by its author to the General Journal of France, 
but it was rejected. ED. 



1784] AN ECONOMICAL PROJECT 183 

their Drugs in Expectation of being cured by only the Phy- 
sician's Finger or an Iron Rod pointing at them, they may 
possibly find good Effects tho' they mistake the Cause. I 

have the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 



1489. TO M. MAZUE l (A. P. s.) 

Passy, March 19, 1784 

SIR 

I received your Favour of the 27 th past, proposing the Cul- 
tivation of the Vine hi America. Our people conceive that 
it is yet too early to put such a project in Execution. Labour 
is too dear there, and the Culture of Wheat more profitable 
& certain ; in Exchange for which either directly or indirectly, 
we can procure the Wines of Europe. 

I cannot therefore give you any Hopes of Success in such 
an Enterprise; for tho' proper Land & Climate might be 
found, the Wines could not be produc'd so cheap as they are 

imported. I have the honour to be Sir 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

1490. AN ECONOMICAL PROJECT 2 
TO THE AUTHORS OF THE JOURNAL OF PARIS. 

MESSIEURS, 

You often entertain us with accounts of new discoveries. 
Permit me to communicate to the public, through your paper, 

1 In answer to a letter from Marseilles, dated February 27, 1784 (A. P. S.). 
ED. 

2 No attempt has hitherto been made to assign a date to this bagatelle. 
Quinquet invented the lamp that bears his name early in 1784. Evidently 



184 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

one that has lately been made by myself, and which I conceive 
may be of great utility. 

I was the other evening in a grand company, where the 
new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, 
and much admired for its splendour; but a general inquiry 
was made, whether the oil it consumed was not in proportion 
to the light it afforded, in which case there would be no sav- 
ing in the use of it. No one present could satisfy us hi that 
point, which all agreed ought to be known, it being a very 
desirable thing to lessen, if possible, the expense of lighting 
our apartments, when every other article of family expense 
was so much augmented. 

I was pleased to see this general concern for economy, for 
I love economy exceedingly. 

I went home, and to bed, three or four hours after midnight, 
with my head full of the subject. An accidental sudden 
noise waked me about six in the morning, when I was sur- 
prised to find my room filled with light; and I imagined at 
first, that a number of those lamps had been brought into it ; 
but, rubbing my eyes, I perceived the light came in at the win- 
dows. I got up and looked out to see what might be the 
occasion of it, when I saw the sun just rising above the 
horizon, from whence he poured his rays plentifully into my 
chamber, my domestic having negligently omitted, the pre- 
ceding evening, to close the shutters. 

I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that 
it was but six o'clock; and still thinking it something ex- 
traordinary that the sun should rise so early, I looked into the 

this article was written while that lamp was still exciting curiosity by its 
novelty. From page 186 it appears that the exact day of the composition was 
March 20, 1784. ED. 



1784] AN ECONOMICAL PROJECT 185 

almanac, where I found it to be the hour given for his rising 
on that day. I looked forward, too, and found he was to 
rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and 
that at no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as 
till eight o'clock. Your readers, who with me have never 
seen any signs of sunshine before noon, and seldom regard 
the astronomical part of the almanac, will be as much aston- 
ished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and 
especially when I assure them, that he gives light as soon as 
he rises. I am convinced of this. I am certain of my fact. 
One cannot be more certain of any fact. I saw it with my 
own eyes. And, having repeated this observation the three 
following mornings, I found always precisely the same re- 
sult. 

Yet it so happens, that when I speak of this discovery to 
others, I can easily perceive by their countenances, though 
they forbear expressing it in words, that they do not quite 
believe me. One, indeed, who is a learned natural philoso- 
pher, has assured me that I must certainly be mistaken as 
to the circumstance of the light coming into my room; for 
it being well known, as he says, that there could be no light 
abroad at that hour, it follows that none could enter from 
without ; and that of consequence, my windows being accident- 
ally left open, instead of letting in the light, had only served 
to let out the darkness; and he used many ingenious argu- 
ments to show me how I might, by that means, have been 
deceived. I owned that he puzzled me a little, but he did not 
satisfy me ; and the subsequent observations I made, as above 
mentioned, confirmed me in my first opinion. 

This event has given rise in my mind to several serious 
and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not 



1 86 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept 
six hours longer by the light of the sun, and in exchange have 
lived six hours the following night by candle-light; and, the 
latter being a much more expensive light than the former, my 
love of economy induced me to muster up what little arith- 
metic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I 
shall give you, after observing that utility is, in my opinion 
the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery 
which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, 
is good for nothing. 

I took for the basis of my calculation the supposition that 
there are one hundred thousand families in Paris, and that 
these families consume in the night half a pound of bougies, 
or candles, per hour. I think this is a moderate allowance, 
taking one family with another; for though I believe some 
consume less, I know that many consume a great deal more. 
Then estimating seven hours per day as the medium quantity 
between the time of the sun's rising and ours, he rising during 
the six following months from six to eight hours before noon, 
and there being seven hours of course per night in which we 
burn candles, the account will stand thus ; 

In the six months between the 2Oth of March and the 2oth 
of September, there are 

Nights 183 

Hours of each night hi which we burn candles 7 

Multiplication gives for the total number of 
hours 1,281 

These 1,281 hours multiplied by 100,000, the 

number of inhabitants, give 128,100,000 

One hundred twenty- eight millions and one 

hundred thousand hours, spent at Paris by 



1784] AN ECONOMICAL PROJECT 187 

candle-light, which, at half a pound of wax 
and tallow per hour, gives the weight of . . 64,050,000 
Sixty-four millions and fifty thousand of pounds, 
which, estimating the whole at the medium 
price of thirty sols the pound, makes the sum 
of ninety-six millions and seventy-five thou- 
sand livres tournois 96,075,000 

An immense sum ! that the city of Paris might save every 
year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles. 

If it should be said, that people are apt to be obstinately 
attached to old customs, and that it will be difficult to in- 
duce them to rise before noon, consequently my discovery 
can be of little use ; I answer, Nil desperandum. I believe all 
who have common sense, as soon as they have learnt from 
this paper that it is daylight when the sun rises, will contrive 
to rise with him; and, to compel the rest, I would propose 
the following regulations; 

First. Let a tax be laid of a louis per window, on every 
window that is provided with shutters to keep out the light 
of the sun. 

Second. Let the same salutary operation of police be 
made use of, to prevent our burning candles, that inclined 
us last winter to be more economical in burning wood ; that 
is, let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and tallow 
chandlers, and no family be permitted to be supplied with 
more than one pound of candles per week. 

Third. Let guards also be posted to stop all the coaches, 
&c. that would pass the streets after sun-set, except those of 
physicians, surgeons, and midwives. 

Fourth. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all 
the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not 



i88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the 
sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see 
their true interest. 

All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days ; after 
which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the pres- 
ent irregularity; for, ce n'est que le premier pas qui coftte. 
Oblige a man to rise at four hi the morning, and it is more 
than probable he will go willingly to bed at eight in the 
evening ; and, having had eight hours sleep, he will rise more 
willingly at four in the morning following. But this sum of 
ninety-six millions and seventy-five thousand livres is not the 
whole of what may be saved by my economical project. You 
may observe, that I have calculated upon only one half of 
the year, and much may be saved hi the other, though the 
days are shorter. Besides, the immense stock of wax and 
tallow left unconsumed during the summer, will probably 
make candles much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and con- 
tinue them cheaper as long as the proposed reformation 
shall be supported. 

For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely com- 
municated and bestowed by me on the public, I demand 
neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, nor any other 
reward whatever. I expect only to have the honour of it. 
And yet I know there are little, envious minds, who will, as 
usual, deny me this, and say, that my invention was known 
to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of 
the old books in proof of it. I will not dispute with these 
people, that the ancients knew not the sun would rise at 
certain hours; they possibly had, as we have, almanacs that 
predicted it ; but it does not follow thence, that they knew he 
gave light as soon as he rose. This is what I claim as my dis- 



1784] TO JOHN PAUL JONES 189 

covery. If the ancients knew it, it might have been long 
since forgotten ; for it certainly was unknown to the moderns, 
at least to the Parisians, which to prove, I need use but one 
plain simple argument. They are as well instructed, judi- 
cious, and prudent a people as exist anywhere in the world, 
all professing, like myself, to be lovers of economy; and, 
from the many heavy taxes required from them by the 
necessities of the state, have surely an abundant reason to be 
economical. I say it is impossible that so sensible a people, 
under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the 
smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of 
candles, if they had really known, that they might have had 
as much pure light of the sun for nothing. I am, &c. 

A SUBSCRIBER. 



1491. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (B. if.) 

Passy, March 25, 1784 

SIR 

I return herewith the Papers you communicated to me 
yesterday. I perceive by the Extract from M. de Sartine's 
Letter 1 that it was his Intention all the Charges which had 
accru'd upon the Serapis and Countess oj Scarborough should 
be deducted from the Prize money payable to the Captors, 
particularly the Expence of Victualling the Seamen and 
Prisoners ; and that the Liquidation of those Charges should 
be referr'd to me. This Liquidation however never was 
referr'd to me; and if it had, I should have been cautious 
of acting in it, having receiv'd no Power from the Captors, 
either French or Americans, authorising me to decide upon 

1 Dated May 29, 1780. ED. 



190 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

anything respecting their Interests. And I certainly should 
not have agreed to charge the American Captors with any 
Part of the Expence of maintaining the 600 Prisoners in 
Holland till they could be exchanged, when none of them were 
exchanged for Americans in England, as was your Intention, 
& as we both had been made to expect. 
With great Esteem, I have the honour to be 

Sir, Your most obedient 

humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 



1492. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy March 31, 1784 

SIR 

I have the honour of acquainting your Excellency, that 
our express from Congress is at last arrived, with their 
Ratification of the Definitive Treaty. Inclosed I send Copies 
of the President's Letter, the Recommendatory Resolution, 
and the Proclamation, together with three Letters for your- 
self. We have written to M r Hartley that we are now ready 
to make the Exchange. 

With great Respect, I am, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



i ; 



1493. TO CHARLES THOMSON ' 

Passy, March 31, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I write this line by the English packet, just to inform you, 
that Colonel Harmar arrived here last Monday evening with 

1 First printed by Sparks, Vol. X, p. 439. ED. 



1784] TO CHARLES THOMSON 191 

the ratification, and that Mr. Jay and myself (Messrs. Adams 
and Laurens being absent) have written to Mr. Hartley at 
London, that we are ready to exchange with him. I have 
not heard that the delay is likely to occasion any difficulty. 
I had before communicated to him your letter of the 5th of 
January, which gave the reason of it. With great esteem, 
I am B. FRANKLIN. 



1494. TO MADAME BRILLON (A. p. s.) 

Passy March 31, '84. 

Voici, ma tre*s cher Amie, une de mes Plaisanteries serieuses, 
ou sourdes, que je vous envois, esperant qu'elle pourra 
peutetre vous amuser un peu. Au quel cas, vous me recom- 
penserez en me donnant je n'ose dire un Baiser, car les votres 
sont trop precieux, et vous en e*tes trop chiche; mais vous 
me j'ouerez un Noel et Pexcellent Marche des Insurgents. 

B. F. 



1495. TO CHARLES THOMSON ' 

Passy, April 16 th , 1784. 
DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letters by Colonel Harmar, and 
Lieut-Colonel Frank, with the Dispatches, in good order; 
triplicates of which are since come to hand. You will see 
by our letter to the President, that we daily expect Mr. 
Hartley from London, with the British Ratification to ex- 
change with us. There was no difficulty occasioned by the 
kpse of the term. 

1 From the original in the New York Historical Society. ED. 



I 9 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

I send you herewith four packets of newspapers, by which 
you will be informed of the confusions that have reigned all 
winter in England, and the probability of their being finish'd 
by the choice of a new Parliament, in which the present Min- 
istry will have a great majority. The n. papers are directed 
for the Presid*. You are good in excusing the trouble I 
have given you with so many little affairs and enquiries, and 
enabling me to give some answer to the persons who make 
them. I am pestered continually with such matters. 

I am happy in learning from you, that disposition begins 
to prevail in the States, to comply with the requisitions of 
Congress, and Funds for the regular payment of the Interest, 
and discharge of the Principal of the Debts contracted by 
the War. Punctuality and exact justice will contribute more 
to our reputation, and, of course, to our strength, than people 
generally imagine. Without those virtues, we shall find it 
difficult in case 6f another war to obtain either friends or 
money; and a reliance on that may encourage and hasten 
another attack upon us. Gratitude to our former bene- 
factors is another point we should seize every opportunity 
of demonstrating. I place, with you, much confidence in the 
good sense of our countrymen; and thence I hope, that the 
endeavours of some persons on both sides the water, to sow 
jealousies and suspicions, and create misunderstandings 
between France and us, will be ineffectual. 

A Commission from Congress for a Commercial Treaty 
with Britain has long been expected. If the intention of 
sending such a Commission is not changed, I wish it may 
arrive before Mr. Laurens leaves us, who has a more perfect 
knowledge of the subject than any of us, and might be greatly 
useful. A Minister from Denmark has been waiting in Paris 



1784] TO JOHN WALTER 193 

all winter for the result of Congress on the proposed 
Treaty, a plan of which was long sent, as also one for a 
Treaty with Portugal. I hope by the return of the Wash- 
ington pacquet, we may receive some directions respecting 
them. I am, with sincere and great esteem, my Dear 
Friend, yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1496. TO JOHN WALTER 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, April 17, 1784. 
SIR, 

I have received a Book, for which I understand I am obliged 
to you, the "Introduction to Logography." I have read it 

1 John Walter (1739-1812), founder of The Times, succeeded to his 
father's business as a coal merchant in the city of London. He abandoned 
it for that of an underwriter, failed in consequence of the American war, and 
announced his bankruptcy in 1782. Two years later he purchased the 
premises in Printing House Square, the site of the Black friars Theatre, which 
had been unoccupied since the removal of Eyre and Strahan in 1770, where he 
began business as a printer, using Johnson's invention of " logotypes " or 
founts composed of complete words, instead of separate letters. Some forty 
books were printed by the logographic process and sold by John Walter. He 
also started a newspaper called The Daily Universal Register, of which the 
first number, " printed logographically," was issued January I, 1 785. The nine- 
hundred-and-fortieth number (January I, 1788) was entitled The Times, or 
Daily Universal Register, and was also " printed logographically." A letter 
from John Walter to Lord Kenyon, July 6, 1799 (Hist. Mss. Comm. I4th 
Report App. Pt. IV, p. 551), contains the following interesting personal narra- 
tive. " Among many other projects which offered themselves to my view was 
a plan to print logographically. I sat down closely to digest it, and formed a 
fount which reduced the English language from ninety thousand words which 
were usually used in printing to about fifteen hundred. ... By this means I 
was enabled to print much faster than by taking up single letters. ... I was 
advised to get a number of nobility and men of letters ... to patronise the 
plan, to which his Majesty was to have been the patron. But happening 
unfortunately as it turned out, to correspond with Dr. Franklin, then ambassa- 
VOL. IX o 



I 9 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

with Attention, and, as far as I understand it, am much pleas'd 
with it. I do not perfectly comprehend the Arrangement of 
his Cases ; but the Reduction of the Number of Pieces by the 
Roots of Words, and their different Terminations, is extreamly 
ingenious ; and I like much the Idea of cementing the Letters, 
instead of casting Words or Syllables, which I formerly 
attempted, and succeeded in having invented a Mould, and 
Method by which I could in a few minutes, form a Matrice, 
and adjust it, of any Word in any Fount at pleasure, and pro- 
ceed to cast from it. 

I send enclosed a specimen of some of my Terminations, 
and would willingly instruct Mr. Johnson * in the Method if 
he desired it; but he has a better. He mentions some Im- 
provements of Printing that have been proposed, but takes 
no Notice of one published here at Paris, in 1776 ; so I suppose 
he has neither seen nor heard of it. It is in a Quarto Pam- 
phlet, entitled, "Nouveau Systeme Typographique, ou Moyen 
de diminuer, de Moitie, dans toutes les Imprimeries de V Eu- 
rope, le Travail et les Frais de Composition, de Correction, et 
de Distribution, decouvert en 1774, par Madame de * * *. 2 
Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora. A Paris y 
de nmprimerie Royale, MDCCLXXVL" It is dedicated 



dor at Paris, whose opinion I wished for, his name was among my list of sub- 
scribers, and when it was given, among near two hundred more, to the King's 
librarian and a fount of the cemented words had been sent there [Buckingham 
Palace] for his Majesty's inspection and acceptance, I found an increasing 
coolness in the librarian, and afterwards a note from him, saying the King had 
viewed it with pleasure, but, there being no room in Buckingham House, he 
desired I would send some person to take it away. Thus ended royal patron- 
age." See J. R. Thursfield in " Diet. Nat. Biog." ED. 

1 Henry Johnson, the inventor, from whom John Walter purchased the 
patent rights. ED. 

2 Madame de St. Paul. ED. 



1784] TO JOHN WALTER 195 

to the King, who was at the Expence of the Experiments. 
Two Commissaries were named to examine and render an 
Account of them ; they were M. Desmarets, of the Academy 
of Sciences, and M. Barbou, 4 an eminent Printer. Their 
Report concludes thus; "Nous nous contenterons de dire ici, 
que M. de St. Paul a rempli les engagemens qu'il avoit con- 
tracted avec le Gouvernement ; que ses experiences projete*es 
ont e*te* conduites avec beaucoup de me*thode et d' intelligence 
de sa part ; et que par des calculs longs et pe*nibles, qui sont le 
fruit d'un grand nombre de combinaisons raisonne'es, il en a 
de*duit plusieurs re*sultats qui me'ritent d'etre proposes aux 
artistes, et qui nous paroissent propres a e*clairer la pratique 
de Pimprimerie actuelle, et a en abre*ger certainement les 
proce'de'es. . . . Son projet ne peut que gagner aux con- 
tradictions qu'il essuiera sans doute, de la part des gens de 
Part. A Paris, le 8 Janvier, 1776." The pamphlet consists 
of 66 Pages, containing a Number of Tables of Words and 
Parts of Words, Explanations of those Tables, Calculations, 
answers to Objections, &c. I will endeavour to get one to 
send you if you desire it ; mine is bound up with others in a 
Volume. 

It was after seeing this Piece, that I cast the Syllables I 
send you a Sample of. I have not heard, that any of the 
Printers here make at present the least use of the Invention 
of Madame de * * *. You will observe, that it pretended 
only to lessen the Work by one half ; Mr. Johnson's Method 
lessens it three fourths. I should be glad to know with what 
the Letters are cemented. I think cementing better than 

1 Nicolas Desmarest (1725-1805), a student of French industries; and 
Joseph-Gerard Barbou (1715-1813), one of a notable family of printers, and 
the second of the name to pursue the business in Paris. ED. 



196 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

casting them together, because if one Letter happens to 
be battered, it may be taken away and another cemented 
in its Place. I received no Letter with the Pamphlet. 
I am, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1497. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 (P.O.) 

Passy April 17 1784 

DEAR SIR, 

The Commissioners have received the Letter you did them 
the honour of writing to them the 9 th Instant, and are glad 
to learn that they may expect the Pleasure of seeing you soon 
again at Paris. It is a particular Satisfaction to me, as it 
will give me an opportunity of communicating an Idea to 
you in Conversation which may tend to promote your excel- 
lent views of " effecting a cordial & conciliatory Intercourse 
between our Countries" but which I cannot so well explain 
at present by writing. 

The Bearer, Col. Harmar, 2 is an American of good Char- 
acter, who visits England in Curiosity to see the Country 
and People he has been fighting against. I wish to give him 
a good Opinion of them by the Sample he may be acquainted 
with, and therefore beg leave to recommend him to your 
Acquaintance & Civilities. 

With great and inalterable Esteem & Affection 
I am ever my dear Friend 

Yours most sincerely 
B. FRANKLIN 

1 From a copy in the collection of Mrs. L. Z. Leiter. ED. 

2 Josiah Harmar (1753-1813) entered the Continental army in the 1st 
Pennsylvanian regiment and served throughout the war. He took the ratifi- 
cation of the definitive treaty to France in 1784. ED. 



1784] TO BENJAMIN WEBB 197 

1498. TO BENJAMIN WEBB > (L. c.) 

Passy, April 22*, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received yours of the i5th Instant, and the Memorial it 
inclosed. 2 The account they give of your situation grieves 
me. I send you herewith a Bill for Ten Louis d'ors. I do 
not pretend to give such a Sum ; I only lend it to you. When 
you shall return to your Country with a good Character, you 
cannot fail of getting into some Business, that will in time 
enable you to pay all your Debts. In that Case, when you 
meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must 
pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to dis- 
charge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, 
and shall meet with such another opportunity. I hope it 
may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets with a Knave 
that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing 
a deal of good with a little money. I am not rich enough to 
afford much in good works, and so am obliged to be cunning 
and make the most of a little. With best wishes for the success 
of your Memorial, and your future prosperity, I am, dear 

Sir, your most obedient servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 The Duke of Sussex wrote in the margin of his copy of Franklin's works 
(now in B. M.), " the idea of this loan is most beautiful and bespeaks a good- 
ness of heart for which one must love the man." ED. 

2 This letter written at Geneva is in A. P. S. The writer had been declared 
a bankrupt in England, fell under suspicion of having secreted property, and 
fled to the continent. He now wished to return to England and reembark 
in business. ED. 



198 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

1499. TO HENRY LAURENS (L. c.) 

Passy, April 29, 1784 

DEAR SIR: I received your Favour by Mr. Bourdieu 
and yesterday another of the i8th, per Mr. Hartley, who also 
gave me the Gazette with the Proclamation. I am with you 
very little uneasy about that, or any other Measures the Min- 
isters may think proper to take with respect to the Commerce 
with us. We shall do very well. They have long lost Sight 
of their true Interest, and are now wandring blindfold in 
search of it, without being able to find it; but they may 
jeel what they cannot at present see; and all as you say will 
come right at last. 

Mr. Hartley seems to have some Expectation of receiving 
Instructions to negociate a Commercial Treaty. He thinks 
he could hardly be sent here merely to exchange the Rati- 
fications. I have not much dependance on this. Yet as 
we are authoriz'd to receive Overtures from any European 
Power, and to plan Treaties to be sent to Congress for Appro- 
bation, and I am not yet dismiss'd, I shall much regret your 
Absence if such a Treaty should be brought upon the Tapis : 
for Mr. Jay will probably be gone, and I shall be left alone, 
or with Mr. A., and I can have no favourable Opinion of what 
may be the Offspring of a Coalition between my ignorance 
and his Positiveness. It would help much if we could have 
from you a Sketch of the Outlines, and leading Features of 
the Treaty, in case your propos'd Embarkation for America 
should take Place before Mr. Hartley makes his Overtures. 

There being but nine States present at the Ratification, was 
owing only to the extreme Inclemency of the Season, which 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 199 

obstructed Travelling. There was in Congress one Mem- 
ber from each of three more States ; and all were unanimous 
tho' the Votes of those three could not be reckon'd. It is 
therefore without Foundation that those Gentlemen flatter 
themselves from that Circumstance with a Defection of four 
States from the Union, and hence a Probability of a Return 
of the whole to the Dominion of Britain. What Folly ! 

My grandson joins in respectful Compliments and best 
Wishes with, Dear Sir, your most obedient humble Servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1500. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 1 

Passy, April 29, 1784. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind letters of the i6th and 2oth instant. 
I thank you for your philosophical news. We have none here. 
I see your philosophers are in the way of finding out at last 
what fire is. I have long been of opinion, that it exists every- 
where in the state of a subtile fluid ; that too much of that 
fluid in our flesh gives us the sensation we call heat ; too little, 
cold ; its vibrations, light. That all solid or fluid substances, 
which are inflammable, have been composed of it; their 
dissolution in returning to their original fluid state, we call 
fire. This subtile fluid is attracted by plants and animals 
in their growth, and consolidated; is attracted by other 
substances, thermometers, &c. variously; has a particular 
affinity with water, and will quit many other bodies to attach 
itself to water, and go off with it in evaporation. Adieu. 

Yours, most sincerely, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Printed from Sparks, Vol. VI, p. 454. ED. 



200 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

1501. A LETTER FROM CHINA 1 

Lisbon, May 5, 1784. 

SIR, 

AGREEABLE to your desire, I have examined the sailor more 
particularly, and shall now give you the circumstances of his 
story, with all the observations he made in the country, con- 
cerning which you are so curious. He appears a more intel- 
ligent fellow than seamen in general. He says that he be- 
longed to the Resolution, an English ship, one of those that 
made the last voyage with Captain Cook. That on their 
return, being at Macao, he and a comrade of his were over- 
persuaded by a Portuguese captain, who spoke English and 
Chinese, to desert, in order to go with him in a brigantine to 
the northwestern coast of America, to purchase sea-beaver 
skins from the savages, by which they hoped to make fortunes. 
That accordingly they took a boat belonging to the ship, got 
ashore in the night, turned the boat adrift, and were hid by 
the Portuguese captain till the Resolution was gone. That 
this was in January, 1780, and that in April following they 
sailed from Macao, intending to go first to a place he calls 
Nooky-Bay, in latitude 50. That they had twenty-five men, 
with eight guns and small arms for their defence, and a quan- 
tity of iron ware, cutlery, with European and Chinese toys, 
for trade. 

That about the beginning of May, in a dark night, the 
captain being sick in his cabin, they were surprised and sud- 
denly boarded by two boats full of armed men, to the number 
of forty, who took possession of the brig, no resistance being 

iFrom The Repository, May, 1788. ED. 



1784] A LETTER FROM CHINA 201 

made. That these strangers altered her course, and stood, 
as he saw by the compass, to the northwest ; that the next day 
the captain understood by a Chinese among them, that they 
were Curry * Ladrones, or pirates ; that they had been cruis- 
ing on the coast of China, and had lost their vessel on a reef 
the night before; and it was explained to the captain, that 
if he and his people would work the ship, and fight upon occa- 
sion, they should be well used, and have a share of plunder, 
or otherwise be thrown overboard. That all consented, and 
three days after they saw land, and coasted it northward; 
that they took two Chinese junks, who were sent away steer- 
ing northeast, eight men being put into each, and some of 
the Chinese taken out. That the brig went on to the north- 
ward for four days after, without taking any thing ; but run- 
ning too near the coast in chase of another Chinese, they stuck 
fast on a shoal in a falling tide; that they hoped to get off 
by the night flood, but were mistaken, and the next morning 
were surrounded by a great many armed boats and vessels, 
which the chased vessel, which got in, had probably occa- 
sioned to come out against them. That at first they beat off 
those vessels, but, reinforcements coming, they saw it im- 
possible to escape, and submitted, and were all brought on 
shore and committed to prison. 

That a few days after they were taken out and examined, 
and, the Portuguese captain making it appear that he and his 
people were prisoners to the Ladrones, they were recommitted, 
and the Ladrones all beheaded. That the brig, being got off, 
was, after some time, as he understood, by an order from 
court, restored to the Portuguese captain, who went away in 
her with all his people, except this relator and a Portuguese 

1 Perhaps Corf a. S. 



202 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

lad, who, being both ill of the flux, and likely to die, were left 
behind in prison. What became of the brig afterwards, he 
never heard. That they were well attended in their sickness, 
and soon recovered, but were not set at liberty. That the 
prison was a very clean, airy place, consisting of several courts 
and ranges of building, the whole securely walled and guarded, 
and governed with great order. That every body was obliged 
to work; but his work was not hard, it was weaving rushes 
upon hoops for the bottom of chairs, and they had some 
small pay for them, which, added to the prison allowance of 
rice and chong, was more than a sufficiency; and he thinks 
there are no such comfortable prisons in England, at least 
among those he had been acquainted with. That he applied 
himself to learn the Chinese language, and succeeded so far 
at last as to understand and make himself understood in 
common matters. That some of the most orderly prisoners 
were allowed to assist the neighbouring country people in 
time of harvest, under the care of overseers. That he and his 
companion were from time to time made to expect that orders 
would come from court for their release; but he supposes 
they were quite forgotten. They had written frequently to 
the Popish missionaries at Pekin, requesting their solicita- 
tions, but received no answer; and perhaps the prison- 
keeper, who had a profit on their labour, never sent their 
letters. 

That after more than a year's confinement, being in the 
country at a harvest, he accidentally cut his foot very badly, 
and was left behind at a farmer's house to be cured; the 
farmer undertaking to return him to prison when recovered. 
That he got into favour in the family; that he taught the 
farmer's wife to make soap, which he understood, it being 



1784] A LETTER FROM CHINA 203 

his father's trade. That he had himself been apprentice 'to a 
shoemaker before he took to the sea ; and, finding some leather 
in the house, he made himself, with such tools as he could get 
or make, a large shoe for his lame foot. That the farmer ad- 
mired the shoe much above the Chinese shoes, and requested 
a pair for himself. That he accordingly made shoes for the 
farmer, his wife, two sons, and a daughter. That he was 
obliged first to make the lasts for all of them ; and that it is 
not true that the feet of Chinese women are less than those 
of English women. That, these shoes being admired, many 
inhabitants of the neighbouring village desired to have of 
them ; so he was kept constantly at work, the farmer finding 
the leather, selling the shoes, and allowing him some share 
of the profit, by which he got about an ounce of silver per week, 
all money being weighed there. That the Chinese tan their 
leather with oaken chips, saw-dust, and shavings, which are 
saved by the carpenters for the farmers, who boil them, and 
steep their hides in the warm liquor, so that it is sooner fit 
for use. That the farmer's wife began to get money by selling 
soap, and they proposed to obtain his liberty, and keep him 
in the family, by giving him their daughter, when a little 
older, for a wife, with a piece of land ; and he believes they 
did prevail with the jailor, by presents, to connive at his stay, 
on pretence of his lameness. 

He liked their way of living, except their sometimes eat- 
ing dog's flesh. Their pork was excellent ; the rice, dressed 
various ways, all very good, and the chong he grew fond of, 
and learnt to make it. They put kidney beans in soak for 
twenty-four hours, then grind them in a hand-mill, pouring 
in water from time to time to wash the meal from between the 
stones, which falls into a tub covered with a coarse cloth that 



204 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

lets the meal and water pass through, retaining only the skins 
of the beans ; that a very small quantity of alum, or some 
sort of salt, put into it, makes the meal settle to the bottom, 
when they pour off the water. That it is eaten various ways, 
by all sorts of people, with milk, with meat, as thickening 
in broth, &c. That they used also to put a little alum in their 
river water when foul, to clear it for use, and by that means 
made it as clear as rock water, the dirt all settling. Their 
house was near a great river, but he does not remember its 
name. That he lived in this family about a year, but did not 
get the daughter, her grandfather refusing his consent to her 
marriage with a stranger. 

That they have a sort of religion, with priests and churches, 
but do not keep Sunday, nor go to church, being very heathen- 
ish. That in every house there is a little idol, to which they 
give thanks, make presents, and show respect in harvest time, 
but very little at other times ; and, inquiring of his master why 
they did not go to church to pray, as we do in Europe, he was 
answered, they paid the priests to pray for them, that they 
might stay at home and mind their business; and that it 
would be a folly to pay others for praying, and then go and 
do the praying themselves ; and that the more work they did 
while the priests prayed, the better able they were to pay them 
well for praying. 

That they have horses, but not many; the breed small, 
but strong ; kept chiefly for war, and not used in labour, nor 
to draw carriages. That oxen are used ; but the chief of their 
labour is done by men, not only in the fields, but on the roads, 
travellers being carried from town to town in bamboo chairs, 
by hired chairmen, throughout the country ; and goods also, 
either hanging on poles between two, and sometimes four men, 



1784] A LETTER FROM CHINA 205 

or in wheel-barrows ; they having no coaches, carts, or wag- 
gons, and the roads being paved with flat stones. 

They say that their great father (so they call the emperor) 
forbids the keeping of horses, because he had rather have his 
country filled with his children than with brutes; and one 
horse requires as much ground to produce him food, as would 
feed six men ; yet some great people obtain leave to keep one 
horse for pleasure. That the master, having a farm left to 
him by a deceased relation, in a distant part of the country, 
sold the land he lived on, and went with the whole family to 
take possession, and live on the other. That they embarked 
in one of the boats that carry sea fish into the heart of the em- 
pire, which are kept fresh even in hot weather, by being packed 
in great hampers with layers of ice and straw, and repacked 
every two or three days with fresh ice, taken at ice-houses 
on the way. That they had been ten days on their voyage, 
when they arrived at the new farm, going up always against 
the stream. That the owner of the boat, finding him handy 
and strong in rowing and working her, and one of the hands 
falling sick, persuaded him to go fifteen days farther, promis- 
ing him great pay, and to bring him back to the family. But 
that, having unloaded the fish, the Chinese went off with his 
boat in the night, leaving him behind, without paying him. 
That there is a great deal of cheating in China, and no remedy. 
That stealing, robbing, and house-breaking are punished 
severely ; but cheating is free there in every thing, as cheating 
in horses is among our gentlemen in England. 

That, meeting at that place with a boat bound towards 
Canton in a canal, he thought it might be a means of escap- 
ing out of that country, if he went in her ; so he shipped him- 
self to work for his passage, though it was with regret he 



206 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

left for ever the kind family he had so long lived with. That 
after twenty-five days' voyage on the canal, the boat stopping 
at a little town, he went ashore, and walked about to look at 
it, and buy some tobacco ; and in returning he was stopped, 
taken up, examined, and sent away, under a guard, across 
the country to a mandarin, distant two days' journey. 
That here he found the lingo somewhat different, and could 
not so well make himself understood; that he was kept a 
month in prison before the mandarin had leisure to examine 
him. That, having given a true account of himself, as well 
as he could, the mandarin set him at liberty, but advised him 
to wait the departure of some persons for Canton, with whom 
he proposed to send him as a shipwrecked stranger, at the 
emperor's expense. That in the mean time he worked in the 
mandarin's garden, and conversed with the common people. 
He does not recollect the name of the province, but says it 
was one of the tea countries ; and that, besides the true tea, 
they made a vast deal of counterfeit tea, which they packed 
up in boxes, some mixed with good tea, but mostly unmixed, 
and sent it away to different sea-ports for the supply of for- 
eign countries. That he observed they made ordinary tea 
of the leaves of sweet potatoes, which they cut into form by 
stamps, and had the art of giving such colour and taste as they 
judged proper. When he spoke of this practice as a fraud, 
they said there was no harm in it, for strangers liked the false 
tea as well, or better, than the true ; and that it was impossible 
to load with true tea all the ships that came for it ; China 
could not furnish such a quantity ; and, if the demand went 
on increasing as it had done some years past, all the leaves 
of all the trees in the country would not be sufficient to answer 
it. This tea was sold cheap, as he understood twenty catty 



1784] A LETTER FROM CHINA 207 

of it (a catty is near our pound) for about an ounce of silver. 
They did not drink it themselves, but said it was not unwhole- 
some, if drunk moderately. 

That after some time he set out in the train of seven mer- 
chants for Canton, with a passport from the mandarin, going 
partly by land, but chiefly by water in canals. That they 
stopt a week in a part of the country where a great deal of 
China ware is made; that many farmers had little furnaces 
in some out-house, where they worked at leisure times, and 
made, some nothing but tea-cups, others nothing but saucers, 
&c., which they sold to country shopkeepers, who collected 
quantities for the merchants. The ware is there very cheap. 
He could have bought a dozen pretty cups and saucers for 
as much silver as is in an English half-crown. 

He says it is not true, that they have large wheel carriages 
in China, driven by the wind ; at least he never saw or heard 
of any such; but that the wheelbarrow porters indeed, when 
passing some great open countries, do sometimes, if the wind 
is fair, spread a thin cotton sail, supported by a light bam- 
boo mast, which they stick up on their wheelbarrows, and it 
helps them along. That he once saw a fleet of near three 
hundred sail of those wheelbarrows, each with a double wheel. 
That, when he arrived at Canton, he did not make himself 
known to the English there, but got down as soon as he could 
to Macao, hoping to meet with his Portuguese captain; but 
he had never returned. That he worked there in rigging of 
vessels, till he had an opportunity of coming home to Europe ; 
and, hearing on his arrival here, from an old comrade in the 
packet, that his sweetheart is married, and that the Resolution 
and Endeavour got home, he shall decline going to England 
yet a while, fearing he may be punished for carrying off the 



208 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

boat ; therefore he has shipped himself, as I wrote you before, 
on a voyage to America. He was between three and four years 
in China. This is the substance of what I got from him, 
and nearly as he related it. He gave me the names of some 
places, but I found them hard to remember, and cannot recol- 
lect them. 



1502. TO SAMUEL MATHER 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, May 12, 1784. 
REV d SIR, 

I received your kind letter, with your excellent advice to 
the people of the United States, which I read with great pleas- 
ure, and hope it will be duly regarded. Such writings, though 
they may be lightly passed over by many readers, yet, if they 
make a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, the 
effects may be considerable. Permit me to mention one little 
instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite 
uninteresting to you. When I was a boy, I met with a book, 
entitled "Essays to do Good" which I think was written by 
your father. 2 It had been so little regarded by a former 
possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out ; but the re- 
mainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influ- 
ence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a 
greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any 
other kind of reputation ; and if I have been, as you seem to 
think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to 
that book. 

1 Samuel Mather was colleague pastor of the same church to which his 
father and grandfather had ministered. He died June 27, 1785. ED. 

2 Cotton Mather. ED. 



1 784] TO SAMUEL MATHER log 

You mention your being in your 78 th year ; I am in my 79"" ; 
we are grown old together. It is now more than 60 years since 
I left Boston, but I remember well both your father and grand- 
father, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them 
in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the 
beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to 
Pennsylvania. He received me in his library, and on my 
taking leave showed me a shorter way out of the house through 
a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head. 
We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me be- 
hind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, 
"Stoop, stoop!" I did not understand him, till I felt my head 
hit against the beam. He was a man that never missed any 
occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me, 
" You are young, and have the world be j ore you; STOOP as you 
go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps." This 
advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use 
to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, 
and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their 
heads too high. 

I long much to see again my native place, and to lay my 
bones there. I left it in 1723 ; I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, 
and 1763. In 1773 I was in England ; in 1775 I had a sight 
of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy. 1 
I did hope to have been there in 1783, but could not 
obtain my dismission from this employment here; and 
now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best 
wishes however attend my dear country. Esto perpetua. 

1 In October, 1775, he went to the camp at Cambridge, as one of a com- 
mittee from Congress to consult with General Washington respecting the 
affairs of the army then besieging Boston. S. 
VOL. ix P 



210 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

It is now blest with an excellent constitution; may it last 
for ever! 

This powerful monarchy continues its friendship for the 
United States. It is a friendship of the utmost importance 
to our security, and should be carefully cultivated. Britain 
has not yet well digested the loss of its dominion over us, and 
has still at times some flattering hopes of recovering it. Acci- 
dents may increase those hopes, and encourage dangerous 
attempts. A breach between us and France would infallibly 
bring the English again upon our backs ; and yet we have 
some wild heads among our countrymen, who are endeavour- 
ing to weaken that connexion ! Let us preserve our reputation 
by performing our engagements ; our credit by fulfilling our 
contracts; and friends by gratitude and kindness; for we 
know not how soon we may again have occasion for all of 
them. With great and sincere esteem, I have the honour to 
be, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1503. TO THOMAS MIFFLIN (L. c.) 

Passy, May 12, 1784. 

SIR, 

In my last I acquainted your Excellency, that Mr. Hartley 
was soon expected here to exchange Ratifications of the defini- 
tive Treaty. He is now arriv'd, and proposes to make the 
Exchange this Afternoon. I shall then be enabled to send a 
Copy. Enclosed is the new British Proclamation respecting 
our Trade with their Colonies. It is said to be only a tem- 
porary Provision, till Parliament can assemble and make some 
proper regulating Law, or till a commercial Treaty shall be 
framed and agreed to. Mr. Hartley expects Instructions 



1784] TO HENRY LAURENS 211 

for planning with us such a Treaty. The Ministry are sup- 
pos'd to have been too busy with the new Elections, when he 
left London, to think of those Matters. 

This Court has not compleated its intended new System 
for the Trade of their Colonies, so that I cannot yet give a 
certain Account of the Advantages, that will in fine be allow'd 
us. At present it is said we are to have two Free Ports, To- 
bago and the Mole, and that we may carry Lumber and all 
sorts of Provisions to the rest, except Flour, which is reserv'd 
in favour of Bordeaux, and that we shall be permitted to ex- 
port Coffee, Rum, Mollasses, and some Sugar, for our own 
Consumption. 

We have had under Consideration a commercial Treaty 
propos'd to us by the King of Prussia, and have sent it back 
with our Remarks to Mr. Adams, who will, I suppose, trans- 
mit it immediately to Congress. Those plann'd with Den- 
mark and Portugal wait its Determination. 

Be pleased to present my dutiful Respects to the Congress, 
and believe me to be, with sincere and great Esteem, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1504. TO HENRY LAURENS (L. c.) 

Passy, May 13, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I am sorry for the numerous Disappointments you have 
lately met with. The World, it's true, is full of Disappoint- 
ments, but they are not equally divided, and you have had 
more than your Share. 

The Ratifications of the definitive Treaty are now ex- 
chang'd; but Mr. Hartley waits for Instructions respecting 



212 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

a Treaty of Commerce, which, from what you observe, may 
probably never arrive. I shall, however, be glad to receive 
what you are so good as to promise me, your Thoughts on the 
Subject of such a Treaty. 

You have been so kind as to offer me your friendly services 
in America. You will oblige me greatly in forwarding my 
Dismission from this employment, for I long much to be at 
home; and if you should think my Grandson qualified to 
serve the States as Secretary to my Successor, or Charge 
d' Affaires, till a Successor arrives, I shall thank you for recom- 
mending him. His Knowledge of this Court, and acquaint- 
ance with the Language, and the Esteem the Minister has 
for him, are Circumstances in his favor ; his long Experience 
in the Business here is another, he having served an Appren- 
ticeship to it for more than seven Years. His Intelligence, 
Discretion, and Address, you can judge better of than myself, 
who may be partial. His Fidelity and Exactitude in perform- 
ing his Duty, I can answer for. 

My best Wishes attend you, your very valuable Son, and 
amiable Daughter. God bless you all, and give you a good 
Voyage, and a happy Meeting with your Friends, with long 
Life, Health, and Prosperity, is the sincere Prayer of your 
affectionate humble Servant, -g p RANKLIN 



1505. TO CHARLES THOMSON 1 

DEAR SIR, Pass ^ Ma ^ I3 ' I784 ' 

Yesterday evening Mr. Hartley met with Mr. Jay and myself 
when the ratifications of the Definitive Treaty were exchanged. 
I send a copy of the English Ratification to the President. 

1 From the original in the New York Historical Society. ED. 



1784] TO CHARLES THOMSON 213 

Thus the great and hazardous enterprize we have been 
engaged in is, God be praised, happily compleated ; an event 
I hardly expected I should live to see. A few years of Peace, 
will improve, will restore and encrease our strength ; but our 
future safety will depend on our union and our virtue. Brit- 
ain will be long watching for advantages, to recover what she 
has lost. If we do not convince the world, that we are a 
Nation to be depended on for fidelity in Treaties ; if we appear 
negligent in paying our Debts, and ungrateful to those who 
have served and befriended us; our reputation, and all the 
strength it is capable of procuring, will be lost, and fresh 
attacks upon us will be encouraged and promoted by better 
prospects of success. Let us therefore beware of being lulled 
into a dangerous security ; and of being both enervated and 
impoverished by luxury ; of being weakened by internal con- 
tentions and divisions; of being shamefully extravagant in 
contracting private debts, while we are backward in dis- 
charging honorably those of the public ; of neglect in military 
exercises and discipline, and in providing stores of arms and 
munitions of war, to be ready on occasion ; for all these are 
circumstances that give confidence to enemies, and diffidence 
to friends; and the expenses required to prevent a war are 
much lighter than those that will, if not prevented, be abso- 
lutely necessary to maintain it. 

I am long kept in suspense without being able to learn the 
purpose of Congress respecting my request of recall, and that 
of some employment for my secretary, William Temple 
Franklin. If I am kept here another winter, and as much 
weakened by it as by the last, I may as well resolve to spend 
the remainder of my days here; for I shall be hardly able 
to bear the fatigues of the voyage in returning. During my 



214 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

long absence from America, my friends are continually 
diminishing by death, and my inducements to return in pro- 
portion. But I can make no preparations either for going 
conveniently, or staying comfortably here, nor take any steps 
towards making some other provision for my grandson, till I 
know what I am to expect. Be so good, my dear friend, as to 
send me a little private information. With great esteem, I 

am ever yours, most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1506. TO MR. AND MRS. JAY (L. c.) 

Passy, May 13, 1784. 
MY DEAR FRIENDS, 

I find I shall not be able to see you again as I intended. 
My best Wishes, however, go with you, that you may have 
a prosperous Voyage and a happy sight of your Friends and 
Families. 

Mr. Jay was so kind as to offer his Friendly Services to me 
in America. He will oblige me much by endeavouring to 
forward my Discharge from this Employment. Repose is 
now my only Ambition. If too, he should think with me, 
that my Grandson is qualified to serve the States as Secretary 
to a future Minister at this Court, or as Chargi d' Affaires, 
and will be kind enough to recommend such an Appointment, 
it will exceedingly oblige me. I have twice mentioned this 
in my letter to Congress, but have not been favored with any 
answer; which is hard, because the suspense prevents my 
endeavouring to promote him in some other way. I would 
not, however, be importunate; and therefore, if Mr. Jay 
should use his Interest without Effect, I will trouble them no 



1784] METEOROLOGICAL CONJECTURES 215 

more on the subject. My Grandson's acquaintance with 
the Language, with the Court and Customs here, and the 
particular Regard M. de Vergennes has for him, are Cir- 
cumstances in his favour. 

God bless and protect you both. Embrace my little 
Friend for me, and believe me ever yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1507. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (p. A. E. E. u.) 

Passy, May 31. 1784. 

SOME inconveniences are said to have arisen from a want 
of certainty in the power of our consuls. The articles re- 
specting that matter have been some time prepared and agreed 
to between M. de Rayneval and me. If there is no change 
of sentiment respecting them, I beg leave to request your 
Excellency would direct such steps to be taken as may be 
proper for compelling them. I am ready on the part of the 
United States to sign them at any time. With great respect, 
I am sir, etc., B. FRANKLIN. 



1508. METEOROLOGICAL IMAGINATIONS AND 
CONJECTURES 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, May, 1784. 

THERE seems to be a Region high in the Air over all Coun- 
tries, where it is always Winter, where Frost exists continu- 

1 First printed in the " Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society 
of Manchester," Vol. II, p. 357. It was communicated to the Society by Dr. 
Percival, and read December 22, 1784. ED. 



216 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

ally, since in the midst of Summer, on the Surface of the Earth, 
Ice falls often from above, in the Form of Hail. 

Hailstones, of the great Weight we sometimes find them, 
did not pfobably acquire their Magnitude before they began 
to descend. The Air, being 800 times rarer than Water, is 
unable to support it but in the Shape of Vapour, a State in 
which its Particles are separated. As soon as they are con- 
densed by the Cold of the upper Regions, so as to form a 
Drop, that Drop begins to fall. If it freezes into a Grain of 
Ice, that Ice descends. In descending, both the Drop of 
Water and the Grain of Ice are augmented by Particles of the 
Vapour they pass thro' in falling, and which they condense 
by their Coldness, and attach to themselves. 

It is possible that, in Summer, much of what is Rain when 
it arrives at the Surface of the Earth, might have been Snow 
when it began its Descent ; but, being thaw'd in passing thro* 
the warm Air near the Surface, it is changed from Snow into 
Rain. 

How immensely cold must be the original Particle of Hail, 
which forms the Centre of the future Hailstone, since it is 
capable of communicating sufficient Cold, if I may so speak, 
because perhaps it is not by communicating Cold to the Par- 
ticles of Vapour that it freezes them but by depriving them of 
their Heat, to freeze all the Mass of Vapour condensed round 
it, and form a Lump of perhaps 6 or 8 ounces in weight 1 

When, in Summer time, the Sun is high, and long every 
Day above the Horizon, his Rays strike the Earth more di- 
rectly, and with longer Continuance, than in Winter; hence 
the Surface is more heated, and to a greater Depth, by the 
Effect of those Rays. 

When Rain falls on the heated Earth, and soaks down into 



1784] METEOROLOGICAL CONJECTURES 217 

it, it carries down with it a great part of the Heat, which by 
that means descends still deeper. 

The Mass of Earth, to the depth perhaps of 30 Feet, being 
thus heated to a certain Degree, continues to retain its Heat 
for some time. Thus the first Snows, that fall in the Begin- 
ning of Winter, seldom lie long on the Surface, but are soon 
melted, and soon absorbed. After which, the Winds, that 
blow over the Country on which the Snows had fallen, are not 
rend'red so cold as they would have been, by those Snows, 
if they had remained. The Earth, too, thus uncovered by the 
Snows, which would have reflected the Sun's Rays, now 
absorbs them, receiving and retaining the Warmth they afford 
and thus the Approach of the Severity of Winter is retarded ; 
and the extreme degree of its Cold is not always at the time 
we might expect it, viz. when the Sun is at its greatest Distance, 
and the Days shortest, but some time after that Period, accord- 
ing to the English Proverb, which says, " As the Day length- 
ens, the Cold strengthens;" the Causes of refrigeration con- 
tinuing to operate, while the Sun returns too slowly, and his 
Force continues too weak, to counteract them. 

During several of the Summer Months of the Year 1783, 
when the Effect of the Sun's Rays to heat the Earth in these 
northern Regions should have been greatest, there existed 
a constant Fog over all Europe. This Fog was of a permanent 
Nature ; it was dry, and the Rays of the Sun seem'd to have 
little Effect towards dissipating it, as they easily do a moist 
Fog, arising from Water. They were indeed rend'red so faint 
in passing thro' it, that, when collected in the Focus of a 
Burning- Glass, they would scarce kindle brown Paper. Of 
course, their Summer Effect in heating the Earth was exceed- 
ingly diminished. 



218 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

Hence the Surface was early frozen. 

Hence the first Snows remained on it unmelted, and re- 
ceived continual Additions. 

Hence the Air was more chilled and the Winds more se- 
verely cold. Hence perhaps the Winter of 1783-4, was more 
severe than any that had happened for many years. 

The Cause of this Universal Fog is not yet ascertained. 
Whether it was adventitious to this Earth, and merely a 
Smoke proceeding from the Consumption by Fire of some of 
those great burning Balls or Globes which we happen to 
meet with in our rapid Course round the Sun, and which are 
sometimes seen to kindle and be destroy'd in passing our 
Atmosphere, and whose Smoke might be attracted and re- 
tain'd by our Earth: or whether it was the vast Quantity 
of Smoke, long continuing to issue during the Summer from 
Hecla, in Iceland, and that other Volcano which arose out of 
the Sea near that Island, which Smoke might be spread by 
various Winds, over the northern Part of the World, is yet 
uncertain. 

It seems however worth the Enquiry, whether other hard 
Winters, recorded in History, were preceded by similar per- 
manent and widely extended Summer Fogs. Because, if 
found to be so, Men might from such Fogs conjecture the 
Probability of a succeeding hard Winter, and of the damages 
to be expected by the breaking up of frozen Rivers at the Ap- 
proach of Spring; and take such Measures as are possible 
and practicable, to secure themselves and Effects from the 
Mischiefs that attended the last. 



1784] TO DAVID HARTLEY 219 

1509. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 (P. c.) 

Passy, June 2, 1784. 

SIR, 

I have considered the Observations you did me the honour 
of communicating to me, concerning certain Inaccuracies 
of Expression, and suppos'd Defects of Formality in the In- 
strument of Ratification, some of which are said to be of 
such a Nature as to affect " the Validity of the Instrument." 

The first is, "that the United States are named before his 
Majesty, contrary to the established Custom observed in every 
Treaty in which a Crowned Head and a Republic are the con- 
tracting Parties." With respect to this, it seems to me we 
should distinguish between that Act in which both join, to 
wit, the Treaty, and that which is the Act of each separately, 
the Ratification. It is necessary that all the Modes of Ex- 
pression in the joint Act should be agreed to by both Parties, 
tho' in their separate Acts each Party is Master of, and alone 
accountable for its own mode. And on inspecting the Treaty, 
it will be found that his Majesty is always regularly named 
before the United States. Thus "the established Custom 
in Treaties between Crowned Heads and Republics," con- 
tended for on your Part, is strictly observed : And the ratifica- 
tion following the treaty contains these Words. "Now 
know ye, that we, the United States in Congress assembled, 
having seen and considered the Definitive Articles aforesaid, 
have approved, ratified, and confirmed, and by these Presents 
do approve, ratify, and confirm the said Articles, AND EVERY 

1 From a secretary's copy in the collection of Mrs. L. Z. Leiter. The date 
in this copy appears to have been altered from June 2 to June 8. ED. 



220 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

PART AND CLAUSE THEREOF," &c. Hereby all those Articles, 
Parts, and Clauses, wherein the King is named before the 
United States, are approved, ratified, and confirmed, and this 
solemnly, under the Signature of the President of Congress, 
with the public Seal affixed by their Order, and counter- 
signed by their Secretary. 

No Declaration on this Subject more determinate or more 
authentic can possibly be made or given, which, when con- 
sidered, may probably induce his Majesty's Ministers to waive 
the Proposition of our signing a similar Declaration, or of 
sending back the Ratification to be corrected in this Point, 
neither appearing to be really necessary. I will, however, 
if it be still desired, transmit to Congress the Observation, 
and the Difficulty occasioned by it, and request their Orders 
upon it. In the mean time I may venture to say, that I am 
confident there was no intention of affronting his Majesty 
by this Order of Nomination, but that it resulted merely from 
that Sort of Complaisance, which every Nation seems to have 
for itself, and of that Respect for its own Government, cus- 
tomarily so expressed in its own Acts, of which the English 
among the rest afford an Instance, when in the Title of the 
King they always name Great Britain before France. 

The second Objection is, " that the Term Definitive Articles 
is used instead of Definitive Treaty" If the words Defini- 
tive Treaty had been used in the Ratification instead of 
Definitive Articles, it might have been more correct, tho' the 
Difference seems not great, nor of much Importance, as in the 
Treaty itself it is called "the present Definitive Treaty." 

The other Objections are, "that the Conclusion likewise 
appears deficient, as it is neither signed by the President, nor 
is it dated, and consequently is wanting in some of the most 



1784] TO CONDE DE CAMPOMANES 221 

essential Points of Form necessary towards authenticating the 
Validity of the Instrument." The Situation of Seals and Sig- 
natures, in public Instruments differs in different Countries, 
tho' all equally valid ; for, when all the Parts of an Instrument 
are connected by a Ribband, whose Ends are secured under 
the Impression of the Seal, the Signature and Seal, wherever 
plac'd, are understood as relating to and authenticating the 
whole. Our usage is to place them both together in the broad 
Margin near the Beginning of the Piece ; and so they stand in 
the present Ratification, the concluding Words of which de- 
clare the Intention of such Signing and Sealing to be giving 
authenticity to the whole Instrument, viz. "In Testimony 
whereof, We have caused the Seal of the United States to be 
hereunto affixed; Witness his Excellency Thomas Mifflin, 
Esq r , President;" and the Date supposed to be omitted, 
(perhaps from its not appearing in Figures) is nevertheless 
to be found written in Words at length, viz. " this fourteenth 
Day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven 
hundred and eighty-four," which made the Figures unneces- 
sary. With great Esteem and Respect, I have the honour to 

be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1510. TO CONDE DE CAMPOMANES (A. p. s.) 

Passy, June 5, 1784. 

SIR, 

I have received much Instruction and Pleasure in reading 
your excellent Writings. I wish it were in my Power to 
make you a suitable Return of the same kind. I embrace the 
Opportunity, my much esteemed Friend Mr. Carmichael 



222 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

affords me, of sending you a late Collection of some of my 
occasional Pieces, of which, if I should live to get home, I 
hope to publish another Edition much larger, more correct, 
and less unworthy of your Acceptance. 

You are engaged in a great Work, reforming the ancient 
Habitudes, removing the Prejudices, and promoting the In- 
dustry of your Nation. You have in the Spanish People good 
Stuff to work upon, and by a steady Perseverance you will 
obtain perhaps a Success beyond your Expectation ; for it is 
incredible the quantity of Good that may be done in a Coun- 
try by a single Man, who will make a Business of it, and not 
suffer himself to be diverted from that Purpose by different 
Avocations, Studies, or Amusements. 

There are two Opinions prevalent in Europe, which have 
mischievous Effects in diminishing national Felicity ; the one, 
That useful Labour is dishonourable ; the other, that Fami- 
lies may be perpetuated with Estates. In America we have 
neither of these Prejudices, which is a great Advantage to us. 
You will see our Ideas respecting the first, in a little Piece I 
send you, called Information to those who would remove to 
America. The second is mathematically demonstrable to be 
an Impossibility under the present Rules of Law and Religion. 
Since tho' the Estate may remain entire, the Family is con- 
tinually dividing. For a man's Son is but half of his Family, 
his Grandson but a Fourth, his Great Grandson but an Eighth, 
the next but a Sixteenth of his Family ; and, by the same Pro- 
gression, in only nine Generations the present Proprietor's 
Part hi the then Possessor of the Estate will be but a 51 2th, 
supposing the Fidelity of all the succeeding Wives equally 
certain with that of those now existing : Too small a Portion, 
methinks, to be anxious about, so as to oppose a legal Liberty 



1784] TO CONDE DE CAMPOMANES 223 

of breaking Entails and dividing Estates, which would con- 
tribute so much to the Prosperity of the Country. With 
great and sincere Esteem and Respect, and best Wishes for 
the Success of your patriotic Undertaking, I have the honour 
to be, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN/ 

1 To this letter Campomanes replied, July 26, 1784 (A. P. S.) : 

"I have received, by the hands of my friend Mr. Carmichael, your estimable 
letter of the 5th of June, the collection of your miscellaneous writings, and the 
piece entitled, Information to those who would remove to America, All these 
writings exhibit proofs of their having proceeded from a statesman, endowed 
with foresight, and vigilant for the best interests of his country, according to 
the political combinations and systems of government under which they were 
composed ; and they manifest, at the same time, an ardent desire for the gen- 
eral happiness of mankind, founded on principles and calculations carried to 
as high a degree of demonstration, as the vicissitude and inconsistency of 
the various systems adopted for the government of men will admit. . . . 

" The frankness, with which you dissuade people in Europe from emigrating 
inconsiderately to America, is a proof of your general philanthropy, and of a 
candor peculiar to a good man, true philosopher, and genuine patriot. You 
extend this same benevolence to Spain, in your remarks respecting the honour 
that is due to labour, and against the entailment of estates. The former is 
now confirmed among us by a recent law, a copy of which I send herewith, de- 
claring the honourable light in which every description of artisans should be 
regarded. Labourers were always honoured and favoured by our laws. As 
to what regards entailments, I refer you to what I wrote in the year 1765, at 
the end of my treatise upon Mortmain, in which I think I have demonstrated, 
that another regulation ought to precede this in the progress of legislation. I 
add also, that there is some diversity of circumstances between a monarchical 
and democratical constitution in this respect. 

" I should have great pleasure in extending these reflections, if time would 
permit, although your penetration and sagacity would render them unnecessary. 
The honour conferred upon me by The American Philosophical Society, in 
electing me a member on the i6th of January, lays me under the pleasing 
obligation of expressing my gratitude through you, the worthy President of 
the Society. Desirous of reciprocating in some manner this act of courtesy, I 
proposed you as an honourary member of the Royal Academy of History, of 
which I am President. The proposal was responded to by universal acclama- 
tion ; the Academy feeling in the highest degree honoured by having on its 
list the name of a man so eminent in the world of letters, and so distinguished 
for the part he has acted in a Revolution, the most memorable in the history 
of modern times." ED. 



224 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 
1511. TO CHARLES THOMSON 1 

Passy, June 14, 1784. 

DEAR SIR 

I received yours of April ipth, 2 with the information you 
obtained from our old neighbour, Reuben Haines, respecting 
Marggrander, 3 for which I thank you. I am much pestered 
with applications to make such enquiries, and often obliged 
to promise that I will transmit them ; but I would not wish you 
to take more trouble, than to ask questions of the members 
of Congress, or others that fall in your way, and communi- 
cate to me their answers, if of any importance. I have also 
a multitude of projects sent to me, with requests that I would 
lay them before Congress. They are plans and schemes of 
Government and Legislation, Education, Defence, Manu- 
factures, Commerce, &c., form'd by people who have great 
good will to us, but are totally ignorant of our affairs and 
circumstances; whence their projects are for the most part 
wild and impracticable, or unfit to be presented to Congress, 
as not pertaining to their jurisdiction. I have therefore 
not forwarded them; but will now and then send some of 
them for your amusement, if you should ever have any leisure, 
that you may see how people make shoes for feet they have 
never measured. 

As your letter mentions nothing of publick affairs, I 
imagined I might have had, by the same conveyance, some 

1 From the original in New York Historical Society. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 

8 Adam Marggrander was employed by Reuben Haines as a brewer and 
cooper. He enlisted as a substitute in the militia and marched into Northum- 
berland County. Nothing further was known of him. ED. 



1784] TO THOMAS MIFFLIN 225 

dispatches from Congress, perhaps in the care of some pas- 
senger ; but a fortnight has past since the arrival of the packet- 
boat, and no Letters appear; so that I have nothing from 
Congress later than the 14 of January, and continue in great 
uncertainty as to my return. 

Mr. Norris l came here, after residing some time at Liege. 
He staid but a week or two at Paris, and then removed to 
a country town not far distant, where nothing but French is 
spoken, in order to improve himself in that language. He 
seems a sensible, discreet young man, and I should with pleas- 
ure render him any service that may be in my power. 

The King of Sweden is now at this court, enjoying the 
various splendid entertainments provided for him. The 
Danish Minister is astonished, that the Congress are so long 
without taking any notice of the proposed Treaty. With 
great esteem, I am ever, my Dear Friend, yours most 

affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1512. TO THOMAS MIFFLIN (L. c.) 

Passy, June 16, 1784. 

SIR, 

My Letter by Mr. Jay acquainted your Excellency, that the 
Ratifications of the Definitive Treaty were exchanged. A 
Copy of the British part was also sent by him. 

Mr. Hartley remained here expecting Instructions to treat 
with us on the Subject of Commerce. The Bustle attending 
a new Election and Meeting of Parliament, he imagined 
might occasion the long Delay of those Instructions. He 

1 Son of Isaac Norris, Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly. ED. 
VOL. IX Q 



226 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ^784 

now thinks, that, the Affair of American Trade being under 
the Consideration of Parliament, it is probable no Treaty 
will be propos'd till the Result is known. Mr. Jay, who 
saiFd for America the ist Inst. from Dover, and who saw there 
several of our Friends from London before his Departure, 
and Mr. Laurens who left London the 6th to go in the Fal- 
mouth Packet, will be able to give you more perfect Informa- 
tions than I can, of what may be expected as the Deter- 
mination of the British government respecting our Intercourse 
with their Islands; and, therefore, I omit my Conjectures, 
only mentioning, that from various Circumstances there seems 
to be some lurking Remains of ill Humour there, and of Re- 
sentment against us, which only wants a favourable Oppor- 
tunity to manifest itself. 

This makes it more necessary for us to be upon our guard 
and prepared for Events, that a Change in the Affairs of 
Europe may produce; its Tranquility depending, perhaps, 
on the Life of one Man, and it being impossible to foresee in 
what Situation a new Arrangement of its various Interests 
may place us. Ours will be respected in proportion to the 
apparent Solidity of our Government, the Support of our 
Credit, the Maintenance of a good Understanding with our 
Friends, and our Readiness for Defence. All which I per- 
suade myself will be taken care of. 

Inclose I send a Copy of a Letter from Mr. Hartley to me, 
respecting some suppos'd Defects in the Ratification, together 
with my Answer, which he has transmitted to London. The 
Objections appeared to me trivial and absurd ; but I thought 
it prudent to treat them with as much Decency as I could, 
lest the ill Temper should be augmented, which might be 
particularly inconvenient, while the Commerce was under 



1784] THOUGHTS ON A UNIVERSAL FLUID 2*27 

Consideration. There has not yet been time for Mr. Hartley 
to hear whether my Answer has been satisfactory, or whether 
the Ministers will still insist on my sending for an amended 
Copy from America, as they proposed. 

I do not perceive the least Diminution in the good Disposi- 
tion of this Court towards us, and I hope care will be taken 
to preserve it. 

The Marquis de la Fayette, who will have the honour of 
delivering this to you, has, ever since his Arrival in Europe, 
been very industrious in his Endeavours to serve us, and pro- 
mote our Interests, and has been of great Use on several 
Occasions. I should wish the Congress might think fit to- 
express in some proper Manner their Sense of his Merit. 

My Malady prevents my going to Versailles, as I cannot 
bear a Carriage upon Pavement; but my Grandson goes 
regularly on Court days to supply my Place, and is well re- 
ceiv'd there. The last Letters I have had the honour of receiv- 
ing from you, are of the i4th of January. With great Respect, 

I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1513. LOOSE THOUGHTS ON A UNIVERSAL 
FLUID l (L. c.) 

Passy, June 25, 1784. 

UNIVERSAL SPACE, as far as we know of it, seems to be 
filled with a subtil Fluid, whose Motion, or Vibration, is 
called Light. 

1 From an auto, draft in L. C. endorsed by Franklin, " For the Consideration 
of my dear Friend, David Rittenhouse, Esq' " There is also in L. C. a contem- 
porary copy in French. The paper was read before The American Philo- 
sophical Society, June 20, 1788. ED. 



228 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

This Fluid may possibly be the same with that, which, 
being attracted by, and entring into other more solid Mat- 
ter, dilates the Substance, by separating the constituent Par- 
ticles, and so rendering some Solids fluid, and maintaining 
the Fluidity of others; of which Fluid when our Bodies are 
totally deprived, they are said to be frozen ; when they have 
a proper Quantity, they are in Health, and fit to perform all 
their Functions; it is then called natural Heat; when too 
much, it is called Fever; and, when forced into the Body in 
too great a Quantity from without, it gives Pain by separating 
and destroying the Flesh, and is then called Burning; and 
the Fluid so entring and acting is called Fire. 

While organized Bodies, animal or vegetable, are aug- 
menting in Growth, or are supplying their continual Waste, 
is not this done by attracting and consolidating this Fluid 
called Fire, so as to form of it a Part of their Substance ; and 
is it not a Separation of the Parts of such Substance, which, 
dissolving its solid State, sets that subtil Fluid at Liberty, 
when it again makes its appearance as Fire? 

For the Power of Man relative to Matter seems limited 
to the dividing it, or mixing the various kinds of it, or changing 
its Form and Appearance by different Compositions of it; 
but does not extend to the making or creating of new Matter, 
or annihilating the old. Thus, if Fire be an original Element, 
or kind of Matter, its Quantity is fixed and permanent in 
the Universe. We cannot destroy any Part of it, or make 
addition to it; we can only separate it from that which 
confines it, and so set it at Liberty, as when we put Wood in a 
Situation to be burnt ; or transfer it from one Solid to another, 
as when we make Lime by burning Stone, a Part of the Fire 
dislodg'd from the Wood being left in the Stone. May not 



1784] THOUGHTS ON A UNIVERSAL FLUID 229 

this Fluid, when at Liberty, be capable of penetrating and 
entring into all Bodies organiz'd or not, quitting easily in 
totality those not organiz'd ; and quitting easily in part those 
which are ; the part assum'd and fix'd remaining till the Body 
is dissolved? 

Is it not this Fluid which keeps asunder the Particles of 
Air, permitting them to approach, or separating them more, 
in proportion as its Quantity is diminish'd or augmented? 
Is it not the greater Gravity of the Particles of Air, which 
forces the Particles of this Fluid to mount with the Matters 
to which it is attached, as Smoke or Vapour? 

Does it not seem to have a great Affinity with Water, since 
it will quit a Solid to unite with that Fluid, and go off with it 
in Vapour, leaving the Solid cold to the Touch, and the Degree 
measurable by the Thermometer? 

The Vapour rises attach'd to this Fluid, but at a certain 
height they separate, and the Vapour descends in Rain, 
retaining but little of it, in Snow or Hail less. What be- 
comes of that Fluid? Does it rise above our Atmosphere, 
and mix with the universal Mass of the same kind? Or 
does a spherical Stratum of it, denser, or less mix'd with 
Air, attracted by this Globe, and repelPd or push'd up only 
to a certain height from its Surface, by the greater Weight 
of Air, remain there, surrounding the Globe, and proceeding 
with it round the Sun ? 

In such case, as there may be a Continuity or Communi- 
cation of this Fluid thro' the Air quite down to the Earth, 
is it not by the Vibrations given to it by the Sun that Light 
appears to us; and may it not be, that every one of the in- 
finitely small Vibrations, striking common Matter with a 
certain Force, enters its Substance, is held there by Attraction, 



^30 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

and augmented by succeeding Vibrations, till the Matter has 
receiv'd as much as their Force can drive into it? 

Is it not thus, that the Surface of this Globe is continu- 
ally heated by such repeated Vibrations in the Day, and cooled 
by the Escape of the Heat, when those Vibrations are discon- 
tinu'd in the Night, or intercepted and reflected by Clouds? 

Is it not thus that Fire is amass'd, and makes the greatest 
Part of the Substance of combustible Bodies? 

Perhaps, when this Globe was first form'd, and its original 
Particles took their Place at certain Distances from the 
Centre, in proportion to their greater or less Gravity, the 
fluid Fire, attracted towards that Centre, might in great 
part be oblig'd, as lightest, to take place above the rest, and 
thus form the Sphere of Fire above supposed, which would 
afterwards be continually diminishing by the Substance it 
afforded to organiz'd Bodies, and the Quantity restor'd to it 
again by the Burning or other Separating of the Parts of those 
Bodies. 

Is not the natural Heat of Animals thus produc'd, by 
separating in Digestion the Parts of Food, and setting their 
Fire at Liberty? 

Is it not this Sphere of Fire, which kindles the wandring 
Globes that sometimes pass thro' it in our Course round the 
Sun, have their Surface kindled by it, and burst when their 
included Air is greatly ratified by the Heat on their burning 
Surfaces? May it not have been from such Considerations 
that the ancient Philosophers supposed a Sphere of Fire to 
exist above the Air of our Atmosphere ? 



1784] PAPER MONEY OF THE UNITED STATES 231 



1514. OF THE PAPER MONEY OF THE UNITED 
STATES OF AMERICA 1 (L. c.) 

MUCH Conversation having arisen lately on the Subject 
of this Money, and few Persons being well acquainted with 
the Nature of it, you may possibly oblige many of your 
Readers by the following Account of it. 

When Great Britain commenced the present War upon 
the Colonies, they had neither Arms nor Ammunition, nor 
Money to purchase them or to pay Soldiers. The new Gov- 
ernment had not immediately the Consistence necessary for 
collecting heavy Taxes ; nor would Taxes that could be raised 
within the Year during Peace, have been sufficient for a Year's 
Expence in Time of War ; they therefore printed a Quantity 
of Paper Bills, each expressing to be of the Value of a certain 
Number of Spanish Dollars, from One to Thirty ; with these 
they paid, clothed, and fed their Troops, fitted out Ships, and 
supported the War during Five Years against one of the most 
powerful Nations of Europe. 

The Paper thus issued, passed current in all the internal 
Commerce of the United States at par with Silver during the 
first Year; supplying the Place of the Gold and Silver for- 
merly current, but which was sent out of the Country to pur- 
chase Arms, &c., or to defray Expences of the Army in Can- 
ada : But the great Number of Troops necessary to be kept 
on foot to defend a Coast of near 500 Leagues in Length, 
from an Enemy, who, being Masters at Sea, could land 

1 The date of composition guessingly set down by Bigelow and by Fitz- 
patrick (List of the B. F. Papers in the L. C.) is July 3, 1784. ED. 



232 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

Troops where they pleas'd, occasion'd such a Demand for 
Money, and such frequent additional Emissions of new Bills, 
that the Quantity became much greater than was wanted 
for the Purposes of Commerce; and, the Commerce being 
diminished by the War, the Surplus Quantity of Cash was 
by that means also proportionally augmented. 

It has been long and often observed, that when the current 
Money of a Country is augmented beyond the Occasions for 
Money, as a Medium of Commerce, its Value as Money dimin- 
ishes. Its Interest is reduced, and the Principal sinks, if 
some Means are not found to take off the Surplus Quantity. 
Silver may be carried out of the Country that produces it, 
into other Countries, and thereby prevent too great a Fall of 
its Value in that Country. But, when by this Means it grows 
more plentiful in all other Countries, nothing prevents its 
sinking in Value. Thus within 300 Years since the Discovery 
of America, and the vast Quantities of Gold and Silver im- 
ported from thence, and spread over Europe and the rest of 
the World, those Metals have sunk in value 4 fifths, that is, 
five Ounces of Silver will not purchase more Labour now than 
one Ounce would have done before that Discovery. 

Had Spain been able to confine all that Treasure within 
its own Territories, silver would probably have been there 
of no more Value by this Time than Iron or Lead. The Ex- 
portation has kept its Value on a Level with its Value in 
other Parts of the World. Paper Money not being easily 
receiv'd out of the Country that makes it, if the Quantity 
becomes excessive, the Depreciation is quicker and greater. 

Thus the excessive Quantities which Necessity oblig'd the 
Americans to issue for continuing the War, occasion'd a 
Depreciation of Value, which, commencing towards the End 



1784] PAPER MONEY OF THE UNITED STATES 233 

of 1776, has gone on augmenting, till at the beginning of the 
present Year, 50, 60, and as far as 70 Dollars in Paper were 
reckoned not more than equal to one Dollar in Silver, and the 
Prices of all things rose in Proportion. 

Before the Depreciation commenc'd, the Congress, fearing 
it, stopt for a time the Emission of new Bills, and resolv'd to 
supply their Occasions by borrowing. Those who lent 
them the Paper Money at that time and until March, 1778, 
fix'd their Property and prevented its Depreciation; the in- 
terest being regularly paid by Bills of Exchange on France, 
which supports the Value of the principal Sums lent. 

These Loans not being sufficient, the Congress were forced 
to print more Bills, and the Depreciation proceeded. The 
Congress would borrow no more on the former Conditions 
of paying the Interest in French Money at Paris ; but great 
Sums were offered and lent them on the Terms of being paid 
the Interest, and repaid the Principal hi the same Bills in 
America. 

These Loans in some degree lessen 'd, but did not quite take 
away, the Necessity of new Emissions; so that it at length 
arrived at the excessive difference between the Value of 
Paper and Silver, that is above mentioned. 

To put an End to this Evil, which destroy'd all certainty 
in Commerce, the Congress first resolved to diminish the 
Quantity gradually by Taxes, which, tho' nominally vastly 
great, were really less heavy than they appear'd to be, and 
were readily paid. By these Taxes 15 Millions of dollars, 
of the 200 Millions extant, are to be brought hi monthly and 
burnt. This Operation will destroy the whole Quantity, to 
wit, 200,000,000, in about 14 Months. Thirty Millions have 
already been so destroy'd. 



234 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

To prevent in the mean time the farther Progress of the 
Depreciation, and give some kind of determinate Value to 
the Paper, it was ordain'd, that, for every sum of Forty 
Dollars payable by any Person as Tax, he might discharge 
himself by paying One Dollar in Silver. Whether this Ex- 
pedient will produce the Effect intended or not, Experience 
and Time must discover. 

The general Effect of the Depreciation among the Inhab- 
itants of the States has been this, that it has operated as a 
gradual Tax upon them. Their Business has been done 
and paid for by the Paper Money ; and every Man has paid 
his Share of the Tax according to the Time he retain'd any 
of the Money in his Hands, and to the Depreciation within 
that Time. Thus it has proved a Tax on Money, a kind of 
Property very difficult to be taxed in any other Mode; and 
it has fallen more equally than many other Taxes, as those 
People paid most, who, being richest, had most Money passing 
thro' their Hands. 

With regard to the Paper Money or Bills borrowed by the 
Congress, it appears by the above Account to be under two 
different Descriptions. 

First, the Quantity of Bills borrowed before the Deprecia- 
tion, the Interest of which in Silver was to be and is paid in 
France. The Principal of this Sum is considered as equal 
in Value to so many Dollars of Silver as were borrowed in 
Paper, and will be paid in Silver accordingly. 

Secondly, the Quantities of Bills borrowed in different 
Stages of the Depreciation down to the present time. These 
Sums are, by a Resolution of Congress, to be repaid in Silver 
according to the Value they were of in Silver at the Time they 
were lent ; and the Interest is to be paid at the same Rate. 



1784] PAPER MONEY OF THE UNITED STATES 235 

Thus those Lenders have their Property secured from the 
Loss by Depreciation subsequent to the Time of their Loan. 

All the Inhabitants are satisfied and pleas'd with this 
Arrangement, their Public Debt being by this Means reduced 
to a small Sum. And the new Paper Money, which bears 
Interest, and for the Payment of which solid Funds are pro- 
vided, is actually in Credit equal to real Silver. 

If any Persons living in distant Countries have, thro* their 
Absence from their Property in America, suffered Loss by 
not having it timely fix'd in the several Loans above men- 
tioned, it is not doubted but that, upon an Application to 
Congress stating the Case, they will meet with Redress. 

The real Money us'd in the United States is French, Span- 
ish, Portuguese, and English coins, Gold and Silver. The 
most common is Spanish milFd dollars, worth 5 livres 5 sols 
tournois. 

The nominal Money is generally Paper, reckoned in 
Pounds, Shillings, and Pence, of different Value in the differ- 
ent States when compar'd with real Money, and that Value 
often changing, so that nothing certain can be said of it. But 
everywhere the accounts are kept in the nominal Pounds, 
Shillings, and Pence, the Pound containing twenty Shillings, 
and the Shillings twelve Pence, whatever may be the real 
Value. 

Bills of Exchange are frequently drawn on Europe; the 
Rate of Exchange differing in different States, and fluctu- 
ating in the same State, occasioned by the greater or less 
Plenty of Bills or of Demand for others ; they are commonly 
drawn at 30 Days' Sight. 

The Usages in Buying and Selling Merchandises, are much 
the same as in Europe, except that in Virginia the Planter 



236 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

carries his Tobacco to Magazines, where it is inspected by 
Officers, who ascertain its Quality and give Receipts express- 
ing the Quantity. The Merchants receive these Receipts 
in Payment for Goods, and afterwards draw the Tobacco 
out of the Magazines for Exportation. Weights and Meas- 
ures are uniform in all the States, following the Standard of 
Great Britain. 

Money is lent either upon Bond or on Mortgage, payable 
hi a Year with Interest. The Interest differs in the different 
States from 5 to 7 per cent. 

Goods are generally imported on 18 Months' Credit from 
Europe, sold in the Country at 12 Months' credit. 

Billets or Promissory Notes, payable to the Creditor or 
Order, are in use, and demandable when due, as well as 
accepted Bills of Exchange, without any Days of Grace, but 
by particular Favour. 



1515. TO THOMAS PERCIVAL (L. c.) 

DEAR SIR, Passy, July 17^784. 

I received yesterday, by Mr. White, your kind Letter of 
May nth, with the most agreable Present of your new Book. 1 
I read it before I slept, which is a Proof of the good Effects 
your happy Manner has of drawing your Reader on, by 
mixing little Anecdotes and historical Facts with your In- 
structions. Be pleased to accept my thankful Acknowledg- 
ments for the Pleasure it has afforded me. 

1 This letter is in A. P. S. " The present " was a copy of PercivaPs " Moral 
and Literary Dissertations." Mr. White was a young gentleman of Manches- 
ter, a member of the society mentioned below. ED. 



1784] TO THOMAS PERCIVAL 237 

It is astonishing that the murderous Practice of Duelling, 
which you so justly condemn, should continue so long in 
vogue. Formerly, when Duels were used to determine 
Lawsuits, from an Opinion that Providence would in every 
Instance favour Truth and Right with Victory, they were 
excusable. At present, they decide nothing. A Man says 
something, which another tells him is a Lie. They fight; 
but, whichever is killed, the Point in dispute remains unsettled. 
To this purpose they have a pleasant little Story here. A 
Gentleman hi a Coffee-house desired another to sit farther 
from him. " Why so ?" " Because, Sir, you stink." " That 
is an Affront, and you must fight me." "I will fight you, if 
you insist upon it; but I do not see how that will mend the 
Matter. For if you kill me, I shall stink too; and if I kill 
you, [you] will stink, if possible, worse than you do at present." 
How can such miserable Sinners as we are entertain so much 
Pride, as to conceit that every Offence against our imagined 
Honour merits Death ? These petty Princes in their own 
Opinion would call that Sovereign a Tyrant, who should put 
one of them to death for a little uncivil Language, tho' pointed 
at his sacred Person; yet every one of them makes himself 
Judge in his own Cause, condemns the offender without a 
Jury, and undertakes himself to be the Executioner. With 
sincere and great Esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Our Friend, Mr. Vaughan, may perhaps communi- 
cate to you some Conjectures of mine relating to the Cold 
of last winter, which I sent to him in return for the Obser- 
vations on Cold of Professor Wilson. 1 If he should, and you 

1 Professor Patrick Wilson of Glasgow. ED. 



238 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

think them worthy so much notice, you may show them to 
your Philosophical Society, 1 to which I wish all imaginable 
success. Their Rules appear to me excellent. 



1516. TO MASON WEEMS AND EDWARD GANT 2 

(L. C.) 
Passy, July 18, 1784. 

GENTLEMEN, 

On receipt of your Letter, 3 acquainting me that the Arch- 
bishop [of Canterbury] would not permit you to be ordain'd, 
unless you took the Oath of Allegiance, I apply'd to a Clergy- 
man of my Acquaintance for Information on the Subject of 
your obtaining Ordination here. His Opinion was, that it 
could not be done ; and that, if it were done, you would be 
required to vow Obedience to the Archbishop of Paris. I 
next inquired of the Pope's Nuncio, whether you might not 
be ordain'd by their Bishop in America, Powers being sent him 
for that purpose, if he has them not already. The answer 
was, " The Thing is impossible, unless the Gentlemen become 
Catholics." 

This is an Affair of which I know very little, and there- 
fore I may ask Questions and propose means that are im- 

1 The Philosophical Society of Manchester, of which Dr. Percival was one 
of the principal founders and ornaments. W. T. F. 

2 Mason Locke Weems (i76o?-i825) was born in Virginia. He is the 
celebrated " Parson " Weems who resigned his clerical charge to become a 
book agent for Mathew Carey. His fertile fancy and easy conscience created 
the indestructible stories of the youth of Washington. He wrote also a " Life 
of Benjamin Franklin" (1817). Edward Gant (1746-1837), a native of 
Maryland, practised medicine before applying for holy orders. He became 
chaplain of the United States Senate. ED. 

3 Dated July 9, 1784, No. 170 Strand. In A. P. S. ED. 



1784] TO MASON WEEMS AND EDWARD CANT 239 

proper or impracticable. But what is the necessity of your 
being connected with the Church of England? Would it 
not be as well, if you were of the Church of Ireland? The 
Religion is the same, tho' there is a different set of Bishops 
and Archbishops. Perhaps if you were to apply to the Bishop 
of Deny, who is a man of liberal Sentiments, he might give 
you Orders as of that Church. If both Britain and Ireland 
refuse you, (and I am not sure that the Bishops of Denmark 
or Sweden would ordain you, unless you become Lutherans,) 
what is to be done? Next to becoming Presbyterians, the 
Episcopalian clergy of America, in my humble Opinion, can- 
not do better than to follow the Example of the first Clergy 
of Scotland, soon after the Conversion of that Country to 
Christianity, who when their King had built the Cathedral 
of St. Andrew's, and requested the King of Northumberland 
to lend his Bishops to ordain one for them, that their Clergy 
might not as heretofore be obliged to go to Northumberland 
for Orders, and their Request was refused ; they assembled 
in the Cathedral; and, the Mitre, Crosier, and Robes of a 
Bishop being laid upon the Altar, they, after earnest Prayers 
for Direction in their Choice, elected one of their own Num- 
ber; when the King said to him, "Arise, go to the Altar, and 
receive your Office at the Hand of God" His brethren led 
him to the Altar, robed him, put the Crozier in his Hand, and 
the Mitre on his Head, and he became the first Bishop of 
Scotland. 

If the British Isles were sunk in the Sea (and the Surface 
of this Globe has suffered greater Changes), you would prob- 
ably take some such Method as this ; and, if they persist in 
denying you Ordination, 'tis the same thing. An hundred 
years hence, when People are more enlightened, it will be 



240 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

wondered at, that Men in America, qualified by their Learn- 
ing and Piety to pray for and instruct their Neighbors, should 
not be permitted to do it till they had made a Voyage of six 
thousand Miles out and home, to ask leave of a cross old 
Gentleman at Canterbury; who seems, by your Account, 
to have as little Regard for the Souls of the People of Mary- 
land, as King William's Attorney- General, Seymour, had for 
those of Virginia. The Reverend Commissary Blair, who 
projected the College of that Province, and was in England 
to solicit Benefactions and a Charter, relates, that the Queen, 
in the King's Absence, having ordered Seymour to draw up 
the Charter, which was to be given, with 2000 in Money, 
he oppos'd the Grant; saying that the Nation was engag'd 
in an expensive War, that the Money was wanted for better 
purposes, and he did not see the least Occasion for a College 
in Virginia. Blair represented to him, that its Intention was 
to educate and qualify young Men to be Ministers of the Gos- 
pel, much wanted there; and begged Mr. Attorney would 
consider, that the People of Virginia had souls to be saved, 
as well as the People of England. "Souls I" says he, "damn 
your Souls. Make Tobacco!" I have the honour to be, 
Gentlemen, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1517. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (i.e.) 

Passy, July 26*, 1784. 
DEAR FRIEND, 

I have received several Letters from you lately, dated 
June 1 6, June 30, and July 13. I thank you for the Infor- 
mation respecting the Proceedings of your West India Mer- 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 241 

chants, or rather Planters. The Restraints what ever they 
may be upon our Commerce with your Islands, will prejudice 
their Inhabitants, I apprehend, more than us. 

It is wonderful how preposterously the affairs of this world 
are managed. Naturally one would imagine, that the inter- 
est of a few individuals should give way to general interest ; 
but individuals manage their affairs with so much more appli- 
cation, industry, and address, than the public do theirs, that 
general interest most commonly gives way to particular. 
We assemble parliaments and councils, to have the benefit 
of their collected wisdom; but we necessarily have, at the 
same time, the inconvenience of their collected passions, 
prejudices, and private interests. By the help of these, artful 
men overpower their wisdom, and dupe its possessors ; and if 
we may judge by the acts, arrets, and edicts, all the world 
over, for regulating commerce, an assembly of great men is 
the greatest fool upon earth. 

I have received Cook's Voyages, which you put Mr. Os- 
wald in the way of sending to me. By some Mistake the first 
Volume was omitted, and instead of it a Duplicate sent of 
the third. If there is a good Print of Cook, I should be glad 
to have it, being personally acquainted with him. I thank 
you for the Pamphlets by Mr. Estlin. Every thing you send 
me gives me Pleasure; to receive your Account would give 
me more than all. 

I am told, that the little Pamphlet of Advice to such as would 
remove to America, is reprinted in London, with my Name to 
it, which I would rather had been omitted ; but wish to see 
a Copy, when you have an Opportunity of sending it. 

Mr. H. has long continued here in Expectation of Instruc- 
tions for making a Treaty of Commerce, but they do not 

VOL. IX R 



242 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

come, and I begin to suspect none are intended ; tho' perhaps 
the Delay is only occasioned by the over great Burthen of 
Business at present on the Shoulders of your Ministers. We 
do not press the Matter, but are content to wait till they can 
see their Interest respecting America more clearly, being cer- 
tain that we can shift as well as you without a Treaty. 

The Conjectures I sent you concerning the cold of last 
Winter still appear to me probable. The moderate Season 
in Russia and Canada, do not weaken them. I think our 
Frost here began about the 24th of December; in America, 
the 12 of January. I thank you for recommending to me Mr. 
Arbuthnot ; I have had Pleasure in his Conversation. I wish 
much to see the new Pieces you had in hand. I congratulate 
you on the Return of your Wedding-day, and wish for your 
Sake and Mrs. Vaughan's, that you may see a great many of 
them, all as happy as the first. 

I like the young stranger very much. He seems sensible, 
ingenious, and modest, has a good deal of Instruction, and 
makes judicious Observations. He will probably distin- 
guish himself advantageously. I have not yet heard from 
Mr. Nairne. 

Dr. Price's Pamphlet of Advice to America is a good one, 
and will do Good. You ask, "what Remedy I have for the 
growing Luxury of my Country, which gives so much Offence 
to all English travellers without exception." I answer, that 
I think it exaggerated, and that Travellers are no good 
Judges whether our Luxury is growing or diminishing. Our 
People are hospitable, and have indeed too much Pride in 
displaying upon their Tables before Strangers the Plenty and 
Variety that our Country affords. They have the Vanity, too, 
of sometimes borrowing one another's Plate to entertain more 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 243 

splendidly. Strangers being invited from House to House, 
and meeting every Day with a Feast, imagine what they see 
is the ordinary Way of living of all the Families where they 
dine ; when perhaps each Family lives a Week after upon the 
Remains of the Dinner given. It is, I own, a Folly in our 
People to give such Offence to English Travellers. The first 
part of the Proverb is thereby verified, that Fools make Feasts. 
I wish in this Case the other were as true, and wise Men eat 
them. These Travellers might, one would think, find some 
Fault they could more decently reproach us with, than that 
of our excessive Civility to them as Strangers. 

I have not, indeed yet thought of a Remedy for Luxury 
I am not sure, that in a great State it is capable of a Remedy. 
Nor that the Evil is in itself always so great as it is represented. 
Suppose we include in the Definition of Luxury all unnecessary 
Expence, and then let us consider whether Laws to prevent 
such Expence are possible to be executed in a great Country, 
and whether, if they could be executed, our People generally 
would be happier, or even richer. Is not the Hope of one 
day being able to purchase and enjoy Luxuries a great Spur 
to Labour and Industry? May not Luxury, therefore, pro- 
duce more than it consumes, if without such a Spur People 
would be, as they are naturally enough inclined to be, lazy 
and indolent ? To this purpose I remember a Circumstance. 
The Skipper of a Shallop, employed between Cape May and 
Philadelphia, had done us some small Service, for which he 
refused Pay. My Wife, understanding that he had a Daugh- 
ter, sent her as a Present a new-fashioned Cap. Three 
Years After, this Skipper being at my House with an old 
Farmer of Cape May, his Passenger, he mentioned the Cap, 
and how much his Daughter had been pleased with it. " But," 



244 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

says he, " it proved a dear Cap to our Congregation." " How 
so?" "When my Daughter appeared in it at Meeting, it 
was so much admired, that all the Girls resolved to get such 
Caps from Philadelphia; and my Wife and I computed, 
that the whole could not have cost less than a hundred Pound." 
"True," says the Farmer, "but you do not tell all the Story. 
I think the Cap was nevertheless an Advantage to us, for 
it was the first thing that put our Girls upon Knitting worsted 
Mittens for Sale at Philadelphia, that they might have where- 
withal to buy Caps and Ribbands there ; and you know that 
that Industry has continued, and is likely to continue and 
increase to a much greater Value, and answer better Pur- 
poses." Upon the whole, I was more reconciled to this 
little Piece of Luxury, since not only the Girls were made 
happier by having fine Caps, but the Philadelphians by the 
Supply of warm Mittens. 

In our Commercial Towns upon the Seacoast, Fortunes 
will occasionally be made. Some of those who grow rich 
will be prudent, live within Bounds, and preserve what they 
have gained for their Posterity ; others, fond of showing their 
Wealth, will be extravagant and ruin themselves. Laws 
cannot prevent this; and perhaps it is not always an evil to 
the Publick. A Shilling spent idly by a Fool, may be picked 
up by a Wiser Person, who knows better what to do with it. 
It is therefore not lost. A vain, silly Fellow builds a fine 
House, furnishes it richly, lives in it expensively, and in few 
years ruins himself; but the Masons, Carpenters, Smiths, 
and other honest Tradesmen have been by his Employ as- 
sisted in maintaining and raising their Families ; the Farmer 
has been paid for his labour, and encouraged, and the Estate 
is now in better Hands. In some Cases, indeed, certain 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 245 

Modes of Luxury may be a publick Evil, in the same Manner 
as it is a Private one. If there be a Nation, for Instance, 
that exports its Beef and Linnen, to pay for its Importation 
of Claret and Porter, while a great Part of its People live upon 
Potatoes, and wear no Shirts, wherein does it differ from the 
Sot, who lets his Family starve, and sells his Clothes to buy 
Drink? Our American Commerce is, I confess, a little in this 
way. We sell our Victuals to your Islands for Rum and 
Sugar; the substantial Necessaries of Life for Superfluities. 
But we have Plenty, and live well nevertheless, tho' by being 
soberer, we might be richer. 

By the by, here is just issued an arrtt of Council taking off 
all the Duties upon the exportation of Brandies, which, it is 
said, will render them cheaper in America than your Rum; 
in which case there is no doubt but they will be pre- 
ferr'd, and we shall be better able to bear your Restrictions 
on our Commerce. There are Views here, by augmenting 
their Settlements, of being able to supply the growing People 
of America with the Sugar that may be wanted there. On 
the whole, I guess England will get as little by the Commer- 
cial War she has begun with us, as she did by the Military. 
But to return to Luxury. 

The vast Quantity of Forest Lands we have yet to clear, 
and put in order for Cultivation, will for a long time keep the 
Body of our Nation laborious and frugal. Forming an Opin- 
ion of our People and their Manners by what is seen among 
the Inhabitants of the Seaports, is judging from an improper 
Sample. The People of the Trading Towns may be rich 
and luxurious, while the Country possesses all the Virtues, 
that tend to private Happiness and publick Prosperity. 
Those Towns are not much regarded by the Country; they 



246 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

are hardly considered as an essential Part of the States; 
and the Experience of the last War has shown, that their 
being in the Possession of the Enemy did not necessarily 
draw on the Subjection of the Country, which bravely con- 
tinued to maintain its Freedom and Independence notwith- 
standing. 

It has been computed by some Political Arithmetician, 
that, if every Man and Woman would work for four Hours 
each Day on something useful, that Labour would produce 
sufficient to procure all the Necessaries and Comforts of Life, 
Want and Misery would be banished out of the World, and 
the rest of the 24 hours might be Leisure and Pleasure. 

What occasions then so much Want and Misery? It is 
the Employment of Men and Women in Works, that produce 
neither the Necessaries nor Conveniences of Life, who, with 
those who do nothing, consume the Necessaries raised by the 
Laborious. To explain this. 

The first Elements of Wealth are obtained by Labour, 
from the Earth and Waters. I have Land, and raise Corn. 
With this, if I feed a Family that does nothing, my Corn will 
be consum'd, and at the end of the Year I shall be no richer 
than I was at the beginning. But if, while I feed them, I 
employ them, some in Spinning, others in hewing Timber 
and sawing Boards, others in making Bricks, &c. for Build- 
ing, the Value of my Corn will be arrested and remain with 
me, and at the end of the Year we may all be better clothed 
and better lodged. And if, instead of employing a Man I 
feed in making Bricks, I employ him in fiddling for me, the 
Corn he eats is gone, and no Part of his Manufacture remains 
to augment the Wealth and Convenience of the family; I 
shall therefore be the poorer for this fiddling Man, unless the 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 247 

rest of my Family work more, or eat less, to make up the 
Deficiency he occasions. 

Look round the World and see the Millions employ'd in 
doing nothing, or in something that amounts to nothing, 
when the Necessaries and Conveniences of Life are in ques- 
tion. What is the Bulk of Commerce, for which we fight 
and destroy each other, but the Toil of Millions for Super- 
fluities, to the great Hazard and Loss of many Lives by the 
constant Dangers of the Sea ? How much labour is spent in 
Building and fitting great Ships, to go to China and Arabia 
for Tea and Coffee, to the West Indies for Sugar, to America 
for Tobacco ! These things cannot be called the Necessaries 
of Life, for our Ancestors lived very comfortably without 
them. 

A Question may be asked; Could all these People, now 
employed in raising, making, or canying Superfluities, be 
subsisted by raising Necessaries? I think they might. The 
World is large, and a great Part of it still uncultivated. Many 
hundred Millions of Acres in Asia, Africa, and America are 
still Forest, and a great Deal even in Europe. On 100 Acres 
of this Forest a Man might become a substantial Farmer, 
and 100,000 Men, employed in clearing each his 100 Acres, 
would hardly brighten a Spot big enough to be Visible from 
the Moon, unless with HerschelTs Telescope ; so vast are the 
Regions still in Wood unimproved. 

'Tis however, some Comfort to reflect, that, upon the whole, 
the Quantity of Industry and Prudence among Mankind 
exceeds the Quantity of Idleness and Folly. Hence the In- 
crease of good Buildings, Farms cultivated, and populous 
Cities filled with Wealth, all over Europe, which a few Ages 
since were only to be found on the Coasts of the Mediterra- 



248 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

nean; and this, notwithstanding the mad Wars continually 
raging, by which are often destroyed in one year the Works 
of many Years' Peace. So that we may hope the Luxury of a 
few Merchants on the Seacoast will not be the Ruin of America. 
One reflection more, and I will end this long, rambling 
Letter. Almost all the Parts of our Bodies require some 
Expence. The Feet demand Shoes; the Legs, Stockings; 
the rest of the Body, Clothing; and the Belly, a good deal 
of Victuals. Our Eyes, tho' exceedingly useful, ask, when 
reasonable, only the cheap Assistance of Spectacles, which 
could not much impair our Finances. But the Eyes of other 
People are the Eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were 
blind, I should want neither fine Clothes, fine Houses, nor 

fine Furniture. 

Adieu, my dear Friend, I am 

Yours ever 
B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. This will be delivered to you by my Grandson. I 
am persuaded you will afford him your Civilities and Counsels. 
Please to accept a little Present of Books, I send by him, 
curious for the Beauty of the Impression. 



1518. TO COMTE DE MERCY ARGENTEAU 1 

Passy, July 30, 1784. 

SIR, 

I have the honour to communicate to your Excellency an 
extract from the instructions of Congress to their late Com- 

1 From "Diplomatic Revolutionary Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. II, 
p. 515. Comte de Argenteau was Austrian Ambassador at the Court of 
Versailles. ED. 



1784] TO MESSRS. SEARS AND SMITH 249 

missioners for treating of peace, expressing their desire to 
cultivate the friendship of his Imperial Majesty, and to enter 
into a treaty of commerce for the mutual advantage of his 
subjects and the citizens of the United States, which I request 
you will be pleased to lay before his Majesty. The appointing 
and instructing Commissioners for treaties of commerce with 
the powers of Europe generally has, by various circumstances, 
been long delayed, but is now done ; and I have just received 
advice, that Mr. Jefferson, late Governor of Virginia, com- 
missioned with Mr. Adams, our minister in Holland, and 
myself, for that service, is on his way hither, and may be 
expected by the end of August, when we shall be ready to 
enter into a treaty with his Imperial Majesty for the above 
purpose, if such should be his pleasure. With great and 

sincere respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1519. TO MESSRS. SEARS AND SMITH (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Aug. 4, 1784. 

GENTLEMEN, 

Upon Receipt of yours relating to your Cargo of Slaves at 
Martinico, I endeavour'd to inform myself what was the Law 
in such Cases; and I found, that by an arret du Conseil d'Etat 
du Roi, of the 28th of June, 1783, there is a Duty laid, of 100 
Livres per head, on all Negroes imported in foreign Ships, and 
this Duty is granted and is to be paid as a Premium to the 
French Importers of Negroes, as an Encouragement to their 
own African Trade. Under these Circumstances I am 
advis'd, that it cannot be expected that a general national 
Law should be set aside in favour of a particular foreign 



250 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

Ship ; especially as the King, if he forgives the Duty to the 
Stranger, must thereby do Injustice to his own Subjects, to 
whom he had promised the Produce of that Duty, unless he 
pays it to them out of his own Money, which we cannot de- 
cently request him to do. I do not, therefore, see any Possi- 
bility of your avoiding the Payment. I have the Honour to 

be, Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1520. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Passy, August 6, 1784. 

SIR : Mr. Bingham sent me last night, from Paris, your 
Excellency's letter of the 27th past, enclosing a copy of one 
from Mr. Jefferson. I had before sent you a copy of one 
from the same to me, which I hope you received. I enclose 
herewith copies of a letter from Mr. Thomson, some new in- 
structions, and one of the commissions. The other two are 
in the same words, except that instead of the words the United 
Netherlands, there is in one France, and in the other Sweden. 
These came by Monsieur de la Luzerne, but it was not before 
Wednesday last that I received them. You will see that a 
good deal of business is cut out for us treaties to be made 
with, I think, twenty powers in two years, so that we are 
not likely to eat the bread of idleness ; and that we may not 
surfeit by eating too much, our masters have diminished our 
allowance. I commend their economy, and shall imitate it 
by diminishing my expense. Our too liberal entertainment 
of our countrymen here has been reported at home by our 



1784] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 251 

guests, and has given offence. They must be contented for 
the future, as I am, with plain beef and pudding. The 
readers of Connecticut newspapers ought not to be troubled 
for any more accounts of our extravagance. For my own part, 
if I could sit down to dinner on a piece of excellent salt pork 
and pumpkin, I would not give a farthing for all the luxuries 
of Paris. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1521. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Passy, Aug. 15, 1784. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letter of July 22. I wish you had 
executed your Project of taking a little Trip to see me this 
Summer. You would have made me very happy, and might 
have bath'd your Children here, as well as at Southampton, 
I having a Bath in my House, besides the River in view. I 
like your monthly Account of them, and in Return send you 
my Daughter's Account of my Grandchildren at Philadelphia. 
You will see she expected me home this Summer; but my 
Constituents have sent me a new Commission, and I must stay 
another Winter. Can you not come and pass it with me here ? 

Temple, who proposes to have the Pleasure of delivering 
this to you, will explain to you how you may be accommodated, 
and, if you can resolve to come, will conduct you. Except 
being at home, which I begin now to fear I never shall be, 
nothing could give me greater Pleasure. Come, my dear 
Friend, live with me while I stay here, and go with me, if I 
do go, to America. Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



252 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

P. S. My Love to the dear Children, particularly my 
Godson, for whom Temple has a little Present of French 
Books. 



1522. TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN (B. ic.) 

Passy, Aug. 16, 1784. 
DEAR SON, 

I received your Letter of the 22d past, and am glad to find 
that you desire to revive the affectionate Intercourse, that 
formerly existed between us. It will be very agreable to me ; 
indeed nothing has ever hurt me so much and affected me 
with such keen Sensations, as to find myself deserted in my 
old Age by my only Son ; and not only deserted, but to find 
him taking up Arms against me, in a Cause, wherein my good 
Fame, Fortune and Life were all at Stake. You conceived, 
you say, that your Duty to your King and Regard for your 
Country requir'd this. I ought not to blame you for differing 
in Sentiment with me in Public Affairs. We are Men, all 
subject to Errors. Our Opinions are not in our own Power; 
they are form'd and govern'd much by Circumstances, that 
are often as inexplicable as they are irresistible. Your 
Situation was such that few would have censured your re- 
maining Neuter, tho 1 there are Natural Duties which precede 
political ones, and cannot be extinguished by them. 

This is a disagreable Subject. I drop it. And we will 
endeavour, as you propose mutually to forget what has 
happened relating to it, as well as we can. I send your 
Son over to pay his Duty to you. You will find him much 
improv'd. He is greatly esteem'd and belov'd in this Coun- 
try, and will make his Way anywhere. It is my Desire, that 



1784] TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN 253 

he should study the Law, as a necessary Part of Knowledge 
for a public Man, and profitable if he should have occasion 
to practise it. I would have you therefore put into his hands 
those Law-books you have, viz. Blackstone, Coke, Bacon, 
Viner, &c. He will inform you, that he received the Letter 
sent him by Mr. Galloway, and the Paper it enclosed, safe. 

On my leaving America, I deposited with that Friend for 
you, a Chest of Papers, among which was a Manuscript of 
nine or ten Volumes, relating to Manufactures, Agriculture, 
Commerce, Finance, etc., which cost me in England about 
70 Guineas; eight Quire Books, containing the Rough 
Drafts of all my Letters while I liv'd in London. These are 
missing. I hope you have got them, if not, they are lost. Mr. 
Vaughan has publish'd in London a Volume of what he calls 
my Political Works. He proposes a second Edition; but, 
as the first was very incompleat, and you had many Things 
that were omitted, (for I used to send you sometimes the 
Rough Drafts, and sometimes the printed Pieces I wrote in 
London,) I have directed him to apply to you for what may be 
in your Power to furnish him with, or to delay his Publica- 
tion till I can be at home again, if that may ever happen. 

I did intend returning this year; but the Congress, instead 
of giving me Leave to do so, have sent me another Commission, 
which will keep me here at least a Year longer ; and perhaps 
I may then be too old and feeble to bear the Voyage. I am 
here among a People that love and respect me, a most amiable 
Nation to live with; and perhaps I may conclude to die 
among them ; for my Friends hi America are dying off, one 
after another, and I have been so long abroad, that I should 
now be almost a Stranger in my own Country. 

I shall be glad to see you when convenient, but would not 



254 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

have you come here at present. You may confide to your 
son the Family Affairs you wished to confer upon with me, 
for he is discreet. And I trust, that you will prudently avoid 
introducing him to Company, that it may be improper for 
him to be seen with. I shall hear from you by him and any 
letters to me afterwards, will come safe under Cover directed 
to Mr. Ferdinand Grand, Banker at Paris. Wishing you 
Health, and more Happiness than it seems you have lately 
experienced, I remain your affectionate father, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1523. TO RICHARD PRICE (L. c.) 

Passy, August 16, 1784. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I some time since answered your kind Letter of July 12, 
returning the Proof of Mr. Turgot's Letter, with the Per- 
mission of his Friends to print it. I hope it came safe to 
hand. I had before received yours of April 6, 1 which gave 
me great Pleasure, as it acquainted me with your Welfare, 
and that of Dr. Priestley. 

The Commencement here of the Art of Flying will, as you 
observe, be a new Epoch. The Construction and Manner of 
Filling the Balloons improves daily. Some of the Artists 
have lately gone to England. It will be well for your Philoso- 
phers to obtain from them what they know, or you will be 
behindhand; which in mechanic Operations is unusual for 
Englishmen. 

I hope the Disagreements in our Royal Society are com- 
posed. Quarrels often disgrace both Sides; and Disputes 

1 Both of these letters, April 6 and July 12, are in A. P. S. ED. 



1784] TO RICHARD PRICE 255 

even on small Matters often produce Quarrels for want of 
knowing how to differ decently; an Art which it is said 
scarce anybody possesses but yourself and Dr. Priestley. 

I had indeed Thoughts of visiting England once more, and 
of enjoying the great Pleasure of seeing again my Friends 
there ; but my Malady, otherwise tolerable, is I find irritated 
by Motion in a Carriage and I fear the Consequence of such a 
Journey ; yet I am not quite resolv'd against it. I often think 
of the agreable Evenings I used to pass with that excellent 
Collection of good Men, the Club at the London, and wish to 
be again among them. Perhaps I may pop in some Thursday 
evening when they least expect me. You may well believe it 
very pleasing to me to have Dr. Priestley associated with me 
among the Foreign Members of the Academy of Sciences. I 
had mention'd him upon every Vacancy, that has happen'd 
since my Residence here, and the Place has never been 
bestow'd more worthily. 

When you wrote the Letter I am now answering, your 
Nation was involv'd in the Confusion of your new Election. 
When I think of your present crazy Constitution and its 
Diseases, I imagine the enormous Emoluments of Place to be 
among the greatest; and, while they exist, I doubt whether 
even the Reform of your Representation will cure the Evils 
constantly arising from your perpetual Factions. As it 
seems to be a settled Point at present, that the Minister must 
govern the Parliament, who are to do every thing he would 
have done ; and he is to bribe them to do this, and the People 
are to furnish the Money to pay these Bribes; the Parlia- 
ment appears to me a very expensive Machine for Govern- 
ment, and I apprehend the People will find out in time, that 
they may as well be governed, and that it will be much cheaper 



256 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

to be governed, by the Minister alone; no Parliament being 
preferable to the present. 

Your Newspapers are full of fictitious Accounts of Dis- 
tractions in America. We know nothing of them. Mr. 
Jefferson, just arrived here, after a Journey thro' all the 
States from Virginia to Boston, assures me, that all is quiet, 
a general Tranquility reigns, and the People well satisfy'd 
with their present Forms of Government, a few insignificant 
Persons only excepted. These Accounts are I suppose in- 
tended as consolatory, and to discourage Emigrations. I 
think with you, that our Revolution is an important Event 
for the Advantage of Mankind in general. It is to be hoped 
that the Lights we enjoy, which the ancient Governments in 
their first Establishment could not have, may preserve us from 
their Errors. In this the Advice of wise Friends may do us 
much good, and I am sure that which you have been so kind as 
to offer us will be of great Service. 

Mr. Jay is gone to America ; but Mr. Adams is just arriv'd 
here, and I shall acquaint him with your remembrance of 
him. Poor Paradise * whom you mention I respect and pity. 
But there is no helping him. He seems calculated by Nature 
for Unhappiness and will be equally miserable whether with 
or without his wife, 2 having no firmness of Mind. I doubt his 

1 John Paradise (1743-1795), born at Salonica (Macedonia), son of the 
English consul at that place, was an extraordinary linguist and one of Dr. 
Johnson's friends and a mourner at his funeral. ED. 

2 Paradise married " a beautiful and lively American " whose ungovernable 
temper was the talk of the town. See Fanny Burney, " Diary and Letters," 
Vol. II, pp. 116-122. The property in Virginia was hers and she retired 
there after her husband's death. Price wrote to Franklin, "the folly, ill- 
temper and extravagance of his [Paradise's] wife produced for some weeks a 
Separation between him and her, and made him one of the most unhappy men 
I ever saw." ED. 



1784] TO BENJAMIN WEST 257 

Property in Virginia may suffer by his Irresolution. Many 
Thanks for your kind Wishes respecting my Health and Hap- 
piness, which I return fourfold, being ever with the sincerest 
Esteem, my dear Friend, yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1524. TO BENJAMIN WEST l (p. c.) 

Passy, Aug. 17, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

I forget whether I answered in its time your kind letter by 
Mr. Dagge. I have it now before me, and there will be no 
harm in answering it twice. It gave me great Pleasure, as 
it inform'd me of the Welfare of a Family I so much esteem 
and love, and that my Godson is a promising Boy. I wish 
much to see you all once more. The Malady I have, tho' 
otherwise tolerable, prevents my using a Carriage, and so 
discourages the Journey. If I grow better, and I do think 
I am mending, possibly I may undertake it before I go to 
America. You can tell me whether my Appearance in Lon- 
don may not be offensive to some whom I ought not and do 
not desire to offend any farther. I am glad to hear that Mr. 
and Mrs. Aufrere are well, and preserve me in their kind 
Remembrance. 2 They are Persons that I very much esteem 
and respect. They had an amiable Daughter who was mar- 
ried before I left England. Is she well, and has she Children ? 
This will be delivered to you by my Grandson who respects 

1 From the original in the autograph collection of Mr. John Boyd 
Thacher. ED. 

2 Anthony Aufrere of Hoveton Hall, Norfolk, who married Anna, only 
daughter of John Norris of Witton in Norfolk, and sister of John Norris, 
founder of the Norrisian professorship at Cambridge. ED. 

VOL. IX s 



258 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

you infinitely. My Love to Raphael and my Godson. I 
shall be glad to see Raphael 1 here, and would have him come 
at the Time of the Salon. Embrace Betsey 2 for me most 
affectionately, and believe me ever, my dear Friend, 
Yours sincerely 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1525. TO LORD HOWE (L. c.) 

Passy, Augt 18., 1784. 

MY LORD, 

I received lately the very valuable Voyage of the late Cap- 
tain Cook, kindly sent to me by your Lordship in considera- 
tion of my Good- will in issuing Orders towards the protec- 
tion of that illustrious Discoverer from any Interruption in his 
Return home by American Cruisers. The Reward vastly 
exceeds the small Merit of the Action, which was no more than 
a Duty to Mankind. I am very sensible of his Majesty's 
Goodness in permitting this Favour to me, and I desire that 
my thankful acknowledgements may be accepted. With 
great Respect, I am, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient 
and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 8 

1 Raphael Lamar West (1769-1850), the elder of Benjamin West's two 
sons. ED. 

2 Mrs. West, nee Elizabeth Shewell. ED. 

3 A gold medal was struck by order of the Royal Society, with particular 
reference to the protection afforded to Captain Cook's vessels by the Emperor 
of Russia and the King of France. The Society bestowed upon Dr. Franklin 
a compliment similar to the King's, by presenting to him one of these medals. 
S. 



1784] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 259 

1526. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN (L. c.) 

Passy, Aug* i9- th 1784. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letter of Ap 1 i7th. You will have 
the goodness to place my delay in answering to the Account 
of Indisposition and Business, and excuse it. I have now that 
letter before me; and my Grandson, whom you may formerly 
remember a little Scholar of Mr. Elphinston's, purposing to 
set out in a day or two on a visit to his Father in London, 
I set down to scribble a little to you, first recommending him 
as a worthy young Man to your Civilities and Counsels. 

You press me much to come to England. I am not with- 
out strong Inducements to do so; the Fund of Knowledge 
you promise to Communicate to me is an Addition to them, 
and no small one. At present it is impracticable. But, 
when my Grandson returns, come with him. We will then 
talk the matter over, and perhaps you may take me back with 
you. I have a Bed at your service, and will try to make your 
Residence, while you can stay with us, as agreable to you, if 
possible, as I am sure it will be to me. 

You do not " approve the annihilation of profitable Places; 
for you do not see why a Statesman, who does his Business 
well, should not be paid for his Labour as well as any other 
Workman." Agreed. But why more than any other Work- 
man? The less the Salary the greater the Honor. In so 
great a Nation, there are many rich enough to afford giving 
their time to the Public; and there are, I make no doubt, 
many wise and able Men, who would take as much Pleasure 



260 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN- FRANKLIN [1784 

in governing for nothing, as they do in playing Chess for 
nothing. It would be one of the noblest of Amusements. 
That this Opinion is not Chimerical, the Country I now live 
in affords a Proof ; its whole Civil and Criminal Law Admin- 
istration being done for nothing, or in some sense for less than 
nothing; since the Members of its Judiciary Parliaments 
buy their Places, and do not make more than three per cent 
for their Money by their Fees and Emoluments, while the 
legal Interest is five; so that in Fact they give two per cent 
to be allow'd to govern, and all their time and trouble into the 
Bargain. Thus Profit, one Motive for desiring Place, being 
abolish'd, there remains only Ambition; and that being in 
some degree ballanced by Loss, you may easily conceive, 
that there will not be very violent Factions and Contentions 
for such Places, nor much of the Mischief to the Country, 
that attends your Factions, which have often occasioned 
Wars, and overloaded you with Debts impayable. 

I allow you all the Force of your Joke upon the Vagrancy 
of our Congress. They have a right to sit where they please, 
of which perhaps they have made too much Use by shifting 
too often. But they have two other Rights ; those of sitting 
when they please, and as long as they please, in which 
methinks they have the advantage of your Parliament; for 
they cannot be dissolved by the Breath of a Minister, or sent 
packing as you were the other day, when it was your earnest 
desire to have remained longer together. 

You "fairly acknowledge, that the late War terminated 
quite contrary to your Expectation." Your expectation was 
ill founded ; for you would not believe your old Friend, who 
told you repeatedly, that by those Measures England would 
lose her Colonies, as Epictetus warned in vain his Master that 



I7 8 4 ] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 261 

he would break his Leg. You believ'd rather the Tales you 
heard of our Poltroonery and Impotence of Body and Mind. 
Do you not remember the Story you told me of the Scotch 
sergeant, who met with a Party of Forty American Soldiers, 
and, tho' alone, disarm'd them all, and brought them in 
Prisoners? A Story almost as Improbable as that of the 
Irishman, who pretended to have alone taken and brought 
in Five of the enemy by surrounding them. And yet, my 
Friend, sensible and Judicious as you are, but partaking of 
the general Infatuation, you seemed to believe it. 

The Word general puts me in mind of a General, your 
General Clarke, who had the Folly to say in my hearing at 
Sir John Pringle's, that, with a Thousand British grenadiers, 
he would undertake to go from one end of America to the 
other, and geld all the Males, partly by force and partly by a 
little Coaxing. It is plain he took us for a species of Animals 
very little superior to Brutes. The Parliament too believ'd 
the stories of another foolish General, I forget his Name, that 
the Yankeys never jell bold. Yankey was understood to be a 
sort of Yahoo, and the Parliament did not think the Petitions 
of such Creatures were fit to be received and read in so wise 
an Assembly. What was the consequence of this monstrous 
Pride and Insolence ? You first sent small Armies to subdue 
us, believing them more than sufficient, but soon found your- 
selves obliged to send greater ; these, whenever they ventured 
to penetrate our Country beyond the Protection of their Ships, 
were either repulsed and obliged to scamper out, or were 
surrounded, beaten, and taken Prisoners. An American 
Planter, who had never seen Europe, was chosen by us to 
Command our Troops, and continued during the whole War. 
This Man sent home to you, one after another, five of your 



262 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

best Generals baffled, their Heads bare of Laurels, disgraced 
even in the Opinion of their Employers. 

Your contempt of our Understandings, in Comparison with 
your own, appeared to be not much better founded than that 
of our Courage, if we may judge by this Circumstance, that, 
in whatever Court of Europe a Yankey negociator appeared, 
the wise British Minister was routed, put in a passion, pick'd 
a quarrel with your Friends, and was sent home with a Flea 
in his Ear. 

But after all, my dear Friend, do not imagine that I am 
vain enough to ascribe our Success to any superiority in any 
of those Points. I am too well acquainted with all the 
Springs and Levers of our Machine, not to see, that our human 
means were unequal to our undertaking, and that, if it had not 
been for the Justice of our Cause, and the consequent Inter- 
position of Providence, in which we had Faith, we must have 
been ruined. If I had ever before been an Atheist, I should 
now have been convinced of the Being and Government of a 
Deity ! It is he who abases the Proud and favours the Hum- 
ble. May we never forget his Goodness to us, and may our 
future Conduct manifest our Gratitude. 

But let us leave these serious Reflections and converse with 
our usual Pleasantry. I remember your observing once to me 
as we sat together in the House of Commons, that no two 
Journeymen Printers, within your Knowledge, had met with 
such Success in the World as ourselves. You were then at 
the head of your Profession, and soon afterwards became a 
Member of Parliament. I was an Agent for a few Provinces, 
and now act for them all. But we have risen by different 
Modes. I, as a Republican Printer, always liked a Form well 
plain* d down; being averse to those overbearing Letters that 



1784] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 263 

hold their Heads so high, as to hinder their Neighbours from 
appearing. You, as a Monarchist, chose to work upon 
Crown Paper, and found it profitable; while I work'd upon 
pro patria (often indeed calPd Fools Cap) with no less advan- 
tage. Both our Heaps hold out very well, and we seem likely 
to make a pretty good day's Work of it. With regard to Public 
Affairs (to continue in the same stile), it seems to me that the 
Compositors in your Chapel do not cast off their Copy well, 
nor perfectly understand Imposing; their Forms, too, are 
continually pester'd by the Outs and Doubles, that are not 
easy to be corrected. And I think they were wrong in laying 
aside some Faces, and particularly certain Head-pieces, that 
would have been both useful and ornamental. But, Courage ! 
The Business may still flourish with good Management ; and 
the Master become as rich as any of the Company. 

By the way, the rapid Growth and extension of the English 
language in America, must become greatly Advantageous to 
the booksellers, and holders of Copy- Rights in England. A 
vast audience is assembling there for English Authors, an- 
cient, present, and future, our People doubling every twenty 
Years; and this will demand large and of course profitable 
Impressions of your most valuable Books. I would, therefore, 
if I possessed such rights, entail them, if such a thing be prac- 
ticable, upon my Posterity ; for their Worth will be continu- 
ally augmenting. This may look a little like Advice, and yet 
I have drank no Madeira these Ten Months. 

The Subject, however, leads me to another Thought, 
which is, that you do wrong to discourage the Emigration 
of Englishmen to America. In my piece on Population, I 
have proved, I think, that Emigration does not diminish but 
multiplies a Nation. You will not have fewer at home for 



264 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

those that go Abroad ; and as every Man who comes among 
us, and takes up a piece of Land, becomes a Citizen, and by 
our Constitution has a Voice in Elections, and a share in the 
Government of the Country, why should you be against ac- 
quiring by this fair Means a Repossession of it, and leave it 
to be taken by Foreigners of all Nations and Languages, who 
by their Numbers may drown and stifle the English, which 
otherwise would probably become in the course of two Cen- 
turies the most extensive Language in the World, the Spanish 
only excepted? It is a Fact, that the Irish emigrants and 
their children are now in Possession of the Government of 
Pennsylvania, by their Majority in the Assembly, as well as 
of a great Part of the Territory; and I remember well the 
first Ship that brought any of them over. I am ever, my dear 
Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1527. TO GEORGE WHATLEY (L. c.) 

Passy, Augt 21, 1784. 

MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letter of May 3d, 1783. I am 
ashamed that it has been so long unanswered. The Indo- 
lence of Old Age, frequent Indisposition, and too much 
Business are my only Excuses. I had great pleasure in 
reading it, as it informed me of your Welfare. 

Your excellent little Work, The Principles of Trade, is too 
little known. I wish you would send me a Copy of it by the 
Return of my Grandson and Secretary, whom I beg leave 
to Recommend to your Civilities. I would get it translated 
and printed here, And if your Bookseller has any quantity 



1784] TO GEORGE WHATLEY 265 

of them left, I should be glad he would send them to America. 
The Ideas of our People there, tho' rather better than those 
that prevail in Europe, are not so good as they should be; 
and that Piece might be of service among them. 

Since and soon after the Date of your letter, we lost unac- 
countably, as well as unfortunately, that worthy, valuable 
young Man you mention, your namesake, Maddison. He 
was infinitely regretted by all that knew him. 

I am sorry your favorite Chanty l does not go on as you could 
wish it. It is shrunk indeed by your admitting only 60 chil- 
dren a year. What you have told your brethren respecting 
America is true. If you find it difficult to dispose of your 
Children in England, it looks as if you had too many people. 
And yet you are afraid of Emigration. A Subscription is 
lately set on foot here to encourage and assist Mothers in 
Nursing their Infants themselves at home; the Practice of 
sending them to the Enjants trouves having risen here to a 
monstrous Excess, as, by the annual Bill, it appears they 
amount to near one Third of the Children born in Paris ! 
The Subscription is likely to succeed, and may do a great 
deal of good, tho' it cannot answer all the purposes of a Found- 
ling Hospital. 

Your Eyes must continue very good, since you can write so 
small a Hand without Spectacles. I cannot distinguish a 
Letter even of Large Print ; but am happy in the invention of 
Double Spectacles, which, serving for distant objects as well 
as near ones, make my Eyes as useful to me as ever they were. 
If all the other Defects and Infirmities were as easily and 
cheaply remedied, it would be worth while for Friends to live 
a good deal longer, but I look upon Death to be as necessary 

1 The Foundling Hospital, of which Mr. Whatley was the Treasurer. ED. 



266 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

to our Constitution as Sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the 
Morning. Adieu, and believe me ever yours most affec- 
tionately, 

B. F[RANKLIN]. 



1528. TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (i. c.) 

Passy, Augt 21, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

Understanding that my Letter intended for you by General 
Melvill, 1 was lost at the H6tel d'Espagne, I take this Oppor- 
tunity by my Grandson to give you the purport of it, as well 
as I can recollect. I thank'd you for the Pleasure you had 
procured me of the General's Conversation, whom I found a 
judicious, sensible, and amiable Man. I was glad to hear 
that you possess'd a comfortable Retirement, and more so that 
you had Thoughts of removing to Philadelphia, for that it 
would make me very happy to have you there. Your Com- 
panions would be very acceptable to the Library, but I hoped 
you would long live to enjoy their Company yourself. I 
agreed with you in Sentiments concerning the Old Testa- 
ment, and thought the Clause in our Constitution, which 
required the Members of Assembly to declare their belief, 
that the whole 0} it was given by divine Inspiration, had better 
have been omitted. That I had opposed the Clause; but, 
being overpower'd by Numbers, and fearing more might in 
future Times be grafted on it, I prevailed to have the addi- 
tional Clause, "that no farther or more extended Profession 
of Faith should ever be exacted." I observed to you too, that 

1 Robert Melville (1723-1809), general and antiquary, inventor of the 
"Carronades." ED. 



1784] TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY 267 

the Evil of it was the less, as no Inhabitant, nor any Officer 
of Government, except the Members of Assembly, were 
oblig'd to make that Declaration. 

So much for that Letter; to which I may now add, that 
there are several Things in the Old Testament, impossible 
to be given by divine Inspiration; such as the Approbation 
ascribed to the Angel of the Lord, of that abominably wicked 
and detestable Action of Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite. 1 
If the rest of the Book were like that, I should rather suppose 
it given by Inspiration from another Quarter, and renounce 
the whole. 

By the way, how goes on the Unitarian Church in Essex 
Street? And the honest Minister of it, 2 is he comfortably 
supported ? Your old Colleague, Mr. Radcliff , is he living ? 
And what became of Mr. Denham ? 

My Grandson, who will have the honour of delivering this 
to you, may bring me a Line from you ; and I hope will bring 
me an Account of your continuing well and happy. 

I jog on still, with as much Health, and as few of the 
Infirmities of old Age, as I have any Reason to expect. But 
whatever is impair'd in my Constitution, my Regard for my 
old Friends remains firm and entire. You will always have 
a good Share of it, for I am ever with great and sincere 
esteem, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Judges, chap. iv. 

2 Theophilus Lindsey (1723-1808), named after Theophilus, Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon, his godfather. His friends built for him the chapel in Essex Street, 
opened in March, 1778. He published in 1784 "Vindiciae Priestleyana." 
-ED. 



268 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

1529. TO WILLIAM TEMPLE FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Aug* 25. 1784. Wednesday. 
MY DEAR CHILD, 

Nothing very material has happened since you left us. 
The D. of Dorset calFd yesterday, and enquired if I had 
heard from you, supposing you had been gone a Week. Mr. 
Adams & Family, Mad 6 Dandelot and other Friends have 
visited me ; & Mad? Saurin who is return'd from England. 
We din'd with her yesterday. She says Made. D'hauteville 
will be glad to see you in England, wishes you would call 
upon her, and has given- me her Address, which I enclose. 
We dine, Ben & I, today with M. de Chaumont, & Satur- 
day with Mr. Adams. 

The Report i is publish'd and makes a great deal of Talk. 
Everybody agrees that it is well written; but many wonder 
at the Force of Imagination describ'd in it, as occasioning 
Convulsions &c. and some fear that Consequences may be 
drawn from it by Infidels to weaken our Faith in some of the 
Miracles of the New Testament. I send you two more Copies. 
You would do well to give one to the French Ambassador, 
if he has not had it. Some think it will put an End to Mes- 
merism. But there is a wonderful deal of Credulity in the 
World, and Deceptions as absurd, have supported themselves 
for Ages. 

I send you a few more Letters, and am 

Your affectionate Grandfather, 
B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Mrs. Holt, Printer to the State in New York, is 

1 Report of the Commission for the investigation of Mesmerism. ED. 



1784] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 269 

punctual since her Husband's Death, in sending me News 
Papers by every Packet. At the Entrance of the Exchange 
is a little shop where they sell all the London's Newspapers. 
I would have you buy a few of the latest and send to her, 
and let her know it is by my Order. You will find a Bag up 
in the New York Coffee-House, in which you can put the 
Packet directed to her. 



1530. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES l 
SlR Passy, September 3, 1784. 

I have the honour to transmit to your Excellency, by order 
of Congress, a resolution of theirs, dated the nth of May 
last, which is in the words following, viz. 

" Resolved, That Dr. Franklin be instructed to express to the court of 
France, the constant desire of Congress to meet their wishes ; that these 
States are about to form a general system of commerce, by treaties with other 
nations ; that, at this time, they cannot foresee what claim might be given 
to those nations by the explanatory propositions from the Count de Vergennes, 
on the second and third articles of our Treaty of Amity and Commerce with 
His Most Christian Majesty, but that he may be assured it will be our con- 
stant care to place no people on more advantageous ground than the subjects 
of his Majesty." 

With great respect, I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1531. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (L. c.) 

MY DEAR FRIEND, Pass >' *** 7 ' ' 784 ' 

This will be delivered to you by Count Mirabeau ; 2 son 
of the Marquis of that name, Author of UAmi des Hommes. 

1 From "Diplomatic Revolutionary Correspondence" (Sparks), Vol. II, 
p. 516. ED. 

2 The same who afterwards so eminently distinguished himself by his elo- 
quence in the early part of the French Revolution. \V. T. F. 



270 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

This Gentleman is esteemed here, and I recommend him 
to your Civilities and Counsels, particularly with respect to 
the Printing of a Piece he has written on the subject of heredi- 
tary Nobility, on occasion of the Order of Cincinnati lately 
attempted to be established in America, which cannot be 
printed here. I find that some of the best Judges think it 
extremely well written, with great Clearness, Force, and 
Elegance. If you can recommend him to an honest, reason- 
able Bookseller, that will undertake it, you will do him Ser- 
vice, and perhaps some to Mankind, who are too much 
bigotted in many Countries to that kind of imposition. 

I had formerly almost resolved to trouble you with no more 
letters of Recommendation; but I think you will find this 
Gentleman to possess Talents, that may render his acquaint- 
ance agreable. With sincere Esteem, I am ever, my dear 
Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1532. TO W. T. FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Sept. 8. 1784. 

MY DEAR CHILD, 

I have receiv'd no Line from you since that from Dover. 
I continue as well as when you left me. M. le Veillard is 
much better but still weak and cannot yet go abroad. The 
rest of our Friends are well, and often enquire after you. I 
intended to have sent you some more Letters ; but my Time 
has been all devour'd by Business and Visitors. The in- 
clos'd Pacquet is from M. le Veillard. I have promis'd him 
that you will take care of it and deliver it immediately. It 
contains two Letters of Recommendation w ch I have given 



1784] TO W. T. FRANKLIN 271 

the Count * at M. V's Request, one to Dr. Price, the other to 
our Friend Vaughan. If it should be in your way to show him 
any Civilities, I would have you do it. He is a Man of Talents, 
and his Father was obliging to me when I was formerly in 
France. I have three Invitations to dine out to-day, with 
Madames Brillon, Helvetius, and M. de Chaumont. But 
it is so excessively hot, that I shall stay at home. We pro- 
ceed gently with our Business. The Newspapers begin to 
come from Dover, so I would have you stop & pay off the 
others. Thank Mr. Thomson in my Behalf when you re- 
turn. I am ever 

Your affectionate Grandfather 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Mesmer has complain'd to the Parliament of our 
Report, and requested that they would appoint Commis- 
saries, to whom he might submit the Examination of not 
his Theory and Practice, but un Plan qui renfermera les 
seuls moyens possibles de constater infailliblement 1'exis- 
tence & Futilite* de sa decouverte. The Petition was printed. 
Many thought the Parliament would do nothing in it. But 
they have laid hold of it to clinch Mesmer, and oblige him 
to expose all directly. So that it must soon be seen whether 
there is any difference between his Art & Desler's. Voici leur 

[Arret du 6 7 brc 1784.] 

La Cour ordonne qui par devant quatre Docteurs de la 
Faculte* de Medecine, deux Chirurgiens, & deux Maitres en 
Pharmacie, Mesmer sera tenu d'exposer la Doctrine dont il 
annonce avoir fait la Decouverte & les procede*s qu'il pretend 
devoir etre suivis & pratique's pour en faire Le Application ; 

1 Count Mirabeau, see preceding letter. ED. 



272 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

dont sera dresse* Proce's verbal, pour celui communique' a 
M. le Procureur General, et rapporte* en la Cour e*tre or- 
donne ce qu'il appartriendra. 



1533. TO AN UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT (L.C.) 

Passy ce 12 Septembre, 1784 

J'AI recu Monsieur, la Lettre que vous m'avez fait Phon- 
neur de m'e'crire le 8 de ce Mois. Je suis bien sensible a 
PInteret que vous voulez bien prendre a ma Sante*, et je vous 
suis infiniment oblige* ainsi qu'a M. Dubourg; de la Com- 
munication de votre Remede contre la Pierres et la Gravelle. 
Ma Maladie ayant te [ ] supportable j'usqu'a ce Jour, 
Je ne suis point encore determine a faire usage d'aucun 
Medicament. Si le Mai augmentoit par la suite et que Je 
me visse oblige* d'avoir recours a votre Recette, Je me ferai 
un Devoir de vous faire part du Succes. Agre*ez, Je vous 
prie, mes sinceres Remercimens et les Sentiment d'estime et 
de Reconnoissance avec les quels J'ai Phonneur d'etre, 
Monsieur, 

Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1534. TO W. T. FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Sept. 13, 1784. 
MY DEAR CHILD, 

I received last Night yours of the f* & am glad to hear 
you are quit of your Fever. You are well advis'd to continue 
taking the Bark. There is an English Proverb that says, 



1784] TO W. T. FRANKLIN" 273 

An Ounce oj Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure. It is 
particularly true with regard to the Bark and an Intermit- 
tent. 

I consent to your going with your Father, and to your 
Stay in England until the Middle of October. 

Don't omit writing to me by every Post. The uncertain 
State of your Health makes me more anxious to hear from 
you. 

I wrote to you that I had not suffer'd by going in a Carriage 
to Auteuil. I afterwards had reason to think otherwise, 
tho' it was not much. It has however discourag'd my re- 
peating the Experiment. The Swedish Ambassador has 
press'd me much to dine this day with him & Prince Henry, 
but I thought myself oblig'd to refuse him. I walk'd how- 
ever to Auteuil on Saturday to dine with Mr. A. 1 &c. with 
whom I go on comfortably. 

I have procur'd a Sauj Conduit for B. and he leaves us 
to-morrow. Mr. W" will supply his Place. 

Your Room-Floor was all taken up, the Timbers being 
found so rotten that one might crumble them between the 
Fingers. New ones are laid in Mortar, and the whole left open 
to dry before the Boards are replaced. As your Stay will be 
longer, we may give more time for the Drying, to prevent your 
being incommoded with any remaining Dampness. 

Get me a Book called Miscellanies by Daines Barrington, 
Esq r . 3 

Give my Love to your Father. 

Remember me affectionately to all enquiring Friends. 

I am your loving Grandfather 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 John Adams. ED. 

2 Daines Barrington (1727-1800), "Miscellanies" (1781). ED. 

VOL. IX T 



274 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

M & Mad m Brillon with whom I am to Breakfast this 
Morning, have charg'd me with mille choses to say to you on 
their Behalf. Ben sends his Love, & his Duty to his Uncle. 

M? le Veillard still continues low & weak. 



1535. TO W. T. FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Oct. 2. 1784 

DEAR GRANDSON, 

I have not receiv'd a Line from you since that of Sept. 7. 
now near a Month. 1 I have waited with impatience the 
Arrival of every Post. But not a Word. All your Ac- 
quaintance are continually enquiring what News from you. 
I have none. Judge what I must feel, what they must 
think, and tell me what I am to think of such Neglect. I 
must suppose it Neglect : for if your Fever had return'd, and 
you were unable to write, surely your Father, or somebody 
would have inform'd me of it. I shall continue however 
till this Conduct of yours is clear'd up, hoping it may be 
explain'd to my Satisfaction, 

Your affectionate Grandfather 
B. F. 

1536. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Oct. n, 1784 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just received the honour of yours of the 25 th past, 2 
and shall communicate it as you desire to my Colleagues 

1 A letter from W. T. Franklin, dated September 26, 1784, is in A. P. S. 

ED. 

a In A. P. S. ED. 



1784] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 275 

tomorrow. I think you did right in Mentioning to the 
Minister the Nature of our Commission &c. In my last I 
sent you a Copy of our Letter to the Count d'Aranda, herein 
I inclose his Answer, in order to keep you fully inform'd of 
what passes in the Negociation. The Reply has not yet been 
made, as soon as it is, you shall have that likewise. I am 
glad to learn that Mf Gardoqui l is sent to America. I write 
in much Pain, and cannot now add but that I am ever, with 
sincere Esteem and affection, 
Dear Sir, 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Oct. 15. 1784. 

Since writing the within, I have been acquainted that M r 
James Hartwell 2 of Salem in New England, being at S* 
Sebastian with a Cargo of Tobacco, & occasionally going 
from thence to Bilbao, was seized in the latter Place by the 
officers of the Inquisition, some Months since, and convey'd 
to Logrone, being charged with having three or four years 
ago embrac'd the Catholic Religion and afterwards quitting 
it. They have also it seems taken Possession of his Tobacco. 
And it is but lately, that his Friends of Bordeaux from whence 
he went to meet his Cargo in Spain, have heard of his Mis- 
fortune. There are some Americans of Distinction here 
that know him, who say he is of a good Family, and bears 
a good Character, but is sometimes a little disordered in his 

1 M. Gardoqui, formerly consul-general in England, was appointed Charge 
d'affaires to the United States with the commission of Minister. ED. 

* See letter to Carmichael, March 22, 1785, and letter to Jonathan Williams, 
April 13, 1785. ED. 



276 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

Mind ; and they are exceedingly concern'd at his Situation, 
and anxious that his Release should be obtained. My Col- 
leagues My Adams and M r Jefferson join with me in stating 
this Matter to you, and Requesting that you would immedi- 
ately take the proper Steps for Reclaiming him as a Subject 
of the United States, and procuring an order for his Liberty 
and the Restitution of his Property. This Conduct of the 
Holy office, if not rectified, may be attended with bad 
Consequences to the Commerce & Friendly Correspondence 
that ought to be cultivated between the two Nations. 

Yours as ever 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1537. TO CHARLES THOMSON 1 

Passy, October 16, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

It was intended by the Commissioners to write a joint 
letter to Congress, but I am afraid the opportunity may be 
missed. This may serve to inform you, that propositions 
of treating have been made by us to all the powers of Europe 
according to our instructions, and we are waiting for their 
answers. There are apprehensions here of a war between 
the Emperor and Holland; but, as the season is not proper 
for opening a campaign, I hope the winter will give time for 
mediators to accommodate matters. We have not yet heard 
that Mr. Jay has accepted the secretaryship of foreign affairs. 
I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From " Diplomatic Revolutionary Correspondence " (Sparks), Vol. II, 
p. 518. ED. 



1784] TO W. T. FRANKLIN 277 

1538. TO W. T. FRANKLIN (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Oct. 18. 1784. 

MY DEAR CHILD, 

I received yours of the 5 th (just after I had sent away 
mine of the 2 nd ). It inclosed one from the good Bishop to 
you. I have since receiv'd yours of the 12 th . I am glad to 
hear that M r ' Hewson resolves to come. My Love to her 
and her Children. I consent to your Staying till the End of 
the Month, on Condition however of your making a Visit to 
Chilbolton and bringing me Word of the Welfare of that dear 
Family. 1 M. le Veillard mends, but slowly. Our other 
Friends are well. We have had a Visit from the Count 
d'Oeills. My Love to M r & M" Sargent, &c. I have 
lately seen in the English Papers an Advertisement of Cast 
Iron Tiles for Covering Houses. I wish you would bring me 
one as a Sample with the Price, which if I like I shall take 
enough to cover my House at Philadelphia, and may intro- 
duce the Use of them there. Your last is the 7 th that I have 
receiv'd from you of the 10 you mention to have written. 
I am very well at present but have had some bad Turns lately. 
I am ever 

Your affectionate Grandfather 

B. FRANKLIN. 

I am charg'd by several of our 

Friends to say mille choses, to you for them. 

1 Chilbolton was the home of Jonathan Shipley, "the good Bishop" of St 
Asaph. ED. 



278 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

1539. TO CHARLES THOMSON (D. s. w.) 
Passy, November n, 1784. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind Letter of August 13 with the papers 
annexed, relative to the affair of Longchamps. I hope Sat- 
isfaction will be given to M. Marbois. The Commissioners 
have written a joint Letter to Congress. This serves to cover 
a few papers relative to matters with which I was particularly 
charged in the Instructions. I shall write to you fully by 
the next Opportunity, having now only time to add, that I 
am, as ever, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I executed the Instructions of October 29, 1783, as 
soon as I knew the Commissions for treating with the Emperor, 
&c. were issued, which was not till July, 1784. The three 
Letters between the Emperor's Minister and me are what 
passed on that Occasion. 



1540. TO RICHARD BACHE (B. M.) 

Passy, Nov. n. 1784 

I RECEIVED your Letters of the 28 th of August, and loth of 
September, with the newspapers by M. Sailly, but they were 
very incompleat and broken Sets, many being omitted per- 
haps the most material, which is disagreable to me who wish 
to be well inform'd of what is doing among you. I was glad 
to receive the good Account B & S have given of their 
good Treatment of those trifling Correspondents. Your 



1784] TO MESSRS. WITAL AND PAUCHE 279 

Family having pass'd well thro' the Summer gives me great 
pleasure. I still hope to see them before I die. Benny con- 
tinues well, and grows amazingly. He is a very sensible and 
a very good Lad, and I love him much. I had Thoughts of 
bringing him up under his Cousin, and fitting him for Public 
Business, thinking he might be of Service hereafter to his 
Country ; but being now convinc'd that Service is no Inher- 
itance, as the Proverb says, I have determin'd to give him a 
Trade that he may have something to depend on, and not be 
oblig'd to ask Favours or Offices of anybody. And I flatter 
myself he will make his way good in the World with God's 
Blessing. He has already begun to learn the business from 
Masters who come to my House, 1 and is very diligent in work- 
ing and quick in learning. He will write by this Opportunity. 
I can say nothing certain with respect to my Return at 
present. In the Spring I may see clearer. My Malady tho' 
it does not permit my using a Carriage, is otherwise tolerable. 
I enjoy the Company of my Friends, and pass my time as 
well as can be expected for an Exile. My love to Sally and 
the Children, from Your Affectionate Father 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1541. TO MESSRS. WITAL AND PAUCHE * (A. p. s.) 

GENTLEMEN Passy, Nov. 15. 1784 

I have attentively considered your Project communicated 
to me in yours of the 24 th past, & of which you desire my 
Opinion. 

1 A printer and a letter-founder. F. 

2 Booksellers in Neufchatel. Their letter, dated October 24, 1784, is in 
A. P. S. ED. 



280 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1784 

I have some Doubts whether you will find your Bookselling 
and Printing Business sufficiently profitable at first for the 
Support of three Families, because the French Language in 
which I suppose your Books chiefly are, is not yet much ex- 
tended in North America. It is however since the Alliance 
with France daily increasing, Schools being established in 
all the great Towns for teaching it. But if you can add to 
the Sale of Books the different Manufactures of your Coun- 
try, and settle such Correspondences before you leave it as 
may keep you constantly supply'd with them, it is possible 
the Gains may be very considerable. 

I inclose a little Pamphlet which will give you some 
Information respecting our Country, and if I can be of any 
Service to you there it will be a Pleasure to, 

Gentlemen, 

Your &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1542. TO DR. BRAV 1 (A. p. s.) 

k Passy ce 22 Nov. '84. 

JE suis trop Stranger, Monsieur, a toute dispute sur le 
Mesme*risme pour consentir que mon nom paroisse ni directe- 

1 In answer to the following letter : 

Paris, le 21 Novembre 1784. 

Vous prevoiez, Monsieur, que je vais non pas vous engager a la vengeance 
(elle est au-dessous de vous) mais a me permettre de faire connaltre sous vos 
auspices 1'orateur Mesmerien, en disant au public ebranle par moi, mais desa- 
buse par vous a peu pres ce qui sait : 

" Puisque Mesmer ne se donne pas la peine d'ecrire lui meme ses sottises, 
le sage Bostonien a le m8me droit, avec cette difference que Mesmer paye 
tres cher 1'encre et qu'on la donne cette encore a M'.. Franklin sans interet sans 



1784] TO THOMAS JEFFERSON 281 

ment ni indirectement ailleurs que dans le Rapport des Com- 
missaires au nombre desquels la Majeste* m'avoit nomme'. 
J'ai Thonneur d'etre, Monsieur, 

Votre tres humble et tres 

obissant serviteur 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1543. TO THOMAS JEFFERSON (A. p. s.) 

Passy, Nov. 23, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, 

These People are so accustomed to see every thing done 
by solicitation of Interest, or what they call Protection, and 
nothing without it, that they hardly conceive it possible to 
obtain the Payment even of a just Debt, but by means of 
Persons whom they suppose to have Influence enough to 
support and enforce their Pretensions. We should naturally 
suppose, that the proper time for asking such Aid would be 
after a regular Demand, and a Refusal of Justice ; but they 
run about to everybody with their Memorials, before they 
have even presented their Account to those whom they con- 
sider as their Debtors. Thus the Creditors, not only of a 
State in America, but even of private Merchants, teize the 
Ministers of this Country, as well as those of America here, 
with their Petitions and Cases, requesting Assistance and 

espoir de salaire, d'aussi bon coeur que Pestime et la veneration dont il est si 
digne." 

(signed) Brav 

Etud-Med* 

Chez M. Joliot, Medecin, rue des 
Lions S 4 .. Paul a Paris. ED. 



282 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1784 

Interest to procure attention to their Affairs, when it does not 
appear that their Claims have been refused, or even made 
where they ought to be made. 

I beg leave to refer to you the enclosed Papers, and to 
request, that, if you are acquainted with the Affair, and can 
give any comfortable Expectation or Counsel to the poor 
Man, you would be so good as to furnish me with it, that I 
may communicate it to him in my Answer. With great and 
sincere Esteem, I am, Sir, 

Your Excellency's most obedient 

& most humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 

1544. TO 

1784. 

I AM glad to hear that your family are safely arrived in 
London, and that you propose to bring them here with you. 
Your life will be more comfortable. 

I thank you much for the translation of the Abbe* de Mably's 
letters. The French edition is not yet published here. I 
have as yet only had time to run over the translator's preface, 
which seems well written. I imagine Mr. Snowden to be a 
Presbyterian minister, as I formerly corresponded with one 
of that name in Holland, who, I suppose, might be his father. 
I have not seen the piece you mention of a Berlin academician. 
I should not object to his enjoyment of the discovery he has 
made, that despotism in the best possible form of govern- 
ment, by his living under it as long as he pleases. For I ad- 
mire the decision of his prince in a similar case of a dispute 
among his clergy concerning the duration of hell torments. 
With great respect, I have the honour to be, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1784] TO SAMUEL JACKSON PRATT 283 



1545. TO SAMUEL JACKSON PRATT 1 

Passy [no date, circa 1784]. 

SIR : I should have been flattered exceedingly by Mrs. 
Melmoth's showing the least inclination for one of those 
portraits,* when Mrs. Izard accepted the other, and should 
have presented it to her with the greatest pleasure. She did 
not appear to desire it, and I did not presume it of value enough 
to be offered. Her quarrel with me on that account is pleas- 
ing. The reconciliation, when I can obtain it, will be more 
so. At present another lady has put it out of my power to 
comply with the terms. M. de Chaumont, at whose pottery 
in the country they were made, receiving a request from 
Petersburg for one of them, to gratify the curiosity of the 
Empress, and having none in town, he got from me the only 
one I had left, and has sent it away. But I am promised 
another soon, and shall seize the first moment of making my 
peace with it. In the meantime, I hope you will intercede 
for me, in that heart where I am sure you have interest. Ac- 
cept my thanks for the books, from the reading of which I 
promise myself a good deal of pleasure. Please to accept 
also the trifle inclosed, and believe me with most sincere 

esteem, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " (Bigelow), Vol. IX, 
p. 72. Samuel Jackson Pratt (1749-1814) was a book writer whose hireling 
pen seems to have been of some service to Franklin. He wrote under the 
pen name of Courtney Melmoth. ED. 

* By NinL ED. 



284 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1546. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 

Passy, January 3, 1785. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind letter of December ist, from Bath. 
I am glad to hear that your good sister is in a fair way towards 
recovery; my respects and best wishes attend her. 

I communicated your letter to Mr. Jefferson, to remind 
him of his promise to communicate to you the intelligence 
he might receive from America on the subjects you mention ; 
and now, having got back, I shall endeavour to answer the 
other parts of it. 

What you propose to draw up of your opinions on Ameri- 
can negociation, may be of great use, if laid, as you intend, 
before administration, in case they seriously intend to enter 
on it after the meeting of Parliament ; for I know your ideas 
all tend to a good understanding between the two countries 
and their common advantage ; and in my mind, too, all self- 
ish projects of partial profit are the effects of short-sighted- 
ness, they never producing permanent benefits, and are at 
length the causes of discord and its consequences, wherein 
much more is spent than all the temporary gains amounted to. 

I do not know that any one is yet appointed by your court 
to treat with us. We some time since acquainted your min- 
ister with our powers and disposition to treat, which he 
communicated to his court, and received for answer, that his 
Majesty's ministers were ready to receive any propositions we 
might have to make for the common benefit of both coun- 

1 From " The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," 1818, Vol. II, 
p. 423. ED. 



1785] TO DAVID HARTLEY 285 

tries, but they thought it more for the honour of both, that 
the treaty should not be in a third place. We answered, 
that, though we did not see much inconvenience in treating 
here, we would, as soon as we had finished some affairs 
at present on our hands, wait upon them, if they pleased, 
in London. We have since heard nothing. 

We have no late accounts from America of any importance. 
You know the Congress adjourned the beginning of June 
till the beginning of November. And since their meeting 
there has been no account of their proceedings. All the 
stories in your papers relating to their divisions are fiction as 
well as those of the people being discontented with Congres- 
sional government. Mr. Jay writes to me, that they were at 
no time more happy or more satisfied with their government, 
than at present, nor ever enjoyed more tranquillity or pros- 
perity. In truth, the freedom of their ports to all nations has 
brought in a vast plenty of foreign goods, and occasioned a 
demand for their produce, the consequence of which is the 
double advantage of buying what they consume cheap, and 
selling what they can spare dear. 

If we should come to London, I hope it may still be with you 
that we are to do business. Our already understanding one 
another may save, on many points, a good deal of time in dis- 
cussion. But I doubt whether any treaty is intended on your 
part, and I fancy we shall not press it. It may perhaps be best 
to give both sides time to inquire, and to jeel for the interests 
they cannot see. With sincere and great esteem, I am ever, 
my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



286 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 



1547. TO RICHARD PRICE 1 (M. H. s.) 

Passy, Feb. i, 1785. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I received duly your kind letter of 
Oct. 2 1, 2 and another before with some of your excellent pam- 
phlets of Advice to the United States. My last letters from 
America inform me that every thing goes on well there, 
that the new elected Congress is met, and consists of very 
respectable characters with excellent dispositions; and the 
people in general very happy under their new governments. 
The last year has been a prosperous one for the country; 
the crops plentiful and sold at high prices for exportation, 
while all imported goods, from the great plenty, sold low. 
This is the happy consequence of our commerce being open 
to all the world, and no longer a monopoly to Britain. Your 
papers are full of our divisions and distresses, which have 
no existence but in the imagination and wishes of English 
newswriters and their employers. 

I sent you sometime since a little piece intitled, Testament 
de M. Fortune* Ricard, 8 which exemplifies strongly and 
pleasantly your doctrine of the immense powers of compound 
interest. I hope you received it. If not, I will send you 
another. I send herewith a new work of Mr Necker's on the 
Finances of France. You will find good things in it, particu- 
larly his chapter on War. I imagine Abbe Morellet may 
have sent a copy to Lord Lansdowne. If not, please to com- 
municate it. I think I sent you formerly his Conte rendu. 

1 The original in the possession of Walter Ashburton in England. ED. 

2 In A.P.S. ED. 

8 By Mathon de la Cour. See letter to Vaughan, April 21, 1785. ED. 



1785] TO JOHN JAY 287 

This work makes more talk here than that, tho' that made 
abundance. I will not say that the writer thinks higher of 
himself and his abilities than they deserve, but I wish for his 
own sake that he had kept such sentiments more out of sight. 
With unalterable esteem and respect, I am ever, my dear 

Friend, 

Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1548. TO JOHN JAY (L.C.) 

Passy, Feb. 8, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received by the Marquis de la Fayette your kind Letter 
of the 1 3th of December. It gave me Pleasure on two Ac- 
counts ; as it inf orm'd me of the public Welfare, and that of 
your, I may almost say our dear little Family; for, since I 
had the Pleasure of their being with me in the same House, 
I have ever felt a tender Affection for them, equal I believe 
to that of most Fathers. 

I did hope to have heard by the last Packet of your having 
accepted the Secretaryship of Foreign Affairs, but was dis- 
appointed. I write to you now, therefore, only as a private 
Friend; yet I may mention respecting Public Affairs, that, 
as far as I can perceive, the good Disposition of this Court 
towards us continues. I wish I could say as much for the 
rest of the European Courts. I think that their desire of being 
connected with us by Treaties is of late much abated ; and this 
I suppose occasioned by the Pains Britain takes to represent 
us everywhere as distracted with Divisions, discontented with 
our Governments, the People unwilling to pay Taxes, the 



288 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Congress unable to collect them, and many desiring the Res- 
toration of the old Government, etc. The English Papers 
are full of this Stuff, and their Ministers get it copied into the 
foreign Papers. The moving about of the Congress from 
Place to Place has also a bad Effect, in giving Colour to the 
Reports of their being afraid of the People. I hope they will 
soon settle somewhere, and, by the Steadiness and Wisdom 
of their Measures, dissipate all those Mists of Misrepresenta- 
tion raised by the remaining Malice of ancient Enemies, 
and establish our Reputation for national Justice and Pru- 
dence as they have done for Courage and Perseverance. 

It grieves me that we have not been able to discharge our 
first Year's Payment of Interest to this Court, due the begin- 
ning of last Month. I hope it will be the only failure, and 
that effectual Measures will be taken to be exactly punctual 
hereafter. The good Paymaster, says the Proverb, is Lord 
o) another man's Purse. The bad one, if he ever has again 
Occasion to borrow, must pay dearly for his Carelessness 
and Injustice. 

You are happy in having got back safe to your Country. 
I should be less unhappy, if I could imagine the Delay of 
my Conge useful to the States, or in the least degree necessary. 
But they have many equally capable of doing all I have to 
do here. The new propos'd Treaties are the most impor- 
tant Things ; but two can go thro' with them as well as three, 
if indeed any are likely to be compleated, which I begin to 
doubt, since the new ones make little Progress, and the old 
ones, which wanted only the Fiat of Congress, seem now to 
be going rather backward; I mean those I had projected 
with Denmark and Portugal. 

My Grandsons are sensible of the honour of your remem- 



1785] TO RICHARD HENRY LEE 289 

brance, and present their Respects to you and Mrs. Jay. I 
add my best wishes of Health and Happiness to you all, 
being with sincere Esteem and Affection, dear Sir, your most 
obedient humble servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1549. TO RICHARD HENRY LEE 1 

Passy, February 8, 1785. 

SIR, 

I received by the Marquis de Lafayette the two letters 
you did me the honour of writing to me the nth and i4th 
of December; the one enclosing a letter from Congress to 
the King, the other a resolve of Congress respecting the con- 
vention for establishing consuls. The letter was immediately 
delivered and well received. The resolve came too late to 
suspend signing the convention, it having been done July 
last, and a copy sent so long since, that we now expected the 
ratification. As that copy seems to have miscarried I now 
send another. 

I am not informed what objection has arisen in Congress 
to the plan sent me. Mr. Jefferson thinks it may have been 
to the part which restrained the consuls from all concern in 
commerce. That article was omitted, being thought unneces- 
sary to be stipulated, since either party would always have 
the power of imposing such restraints on its own officers, 
whenever it should think fit. I am, however, of opinion that 
this or any other reasonable article or alteration may be ob- 
tained at the desire of Congress, and established by a supple- 
ment. 

1 President of Congress. ED. 
VOL. IX u 



290 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Permit me, Sir, to congratulate you on your being called 
to the high honour of presiding in our national councils, 
and to wish you every felicity, being with the most perfect 

esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

\ 

1550. TO COMTE DE WINDISCH-GRATZ (A. p. s.) 

Passy, le 22 FevF 1785 

PAI recu Monsieur, la Lettre infine*ment bonne" te dont 
vous m'avez honore le 9 de ce Mois, et Je ne puis qu' approu- 
ver PEcrit qui y etait joint : il ne pouvra manquer d'etre 
utile. Je m'empresserai de faire passer en Amerique suivant 
votre Desir les Exemplaires que vous m'annoncez des qu'ils 
me seront parvenus, car jusqu'a present je n'ai recu que 
celui qui etait joint a votre Lettre, et pour le quil je vous prie 
de recevois mes sinceres Remerciements. 

J'ai Fhonneur d'etre avec une respectueuse Consideration, 
M. . . . votre 

[B. FRANKLIN.] 

1551. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 

Passy, March 5, 1785 

DEAR FRIEND : I received your kind letter by my 
grandson. I thank you for the civilities you showed him 
when in London. 

I hope to get home this ensuing summer. I shall have an 

iFrom "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Bigelow), Vol. IX, 
p. 79. ED. 



1785] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 291 

old account to settle then with the family of our friend Hall. 
There is a particular article of some importance, about which 
we were not agreed, but were to be determined by your opin- 
ion. It was the value of a copyright in an established news- 
paper, of each of which from eight to ten thousand were 
printed. My long absence from that country, and immense 
employment the little time I was there, have hitherto pre- 
vented the settlement of all the accounts that had been be- 
tween us; though we never differed about them, and never 
should if that good honest man had continued in being. To 
prevent all dispute on the above points with his son, it is 
that I now request your decision, which I doubt not will be 
satisfactory to us both. With unchangeable esteem, I am 
ever, my dear friend, 

Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 
My respects to Mrs. Strahan. 



1552. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (L. c.) 

ON THE CRIMINAL LAWS AND THE PRACTICE OF PRIVA- 



TEERING 



Passy, March 14, 1785. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 
Among the Pamphlets you lately sent me was one intitled 

1 "The following paper was written in the form of a letter to Mr. Benjamin 
Vaughan, and dated at Passy, March I4th, 1785. It first appeared anony- 
mously in a small volume published by Sir Samuel Romilly, in the year 1 786, 
being OBSERVATIONS on a treatise by Dr. Madan, entitled Thoughts on 
Executive Justice. The letter contains remarks on the same publication. 
It was communicated by Mr. Vaughan to Sir Samuel Romilly, who printed it 



292 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

"Thoughts on Executive Justice." 1 In return for that, I 
send you a French one on the same Subject, Observations 
conccrnant V Execution de V Article II. de la Declaration sur 
le Vol. They are both address'd to the Judges, but written, 
as you will see, in a very different Spirit. The English Author 
is for hanging all Thieves. The Frenchman is for propor- 
tioning Punishments to Offences. 

If we really believe, as we profess to believe, that the Law 
of Moses was the Law of God, the Dictate of divine Wisdom, 
infinitely superior to human; on what Principles do we or- 
dain Death as the Punishment of an Offence, which, accord- 
ing to that Law, was only to be punish'd by a Restitution of 
Fourfold? To put a man to Death for an Offence which 
does not deserve Death, is it not Murder? And, as the 
French Writer says, Doit-on punir un delit contre la societe 
par un crime contre la nature? 2 

at the end of his OBSERVATIONS, under the title of A Letter from a Gentle- 
man abroad to his Friend in England, and prefixed to it an explanatory 
advertisement. 

" ' The writer of the foregoing Observations? says he, ' having been favoured 
with a copy of the following letter by a friend of his, to whom it was ad- 
dressed, thought he should render a very acceptable service to the public by 
printing it. At the same time he cannot but feel it incumbent on him to 
make some apology for publishing it in the form of an Appendix to a work, 
which it very far surpasses in every kind of merit. The truth is, he was not 
at liberty to print it any other manner. The simplicity of style and liberality 
of thought, which distinguish it, cannot fail of discovering its venerable author 
to such as are already acquainted with his valuable writings. To those, who 
have not that good fortune, the editor is not permitted to say more, than that it 
is the production of one of the best and most eminent men of the present age.' 

" This testimony is valuable from such a man as Sir Samuel Romilly. And 
indeed the letter may well be classed among the best of the author's writings, 
whether regarded as to the vigor and clearness of the style, the benign spirit 
it breathes, or its bold defence of the rights of humanity and justice." S. 

1 See letter to Le Veillard, April 15, 1787. ED. 

2 " Ought an offence against society to be punished by a crime against 
nature? " 



1785] TO BENJAMIN V A UGH AN 293 

Superfluous Property is the Creature of Society. Simple 
and mild Laws were sufficient to guard the Property that was 
merely necessary. The Savage's Bow, his Hatchet, and his 
Coat of Skins, were sufficiently secured, without Law, by the 
Fear of personal Resentment and Retaliation. When, by 
virtue of the first Laws, Part of the Society accumulated 
Wealth and grew powerful, they enacted others more severe, 
and would protect their Property at the Expence of Hu- 
manity. This was abusing their Power, and commencing a 
Tyranny. If a Savage, before he enter'd into Society, had 
been told, "Your Neighbour by this Means may become 
Owner of 100 deer; but if your Brother, or your Son, or your- 
self, having no Deer of your own, and being hungry, should 
kill one, an infamous Death must be the consequence;" he 
would probably have preferr'd his Liberty, and his common 
Right of killing any Deer, to all the Advantages of Society 
that might be propos'd to him. 

That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that 
one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been 
long and generally approved ; never, that I know of, contro- 
verted. Even the sanguinary Author of the "Thoughts" 
agrees to it, Page 163, adding well, " that the very Thought of 
injured Innocence, and much more that of suffering Innocence, 
must awaken all our tenderest and most compassionate 
Feelings, and at the same time raise our highest Indignation 
against the Instruments of it. But," he adds, " there is no 
danger of either, from a strict Adherence to the Laws." 
Really! Is it then impossible to make an unjust Law? 
and if the Law itself be unjust, may it not be the very 
"Instrument" which ought to "raise the Author's and every- 
body's highest Indignation"? I see, in the last News- 



294 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

paper from London, that a Woman is capitally convicted at 
the Old Bailey, for privately stealing out of a Shop some 
Gauze, value 14 Shillings and threepence; is there any 
Proportion between the Injury done by a Theft, value 14/3, 
and the Punishment of a human Creature, by Death, on a 
Gibbet? Might not that Woman, by her Labour, have 
made the Reparation ordain'd by God, in paying fourfold? 
Is not all Punishment inflicted beyond the Merit of the 
Offence, so much Punishment of Innocence? In this light, 
how vast is the annual Quantity of not only injured, but 
suffering Innocence, in almost all the civilized states of 
Europe ! 

But it seems to have been thought, that this kind of Inno- 
cence may be punished by way of preventing Crimes. I have 
read, indeed, of a cruel Turk in Barbary, who, whenever he 
bought a new Christian Slave, ordered him immediately to 
be hung up by the Legs, and to receive an 100 Blows of a 
Cudgel on the Soles of his Feet, that the severe Sense of the 
Punishment, and Fear of incurring it thereafter, might pre- 
vent the Faults that should merit it. Our Author himself 
would hardly approve entirely of this Turk's Conduct in the 
Government of Slaves; and yet he appears to recommend 
something like it for the government of English Subjects, 
when he applauds the Reply of Judge Burnet to the convict 
Horse-stealer, who, being ask'd what he had to say why 
Judgment of Death should not pass against him, and 
answering, that it was hard to hang a Man for only stealing a 
Horse, was told by the judge, " Man, thou art not to be hang'd 
only for stealing, but that Horses may not be stolen." 

The man's Answer, if candidly examined, will I imagine 
appear reasonable, as founded on the Eternal Principle of 



1785] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 295 

Justice and Equity, that Punishments should be proportioned 
to Offences ; and the judge's Reply brutal and unreasonable, 
tho' the Writer " wishes all Judges to carry it with them when- 
ever they go the Circuit, and to bear it in their Minds as con- 
taining a wise Reason for all the penal Statutes, which they 
are called upon to put in Execution. It at once illustrates," 
says he, " the true Grounds and Reasons of all capital Pun- 
ishments whatsoever, namely, that every man's Property, as 
well as his Life, may be held sacred and inviolate." Is there 
then no difference in Value between Property and Life ? If I 
think it right, that the Crime of Murder should be punished 
with Death, not only as an equal Punishment of the Crime, 
but to prevent other Murders, does it follow that I must 
approve of inflicting the same Punishment for a little In- 
vasion on my Property by Theft ? If I am not myself so bar- 
barous, so bloody-minded and revengeful, as to kill a Fellow- 
Creature for stealing from me 14/3, how can I approve of a 
Law that does it? Montesquieu, who was himself a Judge, 
endeavours to impress other Maxims. He must have known 
what humane Judges feel on such occasions, and what the 
Effect of those Feelings; and, so far from thinking that 
severe and excessive Punishments prevent Crimes, he asserts, 
as quoted by our French Writer, that 

Uatrocite des loix en empeche V execution. 

Lorsque la peine est sans mesure, on est sowvent oblige de 
lui prejerer Vimpunite. 

La cause de tous les reldchemens vient de Vimpunite des 
crimes, et non de la moderation des peines. 

It is said by those who know Europe generally, that there 
are more Thefts committed and punish'd annually in England, 
than in all the other Nations put together. If this be so, 



296 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

there must be a Cause or Causes for such Depravity in your 
common People. May not one be the Deficiency of Justice 
and Morality in our national Government, manifested in our 
oppressive Conduct to Subjects, and unjust wars on our 
Neighbours? View the long-persisted in, unjust monopo- 
lizing Treatment of Ireland at length acknowledged ! View 
the plundering Government exercis'd by your Merchants in 
the Indies; the confiscating War made upon the American 
Colonies; and, to say nothing of those upon France and 
Spain, view the late War upon Holland, which was seen by 
impartial Europe in no other Light than that of a War of 
Rapine and Pillage; the Hopes of an immense and easy 
Prey being its only apparent, and probably its true and real 
Motive and Encouragement. 

Justice is as strictly due between neighbour Nations as 
between neighbour Citizens. A Highwayman is as much a 
Robber when he plunders in a Gang, as when single ; and a 
Nation that makes an unjust War, is only a great Gang. 
After employing your People in robbing the Dutch, is it strange, 
that, being put out of that Employ by the Peace, they should 
still continue robbing, and rob one another ? Piraterie, as the 
French call it, or Privateering, is the universal Bent of the 
English Nation, at home and abroad, wherever settled. No 
less than 700 Privateers were, it is said, commissioned in the 
last War ! These were fitted out by Merchants, to prey upon 
other Merchants, who had never done them any Injury. Is 
there probably any one of those privateering Merchants of 
London, who were so ready to rob the Merchants of Amster- 
dam, that would not readily plunder another London Mer- 
chant of the next Street, if he could do it with impunity? 
The Avidity, the alieni appetens, is the same; it is the Fear 



1785] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 297 

alone of the Gallows that makes the difference. How then 
can a Nation, which, amorg the honestest of its People, has so 
many Thieves by Inclination, and whose Government en- 
couraged and commissioned no less than 700 Gangs of Rob- 
bers ; how can such a Nation have the Face to condemn the 
Crime in Individuals, and hang up 20 of them in a Morning? 
It naturally puts one hi mind of a Newgate Anecdote. One 
of the Prisoners complain'd, that in the Night somebody had 
taken his Buckles out of his Shoes; ''What, the Devil !" says 
another, "have we then Thieves among us? It must not be 
suffered; let us search out the Rogue, and pump him to 
death." 

There is, however, one late Instance of an English Mer- 
chant who will not profit by such ill-gotten Gains. He was, 
it seems, part Owner of a Ship, which the other Owners 
thought fit to employ as a Letter of Marque, and which took 
a Number of French Prizes. The Booty being shar'd, he 
has now an Agent here enquiring, by an Advertisement in 
the Gazette, for those who suffer'd the Loss, in order to make 
them, as far as in him lies, Restitution. This conscientious 
Man is a Quaker. The Scotch Presbyterians were formerly as 
tender; for there is still extant an Ordinance of the Town- 
Council of Edinburgh, made soon after the Reformation, 
" forbidding the purchase of Prize Goods, under Pain of losing 
the Freedom of the Burgh for ever, with other Punishment at 
the Will of the Magistrate; the Practice of making Prizes 
being contrary to good Conscience, and the rule of treating 
Christian Brethren as we would wish to be treated ; and such 
Goods are not to be sold by any godly Men within this Burgh" 
The Race of these godly Men in Scotland is probably extinct, 
or their Principles abandoned ; since, as far as that Nation had 



298 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

a Hand in promoting the War against the Colonies, Prizes and 
Confiscations are believ'd to have teen a considerable Motive. 

It has been for some time a generally receiv'd Opinion, 
that a military Man is not to enquire whether a War be just 
or unjust; he is to execute his Orders. All Princes who are 
disposed to become Tyrants must probably approve of this 
Opinion, and be willing to establish it; but is it not a dan- 
gerous one ? since, on that Principle, if the Tyrant commands 
his Army to attack and destroy, not only an unoffending 
Neighbour nation, but even his own Subjects, the Army is 
bound to obey. A negro Slave, in our Colonies, being com- 
manded by his Master to rob or murder a Neighbour, or do 
any other immoral Act, may refuse, and the Magistrate will 
protect him in his Refusal. The Slavery then of a Soldier is 
worse than that of a Negro ! A conscientious Officer, if not 
restrain'd by the Apprehension of its being imputed to another 
Cause, may indeed resign, rather than be employ'd in an 
unjust War; but the private Men are Slaves for Life; and 
they are perhaps incapable of judging for themselves. We 
can only lament their Fate, and still more that of a Sailor, 
who is often dragg'd by Force from his honest Occupation, 
and compelled to imbrue his Hands in, perhaps, innocent 
Blood. 

But methinks it well behoves Merchants (Men more 
enlight'ned by their Education, and perfectly free from any 
such Force or Obligation,) to consider well of the justice of a 
War, before they voluntarily engage a Gang of Ruffians to 
attack their Fellow Merchants of a neighbouring Nation, 
to plunder them of their Property, and perhaps ruin them and 
their Families, if they yield it ; or to wound, maim, or mur- 
der them, if they endeavour to defend it. Yet these Things 



1785] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 299 

are done by Christian Merchants, whether a War be just or 
unjust; and it can hardly be just on both sides. They are 
done by English and American Merchants, who, neverthe- 
less, complain of private Thefts, and hang by Dozens the 
Thieves they have taught by their own Example. 

It is high time, for the sake of Humanity, that a Stop be 
put to this Enormity. The United States of America, tho' 
better situated than any European Nation to make profit by 
Privateering (most of the Trade of Europe, with the West 
Indies, passing before their doors), are, as far as in them lies, 
endeavouring to abolish the Practice, by offering, in all their 
Treaties with other Powers, an Article, engaging solemnly, 
that, in Case of future War, no Privateer shall be commis- 
sion'd on either Side; and that unarm'd Merchant-ships, on 
both sides, shall pursue their Voyages unmolested. 1 This 
will be a happy Improvement of the Law of Nations. The 
Humane and the Just cannot but wish general Success to the 
Proposition. With unchangeable Esteem and Affection, 
I am my dear Friend ever yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 This offer having been accepted by the late King of Prussia, a treaty of 
amity and commerce was concluded between that monarch and the United 
States, containing the following humane, philanthropic article; in the forma- 
tion of which Dr. Franklin, as one of the American plenipotentiaries, was 
principally concerned, viz. 

ART. XXIII. 

" If war should arise between the two contracting parties, the merchants 
of either country, then residing in the other, shall be allowed to remain nine 
months to collect their debts and settle their affairs, and may depart freely, 
carrying off all their effects without molestation or hindrance; and all women 
and children, scholars of every faculty, cultivators of the earth, artisans, manu- 
facturers, and fishermen, unarmed and inhabiting unfortified towns, villages, 
or places, and in general all others, whose occupations are for the common 
subsistence and benefit of mankind, shall be allowed to continue their respec- 
tive employments, and shall not be molested in their persons, nor shall their 



3 oo THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1553. TO RICHARD PRICE (L. c.) 

Passy, March 18, 1785. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

My nephew, Mr. Williams, will have the honour of deliv- 
ering you this line. It is to request from you a List of a few 
good Books, to the Value of about Twenty-five Pounds, such 
as are most proper to inculcate Principles of sound Religion 
and just Government. A New Town in the State of Massa- 
chusetts having done me the honour of naming itself after me, 
and proposing to build a Steeple to their meeting-house if I 
would give them a Bell, I have advis'd the sparing themselves 
the Expence of a Steeple, for the present, and that they would 
accept of Books instead of a Bell, Sense being preferable to 
Sound. These are therefore intended as the Commence- 
ment of a little Parochial Library for the Use of a Society of 
intelligent, respectable Farmers, such as our Country People 
generally consist of. Besides your own Works, I would only 
mention, on the Recommendation of my sister, "Stennet's 
Discourses on Personal Religion" which may be one Book of 
the Number, if you know and approve of it. 1 

houses and goods be burnt, or otherwise destroyed, nor their fields wasted, by 
the armed force of the enemy into whose power, by the events of war, they 
may happen to fall ; but, if any thing is necessary to be taken from them for 
the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable price. 
And all merchants and trading vessels employed in exchanging the products 
of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and 
comforts of human life more easy to be obtained, and more general, shall be 
allowed to pass free and unmolested; and neither of the contracting powers 
shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering 
them to take or destroy such trading vessels, or interrupt such commerce." 
\V. T. F. 

1 Dr. Price complied with this request in a letter dated June 3d, 1785. 
The books were procured and forwarded to the town of Franklin. The 



1785] TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL 301 

With the highest Esteem and Respect, I am ever, my dear 

Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1554. TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL (A. p. s.) 

Passy, March 22, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received duly your Letter of the 27th past, which gave 
me great Pleasure, as the length of time since I had heard 
from you made me apprehensive that you might be ill. I 
immediately communicated the Papers inclosed with it to 
my Colleagues, Messrs. Adams and Jefferson, and we have 
had several Meetings on the Barbary Affair. Probably by 
next Week's Post we may write fully upon it to you, and to 
Morocco. 

I am glad you are likely to succeed in obtaining the Liberty 
of our silly Countryman. 1 The Discipline they have given 

Reverend Nathaniel Emmons, clergyman of the parish for which the library 
was designed, preached a sermon, in commemoration of this bounty, entitled, 
"The Dignity of Man ; a Discourse addressed to the Congregation in Franklin 
upon the Occasion of their receiving from Dr. Franklin the Mark of his Re- 
spect in a rich Donation of Books, appropriated to the Use of a Parish 
Library" It was printed in the year 1787, and the following dedication 
was prefixed to it. "To his Excellency Benjamin Franklin, President of the 
State of Pennsylvania; the Ornament of Genius, the Patron of Science, and 
the Boast of Man; this Discourse is inscribed, with the greatest Deference, 
Humility, and Gratitude, by his obliged and most humble Servant, the 
Author." The words chosen by the preacher for his text were from the im- 
pressive charge of David to Solomon; " Show thyself a A/an" He enlarged 
upon the importance of intellectual and moral culture, pointing out the means, 
and enforcing the use of them by persuasive arguments. He referred his 
hearers to the example of Franklin, as affording a pertinent illustration of the 
text, and encouragement to the hopes of all, who would employ their powers 
for the attainment of high and useful objects. S. 

1 See letter to Carmichael, October 11,1784, and letter to Jonathan 
Williams, April 13, 1785. ED. 



302 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

him is, however, not misapply'd. Mr. Grand being now 
in Cash, your bills on him for your Salary will be duly hon- 
our'd. I mention your drawing on him, because probably 
I may not be here, as I expect daily the Permission of Con- 
gress to return home, and shall embrace the first Opportunity. 
Wherever I am, be assured of the invariable Esteem and 
Attachment of, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and humble 

Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1555. TO RICHARD HENRY LEE 1 

Passy, April 12, 1785. 
SIR, 

M. de Chaumont, who will have the honour of presenting 
this line to your Excellency, is a young gentleman of excellent 
character, whose father was one of our most early friends in 
this country, which he manifested by crediting us with a thou- 
sand barrels of gunpowder and other military stores in 1776, 
before we had provided any apparent means of payment. He 
has, as I understand, some demands to make on Congress, 
the nature of which I am unacquainted with ; but my regard 
for the family makes me wish, that they may obtain a speedy 
consideration, and such favourable issue as they may appear 
to merit. 

To this end, I beg leave to recommend him to your coun- 
tenance and protection, and am, with great respect, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

&>- . i ,. 

1 President of Congress. ED. 



1785] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 303 

1556. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (L. c.) 

Passy, April 13, 1785 

DEAR COUSIN : I received your letter of December i6th, 
relating to Jonas Hartwell. I had before written to our 
minister at Madrid, Mr. Carmichael, requesting him to apply 
for the release of that man. Enclosed I send his answer, 
with copies of other papers relating to the affair. The sim- 
pleton will be discharged, perhaps after being a little whipped 
for his folly, and that may not be amiss. We have here 
another New England man, Thayer, 2 formerly a candidate 
for the ministry, who converted himself lately at Rome, and 
is now preparing a return home for the purpose of converting 
his countrymen. Our ancestors from Catholic became first 
Church-of- England men, and then refined into Presbyterians. 
To change now from Presbyterianism to Popery seems to me 
refining backwards, from white sugar to brown. 

I have written to Dr. Price, of London, requesting him to 
make a choice of proper books to commence a library for 
the use of the inhabitants of Franklin. The parcel will be 
sent directly from thence. 

Jonathan and his family are well. He expects to be with 

1 The original letter is in the Maine Historical Society. A letter press 
copy with P. S. in pencil is in L. C. The letter is addressed to the Senior 
Jonathan Williams of Boston, father of Jonathan Williams, agent at Nantes. 

ED. 

2 John Thayer (1755 ?-i8i5), a Protestant clergyman of Boston who joined 
the Roman Catholic Church in 1783. See "An Account of the Conversion 
of the Rev. Mr. John Thayer, lately a Protestant Minister at Boston in North 
America, who embraced the Roman Catholic Religion at Rome, on the 25th 
of May, 1783, written by himself." This work was printed in London, re- 
printed in America, and translated into French, Spanish, and Italian. ED. 



304 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

you soon. I continue very hearty and well, except my 
malady of the stone, which, however, is hitherto very toler- 
able. My love to cousin Grace, etc., and believe me ever 

your affectionate uncle. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. April 1 4th. I send enclosed a bill drawn by 
W. Vernon, junior, on his father, for 840 livres, which I 
request you would receive and deliver to my sister Mecom. 

; ::.;.'..:- ;i, \\y . 



1557. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (L. c.) 

Passy, April 21, 1785. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your kind letter of the 23d past, by Mr. Perry, 1 
with the other bottle of Blackrie. 2 I thank you much for 
your care in sending them. I should have been glad to be 
of any use to Mr. Perry; but he had placed his children 
before I saw him, and he stayed with me only a few minutes. 

We see much in parliamentary proceedings, and in papers 
and pamphlets, of the injury the concessions to Ireland will 
do to the manufacturers of England, while the people of 
England seem to be forgotten, as if quite out of the question. 
If the Irish can manufacture cottons, and stuffs, and silks, 
and linens, and cutlery, and toys, and books, &c. &c. &c., 

1 This letter is in A. P. S. Mr. Perry was a shipbuilder who, according to 
Benjamin Vaughan, possessed " the largest private ship-yard in England or 
perhaps in the world, and has had the building of ships of the line sufficient 
to form a division in a line of battle, beside forty gun ships & frigates, and 
various East Indiamen &c." His business in Paris at this time was the plac- 
ing of his two sons for a few months in France for their improvement. ED. 

2 Blackrie's Solvent, a remedy for the stone. ED. 



1785] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 305 

so as to sell them cheaper in England than the manufac- 
turers of England sell them, is not this good for the people of 
England, who are not manufacturers ? And will not even the 
manufacturers themselves share the benefit ? Since if cottons 
are cheaper, all the other manufacturers who wear cottons 
will save in that article ; and so of the rest. If books can be 
had much cheaper from Ireland, (which I believe, for I 
bought Blackstone there for twenty-four shillings, when it 
was sold in England at four guineas,) is not this an advantage, 
not to English booksellers, indeed, but to English readers, and 
to learning? And of all the complainants, perhaps these 
booksellers are least worthy of consideration. The cata- 
logue you last sent me amazes me by the high prices (said to 
be the lowest) affixed to each article. And one can scarce 
see a new book, without observing the excessive artifices made 
use of to puff up a paper of verses into a pamphlet, a 
pamphlet into an octavo, and an octavo into a quarto, with 
scabboardings, white-lines, sparse titles of chapters, and 
exorbitant margins, to such a degree, that the selling of paper 
seems now the object, and printing on it only the pretence. I 
enclose the copy of a page in a late comedy. Between every 
two lines there is a white space equal to another line. You 
have a law, I think, against butchers blowing of veal to make 
it look fatter; why not one against booksellers' blowing of 
books to make them look bigger. All this to yourself; you 
can easily guess the reason. 

My grandson is a little indisposed, but sends you two 
pamphlets, Figaro, and Le Roy Voyageur. The first is a play 
of Beaumarchais, which has had a great run here. The 
other a representation of all the supposed errors of govern- 
ment in this country, some of which are probably exag- 

VOL. IX X 



306 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

gerated. It is not publicly sold; we shall send some more 
shortly. 

Please to remember me very respectfully and affectionately 
to good Dr. Price. I am glad that he has printed a transla- 
tion of the Testament, 1 it may do good. I am ever, my 
dear friend, yours most sincerely, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Enclosed, in the foregoing Letter. 

"SCENE IV. 
Sir JOHN and WILDMORE. 

Sir JOHN. 
Whither so fast? 

WILDMORE. 
To the Opera. 

Sir JOHN. 
It is not the ? 

WILDMORE. 

Yes it is. 

Sir JOHN. 
Never on a Sunday. 

WILDMORE. 
Is this Sunday? 

Sir JOHN. 

Yes sure. 

WILDMORE. 

I remember nothing; I shall soon forget my Christian 
name." 

If this page was printed running on like Erasmus's Collo- 
quies, it would not have made more than five lines. 

1 See letter to Price, Feb. i, 1785. ED. 



1785] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 307 



1558. TO ANTOINE-ALEXIS-FRANfOIS CADET 
DE VAUX 1 

Passy, April 28, 1785. 

Bra : I return your paper relating to mais, 3 which I have 
perused with pleasure. I am glad to learn that good beer 
may be made of it, which is new to me. I send herewith 
some observations on the use of that grain, of which you are 
at liberty to make such as you may think proper. Your 
Patisseur has done wonders ; I am delighted with his produc- 
tions, and shall wish to take a quantity of them with me to 
eat at sea. 

With great esteem, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1559. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ (L. c.) 

Passy, April 29, 1785. 
MY DEAR DEAR FRIEND, 

I believe my last Letter to you was of May 16, 1 783.* I am 
therefore much in your Debt as a Correspondent. I have now 
before me all your Letters since received, and shall endeav- 
our as well as I can to answer them. I confess that a Man, 
who can leave so many Letters so long unanswer'd, does not 
deserve so valuable a Correspondence as yours. But I am 

1 Cadet De Vaux (1743-1828), a distinguished chemist. He founded the 
Journal de Paris (1777). Printed from "The Complete Works of Benjamin 
Franklin " (Bigelow), Vol. IX, p. 99. ED. 

8 Sent April 24, 1785, to Franklin (A. P. S.). The paper was intended for 
publication in the Journal de Paris. ED. 

* See letter to Ingenhousz, January 16, 1784. ED. 



3 o8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

grown very old, being now in my 8oth year ; I am engag'd in 
much Business that must not be neglected. Writing becomes 
more and more irksome to me ; I grow more indolent ; Philo- 
sophic Discussions, not being urgent like Business, are post- 
poned from time to time till they are forgotten. Besides, I 
have been these 20 Months past afflicted with the Stone, 
which is always giving me more or less Uneasiness, unless 
when I am laid in Bed ; and, when I would write, it interrupts 
my Train of Thinking, so that I lay down my Pen, and seek 
some light Amusement. 

I hope Mr. Weinbrenner's Agent succeeded in his Voyage 
to America. Too much Goods have been sent there since 
the Peace from all Parts of Europe which has overstock'd 
the Market and made the Prices so low as to afford but little 
Profit & sometimes none to the Adventurers. Time and 
Experience will bring the Commerce into a more regular 
Train. 

I consent to your request concerning my Paper on the 
Weathercock struck by Lightning. Dispose of it as you 
please. 

You will find an Ace* of the first great Stroke I received, 
in pages 161, 162, of my Book, 5th Edition, 1774. The 
second I will now give you. I had a Paralytick Patient in 
my Chamber, whose Friends brought him to receive some 
Electric Shocks. I made them join Hands so as to receive 
the Shock at the same time, and I charg'd two large Jars to 
give it. By the Number of those People, I was oblig'd to 
quit my usual Standing, and plac'd myself inadvertently under 
an Iron Hook which hung from the Cieling down to within 
two Inches of my Head, and communicated by a Wire with 
the outside of the Jars. I attempted to discharge them, and 



1785] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 309 

in fact did so ; but I did not perceive it, tho' the charge went 
thro' me, and not through the Persons I entended it for. I 
neither saw the Flash, heard the Report, nor felt the Stroke. 
When my Senses returned, I found myself on the Floor. I got 
up, not knowing how that had happened. I then again 
attempted to discharge the Jars; but one of the Company 
told me they were already discharg'd, which I could not at 
first believe, but on Trial found it true. They told me they 
had not felt it, but they saw I was knock'd down by it, 
which had greatly surprised them. On recollecting myself, 
and examining my Situation, I found the Case clear. A 
small swelling rose on the Top of my Head, which continued 
sore for some Days ; but I do not remember any other Effect 
good or bad. 

The Stroke you received, and its Consequences, are much 
more curious. I communicated that Part of your Letter to an 
Operator, encourag'd by Government here to electrify epi- 
leptic and other poor Patients, and ad vis' d his trying the 
Practice on mad People according to your Opinion. I have 
not heard whether he has done it. 

It is so long since you wrote the Letters I am answering 
that I am apprehensive you may have forgotten some of the 
Particulars, and that thereby my Answers may be unin- 
telligible. I therefore mark the Dates of your Letters in the 
Margin, that if you kept Copies you may recur to them. 

Lady Dowager Perm * was here about the Time of the 
Treaty, and made Application to me with great Complaints, 
but I found she was not well inform'd of the State of her 
Affairs, and could not clearly show that she had suffer'd any 

1 Lady Juliana Fennor, daughter of the Earl of Pomfret, married to Thomas 
Penn in 1751. ED. 



310 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Injury from the Publick of Pennsylvania, whatever she might 
from the Agents of the Family. Her Husband's Lands, I 
understand, were not confiscated as represented; but the 
Proprietary Government falling with that of the Crown, the 
Assembly took the Opportunity of insisting upon Justice in 
some Points, which they could never obtain under that Gov- 
ernment. A kind of Compromise then was made between the 
Assembly & the Family, whereby all the vacant Lots and 
unappropriated wilderness Lands were to be thenceforth in 
the Disposition of the Assembly, who were to pay 130,000 
Sterling to the Family within 3 Years after the Peace, all 
other Demands on both sides being thus abolished. I am 
told that this Arrangement was satisfactory to most of them. 
But as the Lady intended to send her Son over to solicit her 
Interests, I gave him a Letter of Recommendation to the 
Governor, proposing it for Consideration whether it might 
not be adviseable to reconsider the Matter, and if the sum of 
130,000 should be found insufficient, to make a proper 
Addition. I have not heard what has since been done in the 
Affair, or whether any thing. In my own Judgment, when I 
consider that for near 80 Years, viz., from the Year 1700, 
William Penn and his Sons receiv'd the Quit-rents which were 
originally granted for the Support of Government, and yet 
refused to support the Government, obliging the People to 
make a fresh Provision for its Support all that Time, which 
cost them vast Sums, as the most necessary Laws were not to 
be obtain'd but at the Price of making such Provision ; when 
I consider the Meanness and cruel Avarice of the late Pro- 
prietor, in refusing for several Years of War, to consent to 
any Defence of the Frontiers ravaged all the while by the 
Enemy, unless his Estate should be exempted from paying 



1785] . TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 311 

any Part of the Expence, not to mention other Atrocities too 
long for this Letter, I cannot but think the Family well off, 
and that it will be prudent in them to take the Money and be 
quiet. William Penn, the First Proprietor, Father of Thomas, 
the Husband of the present Dowager, was a wise and good 
Man, and as honest to the People as the extream Distress of 
his Circumstances would permit him to be, but the said 
Thomas was a miserable Churl, always intent upon Griping 
and Saving ; and whatever Good the Father may have done 
for the Province was amply undone by the Mischief receiv'd 
from the Son, who never did any thing that had the Appear- 
ance of Generosity or Public Spirit but what was extorted 
from him by Solicitation and the Shame of Backwardness in 
Benefits evidently incumbent on him to promote, and which 
was done at last in the most ungracious manner possible. The 
Lady's Complaints of not duly receiving her Revenues from 
America are habitual; they were the same during all the 
Time of my long Residence in London, being then made by 
her Husband as Excuses for the Meanness of his House- 
keeping and his Deficiency in Hospitality, tho' I knew at the 
same time that he was then in full Receipt of vast Sums 
annually by the Sale of Lands, Interest of Money, and Quit- 
rents. But probably he might conceal this from his Lady 
to induce greater Economy as it is known that he ordered no 
more of his Income home than was absolutely necessary for 
his Subsistence, but plac'd it at Interest in Pennsylvania & 
the Jerseys, where he could have 6 and 7 per Cent., while 
Money bore no more than 5 per cent, in England. I us'd 
often to hear of these Complaints and laugh at them, per- 
ceiving clearly their Motive. They serv'd him on other as 
well as on domestic Occasions. You remember our Rector 



3 i2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

of St. Martin's Parish, Dr. Saunders. He once went about, 
during a long and severe Frost, soliciting charitable Con- 
tributions to purchase Coals for poor Families. He came 
among others to me, and I gave him something. It was but 
little, very little, and yet it occasion'd him to remark, "You 
are more bountiful on this Occasion than your wealthy 
Proprietary, Mr. Penn, but he tells me he is distress'd by not 
receiving his Incomes from America." The Incomes of the 
family there must still be very great, for they have a Number 
of Manors consisting of the best Lands, which are preserved 
to them, and vast Sums at Interest well secur'd by Mortgages; 
so that if the Dowager does not receive her Proportion, there 
must be some Fault in her Agents. You will perceive by the 
length of this Article that I have been a little echaufit by her 
making the Complaints you mention to the Princess Dow- 
ager of Lichtenstein at Vienna. The Lady herself is good & 
amiable, and I should be glad to serve her in any thing just 
and reasonable ; but I do not at present see that I can do 
more than I have done. 

As to Wharton, I am amaz'd at his Conduct towards you. 
D r Bancroft tells me, that he believes your Money is spent, 
& that Wharton has it not at present to pay : But that he has 
Lands, & enjoys a profitable Office; so that he has hopes, 
that he may pay in time. In my Opinion, you would do well 
to make the Voyage, and when there you may at least obtain 
some Land. The Emperor will be good enough to give 
you leave to accompany your old Friend. I purpose return- 
ing to America in the ensuing summer, and shall be happy to 
have your Company. But if this cannot be, send me your 
Power of Attorney or Procuration with what Proofs you have 
of the Debt, and I will do my best Endeavours when there 
to recover it for you. 




Louis XVI AND BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 

From a statuette, formerly at Champlost and now in the possession of Miss Sophia 
Irwin, a descendant of Benjamin Franklin. 



1785] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 313 

Your Ideas of the long Conservation possible of the Infec- 
tion of some Diseases, appear to me well-founded. I heard 
in England of one Instance. In a Country Village where the 
Small Pox had not been for 30 Years, a Grave was opened for 
the Interment of a Person dead of some common Distemper, 
whose Funeral was accompanied by most of the Inhabitants 
of the Village. The Grave digger, had in his Operation broke 
the Coffin of a neighbouring Corpse which had dy'd of the 
Small Pox thirty years before. Those who attended the 
Ceremony of the Interment were sensible of a bad Smell 
issuing from the Grave, and after some Days were all taken 
down with that Distemper. You may yourself remember a 
stronger Instance. It happen'd during my Absence from 
England between August 1762 and December 1764, and 
therefore I may not be perfect in the Circumstances. A 
Number of Physicians, as I heard, amus'd themselves with 
the Dissection of an Egyptian Mummy, which must have 
been more than Two Thousand Years old, and several of 
them dyd soon after of putrid Fevers, suspected to be caught 
at that Dissection. 

The Circumstances of the Royalists in the United States 
are daily mending, as the Minds of People irritated by the 
Burning of their Towns and Massacre of their Friends, begin 
to cool. A Stop is put to all Prosecutions against them, and 
in time their Offences will be forgotten. By our last Ad- 
vices from thence the Government acquires continually more 
Consistence, and every thing is getting into the best Order. 
The English still misrepresent us and our Situation : relating 
things as they wish them rather than as they are. But be 
assured our People are happy in the Change, & have not the 
least Inclination to return to the Dominion of Britain. 



3 I4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

{Letter of Sept. i. 83.] I immediately sent to Mr. Bartram 
our celebrated Botanist of Pennsylvania, the Orders of Count 
Chotck for a quantity of American Seeds. It came so late to 
me, that it was impossible it should arrive there in time to 
make the Collection of Seeds of the Year 1783, conse- 
quently it would be necessary to wait for those that would be 
ripe in the Autumn of 1784. But having then in hand a Box 
of Seeds obtain'd from him at the Request of some Friends 
here ; I divided them, and Sent you some of each Sort. I 
delivered them to the Bishop Nekrep, who said he had a good 
Opportunity of forwarding them, and that he would do it 
with Pleasure. I thought you might oblige your Friend the 
Count with those for the present, as they would be in time 
for Planting in the Spring of 1784. But I never heard 
whether you receiv'd them. I had a Letter last Winter from 
my Son-in-law, Mr Bache, acquainting me that Mr. Bartram 
had brought the box of Seeds to him, which he should pay for; 
but that he was uncertain whether he ought to send it by way 
of Holland as ordered, the Newspapers having announced 
a War between the Emperor and that State, which might 
obstruct its passage to Vienna. I wrote to him in answer, 
that he should nevertheless comply with the Order, and 
immediately, lest the Seeds should arrive too late for plant- 
ing this Season, so that I hope they may be now in Holland, 
tho' I have heard nothing further. I enclose a Copy of the 
List of those sent you, except some Deficiencys. 

[Letter o) Nov. 19. 83.] I thank you much for your good 
Wishes of Repose and Tranquility for me in my latter Years, 
and for your kind invitation to come and see you at Vienna. 
I have sufficient Inclination but my Malady the Stone, which 
for 20 Months past has disabled me from using a Carriage, 






1785] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 315 

is an insuperable Obstruction to such a Journey. I know we 
should be happy together, and therefore repeat my Proposition 
that you should ask Leave of the Emperor to let you come 
and live with me during the little Remainder of Life that 
is left me. I am confident his Goodness would grant your 
Request. You will be at no expence while with me in 
America; you will recover your Debt from Wharton, and 
you will make me happy. I am glad you received the Bill 
of 8000 Livres from him, which went thro' my Hands. I 
wish your Application of it in an East Indian Adventure 
may be more advantagious to you than your Adventure to 
the West. 

I know not the Situation here of your Book, as I rarely see 
M. le Begue, he living much in the Country : but I am sorry 
for your sake as well as that of the Publick, that its Publica- 
tion is so long delay 'd. 

As soon as I return to Philadelphia, I shall procure your 
Election as a Member of our Philosophical Society. I do not 
know any Choice that will do them more Honour. 

As the American Newspapers seem to afford you Pleasure, I 
have sent you some more by the Baron de Windischgratz, who 
was so kind as to undertake the forwarding them to you. I 
gave him also two little Pieces of my Writing. 

[Letter of Jan. 2. 84.} I imagine that I did answer this 
Letter before, tho' I find no Note of such Answer. I think 
I dissuaded you from being concern'd in any Project for rais- 
ing a Balloon as if it should happen by any Accident not 
succeed, it might expose you to Ridicule, & hurt your Repu- 
tation. I was glad to hear that you declin'd it. 

[Letter of Jan. 14. 84.] I receiv'd this Letter, said to be 
sent by the Countess de Fries. I should have been glad 



3 i6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

of any Opportunity of showing Civility to a Friend of yours, 
and of so amiable a Character. 

[Letter of Feb. 10. 84.] The Prelate of Nekrep appeared a 
very good sort of Man. I show'd him all the Respect in my 
Power. I think I must have written to you by him, but I do 
not find any Copy of the Letter, and remember nothing of 
the Contents. My Memory is indeed sensibly impaired. I 
was sorry to hear of his Death. 

I do not know that my Contrivance of a Clock with 3 Wheels 
only, which show'd Hours, Minutes and Seconds, has ever 
been publish'd. I have seen several of them here at Paris 
that were made by Mr. Whitehurst, and sent over I believe 
by Mr. Magellan. You are welcome to do what you please 
with it. Mr. Whitehurst's Invention is very simple, and 
should be very effectual, provided the foot of the Rod and the 
Situation of the Clock are invariably fix'd, so as never to be at 
a greater or less Distance from one another, which may be 
by fixing both in a strait-grain'd Piece of Wood of about 4 
feet long; Wood not changing its Dimensions the length way 
of the Grain, by any common degree of Heat or Cold. But 
this cannot be trusted to the Wood of a Clock- Case, because 
in Sawing Boards the Grain is frequently cross'd, and Mois- 
ture and Dryness will change their Dimensions. 

You are at liberty also to publish if you think fit the Ex- 
periment of the Globe floating between two Liquors. I sup- 
pose you remember to have seen it on my Chimney-piece. 
Tho' it is a matter of no Utility. Something of the same 
nature has been done more than 100 Years since by another 
Person, I forget who. 

What I formerly mention'd to you of hanging a Weight on 
a spiral Spring, to discover if Bodies gravitated differently 



1785] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 317 

to the Earth during the Conjunctions of the Sun and Moon, 
compar'd with other Times, was this. We suppose, that, by 
the Force of Gravity in those Luminaries, the Water of the 
Ocean, an immense Weight, is elevated so as to form the 
Tides; if that be so, might we not expect, that an iron Ball 
of a pound suspended by a fine spiral Spring, should, when 
the Sun and Moon are together both above it, be a little at- 
tracted upwards or rendered lighter, so as to be drawn up 
a little by the Spring on which it depends, and the contrary 
when they are both below it. The Quantity, tho' very small, 
might perhaps be rendred visible by a Contrivance like the 
above. It is not difficult to make this Experiment, but I have 
never made it. With regard to the Tides, I doubt the Opin- 
ion of there being but two High Waters and two Low Waters 
existing at the same time on the Globe. I rather think there 
are many, and those at the Distance of about 100 Leagues 
from each other. The Tides found in the River Amazones 
seem to favour this Opinion. Observations hereafter in the 
Isles of the Pacific Ocean may confirm or refute it. 

If I were in a Situation where I could be a little more Master 
of my Time, I would as you desire, write my Ideas on the 
Subject of Chimneys. They might I think be useful. For 
by what I see everywhere the Subject seems too little under- 
stood, which occasions much Inconvenience & fruitless 
Expence. But besides being harass'd with too much Business, 
I am expos'd to numberless Visits, some of Kindness and 
Civility, many of mere idle Curiosity, from Strangers of 
America & of different Parts of Europe, as well as the In- 
habitants of the Provinces who come to Paris. These devour 
my Hours, and break my Attention, and at Night I often 
find myself fatigu'd without having done any thing. Celebrity 



3 i8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

may for a while flatter one's Vanity, but its Effects are 
troublesome. I have begun to write two or three Things, 
which I wish to finish before I die; but I sometimes doubt 
the possibility. 

I thank you much for the Postscript respecting my Dis- 
order, the Stone. I have taken heretofore, and am now 
again taking the Remedy you mention, which is called 
Blackrie's Solvent. It is the Soap Lie, with Lime Water, and 
I believe it may have some Effect in diminishing the Symp- 
toms, and preventing the Growth of the Stone, which is all 
I expect from it. It does not hurt my Appetite ; I sleep well, 
and enjoy my Friends in chearful Conversation as usual. 
But, as I cannot use much Exercise, I eat more sparingly than 
formerly, and I drink no Wine. 

I admire that you should be so timid in asking Leave of 
your good imperial Master to make a Journey for visiting 
a Friend. I am persuaded you would succeed, and I hope 
the Proposition I have made you in this Letter will assist 
your Courage, and enable you to ask and obtain. If you 
come here soon, you may when present get your Book fin- 
ish'd, and be ready to proceed with me to America. While 
writing this, I have receiv'd from Congress my Leave to re- 
turn ; and I believe I shall be ready to embark by the middle 
of July, at farthest. I shall now be free of Politicks for the 
Rest of my Life. Welcome again my dear Philosophical 
Amusements. 

I see by a full Page of your Letter, that you have been pos- 
sess'd with strange Ideas of America ; that there is no Jus- 
tice to be obtained there, no Recovery of Debts, Projects of 
Insurrection to overturn the present Government, &c. &c. ; 
that a Virginia Colonel Nephew of the Governor had cheated 



1785] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 319 

a Stranger of 100,000 Livres, and that somebody was im- 
prisoned for only speaking of it ; that D r Bancroft was afraid 
of Mr. Wharton's Power, and the like very improbable Stories. 
As to Dr. Bancroft he gave me no such Reason for not recov- 
ering his Money, nor any other but Wharton's present In- 
ability; and for the rest believe me they are all Fictions or 
Misrepresentations. If they were Truths, all Strangers 
would avoid such a Country, and foreign Merchants would 
as soon carry their Goods to sell in Newgate as to America. 
Think a little on the Sums England has spent to preserve a 
Monopoly of the Trade of that People, with whom they had 
long been acquainted, and of the Desire all Europe is now 
manifesting to obtain a Share of that Trade. Our Ports 
are full of their Ships, their Merchants buying and selling in 
our Streets continually, and returning with our Products. 
Would this happen? Could such Commerce be continu'd 
with us, if we were such a Collection of Scoundrels and Villains 
as we have been represented to you? And Insurrections 
against our Rulers are not only unlikely, as the Rulers are 
the Choice of the People, but unnecessary; as, if not lik'd, 
they may be chang'd annually by the new Elections. 

I own you have Cause, great Cause to complain of Wharton, 
but you are wrong to condemn a whole Country by a single 
Sample. I have seen many Countries, & I do not know a 
Country in the World in which Justice is so well administ'red, 
where Protection and Favour have so little Power to impede 
its Operations, and where Debts are recovered with so much 
Facility. If I thought it such a Country as it has been 
painted to you, I should certainly never return to it. The 
Truth I believe is, that more Goods have been carried thither 
from all Parts of Europe, than the Consumption of the Coun- 



320 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

try requires, & it is natural that some of the Adventurers 
are willing to discourage others from following them, lest 
the Prices should still be kept down by the Arrival of fresh 
Cargoes; and it is not unlikely, that some negligent or un- 
faithful Factors sent thither, may have given such Accounts 
to excuse their not making Remittances. And the English 
magnify all this, and spread it abroad in their Papers, to 
dissuade Foreigners from attempting to interfere with them 
in their Commerce with us. 

Your Account of the Emperor's condescending Conver- 
sation with you concerning me, is pleasing. I respect very 
much the Character of that Monarch, and think, that, if 
I were one of his Subjects, he would find me a good One. I 
am glad that his Difference with your Country is likely to 
be accommodated without Bloodshed. The Courier de 
VEurope, and some other Papers, printed a Letter on that 
Difference, which they ascrib'd to me. Be assured my 
Friend that I never wrote it, nor was ever presumptuous 
enough to meddle with an Affair so much out of my way. 

All the Letters you at any time enclos'd to me have been 
faithfully forwarded. I obtained from Mr. Williams an 
Answer which I enclose. I am asham'd I have kept it so 
long ; but I had put it among your Letters, intending to send 
it with the first I should write to you, and that has been too 
long delay 'd. 

Mesmer continues here and has still some Adherents and 
some Practice. It is surprizing how much Credulity still 
subsists in the World. I suppose all the Physicians in 
France put together have not made so much Money during 
the Time he has been here, as he has done. And we have 
now a fresh Folly. A Magnetiser pretends that he can by 



1785] TO COMTE DE VERGENNES 321 

establishing what is called a Rapport between any Person 
and a Somnambule, put it in the Power of that Person to 
direct the Actions of the Somnambule, by a simple strong 
Volition only, without Speaking or making any Signs; and 
many People daily flock to see this strange Operation ! 

Your last did not reach me till long after its Date. I have 
spent some Days in writing this. It is now the 2d of May, and 
I shall not be able to forward it till by Thursday's Post, the 
5th Instant. If in the meantime I can learn anything respect- 
ing the Publication of your Book I will add it in a Postscript. 
Rejoice with me, my dear Friend, that I am once more a 
Freeman : after Fifty Years Service in Public Affairs. And 
let me know soon if you will make me happy the little Re- 
mainder left me of my Life, by spending the Time with me 
in America. 

I have Instruments if the Enemy did not destroy them 
all, and we will make Plenty of Experiments together. 
Believe me ever, 

Yours most affectionately 

B. F. 



1560. TO COMTE DE VERGENNES (L. c.) 

Passy, May 3, 1785. 

SIR, 

I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency, that I 
have at length obtain'd, and yesterday receiv'd, the Permis- 
sion of Congress to return to America. As my Malady 
makes it impracticable for me to pay my Devoirs at Ver- 
sailles personally, may I beg the favour of you, Sir, to express 
respectfully for me to his Majesty, the deep Sense I have of 

VOL. IX Y 



322 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

all the inestimable Benefits his Goodness has conferr'd on 
my Country ; a Sentiment that it will be the Business of the 
little Remainder of Life now left me, to impress equally on 
the Minds of all my Countrymen. My sincere Prayers are, 
that God may shower down his Blessings on the King, the 
Queen, their Children, and all the royal Family to the latest 
Generations ! 

Permit me, at the same time, to offer you my thankful 
Acknowledgments for the Protection and Countenance you 
afforded me at my Arrival, and your many Favours during 
my Residence here, of which I shall always retain the most 
grateful Remembrance. My Grandson would have had the 
honour of waiting on you with this Letter, but he has been 
some time ill of a Fever. 

With the greatest Esteem and Respect, and best Wishes 
for the constant Prosperity of yourself, and all your amiable 
family, I am, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most 

humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1561. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (P. c.) 

Passy, May 5, 1785. 
MY DEAR, DEAR FRIEND, 

I receiv'd your little Letter from Dover, which gave me 
great Pleasure, as it inform'd me of your happy Progress so 
far in your way home. I hope the rest of your Journey was 
as prosperous. 2 

You talk of Obligations to me, when in fact I am the 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 

2 Mrs. Hewson and her children had spent the winter with Dr. Franklin 
at Passy. ED. 



1785] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 323 

Person oblig'd. I pass'd a long Winter, in a manner that made 
it appear the shortest of any I ever past. Such is the Effect 
of pleasing Society, with Friends one loves. 

I have now receiv'd my Permission to return, and am 
making my Preparations. I hope to get away in June. I 
promise myself, or rather flatter myself, that I shall be happy 
when at home. But, however happy that Circumstance may 
make me, your joining me there will surely make me happier, 
provided your Change of Country may be for the advantage 
of your dear little Family. When you have made up your 
Mind on the Subject, let me know by a Line, that I may pre- 
pare a House for you as near me, and otherwise as convenient 
for you, as possible. 

My Neighbours begin to come out from Paris, and replace 
themselves in their Passy Houses. They enquire after you, 
and are sorry you are gone before they could make themselves 
known to you. For those who did know you speak well of 
you. M. le Veillard, in particular, has told me at different 
times, what indeed I knew long since, C'est une bien digne 
Femme, cette Madame Hewson, une trts aimable Femme. 
I would not tell you this if I thought it would make you 
vain er than you are ; but that is impossible ; you have 
too much good Sense. 

So wish me a good Voyage, and, when you pray at Church 
for all that travel by Land or Sea, think of your ever affec- 
tionate Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. My love to William, and Thomas, and Eliza, and 
tell them I miss their chearful Prattle. Temple being sick, 
and Benjamin at Paris, I have found it very triste breakfasting 
alone, and sitting alone, and without any Tea in the Evening. 



324 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1562. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (P. c.) 

Passy May 5. 1785 
DEAR JONATHAN 

I wrote you some Days since, and enclos'd you several 
Letters I had received respecting your Affairs. Enclos'd 
is another which came to hand this Morning. You will let 
me know what I should say to this Man. He has shown me 
a Letter of yours ordering the Goods and undertaking to 
pay for them. 

I have at length received my long-expected Permission to 
return to America, and I am preparing for my Departure, 
tho' I have not yet determined how I shall go. It is now 
said that the May Packet is the last to go from L' Orient, 
and that the June Packet and all succeeding ones are to go 
from Havre. I incline (if this is true, and no better means 
offers) to go in the June Packet. But there is a Mr. Ger- 
vaise from Boston who tells me that a fine new Ship of Peck's 
Construction, 400 Tons Burthen will sail from Holland for 
Boston in July; and that he has no doubt the Captain will 
be prevail'd on to call for me and my Family at Havre, to 
which Place I can go by Water ; and that he will talk with 
the Captain on the Subject as soon as he arrives in Holland, 
which will be in a few Days and write me Word whether he 
will undertake it and on what Terms. 

I have indeed no great Objection to landing in Boston, 
as tho' there will then be another Voyage to get home, I 
shall have the Pleasure of seeing Friends once more, whom 
otherwise I may never see. But as this Project may not 

1 From the original in the possession of Louis A. Biddle, Esq. ED. 



1785] TO JOHN JAY 325 

answer I wish you would enquire and inform me whether 
there are any good Vessels bound from London to Boston, 
N. York, or Philadelphia or Baltimore to sail in June, that 
would take us at Havre. I shall need the most comfortable 
Accommodation the Ship can afford, being so old and infirm, 
and I expect to pay accordingly. There will be myself and 
two Grandsons at least, perhaps another Person, and two 
Servants. I shall have also with me four [mutilated] Tons 
perhaps of Goods. And if it will suit [mutilated] to go with 
us so much the better. The sooner you give me the Infor- 
mation you can collect the more satisfactory it will be, as 
it will enable me sooner to make my Determination. As to 
Mrs. Hewson's Family I know not yet whether she ever in- 
tends going to America but as she intends a Journey to York- 
shire, it is not probable she can make the American Voyage 
this Summer. Billy is better and sends his Love. I am ever 

Your affectionate Uncle 
B. FRANKLIN. 

1563. TO JOHN JAY 1 (L.C.) 

Passy, May 10, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your kind Letter of the 8th of March, enclosing 
the Resolution of Congress, permitting my Return to America, 
for which I am very thankful, and am now preparing to 
depart the first good Opportunity. Next to the Pleasure of 
rejoining my own Family will be that of seeing you and yours 
well and happy, and embracing once more my little Friend, 
whose singular Attachment to me I shall always remember. 

1 Mr. Jay was at this time Secretary of Foreign Affairs, having been chosen 
as successor to Mr. Livingston, who had resigned. ED. 



326 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

I shall be glad to render any acceptable Service to Mr. 
Randall. 1 I convey'd the Bayberry Wax to Abbe* de Chalut, 
with your Compliments, as you desired. He returns his with 
many Thanks. Be pleased to make my respectfull Compli- 
ments acceptable to Mrs. Jay, and believe me ever, with 
sincere and great Respect and Esteem, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1564. TO CHARLES THOMSON (L. c.) 

Passy, May 10, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

An old Gentleman in Switzerland, long of the Magistracy 
there, having written a book intitled Dn Gouvernement des 
Mceurs, 2 which is thought to contain many Matters, that may 
be useful in America, desired to know of me how he could 
convey a Number of the printed Copies, to be distributed 
gratis among the Members of Congress. I advis'd his ad- 
dressing the Package to you by way of Amsterdam, whence 
a Friend of mine would forward it. It is accordingly shipt 
there on board the Van Berckel, Capt. W. Campbell mark'd 
[x]. N 990. There are good Things in the Work, but his 
Chapter on the Liberty of the Press appears to me to contain 
more Rhetorick than Reason. With great Esteem, I am 
ever, Dear Sir, 

Yours Affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 Paul Randall, son of a merchant of New York. ED. 

2 By Pollier, published at Lausanne, 1 784. ED. 



1785] TO MR. AND MRS. RICHARD BACHE 327 

1565. TO MR. AND MRS. RICHARD BACHE (L. c.) 

Passy, May 10, 1785. 

DEAR SON AND DAUGHTER : Having at length received 
from Congress Permission to return home, I am now pre- 
paring for my departure, and hope to get away by the Middle 
of next Month, or the End at farthest, tho' I know not yet 
whether it will be by the Packet or some other Vessel. 
Fearing that the Packet may be crowded with Passengers, I 
have desired my Cousin, Jonathan Williams, now in London, 
to enquire whether there may not be found some good Vessel 
bound directly to Philadelphia, who would agree to take me 
on board at Havre, with my Grandsons and Servants, and 
my Baggage, etc. Infirm as I am, I have need of comfort- 
able Room and Accommodations. I was miserably lodg'd 
in coming over hither, which almost demolish'd me. I must 
be better stow'd now, or I shall not be able to hold out the 
Voyage. Indeed my Friends here are so apprehensive for 
me, that they press me much to remain in France, and three 
of them have offer'd me an Asylum in their Habitations. 
They tell me I am here among a People who universally 
esteem and love me; that my Friends at home are dimin- 
ish'd by Death in my Absence ; that I may there meet with 
Envy and its consequent Enmity which here I am perfectly 
free from; this supposing I live to compleat the Voyage, 
but of that they doubt. The Desire however of spending 
the little Remainder of Life with my Family, is so strong, as 
to determine me to try, at least, whether I can bear the Motion 
of a Ship. If not, I must get them to set me on shore some- 
where in the Channel, and content myself to die in Europe. 



328 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

It is long since I have heard from you or of you. I hope, 
however, that you and the Children continue well. Ben is 
very well, and growing amazingly. He promises to be a 
stout as well as a good Man. Temple has been ill lately 
with a Fever, but is getting better and sends his Duty. I 
suppose Ben writes. I am ever my dear Children, your 

affectionate Father, 

B. FRANKLIN 

in his 8o th Year. 



1566. TO MARECHAL DE CASTRIES (A. p. s.) 

Passy, May 1 6, 1785. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the g th Instant, respecting an Advance made to Mr. Bing- 
ham Agent of the United States at Martinique, amounting to 
200,216 #5. for which he is held accountable. Mr. Bingham 
resided at Paris during the Winter, with his Family; but is 
now gone to London, and I know not his Address there. 
Before his Departure he obtain'd some Letters of Introduction 
to the Minister of France at that Court, and probably there- 
fore is acquainted with residence; and I submit it to your 
Consideration, whether it may not be well to charge that 
Minister with the Demand, as I am about to depart for 
America, and shall probably have no Opportunity of seeing 
Mr. Bingham, for which reason I return the Letter. With 
great Respect, I am, Sir, 

Your Excellency's most obedient 
& most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1785] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 329 

1567. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (P. c.) 
DEAR JONATHAN Passy May 19. 1785 

1 The Conversations you mention respecting America are 
pitiable. Those People speak what they wish ; but she was 
certainly never in a more happy Situation. They are angry 
with us and hate us, and speak all manner of evil of us; 
but we flourish, notwithstanding. They put me in mind 
of a violent High Church Factor, resident some time in 
Boston, when I was a Boy. He had bought upon Specula- 
tion a Connecticut Cargo of Onions, which he flatter'd him- 
self he might sell again to great Profit, but the Price fell, 
and they lay upon hand. He was heartily vex'd with his 
Bargain, especially when he observ'd they began to grow in 
the Store he had fill'd with them. He show'd them one Day 
to a Friend. "Here they are," says he, "and they are grow- 
ing too ! I damn 'em every day ; but I think they are like 
the Presbyterians ; the more I curse 'em, the more they grow. 1 ' 

Billy is got well again and I suppose writes. My Disorder 
has its bad and good Days : At present I am tolerably affected 
by it ; but sometimes the Pain is hard to bear. I wish you to 
buy and send me Blackrie's Disquisition on Medicines that 
dissolve the Stone. 2 You will find it at Wilkie's, N 71, Paul's 
Churchyard. I am ever, your Affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 The first paragraph of this letter I have omitted. It contains remarks 
upon his preparations for his homeward voyage, the substance of which is to be 
found in other letters. The original is in the possession of Louis A. Biddle, 
Esq. ED. 

1 " A Disquisition on Medicines which dissolve the Stone, in which Dr. 



330 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1785 

1568. TO CALEB WHITEFOORD (B. M.) 

Passy May 19. 1785 
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND 

I have desired my Nephew Mr. Williams to buy a Book 
for me, Blackrie's Disquisitions upon Medicines for dis- 
solving the Stone. It treats I understand of the Sope-Lye, 
which is recommended in the Pamphlet you were so kind as 
to send me. But as he may not easily find an Opportunity 
of sending it to me, I have directed him to consult with you, 
hoping that if it is not too big, you may prevail to have it 
come by the Court Courier, under Cover to your Friend here, 
who will immediately give it to me. 

I am really griev'd to learn by your Letter to my Grandson, 
that your public Services at the Treaty remain yet unre- 
warded. 1 You were long and usefully employ J d here, and 
it is a shame you should be so long neglected. The Min- 
istry being chang'd does not lessen your Merit with regard 
to the Public. You had a great loss in the Death of that 
truly good Man Mr. Oswald. 2 For I know it was his inten- 
tion, tho' he would not accept of anything for himself on 
Account of his Employment here, to make it a Point with 
Government, the obtaining a handsome Provision for you. 
It is unlucky, I think in the Affairs of this World, that the 
Wise and Good should be as mortal as Common People 

Chittick's secret is considered and discovered," by Alexander Blackrie. Lon- 
don, 1766. i2mo. ED. 

1 It was not until 1793 that a pension of 200 a year was secured to 
Whitefoord for his services. ED. 

2 Richard Oswald died November 6, 1784. ED. 



1785] TO GEORGE WHATLEY 331 

and that they often die before others are found fit to supply 

their Places. 

I am ever, my dear Friend, 

Yours most affectionately. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1569. TO GEORGE WHATLEY 1 

Passy, May 19, 1785. 

DEAR OLD FRIEND, 

I received the very good letter you sent me by my grandson, 
together with your resemblance, which is placed in my 
chamber, and gives me great pleasure. There is no trade, 
they say, without returns, and therefore I am punctual in 
making those you have ordered. 

I intended this should have been a long epistle, but I am 
interrupted, and can only add, that I am ever yours most 

affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1570. TO GEORGE WHATLEY (L. c.) 

Passy, May 23, 1785. 

DEAR OLD FRIEND, 

I sent you a few Lines the other Day, with the Medallion, 
when I should have written more, but was prevented by the 
coming in of a Bavard, who worried me till Evening. I bore 
with him, and now you are to bear with me ; for I shall prob- 
ably bavarder in answering your Letter. 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), 
Vol. I, p. 183. ED. 



332 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

I am not acquainted with the Saying of Alphonsus, 1 which 
you allude to as a Sanctification of your Rigidity, in refusing 
to allow me the Plea of Old Age, as an Excuse for my Want 
of Exactness in Correspondence. What was that Saying? 
You do not, it seems, feel any occasion for such an Excuse, 
though you are, as you say, rising 75. But I am rising (per- 
haps more properly falling) 80, and I leave the Excuse with 
you till you arrive at that Age; perhaps you may then be 
more sensible of its Validity, and see fit to use it for yourself. 

I must agree with you, that the Gout is bad, and that the 
Stone is worse. I am happy in not having them both to- 
gether, and I join in your Prayer, that you may live till you 
die without either. But I doubt the Author of the Epitaph 2 
you send me was a little mistaken, when he, speaking of the 
World, says, that 

" he ne'er car'd a pin 
What they said or may say of the Mortal within." 

It is so natural to wish to be well spoken of, whether alive 
or dead, that I imagine he could not be quite exempt from 
that Desire ; and that at least he wish'd to be thought a Wit, 
or he would not have given himself the Trouble of writing so 
good an Epitaph to leave behind him. Was it not as worthy 
of his Care, that the World should say he was an honest and 
a good Man? I like better the concluding Sentiment in 
the old Song, call'd The Old Man's Wish, wherein, after 
wishing for a warm House in a country Town, an easy Horse, 
some good old authors, ingenious and cheerful Companions, 
a Pudding on Sundays, with stout Ale, and a bottle of Bur- 

1 The wish of King Alphonsus was to have old friends, old books, old 
wine, and old wood, whence Whatley gathered that the age of friends ought 
not to be a plea for indolence or inexactness. ED. 

2 Pope's Epitaph, Ep. XVI, 6. ED. 



1785] TO GEORGE WHATLEY 333 

gundy, &c. &c., in separate Stanzas, each ending with this 
burthen, 

44 May I govern my Passions with an absolute sway, 
Grow wiser and better as my Strength wears away, 
Without Gout or Stone, by a gentle Decay; " 

he adds, 

" With a Courage undaunted may I face my last day, 
And, when I am gone, may the better Sort say, 
' In the Morning when sober, in the Evening when mellow, 
He's gone, and has not left behind him his Fellow; 
For he governed his Passions, &c.' " 

But what signifies our Wishing? Things happen, after all, 
as they will happen. I have sung that wishing Song a thou- 
sand times, when I was young, and now find, at Fourscore, 
that the three Contraries have befallen me, being subject to 
the Gout and the Stone, and not being yet Master of all my 
Passions. Like the proud Girl in my Country, who wished 
and resolv'd not to marry a Parson, nor a Presbyterian, nor 
an Irishman; and at length found herself married to an 
Irish Presbyterian Parson. 

You see I have some reason to wish, that, in a future State, 
I may not only be as well as I was, but a little better. And 
I hope it; for I, too, with your Poet, trust in God. And 
when I observe, that there is great Frugality, as well as Wis- 
dom, in his Works, since he has been evidently sparing both 
of Labour and Materials ; for by the various wonderful Inven- 
tions of Propagation, he has provided for the continual peo- 
pling his World with Plants and Animals, without being at 
the Trouble of repeated new Creations; and by the natural 
Reduction of compound Substances to their original Ele- 
ments, capable of being employ'd in new Compositions, he 
has prevented the Necessity of creating new Matter ; so that 
the Earth, Water, Air, and perhaps Fire, which being com- 



334 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

pounded form Wood, do, when the Wood is dissolved, re- 
turn, and again become Air, Earth, Fire, and Water; I say, 
that, when I see nothing annihilated, and not even a Drop 
of Water wasted, I cannot suspect the Annihilation of Souls, 
or believe, that he will suffer the daily Waste of Millions of 
Minds ready made that now exist, and put himself to the 
continual Trouble of making new ones. Thus finding my- 
self to exist in the World, I believe I shall, in some Shape or 
other, always exist ; and, with all the inconveniencies human 
Life is liable to, I shall not object to a new Edition of mine ; 
hoping, however, that the Errata of the last may be corrected. 
I return your Note of Children received in the Foundling 
Hospital at Paris, from 1741 to 1755, inclusive; and I have 
added the Years preceding as far back as 1710 together with 
the general Christnings of the City, and the Years succeeding 
down to 1770. Those since that Period I have not been able 
to obtain. I have noted in the Margin the gradual Increase, 
viz. from every tenth Child so thrown upon the Public, till 
it comes to every third ! Fifteen Years have passed since the 
last Account, and probably it may now amount to one half. 
Is it right to encourage this monstrous Deficiency of natural 
Affection? A Surgeon I met with here excused the Women 
of Paris, by saying, seriously, that they could not give suck; 
"Car," dit il, u elles riant point de tetons." He assur'd me 
it was a Fact, and bade me look at them, and observe how 
flat they were on the Breast ; " they have nothing more there," 
said he, "than I have upon the Back of my hand." I have 
since thought that there might be some Truth in his Obser- 
vation, and that, possibly, Nature, finding they made no use 
of Bubbies, has left off giving them any. Yet, since Rous- 
seau, with admirable Eloquence, pleaded for the Rights of 



1785] TO GEORGE WHATLEY 335 

Children to their Mother's Milk, the Mode has changed a 
little ; and some Ladies of Quality now suckle their Infants 
and find Milk enough. May the Mode descend to the lower 
Ranks, till it becomes no longer the Custom to pack their 
Infants away, as soon as born, to the Enfant Trouvts, with 
the careless Observation, that the King is better able to main- 
tain them. 

I am credibly inform'd, that nine-tenths of them die there 
pretty soon, which is said to be a great Relief to the Institu- 
tion, whose Funds would not otherwise be sufficient to bring 
up the Remainder. Except the few Persons of Quality 
above mentioned, and the Multitude who send to the Hos- 
pital, the Practice is to hire Nurses in the Country to carry 
out the Children, and take care of them there. There is an 
Office for examining the Health of Nurses, and giving them 
Licenses. They come to Town on certain Days of the Week 
in Companies to receive the Children, and we often meet 
Trains of them on the Road returning to the neighbouring 
Villages, with each a Child in her Arms. But those, who are 
good enough to try this way of raising their Children, are often 
not able to pay the Expence; so that the Prisons of Paris 
are crowded with wretched Fathers and Mothers confined 
pour Mois de Nourrice, tho' it is laudably a favorite Charity 
to pay for them, and set such Prisoners at Liberty. I wish 
Success to the new Project of assisting the Poor to keep their 
Children at home, because I think there is no Nurse like a 
Mother (or not many), and that, if Parents did not immedi- 
ately send their Infants out of their Sight, they would in a 
few days begin to love them, and thence be spurr'd to greater 
Industry for their Maintenance. This is a Subject you under- 
stand better than I, and, therefore, having perhaps said too 



336 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

much, I drop it. I only add to the Notes a Remark, from 
the History of the Academy 0} Sciences, much in favour of 
the Foundling Institution. 

The Philadelphia Bank goes on, as I hear, very well. What 
you call the Cincinnati Institution is no Institution of our 
Government, but a private Convention among the Officers 
of our late Army, and so universally dislik'd by the People, 
that it is supposed it will be dropt. It was considered as an 
Attempt to establish something like an hereditary Rank or 
Nobility. I hold with you, that it was wrong; may I add, 
that all descending Honours are wrong and absurd; that 
the Honour of virtuous Actions appertains only to him that 
performs them, and is in its nature incommunicable. If 
it were communicable by Descent, it must also be divisible 
among the Descendants ; and the more ancient the Family, 
the less would be found existing in any one Branch of it ; to 
say nothing of the greater Chance of unlucky Interruptions. 1 

Our Constitution seems not to be well understood with 
you. If the Congress were a permanent Body, there would be 
more Reason in being jealous of giving it Powers. But its 
Members are chosen annually, cannot be chosen more than 
three Years successively, nor more than three Years in seven ; 
and any of them may be recall'd at any time, whenever their 
Constituents shall be dissatisfied with their Conduct. 2 They 
are of the People, and return again to mix with the People, 
having no more durable preeminence than the different 
Grains of Sand in an Hourglass. Such an Assembly cannot 
easily become dangerous to Liberty. They are the Servants 
of the People, sent together to do the People's Business, and 

1 See letter to Mrs. Bache, dated January 26, 1784. ED. 

2 These were the provisions of the old confederation. S. 



1785] TO GEORGE WHATLEY 337 

promote the public Welfare ; their Powers must be sufficient, 
or their Duties cannot be performed. They have no prof- 
itable Appointments, but a mere Payment of daily Wages, 
such as are scarcely equivalent to their Expences; so that, 
having no Chance for great Places, and enormous Salaries 
or Pensions, as in some Countries, there is no triguing or 
bribing for Elections. 

I wish Old England were as happy in its Government, 
but I do not see it. Your People, however, think their Con- 
stitution the best in the World, and affect to despise ours. It 
is comfortable to have a good Opinion of one's self, and of 
every thing that belongs to us ; to think one's own Religion, 
King, and Wife, the best of all possible Wives, Kings, or 
Religions. I remember three Greenlanders, who had trav- 
ell'd two Years in Europe under the care of some Moravian 
Missionaries, and had visited Germany, Denmark, Holland, 
and England. When I asked them at Philadelphia, where 
they were in their Way home, whether, now they had seen 
how much more commodiously the white People lived by 
the help of the Arts, they would not choose to remain among 
us; their Answer was, that they were pleased with having 
had an Opportunity of seeing so many fine things, but they 
chose to LIVE in their own Country. Which Country, by the 
way, consisted of rock only, for the Moravians were obliged 
to carry Earth in their Ship from New York, for the purpose 
of making there a Cabbage Garden. 

By Mr. Dollond's * Saying, that my double Spectacles can 
only serve particular Eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly 
informed of their Construction. I imagine it will be found 
pretty generally true, that the same Convexity of Glass, 

1 Peter Dollond (1730-1820), optician. ED. 
VOL. ix z 



338 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

through which a Man sees clearest and best at the Distance 
proper for Reading, is not the best for greater Distances. I 
therefore had formerly two Pair of Spectacles, which I shifted 
occasionally, as in travelling I sometimes read, and often 
wanted to regard the Prospects. Finding this Change trouble- 
some, and not always sufficiently ready, I had the Glasses 
cut, and half of each kind associated in the same Circle, 
thus, 



Least convex 
for distant objects 




By this means, as I wear my Spectacles constantly, I have 
only to move my Eyes up or down, as I want to see distinctly 
far or near, the proper Glasses being always ready. This I 
find more particularly convenient since my being in France, 
the Glasses that serve me best at Table to see what I eat, 
not being the best to see the Faces of those on the other Side 
of the Table who speak to me ; and when one's Ears are not 
well accustomed to the Sounds of a Language, a Sight of the 
Movements in the Features of him that speaks helps to ex- 
plain ; so that I understand French better by the help of my 
Spectacles. 

My intended translator of your Piece, the only one I know 
who understands the Subject, as well as the two Languages, 
(which a translator ought to do, or he cannot make so good 



1785] TO CHRISTOPHER WYVILL 339 

a Translation,) is at present occupied in an Affair that pre- 
vents his undertaking it; but that will soon be over. I 
thank you for the Notes. I should be glad to have another 
of the printed Pamphlets. 

We shall always be ready to take your Children, if you 
send them to us. I only wonder, that, since London draws 
to itself, and consumes such Numbers of your Country People, 
the Country should not, to supply their Places, want and 
willingly receive the Children you have to dispose of. That 
Circumstance, together with the Multitude who voluntarily 
part with their Freedom as Men, to serve for a time as 
Lac[k]eys, or for Life as Soldiers, in consideration of small 
Wages, seems to me a Proof that your Island is over-peopled. 
And yet it is afraid of Emigrations ! Adieu, my dear 
Friend, and believe me ever yours very affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1571. TO CHRISTOPHER WYVILL 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, June 16, 1785 
SIR 

I send you herewith the Sketch I promis'd you. Perhaps it 
may be of use to publish something of the kind : For if the 
power of Chusing now in the Boroughs continues to be al- 
low'd as a Right, they may think themselves more justifiable 

1 Christopher Wyvill (1740-1822), prominent in country politics, was an 
earnest advocate of parliamentary reform. He was chairman of the York- 
shire Association, which aimed among other things to equalize the representa- 
tion in Parliament. Its political sentiments were announced in a circular 
letter drawn up by Wyvill, and in the Yorkshire petition presented to Parlia- 
ment, February 8, 1780. ED. 



340 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1785 

in demanding more for it, or in holding back longer, than 
they would if they find that it begins to be consider'd as an 
Abuse. With great Esteem, I am, 

Sir, 

Your most obedient 
& most humble Servant 
B. FRANKLIN. 



1572. ON THE ELECTIVE FRANCHISES ENJOYED 
BY THE SMALL BOROUGHS IN ENGLAND l 

No man, or body of men, in any nation, can have a just 
right to any privilege or franchise not common to the rest 
of the nation, without having done the nation some service 
equivalent, for which the franchise or privilege was the recom- 
pense or consideration. 

No man, or body of men, can be justly deprived of a com- 
mon right, but for some equivalent offence or injury done to 
the society in which he enjoyed that right. 

If a number of men are unjustly deprived of a common 
right, and the same is given in addition to the common rights 
of another number, who have not merited such addition, the 
injustice is double. 

Few, if any, of the boroughs in England, ever performed 
any such particular service to the nation, entitling them to 
what they now claim as a privilege in elections. 

Originally, in England, when the King issued his writs 

1 Addressed to Christopher Wyvill, not Sir Charles Wyvill as in Sparks 
and Bigelow; the baronetcy became dormant in 1774. See Thomas Sec- 
combe's article upon Christopher Wyvill in " Diet, of Nat. Biog." ED. 



1785] ELECTIVE FRANCHISES IN ENGLAND 341 

calling upon counties, cities, and boroughs, to depute persons 
who should meet him in Parliament, the intention was to 
obtain by that means more perfect information of the general 
state of the kingdom, its faculties, strength, and disposition ; 
together with the advice their accumulated wisdom might 
afford him in "such arduous affairs of the realm" as he had 
to propose. And he might reasonably hope, that measures 
approved by the deputies in such an assembly would, on their 
return home, be by them well explained, and rendered agree- 
able to their constituents and the nation in general. At that 
time, being sent to Parliament was not considered as being 
put into the way of preferment, or increase of fortune ; there- 
fore no bribe was given to obtain the appointment. The dep- 
uties were to be paid wages by their constituents; there- 
fore the being obliged to send and pay was considered rather 
as a duty than a privilege. At this day, in New England, 
many towns, who may and ought to send members to the 
Assembly, sometimes neglect to do it; they are then sum- 
moned to answer for their neglect, and fined if they cannot 
give a good excuse; such as some common misfortune, or 
some extraordinary public expense, which disabled them 
from affording, conveniently, the necessary wages. And, 
the wages allowed being barely sufficient to defray the dep- 
uty's expense, no solicitations are used to be chosen. 

In England, as soon as the being sent to Parliament was 
found to be a step towards acquiring both honour and fortune, 
solicitations were practised, and, where they were insufficient, 
money was given. Both the ambitious and avaricious be- 
came candidates. But to solicit the poor labourer for his vote 
being humiliating to the proud man, and to pay for it hurting 
the lover of money, they, when they met, joined in an act to 



342 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

diminish both these inconveniences, by depriving the poor 
of the right of voting, which certainly they were not empow- 
ered to do by the electors their constituents, the majority of 
whom were probably people of little property. The act was, 
therefore, not only unjust, but void. These lower people 
were, immediately afterwards, oppressed by another act, 
empowering the justices to fix the hire of day-labourers and 
their hours of work, and to send them to the house of correc- 
tion if they refused to work for such hire; which was de- 
posing them from their condition of freemen, and making 
them literally slaves. 

But this was taking from many freemen a common right, 
and confirming it to a jew. To give it back again to the many 
is a different operation. Of this the few have no just cause 
to complain, because they still retain the common right they 
always had, and they lose only the exclusive additional power 
which they ought never to have had. And if they used it, 
when they had it, as a means of obtaining money, they should 
in justice, were it practicable, be obliged to refund and dis- 
tribute such money among those who had been so unjustly 
deprived of their right of voting, or forfeit it to the public. 

Corporations, therefore, or boroughs, who, from being 
originally called to send deputies to Parliament, when it was 
considered merely as a duty, and not as a particular privilege, 
and therefore was never purchased by any equivalent service 
to the public, continue to send, now that by a change of times 
it affords them profit in bribes, or emoluments of various 
kinds, have in reality no right to such advantages ; which are 
besides in effect prejudicial to the nation, some of those who 
buy thinking they may also sell. 

They should therefore, in justice, be immediately deprived 



1785] TO THOMAS BARCLAY 343 

of such pretended right, and reduced to the condition of com- 
mon freemen. 

But they are perhaps too strong, and their interest too 
weighty, to permit such justice to be done. And a regard 
for public good in these people, influencing a voluntary resig- 
nation, is not to be expected. 

If that be the case, it may be necessary to submit to the 
power of present circumstances, passions, and prejudices, 
and purchase, since we can do no better, their consent; as 
men, when they cannot otherwise recover property unjustly 
detained from them, advertise a reward to whoever will re- 
store it, promising that no questions shall be asked. 



1573. TO THOMAS BARCLAY (L. c.) 

Passy, June 19, 1785. 

SIR, 

With respect to my continuing to charge 2500 Sterling 
per Annum as my Salary, of which you desire some Explana- 
tion, I send you, in support of that Charge, the Resolution 
of Congress, which is in these words. 

"In Congress, October 5th, 1779. Resolved, that each of 
the Ministers Plenipotentiary be allowed at the rate of 
2500 Sterling per Annum, and each of their Secretaries at 
the rate of 1000 Sterling per Annum, in full for their Ser- 
vices and Expences respectively. That the Salary of each 
of the said Officers be computed from the time of his leaving 
his Place of Abode, to enter on the Duties of his Office, and 
be continued three Months after the Notice of his Recall." 



344 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

The several Bills I afterwards received, drawn on the 
Congress Banker, Mr. Grand, for my Salary, were all cal- 
culated on that salary; and neither the Banker nor myself 
has receiv'd Notice of any Change respecting me. He has 
accordingly, since the Drawing ceas'd, continu'd to pay me 
at the same Rate. I have indeed heard that a Resolution 
was pass'd last year, that the Salaries of Plenipotentiaries 
should be no more than 2,000 Sterling per ann. But that 
Resolution, I suppose, can relate only to such Plenipoten- 
tiaries as should be afterwards appointed ; for I cannot con- 
ceive, that the Congress, after promising a Minister 2500 a 
year, and when he has thereby been encourag'd to engage 
in a Way of Living for their Honour, which only that Salary 
can support, would think it just to diminish it a Fifth, and 
leave him under the Difficulty of reducing his Expences pro- 
portionably; a thing scarce practicable; the Necessity of 
which he might have avoided, if he had not confided in their 
original Promise. 

But the Article of Salary with all the Rest of my Account 
will be submitted to the Judgment of Congress, together with 
some other considerable Articles I have not charged, but on 
which I shall expect, from their Equity, some Consideration. 
If, for want of knowing precisely the Intention of Congress, 
what Expences should be deem'd Public, and what not 
public, I have charg'd any Article to the Public, which should 
be defrayed by me, their banker has my Order, as soon as 
the Pleasure of Congress shall be made known to him, to 
rectify the Error, by transferring the Amount to my private 
Account, and discharging by so much that of the publick. 
I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1785] TO 345 

1574. TO - (L.C.) 

Passy, June 20, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have just received the only letter from you that has given 
me pain. It informs me of your intention to attempt passing 
to England in the car of a balloon. In the present imper- 
fect state of that invention, I think it much too soon to hazard 
a voyage of that distance. It is said here by some of those, 
who have had experience, that as yet they have not found 
means to keep up a balloon more than two hours ; for that, 
by now and then losing air to prevent rising too high and 
bursting, and now and then discharging ballast to avoid 
descending too low ; these means of regulation are exhausted. 
Besides this, all the circumstances of danger by disappoint- 
ment, in the operation of soupapes, &c. &c., seem not to be 
yet well known, and therefore not easily provided against. 
For on Wednesday last M. Pilatre de Rosier, 1 who had 
studied the subject as much as any man, lost his support in 
the air, by the bursting of his balloon, or by some other means 
we are yet unacquainted with, and fell with his companion 2 
from the height of one thousand toises, on the rocky coast, 
and were both found dashed to pieces. 

1 Jean-Francois Pilatre De Rozier (1756-1785) was Professor of Chemistry 
at the Athenee royal, of which he was the founder in 1781. With the Marquis 
d'Arlandes he made the first balloon ascension (November 21, 1783). He 
was killed, June 15, 1785, in the fall of his balloon, near Boulogne sur Mer. 

An epitaph was dedicated to him : 
" Ci git un jeune temeraire, 
Qui, dans son ge"nereux transport, 
De POlympe etonne franchissant la barriere 
Y trouva le premier et la gloire et la mort." ED. 

2 A physicist named Romain. ED. 



346 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

You, having lived a good life, do not fear death. But par- 
don the anxious freedom of a friend, if he tells you, that, the 
continuance of your life being of importance to your family 
and your country, though you might laudably hazard it for 
their good, you have no right to risk it for a fancy. I pray 
God this may reach you in time, and have some effect towards 
changing your design; being ever, my dear friend, yours 
affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1575. TO JEAN- JACQUES CAFFIERI (L. c.) 

Passy le 20 Juin 1785 
SIR 

I received the two obliging Letters you have lately written 
to me. Please to deliver one of the Busts to M. le Roy of 
the Academy of Sciences, and keep the other till call'd for 
by M. Carmichael, Charge* des Affaires des Etats Unis at 
Madrid. Send me a Bill of the Expence with a Receipt, and 
it shall be immediately paid. 

Your Complaints of Injustice, of being supplanted, &c. 
seem to have been founded on a Mistake. You have not 
considered the 13 States of America as so many distinct 
Governments, each of which has a Right to employ what 
Artist it thinks proper, and is under no kind of Obligation to 
employ one who has been employed before, either by the 
Congress or by particular States. The State of Virginia, 
therefore, in chusing another, tho' perhaps they may not 
have made a better Choice, have certainly done you no In- 
justice. 

With great Esteem I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1785] TO FRANCIS MASERES 347 

1576. TO FRANCIS MASERES 1 

Passy, June 26, 1785. 

SIR, 

I have just received your friendly letter of the 2oth instant. 
I agree with you perfectly in the opinion, that, though the 
contest has been hurtful to both our countries, yet the event, 
a separation, is better even for yours than success. The 
reducing and keeping us in subjection by an armed force 
would have cost you more than the dominion could be worth, 
and our slavery would have brought on yours. The ancient 
system of the British empire was a happy one, by which the 
colonies were allowed to govern and tax themselves. Had it 
been wisely continued, it is hard to imagine the degree of 
power and importance in the world that empire might have 
arrived at. All the means of growing greatness, extent of 
territory, agriculture, commerce, arts, population, were 
within its own limits, and therefore at its command. 

I used to consider that system as a large and beautiful 
porcelain vase; I lamented the measures that I saw likely 
to break it, and strove to prevent them ; because, once broken, 
I saw no probability of its being ever repaired. My en- 
deavours did not succeed; we are broken, and the parts 
must now do as well as they can for themselves. We may 
still do well, though separated. I have great hopes of our 
side, and good wishes for yours. The anarchy and confu- 
sion you mention, as supposed to prevail among us, exist 
only in your newspapers. I have authentic accounts, which 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), 
Vol. I, p. 461. ED. 



348 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

assure me, that no people were ever better governed, or more 
content with their respective constitutions and governments, 
than the present Thirteen States of America. 

A little reflection may convince any reasonable man, that 
a government wherein the administrators are chosen annually 
by the free voice of the governed, and may also be recalled 
at any time if their conduct displeases their constituents, 
cannot be a tyrannical one, as your Loyalists represent it; 
who at the same time inconsistently desire to return and live 
under it. And, among an intelligent, enlightened people, 
as ours is, there must always be too numerous and too strong 
a party for supporting good government and the laws, to 
suffer what is called anarchy. This better account of our 
situation must be pleasing to your humanity, and therefore 
I give it you. 

But we differ a little in our sentiments respecting the Loyal- 
ists (as they call themselves), and the conduct of America 
towards them, which, you think, "seems actuated by a spirit 
of revenge ; and that it would have been more agreeable to 
policy, as well as justice, to have restored their estates upon 
their taking the oaths of allegiance to the new governments." 
That there should still be some resentment against them in 
the breasts of those, who have had their houses, farms, and 
towns so lately destroyed, and relations scalped under the con- 
duct of these royalists, is not wonderful ; though I believe the 
opposition given by many to their reestablishing among us 
is owing to a firm persuasion, that there could be no reliance 
on their oaths ; and that the effect of receiving those people 
again would be an introduction of that very anarchy and 
confusion they falsely reproach us with. Even the example 
you propose, of the English Commonwealth's restoring the 



1785] TO FRANCIS MASERES 349 

estates of the royalists after their being subdued, seems rather 
to countenance and encourage our acting differently, as prob- 
ably if the power, which always accompanies property, had 
not been restored to the royalists, if their estates had remained 
confiscated, and their persons had been banished, they could 
not have so much contributed to the restoration of kingly 
power, and the new government of the republic might have 
been more durable. 

The majority of examples in your history are on the other 
side of the question. All the estates in England and south 
of Scotland, and most of those possessed by the descendants 
of the English in Ireland, are held from ancient confiscations 
made of the estates of Caledonians and Britons, the original 
possessors in your island, or the native Irish, in the last cen- 
tury only. It is but a few months since, that your Parliament 
has, in a few instances, given up confiscations incurred by a 
rebellion suppressed forty years ago. The war against us was 
begun by a general act of Parliament, declaring all our estates 
confiscated; and probably one great motive to the loyalty 
of the royalists was the hope of sharing in these confiscations. 
They have played a deep game, staking their estates against 
ours; and they have been unsuccessful. But it is a surer 
game, since they had promises to rely on from your govern- 
ment, of indemnification in case of loss ; and I see your Par- 
liament is about to fulfil those promises. To this I have no 
objection, because, though still our enemies, they are men; 
they are in necessity; and I think even a hired assassin has 
a right to his pay from his employer. It seems too more 
reasonable, that the expense of paying these should fall upon 
the government who encouraged the mischief done, rather 
than upon us who suffered it ; the confiscated estates making 



350 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

amends but for a very small part of that mischief. It is not, 
therefore, clear, that our retaining them is chargeable with 
injustice. 

I have hinted above, that the name loyalist was improperly 
assumed by these people. Royalists they may perhaps be 
called. But the true loyalists were the people of America, 
against whom they acted. No people were ever known more 
truly loyal, and universally so, to their soverigns. The 
Protestant succession in the House of Hanover was their idol. 
Not a Jacobite was to be found from one end of the Colonies 
to the other. They were affectionate to the people of England, 
zealous and forward to assist in her wars, by voluntary con- 
tributions of men and money, even beyond their proportion. 
The King and Parliament had frequently acknowledged 
this by public messages, resolutions, and reimbursements. 
But they were equally fond of what they esteemed their 
rights ; and, if they resisted when those were attacked, it was 
a resistance in favour of a British constitution, which every 
Englishman might share in enjoying, who should come to 
live among them ; it was resisting arbitrary impositions, that 
were contrary to common right and to their fundamental con- 
stitutions, and to constant ancient usage. It was indeed a 
resistance in favour of the liberties of England, which might 
have been endangered by success in the attempt against ours ; 
and therefore a great man in your Parliament * did not 
scruple to declare, he rejoiced that America had resisted. I, 
for the same reason, may add this very resistance to the 
other instances of their loyalty. I have already said, that I 
think it just you should reward those Americans, who joined 
your troops in the war against their own country ; but, if ever 

1 The first Lord Chatham. ED. 



1785] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 351 

honesty could be inconsistent with policy, it is so in this 

instance. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1577. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (P. c.) 

Passy, June 26, 1785. 
DEAR FRIEND, 

I wrote to you the 5th of last Month, and have since re- 
ceived your kind Letter of the 8th, informing me of your 
Welfare, and that of the dear Children, which gave me great 
Pleasure. I shall long to see you all again in America, where 
I hope to be soon. Almost all my things are now packed 
up, and will be hi the Barge next Wednesday, to go down 
the River; for, though I know not yet what Vessel I shall 
go in, I would have every thing at Havre ready to embark; 
and I suppose I shall not be here myself a Fortnight longer. 

I say nothing to persuade you to go with me or to follow me ; 
because I know you do not usually act from Persuasion, but 
from Judgment ; and, as that is very sound, I leave you to 
yourself. You will do what is best for you and yours, and that 
will give me most pleasure. Miss Lamotte's Friends do not 
consent to her going to England. I enclose her Letter, by 
which you will see, that, tho' she speaks the Language prettily, 
she does not write it correctly. Indeed, abundance of the 
French are deficient in their own Orthography. I offered her, 
as you desir'd, the Money that might be necessary for the 
Journey. 

Temple is not yet quite well, having had several Returns 
of his Ague. Benjamin continues hearty, and has been very 
serviceable in Packing. They both present their Respects. 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



352 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

If you should write me a Line before my Departure, direct 
it to Havre de Grace. Adieu, my very dear Friend, and 
believe me ever yours with sincere and great Affection, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. My love to every one of the Children. 



1578. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (P. c.) 

Passy, July 4, 1785. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

By this Post I have given Orders to engage a fine Ship, 
now at London, to carry me and my Family to Philadelphia, 
My Baggage is already on the Seine, going down to Havre, 
from whence, if the Captain cannot call for us there, we shall 
cross the Channel, and meet him at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight. 
The Ship has a large, convenient Cabin, with good Lodging- 
Places. The whole to be at my Disposition, and there is 
plenty of room for you and yours. You may never have so 
good an Opportunity of passing to America, if it is your Inten- 
tion. Think of it, and take your Resolution; believing me 

ever your affectionate Friend, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Love to the dear Children. If Mr. Williams is 
return'd to London, he will inform you of the particulars. 
If not, you may enquire of Wallace, Johnson, and Muir, 
Merchants, London, to be heard of at the Pensilvania Coffee- 
House, Birchin Lane. The Ship is to be at Cowes the ist 
of August. 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



1785] TO CLAUDIUS CRIGAN 353 

1579. TO EDWARD BRIDGEN 1 (L.C.) 

Passy, July 4, 1785 

DEAR SIR: I received your favour of the 28th past. 2 
Agreeable to your desire, I inform you that I hope to be at 
Havre about the 2oth instant. My packages are gone down 
the river. Mr. Williams was to ask for my "Transactions 
of the Royal Society." If he has not got them I should be 
obliged to you to procure and join them to those of the An- 
tiquaries. I am not certain that I shall stay long at Havre ; 
for if Captain Truxtun cannot call for me there, I must go 
over to meet the ship at the Isle of Wight, and be there by the 
ist of August. This to yourself ; but you may learn by a dis- 
tant question at the Pennsylvania Coffee-House, for your own 
government, whether I am to wait at Havre for the ship, or 
meet heras above. The person to enquire of is Mr. Johnson, 
a Maryland merchant. The books, however, should be put 
on board that ship, directed for me at Philadelphia. 

With great esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours affec- 
tionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1580. TO CLAUDIUS CRIGAN 3 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, July 5. 1785. 

MY LORD, 
I received the too complaisant Letter your Lordship did 

1 From " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Bigelow), Vol. IX, 
p. 139. ED. 

In A. P. S. ED. 

* Claudius Crigan or Criggan became Bishop of Sodor and Man in 1784, 
and died in 1813. He succeeded Bishop Mason. According to Fraser's 
VOL. IX 2 A 



354 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

me the honour of writing to me by the Rev d Mr. Christian, 1 
who has also communicated some of your Views for the Bene- 
fit of Religion in the United States of America, requesting 
my Opinion, which I have given him, but will repeat in this 
Letter, lest I should not in every particular have been rightly 
apprehended. It is proper to be understood that those States 
consist of Thirteen distinct and separate Sovereignties, each 
govern'd by its own Laws, in which no one religious Sect is 
established as predominant, but there is a general Toleration 
of all; and should any thing be enacted by one of them in 
favour of a particular Sect, it would have no Operation in the 
others. The Congress, tho' formed by Delegates from each 
State chosen annually, has Powers extending only to those 
general Affairs of political Government that relate to the 
Whole, but no Authority whatever is given to them in eccle- 
siastical Matters. And I therefore think they will do noth- 
ing either to encourage or discourage the Introduction of a 
Bishop in America. For myself, I can only say as a private 
Person, that I think such an Officer may be of use to the Epis- 
copalians, not only for the better Government of their Clergy, 
but for preventing the Expence and Risque that attend the 
sending their young Men to England for Ordination. He 

Magazine, Vol. XXI, p. 558 (April, 1840), his character is thus sketched by a 
contemporary writer : 

" Of living characters it is proper to speak with caution, lest adulation or 
prejudice should be either seen or suspected : but we scarcely think there is 
one person who knows anything of this amiable prelate that will refuse him 
the praise of polished and conciliating manners, of sound judgment, and 
domestic worth. His pulpit eloquence is impressive, and his labours have not 
only tended to the eternal, but also to the temporal happiness of his flock. 
He has promoted internal peace, and taught society the blessings of unanimity 
and order." ED. 

1 Evan Christian, Vicar general of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, one of 
the well-known family of Christians of Milntown in the Isle of Man. ED. 



1785] TO CLAUDIUS CRIGAN 355 

should however have Power to consecrate other Bishops, 
so as to prevent for ever the Necessity of sending to England 
for Successors in that Station, otherwise he will hardly be 
so well received. The great Difficulty will be to make proper 
Provision for his Support. I doubt whether any of the Gov- 
ernments will establish such Support, and I have not much 
Confidence that any thing considerable may be obtained by 
private Contributions. My Reasons are, that the Episco- 
palians in most of the States are very small in Number com- 
par'd with the Inhabitants of other Persuasions ; and where 
they are a Majority, they do not generally see the Necessity 
or Utility of a Resident Bishop, and they apprehend some 
Inconveniences in it. Of this there was a strong Instance in 
Virginia some years before the late Revolution. The In- 
habitants of that Province were almost wholly of the Church 
of England, and their House of Commons of course the same. 
Yet that House unanimously censured in strong Terms, the 
Proposition of some of their own Clergy for introducing a 
Bishop, and thank 'd others who oppos'd & defeated the 
Project, as may be seen in the following Extract from their 
Journal, viz 

Friday, July 12. 1772 

11 Resolved, nemine contradicente, That the Thanks of the 
House be given to the Reverend Mr. Henley, the Reverend Mr. 
Gwatkin, the Reverend Mr. Hewit, and the Reverend Mr. 
Bland for the wise and well-timed Opposition they have made 
to the pernicious Project of a few mistaken Clergymen for 
introducing an American Bishop ; a Measure by which much 
Disturbance, great Anxiety and Apprehension would certainly 
take place among his Majesty's faithful American Subjects: 



356 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

And that Mr. Richard Henry Lee and Mr. Bland do acquaint 
them therewith." 

The Apprehension mentioned in this Resolve, I imagine 
must have been, an Apprehension of Expence to maintain a 
Bishop suitable to his Dignity, and of Attempts to oblige the 
Laity to defray such Expence by Taxes, or Tythes, or at least 
of their being solicited for voluntary Contributions : there being 
at present no Fund appointed for such Purpose, nor any thing 
hitherto given but a Farm by Legacy in Rhodisland. If 
however the Laity should have chang'd their Minds, and wish 
now to have a Bishop, whom they would engage to support 
by voluntary Contributions; in that case I imagine none of 
the Governments would forbid it, but the Support would 
probably be too small and too precarious to be a sufficient 
Encouragement. 

Mr. Christian ask'd my Opinion whether your making a 
Tour incognito thro' that Country, might not be a prudent 
Measure ? Whatever Prospect or Hope there may be of your 
greater Usefulness to Religion in our extensive Country 
than in the little Isle of Man, yet, as you have a Family, I 
certainly cannot advise your making any hasty Application to 
your Government for your Removal, or taking any Step that 
may hazard the loss of a present sure Support against a con- 
tingent Future and precarious. Therefore, to enable your- 
self to form a better Judgment, it might be well to see with 
your own Eyes the State of Things, and sound the Disposition 
of the People ; but I am nevertheless inclined to think, that, 
in making the Tour, you will hardly be encouraged to attempt 
the Change, unless the Society for Propagating the Gospel, 
or the British Government, would fix a sufficient Income to 
be paid you from England. Such a Journey may, however, 



1785] TO GRANVILLE SHARP 357 

contribute to establish Health, as well as pleasingly gratify 
the Curiosity of seeing the Progress, which the Arts, Agricul- 
ture, Science, and Industry are making in a new Country. 
With great Respect, I have the honour to be, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1581. TO GRANVILLE SHARP 1 

Passy, July 5, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received the books you were so kind as to send me by Mr. 
Drown. 2 Please to accept my hearty thanks. Your writings, 
which always have some public good for their object, I always 
read with pleasure. I am perfectly of your opinion, with 
respect to the salutary law of gavelkind, and hope it may in 
time be established throughout America. In six of the States, 
already, the lands of intestates are divided equally among 
the children, if all girls; but there is a double share given to 
the eldest son, for which I see no more reason, than giving 
such share to the eldest daughter; and think there should be 
no distinction. Since my being last in France, I have seen 
several of our eldest sons, spending idly their fortunes by 
residing in Europe and neglecting their own country; these 
are from the southern States. The northern young men stay 
at home, and are industrious, useful citizens ; the more equal 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 192. Granville Sharp (1735-1813), philanthropist and pamphleteer. 
He started a movement for the introduction of Episcopacy into the United 
States. He was aided by Thomas Seeker, archbishop of Canterbury, and for 
his efforts in this cause he received honorary degrees from Harvard and 
William and Mary. ED. 

8 Solomon Drown, of Providence, Rhode Island, a student of medicine. ED. 



358 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

division of their fathers' fortunes not enabling them to ramble 
and spend their shares abroad, which is so much the better 
for their country. 

I like your piece on the election of bishops. There is a fact 
in Holinshed's Chronicles , the latter part relating to Scotland, 
which shows, if my memory does not deceive me, that the first 
bishop in that country was elected by the clergy. I mentioned 
it some time past in a letter to two young men, 1 who asked my 
advice about obtaining ordination, which had been denied 
them by the bishops in England, unless they would take the 
oath of allegiance to the King; and I said, I imagine that 
unless a bishop is soon sent over with power to consecrate 
others, so that we may have no future occasion for applying 
to England for ordination, we may think it right, after read- 
ing your piece, to elect also. 

The Liturgy you mention was an abridgment of that made 
by a noble Lord 2 of my acquaintance, who requested me to 
assist him by taking the rest of the book, viz. the Catechism 
and the reading and singing Psalms. These I abridged by 
retaining of the Catechism only the two questions, What is 
your duty to God? What is your duty to your neighbour? 
with answers. The Psalms were much contracted by leav- 
ing out the repetitions (of which I found more than I could 
have imagined), and the imprecations, which appeared not 
to suit well the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of injuries, 
and doing good to enemies. The book was printed for Wilkie, 
in St. Paul's Church Yard, but never much noticed. Some 
were given away, very few sold, and I suppose the bulk be- 
came waste paper. In the prayers so much was retrenched, 

1 See the Letter to Messrs. Weems and Gant, July i8th, 1784. ED. 

2 Lord Le Despencer. ED. 



1785] TO DAVID HARTLEY 359 

that approbation could hardly be expected; but I think, 
with you, a moderate abridgment might not only be useful, 
but generally acceptable. 1 

I am now on the point of departing for America where I 
shall be glad occasionally to hear from you, and of your wel- 
fare ; being with sincere and great esteem, dear Sir, your most 

obedient and most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1582. TO DAVID HARTLEY 3 

Passy, July 5, 1785. 

I CANNOT quit the coasts of Europe without taking leave 
of my ever dear Friend Mr. Hartley. We were long fellow 
labourers in the best of all works, the work of peace. I leave 
you still in the field, but having finished my day's task, I am 
going home to go to bed! Wish me a good night's rest, as I 
do you a pleasant evening. Adieu ! and believe me ever 
yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN, 

in his 8oth year. 

1 On this subject Mr. Sharp had written as follows : " I have been in- 
formed, that several years ago, you revised the Liturgy of the Church of 
England, with a view, by some few alterations, to promote the more general 
use of it; but I have never yet been able to see a Copy of the form you pro- 
posed. Our present public Service is certainly, upon the whole, much too 
long, as it is commonly used; so that a prudent revision of it, by the common 
consent of the Members of the Episcopal Church in America, might be very 
advantageous; though, for my own part, I conceive, that the addition of one 
single Rubric from the Gospel would be amply sufficient to direct the advisers 
to the only corrections that seem to be necessary at present. I mean a general 
fluff, illustrated by proper examples, references, and marks, to warn officiat- 
ing Ministers how they may avoid ay useless repetitions & tautology in reading 
the service." London, June 17, 1785. (A. P. S.) ED. 

2 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), 
Vol. I, p. 194. ED. 



360 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1583. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (p. c.) 

Passy July 5. 1785 

DEAR COUSIN 

I have just received your Letter from Dublin acquainting 
me that you were in Treaty for a Vessel to take me in from 
Havre. I have already thro' Mr. Johnson agreed to go with 
Capt. Truxton, who is to meet me at Cowes ; so that an Agree- 
ment with any other is needless. I am nevertheless oblig'd 
by your kind Attention. We are to be at Cowes and sail 
from thence the first of August. I hope your Affairs will 
allow your joining us there. It is a fine Ship of 400 Tons 
with excellent Accommodations for Passengers. Our Lug- 
gage is gone down the River and we follow in a few Days. 
Your Family was well on Sunday. I am ever 
Your affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN 



1584. TO COMTE DE SALMES (U.OFP.) 

Passy, July 5. 1785. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me some time since, respecting the Application of Keys to 
the Harmonica as contrived by Abbe* Perno ; and requesting 
to know if any thing of the kind had been done at Paris, Lon- 
don or elsewhere. When I was in London, about 12 years 
since, M r Steele an ingenious Musician there, made an Attempt 

1 From the original in the possession of Louis A. Biddle, Esq. ED. 



1785] TO COMTE DE SALMES 361 

of that sort; but the Tones were with Difficulty produc'd 
by the Touch from the Keys, and the Machinery in Playing 
made so much Noise and Rattle, as to diminish greatly the 
Pleasure given by the Sound of the Glasses; so that I think 
the Instrument was never compleated. The Duchess of - 
at Paris about the same time endeavour'd to obtain the same 
End, and has not yet laid aside the Project, tho' it has not 
hitherto perfectly succeeded. Baron Feriet of Versailles, 
began to work on the same Idea about the Time I receiv'd 
your Letter ; and as he is a very ingenious Man, & has a hand 
to execute as well as a head to contrive the necessary Ma- 
chinery, I hoped soon to have given you an Account of his 
Success : but I begin to doubt it, as I have nothing from him 
lately. In my Manner of Playing on my Instrument the Fin- 
gers are capable of Touching with great Delicacy ; and the 
Glasses hum so smoothly, that one hears no other Sound but 
that given by the touch. If the Instrument of Abbe* Perno has 
the same Advantages, its being play'd with Keys gives it an 
undoubted Preference, and I should be glad to know the Con- 
struction. 

I should be happy if I had any thing to send to the Academy 
worthy its Acceptance. My Occupations have for some Years 
past, prevented my Attention to philosophical Subjects. I 
can only wish Success to its laudable Pursuits ; and beg you 
to believe me, with sincere Esteem 

Sir, 
B. FRANKLIN. 



362 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1585. TO JOHN PAUL JONES (B. M.) 

Passy, July 9, '85. 

MR. Franklin presents his Compliments to Commodore 
Jones, and sends him what Papers can now be found respect- 
ing his Affairs. The Correspondence with the Ministers of 
Denmark being pack'd up and gone; but that is not very 
material. 

Mr. F's best Wishes attend you. 



1586. TO CHARLES-JOSEPH MATRON DE LA 

COUR 1 (A. p. s.) 

Passy, July 9, 1785. 

SIR, 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honour to 
write in the name of the Academy of the city of Lyons. I 
accept with gratitude the title, with which this learned Society 
is kind enough to honour me. I have long been acquainted 
with its useful labours. I should be most happy to live near it, 
and reap the benefit of its instruction. But, being on the eve 
of my departure for America, I must add this also to the many 
sources of regret, which the kindness of the French calls forth 
in my heart. I shall never forget what I owe to them, still 
less what I owe to your Academy, to the members of which 
I beg you to present my respectful acknowledgments. 

I thank you, Sir, for your Dissertation on the Laws of Ly- 

1 From a French copy in A. P. S. ED. 



1785] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 363 

curgus, and your Testament de ]ortune Ricard. 1 With the latter 
work I was already acquainted. I had read it with pleasure, 
and conceived a high opinion of its author. I have just read 
your Dissertation. If my own approbation could add any thing 
to that of the celebrated Academy, which has awarded to you 
the prize, I should tell you, that I have been highly gratified, 
and that I only regret I can give you no other prize, than the 
sentiments of regard and respect, with which I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1587. TO MRS. JANE MECOM 2 (P. c.) 
St. Germain, 12 Miles from Paris, July 13, '85. 

DEAR SISTER 

I left Passy, yesterday afternoon, and am here in my Way 
to Havre de Grace a Seaport, in order to embark for America. 
I make use of one of the King's Litters carried by Mules, 
who walk steadily and easily, so that I bear the Motion very 
well. I am to be taken on board a Philadelphia Ship on the 
Coast of England, (Capt. Truxton) the beginning of next 
Month. Not having written to you since that which contain 'd 
a Bill for you on M* Vernon, and as I may not have another 
Opportunity before my Arrival in Philadelphia, (if it pleases 
God I do arrive) I write these Particulars to go by way of 
England, that you may be less uneasy about me. I did my 
last public Act in this Country just before I set out, which 
was signing a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Prussia. 

1 A translation of this curious piece was published by Dr. Price in London, 
as an Appendix to his Observations on the Importance of the American Revo- 
lution. ED. 

2 From the original in the possession of Mr. E. B. Holden. ED. 



364 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

I have continu'd to work till late in the Day : tis time I should 
go home, and go to Bed. 

My Love to your Daughter and to Cousin Williams, & 
believe me ever, my dear Sister, 

Your Affectionate Brother 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Tho' going to my own Country, I leave this with Regret 
having receiv'd so much Kindness in it, from all Ranks of 
People. Temple and Benjamin are with me, and send their 
dutiful Respects. 



1588. TO MADAME HELVfiTIUS 1 (B. N.) 

Au Havre, ce 19 Juillet, '85. 

Nous arrivar[m]ons ici, ma tre*s chere amie, hier au soir bien 
heureusement. Je n'etois pas fatigue* du tout. Je me 
trouvois mieux mSme qu'avant mon Depart. Nous reste- 
rons ici quelque jour pour nos Baggages & pour notre Com- 
pagnon de Voyage M. Houdon. A leur Arrive'e, nous quit- 
terons la France, la Pais du monde que faime le plus; & j'y 
laisserois ma chere Helvetia. Elle y peut toe heureux. Je 
ne suis sur d'etre heureux in Amerique ; mais il faut que je 
m'y rende. II me semble que les choses sont mal arranges 
dans ce bas monde, quand je vais que les etres si faites pour 
etre heureux ensemble sont obliges a se separer. 

J'ai trouve" tant de Difficultes dans ma Projet de passer de 
Rouen ici par Eau, que j'etois fort aise de Pavoir obtenu du 

1 It should perhaps be noted that the letters to Madame Helvetius were 
written by Franklin without correction, and they show what his "having" in 
French really was. ED. 



1785] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 365 

bon Due de Coigny la permission de continuer en Litiere. 
Dites a les Abbe's, les bons Abbe's, les choses pour moi, 
pleins d'Amitit. Je ne vous dis pas que je vous aime. On 
me diroit qu'il n'y a rien d'extraordinaire ni point de merite 
en ca, parceque tous le monde vous aime, J'espere seulement 
que vous m'aimerez toujours un peu. Je suis interromper 
par des Visites. Avant de partir je vous dirai mes dernieres 

Adieux. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1589. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 

Southampton, 8 o'clock, A. M., July 24, 1785 
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, 

I am this minute arrived here with my family from Havre 
de Grace ; and shall stay here till Captain Truxtun arrives at 
Cowes to take us in. 2 I write this line, just to inform you, that 

1 First printed by Sparks, Vol. X, p. 217. ED. 

2 Thomas Truxtun, distinguished in the naval annals of the United States, 
was born on Long Island, February 1 7th, 1755. He manifested an early predi- 
lection for the sea, and made his first voyage when he was twelve years old. 
During a part of the Revolution he commanded several private armed vessels, 
in which he was successful in annoying the enemy's commerce, particularly on 
the coast of England. He signalized himself for courage and skill in two or 
three engagements. When the navy was revived, on the prospect of a war 
with France, in 1794, Truxtun was one of the six captains first nominated by 
Washington to the Senate. He superintended the building of the frigate 
Constellation, with which, and a small squadron under his command, he was 
employed in protecting the American commerce in the West Indies. It was 
here that he fought his celebrated action with the French frigate Insurgente, 
on the pth of February, 1799. After an engagement of an hour and a quarter 
the Insurgente struck her colors. This vessel carried forty guns, and four 
hundred and seventeen men; of whom twenty-nine were killed and forty-four 
wounded. The Constellation carried thirty-six guns, and had but one man 
killed and two wounded. The gallantry displayed by Commodore Truxtun 
on this occasion was highly applauded. S. 



3 66 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

I bore the journey to Havre, in one of the King's litters, very 
well, and the voyage also from thence hither in forty-five 
hours, though the wind was a great part of the time contrary. 
I shall be glad of a line from you, acquainting me whether you 
ever received two pieces I sent you some months since ; one 
on your penal laws, the other an account of the residence of 
an English seaman in China. 1 As you commonly said some- 
thing to me concerning the things I used to send you, I appre- 
hend you either have not received these, or do not like them. 
If you have any thing to say by me to your friends in America, 
send it, and I will take care to deliver it. Adieu, my dearest 

friend. I am ever yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1590. TO RUELLAN & CO. 2 (L. c.) 

Southampton, July 25, 1785. 

DEAR SIR: We arrived here yesterday Morning about 
8 o'Clock. I was not in the least incommoded by the Voyage, 
but M. Le Veillard and my Grandsons were all very sick upon 
the Passage, tho' now recover'd and well. 

Capt. Jennings staying here till to-morrow Morning, and 
having heard since my coming here that the ship has sailed 
from London, I begin to fear it will be impossible for him to 
return in time with the rest of my Baggage, supposing it to 
be now at Havre. 

I have forwarded your Letter of Credit to Messrs. Thel- 
lusson, 3 and ask'd them to give me a Credit here for Fifty 

1 See supra, p. 200. ED. 2 Bankers at Havre. ED. 

3 Peter Thellusson, Sons & Co., bankers in London. ED. 



1785] TO JEAN HOLKER 367 

Guineas, if I should want so much, but as my Stay is like to 
be very short, I know not yet whether I shall have occasion to 
make any use of it. I am nevertheless extreamly sensible 
of the Kindness and Generosity of your Proceeding in that 
Letter, as well as in every other Point of your Friendly En- 
tertainment and good Offices at Havre, and the Provision 
you laid in for us. I can at present only offer in return my 
thankfull Acknowledgments, requesting that if at any time 
I can be of any use to you in America, or to any Friend of yours, 
you would be so good as to command me freely. Be pleased 
to present my respectful Compliments to good Mad e Ruellan. 
I hope the Children are better. 

I write to Mr. Limozin, 1 desiring him to forward my Goods 
by the Pacquet, in Case the next sails from Havre, as has been 
said, and no Vessel offers sooner that goes directly to Phila- 
delphia. If I remember right, the Regulations of the Pac- 
quets forbid their taking heavy Goods, but I suppose you may 
be able to obtain Permission for mine, which will be an addi- 
tional Favour. With great Esteem, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN 



1591. TO JEAN HOLKER (L. c.) 

Southampton, July 25, 1785 

MY DEAR FRIEND : I know it will give you and good Mrs. 
Holker Pleasure, to learn that we arrived safe and well here 
yesterday Morning, neither the Journey by Land nor Voyage 
by sea having incommoded me in the least. I have given you 
abundance of Trouble with my little Affairs, and am loth to 

1 Andre Limozin, Havre banker, and United States agent for prizes. ED. 



3 68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

give you any more, but cannot well avoid requesting you 
would be so kind as to show the inclos'd Account to Mr. 
Garvey when he returns to Rouen, and represent to him that 
the Charge his Nephew makes of Commissions, three Livres 
per Box, only for the Care of having my 128 Boxes mov'd out 
of one Boat into another, appears to me exorbitant, amount- 
ing to 390 Livres, near as much as the Expence of bringing 
them from Paris to Rouen, and three times as much as has 
been demanded of me for their Freight between Havre and 
Cowes, loading and discharging included. If Mr. Garvey 
confirms the Charge, which I think he hardly will, let him 
say so at the Bottom of the Account, and then send it with this 
Letter to Mr. Grand, whom I hereby desire and authorize 
to pay it ; because I would not leave any just Claim upon me 
remaining in France ; tho' I should wish to know if there are 
any Circumstances I am unacquainted with that can make 
such a Charge appear reasonable. God bless you both, my 
dear Friends, and believe me ever, with a Heart deeply sensible 
of all your kindness, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1592. TO FERDINAND GRAND (L. c.) 

Southampton, July 25, 1785 

DEAR SIR : I wrote a few lines to you per Post yesterday 
morning, to acquaint you with my Arrival here, not in the 
least incommoded by the Journey and Voyage, but rather 
better than I have been for a long time since. 

Our Goods that were sent down the River had not arrived 
at Havre when we left that Place, and as I learn here that our 



1785] TO FERDINAND GRAND 369 

Ship was at Gravesend the 22d. and expected to be in the 
Downs yesterday evening, she may be here to-morrow, so 
that I now almost despair of getting them at Cowes in time to 
go in her, and they must be forwarded in the August Pacquet 
if that sails from Havre, or wait some other Opportunity. 
To me the Disappointment will not be much, as the things I 
most immediately want came down by the Roulier, and are 
with me, but Mr. Houdon will be at a loss for his Clay, etc. 
Mr. Limozin has the Care of receiving and forwarding our 
things ; but the Business not being finish'd I could not settle 
the Account with him, but have directed him to exhibit it to 
you, and I desire you would pay it. The Person who manages 
Mr. Garvey's Business in his absence has made a heavy 
Charge against me as his Commission. I have sent the Ac- 
count to Mr. Holker, desiring he would show it to Mr. Gar- 
vey on his Return and acquaint him that I think that Charge 
enormous ; but if he confirms it, then to send the account to 
you with my Letter in which I desire you to pay it. 

To assist my Grandson in a Purchase he is making of his 
Father now here, perhaps I may draw on you in favour of 
the Father for Forty-eight thousand Livres, at 30 Days' 
Sight ; in which Case I would have you to sell Six of my Ac- 
tions of the Caisse d'Escompte, and add to the Product of that 
sale as much out of the Ballance of my Account now in your 
hands as will make up the sum of 48,000 Livres. 

My best Wishes attend you and yours, being with sincere 
esteem, Dear Sir, your most obliged Friend and humble 
Serv*, B. FRANKLIN. 



VOL. IX 2 B 



370 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 
1593. TO ANDRE LIMOZIN (L. c.) 

Southampton, July 25, 1785. 

SIR : We arrived here on Sunday morning about 7 o'clock. 
I was not in the least incommoded by the voyage, but my chil- 
dren and my friend Mr. Veillard were very sick. 

I have just learned that our ship was at Gravesend the 22nd 
and expected to be in the Downs yesterday, and therefore may 
be here sooner than was at first proposed, so that I have now 
no hopes of the goods being here in time to go in her. I there- 
fore hereby desire you would forward them to New York 
in the packet, in case a packet sails from Havre next month, 
as has been proposed, and you have no vessel to sail directly 
for Philadelphia. The packets are indeed by the original 
regulations not allowed to take heavy goods upon freight, 
but I am persuaded Mr. Ruellan will at your request obtain 
the permission. I write to Mr. Grand to pay your account 
against me for disbursements and commission. And I 
desire you besides to accept my thankful acknowledgments. 
My best wishes attend you and your amiable daughter, being 
with great regard, sir, your most obedient and most humble 
servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1594. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Southampton, July 26, 1785. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received here yours of the 23d Instant. I am sorry it did 
not suit you to go in the Ship with me, having engaged Places 
1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



1785] TO J. COAKLEY LETTSOM 371 

in the Cabin, that would have accommodated you and yours, 
not indeed on your Account, because I never depended on your 
going; but I took the whole Cabin, that I might not be in- 
truded on by any accidental disagreable Company. 

If you come to Philadelphia, you will find an always affec- 
tionate Friend in me, and in my Children after I am gone. 
My Love to yours, and to Dolly; and my Respects to Mrs. 
Hawkesworth. I came to Havre de Grace in a Litter, and 
hither in the Pacquet-Boat ; and, instead of being hurt by 
the Journey or Voyage, I really find myself very much better, 
not having suffer'd so little for the time these two Years past. 

Adieu, my dear Friend; accept my repeated Thanks for 
the agreable Winter your kind Company, with that of my 
young Friends, made me pass, and believe me ever yours 

sincerely and most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1595. TO J. COAKLEY LETTSOM 1 

Southampton, July 26, 1785 

DEAR SIR : I received your kind letter, and the valuable 
present of Dr. Fothergill's Works ; for which please to accept 
my grateful acknowledgments. I purpose, on my voyage, 
to write the remaining notes of my life, which you desire, and 
to send them to you on my arrival. You have done a good 
deed in contributing to promote science among us, by your 
liberal donation of books to Carlisle College. Thanks for 
your good wishes in favour of our country, and of your friend 
and servant. B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From " The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin " (Bigelow), Vol. IX, 
p. ISS.-ED. 



372 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 



1596. TO MADAME HELVETIUS (B. N.) 

A Southampton, 27 Juillet 1785 
En Angleterre, pres 1'Isle de Wight. 

Notre Vaisseau arrivait ici hier de Londres. Aujourdhui 
nous nous embarquerons. Adieu, ma tr6s tre*s tr6s chere 
Amie, Souhaitez pour nous bon Voyage, & dites aux bons 
Abbe's de prier pour nous, cela etant leur Metier. Je me 
trouve tres bien. Si j'arrive en Amerique vous aurez bientot 
de mes Nouvelles. Je vous aimerai toujours, penses quelque- 

fois de moi, & ecrires quelquefois a 

Votre B. F. 
Mes Enfans presentans leurs Respects. 



1597. TO DAVID LE ROY 1 

MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 

At Sea, on board the London Packet, 
Capt. Truxton, August 1785. 

SIR, 

Your learned writings on the navigation of the antients, 
which contain a great deal of curious information ; and your 

1 This letter was translated into French, and published at Paris in the 
year 1787, entitled, " Lettre de Monsieur Benjamin Franklin a Monsieur 
David Le Roy, Membre de Plusieurs Academies, &*c." The following note is 
prefixed by the French editor. " Cette lettre a ete lue a la Societe Philo- 
sophique Americaine de Philadelphia, le 2 Decembre, 1785. Elle est imprimee 
dans les Memoires de cette Societe. On lit dans le titre, a M. Alphonse Le 
Roy. Comme cet Academicien ne se nomme pas Alphonse, nous y avons 
substitue 1'un de ses noms de baptlme. II est de 1'Academie des Belles- 
Lettres, de celle de Marine, de la Societe des Antiquaires de Londres, de la 
Societe Philosophique Americaine, &c." It is here printed from "Transac- 
tions of The American Philosophical Society," Vol. II (1786), p. 294. ED. 



Plat*- XII 




1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 373 

very ingenious contrivances for improving the modern sails 
(voilure), of which I saw with great pleasure a successful 
trial on the river Seine, have induced me to submit to your con- 
sideration and judgment, some thoughts I have had on the 
latter subject. 

Those mathematicians who have endeavoured to improve 
the swiftness of vessels by calculating to find the form of least 
resistance, seem to have considered a ship as a body moving 
through one fluid only, the water; and to have given little 
attention to the circumstance of her moving through another 
fluid, the air. It is true, that, when a vessel sails right before 
the wind, this circumstance is of no importance, because the 
wind goes with her ; but, in every deviation from that course, 
the resistance of the air is something, and becomes greater 
in proportion as that deviation increases. I wave at present 
the consideration of those different degrees of resistance 
given by the air to that part of the hull which is above water, 
and confine myself to that given to the sails ; for their motion 
through the air is resisted by the air, as the motion of the hull 
through the water is resisted by the water, though with less 
force as the air is a lighter fluid. And, to simplify the dis- 
cussion as much as possible, I would state one situation only, 
to wit, that of the wind upon the beam, the ship's course 
being directly across the wind ; and I would suppose the sail 
set in an angle of forty-five degrees with the keel, as in the 
following figure; wherein (Plate XII. Fig. i,) A B represents 
the body of the vessel, C D the position of the sail, E E E the 
direction of the wind, M M the line of motion. In observing 
this figure it will appear, that so much of the body of the vessel 
as is immersed in the water must, to go forward, remove out 
of its way what water it meets with between the pricked lines 



374 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

F F. And the sail, to go forward, must move out of its way 
all the air its whole dimension meets with between the pricked 
lines C G and D G. Thus both the fluids give resistance to 
the motion, each in proportion to the quantity of matter 
contained in the dimension to be removed. And though the 
air is vastly lighter than the water, and therefore more easily 
removed, yet, the dimension being much greater, its effect is 
very considerable. 

It is true, that, in the case stated, the resistance given by 
the air between those lines to the motion of the sail is not 
apparent to the eye, because the greater force of the wind, which 
strikes it in the direction E E E, overpowers its effect, and 
keeps the sail full in the curve a, a, a, a, a. But suppose the 
wind to cease, and the vessel in a calm to be impelled with the 
same swiftness by oars, the sail would then appear filled in 
the contrary curve ft, b, b, b, b, when prudent men would 
immediately perceive, that the air resisted its motion, and 
would order it to be taken in. 

Is there any possible means of diminishing this resistance, 
while the same quantity of sail is exposed to the action of the 
wind, and therefore the same force obtained from it ? I think 
there is, and that it may be done by dividing the sail into a 
number of parts, and placing those parts in a line one behind 
the other; thus instead of one sail extending from C to D, 
figure 2, if four sails, containing together the same quantity 
of canvass, were placed as in figure 3, each having one quarter 
of the dimensions of the great sail, and exposing a quarter of 
its surface to the wind, would give a quarter of the force; 
so that the whole force obtained from the wind would be the 
same, while the resistance from the air would be nearly reduced 
to the space between the pricked lines a b and c d, before the 
foremost sail. 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 375 

It may perhaps be doubted whether the resistance from the 
air would be so diminished ; since possibly each of the follow- 
ing small sails having also air before it, which must be re- 
moved, the resistance on the whole would be the same. 

This is then a matter to be determined by experiment. 
I will mention one, that I many years since made with success 
for another purpose; and I will propose another small one 
easily made. If that too succeeds, I should think it worth 
while to make a larger, though at some expence, on a river 
boat; and perhaps time and the improvements experience 
will afford, may make it applicable with advantage to larger 
vessels. 

Having near my kitchen chimney a round hole of eight 
inches diameter, through which was a constant steady current 
of air, increasing or diminishing only as the fire increased or 
diminished, I contrived to place my jack so as to receive that 
current ; and taking off the flyers, I fixed in their stead on the 
same pivot a round tin plate of nearly the same diameter with 
the hole ; and having cut it in radial lines almost to the centre, 
so as to have six equal vanes, I gave to each of them the ob- 
liquity of forty-five degrees. They moved round, without 
the weight, by the impression only of the current of air, but 
too slowly for the purpose of roasting. I suspected that the 
air struck by the back of each vane might possibly by its 
resistance retard the motion ; and to try this, I cut each of them 
into two, and I placed the twelve, each having the same ob- 
liquity, in a line behind each other, when I perceived a great 
augmentation in its velocity, which encouraged me to divide 
them once more, and, continuing the same obliquity, I placed 
the twenty-four behind each other in a line, when the force 
of the wind being the same, and the surface of vane the same, 



376 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

they moved round with much greater rapidity, and perfectly 
answered my purpose. 

The second experiment that I propose, is, to take two play- 
ing cards of the same dimensions, and cut one of them trans- 
versely into eight equal pieces ; then with a needle string them 
upon two threads, one near each end, and place them so upon 
the threads that, when hung up, they may be one exactly 
over the other, at a distance equal to their breadth, each in a 
horizontal position; and let a small weight, such as a bird- 
shot, be hung under them, to make them fall in a straight line 
when let loose. Suspend also the whole card by threads 
from its four corners, and hang to it an equal weight, so as 
to draw it downwards when let fall, its whole breadth pressing 
against the air. Let those two bodies be attached, one of 
them to one end of a thread a yard long, the other to the other 
end. Extend a twine under the ceiling of a room, and put 
through it at thirty inches distance two pins bent in the form 
of fish-hooks. On these two hooks hang the two bodies, 
the thread that connects them extending parallel to the twine, 
which thread being cut, they must begin to fall at the same in- 
stant. If they take equal time in falling to the floor, it is a 
proof that the resistance of the air is in both cases equal. If 
the whole card requires a longer time, it shows that the sum 
of the resistances to the pieces of the cut card is not equal to 
the resistance of the whole one. 1 

This principle so far confirmed, I would proceed to make 
a larger experiment, with a shallop, which I would rig in 
this manner. (Plate XII. Fig. 4.) A B is a long boom, 

1 The motion of the vessel made it convenient to try this simple experi- 
ment at sea, when the proposal of it was written. But it has been tried since 
we came on shore, and succeeded as the other. F. 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 377 

from which are hoisted seven jibs, a, 6, c, d, e y /, g, each a 
seventh part of the whole dimensions, and as much more as 
will fill the whole space when set in an angle of forty-five 
degrees, so that they may lap when going before the wind, 
and hold more wind when going large. Thus rigged, when 
going right before the wind, the boom should be brought at 
right angles with the keel, by means of the sheet ropes C D, 
and all the sails hauled flat to the boom. 

These positions of boom and sails to be varied as the wind 
quarters. But when the wind is on the beam, or when you 
would turn to windward, the boom is to be hauled right fore 
and aft, and the sails trimmed according as the wind is more 
or less against your course. 

It seems to me, that the management of a shallop so rigged 
would be very easy, the sails being run up and down separately, 
so that more or less sail may be made at pleasure ; and I 
imagine, that there being full as much sail exposed to the 
force of the wind which impels the vessel in its course, as if 
the whole were in one piece, and the resistance of the dead 
air against the foreside of the sail being diminished, the 
advantage of swiftness would be very considerable; besides 
that the vessel would lie nearer the wind. 

Since we are on the subject of improvements hi navigation, 
permit me to detain you a little longer with a small relative 
observation. Being, in one of my voyages, with ten merchant 
ships under convoy of a frigate at anchor in Torbay, waiting 
for a wind to go to the westward, it came fair, but brought in 
with it a considerable swell. A signal was given for weigh- 
ing, and we put to sea all together; but three of the ships left 
their anchors, their cables parting just as the anchors came 
a-peak. Our cable held, and we got up our anchor ; but the 



37 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

shocks the ship felt before the anchor got loose from the 
ground, made me reflect on what might possibly have caused 
the breaking of the other cables ; and I imagined it might be 
the short bending of the cable just without the hawse-hole, 
from a horizontal to an almost vertical position, and the sudden 
violent jerk it receives by the rising of the head of the ship on 
the swell of a wave while in that position. For example, 
suppose a vessel hove up so as to have her head nearly over 
her anchor, which still keeps its hold, perhaps in a tough 
bottom ; if it were calm, the cable still out would form nearly 
a perpendicular line, measuring the distance between the 
hause-hole and the anchor ; but if there is a swell, her head in 
the trough of the sea will fall below the level, and when lifted 
on the wave will be much above it. In the first case the cable 
will hang loose and bend perhaps as in figure 5 . In the second 
case, figure 6, the cable will be drawn straight with a jerk, 
must sustain the whole force of the rising ship, and must either 
loosen the anchor, resist the rising force of the ship, or break. 
But why does it break at the hause-hole ? 

Let us suppose it a cable of three inches diameter, and 
represented by figure 7. If this cable is to be bent round the 
corner A, it is evident that either the part of the triangle con- 
tained between the letters a, 6, c, must stretch considerably, 
and those most that are nearest the surface ; or that the parts 
between d, e, /, must be compressed; or both, which most 
probably happens. In this case, the lower half of the thick- 
ness affords no strength against the jerk, it not being strained, 
the upper half bears the whole, and the yarns near the upper 
surface being first and most strained, break first, and the next 
yarns follow ; for in this bent situation they cannot bear the 
strain all together, and each contribute its strength to the 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 379 

whole, as they do when the cable is strained in a straight 
line. 

To remedy this, methinks it would be well to have a kind 
of large pulley wheel, fixed in the hause-hole, suppose of two 
feet diameter, over which the cable might pass; and, being 
there bent gradually to the round of the wheel, would thereby 
be more equally strained, and better able to bear the jerk, 
which may save the anchor, and by that means in the course 
of the voyage may happen to save the ship. 

One maritime observation more shall finish this letter. 
I have been a reader of newspapers now near seventy years, 
and I think few years pass without an account of some vessel 
met with at sea, with no living soul on board, and so many 
feet of water in her hold, which vessel has nevertheless been 
saved and brought into port ; and when not met with at sea, 
such forsaken vessels have often come ashore on some coast. 
The crews, who have taken to their boats and thus abandoned 
such vessels, are sometimes met with and taken up at sea by 
other ships, sometimes reach a coast, and are sometimes never 
heard of. Those that give an account of quitting their vessels 
generally say, that she sprung a leak, that they pumped for 
some time, that the water continued to rise upon them, and 
that, despairing to save her, they had quitted her, lest they 
should go down with her. It seems by the event that this 
fear was not always well founded, and I have endeavoured 
to guess at the reason of the people's too hasty discourage- 
ment. 

When a vessel springs a leak near her bottom, the water 
enters with all the force given by the weight of the column 
of water without, which force is in proportion to the difference 
of level between the water without and that within. It enters 



380 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

therefore with more force at first and in greater quantity, 
than it can afterwards when the water within is higher. The 
bottom of the vessel too is narrower, so that the same quan- 
tity of water coming into that narrow part, rises faster than 
when the space for it to flow in is larger. This helps to 
terrify. But, as the quantity entering is less and less as the 
surfaces without and within become more nearly equal in 
height, the pumps, that could not keep the water from rising 
at first, might afterwards be able to prevent its rising higher, 
and the people might have remained on board in safety, 
without hazarding themselves in an open boat on the wide 
ocean. (Fig. 8.) 

Besides the greater equality in the height of the two sur- 
faces, there may sometimes be other causes that retard the 
farther sinking of a leaky vessel. The rising water within 
may arrive at quantities of light wooden work, empty chests, 
and particularly empty water-casks, which if fixed so as not 
to float themselves may help to sustain her. Many bodies 
which compose a ship's cargo may be specifically lighter than 
water; all these when out of water are an additional weight 
to that of the ship, and she is in proportion pressed deeper into 
the water; but, as soon as these bodies are immersed, they 
weigh no longer on the ship, but on the contrary, if fixed, they 
help to support her, in proportion as they are specifically 
lighter than the water. And it should be remembered, that 
the largest body of a ship may be so balanced in the water, 
that an ounce less or more of weight may leave her at the sur- 
face or sink her to the bottom. There are also certain heavy 
cargoes, that, when the water gets at them, are continually 
dissolving, and thereby lightening the vessel, such as salt and 
sugar. And as to water-casks, mentioned above, since the 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 381 

quantity of them must be great in ships of war, where the 
number of men consume a great deal of water every day, if it 
had been made a constant rule to bung them up as fast as 
they were emptied, and to dispose the empty casks in proper 
situations, I am persuaded that many ships which have been 
sunk in engagements, or have gone down afterwards, might 
with the unhappy people have been saved ; as well as many 
of those which in the last war foundered, and were never 
heard of. While on this topic of sinking, one cannot help 
recollecting the well-known practice of the Chinese, to divide 
the hold of a great ship into a number of separate chambers 
by partitions tight caulked (of which you gave a model in your 
boat upon the Seine), so that, if a leak should spring in one 
of them, the others are not affected by it; and, though that 
chamber should fill to a level with the sea, it would not be 
sufficient to sink the vessel. We have not imitated this prac- 
tice. Some little disadvantage it might occasion in the stow- 
age, is perhaps one reason, though that I think might be more 
than compensated by an abatement in the insurance that 
would be reasonable, and by a higher price taken of passen- 
gers, who would rather prefer going in such a vessel. But our 
seafaring people are brave, despise danger, and reject such 
precautions of safety, being cowards only in one sense, that 
of Bearing to be thought ajraid. 

I promised to finish my letter with the last observation, 
but the garrulity of the old man has got hold of me, and, as I 
may never have another occasion of writing on this subject, 
I think I may as well now, once for all, empty my nautical 
budget, and give you all the thoughts that have in my 
various long voyages occurred to me relating to navigation. 
I am sure, that in you they will meet with a candid judge, 



382 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

who will excuse my mistakes on account of my good inten- 
tion. 

There are six accidents, that may occasion the loss of ships 
at sea. We have considered one of them, that of foundering 
by a leak. The other five are, i. Oversetting by sudden 
flaws of wind, or by carrying sail beyond the bearing. 
2. Fire by accident or carelessness. 3. A heavy stroke of 
lightning, making a breach in the ship, or firing the powder. 

4. Meeting and shocking with other ships in the night. 

5. Meeting in the night with islands of ice. 

To that of oversetting, privateers in their first cruise have, 
as far as has fallen within my knowledge or information, been 
more subject than any other kind of vessels. The double 
desire of being able to overtake a weaker flying enemy, or 
to escape when pursued by a stronger, has induced the 
owners to overmast their cruizers, and to spread too much 
canvas ; and the great number of men, many of them not sea- 
men, who, being upon deck when a ship heels suddenly, are 
huddled down to leeward, and increase by their weight the 
effect of the wind. This therefore should be more attended 
to and guarded against, especially as the advantage of lofty 
masts is problematical. For the upper sails have greater 
power to lay a vessel more on her side, which is not the most 
advantageous position for going swiftly through the water. 
And hence it is, that vessels, which have lost their lofty masts, 
and been able to make little more sail afterwards than per- 
mitted the ship to sail upon an even keel, have made so much 
way, even under jury masts, as to surprise the mariners them- 
selves. But there is, besides, something in the modern form 
of our ships, that seems as if calculated expressly to allow 
their oversetting more easily. The sides of a ship, instead of 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 383 

spreading out as they formerly did in the upper works, are 
of late years turned in, so as to make the body nearly round, 
and more resembling a cask. I do not know what the ad- 
vantages of this construction are, except that such ships are 
not easily boarded. To me it seems a contrivance to have less 
room in a ship at nearly the same expense. For it is evident, 
that the same timber and plank consumed in raising the sides 
from a to ft, and from d to c, would have raised them from a to 
e, and from d to /, fig. 9. In this form all the spaces between 
e, a, b y and c, d, /, would have been gained, the deck would 
have been larger, the men would have had more room to act, 
and not have stood so thick in the way of the enemy's shot ; 
and the vessel, the more she was laid down on her side, the more 
bearing she would meet with, and more effectual to support 
her, as being farther from the centre. Whereas, in the pres- 
ent form, her ballast makes the chief part of her bearing, 
without which she would turn in the sea almost as easily as a 
barrel. More ballast by this means becomes necessary, and 
that, sinking a vessel deeper in the water, occasions more re- 
sistance to her going through it. The Bermudian sloops still 
keep with advantage to the old spreading form. 

The islanders in the great Pacific ocean, though they have 
no large ships, are the most expert boat-sailors in the world, 
navigating that sea safely with their proas, which they prevent 
oversetting by various means. Their sailing proas for this 
purpose have outriggers generally to windward, above the 
water, on which, one or more men are placed, to move occa- 
sionally further from or nearer to the vessel as the wind 
freshens or slackens. But some have their outriggers to 
leeward, which, resting on the water, support the boat so as 
to keep her upright when pressed down by the wind. Their 



384 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

boats, moved by oars or rather by paddles, are, for long 
voyages, fixed two together by cross bars of wood that keep 
them at some distance from each other, and so render their 
oversetting next to impossible. How far this may be prac- 
ticable in larger vessels, we have not yet sufficient experience. 
I know of but one trial made in Europe, which was about one 
hundred years since, by Sir William Petty. He built a double 
vessel, to serve as a pacquet-boat between England and Ire- 
land. Her model still exists in the museum of the Royal 
Society, where I have seen it. By the accounts we have of 
her, she answered well the purpose of her construction, mak- 
ing several voyages ; and, though wrecked at last by a storm, 
the misfortune did not appear owing to her particular con- 
struction, since many other vessels of the common form were 
wrecked at the same time. The advantage of such a vessel 
is, that she needs no ballast, therefore swims either lighter 
or will carry more goods; and that passengers are not so 
much incommoded by her rolling; to which may be added, 
that if she is to defend herself by her cannon, they will prob- 
ably have more effect, being kept more generally in a horizontal 
position, than those in common vessels. I think, however, 
that it would be an improvement of that model, to make the 
sides which are opposed to each other perfectly parallel, 
though the other sides are formed as in common, thus, 
figure 10. 

The building of a double ship would indeed be more ex- 
pensive in proportion to her burthen ; and that perhaps is 
sufficient to discourage the method. 

The accident of fire is generally well guarded against by the 
prudent captain's strict orders against smoking between decks, 
or carrying a candle there out of a lantern. But there is one 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 385 

dangerous practice which frequent terrible accidents have 
not yet been sufficient to abolish ; that of carrying store spirits 
to sea hi casks. Two large ships, the Seraphis and the Duke 
oj Athol, one an East Indiaman, the other a frigate, have been 
burnt within these two last years, and many lives miserably 
destroyed, by drawing spirits out of a cask near a candle. 
It is high time to make it a general rule, that all the ship's 
store of spirits should be carried in bottles. 

The misfortune by a stroke of lightning I have in my former 
writings endeavoured to show a method of guarding against, 
by a chain and pointed rod, extending, when run up, from 
above the top of the mast to the sea. These instruments are 
now made and sold at a reasonable price by Nairne &* Co. 
in London, and there are several instances of success attend- 
ing the use of them. They are kept in a box, and may be run 
up and fixed in about five minutes, on the apparent approach 
of a thunder-gust. 

Of the meeting and shocking with other ships in the night, 
I have known two instances in voyages between London and 
America. In one, both ships arrived, though much damaged, 
each reporting their belief that the other most have gone to the 
bottom. In the other, only one got to port; the other was 
never afterwards heard of. These instances happened many 
years ago, when the commerce between Europe and America 
was not a tenth part of what it is at present, ships of course 
thinner scattered, and the chance of meeting proportionably 
less. It has long been the practice to keep a look-out before 
in the channel, but at sea it has been neglected. If it is not at 
present thought worth while to take that precaution, it will 
in time become of more consequence; since the number of 
ships at sea is continually augmenting. A drum frequently 

VOL. IX 3C 



386 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

beat, or a bell rung in a dark night, might help to prevent such 
accidents. 

Islands of ice are frequently seen off the banks of New- 
foundland by ships going between North America and Europe. 
In the day time they are easily avoided, unless in a very thick 
fog. I remember two instances of ships running against them 
in the night. The first lost her bowsprit, but received little 
other damage. The other struck where the warmth of the 
sea had wasted the ice next to it, and a part hung over above. 
This perhaps saved her, for she was under great way; but 
the upper part of the cliff, taking her foretopmast, broke the 
shock, though it carried away the mast. She disengaged her- 
self with some difficulty, and got safe into port ; but the acci- 
dent shows the possibility of other ships being wrecked and 
sunk by striking those vast masses of ice, of which I have seen 
one that we judged to be seventy feet high above the water, 
consequently eight times as much under water; and it is 
another reason for keeping a good look-out before, though far 
from any coast that may threaten danger. 

It is remarkable, that the people we consider as savages, 
have improved the art of sailing and rowing boats in several 
points beyond what we can pretend to. 

We have no sailing boats equal to the flying proas of the 
South Seas, no rowing or paddling boat equal to that of the 
Greenlanders, for swiftness and safety. The birch canoes of 
the North American Indians have also some advantageous 
properties. They are so light that two men may carry one of 
them over land, which is capable of carrying a dozen upon the 
water; and in heeling they are not so subject to take in water 
as our boats, the sides of which are lowest in the middle where 
it is most likely to enter, this being highest in that part, as in 
figure ii. 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 387 

The Chinese are an enlightened people, the most antiently 
civilized of any existing, and their arts are antient, a presump- 
tion in their favour ; their method of rowing their boats differs 
from ours, the oars being worked either two a- stern, as we 
scull, or on the sides with the same kind of motion, being hung 
parallel to the keel on a rail, and always acting in the water, 
not perpendicular to the side, as ours are, nor lifted out at 
every stroke, which is a loss of time, and the boat in the inter- 
val loses motion. They see our manner, and we theirs, but 
neither are disposed to learn of or copy the other. 

To the several means of moving boats mentioned above, 
may be added the singular one lately exhibited at Javelle, 
on the Seine below Paris, where a clumsy boat was moved 
across that river in three minutes by rowing, not in the water, 
but in the air, that is, by whirling round a set of windmill 
vanes fixed to a horizontal axis, parallel to the keel, and placed 
at the head of the boat. The axis was bent into an elbow at 
the end, by the help of which it was turned by one man at a 
time. I saw the operation at a distance. The four vanes 
appeared to be about five feet long, and perhaps two and a 
half wide. The weather was calm. The labour appeared 
to be great for one man, as the two several times relieved each 
other. But the action upon the air by the oblique surfaces 
of the vanes must have been considerable, as the motion of the 
boat appeared tolerably quick going and returning; and she 
returned to the same place from whence she first set out, not- 
withstanding the current. This machine is since applied to 
the moving of air-balloons: An instrument similar may be 
contrived to move a boat by turning under water. 

Several mechanical projectors have at different times pro- 
posed to give motion to boats, and even to ships, by means of 



3 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

circular rowing, or paddles placed on the circumference of 
wheels to be turned constantly on each side of the vessel; 
but this method, though frequently tried, has never been found 
so effectual as to encourage a continuance of the practice. 
I do not know that the reason has hitherto been given. Per- 
haps it may be this, that great part of the force employed con- 
tributes little to the motion. For instance, (fig. 12) of the four 
paddles a, b, c, d, all under water, and turning to move a boat 
from X to Y, c has the most power, b nearly though not quite 
as much, their motion being nearly horizontal ; but the force 
employed in moving #, is consumed in pressing almost down- 
right upon the water till it comes to the place of b ; and the 
force employed in moving d is consumed in lifting the water 
till d arrives at the surface ; by which means much of the la- 
bour is lost. It is true, that by placing the wheels higher out 
of the water, this waste labour will be diminished in a calm, 
but where a sea runs, the wheels must unavoidably be often 
dipped deep in the waves, and the turning of them thereby 
rendered very laborious to little purpose. 

Among the various means of giving motion to a boat, that 
of M. Bernoulli appears one of the most singular, which was 
to have fixed in the boat a tube in the form of an L, the upright 
part to have a funnel- kind of opening at top, convenient for 
filling the tube with water; which, descending and passing 
through the lower horizontal part, and issuing in the middle 
of the stern, but under the surface of the river, should push the 
boat forward. There is no doubt that the force of the de- 
scending water would have a considerable effect, greater in 
proportion to the height from which it descended ; but then it 
is to be considered, that every bucket-full pumped or dipped 
up into the boat, from its side or through its bottom, must have 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 389 

its vis inertia overcome so as to receive the motion of the boat, 
before it can come to give motion by its descent ; and that will 
be a deduction from the moving power. To remedy this, I 
would propose the addition of another such L pipe, and that 
they should stand back to back in the boat thus, figure 13; 
the forward one being worked as a pump, and sucking in the 
water at the head of the boat, would draw it forward while 
pushed in the same direction by the force at the stern. And 
after all it should be calculated whether the labour of pumping 
would be less than that of rowing. A fire-engine might pos- 
sibly in some cases be applied in this operation with advan- 
tage. 

Perhaps this labour of raising water might be spared, and 
the whole force of a man applied to the moving of a boat by 
the use of air instead of water. Suppose the boat constructed 
in this form, figure 14. A, a tube round or square of two feet 
diameter, in which a piston may move up and down. The 
piston to have valves in it, opening inwards to admit air when 
the piston rises ; and shutting, when it is forced down by means 
of the lever B turning on the centre C. The tube to have a 
valve Z>, to open when the piston is forced down, and let the 
air pass out at , which striking forcibly against the water 
abaft must push the boat forward. If there is added an air- 
vessel F properly valved and placed, the force would continue 
to act while a fresh stroke is taken with the lever. The boat- 
man might stand with his back to the stern, and putting his 
hands behind him, work the motion by taking hold of the 
cross bar at B y while another should steer ; or, if he had two 
such pumps, one on each side of the stern, with a lever for 
each hand, he might steer himself by working occasionally 
more or harder with either hand, as watermen now do with 



390 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

a pair of sculls. There is no position in which the body of 
a man can exert more strength than in pulling right up- 
wards. 

To obtain more swiftness, greasing the bottom of a vessel 
is sometimes used, and with good effect. I do not know 
that any writer has hitherto attempted to explain this. At 
first sight, one would imagine, that, though the friction of a 
hard body, sliding on another hard body, and the resistance 
occasioned by that friction, might be diminished by putting 
grease between them, yet that a body sliding on a fluid, such 
as water, should have no need of, nor receive, any advantage 
from such greasing. But the fact is not disputed. And the 
reason perhaps may be this. The particles of water have a 
mutual attraction, called the attraction of adhesion. Water 
also adheres to wood, and to many other substances, but not 
to grease ; on the contrary they have a mutual repulsion, so 
that it is a question whether when oil is poured on water, they 
ever actually touch each other ; for a drop of oil upon water, 
instead of sticking to the spot where it falls, as it would if it 
fell on a looking-glass, spreads instantly to an immense dis- 
tance in a film extremely thin, which it could not easily do if 
it touched and rubbed or adhered even in a small degree to 
the surface of the water. Now the adhesive force of water 
to itself, and to other substances, may be estimated from the 
weight of it necessary to separate a drop, which adheres, 
while growing, till it has weight enough to force the separation 
and break thedrop'off. Let us suppose the drop to be the size 
of a pea ;- then there will be as many of these adhesions as 
there are drops of that size touching the bottom of a vessel, 
and these must be broken by the moving power, every step 
of her motion that amounts to a drop's breadth ; and there 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 391 

being no such adhesions to break between the water and a 
greased bottom, may occasion the difference. 

So much respecting the motion of vessels. But we have 
sometimes occasion to stop their motion; and, if a bottom 
is near enough, we can cast anchor. Where there are no 
soundings, we have as yet no means to prevent driving in a 
storm, but by lying-to, which still permits driving at the rate 
of about two miles an hour; so that in a storm continuing 
fifty hours, which is not an uncommon case, the ship may drive 
one hundred miles out of her course ; and should she in that 
distance meet with a lee shore, she may be lost. 

To prevent this driving to leeward in deep water, a swim- 
ming anchor is wanting, which ought to have these proper- 
ties. 

1. It should have a surface so large as, being at the end of 
a hauser in the water, and placed perpendicularly, should hold 
so much of it, as to bring the ship's head to the wind, in which 
situation the wind has least power to drive her. 

2. It should be able by its resistance to prevent the ship's 
receiving way. 

3. It should be capable of being situated below the heave 
of the sea, but not below the undertow. 

4. It should not take up much room in the ship. 

5. It should be easily thrown out, and put into its proper 
situation. 

6. It should be easy to take in again, and stow away. 

An ingenious old mariner, whom I formerly knew, proposed 
as a swimming anchor for a large ship, to have a stem of wood 
twenty-five feet long and four inches square, with four boards 
of 1 8, 1 6, 14, and 12, feet long, and one foot wide, the boards 
to have their substance thickened several inches in the middle 



392 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

by additional wood, and to have each a four inch square hole 
through its middle, to permit its being slipped on occasionally 
upon the stem, and at right angles with it ; where, all being 
placed and fixed at four feet distance from each other, it 
would have the appearance of the old mathematical instru- 
ment called a forestall. This thrown into the sea, and held 
by a hauser veered out to some length, he conceived would 
bring a vessel up, and prevent her driving, and when taken 
in might be stowed away by separating the boards from the 
stem; Figure 15. Probably such a swimming anchor would 
have some good effect ; but it is subject to this objection, that, 
lying on the surface of the sea, it is liable to be hove forward 
by every wave, and thereby give so much leave for the ship to 
drive. 

Two machines for this purpose have occurred to me, which, 
though not so simple as the above, I imagine would be more 
effectual, and more easily manageable. I will endeavour to 
describe them, that they may be submitted to your judgment, 
whether either would be serviceable ; and, if they would, to 
which we should give the preference. 

The first is to be formed, and to be used in the water on 
almost the same principles with those of a paper kite used in 
the air. Only, as the paper kite rises in the air, this is to 
descend in the water. Its dimensions will be different for 
ships of different size. 

To make one of suppose fifteen feet high ; take a small spar 
of that length for the backbone, A B, figure 16, a smaller of 
half that length C D, for the cross piece. Let these be united 
by a bolt at , yet so as that by turning on the bolt they may 
be laid parallel to each other. Then make a sail of strong can- 
vas, in the shape of figure 17. To form this, without waste of 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATION'S 393 

sailcloth, sew together pieces of the proper length, and for 
half the breadth, as in figure 18, then cut the whole in the 
diagonal lines, a, b, c, and turn the piece F so as to place its 
broad part opposite to that of the piece G, and the piece H 
in like manner opposite to /, which when all sewed together 
will appear as in figure 17. This sail is to be extended on the 
cross of figure 16, the top and bottom points well secured to 
the ends of the long spar ; the two side points, d, e, fastened 
to the ends of two cords, which, coming from the angle of the 
loop (which must be similar to the loop of a kite), pass through 
two rings at the ends of the short spar, so as that on pulling 
upon the loop the sail will be drawn to its extent. The whole 
may, when aboard, be furled up, as in figure 19, having a rope 
from its broad end, to which is tied a bag of ballast for keeping 
that end downwards when in the water, and at the other end 
another rope with an empty keg at its end to float on the sur- 
face; this rope long enough to permit the kite's descending 
into the undertow, or if you please lower into still water. It 
should be held by a hauser. To get it home easily, a small 
loose rope may be veered out with it, fixed to the keg. Haul- 
ing on that rope will bring the kite home with small force, 
the resistance being small, as it will then come endways. 

It seems probable that such a kite at the end of a long 
hauser would keep a ship with her head to the wind, and, 
resisting every tug, would prevent her driving so fast as when 
her side is exposed to it, and nothing to hold her back. If 
only half the driving is prevented, so as that she moves but 
fifty miles instead of the hundred during a storm, it may be 
some advantage, both in holding so much distance as is saved, 
and in keeping from a lee-shore. If single canvas should not 
be found strong enough to bear the tug without splitting, 



394 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN 1 FRANKLIN [1785 

it may be doubled, or strengthened by a netting behind it, 
represented by figure 20. 

The other machine for the same purpose is to be made more 
in the form of an umbrella, as represented figure 21. The 
stem of the umbrella, a square spar of proper length, with four 
movable arms, of which two are represented C, C, figure 22. 
These arms to be fixed in four joint cleats, as D, D, &c., 
one on each side of the spar, but so as that the four arms may 
open by turning on a pin in the joint. When open, they form 
a cross, on which a four-square canvas sail is to be extended, 
its corners fastened to the ends of the four arms. Those ends 
are also to be stayed by ropes fastened to the stem or spar, 
so as to keep them short of being at right angles with it ; and 
to the end of one of the arms should be hung the small bag of 
ballast, and to the end of the opposite arm the empty keg. 
This, on being thrown into the sea, would immediately open ; 
and when it had performed its function, and the storm over, 
a small rope from its other end being pulled on, would turn it, 
close it, and draw it easily home to the ship. This machine 
seems more simple in its operation, and more easily manage- 
able than the first, and perhaps may be as effectual. 1 

Vessels are sometimes retarded, and sometimes forwarded 
in their voyages, by currents at sea, which are often not per- 
ceived. About the year 1769 or 70, there was an application 
made by the Board of Customs at Boston, to the Lords of 
the Treasury in London, complaining that the packets be- 
tween Falmouth and New York were generally a fortnight 



1 Captain Truxtun, on board whose ship this was written, has executed this 
proposed machine ; he has given six arms to the umbrella, they are joined to 
the stem by iron hinges, and the canvas is double. He has taken it with him 
to China. February, 1786. F. 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 395 

longer in their passages, than merchant ships from London to 
Rhode Island, and proposing that for the future they should 
be ordered to Rhode Island instead of New York. Being 
then concerned in the management of the American post- 
office, I happened to be consulted on the occasion; and it 
appearing strange to me, that there should be such a differ- 
ence between two places scarce a day's run asunder, especially 
when the merchant ships are generally deeper laden, and more 
weakly manned than the packets, and had from London the 
whole length of the river and channel to run before they left 
the land of England, while the packets had only to go from 
Falmouth, I could not but think the fact misunderstood or 
misrepresented. There happened then to be in London a 
Nantucket sea captain of my acquaintance, to whom I com- 
municated the affair. He told me he believed the fact might 
be true ; but the difference was owing to this, that the Rhode 
Island captains were acquainted with the Gulf Stream, 
which those of the English packets were not. "We are well 
acquainted with that stream," says he, "because in our pur- 
suit of whales, which keep near the sides of it, but are not to 
be met with in it, we run down along the sides, and frequently 
cross it to change our side ; and in crossing it have sometimes 
met and spoke with those packets, who were in the middle 
of it, and stemming it. We have informed them that they 
were stemming a current, that was against them to the value 
of three miles an hour; and advised them to cross it and get 
out of it ; but they were too wise to be counselled by simple 
American fishermen. When the winds are but light," he 
added, "they are carried back by the current more than they 
are forwarded by the wind ; and, if the wind be good, the 
subtraction of seventy miles a day from their course is of 



396 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

some importance." I then observed it was a pity no notice 
was taken of this current upon the charts, and requested him 
to mark it out for me, which he readily complied with, adding 
directions for avoiding it in sailing from Europe to North 
America. I procured it to be engraved by order from the 
general post-office, on the old chart of the Atlantic, at Mount 
and Page's, Tower Hill ; and copies were sent down to Fal- 
mouth for the captains of the packets, who slighted it how- 
ever; but it is since printed in France, of which edition I 
hereto annex a copy. [See Plate XIII.] 

This stream is probably generated by the great accumula- 
tion of water on the eastern coast of America between the 
tropics, by the trade winds which constantly blow there. It 
is known, that a large piece of water ten miles broad and 
generally only three feet deep, has by a strong wind had its 
waters driven to one side and sustained so as to become six 
feet deep, while the windward side was laid dry. This may 
give some idea of the quantity heaped up on the American 
coast, and the reason of its running down in a strong cur- 
rent through the islands into the bay of Mexico, and from 
thence issuing through the Gulph of Florida, and proceeding 
along the coast to the banks of Newfoundland, where it 
turns off towards and runs down through the Western Islands. 
Having since crossed this stream several times in passing 
between America and Europe, I have been attentive to sun- 
dry circumstances relating to it, by which to know when one 
is in it ; and besides the gulf weed with which it is interspersed, 
I find, that it is always warmer than the sea on each side of it, 
and that it does not sparkle in the night. I annex hereto the 
observations made with the thermometer in two voyages, 
and possibly may add a third. It will appear from them, 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 397 

that the thermometer may be a useful instrument to a navi- 
gator, since currents coming from the northward into southern 
seas will probably be found colder than the water of those seas, 
as the currents from southern seas into northern are found 
warmer. And it is not to be wondered, that so vast a body 
of deep warm water, several leagues wide, coming from 
between the tropics and issuing out of the gulph into the 
northern seas, should retain its warmth longer than the 
twenty or thirty days required to its passing the banks of 
Newfoundland. The quantity is too great, and it is too deep 
to be suddenly cooled by passing under a cooler air. The 
air immediately over it, however, may receive so much warmth 
from it as to be rarefied and rise, being rendered lighter than 
the air on each side of the stream; hence those airs must 
flow in to supply the place of the rising warm air, and, meet- 
ing with each other, form those tornados and waterspouts 
frequently met with, and seen near and over the stream ; and 
as the vapour from a cup of tea in a warm room, and the 
breath of an animal in the same room, are hardly visible, 
but become sensible immediately when out in the cold air, 
so the vapour from the gulph stream, in warm latitudes, is 
scarcely visible, but when it comes into the cool air from New- 
foundland, it is condensed into the fogs, for which those parts 
are so remarkable. 

The power of wind to raise water above its common level in 
the sea is known to us in America, by the high tides occa- 
sioned in all our seaports when a strong northeaster blows 
against the Gulf Stream. 

The conclusion from these remarks is, that a vessel from 
Europe to North America may shorten her passage by avoid- 
ing to stem the stream, in which the thermometer will be very 



398 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

useful ; and a vessel from America to Europe may do the same 
by the same means of keeping in it. It may have often hap- 
pened accidentally, that voyages have been shortened by these 
circumstances. It is well to have the command of them. 1 

Would it not be a more secure method of planking ships, 
if, instead of thick single planks laid horizontally, we were 
to use planks of half the thickness, and lay them double and 
across each other, as in figure 23 ? To me it seems that the 
difference of expense would not be considerable, and that the 
ship would be both tighter and stronger. 

The securing of the ship is not the only necessary thing; 
securing the health of the sailors, a brave and valuable order 
of men, is likewise of great importance. With this view the 
methods so successfully practised by Captain Cook, in his 
long voyages, cannot be too closely studied or carefully imi- 
tated. A full account of those methods is found in Sir John 
Pringle's speech, when the medal of the Royal Society was 
given to that illustrious navigator. I am glad to see in his last 
voyage, that he found the means effectual, which I had pro- 
posed for preserving flour, bread, &c., from moisture and 
damage. They were found dry and good after being at sea 
four years. The method is described in my printed works, 
page 452, fifth edition. In the same, page 469, 470, is pro- 
posed a means of allaying thirst in case of want of fresh water. 
This has since been practised in two instances with success. 
Happy if their hunger, when the other provisions are con- 
sumed, could be relieved as commodiously ; and perhaps in 
time this may be found not impossible. An addition might 
be made to their present vegetable provision, by drying 

1 Here a paragraph is omitted. It relates to the retarding of westward- 
bound vessels, by the diurnal motion of the earth. See Vol. I, p. 83. ED. 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 399 

various roots in slices by the means of an oven. The sweet 
potatoe of America and Spain is excellent for this purpose. 
Other potatoes, with carrots, parsnips, and turnips, might be 
prepared and preserved in the same manner. 

With regard to make-shifts in cases of necessity, seamen 
are generally very ingenious themselves. They will excuse, 
however, the mention of two or three. If they happen in any 
circumstance, such as after shipwreck, taking to their boat, 
or the like, to want a compass, a fine sewing needle laid on 
clear water in a cup will generally point to the north, most of 
them being a little magnetical, or may be made so by being 
strongly rubbed or hammered, lying in a north and south 
direction. If their needle is too heavy to float by itself, it 
may be supported by little pieces of cork or wood. A man 
who can swim, may be aided in a long traverse by his handker- 
chief formed into a kite, by two cross sticks extending to the 
four corners ; which, being raised in the air when the wind is 
fair and fresh, will tow him along while lying on his back. 
Where force is wanted to move a heavy body, and there are 
but few hands and no machines, a long and strong rope may 
make a powerful instrument. Suppose a boat is to be drawn 
up on a beach, that she may be out of the surf ; a stake drove 
into the beach where you would have the boat drawn, and 
another to fasten the end of the rope to, which comes from the 
boat, and then applying what force you have to pull upon the 
middle of the rope at right angles with it, the power will be 
augmented in proportion to the length of rope between the 
posts. The rope being fastened to the stake, A, and drawn 
upon in the direction, C D, will slide over the stake B ; and 
when the rope is bent to the angle, A D B, represented by the 
pricked line in figure 24, the boat will be at B. 



400 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Some sailors may think the writer has given himself un- 
necessary trouble in pretending to advise them; for they 
have a little repugnance to the advice of landmen, whom they 
esteem ignorant and incapable of giving any worth notice ; 
though it is certain that most of their instruments were the 
invention of landmen. At least the first vessel ever made to 
go on the water was certainly such. I will therefore add only 
a few words more, and they shall be addressed to passengers. 

When you intend a long voyage, you may do well to keep 
your intention as much as possible a secret, or at least the 
time of your departure; otherwise you will be continually 
interrupted in your preparations by the visits of friends and 
acquaintance,who will not only rob you of the time you want, 
but put things out of your mind, so that when you come to sea, 
you have the mortification to recollect points of business that 
ought to have been done, accounts you intended to settle, 
and conveniences you had proposed to bring with you, &c. 
&c., all which have been omitted through the effect of these 
officious friendly visits. Would it not be well if this custom 
could be changed ; if the voyager, after having, without in- 
terruption, made all his preparations, should use some of 
the time he has left, in going himself to take leave of his 
friends at their own houses, and let them come to congratulate 
him on his happy return? 

It is not always in your power to make a choice in your 
captain, though much of your comfort in the passage may 
depend on his personal character, as you must for so long a 
time be confined to his company, and under his direction; 
if he be a sensible, sociable, good-natured, obliging man, 
you will be so much the happier. Such there are ; but, if he 
happens to be otherwise, and is only skilful, careful, watch- 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 401 

ful, and active in the conduct of his ship, excuse the rest, for 
these are the essentials. 

Whatever right you may have by agreement in the mass 
of stores laid in by him for the passengers, it is good to have 
some particular things in your own possession, so as to be 
always at your own command. 

i. Good water, that of the ship being often bad. You 
can be sure of having it good only by bottling it from a clear 
spring or well, and in clean bottles. 2. Good tea. 3. Cof- 
fee ground. 4. Chocolate. 5. Wine of the sort you 
particularly like, and cider. 6. Raisins. 7. Almonds. 
8. Sugar. 9. Capillaire. 10. Lemons, u. Jamaica spirits. 
12. Eggs, greas'd. 13. Diet bread. 14. Portable soup. 
15. Rusks. As to fowls, it is not worth while to have any 
called yours, unless you could have the feeding and managing 
of them according to your own judgment, under your own eye. 
As they are generally treated at present in ships, they are for 
the most part sick, and their flesh tough and hard as whit- 
leather. All seamen have an opinion, broached I suppose 
at first prudently, for saving of water when short, that fowls 
do not know when they have drunk enough, and will kill 
themselves if you give them too much, so they are served 
with a little only once in two days. This is poured into 
troughs that lie sloping, and therefore immediately runs 
down to the lower end. There the fowls ride upon one 
another's backs to get at it, and 'some are not happy enough 
to reach and once dip their bills in it. Thus tantalized, and 
tormented with thirst, they cannot digest their dry food, 
they fret, pine, sicken, and die. Some are found dead, and 
thrown overboard every morning, and those killed for the 
table are not eatable. Their troughs should be in little divi- 

VOL. IX 2 D 



402 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

sions, like cups, to hold the water separately, figure 25. But 
this is never done. The sheep and hogs are therefore your 
best dependence for fresh meat at sea, the mutton being 
generally tolerable and the pork excellent. 

It is possible your captain may have provided so well in the 
general stores, as to render some of the particulars above 
recommended of little or no use to you. But there are fre- 
quently in the ship poorer passengers, who are taken at a 
lower price, lodge in the steerage, and have no claim to any 
of the cabin provisions, or to any but those kinds that are 
allowed the sailors. These people are sometimes dejected, 
sometimes sick; there may be women and children among 
them. In a situation where there is no going to market 
to purchase such necessaries, a few of these your superfluities, 
distributed occasionally, may be of great service, restore 
health, save life, make the miserable happy, and thereby 
afford you infinite pleasure. 

The worst thing in ordinary merchant ships is the cookery. 
They have no professed cook, and the worst hand as a sea- 
man is appointed to that office, in which he is not only very 
ignorant but very dirty. The sailors have therefore a saying, 
that God sends meatj and the Devil cooks. Passengers more 
piously disposed, and willing to believe Heaven orders all 
things fof^the best, may suppose, that, knowing the sea air 
and constant exercise by the motion of the vessel would give 
us extraordinary appetites, bad cooks were kindly sent to 
prevent our eating too much; or that, foreseeing we should 
have bad cooks, good appetites were furnished to prevent our 
starving. If you cannot trust to these circumstances, a spirit- 
lamp, with a blaze-pan, may enable you to cook some little 
things for yourself; such as a hash, a soup, &c. And it 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 403 

might be well also to have among your stores some potted 
meats, which, if well put up, will keep long good. A small 
tin oven, to place with the open side before the fire, may be 
another good utensil, in which your own servant may roast 
for you a bit of pork or mutton. You will sometimes be in- 
duced to eat of the ship's salt beef, as it is often good. You 
will find cyder the best quencher of that thirst, which salt 
meat or fish occasions. The ship biscuit is too hard for 
some sets of teeth. It may be softened by toasting. But 
rusk is better; for being made of good fermented bread, 
sliced and baked a second time, the pieces imbibe the water 
easily, soften immediately, digest more kindly, and are there- 
fore more wholesome than the unfermented biscuit. By the 
way, rusk is the true original biscuit, so prepared to keep for 
sea, biscuit in French signifying twice baked. If your dry 
peas boil hard, a two pound iron shot put with them into the 
pot will, by the motion of the ship, grind them as fine as mus- 
tard. 

The accidents I have seen at sea with large dishes of soup 
upon a table, from the motion of the ship, have made me wish 
that our potters or pewterers would make soup dishes in 
divisions, like a set of small bowls united together, each 
containing about sufficient for one person, in some such form 
as figure 26 ; for then, when the ship should make a sudden 
heel, the soup would not in a body flow over one side, and fall 
into people's laps and scald them, as is sometimes the case, 
but would be retained in the separate divisions, as in figure 27. 

After these trifles, permit the addition of a few general 
reflections. Navigation, when employed in supplying neces- 
sary provisions to a country in want, and thereby preventing 
famines, which were more frequent and destructive before the 



404 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

invention of that art, is undoubtedly a blessing to mankind. 
When employed merely in transporting superfluities, it is a 
question whether the advantage of the employment it affords 
is equal to the mischief of hazarding so many lives on the 
ocean. But when employed in pillaging merchants and 
transporting slaves, it is clearly the means of augmenting 
the mass of human misery. It is amazing to think of the 
ships and lives risked in fetching tea from China, coffee from 
Arabia, sugar and tobacco from America, all which our 
ancestors did well without. Sugar employs near one thou- 
sand ships, tobacco almost as many. For the utility of 
tobacco there is little to be said ; and for that of sugar, how 
much more commendable would it be, if we could give up the 
few minutes' gratification afforded once or twice a day by 
the taste of sugar in our tea, rather than encourage the 
cruelties exercised in producing it. An eminent French 
moralist says, that when he considers the wars we excite in 
Africa to obtain slaves, the numbers necessarily slain in those 
wars, the many prisoners who perish at sea by sickness, bad 
provisions, foul air, &c. &c., in the transportation, and how 
many afterwards die from the hardships of slavery, he can- 
not look on a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained 
with spots of human blood ! Had he added the considera- 
tion of the wars we make to take and retake the sugar islands 
from one another, and the fleets and armies that perish in 
those expeditions, he might have seen his sugar not merely 
spotted, but thoroughly dyed scarlet in grain. It is these 
wars, that make the maritime powers of Europe, the inhabit- 
ants of London and Paris, pay dearer for sugar than those 
of Vienna, a thousand miles from the sea; because their 
sugar costs not only the price they pay for it by the pound, 



1785] MARITIME OBSERVATIONS 405 

but all they pay in taxes to maintain the fleets and armies 
that fight for it. 

With great esteem, I am, Sir, 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

APPENDIX TO THE ABOVE LETTER 

Remarks upon the Navigation jrom Newfoundland to New 
York, in Order to avoid the Gulf Stream on one Hand, and, 
on the other, the Shoals that lie to the southward of Nan- 
tucket and of St. George's Banks. 

READ AT A MEETING OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, DECEMBER 

*, 1785. 

AFTER you have passed the banks of Newfoundland in about 
the forty-fourth degree of latitude, you will meet with nothing, 
till you draw near the Isle of Sables, which we commonly 
pass in latitude 43. Southward of this Isle, the current is 
found to extend itself as far north as 41 20' or 30', then it 
turns towards the E. S. E. or S. E. \ E. 

Having passed the Isle of Sables, shape your course for the 
St. George's Banks, so as to pass them in about latitude 40, 
because the current southward of those banks reaches as far 
north as 39. The shoals of those banks lie in 41 35'. 

After having passed St. George's Banks, you must, to 
clear Nantucket, form your course so as to pass between the 
latitudes 38 30' and 40 45'. 

The most southern part of the shoals of Nantucket lie in 
about 40 45'. The northern part of the current directly to 
the south of Nantucket is felt in about latitude 38 30'. 



406 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

By observing these directions, and keeping between the 
stream and the shoals, the passage from the Banks of New- 
foundland to New York, Delaware, or Virginia, may be con- 
siderably shortened; for so you will have the advantage of 
the eddy current, which moves contrary to the Gulf Stream. 
Whereas, if to avoid the shoals you keep too far to the south- 
ward, and get into that stream, you will be retarded by it at 
the rate of sixty or seventy miles a day. 

The Nantucket whalemen being extremely well acquainted 
with the Gulf Stream, its course, strength, and extent, by 
their constant practice of whaling on the edges of it, from 
their island quite down to the Bahamas, this draft of that 
stream [Plate XIII.] was obtained from one of them, Captain 
Folger, and caused to be engraved on the old chart in London, 
for the benefit of navigators, by 

B. FRANKLIN. 

NOTE. The Nantucket captains, who are acquainted with 
this stream, make their voyages from England to Boston in as 
short a time generally as others take in going from Boston to 
England, viz. from twenty to thirty days. 

A stranger may know when he is in the Gulf Stream, by the 
warmth of the water, which is much greater than that of the 
water on each side of it. If then he is bound to the westward, 
he should cross the stream to get out of it as soon as possible. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



Observations of the Warmth of the Sea Water, <5rV., by Fahrenheit's Ther- 
mometer, in crossing the Gulph Stream : with other Remarks made on 
board the Pennsylvania Packet, Capt. Osborne, bound from London to 
Philadelphia, in April and May, 1775. 








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407 



Observations of the Warmth of the Sea Water, &V., by Fahrenheit's Ther- 
mometer ; with other Remarks made on board the Reprisal, Captain Wickes, 
bound from Philadelphia to France, in October and November, 1 776. 



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408 



Observations made on board the Reprisal, continued. 



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A Journal of a Voyage from the Channel between France and England 
towards America in 1 785. 



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A Journal of a Voyage, <5rV., continued. 




412 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 



Observations 

July 31. At one P.M. the Start bore W. N. W. distant six leagues. 
August I. The water appears luminous in the ship's wake. 

2. The temperature of the water is taken at eight in the morning and at 
eight in the evening. 

6. The water appears less luminous. 

7. Formegas S. W. distant 32^ degrees. St. Mary's S. W. \ S. 33 leagues. 

8. From this date the temperature of the water is taken at eight in the 
morning and at six in the evening. 

10. Moonlight, which prevents the luminous appearance of the water. 

ii. A strong southerly current. 

12. Ditto. From this date the temperature of the air and water was 
taken at noon, as well as morning and evening. 

1 6. Northerly current. 

19. First saw gulf weed. 

21. Southerly current. 

22. Again saw gulf weed. 

24. The water appeared luminous in a small degree before the moon 
rose. 

29. No moon, yet very little light in the water. 

30. Much gulf weed to-day. 

31. Ditto. 
September I. Ditto. 

2. A little more light in the water. 

4. No gulf weed to-day. More light in the water. 

5. Some gulf weed again. 

6. Little light in the water. A very hard thunder-gust in the night. 

7. Little gulf weed. 

8. More light in the water. Little gulf weed. 

9. Little gulf weed. Little light in the water last evening. 

10. Saw some beds of rock- weed; and we were surprised to observe the 
water six degrees colder by the thermometer than the preceding noon. 

This day (roth) the thermometer still kept descending, and at five in the 
morning of the nth, it was in water as low as 70, when we struck soundings. 
The same evening the pilot came on board, and we found our ship about five 
degrees of longitude a-head of the reckoning, which our captain accounted 
for by supposing our course to have been near the edge of the Gulf Stream, 
and thus an eddy-current always in our favour. By the distance we ran from 
September 9th, in the evening, till we struck soundings, we must have then 
been at the western edge of the Gulf Stream, and the change in the tempera- 
ture of the water was probably owing to our suddenly passing from that cur- 
rent into the waters of our own climate. 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 413 

On the 1 4th of August the following experiment was made. The weather 
being perfectly calm, an empty bottle, corked very tight, was sent down 20 
fathoms, and it was drawn up still empty. It was then sent down again 35 
fathoms, when the weight of the water having forced in the cork, it was 
drawn up full; the water it contained was immediately tried by the thermom- 
eter, and found to be 70, which was six degrees colder than at the surface; 
the lead and bottle were visible, but not very distinctly so, at the depth of 12 
fathoms; but, when only 7 fathoms deep, they were perfectly seen from the 
ship. This experiment was thus repeated September nth, when we were in 
soundings of 1 8 fathoms. A keg was previously prepared with a valve at 
each end, one opening inward, the other outward; this was sent to the bottom 
in expectation that by the valves being both open when going down, and both 
shut when coming up, it would keep within it the water received at bottom. 
The upper valve performed its office well, but the under one did not shut 
quite close, so that much of the water was lost in hauling it up the ship's 
side. As the water in the keg's passage upwards could not enter at the top, 
it was concluded that what water remained in it was of that near the ground ; 
and, on trying this by the thermometer, it was found to be 58, which was 12 
degrees colder than at the surface. 

[This last Journal was obligingly kept for me by Mr. J. Williams, my 
fellow-passenger in the London Packet, who made all the experiments with 
great exactness.] 



1598. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ l (L. L.) 

ON THE CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 

At Sea, August 28, 1785 
DEAR FRIEND, 

In one of your Letters, a little before I left France, you 
desire me to give you in Writing my Thoughts upon the Con- 
struction and Use of Chimneys, a Subject you had sometimes 
heard me touch upon in Conversation. I embrace willingly 

1 This letter, which has been published in a separate pamphlet, both in 
England and America, first appeared in the Transactions of The American 
Philosophical Society, Vol. II, p. I (1786), in which it was read October 2ist, 
1785. ED. 



4 i4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

this Leisure afforded by my present Situation to comply with 
your Request, as it will not only show my Regard to the 
Desires of a Friend, but may at the same time be of some 
Utility to others ; the Doctrine of Chimneys appearing not to 
be as yet generally well understood, and Mistakes respecting 
them being attended with constant Inconvenience, if not 
remedied, and with fruitless Expence, if the true Remedies 
are mistaken. 

Those who would be acquainted with this Subject, should 
begin by considering on what Principle Smoke ascends in any 
Chimney. At first, many are apt to think, that Smoke is in 
its Nature and of itself specifically lighter than Air, and rises in 
it for the same reason that Cork rises in Water. These see 
no Cause why Smoke should not rise in the Chimney, tho' 
the Room be ever so close. Others think there is a Power in 
Chimneys to draw up the Smoke, and that there are different 
forms of Chimneys, which afford more or less of this Power. 
These amuse themselves with searching for the best Form. 
The equal Dimensions of a Funnel in its whole Length is not 
thought Artificial enough, and it is made, for fancied Rea- 
sons, sometimes tapering and narrowing from below upwards, 
and sometimes the contrary, &c. &c. A simple Experiment 
or two may serve to give more correct Ideas. Having lit a 
Pipe of Tobacco, plunge the Stem to the Bottom of a De- 
canter half fill'd with cold Water ; then putting a Rag over the 
Bowl, blow thro' it and make the Smoke descend in the Stem 
of the Pipe, from the End of which it will rise in Bubbles 
thro' the Water ; and, being thus cool'd, will not afterwards 
rise to go out thro' the Neck of the Decanter, but remain 
spreading itself and resting on the Surface of the Water. 
This shows that Smoke is really heavier than Air, and that 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 415 

it is carried upwards only when attach'd to, or acted upon, 
by Air that is heated, and thereby rarefied and rendered spe- 
cifically lighter than the Air in its Neighbourhood. 

Smoke being rarely seen but in company with heated Air, 
and its upward Motion being visible, tho' that of the rarefied 
air that drives it is not so, has naturally given rise to the 
Error. 

I need not explain to you, my learned Friend, what is meant 
by rarefied Air ; but if you make the public use you propose of 
this Letter, it may fall into the Hands of some who are unac- 
quainted with the Term and with the Thing. These then 
may be told, that air is a Fluid which has Weight as well as 
others, tho' about 800 times lighter than Water. That Heat 
makes the Particles of Air recede from each other and take up 
more Space, so that the same Weight of Air heated will have 
more Bulk, than equal Weights of cold Air which may sur- 
round it, and in that Case must rise, being forc'd upwards by 
such colder and heavier Air, which presses to get under it and 
take its Place. That Air is so rarified or expanded by Heat 
may be proved to their Comprehension by a lank blown 
Bladder, which, laid before a Fire, will soon swell, grow tight, 
and burst. 

Another Experiment may be, to take a glass Tube about 
an Inch in diameter, and 12 Inches long, open at both Ends 
and fixed upright on Legs, so that it need not be handled, for 
the Hands might warm it. At the End of a Quill fasten 5 
or 6 Inches of the finest light filament of Silk, so that it may be 
held either above the upper End of the Tube or under the 
lower End, your warm Hand being at a distance by the Length 
of the Quill. (Plate XIV. Fig. i.) If there were any motion 
of Air thro' the Tube, it would manifest itself by its Effect on 



416 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

the Silk; but, if the Tube and the Air in it are of the same 
Temperature with the surrounding Air, there will be no such 
Motion, whatever may be the Form of the Tube, whether 
crooked or strait, narrow below and widening upwards, or 
the contrary, the Air in it will be quiescent. Warm the Tube, 
and you will find, as long as it continues warm, a constant 
Current of Air, entring below and passing up thro' it, till 
discharged at the Top; because the Warmth of the Tube, 
being communicated to the Air it contains, rarefies that Air 
and makes it lighter than the Air without, which therefore 
presses in below, forces it upwards, and follows and takes its 
place, and is rarefied in its turn. And without warming the 
Tube, if you hold under it a Knob of hot Iron, the Air thereby 
heated will rise and fill the Tube, going out at its Top ; and 
this Motion in the Tube will continue as long as the Knob 
remains hot, because the Air entring the Tube below is 
heated and rarefied by passing near and over that Knob. 

That this Motion is produc'd merely by the Difference of 
Specific Gravity between the Fluid within and that without the 
Tube, and not by any fancied Form of the Tube itself, may 
appear by plunging it into Water contain'd hi a Glass Jar 
a foot deep, thro' which such Motion might be seen. The 
Water within and without the Tube being of the same Spe- 
cific Gravity, balance each other, and both remain at rest. 
But take out the Tube, stop its Bottom with a Finger and fill it 
with Olive Oil, which is lighter than Water, then stopping 
the Top, place it as before, its lower End under Water, its 
Top a very little above. As long as you keep the Bottom 
stopt, the Fluids remain at rest, but the Moment it is un- 
stopt, the heavier enters below, forces up the lighter, and takes 
its Place. And the Motion then ceases, merely because the 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 417 

new Fluid cannot be successively made lighter, as Air may be 
by a warm Tube. 

In fact, no Form of the Funnel of a Chimney has any 
Share in its Operation or Effect respecting Smoke, except its 
Height. The longer the Funnel, if erect, the greater its 
Force when fill'd with heated and rarefied Air, to draw in below 
and drive up the Smoke, if one may, in compliance with 
Custom, use the Expression draw, when in fact it is the su- 
perior Weight of the surrounding Atmosphere that presses to 
enter the Funnel below, and so drives up before it the Smoke 
and warm Air it meets with in its Passage. 

I have been the more particular in explaining these first 
Principles, because, for want of clear Ideas respecting them, 
much fruitless expence has been occasion'd; not only single 
Chimneys, but, in some Instances within my Knowledge, 
whole Stacks having been pulled down and rebuilt with 
Funnels of different Forms, imagin'd more powerful in draw- 
ing Smoke; but, having still the same Height and the same 
Opening below, have perform'd no better than their Prede- 
cessors. 

What is it then which makes a Smoky Chimney ; that is, a 
Chimney which, instead of conveying up all the Smoke, 
discharges a Part of it into the Room, offending the Eyes and 
damaging the Furniture? 

The Causes of this Effect, which have fallen under my 
Observation, amount to Nine, differing from each other, and 
therefore requiring different Remedies. 

i. Smoky Chimneys in a new House are such, frequently, 
jrom mere Want oj Air. The Workmanship of the Rooms 
being all good, and just out of the Workman's Hand, the 
Joints of the Boards of the Flooring, and of the Pannels of 

VOL. IX 2K 



41 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Wainscoting are all true and tight, the more so as the Walls, 
perhaps not yet thoroughly dry, preserve a Dampness in the 
Air of the Room, which keeps the Wood work swelled and 
close. x The Doors and the Sashes too, being work'd with 
Truth, shut with Exactness, so that the Room is as tight as 
a SnuffBox, no Passage being left open for Air to enter, ex- 
cept the Keyhole, and even that is sometimes covered by a 
little dropping Shutter. Now if Smoke cannot rise but as 
connected with rarefied Air, and a Column of such Air, sup- 
pose it filling the Funnel, cannot rise, unless other Air be 
admitted to supply its place ; and if, therefore, no Current of 
Air enter the Opening of the Chimney, there is nothing to 
prevent the Smoke coming out into the Room. If the 
Motion upwards of the Air in a Chimney, that is freely sup- 
ply'd, be observed by the rising of the Smoke or a Feather 
in it, and it be considered, that, in the Time such Feather 
takes in rising from the Fire to the Top of the Chimney, a 
Column of Air equal to the Content of the Funnel must be 
discharged, and an equal Quantity supply'd from the Room 
below, it will appear absolutely impossible that this Opera- 
tion should go on if the tight Room is kept shut; for, were 
there any Force capable of drawing constantly so much Air 
out of it, it must soon be exhausted like the Receiver of an Air 
pump, and no Animal could live in it. Those therefore who 
stop every Crevice in a Room to prevent the admission of 
fresh Air, and yet would have their Chimney carry up the 
Smoke, require Inconsistencies, and expect Impossibilities. 
Yet, under this Situation, I have seen the Owner of a new 
House, in Despair, and ready to sell it for much less than it 
cost, conceiving it uninhabitable, because not a Chimney 
in any one of its Rooms would carry off the Smoke, unless a 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 419 

Door or Window were left open. Much Expence has also been 
made, to alter and amend new Chimneys which had really 
no Fault ; in one House particularly that I knew, of a Noble- 
man in Westminster, that Expence amounted to no less than 
300, after his House had been, as he thought, finish 'd and 
all Charges paid. And after all, several of the Alterations 
were ineffectual, for want of understanding the true Prin- 
ciples. 

Remedies. When you find on Trial, that opening the Door 
or a Window enables the Chimney to carry up all the Smoke, 
you may be sure that want of Air jrom without was the Cause 
of its Smoking. I say jrom without, to guard you against a 
common Mistake of those, who may tell you the Room is 
large, contains abundance of Air, sufficient to supply any 
Chimney, and therefore it cannot be that the Chimney wants 
Air. These Reasoners are ignorant, that the largeness of a 
Room, if tight, is in this case of small Importance, since it 
cannot part with a Chimney full of its Air without occasioning 
so much Vacuum ; which it requires a great Force to effect, 
and could not be borne, if effected. 

It appearing plainly, then, that some of the outward Air 
must be admitted, the Question will be, how much is abso- 
lutely necessary; for you would avoid admitting more, as 
being contrary to one of your Intentions in having a Fire, 
viz. that of warming your Room. To discover this Quantity, 
shut the Door gradually while a middling Fire is burning, till 
you find, that, before it is quite shut, the Smoke begins to 
come out into the Room, then open it a little till you perceive 
the Smoke comes out no longer. There hold the Door, and 
observe the Width of the open crevice between the Edge of 
the Door and the Rabbit it should shut into. Suppose the 



420 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Distance to be half an Inch, and the Door 8 feet high, you find 
thence that your Room requires an Entrance for Air equal in 
area to 96 half inches, or 48 square Inches, or a Passage of 
6 inches by 8. This however is a large Supposition, there 
being few Chimneys, that, having a moderate Opening and a 
tolerable Height of Funnel, will not be satisfied with such 
a Crevice of \ of an inch ; and I have found a Square of 6 by 
6, or 36 square Inches, to be a pretty good Medium, that will 
serve for most Chimneys. High Funnels, with small and low 
Openings, may indeed be supply'd thro' a less Space, because, 
for Reasons that will appear hereafter, the Force of Levity, 
if one may so speak, being greater in such Funnels, the cool 
Air enters the Room with greater Velocity, and consequently 
more enters in the same time. This however has its Limits, 
for Experience shows, that no increased Velocity, so occa- 
sion'd, has made the admission of Air thro' the Keyhole 
equal in quantity to that thro' an open Door; tho' thro' the 
Door the Current moves slowly, and thro' the Keyhole with 
great Rapidity. 

It remains then to be considered how and where this neces- 
sary Quantity of Air from without is to be admitted, so as to 
be least inconvenient. For, if at the Door, left so much open, 
the Air thence proceeds directly to the Chimney, and in its 
way comes cold to your Back and Heels as you sit before your 
Fire. If you keep the Door shut, and raise a little the Sash 
of your Window, you feel the same Inconvenience. Various 
have been the Contrivances to avoid this, such as bringing in 
fresh Air through Pipes in the Jambs of the Chimney, which, 
pointing upwards, should blow the Smoke up the Funnel; 
Opening Passages into the Funnel above, to let in Air for the 
same purpose. But these produce an Effect contrary to 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 421 

that intended ; for, as it is the constant current of Air passing 
from the room thro* the Opening oj the Chimney into the Fun- 
nel, which prevents the Smoke coming out into the Room, 
if you supply the Funnel by other Means or in other ways 
with the Air it wants, and especially if that Air be cold, you 
diminish the force of that Current, and the Smoke in its 
Efforts to enter the Room finds less Resistance. 

The wanted Air must then indispensably be admitted into 
the Room, to supply what goes off through the Opening of 
the Chimney. M. Gauger, 1 a very ingenious and intelligent 
French Writer on the subject, proposes with Judgment to 
admit it above the Opening of the Chimney; and to prevent 
Inconvenience from its Coldness, he directs its being made 
to pass in its Entrance thro' winding Cavities made behind 
the Iron Back and Sides of the FirePlace, and under the Iron 
Hearth-Plate; in which Cavities it will be warmed, and 
even heated, so as to contribute much, instead of cooling, to 
the Warming of the Room. This Invention is excellent in 
itself, and may be us'd with Advantage in building new 
Houses; because the Chimneys may then be so disposed, 
as to admit conveniently the cold Air to enter such Passages ; 
but in Houses built without such Views, the Chimneys are 
often so situated, as not to afford that Convenience, without 
great and expensive Alterations. Easy and cheap Methods, 
tho* not quite so perfect in themselves, are of more general 
Utility; and such are the following. 

In all Rooms where there is a Fire, the Body of Air warmed 
and rarefied before the Chimney is continually changing 
Place, and making room for other Air that is to be warmed in 
its turn. Part of it enters and goes up the Chimney, and the 

1 Nicolas Gauger (1680-1730), French physicist. ED. 



422 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

rest rises and takes place near the Ceiling. If the Room be 
lofty, that warm Air remains above our Heads as long as it 
continues warm, and we are little benefited by it, because it 
does not descend till it is cooler. Few can imagine the Differ- 
ence of Climate between the upper and lower Parts of such 
room, who have not tried it by the Thermometer, or by going 
up a Ladder till their Heads are near the Ceiling. It is then 
among this warm Air that the wanted Quantity of outward Air 
is best admitted, with which being mix'd, its Coldness is abated 
and its Inconvenience diminished so as to become scarce 
observable. This may be easily done, by drawing down about 
an Inch the upper Sash of a Window ; or, if not moveable, 
by cutting such a Crevice thro' its Frame ; in both which 
Cases, it will be well to place a thin Shelf of the length, to con- 
ceal the Opening, and sloping upward to direct the entring 
Air horizontally along and under the Ceiling. In some 
houses the Air may be admitted by such a Crevice made in 
the Wainscot, Cornish, or Plastering, near the Ceiling and 
over the Opening of the Chimney. This, if practicable, is to 
be chosen, because the ent'ring cold Air will there meet with 
the warmest rising Air from before the Fire, and be soonest 
tempered by the Mixture. The same kind of Shelf should 
also be placed here. Another way, and not a very difficult 
one, is to take out an upper Pane of Glass in one of your 
Sashes, set in a tin Frame, (Plate, Fig. 2,) giving it two 
springing angular Sides, and then replacing it, with Hinges 
below on which it may be turned to open more or less above. 
It will then have the Appearance of an internal Skylight. 
By drawing this Pane in, more or less, you may admit what 
Air you find necessary. Its position will naturally throw 
that air up and along the ceiling. This is what is called in 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 423 

France a Was ist das ? As this is a German Question, the 
Invention is probably of that Nation, and takes its Name 
from the frequent asking of that Question when it first ap- 
peared. In England, some have of late Years cut a round 
Hole about 5 Inches Diameter in a Pane of the Sash, and 
plac'd against it a circular Plate of Tin hung on an Axis, 
and cut into Vanes, which, being separately bent a little 
obliquely, are acted upon by the entring Air, so as to force 
the Plate continually round like the Vanes of a Windmill. 
This admits the outward Air, and by the continual Whirling 
of the Vanes, does in some degree disperse it. The Noise, 
only, is a little inconvenient. 

2. A second cause of the Smoking of Chimneys is, their 
Openings in the Room being too large; that is, too wide, too 
high, or both. Architects in general have no other Ideas of 
Proportion in the Opening of a Chimney, than what relate 
to Symmetry and Beauty, respecting the Dimensions of the 
Room; while its true Proportion, respecting its Function 
and Utility, depends on quite other Principles; and they 
might as properly proportion the Step in a Staircase to the 
Height of the Story, instead of the natural Elevation of Men's 
Legs in mounting. The Proportion then to be regarded, is 
what relates to the Height of the Funnel. For as the Funnels 
in the different Stories of a House are necessarily of different 
Heights or Lengths, that from the lowest Floor being the 
highest or longest, and those of the other Floors shorter and 
shorter, till we come to those in the Garrets, which are of 
course the shortest; and the Force of Draft being, as already 
said, in proportion to the height of Funnel filled with rarefied 
Air; and a Current of Air from the Room into the Chimney, 
sufficient to fill the Opening, being necessary to oppose and 



424 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

prevent the Smoke's coming out into the Room; it follows, 
that the Openings of the longest Funnels may be larger, and 
that those of the shorter Funnels should be smaller. For, 
if there be a large Opening to a Chimney that does not draw 
strongly, the Funnel may happen to be furnish'd with the 
Air it demands by a Partial current entring on one side of 
the Opening, and, leaving the other side free of any Opposing 
Current, may permit the Smoke to issue there into the Room. 
Much too, of the Force of Draft in a Funnel depends on the 
degree of Rarefaction in the Air it contains, and that depends 
on the nearness to the Fire of its Passage in entring the Funnel. 
If it can enter far from the Fire on each side, or far above the 
Fire, in a wide or high Opening, it receives little heat in pass- 
ing by the Fire, and the Contents of the Funnel is by that 
means less different in Levity from the surrounding Atmos- 
phere, and its Force in drawing consequently weaker. Hence, 
if too large an Opening be given to Chimneys in upper Rooms, 
those Rooms will be smoky; on the other Hand, if too small 
Openings be given to Chimneys in the lower Rooms, the en- 
tring air, operating too directly and violently on the Fire, 
and afterwards strengthening the Draft as it ascends the 
Funnel, will consume the Fuel too rapidly. 

Remedy. As different Circumstances frequently mix them- 
selves in these Matters, it is difficult to give precise Dimen- 
sions for the Openings of all Chimneys. Our Fathers made 
them generally much too large; We have lessen'd them ; but 
they are often still of greater Dimension than they should be, 
the human Eye not being easily reconciPd to sudden and 
great Changes. If you suspect that your Chimney smokes 
from the too great Dimension of its Opening, contract it by 
placing Boards so as to lower and narrow it gradually, till 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 425 

you find the Smoke no longer issues into the Room. The 
Proportion so found will be that which is proper for that 
Chimney, and you may employ the Bricklayer or Mason to 
reduce it accordingly. However, as, in building new Houses f 
something must be sometimes hazarded, I would make the 
Openings in my lower Rooms about 30 Inches square and 18 
deep, and those in the upper only 18 Inches square and not 
quite so deep; the intermediate ones diminishing in propor- 
tion as the Height of Funnel diminish'd. In the larger Open- 
ings, Billets of two feet long, or half the common length of 
Cordwood, may be burnt conveniently ; and for the smaller, 
such Wood may be saw'd into Thirds. Where Coals are 
the Fuel, the Grates will be proportion'd to the Openings. 
The same Depth is nearly necessary to all, the Funnels being 
all made of a Size proper to admit a Chimney-sweeper. If 
in large and elegant Rooms Custom or Fancy should require 
the Appearance of a larger Chimney, it may be form'd of 
expensive marginal Decorations, in Marble, &c. In time, 
perhaps, that which is fittest in the nature of things may come 
to be thought handsomest. But at present when Men and 
Women in different Countries show themselves dissatisfied 
with the Forms God has given to their Heads, Waists, and 
Feet, and pretend to shape them more perfectly, it is hardly 
to be expected that they will be content always with the best 
Form of a Chimney. And there are some, I know, so bigotted 
to the Fancy of a large noble Opening, that rather than change 
it, they would submit to have damaged Furniture, sore Eyes, 
and Skins almost smok'd to Bacon. 

3. Another cause of smoky Chimneys is too short a Funnel. 
This happens necessarily in some Cases, as where a Chimney 
is required hi a low Building; for if the Funnel be rais'd 



426 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

high above the Roof, in order to strengthen its Draft, it is 
then in danger of being blown down, and crushing the Roof 
in its Fall. 

Remedies. Contract the Opening of the Chimney, so as 
to oblige all the entring Air to pass thro' or very near the Fire ; 
whereby it will be more heated and rarefied, the Funnel 
itself be more warmed, and its Contents have more of what 
may be called the Force of Levity, so as to rise strongly, and 
maintain a good Draft at the Opening. 

Or you may in some cases to Advantage, build additional 
Stories over the low Building, which will support a high 
Funnel. 

If the low Building be us'd as a Kitchen, and a Contraction 
of the Opening therefore inconvenient, a large one being neces- 
sary, at least when there are great Dinners, for the free Man- 
agement of so many Cooking Utensils ; in such Case I would 
advise the Building of two more Funnels joining to the first, 
and having three moderate Openings, one to each Funnel, 
instead of one large one. When there is occasion to use but 
one, the other two may be kept shut by sliding Plates, here- 
after to be describ'd; and two or all of them may be used 
together when wanted. This will indeed be an Expence, 
but not a useless one, since your Cooks will work with more 
comfort, see better than in a smoky Kitchen what they are 
about, your Victuals will be cleaner drest, and not taste of 
Smoke, as is often the Case ; and, to render the Effect more 
certain, a Stack of three Funnels may be safely built higher 
above the Roof than a single Funnel. 

The Case of too short a Funnel is more general than would 
be imagin'd, and often found where one would not expect it. 
For it is not uncommon, in ill contriv'd Buildings, instead 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 427 

of having a Funnel for each Room or Fireplace, to bend and 
turn the Funnel of an upper Room so as to make it enter the 
Side of another Funnel that comes from below. By this 
means the upper room Funnel is made short of course, since 
its Length can only be reckon'd from the Place where it enters 
the lower-room Funnel; and that Funnel is also shorten'd 
by all the Distance between the Entrance of the second Funnel 
and the Top of the Stack : For all that Part being readily 
supply'd with Air thro' the second Funnel, adds no Strength 
to the Draft, especially as that Air is cold when there is no 
Fire in the second Chimney. The only easy Remedy here 
is, to keep the Opening shut of that Funnel in which there 
is no Fire. 

4. Another very common Cause of the Smoking of Chim- 
neys is their overpowering one another. For instance, if 
there be two Chimneys in one large Room, and you make 
Fires in both of them, the Doors and Windows close shut, 
you will find that the greater and stronger Fire shall over- 
power the weaker, and draw air down its Funnel to supply 
its own Demand ; which Air descending in the weaker Fun- 
nel, will drive down its Smoke, and force it into the Room. 
If, instead of being in one Room, the two Chimneys are in 
two different Rooms, communicating by a Door, the Case 
is the same whenever that Door is open. In a very tight 
House, I have known a Kitchen Chimney on the lowest 
Floor, when it had a great Fire in it, overpower any other 
Chimney in the House, and draw Air and Smoke into its 
Room, as often as the Door was open'd communicating with 
the StairCase. 

Remedy. Take Care that every Room has the Means of 
supplying itself from without, with the Air its Chimney may 



428 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

require so that no one of them may be obliged to borrow 
from another, nor under the Necessity of lending. A Vari- 
ety of these Means have been already describ'd. 

5. Another Cause of Smoking is, when the Tops of Chim- 
neys are commanded by higher Buildings, or by a Hill, so that 
the Wind blowing over such Eminences, falls like Water 
over a Dam, sometimes almost perpendicularly on the Tops 
of the Chimneys that lie in its way, and beats down the Smoke 
contain'd in them. 

Remedy. That commonly apply'd to this Case is a Turn- 
cap made of Tin or Plate Iron, covering the Chimney above 
and on three sides, open on one side, turning on a Spindle, 
and which being guided or governed by a Vane, always pre- 
sents its back to the Current. This I believe, may be gen- 
erally effectual, tho' not certain, as there may be Cases in 
which it will not succeed. Raising your Funnels, if practi- 
cable, so as their Tops may be higher, or at least equal with 
the commanding Eminence, is more to be depended on. 
But the turning Cap, being easier and cheaper, should first 
be try'd. If obliged to build in such a Situation, I would 
chuse to place my Doors on the Side next the Hill, and the 
Backs of my Chimneys on the furthest Side ; for then the 
Column of Air falling over the Eminence, and of course 
pressing on that below and forcing it to- enter the Doors, 
or Was-ist-dases on that Side, would tend to ballance the 
Pressure down the Chimneys, and leave the Funnels more 
free in the Exercise of their Functions. 

6. There is another Case of Command, the Reverse of that 
last mentioned. It is where the commanding Eminence is 
farther from the Wind than the Chimney commanded. To 
explain this a Figure may be necessary. Suppose then a 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 429 

building whose Side A happens to be expos'd to the Wind, and 
forms a kind of Dam against its Progress. (Plate, Fig. 3.) 
The Air obstructed by this Dam, will, like Water, press 
and search for Passages thro' it; and finding the Top of the 
Chimney B, below the Top of the Dam, it will force itself 
down that Funnel, in order to get through by some Door or 
Window open on the other Side of the Building. And if 
there be a Fire in such Chimney, its Smoke is of course beat 
down, and fills the Room. 

Remedy. I know of but one, which is to raise such funnel 
Higher than the Roof, supporting it if necessary by iron Bars. 
For a Turncap in this Case has no Effect, the damm'd-up-air 
pressing down thro' it in whatever Position the Wind may 
have plac'd its Opening. 

I know a City in which many Houses are render'd smoky 
by this Operation. For their Kitchens being built behind, 
and connected by a Passage with the Houses, and the Tops 
of the Kitchen Chimneys lower than the Top of the Houses, 
the whole Side of a Street, when the Wind blows against its 
back, forms such a Dam as above describ'd ; and the Wind 
so obstructed, forces down those Kitchen Chimneys espe- 
cially when they have but weak Fires in them to pass thro' 
the Passage and House into the Street. Kitchen Chimneys, 
so form'd and situated, have another Inconvenience. In 
Summer, if you open your Upper Room Windows for Air, 
a light Breeze blowing over your Kitchen Chimney towards 
the House, tho' not strong enough to force down its Smoke, 
as aforesaid, is sufficient to waft it into your Windows, and 
fill the Rooms with it; which, besides the Disagreableness, 
damages your Furniture. 

7. Chimneys, otherwise drawing well, are sometimes 



43 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

made to smoke by the improper and inconvenient Situation 
of a Door. When the Door and Chimney are on the same 
Side of the Room, as in the Figure, if the Door A, being in 
the Corner, is made to open against the Wall, (Plate, Fig. 4,) 
which is common, as being there, when open, more out of 
the Way, it follows, that, when the Door is only open'd in 
Part, a Current of Air rushing in, passes along the Wall into 
and across the Opening of the Chimney B, and flirts some of 
the Smoke out into the Room. This happens more certainly 
when the Door is shutting, for then the Force of the Current 
is augmented, and becomes very inconvenient to those who, 
warming themselves by the Fire, happen to sit in its way. 

The remedies are obvious and easy. Either put an inter- 
vening Skreen from the Wall round great part of the Fire- 
Place ; or, which is perhaps preferable, shift the Hinges of 
your Door, so as it may open the other way, and, when open, 
throw the Air along the other Wall. 

8. A Room, that has no Fire in its Chimney, is sometimes 
filled with Smoke, which is received at the Top of its Funnel, 
and descends into the Room. In a former paper I have al- 
ready explained the descending Currents of Air in cold 
Funnels ; it may not be amiss, however, to repeat here, that 
Funnels without Fires have an Effect, according to their 
degree of Coldness or Warmth, on the Air that happens 
to be contain'd in them. The surrounding Atmosphere is 
frequently changing its Temperature ; but Stacks of Funnels, 
cover'd from Winds and Sun by the House that contains 
them, retain a more equal Temperature. If after a warm 
Season, the outward Air suddenly grows cold, the empty 
warm Funnels begin to draw strongly upward ; that is, they 
rarefy the Air contain'd in them, which of course rises, cooler 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 431 

Air enters below to supply its place, is rarefied in its turn, 
and rises; and this Operation continues till the Funnel 
grows cooler, or the outward Air warmer, or both, when the 
Motion ceases. On the other Hand, if after a cold Season, 
the outward Air suddenly grows warm and of course lighter, 
the Air contain'd in the cool Funnels, being heavier, descends 
into the Room ; and the warmer Air which enters their Tops, 
being cool'd in its turn and made heavier, continues to descend ; 
and this Operation goes on, till the Funnels are warmed by 
the Passing of warm Air thro' them, or the Air itself grows 
cooler. When the Temperature of the Air and of the Funnels 
is nearly equal, the difference of Warmth in the Air between 
Day and Night is sufficient to produce these Currents, the 
Air will begin to ascend the Funnels as the Cool of the Evening 
comes on, and this Current will continue till perhaps 9 or 10 
o'clock the next Morning, when it begins to hesitate; and 
as the heat of the Day approaches, it sets downwards, and 
continues so till towards Evening, when it again hesitates 
for some time, and then goes upwards constantly during 
the Night, as before mentioned. Now when Smoke issuing 
from the Tops of neighbouring Funnels passes over the Tops 
of Funnels, which are at the Time drawing downwards, as 
they often are in the Middle part of the Day, such Smoke 
is of necessity drawn into these Funnels, and descends with 
the Air into the Chamber. 

The remedy is to have a Sliding Plate, hereafter describ'd, 
that will shut perfectly the offending Funnel. 

9. Chimneys, which generally draw well, do nevertheless 
sometimes give Smoke into the Rooms, it being driven down 
by strong Winds passing over the Tops oj their Funnels, tho* 
not descending from any commanding Eminence. This Case 



432 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

is most frequent where the Funnel is short, and the Opening 
turn'd from the Wind. It is the more grievous, when it 
happens to be a cold Wind that produces the Effect, because 
when you most want your Fire, you are sometimes oblig'd 
to extinguish it. To understand this, it may be consider'd 
that the rising light Air, to obtain a free Issue from the Funnel, 
must push out of its Way or oblige the Air that is over it to 
rise. In a time of Calm or of little Wind this is done visibly, 
for we see the Smoke that is brought up by that Air rise in a 
Column above the Chimney. But when a violent Current 
of Air, that is, a strong Wind, passes over the Top of a Chim- 
ney, its Particles have received so much Force, which keeps 
them in a horizontal Direction, and follow each other so 
rapidly, that the rising light Air has not Strength sufficient 
to oblige them to quit that Direction and move upwards to 
permit its Issue. Add to this, that some of the Current pass- 
ing over that Side of the Funnel which it first meets with, 
viz. at A y (Plate, Fig. 5,) having been compress'd by the 
Resistance of the Funnel, may expand itself over the Flue, 
and strike the interior opposite Side at B y from whence it 
may be reflected downwards and from Side to Side in the 
Direction of the prickt Line c c c. 

Remedies. In some Places, particularly in Venice, where 
they have not Stacks of Chimneys but single Flues, the Cus- 
tom is, to open or widen the Top of the Flue, rounding in 
the true Form of a Funnel ; (Plate, Fig. 6 ;) which some think 
may prevent the Effect just mentioned, for that the Wind 
blowing over one of the Edges into the Funnel, may be slanted 
out again on the other Side by its Form. I have had no 
Experience of this; but I have lived in a Windy Country, 
where the contrary is practised, the Tops of the Flues being 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 433 

narrow'd inwards, so as to form a Slit for the Issue of the 
Smoke, long as the Breadth of the Funnel, and only 4 Inches 
wide. This seems to have been contriv'd on a Supposition, 
that the Entry of the Wind would thereby be obstructed; 
and perhaps it might have been imagined, that the whole 
Force of the rising warm Air being condensed, as it were, in 
the narrow Opening, would thereby be strengthen'd, so as 
to overcome the Resistance of the Wind. This however did 
not always succeed ; for when the Wind was at NorthEast, 
and blew fresh, the Smoke was forc'd down by Fits into the 
Room I commonly sat in, so as to oblige me to shift the Fire 
into another. The Position of the Slit of this Funnel was 
indeed N. E* and S. W*. Perhaps if it had lain across the 
Wind, the Effect might have been different. But on this I 
can give no Certainty. It seems a matter proper to be re- 
ferr'd to Experiment. Possibly a Turncap might have been 
serviceable, but it was not tried. 

Chimneys have not been long in Use in England. I re- 
member to have formerly read in some very old book, which 
remark'd the then modern Improvements of living, and men- 
tioned, among others, the Convenience of Chimneys. "Our 
ForeFathers," said the Author, "had no Chimneys. There 
was in each DwellingHouse only one Place for a Fire, and the 
Smoke went out thro* a Hole in the Roof; but now there is 
scarce a Gentleman's House in England that has not at 
least one Chimney in it." When there was but one Chim- 
ney, its Top might then be open'd as a Funnel, and perhaps, 
borrowing the Form from the Venetians, it was then the Flue 
of a Chimney got that name. Such is now the Growth of 
Luxury, that in both England and France we must have 
a Chimney for every Room, and in some Houses every 

VOL. IX 2 F 



434 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Possessor of a Chamber, and almost every Servant, will have 
a Fire ; so that the Flues being necessarily built in Stacks, the 
opening of each as a Funnel is impracticable. This Change 
of Manners soon consumed the Firewood of England, and 
will soon render Fuel extreamly scarce and dear in France, 
if the Use of Coals be not introduced in that latter kingdom 
as it has been in the former, where it at first met with Opposi- 
tion; for there is extant in the Records of one of Queen 
Elizabeth's Parliaments, a Motion made by a Member, 
reciting, "That many Dyers, Brewers, Smiths, and other 
Artificers of London, had of late taken to the Use of Pitcoal 
for their Fires, instead of Wood, which fill'd the Air with 
noxious Vapours and Smoke, very prejudicial to the Health, 
particularly of Persons coming out of the Country;" and 
therefore moving, "that a Law might pass to prohibit the 
Use of such Fuel (at least during the Session of Parliament) 
by those Artificers." It seems it was not then commonly 
us'd in private Houses. Its suppos'd Unwholesomeness was 
an Objection. Luckily the Inhabitants of London have got 
over that Objection, and now think it rather contributes to 
render their Air salubrious, as they have had no general pes- 
tilential Disorder since the general Use of Coals, when, be- 
fore it, such were frequent. Paris still burns Wood at an 
enormous Expence continually augmenting, the Inhabitants 
having still that Prejudice to overcome. In Germany, you 
are happy in the Use of Stoves, which save Fuel wonderfully : 
Your People are very ingenious in the Management of Fire ; 
but they may still learn something in that Art from the 
Chinese, whose Country being greatly populous and fully 
cultivated, has little room left for the growth of Wood, and, 
having not much other Fuel that is good, they have been f orc'd 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 435 

upon many Inventions, during a Course of Ages, for making 
a little Fire go as far as possible. 

I have thus gone thro' all the common Causes of the Smok- 
ing of Chimneys, that I can at present recollect as having 
fallen under my Observation ; communicating the Remedies 
that I have known successfully used for the different Cases, 
together with the Principles on which both the Disease and 
the Remedy depend, and confessing my Ignorance wherever 
I have been sensible of it. You will do well, if you publish, 
as you propose, this Letter, to add in Notes, or as you please, 
such Observations as may have occurr'd to your attentive 
Mind ; and, if other Philosophers will do the same, this Part 
of Science, tho' humble, yet of great Utility, may in time be 
perfected. For many Years past, I have rarely met with a 
Case of a Smoky Chimney, which has not been solvable on these 
Principles, and cur'd by these Remedies, where People have 
been willing to apply them ; which is indeed not always the 
Case ; for many have Prejudices in favour of the Nostrums 
of pretending Chimney Doctors and Fumists, and some have 
Conceits and Fancies of their own, which they rather chuse 
to try, than to lengthen a Funnel, alter the Size of an Open- 
ing, or admit Air into a Room, however necessary ; for some 
are as much afraid of fresh Air as persons in the Hydrophobia 
are of fresh Water. I myself had formerly this Prejudice, 
this Aerophobia, as I now account it ; and, dreading the sup- 
pos'd dangerous Effects of cool Air, I considered it as an 
Enemy, and clos'd with extreme care every Crevice in the 
Rooms I inhabited. 

Experience has convinced me of my Error. I now look 
upon fresh Air as a Friend ; I even sleep with an open Win- 
dow. I am persuaded, that no common Air from without 



436 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

is so unwholesome, as the Air within a close Room, that 
has been often breath'd and not changed. Moist Air, too, 
which formerly I thought pernicious, gives me now no Appre- 
hensions ; for, considering that no Dampness of Air apply 'd 
to the Outside of my Skin can be equal to what is apply 'd 
to and touches it within, my whole Body being full of Moisture, 
and finding that I can lie two hours in a Bath twice a Week, 
cover'd with Water, which certainly is much damper than 
any Air can be, and this for Years together, without catch- 
ing Cold, or being in any other manner disordered by it, I 
no longer dread mere Moisture, either in Air or in Sheets or 
Shirts : And I find it of Importance to the Happiness of Life, 
the being freed from vain Terrors, especially of objects that 
we are every day expos'd inevitably to meet with. You 
Physicians have of late happily disco ver'd, after a contrary 
Opinion had prevaiPd some Ages, that fresh and cool Air does 
good to Persons in the SmallPox and other Fevers. It is to 
be hop'd, that in another Century or two we may all find out, 
that it is not bad even for People in Health. And as to 
moist Air, here I am at this present Writing in a Ship with 
above 40 Persons, who have had no other but moist Air to 
breathe for 6 Weeks past ; every thing we touch is damp, 
and nothing dries, yet we are all as healthy as we should be 
on the Mountains of Switzerland, whose Inhabitants are not 
more so than those of Bermuda or St. Helena, Islands on 
whose Rocks the Waves are dash'd into Millions of Particles, 
which fill the Air with Damp, but produce no Diseases, the 
Moisture being pure, unmix'd with the poisonous Vapours 
arising from putrid Marshes and stagnant Pools, in which 
many Insects die and corrupt the Water. These Places 
only, in my Opinion (which however I submit to yours,) 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 437 

afford unwholsome Air; and that it is not the mere Water 
contained in damp Air, but the volatile Particles of corrupted 
animal Matter mix'd with that Water, which renders such 
Air pernicious to those who breathe it. And I imagine it 
a Cause of the same kind that renders the Air in close Rooms, 
where the perspirable Matter is breath'd over and over again 
by a number of assembled People, so hurtful to Health. 
After being in such a Situation, many find themselves affected 
by that Febricula, which the English alone call a Cold, and, 
perhaps from the Name, imagine that they caught the malady 
by going out of the Room, when it was in fact by being in it. 

You begin to think, that I wander from my Subject, and 
go out of my Depth. So I return again to my Chimneys. 

We have of late many Lecturers in Experimental Philosophy. 
I have wish'd that some of them would study this Branch of 
that Science, and give Experiments in it as a Part of their 
Lectures. The addition to their present Apparatus need 
not be very expensive. A number of little Representations 
of Rooms compos'd each of 5 Panes of Sash Glass, fram'd 
in Wood at the Corners, with proportionable Doors, and 
moveable Glass Chimneys, with Openings of different Sizes, 
and different Lengths of Funnel, and some of the Rooms so 
contriv'd as to communicate on occasion with others, so as 
to form different Combinations, and exemplify different 
Cases; with quantities of green Wax Taper cut into Pieces 
of an Inch and half, 16 of which stuck together in a Square, 
and lit, would make a strong Fire for a little Glass Chimney, 
and blown out would continue to burn and give Smoke as 
long as desired. With such an Apparatus all the Operations 
of Smoke and rarify'd Air in Rooms and Chimneys might be 
seen thro' their transparent Sides; and the Effect of Winds 



43 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

on Chimneys, commanded or otherwise, might be shown 
by letting the entring air blow upon them thro' an opened 
Window of the Lecturer's Chamber, where it would be con- 
stant while he kept a good Fire in his Chimney. By the help 
of such Lectures our Fumists would become better instructed. 
At present they have generally but one Remedy, which per- 
haps they have known effectual in some one Case of Smoky 
Chimneys, and they apply that indiscriminately to all the 
other Cases, without success, but not without Expence 
to their Employers. 

With all the Science, however, that a man shall suppose 
himself possess'd of in this Article, he may sometimes meet 
with Cases that shall puzzle him. I once lodg'd in a house 
at London, which, in a little Room, had a single Chimney 
and Funnel. The Opening was very small, yet it did not 
keep in the Smoke, and all Attempts to have a Fire in this 
room were fruitless. I could not imagine the Reason, till 
at length observing that the Chamber over it, which had no 
Fireplace in it, was always filled with Smoke when a Fire 
was kindled below, and that the Smoke came thro' the Cracks 
and Crevices of the Wainscot, I had the Wainscot taken down, 
and discover'd that the Funnel, which went up behind it, 
had a Crack many feet in Length, and wide enough to admit 
my Arm, a Breach very dangerous with regard to Fire, and 
occasion'd probably by an apparent irregular Settling of one 
Side of the House. The Air entring this Breach freely, 
destroy'd the drawing Force of the Funnel. The Remedy 
would have been, filling up the Breach, or rather rebuilding 
the Funnel; but the Landlord rather chose to stop up the 
Chimney. 

Another puzzling Case I met with at a Friend's Country 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 439 

House near London. His best Room had a Chimney, in 
which he told me he never could have a Fire, for all the Smoke 
came out into the Room. I flatter'd myself I could easily 
find the Cause, and prescribe the Cure. I had a Fire made 
there, and found it as he said. I opened the Door, and per- 
ceived it was not want of Air. I made a temporary Contraction 
of the Opening of the Chimney, and found that it was not 
its being too large, that caus'd the Smoke to issue. I went out 
and look'd up at the Top of the Chimney ; its Funnel was 
join'd in the same Stack with others, some of them shorter, 
that drew very well, and I saw nothing to prevent its doing 
the same. In fine, after every other Examination I could 
think of, I was oblig'd to own the Insufficiency of my Skill. 
But my friend, who made no Pretension to such kind of 
Knowledge, afterwards discover'd the Cause himself. He 
got to the Top of the Funnel by a Ladder, and looking down, 
found it filled with Twiggs and Straw cemented by Earth, 
and lin'd with Feathers. It seems the House, after being 
built, had stood empty some Years before he occupy'd it; 
and he concluded, that some large Birds had taken the Ad- 
vantage of its retired Situation to make their Nest there. 
The Rubbish, considerable in Quantity, being removed, and 
the Funnel cleared, the Chimney drew well, and gave Satis- 
faction. 

In general, Smoke is a very tractable Thing, easily governed 
and directed when one knows the Principles, and is well 
informed of the Circumstances. You know I made it descend 
in my Pennsylvania Stove. I formerly had a more simple 
Construction, in which the same Effect was produc'd, but 
visible to the eye (Plate, Figure 7). It was compos'd of two 
plates, A B and C D, plac'd as in the figure. The lower 



440 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

plate A B y rested with its Edge in the Angle made by the 
Hearth with the Back of the Chimney. The upper Plate was 
fix'd to the Breast, and lapt over the lower about 6 Inches, 
leaving a space of 4 Inches wide and the length of the Plates 
(near 2 feet) between them. Every other Passage of Air 
into the Funnel was well stopt. When therefore a Fire was 
made at E, for the first time with Charcoal, till the Air in 
the Funnel was a little heated thro j the Plates, and then Wood 
laid on, the Smoke would rise to A, turn over the Edge of 
that Plate, descend to D, then turn under the Edge of the 
upper Plate, and go up the Chimney. It was pretty to see, 
but of no great Use. Placing therefore the under Plate in a 
higher Situation, I remov'd the upper plate C D, and placed 
it perpendicularly (Plate, Fig. 8), so that the upper Edge of 
the lower Plate A B came within about 3 Inches of it, and 
might be push'd further from it, or suffered to come nearer 
to it, by a moveable Wedge between them. The Flame then 
ascending from the Fire at E, was carried to strike the upper 
Plate, made it very hot, and its Heat rose and spread with the 
rarefied Air into the Room. 

I believe you have seen in use with me the Contrivance 
of a Sliding Plate over the Fire, seemingly plac'd to oppose 
the rising of the Smoke, leaving but a small Passage for it, 
between the Edge of the Plate and the Back of the Chimney. 
It is particularly describ'd, and its Uses explained, in my 
former printed Letter, and I mention it here only as another 
instance of the Tractability of Smoke. 

What is called the Staffordshire Chimney, affords an 
Example of the same kind. The Opening of the Chimney 
is brick'd up even with the Fore Edge of its Jambs, 
leaving open only a Passage over the Grate of the same 



1785] CAUSES AND CURE OF SMOKY CHIMNEYS 441 

width, and perhaps 8 Inches high. The Grate consists 
of semicircular Bars, their upper Bar of the greatest Diame- 
ter, the others under it smaller and smaller, so that it has 
the Appearance of half a round Basket. It is, with the 
Coals it contains, wholly without the Wall that shuts up 
the Chimney, yet the Smoke bends and enters the Passage 
above it, the Draft being strong, because no Air can enter that 
is not obliged to pass near or through the Fire, so that all 
that the Funnel is filFd with is much heated, and of course 
much rarefied. 

Much more of the Prosperity of a Winter Country depends 
on the Plenty and Cheapness of Fuel, than is generally 
imagined. In Travelling I have observed, that in those Parts 
where the Inhabitants can have neither Wood, nor Coal, nor 
Turf, but at excessive Prices, the Working People live in 
miserable Hovels, are ragged, and have nothing comfortable 
about them. But when Fuel is cheap (or where they have the 
Art of managing it to Advantage), they are well furnish'd with 
Necessaries, and have decent Habitations. The obvious 
Reason is, that the Working Hours of such People are the 
profitable Hours, and they who cannot afford sufficient Fuel 
have fewer such Hours in the 24, than those who have it cheap 
and plenty: For much of the domestic Work of poor 
Women, such as Spinning, Sewing, Knitting; and of the 
Men, in those Manufactures that require little bodily 
Exercise, cannot well be perform' d where the Fingers are 
numb'd with Cold. Those People, therefore, in cold 
Weather, are induc'd to go to bed sooner, and lie longer in 
a Morning, than they would do, if they could have good 
Fires or warm Stoves to sit by ; and their Hours of Work 
are not sufficient to produce the Means of Comfortable 



442 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

Subsistence. Those public Works, therefore, such as Roads, 
Canals, &c., by which Fuel may be brought cheap into 
such Countries from distant Places, are of great Utility; 
and those who promote them may be reckoned among the 
Benefactors of Mankind. 

I have great Pleasure in having thus comply 'd with 
your Request, and in the Reflection, that the Friendship 
you honour me with, and in which I have ever been so 
happy, has continued so many Years without the smallest 
Interruption. Our Distance from each other is now aug- 
mented, and Nature must soon put an End to the possibility 
of my continuing our Correspondence ; but, if Consciousness 
and Memory remain in a future State, my Esteem and 
Respect for you, my dear Friend, will be everlasting. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Notes to the Letter upon Chimneys 
No. I 

The latest work on architecture, that I have seen, is that 
entitled Nutshells, which appears to be written by a very 
ingenious man, and contains a table of the proportions of 
the openings of chimneys; but they relate solely to the pro- 
portions he gives his rooms, without the smallest regard to 
the funnels. And he remarks, respecting those proportions, 
that they are similar to the harmonic divisions of a mono- 
chord. 1 He does not indeed lay much stress on this; but it 

1 " It may be just remarked here, that upon comparing these proportions 
with those arising from the common divisions of the monochord, it happens, 
that the first answers to unisons ; and, although the second is a discord, the 
third answers to the third minor, the fourth to the third major, the fifth to the 
fourth, the sixth to the fifth, and the seventh to the octave." Nutshells, page 
85. ED. 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 443 

shows that we like the appearance of principles ; and where 
we have not true ones, we have some satisfaction in produc- 
ing such as are imaginary. 

No. II 

The description of the sliding plates here promised, and 
which have been since brought into use under various names, 
with some immaterial changes, is contained in a former 
letter to James Bowdoin. 



1599. DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE FOR 
BURNING OF PITCOAL, AND CONSUMING 
ALL ITS SMOKE. 1 

TOWARDS the end of the last century an ingenious French 
philosopher, whose name I am sorry I cannot recollect, ex- 
hibited an experiment to show that very offensive things 
might be burnt in the middle of a chamber, such as woollen 
rags, feathers, &c., without creating the least smoke or 
smell. The machine in which the experiment was made, 
if I remember right, was of this form, (Plate XV. Fig. i,) 
made of plate iron. Some clear burning charcoals were put 
into the opening of the short tube A, and supported there 
by the grate B. The air, as soon as the tubes grew warm, 
would ascend in the longer leg C and go out at D, conse- 
quently air must enter at A descending to B. In this course 
it must be heated by the burning coals through which it 
passed, and rise more forcibly in the longer tube, in propor- 

1 From Transactions of The American Philosophical Society (Old Series) 
II : 57. It was read at a meeting of the Society, January 28, 1786. ED. 



444 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

tion to its degree of heat or rarefaction, and length of that 
tube. For such a machine is a kind of inverted syphon; 
and, as the greater weight of water in the longer leg of a 
common syphon in descending is accompanied by an ascent 
of the same fluid in the shorter; so, in this inverted syphon, 
the greater quantity of levity of air in the longer leg, in rising 
is accompanied by the descent of air in the shorter. The 
things to be burned being laid on the hot coals at A, the 
smoke must descend through those coals, and be converted 
into flame, which, after destroying the offensive smell, came 
out at the end of the longer tube as mere heated air. 

Whoever would repeat this experiment with success, must 
take care that the part A B, of the short tube, be quite full of 
burning coals, so that no part of the smoke may descend and 
pass by them without going through them, and being con- 
verted into flame; and that the longer tube be so heated as 
that the current of ascending hot air is established in it 
before the things to be burnt are laid on the coals ; otherwise 
there will be a disappointment. 

It does not appear, either in the Memoirs of the Academy 
of Sciences, or Philosophical Transactions of the English 
Royal Society, that any improvement was ever made of this 
ingenious experiment, by applying it to uesful purposes. 
But there is a German book, entitled Vulcanus Famulans, 
by John George Leutmann, P. D., printed at Wirtemberg, 
in 1723, which describes, among a great variety of other 
stoves for warming rooms, one, which seems to have been 
formed on the same principle, and probably from the hint 
thereby given, though the French experiment is not men- 
tioned. This book being scarce, I have translated the 
chapter describing the stove, viz. 



PU 



t 



I 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 445 

"CHAP. VII. 

11 On a stove, which draws downwards. 

"Here follows the description of a sort of stove, which 
can easily be removed, and again replaced at pleasure. This 
drives the fire down under itself, and gives no smoke, but, 
however, a very unwholesome vapour. 

"In the figure, A is an iron vessel like a funnel, (Plate 
XV. Fig. 20,) in diameter at the top about twelve inches, at 
the bottom near the grate about five inches; its height 
twelve inches. This is set on the barrel C, which is ten 
inches diameter and two feet long, closed at each end E E. 
From one end rises a pipe or flue about four inches diameter, 
on which other pieces of pipe are set, which are gradually 
contracted to Z>, where the opening is but about two inches. 
Those pipes must together be at least four feet high. B is 
an iron grate. F F are iron handles guarded with wood, 
by which the stove is to be lifted and moved. It stands on 
three legs. Care must be taken to stop well all the joints, 
that no smoke may leak through. 

" When this stove is to be used, it must first be carried into 
the kitchen and placed in the chimney near the fire. There 
burning wood must be laid and left upon its grate till the 
barrel C is warm, and the smoke no longer rises at A, but 
descends towards C. Then it is to be carried into the room 
which it is to warm. When once the barrel C is warm, fresh 
wood may be thrown into the vessel A as often as one pleases, 
the flame descends and without smoke, which is so consumed 
that only a vapour passes out at D. 

"As this vapour is unwholesome, and affects the head, 
one may be freed from it, by fixing in the wall of the room 



446 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

an inverted funnel, such as people use to hang over lamps, 
through which their smoke goes out as through a chimney. 
This funnel carries out all the vapour cleverly, so that one 
finds no inconvenience from it, even though the opening D 
be placed a span below the mouth of the said funnel G. The 
neck of the funnel is better when made gradually bending, 
than if turned in a right angle. 

"The cause of the draft downwards in the stove is the 
pressure of the outward air, which, falling into the vessel 
A in a column of twelve inches diameter, finds only a resist- 
ing passage at the grate B, of five inches, and one at Z), of 
two inches, which are much too weak to drive it back again ; 
besides, A stands much higher than B, and so the pressure 
on it is greater and more forcible, and beats down the flame 
to that part where it finds the least resistance. Carrying the 
machine first to the kitchen fire for preparation is on this 
account, that in the beginning the fire and smoke naturally 
ascend, till the air in the close barrel C is made thinner by 
the warmth. When that vessel is heated, the air in it is rare- 
fied, and then all the smoke and fire descends under it. 

" The wood should be thoroughly dry, and cut into pieces 
five or six inches long, to fit it for being thrown into the 
funnel A." 

It appears to me, by Mr. Leutmann's explanation of the 
operation of this machine, that he did not understand the 
principles of it, whence I conclude he was not the inventor of 
it; and by the description of it, wherein the opening at A 
is made so large, and the pipe E D, so short, I am persuaded 
he never made nor saw the experiment, for the first ought to 
be much smaller, and the last much higher, or it hardly will 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 447 

succeed. The carrying it in the kitchen, too, every time the 
fire should happen to be out, must be so troublesome, that 
it is not likely ever to have been in practice, and probably 
has never been shown but as a philosophical experiment. 
The funnel for conveying the vapour out of the room would 
besides have been uncertain in its operation, as a wind blow- 
ing against its mouth would drive the vapour back. 

The stove I am about to describe was also formed on the 
idea given by the French experiment, and completely carried 
into execution before I had any knowledge of the German 
invention; which I wonder should remain so many years in 
a country, where men are so ingenious in the management 
of fire, without receiving long since the improvements I 
have given it. 

Description of the Parts. 

A, the bottom plate which lies flat upon the hearth, with 
its partitions, i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, (Plate, Fig. 2,) that are cast 
with it, and a groove Z Z, in which are to slide the bottom 
edges of the small plates F, F, figure 12 ; which plates meet- 
ing at X close the front. 

B i, figure 3, is the cover plate showing its under side, with 
the grooves i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, to receive the top edges of the par- 
titions that are fixed to the bottom plate. It shows also the 
grate W W, the bars of which are cast in the plate, and a groove 
V V, which comes right over the groove Z Z, figure 2, receiv- 
ing the upper edges of the small sliding plates F, F, figure 12. 

B 2, figure 4, shows the upper side of the same plate, with 
a square impression or groove for receiving the bottom mould- 
ings T T T T of the three-sided box C, figure 5, which is 
cast in one piece. 



448 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

D, figure 6, its cover, showing its under side with grooves 
to receive the upper edges S S S of the sides of C, figure 5, 
also a groove R R, which, when the cover is put on, comes 
right over another Q Q hi C, figure 5, between which is to 
slide 

E, figure 7, the front plate of the box. 

P, a hole three inches diameter through the cover D, 
figure 6, over which hole stands the vase F, figure 8, which 
has a corresponding hole two inches diameter, through its 
bottom. 

The top of the vase opens at O O O, figure 8, and turns 
back upon a hinge behind, when coals are to be put in; the 
vase has a grate within at AT" N of cast iron H, figure 9, and a 
hole in the top, one and a half inches diameter, to admit air, 
and to receive the ornamental brass gilt flame M, figure 10, 
which stands in that hole, and, being itself hollow and open, 
suffers air to pass through it to the fire. 

G, figure n, is a drawer of plate iron, that slips in between 
in the partitions 2 and 3, figure 2, to receive the falling 
ashes. It is concealed when the small sliding plates F, F, 
figure 12, are shut together. 

/ / / /, figure 8, is a niche built of brick in the chimney, 
and plastered. It closes the chimney over the vase, but 
leaves two funnels, one in each corner, communicating with 
the bottom box K K, figure 2. 

Dimensions of the Parts. 

FEET. IN. 

Front of the bottom box, 20 

Height of its partitions, o 4-i 

Length of No. i, 2, 3, and 4, each, ....13 
Length of No. 5 and 6, each, o 8j 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 449 

Breadth of the passage between No. 2 and 

3i 06 

Breadth of the other passages, each, . . . . o 3^ 

Breadth of the grate, o 6j 

Length of ditto, 08 

Bottom moulding of box C, square, . . . . i o 

Height of the sides of ditto, 04 

Length of the back side, o 10 

Length of the right and left sides, each, ..09] 

Length of the front plate , where longest, . . on 

The cover D, square, 012 

Hole in ditto, diameter, 3 

Sliding plates F, F, their length, each, . . . i o 
- their breadth, each, ...04^ 

Drawer G, its length, i o 

- breadth, 5f 

- depth, 04 

- G, depth of its further end, only, . . o i 

Grate H in the vase, its diameter to the 

extremity of its knobs, 5f 

Thickness of the bars at top, o oj 

- at bottom, less, . . . o o 

Depth of the bars at the top, o of 

Height of the vase, i 6 

Diameter of the opening O O, in the clear, ..08 

Diameter of the air hole at top, o ij 

of the flame hole at bottom, ...02 

To fix this Machine. 

Spread mortar on the hearth to bed the bottom plate A, 
then lay that plate level, equally distant from each jamb, 

VOL. IX 2 G 



450 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

and projecting out as far as you think proper. Then put- 
ting some Windsor loam in the grooves of the cover B, lay 
that on ; trying the sliding plates F, F, to see if they move 
freely in the grooves Z Z, V V, designed for them. 

Then begin to build the niche, observing to leave the square 
corners of the chimney unfilled; for they are to be funnels. 
And observe also to leave a free open communication between 
the passages at K y K t and the bottom of those funnels, and 
mind to close the chimney above the top of the niche, that no 
air may pass up that way. The concave back of the niche 
will rest on the circular iron partition i A 4, figure 2, then, with 
a little loam, put on the box C over the grate, the open side of 
the box in front. 

Then, with loam in three of its grooves, the groove R R 
being left clean, and brought directly over the groove Q Q 
in the box, put on the cover D, trying the front plate JB, to 
see if it slides freely in those grooves. 

Lastly, set on the vase, which has small holes in the mould- 
ing of its bottom to receive two iron pins that rise out of 
the plate D at 7, /, for the better keeping it steady. 

Then putting in the grate H, which rests on its three knobs 
h h h against the inside of the vase, and slipping the drawer 
into its place; the machine is fit for use. 

To use it. 

Let the first fire be made after eight in the evening, or 
before eight in the morning, for at those times and between 
those hours all night, there is usually a draft up a chimney, 
though it has long been without fire ; but between those hours 
in the day there is often, in a cold chimney, a draft down- 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 451 

wards, when, if you attempt to kindle a fire, the smoke will 
come into the room. 

But to be certain of your proper time, hold a flame over 
the air hole at the top. If the flame is drawn strongly down 
for a continuance, without whiffling, you may begin to kindle 
a fire. 

First put in a few charcoals on the grate H. 

Lay some small sticks on the charcoals. 

Lay some pieces of paper on the sticks. 

Kindle the paper with a candle. 

Then shut down the top, and the air will pass down 
through the air hole, blow the flame of the paper down 
through the sticks, kindle them, and their flame passing 
lower, kindles the charcoal. 

When the charcoal is well kindled, lay on it the sea-coals, 
observing not to choak the fire by putting on too much at 
first. 

The flame descending through the hole in the bottom 
of the vase, and that in plate D, into the box C, passes 
down farther through the grate WW in plate B i, then 
passes horizontally towards the back of the chimney ; there 
dividing, and turning to the right and left, one part of it 
passes round the far end of the partition 2, then coming for- 
ward it turns round the near end of partition i, then moving 
backward it arrives at the opening into the bottom of one of 
the upright corner funnels behind the niche, through which 
it ascends into the chimney, thus heating that half of the 
box and that side of the niche. The other part of the divided 
flame passes round the far end of partition 3, round the near 
end of partition 4, and so into and up the other corner funnel, 
thus heating the other half of the box, and the other side of the 



452 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

niche. The vase itself, and the box C, will also be very hot, and 
the air surrounding them being heated, and rising, as it cannot 
get into the chimney, it spreads in the room, colder air suc- 
ceeding is warmed in its turn, rises and spreads, till by the 
continual circulation the whole is warmed. 

If you should have occasion to make your first fire at 
hours not so convenient as those above mentioned, and when 
the chimney does not draw, do not begin it in the vase, but in 
one or more of the passages of the lower plate, first covering 
the mouth of the vase. After the chimney has drawn a while 
with the fire thus low, and begins to be a little warm, you may 
close those passages and kindle another fire in the box C, 
leaving its sliding shutter a little open; and when you find, 
after some time, that the chimney, being warmed, draws 
forcibly, you may shut that passage, open your vase, and 
kindle your fire there, as above directed. The chimney well 
warmed by the first day's fire will continue to draw constantly 
all winter, if fires are made daily. 

You will, in the management of your fire, have need of 
the following implements ; 

A pair of small light tongs, twelve or fifteen inches long; 
Plate, figure 13. 

A light poker about the same length, with a flat broad 
point, figure 14. 

A rake to draw ashes out of the passages of the lower 
plate, where the lighter kind escaping the ash-box will gather 
by degrees, and perhaps once in a week or ten days require 
being removed, figure 15. 

And a fork with its prongs wide enough to slip on the neck 
of the vase cover, in order to raise and open it when hot, to 
put in fresh coals, figure 16. 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 453 

In the management of this stove, there are certain precau- 
tions to be observed at first, with attention, till they become 
habitual. To avoid the inconvenience of smoke, see that 
the grate H be clear before you begin to light a fresh 
fire. If you find it clogged with cinders and ashes, turn it 
up with your tongs and let them fall upon the grate below; 
the ashes will go through it, and the cinders may be raked off 
and returned into the vase when you would burn them. Then 
see that all the sliding plates are in their places and close shut, 
that no air may enter the stove but through the round open- 
ing at the top of the vase. And to avoid the inconvenience 
of dust from the ashes, let the ash-drawer be taken out of 
the room to be emptied ; and, when you rake the passages, 
do it when the draft of the air is strong inwards, and put the 
ashes carefully into the ash-box, that remaining in its place. 

If, being about to go abroad, you would prevent your 
fire burning in your absence, you may do it by taking the 
brass flame from the top of the vase, and covering 
the passage with a round tin plate, which will prevent 
the entry of more air than barely sufficient to keep a few 
of the coals alive. When you return, though some hours 
absent, by taking off the tin plate and admitting the air, 
your fire will soon be recovered. 

The effect of this machine, well managed, is to burn not 
only the coals, but all the smoke of the coals, so that while 
the fire is burning, if you go out and observe the top of your 
chimney, you will see no smoke issuing, nor any thing but 
clear warm air, which as usual makes the bodies seen 
through it appear waving. 

But let none imagine from this, that it may be a cure 
for bad or smoky chimneys, much less, that, as it burns the 



454 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

smoke, it may be used in a room that has no chimney. 'Tis 
by the help of a good chimney, the higher the better, that it 
produces its effect ; and though a flue of plate iron sufficiently 
high might be raised in a very lofty room, the management 
to prevent all disagreeable vapor would be too nice for com- 
mon practice, and small errors would have unpleasing 
consequences. 

It is certain, that clean iron yields no offensive smell when 
heated. Whatever of that kind you perceive, where there 
are iron stoves, proceeds therefore from some foulness burn- 
ing or fuming on their surface. They should therefore 
never be spit upon, or greased, nor should any dust be suf- 
fered to lie upon them. But, as the greatest care will not 
always prevent these things, it is well once a week to wash the 
stove with soap lees and a brush, rinsing it with clean water. 

The Advantages of this Stove. 

1. The chimney does not grow foul, nor ever need sweep- 
ing ; for as no smoke enters it, no soot can form in it. 

2. The air heated over common fires instantly quits the 
room and goes up the chimney with the smoke; but in the 
stove, it is obliged to descend in flame and pass through 
the long winding horizontal passages, communicating its heat 
to a body of iron plate, which, having thus time to receive the 
heat, communicates the same to the air of the room, and there- 
by warms it to a greater degree. 

3. The whole of the fuel is consumed by being turned 
into flame, and you have the benefit of its heat; whereas, 
in common chimneys, a great part goes away in smoke which 
you see as it rises, but it affords you no rays of warmth. 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 455 

One may obtain some notion of the quantity of fuel thus wasted 
in smoke, by reflecting on the quantity of soot that a few weeks 
firing will lodge against the sides of the chimney, and yet this 
is formed only of those particles of the column of smoke that 
happen to touch the sides in its ascent. How much more 
must have passed off in the air ? And we know that this soot 
is still fuel ; for it will burn and flame as such, and when hard 
caked together is indeed very like and almost as solid as the 
coal it proceeds from. The destruction of your fuel goes on 
nearly in the same quantity, whether in smoke or in flame ; 
but there is no comparison in the difference of heat given. 
Observe when fresh coals are first put on your fire, what a 
body of smoke arises. This smoke is for a long time too cold 
to take flame. If you then plunge a burning candle into it, 
the candle, instead of inflaming the smoke, will instantly be 
itself extinguished. Smoke must have a certain degree of 
heat to be inflammable. As soon as it has acquired that 
degree, the approach of a candle will inflame the whole body, 
and you will be very sensible of the difference of the heat it 
gives. A still easier experiment may be made with the candle 
itself. Hold your hand near the side of its flame, and observe 
the heat it gives; then blow it out, the hand remaining in 
the same place, and observe what heat may be given by the 
smoke that rises from the still burning snuff. You will find 
it very little. And yet that smoke has in it the substance of 
so much flame, and will instantly produce it, if you hold 
another candle above it so as to kindle it. Now the smoke 
from the fresh coals laid on this stove, instead of ascending 
and leaving the fire while too cold to burn, being obliged to 
descend through the burning coals, receives among them that 
degree of heat which converts it into flame, and the heat of 



456 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

that flame is communicated to the air of the room, as above 
explained. 

4. The flame from the fresh coals laid on in this stove, de- 
scending through the coals already ignited, preserves them 
long from consuming, and continues them in the state of red 
coals as long as the flame continues that surrounds them, by 
which means the fires made in this stove are of much longer 
duration than in any other, and fewer coals are therefore 
necessary for a day. This is a very material advantage 
indeed. That flame should be a kind of pickle, to preserve 
burning coals from consuming, may seem a paradox to many, 
and very unlikely to be true, as it appeared to me the first 
time I observed the fact. I must therefore relate the cir- 
cumstances, and shall mention an easy experiment, by which 
my reader may be in possession of ever} 7 thing necessary to 
the understanding of it. In the first trial I made of this kind 
of stove, which was constructed of thin plate iron, I had, 
instead of the vase, a kind of inverted pyramid like a mill- 
hopper ; and fearing at first that the small grate contained in 
it might be clogged by cynders, and the passage of the flame 
sometimes obstructed, I ordered a little door near the grate, 
by means of which I might on occasion clear it. Though, 
after the stove was made and before I tried it, I began to think 
this precaution superfluous, from an imagination, that the 
flame being contracted in the narrow part where the grate 
was placed, would be more powerful in consuming what it 
should there meet with, and that any cynders between or 
near the bars would be presently destroyed and the passage 
opened. 

After the stove was fixed and in action, I had a pleasure 
now and then in opening that door a little, to see through 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 457 

the crevice how the flame descended among the red coals; 
and, observing once a single coal lodged on the bars in the 
middle of the focus, a fancy took me to observe by my watch 
in how short a time it would be consumed. I looked at it 
long without perceiving it to be at all diminished, which sur- 
prised me greatly. At length it occurred to me, that I and 
many others had seen the same thing thousands of times, 
in the conservation of the red coal formed in the snuff of a 
burning candle, which, while envelloped in flame, and thereby 
prevented from the contact of passing air, is long continued 
and augments instead of diminishing, so that we are often 
obliged to remove it by the snuffers, or bend it out of the flame 
into the air, where it consumes presently to ashes. I then 
supposed, that to consume a body by fire, passing air was 
necessary to receive and carry off the separated particles of 
the body ; and that the air passing in the flame of my stove, 
and in the flame of a candle, being already saturated with 
such particles, could not receive more, and therefore left the 
coal undiminished as long as the outward air was prevented 
from coming to it by the surrounding flame, which kept it 
in a situation somewhat like that of charcoal in a well luted 
crucible, which, though long kept in a strong fire, comes out 
unconsumed. 

An easy experiment will satisfy any one of this conserving 
power of flame envelloping red coal. Take a small stick 
of deal or other wood the size of a goose quill, and hold it 
horizontally and steadily in the flame of the candle above the 
wick, without touching it, but in the body of the flame. The 
wood will first be inflamed, and burn beyond the edge of the 
flame of the candle, perhaps a quarter of an inch. When the 
flame of the wood goes out, it will leave a red coal at the end 



458 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

of the stick, part of which will be in the flame of the candle 
and part out in the air. In a minute or two you will perceive 
the coal in the air diminish gradually, so as to form a neck ; 
while the part in the flame continues of its first size, and at 
length the neck being quite consumed, it drops off; and, 
by rolling it between your fingers when extinguished, you will 
find it still a solid coal. 

However, as one cannot be always putting on fresh fuel 
in this stove to furnish a continual flame, as is done in a 
candle, the air in the intervals of time gets at the red coals 
and consumes them. Yet the conservation while it lasted, so 
much delayed the consumption of the coals, that two fires, 
one made in the morning, and the other in the afternoon, each 
made by only a hatful of coals, were sufficient to keep my 
writing room, about sixteen feet square and ten high, warm a 
whole day. The fire kindled at seven in the morning would 
burn till noon ; and, all the iron of the machine with the walls 
of the niche being thereby heated the room kept warm till 
evening, when another smaller fire kindled kept it warm till 
midnight. 

Instead of the sliding plate E, which shuts the front of the 
box C, I sometimes used another, which had a pane of glass, 
or, which is better, of Muscovy talc, that the flame might be 
seen descending from the bottom of the vase and passing in 
a column through the box C, into the cavities of the bottom 
plate, like water falling from a funnel, admirable to such as 
are not acquainted with the nature of the machine, and in 
itself a pleasing spectacle. 

Every utensil, however properly contrived to serve its pur- 
pose, requires some practice before it can be used adroitly. 
Put into the hands of a man for the first time a gimlet or a 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 459 

hammer, (very simple instruments,) and tell him the use of 
them, he shall neither bore a hole or drive a nail with the 
dexterity and success of another, who has been accustomed to 
handle them. The beginner, therefore, in the use of this 
machine, will do well not to be discouraged with little acci- 
dents, that may arise at first from his want of experience. 
Being somewhat complex, it requires, as already said, a variety 
of attentions; habit will render them unnecessary. And 
the studious man, who is much in his chamber, and has a 
pleasure in managing his own fire, will soon find this a machine 
most comfortable and delightful. To others, who leave their 
fires to the care of ignorant servants, I do not recommend it. 
They will with difficulty acquire the knowledge necessary, 
and will make frequent blunders, that will fill your room with 
smoke. It is therefore by no means fit for common use in 
families. It may be adviseable to begin with the flaming kind 
of stone coal, which is large, and, not caking together, is not 
so apt to clog the grate. After some experience, any kind of 
coal may be used, and with this advantage, that no smell, 
even from the most sulphurous kind, can come into your 
room, the current of air being constantly into the vase, where 
too that smell is all consumed. 

The vase form was chosen as being elegant in itself, and 
very proper for burning of coals. Where wood is the usual 
fuel, and must be burned in pieces of some length, a long 
square chest may be substituted, in which A is the cover 
opening by a hinge behind, B the grate, C the hearth-box 
with its divisions as in the other, D the plan of the chest, E 
the long narrow grate. Plate, Fig. 17. This I have not tried, 
but the vase machine was compleated in 1771, and used by 
me in London three winters, and one afterwards in America, 



460 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

much to my satisfaction ; and I have not yet thought of any 
improvement it may be capable of, though such may occur 
to others. For common use, while in France, I have con- 
trived another grate for coals, which has in part the same 
property of burning the smoke and preserving the red coals 
longer by the flame, though not so completely as in the vase, 
yet sufficiently to be very useful, which I shall now describe 
as follows. 

A, is a round grate, one French foot in diameter, and eight 
inches deep between the bars and the back (Plate, Fig. 18) ; 
the sides and back of plate iron ; the sides having holes of half 
an inch diameter, distant three or four inches from each other, 
to let in air for enlivening the fire. The back without holes. 
The sides do not meet at top nor at bottom by eight inches : 
That square is filled by grates of small bars crossing front 
to let in air below, and let out the smoke or flame above. 
The three middle bars of the front grate are fixed, the upper 
and lower may be taken out and put in at pleasure, when hot, 
with a pair of pincers. This round grate turns upon an axis, 
supported by the crotchet B, the stem of which is an inverted 
conical tube five inches deep, which conies on as many inches 
upon a pin that fits it, and which is fixed upright in a cast- 
iron plate Z>, that lies upon the hearth ; in the middle of the 
top and bottom grates are fixed small upright pieces, E, E, 
about an inch high, which, as the whole is turned on its axis, 
stop it when the grate is perpendicular. Fig. 19 is another 
view of the same machine. 

In making the first fire in a morning with this grate, there 
is nothing particular to be observed. It is made as in other 
grates, the coals being put in above, after taking out the upper 
bar, and replacing it when they are in. The round figure of 



1785] DESCRIPTION OF A NEW STOVE 461 

the fire, when thoroughly kindled, is agreeable, it represents 
the great giver of warmth to our system. As it burns down 
and leaves a vacancy above, which you would fill with fresh 
coals, the upper bar is to be taken out, and afterwards re- 
placed. The fresh coals, while the grate continues hi the 
same position, will throw up as usual a body of thick smoke. 
But every one accustomed to coal fires in common grates 
must have observed, that pieces of fresh coal stuck in below 
among the red coals have their smoke so heated, as that it 
becomes flame as fast as it is produced, which flame rises 
among the coals and enlivens the appearance of the fire. 
Here then is the use of this swivel grate. By a push with your 
tongs or poker, you turn it on its pin till it faces the back of 
the chimney, then turn it over on its axis gently till it again 
faces the room, whereby all the fresh coals will be found under 
the live coals, and the greater part of the smoke arising from 
the fresh coals will, in its passage through the live ones, be 
heated so as to be converted into flame. Whence you have 
much more heat from them, and your red coals are longer 
preserved from consuming. I conceive this construction, 
though not so complete a consumer of all the smoke as the 
vase, yet to be fitter for common use, and very advantageous. 
It gives too a full sight of the fire, always a pleasing object, 
which we have not in the other. It may with a touch be 
turned more or less from any one of the company, that desires 
to have less of its heat, or presented full to one just come out 
of the cold. And, supported in a horizontal position, a tea 
kettle may be boiled on it. 

The author's description of his Pennsylvania fireplace, 
first published in 1 744, having fallen into the hands of work- 
men in Europe, who did not, it seems, well comprehend the 



462 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

principles of that machine, it was much disfigured in their 
imitations of it; and one of its main intentions, that of ad- 
mitting a sufficient quantity of fresh air warmed in entering 
through the air-box, nearly defeated, by a pretended improve- 
ment, in lessening its passages to make more room for coals 
in a grate. On pretence of such improvements, they obtained 
patents for the invention, and for a while made great profit 
by the sale, till the public became sensible of that defect in 
the expected operation. If the same thing should be attempted 
with this vase stove, it will be well for the buyer to examine 
thoroughly such pretended improvements, lest, being the mere 
productions of ignorance, they diminish or defeat the ad- 
vantages of the machine, and produce inconvenience and 
disappointment. 

The method of burning smoke, by obliging it to descend 
through hot coals, may be of great use in heating the walls 
of a hot-house. In the common way, the horizontal passages 
or flues that are made to go and return in those walls, lose a 
great deal of their effect when they come to be foul with soot ; 
for a thick blanket-like lining of soot prevents much of the 
hot air from touching and heating the brick work in its pas- 
sage, so that more fire must be made as the flue grows fouler. 
But by burning the smoke they are kept always clean. The 
same method may also be of great advantage to those busi- 
nesses, in which large coppers or caldrons are to be heated. 

Written at Sea, 1785. 



1785] TO JOHN JAY 463 

1600. TO JOHN JAY 1 

Philadelphia, Sept. 19, 1785. 

SIR, 

I have the honour to acquaint you, that I left Paris the i2th 
of July, and, agreeable to the permission of Congress, am re- 
turned to my own country. Mr. Jefferson had recovered his 
health, and was much esteemed and respected there. Our 
joint letters have already informed you of our late proceed- 
ings, to which I have nothing to add, except that the last act 
I did, as Minister Plenipotentiary for making treaties, was to 
sign with him, two days before I came away, the treaty of 
friendship and commerce that had been agreed on with 
Prussia, 2 and which was to be carried to the Hague, by Mr. 
Short, there to be signed by Baron Thulemeyer on the part 
of the King, who, without the least hesitation, had approved 
and conceded to the new humane articles proposed by Con- 
gress. Mr. Short was also to call at London for the signature 
of Mr. Adams, who I learned, when at Southampton, was 
well received at the British court. 

The Captain Lamb, who, in a letter of yours to Mr. Adams, 
was said to be coming to us with instructions respecting 
Morocco, had not appeared, nor had we heard any thing of 
him ; so nothing had been done by us in that treaty. 

I left the court of France in the same friendly disposition 
towards the United States, that we have all along experienced, 
though concerned to find, that our credit is not better supported 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
II, p. 425. ED. 

8 See this treaty at large in the public Journals of Cottgress, Vol. IV, p. 639. 
ED. 



464 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

in the payment of the interest money due on our loans, which, 
in case of another war, must be, they think, extremely preju- 
dicial to us, and indeed may contribute to draw on a war 
the sooner, by affording our enemies the encouraging confi- 
dence, that those who take so little care to pay, will not again 
find it easy to borrow. I received from the King, at my de- 
parture, the present of his picture set round with diamonds, 
usually given to ministers plenipotentiary, who have signed 
any treaties with that court ; and it is at the disposition of 
Congress, to whom be pleased to present my dutiful respects. 

I am, with great esteem and regard, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Not caring to trust them to a common conveyance, 
I send by my late secretary W. Temple Franklin, who will have 
the honour of delivering them to you, all the original treaties 
I have been concerned in negociating, that were completed. 
Those with Portugal and Denmark continue in suspense. 



1601. TO GEORGE WASHINGTON (L.C.) 

Philad a , Sept. 20. 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I am just arrived from a Country, where the Reputation 
of General Washington runs very high, and where everybody 
wishes to see him in Person; but, being told that it is not 
likely he will ever favour them with a Visit, they hope at least 
for a Sight of his perfect Resemblance by means of their prin- 
cipal Statuary, M. Houdon, whom Mr. Jefferson and myself 
agreed with to come over for the purpose of taking a Bust, 
in order to make the intended Statue for the State of Virginia. 



1785] TO GOVERNOR AND MRS. GREENE 465 

He is here, but, the Materials and Instruments he sent down 
the Seine from Paris not being arrived at Havre when we 
sailed, he was obliged to leave them, and is now busied in sup- 
plying himself here. As soon as that is done, he proposes to 
wait on you in Virginia, as he understands there is no Prospect 
of your coming hither, which would indeed make me very 
happy ; as it would give me an Opportunity of congratulating 
with you personally on the final Success of your long and pain- 
ful Labours, in the Service of our Country, which have kid us 
all under eternal Obligations. With the greatest and most 
sincere Esteem and Respect, I am, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 1 



1602. TO GOVERNOR WILLIAM GREENE AND 
MRS. GREENE (L. c.) 

Philad*, Sept. 20, 1785. 

I seize this first Opportunity of acquainting my dear Friends, 
that I have once more the great Happiness of being at home 
in my own Country, and with my Family, because I know it 
will give you Pleasure. I shall be glad to hear of your Wel- 
fare, also, and beg you to favour me with a Line, and let me 
know particularly how my young Friend Ray does. 

I enjoy, Thanks to God, as much good Health as can rea- 
sonably be expected at my time of life; and am ever, with 
sincere Esteem, my dear Friends, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 M. Houdon went to Mount Vernon, where he remained three weeks, and 
modelled a bust of General Washington, as exact in all its lineaments as his 
skill could make it. From this model was executed the statue of Washington, 
which was procured by the State of Virginia, and placed in the Capitol at 
Richmond. See Sparks's " Life of Washington," p. 390. S. 

VOL. IX 2 H 



466 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1603. TO JOHN JAY AND MRS. JAY 1 (p.c.) (i.e.) 

Philad*, Sept. 21, 1785. 
DEAR FRIENDS, 

I received your very kind Letter of the i6th, congratulat- 
ing me on my safe Arrival with my Grandsons ; an Event that 
indeed makes me very happy, being what I have long ardently 
wish'd, and, considering the growing Infirmities of Age, be- 
gan almost to despair of. I am now in the Bosom of my 
Family, and find four new little Prattlers, who cling about the 
Knees of their Grandpapa, and afford me great Pleasure. 
The affectionate Welcome I met with from my Fellow Citi- 
zens was far beyond my Expectation. 

I bore my Voyage very well, and find myself rather better 
for it, so that I have every possible Reason to be satisfied with 
my having undertaken and perform'd it. When I was at 
Passy, I could not bear a Wheel Carriage ; and, being dis- 
couraged in my Project of descending the Seine in a Boat, 
by the Difficulties and tediousness of its Navigation in so dry 
a Season, I accepted the Offer of one of the King's Litters, 
carried by large Mules, which brought me well, tho' in walk- 
ing slowly, to Havre. Thence I went over in a Packet-Boat 
to Southampton, where I staid four Days, till the ship came 
for me to Spithead. Several of my London Friends came 
there to see me, particularly the good Bishop of St. Asaph 
and Family, who staid with me to the last. In short, I am 
now so well as to think it possible, that I may once more have 
the Pleasure of seeing you both perhaps at New York, with 

1 The original letter is in the possession of Mr. Henry E. Pellew, of Wash- 
ington. An auto, draft is in L. C. ED. 



1785] TO THOMAS PAINE 467 

my dear young Friend (who I hope may not have quite for- 
gotten me). For I imagine, that on the sandy Road between 
Burlington and Amboy I could bear an easy Coach, and the 
rest is Water. I rejoice to hear that you continue well, being 
with true and great Esteem and Affection your most obedient 
Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1604. TO THOMAS PAINE (L. c.) 

Philad 8 , Sept 27, 1785. 

DEAR SIR : Your kind Congratulations on my safe Re- 
turn give me a great deal of Pleasure ; l for I have always 
valued your Friendship. 

The Ease and Rest you wish me to enjoy for the Remainder 
of my Days is certainly what is most proper for me, what I 
long wish'd for, and what I propos'd to myself in resigning 
my late Employment : But it is what I find I am not likely to 
obtain : For my Fellow-Citizens having in a considerable Body 
express'd their Desire that I would still take a Part in their 
publick Councils, assuring me it was the unanimous Wish of 
the different Parties that divide the State, from an Opinion 
that I might find some means of reconciling them, I had not 
sufficient Firmness to refuse their Request of Permitting their 
Voting for me as Councillor at the ensuing Election. Tho' 
I apprehend they expect too much of me, and that without 
doing the good propos'd, I shall find myself engag'd again in 
Business more troublesome than I have lately quitted. 

As to my Health, of which you kindly desire some Informa- 
tion, it is as well as, at my Age, can reasonably be expected. 

1 In a letter dated September 23, 1785 (A. P. S.). ED. 



468 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

I have the Stone indeed, and sometimes the Gout, but the Pain 
from the Stone is hitherto not very severe, and there are in the 
World so many worse Maladies to which Human Nature is 
subject, that I ought to be content with the moderate Share 
allotted me. 

Be assured, my dear Friend, that instead of Repenting 
that I was your Introducer into America, I value myself on 
the Share I had in procuring for it the Acquisition of so use- 
ful and valuable a Citizen. 

I shall be very glad to see you when you happen to be again 
at Philadelphia, being with sincere Esteem and Affection, dear 
sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1605. TO FRANCIS CHILDS 1 

Philadelphia, October i, 1785. 

SIR : I thank you for your kind congratulations on my 
return. 2 My printing materials, consisting of a great variety 
of founts, were sent down the Seine some weeks before I left 
Passy, but were so long in their passage, that when I came to 
Havre they were not arrived, and I was obliged to come away 
without them. It was expected that the next packet would 
be ordered to sail from Havre, in which case I left directions 
that my packages should all be sent by her to New York. 
When I hear of their arrival I may possibly come to New 
York; and then we may treat on the subject you mention. 3 

1 A printer at New York. Printed from " The Complete Works of Benja- 
min Franklin" (Bigelow), Vol. IX, p. 268. ED. 

2 In a letter dated September 26, 1785 (A. P. S.). ED. 

8 Concerning the conditions upon which Franklin had assisted James 
Parker. ED. 



1785] TO DONATIEN LE RAY DE CHAUMONT 469 

I have now only to add that I shall be glad of being service- 
able to you on reasonable terms, and am your humble ser- 
vant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1606. TO DONATIEN LE RAY DE CHAUMONT 1 

Philadelphia, October 20, 1785. 

I make no apology for writing in English, because I know 
my friend Sophy 2 can translate it for you. 

Immediately after my landing, I wrote to acquaint you with 
my safe arrival and the absence of your son. He is since re- 
turned in good health, and writes to you by this opportunity, 
of which he acquainted me. I just now received your favour 
of August loth, with two for him. They will be put in his 
hands as soon as he returns from a hunting party, on which he 
is out at present with my son Bache and some others; but 
will be back here next Sunday. 

I thank you for delivering the table to Madame Le Veillard ; 
but more particularly for the present you have made to Abbe* 
Morellet, at my request, of the doctoral chair. 8 He had taken 
a vast liking to it, and the possession must give him great 
pleasure. The marmite a vapeur I have with me here. We 
used it at sea with great success ; though the water we boiled 
was salt. 

As to Finck, the maitre d'hotel, he was fairly paid in money 

1 From "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Bigelow), Vol. IX, 
p. 271. ED. 

2 Sophie de Chaumont, daughter of Le Ray de Chaumont. ED. 

8 Abbe Morellet had always admired Franklin's fauteuil doctoral, and his 
little cabinet with its drawers for nails and carpenters' tools. Upon the chair 
he inscribed "Benjamin Franklin hie sedebat." The table presented to 
Madame le Veillard was a tea table. ED. 



470 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

for every just demand he could make against us, and we have 
his receipts in full. But there are knaves in the world whom 
no writing can bind, and when you think you have finished 
with them, they come with demands after demands sans fin. 
He was continually saying of himself, Je suis honne'te homme ; 
je suis honnte homme. But I always suspected he was mis- 
taken ; and so it proves. 

I hope your Princess and Princesses and Duchesses and 
Marquises are not birds of passage, but will stay with you as 
we did through the winter, so that you may pass it the more 
agreeably. 

I will mention your project for transporting wood, etc., to 
some of my friends ; but I think this is not the best part of 
the country for such an undertaking. 

[B. F.] 

1607. TO MADAME HELVETIUS (B. N.) 
a Philadelphia, ce 20 oct re 1785 

Hier etois Mercredi. A dix heures de Matin, j'ai pense* 
de vous, de votre Maison, de votre Table, de vos Amis, etc. 
A cette heure, ai je dis, ils sont tous a diner, M. le Roy, M. 
Hennin, 1' Abbe's de la Roche & Morellet, M. Cabbanis, 
peutetre quelques unes des petites Etoiles. Madame sert a 
toute la Compagnie, avec autant de Facility que de Plaisir. 
Mais, helas, je n'etoit pas la, pour participer les jolis Propos de 
bon Sens, de 1' Esprit, & d'Amitie*, avec lesquelles ses Repas 
sont tou jours assaisone*es ! 

Vous aurez Plaisir de Scavoir que je suis ici en bon Sant 
& heureux dans le Sein de ma Famille. Mais jai manque de 
trouver le Repos que j'esperoit; car on m'a saisit pour 



1785] TO FERDINAND GRAND 47* 

me faire Gouverneur, & jai en la Foiblesse de consentir; 
ainsi me voila aussi occupe* que jamais. Si je peux faire 
du bien pour mon Peuple, cela me consolera. Autrement, je 
souhaiterai que javois acceptois votre Invitation amicale de 
passer le reste de mes jours chez vous. 

Adieu, ma chere Amie, aimez moi toujours, comme je vous 
aime. Embrassez pour moi tous mes Amis de votre Cercle, 
& me croyez toujours attache* a vous avez les Siens de plus 
forte affection. [B. F.] 

1608. TO FERDINAND GRAND 1 (p. c.) 

Philad' Oct. 20. 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have written to you twice since my Arrival, but have not 
yet drawn any Bills on you from hence. Perhaps I may soon 
draw for the Amount of the Interest that will be due on my 
Money in the Funds ; and I hope soon to hear from you and 
to receive my Ace*. Inclos'd I send you a second Bill of M r 
Houdon's, for which when receiv'd you will credit me. He is 
this Evening retura'd well from Gen. Washington's, having fin- 
ish'd his Business there, and is preparing to return directly. 

I have this Day receiv'd several Letters from Passy, dated 
Aug. 10. but no Line from you, I suppose you did not 
hear of the Opportunity. My eldest Grandson is at New 
York, the other, Benjamin, joins in Respects & best Wishes 
for you & yours, with 
Dear Sir, 

Your most obed 1 

& most humble Serv* 

B FRANKLIN 

1 From the private collection of Mr. E. B. Holden. ED. 



472 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1609. TO DAVID HARTLEY 1 

Philadelphia, October 27, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received at Havre de Grace 6 copies of your print, which 
I have brought with me hither. I shall frame and keep one 
of them in my best room. I shall send one to Mr. Jay, and 
give the others among some friends who esteem and respect 
you as we do. 

Your newspapers are rilled with accounts of distresses and 
miseries, that these States are plunged into since their separa- 
tion from Britain. You may believe me when I tell you, that 
there is no truth in those accounts. I find all property in 
lands and houses augmented vastly in value ; that of houses 
in towns at least fourfold. The crops have been plentiful, 
and yet the produce sells high, to the great profit of the farmer. 
At the same time, all imported goods sell at low rates, some 
cheaper than the first cost. Working people have plenty of 
employ and high pay for their labour. 

These appear to me as certain signs of public prosperity. 
Some traders, indeed, complain that trade is dead ; but this 
pretended evil is not an effect of inability in the people to buy, 
pay for, and consume the usual articles of commerce, as far 
as they have occasion for them ; it is owing merely to there 
being too many traders, who have crowded hither from all 
parts of Europe with more goods than the natural demand of 
the country requires. And what in Europe is called the debt 
of America, is chiefly the debt of these adventurers and super- 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 197. ED. 



1785] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 473 

cargoes to their principals, with which the settled inhabitants 
of America, who never paid better for what they want and buy, 
have nothing to do. As to the contentment of the inhabitants 
with the change of government, methinks a stronger proof 
cannot be desired, than what they have given in my reception. 
You know the part I had in that change, and you see in the 
papers the addresses from all ranks with which your friend 
was welcomed home, and the sentiments they contain con- 
firmed yesterday in the choice of him for President by the 
Council and new Assembly, which was unanimous, a single 
voice in seventy-seven excepted. 

I remember you used to wish for newspapers from America. 
Herewith I send a few, and you shall be regularly supplied, 
if you can put me in a way of sending them, so as that you 
may not be obliged to pay postage. With unchangeable 
esteem and respect I am, my dear friend, yours most affec- 
tionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1610. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 (p. c.) 

Philad*, Oct. 30, 1785. 

I received my dear Friend's Letter of July 23, at South- 
ampton, where I arrived the 24th, and staid till the 28th. I 
believe I acquainted you by a Line, immediately after my 
Arrival here, that we had a pleasant, and not a long Passage, 
in which there was but one Day, a Day of violent Storm, in 
which I was glad you were not with us. I had the Happiness 
of finding my family well, and of being very kindly received 
by my Country folks. 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 



474 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

I say nothing to persuade your Coming, because I said in a 
former Letter, I would leave you entirely to your own Judg- 
ment, which is very good. I would only mention a Fact, 
that, on Enquiry I am inform'd the usual Apprentice-Fee 
given to a Mercantile House of Eminence, is from 100 to 
150 Sterling. I am plung'd again into public Business, as 
deep as ever; and can now only add my Love to the dear 
Children, in which this Family all join. Temple is just gone 
to look at his Lands, and Ben is at College to compleat his 
Studies. I am ever, my dear Friend, yours most affection- 
ately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1611. TO SAMUEL ELBERT 1 (P. c.) 

Philad a , Nov. 5, 1785. 
SIR, 

I had the honour formerly of serving the Province of Georgia 
as their Agent in England, being appointed by Acts of the 
Assembly, with a Salary of One hundred Pounds per Annum. 
On my return to America I left my Account with my Suc- 
cessor ; and the Troubles coming on I have ever since been 
so fully occupied in the Public Affairs of the United States 
either here or abroad, that the obtaining a Settlement of 
that Account has been omitted. Inclosed is a copy of it, 
which I request your Excellency would be so good as to 
lay before your Assembly, who will, I make no doubt, in 

1 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. S. Elbert (1743- 
1788) was elected governor of Georgia in 1785, succeeding John Houston. 
He had been a soldier in the Revolution, was present at the surrender of Corn- 
wallis, and received the brevet of brigadier-general, November 3, 1783. ED. 



1785] TO MESSRS. SEARS AND SMITH 475 

adjusting it, consider equitably the long Delay and expedite 
the Payment. 

With great Respect I have the honour to be, Sir, 

B. FRANKLIN 



1612. TO MESSRS. SEARS AND SMITH 1 (A. p. s.) 

Philad*. Nov. 14. 1785. 

GENTLEMEN, 

I receiv'd your Letter of the 13 th past. Sometime last 
Summer the Marquis de la Fayette wrote to me about your 
Affair, and finding by a Letter from you that you had not 
receiv'd my Answer of Aug. 4. 1784 to yours of May 18, I 
sent him a Copy of that Answer to be forwarded by him to you, 
and I wonder you have not yet received it. Since the Receipt 
of yours of the i3 kh past, I have endeavoured to find among 
my Papers, disordered by Removal, another Copy of the same 
Answer : which I could not meet with till yesterday. I now 
enclose it, and am, with great Regard, 
Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient 
humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN 

1 A business house in New York. They had written to Franklin May 18, 
1784 (A. P. S.), and repeated their appeal October 13, 1785 (A. P. S.), 
informing him that they had engaged in a voyage to the coast of Africa to 
barter their cargo for gold and ivory. Contrary to expectations the captain 
of the vessel took a cargo of slaves who were carried to Martinico and sold. 
The revenue officers of Martinique required a heavy duty upon the slaves; 
Sears & Smith begged Franklin to use his influence to have the affair settled 
so as to prevent the payment of so heavy a duty. ED. 



476 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1785 

1613. TO JOHN BARD AND MRS. BARD 1 
DEAR FRIENDS, Philadelphia, November 14, 1785. 

I received your kind letter, which gave me great pleasure, 
as it informed me of your welfare. Your friendly congratula- 
tions are very obliging. I had on my return some right, as 
you observe, to expect repose ; and it was my intention to avoid 
all public business. But I had not firmness enough to resist 
the unanimous desire of my country folks ; and I find myself 
harnessed again in their service for another year. They 
engrossed the prime of my life. They have eaten my flesh, 
and seem resolved now to pick my bones. You are right in 
supposing, that I interest myself in every thing that affects 
you and yours, sympathizing in your afflictions, and rejoicing 
in your felicities ; for our friendship is ancient, and was never 
obscured by the least cloud. 

I thank you for your civilities to my grandson, and am ever, 
with sincere and great esteem and regard, my dear friends, 
yours most affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 



1614. TO CHARLES-JOSEPH MATHON DE LA 

COUR 2 

Q IR Philadelphia, November 18, 1785. 

I received duly the letter you did me the honour of writing 
to me on the 25th of June past, 3 together with the collection 

1 From Sparks, Vol. X, p. 239. ED. 

2 Mathon de la Cour (1738-1793), a native of Lyons, son of an eminent 
mathematician of that city, was famous not only for his writings, but for his 
numerous philanthropic projects and foundations. ED. 

3 No letter of this date exists, but there is one dated June 30, 1785, in 



1 7 86] TO GEORGE CLINTON 477 

you have made des comptes rendus de vos controkurs gtneraux; 
and your Discours sur les Moyens d'encourager le Patriotisme 
dans les Monarchies. The first is a valuable work, as con- 
taining a great deal of useful information ; but the second I 
am particularly charmed with, the sentiments being delight- 
fully just, and expressed with such force and clearness, that I 
am persuaded the pamphlet, though small, must have a great 
effect on the minds of both princes and people, and thence be 
productive of much good to mankind. Be pleased to accept 
my hearty thanks for both. 

It is right to be sowing good seed whenever we have an 
opportunity, since some of it may be productive. An in- 
stance of this you should be acquainted with, as it may afford 
you pleasure. The reading of Fortune Ricard's Testament, 
has put it into the head and heart of a citizen to leave two 
thousand pounds sterling to two American cities, who are to 
lend it in small sums at five per cent to young beginners in busi- 
ness ; and the accumulation, after a hundred years, to be laid 
out in public works of benefit to those cities. 1 With great 
esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1615. TO GEORGE CLINTON 2 (p. c.) 

Philadelphia Jan. i* 1786 
o In Council 

Intelligence has been received here, that Ethan Allen from 
Vermont, and one Solomon Strong of your State have lately 

A. P. S., thanking Franklin for having accepted membership in the Academic 
des Sciences, Belles Lettres et Arts de Lyon. ED. 

1 It is to his own will that Franklin refers. ED. 

8 From the private collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. George Clinton 
(1739-1812) was governor of New York (1777-1795). ED. 



478 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

been among the Settlers at Wyoming, persuading them to join 
in erecting a new State to be compos'd of those Settlements, 
those on the West Branch of Susquehanah, and a Part of the 
State of New York promising the Assistance of an armed 
Force from Vermont besides what may be obtain'd from the 
Company in Connecticut where they are now both gone to 
forward the Project. 

Chimerical as it appears, and unlikely to succeed we thought 
it nevertheless right to acquaint your Excellency with it, 
that such Enquiries may be made and Measures taken as 
you may judge proper to prevent these restless Spirits from 
exciting Disturbances that may divert the People's Attention 
from their Industry, and be attended with mischievous Con- 
sequences. 

With great Respect I have the Honour to be, etc. 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 



1616. TO JAMES BOWDOIN 1 (L. c.) 

Philad., Jan. i, 1786. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

It gave me great Pleasure, my dear Friend, to receive your 
kind Letter of Congratulation, as it prov'd, that all my old 
Friends in Boston were not estranged from me by the ma- 
levolent Misrepresentations of my Conduct, that had been cir- 
culated there, but that one of the most esteemed still retained 
a Regard for me. Indeed, you are now almost the only one 
left me by nature ; Death having, since we were last together, 
depriv'd me of my dear Cooper, Winthrop, and Quincy. 

1 Printed from a draft in L. C. The original letter is at Bowdoin College. 
ED. 



1786] TO JAMES BOWDOIN 479 

I have not receiv'd the Letter you mention to have sent me 
with some Memoirs, under Cover to Dr. Price. I must have 
left Europe before they got to his Hands ; but he will doubtless 
send them to me by the first convenient Opportunity. It was 
not necessary to make any Apology for the Liberty you say 
you have taken in those Memoirs, in making observations on 
my Queries upon Light, for I am sure they will help me to 
understand it better, and that must make them agreable to 
me. I shall be glad to see the whole Volume, 1 which you are 
so kind as to promise me ; and I hope in the course of a few 
Months to be able to make Returns, in a second Volume of our 
Memoirs, 2 now in the Press. 

I sent to you some weeks since, by Mr. Gerry, 3 Dr. Jeffries's 
Account of his Aerial Voyage from England to France, which 
I receiv'd from him just before I left that Country. In his 
Letter, that came with it, he requests I would not suffer it 
to be printed, because a copy of it had been put into the Hands 
of Sir Joseph Banks for the Royal Society, and was to be read 
there in November. If they should not think fit to publish 
it, as I apprehend may be the Case, they having hitherto 
avoided meddling with the Subject of Balloons, I shall be glad 
to have the Manus 1 return'd to me. In the mean time, I 
thought it might afford some Amusement to you and to your 
Society. 4 My Acquaintance with Dr. Jeffries began by his 



1 First volume of the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences. ED. 

2 Transactions of The American Philosophical Society. ED. 

8 Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), delegate to the Continental Congress 
(1776). He vacated his seat in Congress in 1780, but was recalled in 1783. 
ED. 

4 The paper was printed in London, entitled, " A Narrative of two Agrial 
Voyages," 410,1786. ED. 



4 8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

bringing me a Letter in France, the first thro' the Air, from 
England. 

With best Wishes of many happy New Years to you, and 
good Madam Bowdoin, I have the honour to be, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1617. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (p. c.) 

Philad a Jan. 19, 1786. 

DEAR JONATHAN 

I received your kind Letter of the 26th past, and am glad 
to hear that your Affairs are likely to turn out as well as you 
expected, and that you have made the Soap which I wanted 
for some Friends in France and thereby acquir'd the Knowl- 
edge of that Art. It will not be proper to present that nau- 
tical Piece to your Academy it being already in possession of 
the Philosophical Society here who have ordered it to be 
printed in their Memoirs and it is now in the Press. It may 
however be read there if you think it will be agreable ; only I 
would have the Part struck out relating to the expediting and 
retarding the Voyages between N. America and England by 
the Diurnal Motion, being on Consideration convinc'd that its 
Effect is equal both ways. But I will perhaps by next Post, 
send you some other Papers that you may present if you and 
my Friend Mr. Bowdoin should judge them not improper. 
I am much oblig'd by his sending that Ace* of a Dissolvent 
for the Stone, and request you to thank him in my Behalf. 
I wish the Discovery you mention of freshening Salt Water 
may prove as real as it would be useful. I forwarded Dr. 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Louis A. Biddle. ED. 



i ;86] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 481 

Jeffries's Memoir some Weeks since to Mr. Bowdoin by Mr. 
Gerry. 

My love to your Father and Mother, and Brother and Sister. 
I am ever 

Your affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN. 
now past 80. 



1618. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, Jan. 27, 1786 

DEAR JONATHAN: Your Bill for 47..io..o.. has been 
presented and accepted. 

In my last of Jan. 19, 1 promised to send you some philo- 
sophical Papers, which I now enclose. The three Pieces I 
wrote at Sea will all be printed in our Transactions here ; that 
on Chimneys is already done, and perhaps I may send you the 
Sheets with this. The others will be done soon ; and printed 
Copies will be better for you than written ones by Ben. 

I wonder with you that the Books are not arriv'd. Pray 
write and enquire about them. 

When I put Dr. Jeffries's Memoir into the hands of Mr. 
Gerry, I fancy'd he was going to Boston, or as a Member of 
Congress would send it free of Postage. But I see by the 
Newspapers that he stays at New York to be married, 1 and 
perhaps that important Transaction has put the Packet out 
of his Mind. 

I am ever your affectionate Uncle, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 He married Anne, daughter of Charles Thomson. ED. 
VOL. ix 21 



482 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

1619. TO FERDINAND GRAND (L. c.) 

Philad. Jan. 29, 1786. 

DEAR SIR, 

I have lately drawn on you the following Bills, 
viz. 
In favour of Theodore Hopkins for 200 Sterling 

of Mess" Roy [?] & Freres for 3110 Livres 

tourn 8 

of Mess" Lea & Obrien 500 Sterling 
The Bills for Sterling Money are made payable in London. 
You will accept to pay them there accordingly, and whatever 
Expence is occasion'd by it will be charg'd to me. I shall 
draw no more at present, having no farther Occasion for 
Money here, as the high Price of Labour discourages my 
Project of Building, till it shall be more moderate. I wish 
much to hear from you, and to receive my Account to the End 
of last Year. I hope the good Family continue well. We are 
all so here, and my Grandsons join in Love, &c Notwith- 
standing what you may see in the English Newspapers, be 
assured that America is in a most prosperous Situation. My 
own Estate I find more than tripled in Value since the Revo- 
lution. I hear nothing yet of our Baggage which was in the 
Hands of M r Limousin at Havre and wish you would enquire 
about it, and inform me if you can what is become of it; I 
have not receiv'd a Line from him since I left France. Please 
to remember me affectionately to all our Friends at Passy 
and Auteuil, &c &c With great and sincere Esteem, I am 
my dear Friend. 

Ever yours, 

B FRANKLIN. 



[786] INSTRUMENT FOR TAKING DOWN BOOKS 483 



1620. Description oj an Instrument for taking down Books 

from high Shelves l 

January, 1786. 

OLD men find it inconvenient to mount a ladder or steps 
for that purpose, their heads being sometimes subject to giddi- 
nesses, and their activity, with the steadiness of their joints, 
being abated by age; besides the trouble of removing the 
steps every time a book is wanted from a different part of 
their library. 

For a remedy, I have lately made the following simple 
machine, which I call the Long Arm. 

A B, the Arm, is a stick of pine, an inch square and 8 feet 
long. C, D, the Thumb and Finger, are two pieces of ash 
lath, an inch and half wide, and a quarter of an inch thick. 
These are fixed by wood screws on opposite sides of the end A 
of the arm A B ; the finger D being longer and standing out 
an inch and half farther than the thumb C. The outside of 
the ends of these laths are pared off sloping and thin, that they 
may more easily enter between books that stand together on a 
shelf. Two small holes are bored through them at i, k. 
E F, the sinew, is a cord of the size of a small goosequill, 
with a loop at one end. When applied to the machine it 
passes through the two laths, and is stopped by a knot in its 
other end behind the longest at k. The hole at i is nearer 
the end of the arm than that at k, about an inch. A number 

1 This article was first published by Sparks. See " The Works of Benjamin 
Franklin," Vol. VI, p. 562. The Ms. was sent by Franklin to Jonathan Will- 
iams to be communicated to James Bowdoin. See letter to Williams, February 
12, 1786. ED. 



484 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 



of knots are also on the cord, distant three or four inches 
from each other. 



1786] INSTRUMENT FOR TAKING DOWN BOOKS 485 

To use this instrument; put one hand into the loop, and 
draw the sinew straight down the side of the arm ; then enter 
the end of the finger between the book you would take down 
and that which is next to it. The laths being flexible, you 
may easily by a slight pressure sideways open them wider if 
the book is thick, or close them if it is thin by pulling the 
string, so as to enter the shorter lath or thumb between your 
book and that which is next to its other side, then push till 
the back of your book conies to touch the string. Then draw 
the string or sinew tight, which will cause the thumb 
and finger to pinch the book strongly, so that you may draw 
it out. As it leaves the other books, turn the instrument a 
quarter round, so that the book may lie flat and rest on its side 
upon the under lath or finger. The knots on the sinew will 
help you to keep it tight and close to the side of the arm as 
you take it down hand over hand, till the book comes to you ; 
which would drop from between the thumb and finger if the 
sinew was let loose. 

All new tools require some practice before we can become 
expert hi the use of them. This requires very little. 

Made in the proportions above given, it serves well for 
books in duodecimo or octavo. Quartos and folios are too 
heavy for it ; but those are usually placed on the lower shelves 
within reach of hand. 

The book taken down, may, when done with, be put up 
again into its place by the same machine. 



486 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

1621. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 1 (P. c.) 

Philad* Feb. 12. 1786 
DEAR JONATHAN 

I wrote to you a few Days since, and sent you 4 philosophi- 
cal Papers which I permitted your communicating to Mr. 
Bowdoin. As they are chiefly speculative and hypothetical 
and (except the Description of the long Arm a new Instru- 
ment for taking down Books from high Shelves) contain little 
of practical Utility. 

I apprehend he will not think them worth laying before 
the Society. I sent the Pacquet by Mrs. Allen whom you 
may remember to have seen in France. So you will receive 
them free of Postage, tho' a little later, for I cannot frank 
as you suppose, and I pay for all Letters that come to me, 
except those from the Secretaries of Congress. I thank 
you however for your Pacquet containing your Dispute with 
Mercator in which I think you have the Advantage both in 
Temper and Strength of Argument. It seems to me that 
instead of discussing When we ceas'd to be British Subjects 
you should have deny'd our ever having been such. We were 
Subjects to the King of G. Britain, as were also the Irish, the 
Jersey and Guernsey People and the Hanoverians, but we 
were American Subjects as they were Irish, Jersey and Hano- 
verian Subjects. None are British Subjects but those under 
the Parliament of Britain. 

Your affectionate Uncle 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Louis A. Bid die. ED. 



1786] TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS 487 



1622. TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS l (P. c.) 

(L. C.) 
Philad* Feb. 16 1786 

DEAR JONATHAN : I have written twice to you lately, 
but am oblig'd to trouble you with another Line, to request 
from you a Copy of the Account you took during our last 
Voyage of the Temperature of the Water, for I cannot find 
that I have such a Copy, and I want it to add to my nautical 
Letter now in the Press ; so that I wish you to favour me with 
it as speedily as possible. 

And now I am writing, it comes into my Mind to enquire 
of you what Light you find me to stand in among my Country 
folks? My late Friends Dr. Cooper and Mr. Quincy gave 
me Friendly Notices of the Calumnies propagated against me, 
which appeared all to emanate from the Brantry Focus. 
If they still exist, I would furnish you with a Copy of my 
Justification, which I sent to Dr. Cooper, but it probably 
did not reach Boston before his Death. You see, that old as I 
am, I am not yet grown insensible with respect to Reputation ; 
tho' as I may possibly never be able again to visit Boston, 
how much soever I may wish to do it, and sometimes resolve 
upon it, my Character there is of somewhat less Importance. 

How has my poor old Sister gone thro' the Winter? 
Tell me frankly whether she lives comfortably, or is pinched ? 
For I am afraid she is too cautious of acquainting me with all 
her Difficulties, tho' I am always ready and willing to relieve 
her when I am acquainted with them. 

My Love to your Parents and the rest of the Family, 

1 From the original in the possession of Mr. Louis A. Biddle. A draft exists 
in L. C. ED. 



4 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

and to our young Fellow Traveller, who I hope will make 
a fine Man. I am ever, Yours Affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1623. TO JONATHAN SHIPLEY (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, Feb. 24 th , 1786. 
DEAR FRIEND, 

I received lately your kind letter of Nov. 27th. 1 My Re- 
ception here was, as you have heard, very honourable indeed ; 
but I was betray'd by it, and by some Remains of Ambition, 
from which I had imagined myself free, to accept of the Chair 
of Government for the State of Pennsylvania, when the proper 
thing for me was Repose and a private Life. I hope, how- 
ever, to be able to bear the Fatigue for one Year, and then to 
retire. 

1 have much regretted our having so little Opportunity for 
Conversation when we last met. 2 You could have given me 
Informations and Counsels that I wanted, but we were scarce 
a Minute together without being broke in upon. I am to 
thank you, however, for the Pleasure I had after our Parting, 
in reading the new Book 3 you gave me, which I think gener- 
ally well written and likely to do good ; tho' the Reading 
Time of most People is of late so taken up with News Papers 
and little periodical Pamphlets, that few now-a-days venture 
to attempt reading a Quarto Volume. I have admir'd to see, 
that, in the last Century, a Folio, Burton on Melancholly, 

x ln A. P. S. ED. 

2 At Southampton, previous to Dr. Franklin's embarking for the United 
States. W. T. F. 

8 Paley's Moral Philosophy." W. T. F. 



1786] TO JONATHAN SHIPLEY 489 

went through Six Editions in about Twenty Years. We 
have, I believe, more Readers now, but not of such large 
Books. 

You seem desirous of knowing what Progress we make here 
in improving our Governments. We are, I think, in the right 
Road of Improvement, for we are making Experiments. I do 
not oppose all that seem wrong, for the Multitude are more 
effectually set right by Experience, than kept from going 
wrong by Reasoning with them. And I think we are daily 
more and more enlightened ; so that I have no doubt of our 
obtaining in a few Years as much public Felicity, as good 
Government is capable of affording. 

Your NcwsPapers are fill'd with fictitious Accounts of 
Anarchy, Confusion, Distresses, and Miseries, we are suppos'd 
to be involved in, as Consequences of the Revolution ; and the 
few remaining Friends of the old Government among us take 
pains to magnify every little Inconvenience a Change in the 
Course of Commerce may have occasion'd. To obviate the 
Complaints they endeavour to excite, was written the enclos'd 
little Piece, 1 from which you may form a truer Idea of our 
Situation, than your own public Prints would give you. And 
I can assure you, that the great Body of our Nation find 
themselves happy in the Change, and have not the smallest 
Inclination to return to the Domination of Britain. There 
could not be a stronger Proof of the general Approbation of 
the Measures, that promoted the Change, and of the Change 
itself, than has been given by the Assembly and Council of 
this State, in the nearly unanimous Choice for their Governor, 
of one who had been so much concern'd in those Measures ; 
the Assembly being themselves the unbrib'd Choice of the 

1 Probably the piece entitled, " The Retort Courteous." ED. 



49 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

People, and therefore may be truly suppos'd of the same 
Sentiments. I say nearly unanimous, because, of between 
70 and 80 Votes, there were only my own and one other in 
the negative. 

As to my Domestic Circumstances, of which you kindly 
desire to hear something, they are at present as happy as I 
could wish them. I am surrounded by my Offspring, a 
Dutiful and Affectionate Daughter in my House, with Six 
Grandchildren, the eldest of which you have seen, who is now 
at a College in the next Street, finishing the learned Part of 
his Education; the others promising, both for Parts and 
good Dispositions. What their Conduct may be, when they 
grow up and enter the important Scenes of Life, I shall not 
live to see, and I cannot foresee. I therefore enjoy among 
them the present Hour, and leave the future to Providence. 

He that raises a large Family does, indeed, while he lives 
to observe them, stand, as Watts says, a broader Mark for 
Sorrow; but then he stands a broader Mark for Pleasure too. 
When we launch our little Fleet of Barques into the Ocean, 
bound to different Ports, we hope for each a prosperous 
Voyage; but contrary Winds, hidden Shoals, Storms, and 
Enemies come in for a Share in the Disposition of Events; 
and though these occasion a Mixture of Disappointment, yet, 
considering the Risque where we can make no Insurance, we 
should think ourselves happy if some return with Success. 
My Son's Son, Temple Franklin, whom you have also seen, 
having had a fine Farm of 600 Acres * convey'd to him by his 
Father when we were at Southampton, has drop'd for the 
present his Views of acting in the political Line, and applies 
himself ardently to the Study and Practice of Agriculture. 

1 At Rancocas, New Jersey. ED. 



1786] TO JONATHAN SHIPLEY 491 

This is much more agreable to me, who esteem it the most 
useful, the most independent, and therefore the noblest of 
Employments. His Lands are on navigable water, com- 
municating with the Delaware, and but about 16 Miles 
from this City. He has associated to himself a very skillful 
English Farmer lately arrived here, who is to instruct him 
in the Business, and partakes for a Term of the Profits; so 
that there is a great apparent Probability of their Success. 

You will kindly expect a Word or two concerning myself. 
My Health and Spirits continue, Thanks to God, as when 
you saw me. The only complaint I then had, does not grow 
worse, and is tolerable. I still have Enjoyment in the Com- 
pany of my Friends; and, being easy in my Circumstances, 
have many Reasons to like Living. But the Course of 
Nature must soon put a period to my present Mode of Exist- 
ence. This I shall submit to with less Regret, as, having 
seen during a long Life a good deal of this World, I feel a 
growing Curiosity to be acquainted with some other; and 
can chearfully, with filial Confidence, resign my Spirit to the 
conduct of that great and good Parent of Mankind, who 
created it, and who has so graciously protected and prospered 
me from my Birth to the present Hour. Wherever I am, I 
hope always to retain the pleasing remembrance of your 
Friendship, being with sincere and great Esteem, my dear 
Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. We all join in Respects to Mrs. Shipley, and best 
wishes for the whole amiable Family. 



492 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

1624. TO FERDINAND GRAND (L.C.) 

Philad tt March 5, 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND : Since my last, which was of Jan. 29, 
I have had the great Pleasure of receiving yours of Oct. 10, 
'85, by which I learnt that yourself and the good Family con- 
tinu'd well. The Vessel from Havre, after a long Passage 
of about 12 Weeks, arrived at last with all my Things hi 
pretty good Order, and sundry Parcels of Books, etc., from 
you: when I had almost given over all Hopes of seeing 
them ever again : So that I now find myself happily situated 
in my own House, surrounded by my Offspring, with all 
my Playthings and Amusements about me, and my Malady 
not augmented, but still continuing tolerable. 

I have drawn upon you lately for i,754-L. tournois, in favour 
of Ross and Vaughan. My former Drafts since my Arrival 
here were for 200 sterling, 3,110 livres tournois, and 500 
sterling. I hope now to receive soon your Account com- 
pleating the last Year, and that you have been paid my Divi- 
dend on my Stock in the Funds. 

I suppose my Grandson will write to you by this Convey- 
ance, tho' he is now very busy in preparing to settle on his 
Farm, which is a very good one, about 16 Miles from this 
Town, Water Carriage to his Door, very convenient for 
bringing his Produce to Market. Benjamin is at College, 
and applies close to his Studies. He presents his Respects. 

I rejoice to hear that the Emperor and the Dutch have 
accommodated their Differences. Long may the Peace of 
Europe continue! For I am of Opinion that there never 



1786] TO FERDINAND GRAND 493 

was a bad Peace, nor a good War. And I think your Minister, 
who is so expert in composing Quarrels and preventing Wars, 
the great Blessing of this Age. The Devil must send us three 
or four Heroes, before he can get as much Slaughter of Man- 
kind done as that one Man has prevented. 

I do not understand how Caliastro was involved in the 
Affair of the Cardinal, 1 and have some Curiosity to know his 
History when it shall be develop'd. 

The English Papers, not only sent me gratis, as you observe, 
to Algiers, 3 but they are sending all the United States to 
Destruction : By their Accounts you would think we were in 
the utmost Distress, in Want of everything, all in Confu- 
sion, no Government, and wishing again for that of England. 
Be assured, my Friend, that these are all Fictions, mere 
English Wishes, not American Realities. There are some few 
Faults in our Constitutions, which is no wonder, considering 
the stormy Season in which they were made, but those will 
soon be corrected. And for the rest, I never saw greater and 
more indubitable Marks of public Prosperity in any Country. 
The Produce of our Agriculture bears a good Price, and is all 
paid for in ready hard Money, all the labouring People have 
high Wages, everybody is well cloth'd and well lodg'd, the 
Poor provided for or assisted, and all Estates in Town and 
Country much increased in Value. As to wishing for the 
English Government, we should as soon wish for that of 
Morocco. 

Be so good as to forward the Letters you will receive here- 

1 The affair of Cagliostro, Cardinal Rohan, and the diamond necklace. 
ED. 

2 It was reported in the English newspapers that on his way back to America 
Franklin had been captured by Algerine pirates and sold to slavery. ED. 



494 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

with, and charge me with the Expence. My Love to all the 
good Family, and believe me ever, my dear Friend, yours most 
affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1625. TO BENJAMIN RUSH 1 

Philadelphia, March, 1786. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

During our long acquaintance, you have shown many 
instances of your regard for me ; yet I must now desire you to 
add one more to the number, which is, that, if you publish 
your ingenious discourse on the Moral Sense, you will totally 
omit and suppress that most extravagant encomium on your 
friend Franklin, which hurt me exceedingly in the unexpected 
hearing, and will mortify me beyond conception, if it should 
appear from the press. Confiding in your compliance with 
this earnest request, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most 
affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 2 

1 From Sparks, Vol. X, p. 255. ED. 

2 Dr. Rush replied to this letter as follows : " Agreeably to your request, 
I have suppressed the conclusion of my oration, but I cannot bear to think of 
sending it out of our State or to Europe without connecting it with your name 
I have therefore taken the liberty of inscribing it to you by a simple dedica- 
tion, of which the enclosed is a copy. And, as you have never in the course 
of our long acquaintance refused me a single favour, I must earnestly insist upon 
your adding to my great and numerous obligations to you the permission 
which I now solicit, to send my last as I did my first publication into the 
world under the patronage of your name." March nth, 1786. 

The discourse here alluded to, On the Influence of Physical Causes on the 
Moral Faculty, was delivered before The American Philosophical Society, 
February 27th, 1786, and published soon afterwards. It contained the follow- 
ing dedication : 



1786] TO M. LE VEILLARD 495 

1626. TO M. LE VEILLARD 1 

Philadelphia, March 16, 1786. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received and read with great pleasure your kind letter of 
October Qth. 2 It informed me of your welfare, and that of 
the best of good women, and of her amiable daughter, who 
I think will tread in her steps. My effects came all in the 
same ship, in good order; and we are now drinking every day 
Us eaux tpuries de Passy with great satisfaction, as they 
kept well, and seem to be rendered more agreeable by the 
long voyage. 

I am here in the bosom of my family, and am not only 
happy myself, but have the felicity of seeing my country so. 
Be assured, that all the stories spread in the English papers 
of our distresses, and confusions, and discontents with our 
new governments, are as chimerical as the history of my 
being in chains at Algiers. They exist only in the wishes of 
our enemies. America never was in higher prosperity, her 
produce abundant and bearing a good price, her working 

To 

His Excellency 
Benjamin Franklin Esq r 

President 

of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania 
The friend & benefactor of mankind 
the following Oration 

is inscribed by 

his grateful friend & humble Servant 
the Author. ED. 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 204. Dated by W. T. Franklin March 16, and by Duane, March 6. ED. 
3 In A. P. S. ED. 



496 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

people all employed and well paid, and all property in lands 
and houses of more than treble the value it bore before the 
war; and, our commerce being no longer the monopoly of 
British merchants, we are furnished with all the foreign com- 
modities we need, at much more reasonable rates than here- 
tofore. So that we have no doubt of being able to discharge 
more speedily the debt incurred by the war, than at first was 
apprehended. 

Our modes of collecting taxes are indeed as yet imperfect, 
and we have need of more skill in financiering; but we im- 
prove hi that kind of knowledge daily by experience. That 
our people are contented with the Revolution, with their new 
constitutions, and their foreign connexions, nothing can 
afford a stronger proof, than the universally cordial and 
joyous reception with which they welcomed the return of one, 
that was supposed to have had a considerable share in pro- 
moting them. All this is in answer to that part of your letter, 
in which you seem to have been too much impressed with some 
of the ideas, which those lying English papers endeavour to 
inculcate concerning us. 

I am astonished by what you write concerning the Prince 
Eveque. 1 If the charges against him are made good, it will 
be another instance of the truth of those proverbs which teach 
us, that Prodigality begets necessity, that Without economy 
no revenue is sufficient, and that // is hard for an empty sack 
to stand upright. 

I am glad to hear of the marriage of Mademoiselle Brillon; 2 

1 Cardinal Rohan, EvSque de Strasbourg. Le Veillard had written an ac- 
count of the theft of the diamond necklace. ED. 

2 She married (September 20, 1785) M. Vidal de Malachel, son of a secre- 
tary of the king and who was " conseiller de la Cour des Aides." ED. 



1 786] TO FERDINAND GRAND 497 

for every thing, that may contribute to the happiness of that 
beloved family, gives me pleasure. Be pleased to offer them 
my felicitations, and assure them of my best wishes. 

Will you also be so good as to present my respectful com- 
pliments to Madame la Duchesse d'Enville, and to M. le Due 
de la Rochefoucauld? You may communicate the political 
part of this letter to that excellent man. His good heart will 
rejoice to hear of the welfare of America. 

I made no progress when at sea in the history you men- 
tion; 1 but I was not idle there, having written three pieces, 
each of some length; one on Nautical matters, another on 
Chimneys; and a third a Description of my Vase for con- 
suming smoke, with directions for using it. These are all 
now printing in the Transactions of our Philosophical Society, 
of which I hope soon to send you a copy. 

My grandsons present their compliments. The eldest 
is very busy in preparing for a country life, being to enter 
upon his farm the 25th instant. It consists of about six 
hundred acres, bounding on navigable water, sixteen miles 
from Philadelphia. The youngest is at College, very diligent 
in his studies. You know my situation, involved in public 
cares; but they cannot make me forget, that you and I love 
one another, and that I am ever, my dear friend, yours most 
affectionately, B. FRANKLIN. 

1627. TO FERDINAND GRAND (L. c.) 

Philad' March 20, 1786 

DEAR FRIEND, I wrote to you on the 5th Instant, and the 
Vessel not being yet gone, I add a few Lines to give you a 

1 Memoirs of his own life. ED. 
VOL. IX 2 K 



498 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

little Trouble in requesting you to receive and divide among 
some of my Friends a few Hams (jambons) and some Cakes 
of our Soap. The Hams are in a Cask, and have Labels to 
denote who are [sic] they are for. I send them, because 
Strangers here admire them for their good Taste and the 
Sweetness of their Fat, which is all made by their Feeding on 
Maize, and I hope they will come good to hand. The Soap 
is thought to be the best in the World, for Shaving & for 
washing Chinees, [sic] and other things of delicate Colours. 
Please to divide them as follows : 



For Mad . Grand . 
Sir Geo. Grand 
Yourself . . . 
M. Le Veillard . 
M. Brillon . . . 
M. de Chaumont 
Mad . Helvetius . 
Abbd de La Roche 
Abb6 Morellet 



Cakes Cakes 

. 2 M. Cabbanis .... i 

. 2 M. Le Roy .... i 

. 3 M. Roger at McSorin's i 

. 2 M. Dailly i 

. 2 M. Bougon .... i 

. 2 Abb6 Chalut . . . i 

. 2 M. Chalut .... i 

. i Abbe* Arnaud . . . ,, . j 

. i Mon Epouse .... i 



17 



26 
This kind of Soap is not made for Sale in this Country at 

present, and perhaps I may not be able to procure any more 

of it. 
I must also request you to purchase & send me M. de La 

Lande's "History of All the Navigable Canals in the World." 

It is said to be in Folio with Plates. 



1786] TO THOMAS JEFFERSON 499 

I wish to you and yours all Sorts of Felicity, being ever my 

dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Don't forget to charge me with the Expences I put you to 
for Carriage, Postage, etc. 



1628. TO THOMAS JEFFERSON (L. c.) 

Philad a March 20, 1786. 

SIR : I received your Favour of Oct. 5 l by Messrs. 
Fitzhughs, with the Letters and Pacquets you were so kind 
as to forward to me by those Gentlemen, who have winter'd 
with us, and are but lately set out for Virginia. I will read 
du Plessis's Papers as soon as I can find a little time, and say 
something of them in a future Letter. 

As to public Affairs, the Congress has not been able to 
assemble more than 7 or 8 States during the whole Winter, 
so the Treaty with P. remains still unratified, tho' there is no 
doubt of its being done so, as a full Congress is expected next 
Month. The Disposition to furnish Congress with ample 
Powers augments daily, as People become more enlightened, 
and I do not remember ever to have seen during my long 
Life more Signs of Public Felicity than appear at present 
throughout these States; the Cultivators of the Earth who 
make the Bulk of our Nation having had good Crops, which 
are paid for at high Prices with ready Money, the Artisans 
too receive high Wages, and the Value of all real Estate is 
augmented greatly. Merchants and Shopkeepers, indeed, 

MnL. C ED. 



5 oo THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

complain that there is not Business enough, but this is evi- 
dently not owing to the Fewness of Buyers, but to the too 
great Number of Sellers, for the Consumption of Goods was 
never greater, as appears by the Dress, Furniture, and 
Manner of Living of all Ranks of the People. 

As to myself, I am, agreable to your kind Wishes, happy in 
the Bosom of my Friends and Family, enjoying as good 
Health as ever, the Stone excepted, which does not grow 
worse: Be pleased to present my affectionate Respects to 
the good Countess d'Houdetot, who, you say, does me the 
Honour to enquire concerning me, and I pray you to assure 
all other enquiring Friends that I retain, and shall ever 
retain, the deepest Impression of their many Kindnesses to me 
while I resided among them. I hope your Health is fully 
established. My best Wishes attend you, being with great 
and sincere Esteem, Dear Sir, your most obedient and most 

humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1629. TO DANIEL ROBERDEAU 1 (L. c.) 
Philadelphia, March 23, 1786 

DEAR SIR : I received your Favour proposing to sell me 
your Plantation in this Country, 2 which I should have an- 
swer'd sooner if I could sooner have been informed of its 

1 Daniel Roberdeau (1727-1795) was born in the island of St. Christopher, 
W.I., came in youth to Philadelphia, where he engaged in business. He 
served in the Revolutionary army and upon the Council of Safety. He 
was first brigadier-general of the Pennsylvanian troops. ED. 

2 A farm eight or nine miles from Philadelphia. Roberdeau offered it for 
sale because of his removal to Alexandria. His letter is dated February 4, 
1786. (A. P. S.) ED. 



1 786] TO JEAN-BAPTISTE LE ROY 501 

Qualities ; Quantity of Acres ; Price, and the Rent it affords ; 
for not being in a condition to enjoy a Country Seat since my 
Malady, the Stone, does not permit me to ride either on 
Horseback or in a Wheel Carriage, I have no Inducement 
to purchase Land but the Prospect of its producing greater 
Profit than Money at Interest. It is but the other day that 
the Gentleman s you referr'd me to, calFd to give me what 
Information he could, which having consider'd I apprehend 
the Purchase will not suit my Views, so that I must wish you 
a better Chapman. 
With great Esteem, I have the honour to be, Dear Sir, 

your most obed* and most humble Servant. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1630. TO JEAN-BAPTISTE LE ROY (L. c.) 

Philad a - March 27, 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I did myself the Pleasure of Writing to you soon after my 
Arrival here. I hope you & yours continue well, tho' I have 
not heard from you since I left France : a Country I most 
sincerely love, having receiv'd in it so many Kindnesses, 
many of them from you, of which I shall ever retain a grateful 
Remembrance. 

I employ'd my Leisure at Sea in writing three Pieces ; one 
is a Discourse on the different kinds of Smoky Chimneys, & 
the Means of curing them. Another is, the Description of 
my Vase Stove, its Principles, Use and Advantages; this I 
had promis'd to M r Cadet j r . The third is a Letter on 
Nautical Subjects, address'd to your Brother. They are all 

1 A Mr. Bowie. ED. 



5 02 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

now printing in the second Volume of the Transactions of our 
Philosophical Society, of which I hope to send a Copy to the 
Academy this Summer, the Printing being far advanced. 

The enclos'd for Mad 6 LeRoy came to me under Cover 
from Mad e Beniousky, who is now in the neighbouring Prov- 
ince of Maryland, to my great Surprise, not being able to 
imagine how she came there, or what she does there. 

If you should have any thing to send to me, such as the 
Memoires of the Academy, or any new Pamphlet of the kind 
you know I like ; please to give it to M. Grand, who will pay 
for me the Expence. I send to his Care for you a Catalogue 
of our Forest Trees and Shrubs just published here, with a 
spare Copy or two for any Friend of the Academy to whom 
it may be agreable. 

My Grandsons are well, and join with me in best Wishes 
of every kind of Happiness to you and good Mad e le Roy. 
Pray remember me to M. Bailly & all our Friends of the Com- 
mission; and believe me ever, with sincere Esteem and un- 
alterable Attachment, my dear Friend, 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 have sent you also 

2 Cakes of our fine Soap 
made of Myrtle Wax 

1631. TO ABBE DE LA ROCHE (L. c.) 

Philad a April, 1786. 

MY DEAR FRIEND : I confess that I am a little [mu- 
tilated] as a Correspondent. I wish to hear from my Friends 
by every Pacquet, and presume they may excuse me if I write 



I ;86] TO ABBE DE LA ROCHE 503 

once a Year. The only Apology I can make, and that not a 
very good one, is, that Indolence is natural to Age, and that 
I am too much engag'd in Business. But I have too long 
omitted Writing to my Friends at Auteuil. I throw myself 
on their Good Nature and beg their Forgiveness. The con- 
tinued Kindness towards me express'd in their Letters 
affected me much, and I never perused those Letters but 
with fresh Pleasure mix'd with the Remembrance of the 
many delighted Hours I pass'd in that sweet Society, and the 
Regret with which I find myself forever separated from it. 

I wrote in November last to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, 1 
and executed his Commission so far as to send him the Seeds 
he desired, which I hope arrived in good Order, tho' I have 
not since heard from him. The kind of wooden houses he 
wrote for are not usually made here, tho' possibly they may at 
Boston. But that being remote from me, so that I could not 
have the least Inspection of the Workmen, I have advised his 
writing to the French Consul who resides there, and send him 
an exact Plan of the Buildings with all their Proportions; 
the Description in the Letter you sent me not being sufficiently 
precise to be intelligible by our ignorant Carpenters, who 
therefore could not compute the Cost. 

It is rare that we see the Cardinal Bird so far north as 
Pennsylvania. Those sent here from Virginia generally 
perish by the Way, being a tender Bird and not well bearing 
the Sea, so that we have not hitherto been able to get any for 
Benjamin to take care of. Mr. Alexander has, I understand, 
sent out several for our Dame 2 in his Tobacco Ships to France, 
which never arriv'd, and unless a Friend was going in the 

1 M p de Cice ; he became garde des sceaux in 1789. ED. 
* Madame Helvetius. ED. 



5 o 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

Ship who would take more than common Care of them, I 
suppose one might send an hundred without landing one 
alive. They would be very happy, I know, if they were once 
under her Protection ; but they cannot come to her, and she 
will not come to them. She may remember the Offer I 
made her of 1,000 Acres of Woodland, out of which she 
might cut a great Garden and have 1,000 Aviaries if she 
pleased. I have a large Tract on the Ohio where Cardinals 
are plenty. If I had been a Cardinal myself perhaps I might 
have prevail'd with her. I am much oblig'd by her kind 
Offer of sending Robes, Hats, Bonnets, and other French 
Modes to my good Daughter, the Mother of Benjamin, to 
whose filial Care of me and Attention to me I owe much of 
my present Happiness. Inclos'd I send her Commission, 
which if Notre Dame will be so good as to execute with her 
usual good Taste and Judgment, Mr. Grand will immediately 
pay the Bill, and I shall be very thankful. 

You have, as we hear, an Assembly of Notables to confer 
and advise on the Amendment of your Laws and Constitutions 
of Government. It is remarkable that we should have the 
same Project here at the same time. Our Assembly is to 
meet next Month. I pray God that Success may attend the 
Deliberations of both Assemblies, for the Happiness of both 
Nations. 

My Health continues much in the same State as when I 
left France, my old Malady not growing worse, so that I am 
able to go through a good deal of Business, and enjoy the 
Conversation of my Friends as usual. 

Your project of Transporting rather than drowning the 
good Lady's eighteen Cats, is very humane. The kind 
Treatment they experience from their present Mistress may 



1786] TO ABB& DE LA ROCHE 505 

possibly cause an Unwillingness to hazard the Change of Situ- 
ation; but if they are of the Angora Breed, and can be 
inform'd how two of their Tribe brought over by my Grand- 
son are caress'd and almost ador'd here, they may possibly be 
induc'd to transport themselves rather than risque any longer 
the Persecution of the Abbe's, which sooner or later must end 
in their Condemnation. Their Requt * is admirably well 
written ; but their continually Increasing in Number will in 
time make their Cause insupportable : Their Friends should, 
therefore, advise them to submit voluntarily either to Trans- 
port or to Castration. 

The Remarks of a Grammarian on the Particle on, are full 
of Wit and just Satire. My Friends here who understand 
French have been highly entertain'd with them. They will 
do good if you publish them. They have had some Effect 
upon me, as you will see in this Letter : For when I spoke of 
the prosperous State of our Affairs here, fearing you might 
suppose that I thought all well because I myself had a profit- 
able Place, I found it proper to add other Reasons. 

Your taking the Pains of Translating the Addresses is a 
strong Mark of the Continuance of your Friendship for me, 
which gave me as much Pleasure as the Addresses themselves 
had done, and that, you may, well believe, was not a little : 
For indeed the Reception I met with on my Arrival far ex- 
ceeded my Expectation. Popular Favour not the most con- 
stant Thing in the World, still continues with regard to me, 
my Election to the Presidentship for the second Year being 
unanimous. Whether it will hold out to the End of the third, 
is uncertain. A Man in high Place has so many Occasions, 

1 This petition of the cats was written by Abbe Morellet, and has often 
been published in the collected works of Benjamin Franklin. ED. 



S o6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

which he cannot avoid, of disobliging, if he does his Duty; 
and those he disobliges have so much more Resentment, than 
those he obliges have Gratitude, that it often happens when 
he is strongly attack'd he is weakly defended. You will, 
therefore, not wonder if you should hear that I do not finish 
my political Career with the same Eclat that I began it. 

It grieves me to learn that you have been afflicted with 
Sickness. It is, as you say, the Condition of living, but it 
seems a hard Condition. I sometimes wonder that all good 
Men and Women are not by Providence kept free from Pain 
and Disease. In the best of all possible Worlds, I should 
suppose it must be so ; and I am piously inclin'd to believe 
that this World's not being better made was owing merely to 
the Badness of the Materials. 

Embrace for me tenderly the good Dame, whom I love as 
ever. I thought to have written to her and to Mr. Cabanis 
by the Pacquet, but must defer it to the next for want of 
Time. I am, my dear Friend, with sincere Esteem and 

Affection, yours ever, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Please to present my Respects to M. Le Roy and others of 
the Wednesday's Dining Party, and love to the Stars and to 
your Family. My Grandson joins me in best Wishes. 



1632. TO MRS. JANE MECOM (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, April 8, 1786. 

DEAR SISTER : I received your kind Letter of the 2ist of 
February ; I have also received the Box of Soap, the Substance 



1786] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 507 

of which appears to be very good, but its Consistence had 
probably been affected by the Frost, for unless very tenderly 
and cautiously handled, the Cakes would crumble into little 
Pieces between one's Fingers. However, having an Oppor- 
tunity of sending some to my Friends, in France, who much 
admir'd what I had of you formerly, I with much difficulty 
took out 22 Cakes, which I wrapt separately in spongy Paper, 
hoping that, as they dry'd, they might consolidate, and the 
infinite Number of little Cracks that appear'd in them be 
closed, and the Parts again united, so I sent them away in a 
small Box. But having since dry'd a cake very gradually, I 
fear I shall be disappointed in that Expectation, for it seems 
as crumbly as before, and comes to pieces in the Water, so 
that I am sorry that I sent any of it away, till I had consulted 
you upon it, who probably must have met with like Accident 
before, and might know of some Remedy. 

Business having prevented my Writing, Sally has been 
making an Experiment. She put 3 or 4 pound of the Crumbs, 
about the size of Chestnuts, into a little Kettle with some 
Water, and over a slow Fire, melted them together, and when 
the whole was uniformly fluid, laded it out into little Paper 
Pans of the Size of the Cakes. These grew stiff when cold, 
but were rather soft, and shrunk greatly in drying. Being 
now dry, they are exceedingly hard, close-grained, and solid, 
and appear to have all the Qualities of excellent Crown 
Soap. Only in drying they are twisted and warp'd out of 
Shape; wherefore I have not continu'd the Process on the 
rest of the Box, but resolv'd to send you this particular Ac- 
count, thinking you may possibly teach me a better Method. 

Capt. All is just arriv'd here, who has given me the pleasure 
of hearing that you were very well a few Weeks since; he 



5 o8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

says he does not remember you to have ever look'd better, or 
to be more active. I continue much as I have been for some 
time past, and am always your affectionate Brother, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Draw upon me for the Expence of the Soap, and your Bill 
shall be paid on sight. 



1633. TO MRS. JANE MECOM (L. c.) 

Philad*, April 25, 1786 

DEAR SISTER: I wrote you a long Letter lately about 
the Soap which I suppose to have become crumbly by means 
of Frost; and acquainting you that we had made some of 
the Crumbs solid again by re-melting them with Water. I 
farther requested your Advice whether to re- melt it all, and in 
what manner. That you may better understand the Case, I 
send you herewith some of the crumbly Soap, and a Piece 
of that which we consolidated by re-melting the Crumbs. 
But since I wrote that Letter, I find that a few of the Cakes 
which appear'd ready to fall to pieces, being set separately on 
their Edges upon a Shelf in a Closet to dry gradually, seem 
now to have become very firm ; and I have therefore this day 
taken all out of the Box, and set them to dry in the same 
slow manner; perhaps they may all grow firm, and make 
the re-melting unnecessary. 

I send also with this one of the Books in which is printed 
my Proposal of a new Alphabet, which you desired to see. 

I am ever your affectionate Brother, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1786] TO ANDREW STRAHAN 509 

1634. TO ANDREW STRAHAN (L. c.) 

Philad*. May 6. 1786 

DEAR SIR, 

I receiv'd since my Arrival here your Letters of July 8 and 
26. and have inquir'd concerning M r W m Peterkin, but do not 
learn that he has arrived in this State. If I should hereafter 
hear of him or see him, you may be assured, that I shall, on 
Ace' of your Recommendation, render him any Service that 
may be in my Power. 

I condole with you most sincerely on the Departure of 
your good Father and Mother, my old and beloved Friends. 
Your Consolation will be that you have been a good and duti- 
ful Son, & that their Memory will ever be respected by all who 
had the Happiness of being acquainted with them. 

Remember me affectionately to your Sister Spottiswoode, 
and your Brother George. You mention that their Children 
are well, but say nothing of the Children of your Sister 
Johnson. I feel my self interested in what relates to any of 
your Family, and shall be glad to hear also of the Welfare 
of those Children I suppose you succeed in the Office of 
King's Printer. 

I thank you for your kind Offers of Service, and I desire 
that if in any thing I can be of use to you here, you would 
command me freely. 

The Admiralty, in consideration of my having forbid our 
American Cruisers to intercept or molest Capt. Cook in case 
they should meet with him on his Return, made me a Present 
of his last Voyage which Lord Howe sent to me in France; 
but unluckily a Mistake was made in sending a Duplicate of 



5 io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

the third Volume instead of the first. When my Grandson 
went afterwards to London, I returned by him the super- 
fluous 3 d Vol. and he obtain'd for me the first ; and it was sent 
by M r Woodmason, Stationer, to Rouen for me, together with 
Cook's second Voyage which my Grandson bought to corn- 
pleat my Set of the Voyages of that great Navigator : But 
they never arriv'd or could be heard of. I would therefore 
now request of you to send me the second Voyage, together 
with the first Volume of the last ; for which my Son, on your 
presenting him the Account & showing him this Line, will 
pay the Charge. 

With best Wishes for your Prosperity, I am, Dear Sir, 
Your affectionate Friend 

& most obedient Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1635. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 1 

Philadelphia, May 6, 1786. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

A long winter has past, and I have not had the pleasure of a 
line from you, acquainting me with your and your children's 
welfare, since I left England. I suppose you have been in 
Yorkshire, out of the way and knowledge of opportunities; 
for I will not think that you have forgotten me. 

To make me some amends, I received a few days past a 
large pacquet from Mr. Williams, dated September, 1776, 
near ten years since, containing three letters from you, one of 
December 12, 1775. Tm ' s pacquet had been received by Mr. 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of 
Benjamin Franklin" (1833), p. 204. ED. 



1 786] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 511 

Bache, after my departure for France, lay dormant among his 
papers during all my absence, and has just now broke out upon 
me, like words, that had been, as somebody says, congealed in 
northern air. Therein I find all the pleasing little family 
history of your children; how William had begun to spell, 
overcoming, by strength of memory, all the difficulty occa- 
sioned by the common wretched alphabet, while you were 
convinced of the utility of our new one ; how Tom, genius- 
like, struck out new paths, and, relinquishing the old names of 
the letters, called U bell, and P bottle; how Eliza began to 
grow jolly, that is, fat and handsome, resembling aunt Rooke, 
whom I used to call my lovely. Together with all the then 
news of lady Blount's having produced at length a boy; of 
Dolly's being well, and of poor good Catherine's decease; 
of your affairs with Muir and Atkinson, and of their contract 
for feeding the fish in the channel ; of the Vinys and their 
jaunt to Cambridge in the long carriage ; of Dolly's journey to 
Wales with Mrs. Scott ; of the Wilkeses, the Pearces, Elphin- 
stones, &c. ; concluding with a kind of promise, that, as 
soon as the ministry and Congress agreed to make peace, I 
should have you with me in America. That peace has been 
some time made ; but, alas ! the promise is not yet fulfilled. 

I have found my family here in health, good circumstances, 
and well respected by their fellow citizens. The companions 
of my youth are indeed almost all departed, but I find an 
agreeable society among their children and grandchildren. 
I have public business enough to preserve me from ennui, 
and private amusement besides in conversation, books, my 
garden, and cribbage. Considering our well-furnished, plen- 
tiful market as the best of gardens, I am turning mine, in the 
midst of which my house stands, into grass plots and gravel 



512 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

walks, with trees and flowering shrubs. Cards we some- 
times play here, in long winter evenings ; but it is as they play 
at chess, not for money, but for honour, or the pleasure of 
beating one another. This will not be quite a novelty to you, 
as you may remember we played together in that manner 
during the winter at Passy. I have indeed now and then a 
little compunction in reflecting that I spend time so idly; 
but another reflection comes to relieve me, whispering, " You 
know that the soul is immortal; why then should you be such a 
niggard o) a little time, when you have a whole eternity bejore 
you ?" So, being easily convinced, and, like other reasonable 
creatures, satisfied with a small reason, when it is in favour of 
doing what I have a mind to, I shuffle the cards again, and 
begin another game. 

As to public amusements, we have neither plays nor operas, 
but we had yesterday a kind of oratorio, as you will see by 
the enclosed paper ; and we have assemblies, balls, and con- 
certs, besides little parties at one another's houses, in which 
there is sometimes dancing, and frequently good music; so 
that we jog on in life as pleasantly as you do in England ; any- 
where but in London, for there you have plays performed by 
good actors. That, however, is, I think, the only advantage 
London has over Philadelphia. 

Temple has turned his thoughts to agriculture, which he 
pursues ardently, being in possession of a fine farm, that his 
father lately conveyed to him. Ben is finishing his studies at 
college, and continues to behave as well as when you knew 
him, so that I think he will make you a good son. His younger 
brothers and sisters are also promising, appearing to have good 
tempers and dispositions, as well as good constitutions. As 
to myself, I think my general health and spirits rather better 



1 76] TO MRS. MARY HEWSON 513 

than when you saw me. The particular malady I then com- 
plained of continues tolerable. With sincere and very great 
esteem, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. My children and grandchildren join with me in best 
wishes for you and yours. My love to my godson, to Eliza, 
and to honest Tom. They will all find agreeable companions 
here. Love to Dolly, and tell her she will do well to come 
with you. 

1636. TO MRS. MARY HEWSON l (p. c.) 

Philad* May 30, 1786. 

DEAR POLLY, 

I have just received your kind Letter of April 2, which made 
me some Amends for your long Silence. By the last Ship 
from hence I wrote to you acknowledging the Receipt of some 
very old Letters, when I was sorry I could mention none of 
later date. I have, however, no right to complain, being so 
bad a Correspondent myself. But my last was a long one, and 
I hope you have receiv'd it. 

You seem now inclin'd to come over, if you could meet with 
a Captain, that you know and like. We mentioned it to 
Captain Falkener. He goes no more to sea, but strongly 
recommends Capt. Willet, who carries this Letter, as a 
good Man and excellent Seaman. His Ship is the Harmony, 
which lately brought over Mr. and Mrs. Bingham. Mr. 
Williams will hardly, I doubt, be with you in time this Year 
to assist in your Embarkation; but, if you apply to Messrs. 
Johnson and Company, American Merchants, to whom I 

1 From the original in the possession of T. Hewson Bradford, M.D. ED. 
VOL. IX 2 L 



5 I4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

write, I am persuaded they will make the Bargain for you, 
and assist you with their Advice in every Circumstance. 

Temple, who presents his Respects, has, however, no Hopes 
of your Coming. He says you were so long irresolute and 
wavering about the Journey to Paris, that he thinks it unlikely 
you will decide firmly to make the Voyage of America. 

I enclose a truer State of Affairs in our Country, than your 
public Prints will afford you, and I pray " God guide you." 

This Family are all well, and join in Love to you and yours 

with your affectionate 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Capt. Willet is to leave London on his Return about 
the ist of August. Your son Ben, and all this family, join 
in the hope of your resolving to come over. 1 



1637. TO MRS. JANE MECOM (L. c.) 

Philad* June 3. 1786. 

DEAR SISTER, 

I have just received a kind Letter from you without Date ; 
but it is that in which you mention your learning the new 
Alphabet &c. 

Your Grandson behaves very well, and is constantly employ 'd 
in writing for me, and will be so some time longer. As to 
my Reproving and Advising him, which you desire, he has not 
hitherto appeared to need it, which is lucky, as I am not fond 
of giving Advice, having seldom seen it taken. An Italian 
Poet in his Account of a Voyage to the Moon, tells us that 

1 Mrs. Hewson soon afterwards came over with her family to America, and 
established herself at Philadelphia. ED. 



1786] TO J. FRANKLIN, SMITH, JENKINS, IN COUNCIL 515 

All things lost on Earth are treasured there. 
On which somebody observ'd, There must then be in the 
Moon a great deal of Good Advice. 

Ben, concerning whom you enquire, is at the University, 
and very diligent in his Studies. Will is at the Episcopal 
Academy, & learns well, the rest are all promising, your 
Niece particularly, and the whole Family, Thank God, 
enjoy at present very good Health. We join in Love to you 

& yours, I am ever, 

Your affectionate Brother 

B. FRANKLIN. 
Love to Cousin Williams & Family 



1638. TO JOHN FRANKLIN, WILLIAM HOOKER 
SMITH AND JOHN JENKINS. IN COUNCIL. 

(L.L.) 
Philad? June n. 1786 

GENTLEMEN, 

I received in its time your Letter of the 25 th of February 
last, written in behalf of the People settled at Wyoming, and 
requesting a Protection of Government for an Agent who might 
be sent hither, to explain your Grievances &c. The Request 
appear'd to us to be reasonable ; and such a Protection would 
have been immediately sent, but that we were told the Gentle- 
man who brought your Letter, Captain Schot being in Town, 
and well acquainted with your Affairs, the giving him a Hear- 
ing might possibly answer your purpose as well, and spare 
you the Expence & Trouble of sending a special Agent. He 
was accordingly heard before the Council, and had an Oppor- 
tunity of conversing separately with several of the Members 



5 i6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

as well as the Members of Assembly, and gave so clear and so 
affecting an Account of the Situation of your People, their 
present Disposition and former Sufferings, as inclin'd the 
Government in general to show them every kind of reasonable 
Favour. The Assembly accordingly took the necessary pre- 
vious Steps for a Compliance with your Request respecting 
a separate County which will probably be compleated at their 
next Session. But as there may be other Matters necessary 
to be consider'd and discuss'd, in order to establish solid and 
lasting Quiet, the Council have since judged that it might 
still be useful if your first Proposal of sending an Agent hither 
were agreed to, and if one or more, chosen and appointed by 
the People should accordingly be here about the Beginning of 
the Session, which was fixt for the 22 d of August next. You 
may therefore now acquaint the Settlers, that upon Informa- 
tion of such Appointment, a Passport or Safe Conduct under 
the great Seal for the Person or Persons so appointed shall 
be sent to you, giving him or them perfect Security in coming, 
residing here, and returning, from all Arrests on Suits of any 
kind ; and full Freedom & Protection from every Hindrance, 
Restraint or Molestation whatsoever. 

Be assured, Gentlemen, that it will be a great Pleasure to 
the whole Council, as well as to myself in particular, if we can 
be instrumental by just & reasonable Measures, in promoting 
the Happiness of so great a Body of our People as the Settlers 
of Wyoming consist of. 

I am Gentlemen 

Your Friend and humble Servt. 

B. F. 



1786] TO CHARLES THOMSON 517 

1639. TO CHARLES THOMSON 1 

Philadelphia, June 18, 1786. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received in its time your favour of the i5th past, 2 with an 
extract from the contract made at Versailles, February 2ist, 
1783. This extract being a translation, I have spent some time 
in searching for a copy. I supposed I might have the original, 
but have not yet met with it, and will now no longer delay 
my answer, which is, that, if the translation be just, and the 
original really mentions three millions, as given before the 
treaty of 1778, it has either been a mistake of one million, or 
the million received from the Farmers- General is included, 
as a don gratuit of the King ; in which latter case, as you ob- 
serve, they owe us for the tobacco received, in part. For I 
think it a certainty, that no money was received from the 
crown, which did not go directly into the hands of Mr. Grand ; 
and, though he accounts for three millions received before 
1778, one of them is the million received of the Farmers- 
General. 

An explanation and adjustment of this matter may, I 
make no doubt, be easily obtained by writing to Mr. Grand 
and Mr. Jefferson. There can be no error of that magnitude 
in Mr. Grand's accounts, for they were rendered to the Com- 
missioners from time to time, and settled while all the transac- 

1 First printed by Sparks, Vol. X, p. 443. The affair of " the lost million " 
is referred to in the following letters : to Ferdinand Grand, July n, 1786 ; to 
Charles Thomson, January 27, 1787; and also in various letters from M. 
Durival to M. Grand and from M. Grand to Franklin found in Sparks, Vol. X, 
pp. 269-272. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 



5 i8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

tions were fresh in memory. And I am persuaded , the minister 
will very readily either correct the error in the contract, or 
direct our demanding of the Farmers the value of the tobacco, 
as the case may be. With great and sincere esteem, I have 

the honour to be, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1640. TO NOAH WEBSTER (L. L.) 

Philad a June 18, 1786. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the 24th past, 1 with the Scheme inclosed of your reform'd 
Alphabet. I think the Reformation not only necessary, but 
practicable ; but have so much to say to you on the Subject, 
that I wish to see and confer with you upon it, as that would 
save much Time and Writing. Sounds, till such an Alphabet 
is fix'd, not being easily explained or discoursed of clearly 
upon Paper. 

I have formerly consider'd this Matter pretty fully, and con- 
triv'd some of the means of carrying it into Execution, so as 
gradually to render the Reformation general. Our Ideas are 
so nearly similar, that I make no doubt of our easily agreeing 
on the Plan; and you may depend on the best Support I 
may be able to give it, as a Part of your Institute? of which 
I wish you would bring with you a compleat Copy, having as 
yet seen only a part of it : I shall then be better able to recom- 
mend it as you desire. Hoping to have soon the Pleasure of 
seeing you, I do not enlarge, but am with sincere Esteem, Sir, 
&c. B. FRANKLIN. 

1 In A. P. S. ED. 

2 Grammatical Institute of the English Language, published in 1784. ED. 



I 7 86] TO JAN INGENHOUSZ 5'9 

1641. TO JAN INGENHOUSZ (L. c.) 

Philad* June 27, 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND : My Time being much taken up with the 
Business of my present Station, I can now only write a short 
Letter ; but in the Volume of our Transactions, which I send 
you herewith, you will find a very long Letter, which I wrote 
to you at Sea when on my Passage hither. I inclose some 
Papers relating to your Affair with Wharton. The promise 
therein made, tho' repeatedly urg'd by me and Mr. Vaughan, 
was never fulfilled. The Father is since striken with the 
Palsie, and the Son is in a worse Situation, being, as is said, 
an habitual Drunkard. In short, I believe nothing is to be 
done with him by fair Means, and unless you send a Power 
of Attorney to sue for your Demand, or come yourself, I am 
afraid you will never get anything. You are upon the List 
of Persons nominated to be Members of our Philosophical 
Society, and will be chosen undoubtedly at the next full 
Meeting, which perhaps will not be till January next. I have 
given them the German Edition of your Pieces, which you 
presented to them ; and have told them that I have some other 
Presents from you which I shall deliver as soon as I can put 
my things in order so as to find them. 

Except that I am too much encumber'd with Business, I 
find myself happily situated here, among my numerous 
Friends, plac'd at the Head of my Country by its unanimous 
Voice, in the Bosom of my Family, my Offspring to wait 
on me and nurse me, in a House I built 23 Years since to my 
Mind. 



520 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

My Malady, the Stone, indeed continues, but does not grow 
worse ; and human Nature is subject to so many more terrible 
Evils, that I ought to be content with the Share allotted me. 
I rejoice to hear that the Difference between the Emperor and 
your Country is accommodated, for I love Peace. You will 
see in the Treaty we have made with -Prussia some Marks of 
my Endeavors to lessen the Calamities of future Wars. Pre- 
sent my humble Respects, and best wishes to your good Mas- 
ter, if you think they may not be unacceptable, and believe 
me ever, with sincere Affection, your old true Friend and hum- 
ble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

If you send a Power of Attorney, let it be to Mr. Samuel 
Vaughan, jr. 



1642. TO 1 (L. c.) 

Phila. July 3. 1786. (?) 

DEAR SIR, 

I have read your Manuscript with some Attention. By the 
Argument it contains against the Doctrines of a particular 
Providence, tho' you allow a general Providence, you strike at 
the Foundation of all Religion. For without the Belief of a 
Providence, that takes Cognizance of, guards, and guides, and 
may favour particular Persons, there is no Motive to Worship a 
Deity, to fear its Displeasure, or to pray for its Protection. I 
will not enter into any Discussion of your Principles, tho' 

lr The auto, draft of this letter in A. P. S. is endorsed by Franklin: 
"Rough of Letter dissuading from publishing his Piece." S. pub- 
lished it as addressed to Thomas Paine. The deistical writings of Thomas 
Paine were not published until several years after the supposed date of this 
letter. ED. 



i;86] TO 521 

you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my 
Opinion, that, though your Reasonings are subtile, and may 
prevail with some Readers, you will not succeed so as to change 
the general Sentiments of Mankind on that Subject, and the 
Consequence of printing this Piece will be, a great deal of 
Odium drawn upon yourself, Mischief to you, and no Benefit 
to others. He that spits against the Wind, spits in his own 
Face. 

But, were you to succeed, do you imagine any Good would 
be done by it ? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtu- 
ous Life, without the Assistance afforded by Religion; you 
having a clear Perception of the Advantages of Virtue, and 
the Disadvantages of Vice, and possessing a Strength of Reso- 
lution sufficient to enable you to resist common Temptations. 
But think how great a Proportion of Mankind consists of weak 
and ignorant Men and Women, and of inexperienced, and in- 
considerate Youth of both Sexes, who have need of the Motives 
of Religion to restrain them from Vice, to support their Virtue, 
and retain them in the Practice of it till it becomes habitual, 
which is the great Point for its Security. And perhaps you 
are indebted to her originally, that is, to your Religious Edu- 
cation, for the Habits of Virtue upon which you now justly 
value yourself. You might easily display your excellent 
Talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and 
thereby obtain a Rank with our most distinguish'd Authors. 
For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, 
that a Youth, to be receiv'd into the Company of men, should 
prove his Manhood by beating his Mother. 

I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining 
the Tyger, but to burn this Piece before it is seen by any other 
Person ; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of Morti- 



522 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

fication from the Enemies it may raise against you, and per- 
haps a good deal of Regret and Repentance. If men are so 
wicked as we now see them with religion, what would they be 
if without it. I intend this Letter itself as a Proof of my 
Friendship, and therefore add no Professions to it ; but sub- 
scribe simply yours, B. F. 



1643. TO MRS. JANE MECOM (L. c.) 

Philad* July 4, 1786. 
DEAR SISTER, 

I receiv'd the second Box of Soap, which appears very firm 
and very good. I am much obliged by the Pains you have 
taken to humour me in that Matter. 1 You need not be con- 
cern'd, in writing to me, about your bad Spelling ; for, in my 
Opinion, as our Alphabet now Stands, the bad Spelling, or 
what is call'd so, is generally the best, as conforming to the 
Sound of the Letters and of the Words. To give you an 
Instance: A Gentleman receiving a Letter, in which were 
these Words, Not finding Brown at horn, I delivard your 
meseg to his yf. The Gentleman finding it bad Spelling, and 
therefore not very intelligible, called his Lady to help him 
read it. Between them they pick'd out the meaning of all 
but the yf, which they could not understand. The lady 
propos'd calling her Chambermaid : for Betty, says she, has 
the best knack at reading bad Spelling of any one I know. 
Betty came, and was surprised, that neither Sir nor Madam 
could tell what yf was. "Why," says she, "y f spells Wife; 
what else can it spell?" And, indeed, it is a much better, as 

1 See letter to Mrs. Mecom, April 8, 1786. ED. 



1786] TO CHARLES THOMSON 523 

well as shorter method of spelling Wife, than by doubleyou, 
i, ej, e, which in reality spells doubleyijey. 

Your Grandson is well and behaves well. The Family 
also is all well. There is much Rejoicing in Town to-day, 
it being the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, 
which we sign'd this day Ten Years, and thereby hazarded 
Lives and Fortunes. God was pleas'd to put a favourable 
End to the Contest much sooner than we had reason to expect. 
His Name be praised. Adieu, your affectionate Brother 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1644. TO CHARLES THOMSON (L. c.) 

Philad* July 6, 1786. 

SIR : This will be delivered to you by Scotosh, son to the 
Half-King to the Wyondot Nation, who is well recommended 
as having been always very friendly to our People, and who, 
with his Suite, goes to New York on a Visit to Congress. I 
make no doubt but the same Care will be taken of them, that 
they may be accommodated comfortably while at New York, 
as they have experienc'd here. With great Esteem, I have the 
honour to be, sir, your most obedient and most humble Ser- 
vant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

[Endorsed: Read 12 July, 1786. Referred to Secretary at 

War to report.] 

[ENCLOSURE.] 

Philadelphia, July 3, 1786. 

Scotosh, an Indian chief of the Wyondots, and son to the half-king of that 
nation, visited the President, accompanied by Mons. Pierre Drouillier, a French 
trader of Detroit, as Interpreter, who acquainted the President that the Chief 
had a few words to deliver from his Father. 



524 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

The Chief then taking in his hand three strings of white wampum, said : 

" Brothers, I come from my Father to speak to you of good and bad affairs; 
good and bad news my Father now speaks. 

" ' My Brothers : 

" ' I inform you that among my people all is good ; we have no bad affairs, 
no bad news, to relate to you. Nor have I heard of any bad news from 
Detroit. [A string.] 

" ' Near the Falls I have heard there are bad affairs ; but that country is 
far from mine. There are some bad people thereabouts, vagabonds from dif- 
ferent nations, but none of my people are among them. [A string.] 

" ' My Brothers : 

" ' I shall be very glad to hear that the measuring the Indian country may 
be delayed. For the bad people will, I fear, take occasion from the measur- 
ing to do more mischief. Perhaps the measurers will be killed. And it would 
give pain to me and my nation to hear such bad news.' " [A string.] 

The chief then spoke as from himself : 

" Brothers : 

" You have made a good clear road for us to come to you without danger 
or inconvenience. I have found it good and safe, having been kindly treated 
everywhere by your people. We will do the same for them, when they have 
occasion to pass through our country. 

" Brothers : 

" I request you would as soon as possible let me know what you think of the 
words I brought from my father, that I may acquaint him therewith, and the 
mischief to the measurers may be prevented." 

He added that he was going to New York to visit the Congress, and that 
he had a curiosity to cross the seas and see France. 

The President replied that he would communicate the words to the Coun- 
cil, and on Wednesday give an answer. He had no expectation of so much 
formality in this visit, or he should have requested a meeting of the Council 
to receive him. 

July 5, 1786. 

Scotosh, son to the half-king of the Wyondots, with Mr. Drouillier, his 
Interpreter, coming again to the President's house, the President spoke to him 
as follows : 

"Brother: 

" I have communicated to the Council the words you delivered to me from 
your father, and we now return the answer I am about to give you to be sent 
him. 

"'Our Brother: 

" ' We are glad to learn from you that there are no bad affairs in your 
country, and that all is well with you. We hope it may long so continue. 
[A string.] 



i;86] TO JOHN JAY 525 

" ' Our Brother : 

" ' We know there are some bad people about the Falls, from whence we 
sometimes hear of mischief done by them. We are glad that none of our 
friends, the Wyondots, are among them. For they will probably soon suffer 
for their evil action. [A string.] 

" ' Our Brother : 

" ' This state of Pennsylvania measures no land but what has been fairly 
purchased of the Six Nations. The country you speak of is far beyond our 
limits, and the measuring of it under the direction of Congress. It is there- 
fore with that great Council to consider your friendly advice on that sub- 
ject.' " [A string.] 

The President then acquainted Scotosh that, as he was going to New York, 
the Council had ordered some money to be given to him for his travelling 
expense (which was accordingly done,) and that the charge of their entertain- 
ment while here would also be defrayed ; for which he returned hearty 
thanks. He was at the same time assured that we should endeavor always to 
keep the road between us as open, clear, and safe as he always found it. 



1645. TO JOHN JAY (L.C.) 

Philad* July 6, 1786. 

SIR: The inclos'd Paper will inform you of what has 
pass'd here between Scotosh, a Chief of the Wyondot Nation, 
and this Government, on his Way to Congress : He is recom- 
mended as having been always very friendly to our People, 
and the Council have defray'd the Expence of him and his 
Company here and to New York, where, as Col. Harmar 
informs, he is to visit Congress. He expresses a strong De- 
sire of going to France; but as it must cost something con- 
siderable to support him thither, there, and back again, we 
have given him no Expectation that the Congress will approve 
of it : But if it could be well afforded, I should conceive it might 
be of Use to our Affairs in that Part of the Country, if, after 
viewing the Court and Troops and Population of France, 



526 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

he should return impress'd with a high Idea of the Greatness 
and Power of our Ally, and thence be able to influence the 
Western Indians with Opinions proper to defeat the Insinua- 
tions of the English who are posted on those Frontiers. 

With great Regards, I have the Honour to be, sir, your 
most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1646. TO DR. ARTHAUD 1 (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, July 9. 1786. 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the i5th of March last, 2 together with the printed Pieces 
that accompanied it. It gave me great Pleasure to find, that 
the Improvement of Science is attended to in a Country, 
where the Climate was suppos'd naturally to occasion Indo- 
lence, and an Unwillingness to take Pains except for immediate 
Profit. I am very sensible of the great Honour done me by the 
Society of Philadelphians, 3 in naming me among their Asso- 
ciates ; and I beg they would accept my thankful Acknowledge- 
ments, together with the second Volume of the Transactions 
of our Society here. I am much oblig'd by the favourable 
mention you were pleased to make of me in your excellent Dis- 
course at the first Opening of your Assemblies. Your Ac- 
count of the Cape, contains a Variety of Knowledge respecting 
it that we had not before, and many Particular Observations 
for preserving Health, that may be useful to our Northern 

1 Secretary of Cercle des Philadelphes, Cap Francaise, Cape Haytien. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 

3 A society for the cultivation of Arts and Sciences in St. Domingo. ED. 



1786] TO FERDINAND GRAND 527 

People who visit your Island. Wishing Success to the La- 
bours of the Society, I have the honour to be, 

Sir, 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1647. TO NOAH WEBSTER (L. c.) 

Philad* July 9, 1786. 

SIR : I received your Favour of the 23d past. 1 I think 
with you that your Lecturing on the Language will be of 
great Use in preparing the Minds of People for the Improve- 
ments proposed, and therefore would not advise your omitting 
any of the Engagements you have made, for the sake of being 
here sooner than your Business requires that is, in Septem- 
ber or October next. I shall then be glad to see and confer 
with you on the Subject, being with great Esteem, Sir, etc. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1648. TO FERDINAND GRAND 2 (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, July u, 1786. 

Sm, 

I send you enclosed some letters, that have passed between 
the Secretary of Congress and me, respecting three million of 
Livres, acknowledged to have been received, before the Treaty 
of February 1778 as Don gratuit from the King, of which 
only Two Millions are found in your accounts ; unless the 

1 In A. P. S. ED. * From the Jefferson Papers (L. C). ED. 



5 28 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

million from the Fanners- General be one of the three. I have 
[been] assured, that all the money received from the King, 
whether as Loan or Gift, went through your hands ; and as I 
always looked on the million we had of the Farmers- General 
to be distinct from what we had of the Crown, I wonder how 
I came to sign the Contract acknowledging three millions of 
gift, when, in reality, there was only two, exclusive of that 
from the Farmers ; and as both you and I examined the project 
of the Contract before I signed it, I am surprised, that neither 
of us took notice of the error. 

It is possible, that the million furnished ostensibly by the 
Farmers, was in fact a gift of the Crown, in which case, as Mr. 
Thomson observes, they owe us for the two Ship Loads of 
Tobacco, which they received on account of it. I most 
earnestly request of you to get this matter explained, that I 
may stand clear before I die, lest some enemy should after- 
wards accuse me of having received a million not accounted 

for. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1649. TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (L. c.) 

Philad*, July 29. 1786. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received lately the 3 d Volume of your Experiments and 
Observations relating to various Branches of Natural Philoso- 
phy, for which please to accept my Thanks. It contains a 
great deal of very curious & interesting Matter. I know of 
no Philosopher who starts so much good Game for the Hun- 
ters after Knowledge as you do. Go on and prosper. Our 
Society will be much oblig'd by the Volume you have sent to 



1786] TO RICHARD PRICE 529 

them, which shall be delivered at their next Meeting ; and you 
will receive by M Vaughan the second Volume of their Trans- 
actions. 

I forget whether it was by you or by D* Price that the Bearer 
M r Nicklin was formerly recommended to me. He has 
married and settled among us, and is much esteemed here. 
I am, my dear Friend, with great Sincerity, 
Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1650. TO RICHARD PRICE 1 (L. c.) 

Philad. July 29, 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I could not let this Opportunity, by M Nicklin, pass with- 
out saluting you. I hope you continue well, as I do, my old 
Malady excepted, and that so useful a Life as yours will be 
long protracted. I repeat my Thanks to you for the Pamphlet 
you so kindly sent me. I should ere now have try'd the Remedy 
indicated in it, but my Glass Instrument for impregnating 
Liquors with fix'd Air, being lent into the Country, I have been 
kept in continual Expectation of its being return'd, and am 
hitherto disappointed ; at which I have been the less uneasy, 
as the Pain has been tolerable generally, and I do not find that 
the Malady grows worse. 

Our Philosophical Society think themselves honour'd by 
your Acceptance of their Diploma. You will receive by M r * 
Vaughan a second Volume of their Transactions. 

I see there are mischievous Spirits at work, labouring to dis- 

1 From auto, draft in L. C. The original letter is in the possession of 
Walter Ashburner, Esq., of London. ED. 

VOL. IX 2 M 



530 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

turb the Peace between our Countries, but I trust they will 
not succeed. We are improving daily in public Prudence 
and the true Knowledge of our essential Interests ; and not- 
withstanding some political Errors hard to eradicate, I flatter 
myself that on the whole and in time we shall do very well : 
Indeed I think I see evident Marks of the favourable Hand of 
Providence in our Affairs : for even our own Blunders, and 
the Malice of our Enemies, are made to operate our Advan- 
tage. My best Wishes attend you and good M Price, being 

ever, my dear Friend 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1651. TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN (L. c.) 

Philad a , July 31, 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I recollect, that, when I had the great Pleasure of seeing 
you at Southampton, now a i2month since, we had some Con- 
versation on the bad Effects of Lead taken inwardly; and 
that at your Request I promis'd to send you in writing a par- 
ticular Account of several Facts I then mention'd to you, of 
which you thought some good use might be made. I now sit 
down to fulfil that Promise. 

The first Thing I remember of this kind was a general Dis- 
course in Boston, when I was a Boy, of a Complaint from 
North Carolina against New England Rum, that it poison'd 
their People, giving them the Dry Bellyach, with a Loss of the 
Use of their Limbs. The Distilleries being examin'd on 
the Occasion, it was found that several of them used leaden 
Still-heads and Worms, and the Physicians were of Opinion, 



1786] TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN 531 

that the Mischief was occasioned by that Use of Lead. The 
Legislature of the Massachusetts thereupon pass'd an Act, 
prohibiting under severe Penalties the Use of such Still-heads 
and Worms thereafter. Inclos'd I send you a Copy of the 
Ace*, taken from my printed Law-book. 

In 1724, being in London, I went to work in the Printing- 
House of Mr. Palmer, Bartholomew Close, as a Compositor. 
I there found a Practice, I had never seen before, of drying a 
Case of Types (which are wet in Distribution) by placing it 
sloping before the Fire. I found this had the additional Ad- 
vantage, when the Types were not only dry'd but heated, of 
being comfortable to the Hands working over them in cold 
weather. I therefore sometimes heated my Case when the 
Types did not want drying. But an old Workman, observing 
it, advis'd me not to do so, telling me I might lose the Use 
of my Hands by it, as two of our Companions had nearly done, 
one of whom that us'd to earn his Guinea a Week, could not 
then make more than ten Shillings, and the other, who had the 
Dangles, but seven and sixpence. This, with a kind of ob- 
scure Pain, that I had sometimes felt, as it were in the Bones 
of my Hand when working over the Types made very hot, 
induced me to omit the Practice. But talking afterwards 
with Mr. James, a Letter-founder in the same Close, and ask- 
ing him if his People, who work'd over the little Furnaces of 
melted Metal, were not subject to that Disorder; he made 
light of any danger from the effluvia, but ascribed it to 
Particles of the Metal swallow 'd with their Food by slovenly 
Workmen, who went to their Meals after handling the Metal, 
without well washing their Fingers, so that some of the 
metalline Particles were taken off by their Bread and eaten 
with it. This appeared to have some Reason in it. But 



532 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

the Pain I had experienc'd made me still afraid of those 
Effluvia. 

Being in Derbishire at some of the Furnaces for Smelting 
of Lead Ore, I was told, that the Smoke of those Furnaces 
was pernicious to the neighbouring Grass and other Vege- 
tables ; but I do not recollect to have heard any thing of the 
Effect of such Vegetables eaten by Animals. It may be well 
to make the Enquiry. 

In America I have often observed, that on the Roofs of our 
shingled Houses, where Moss is apt to grow in northern Ex- 
posures, if there be any thing on the Roof painted with white 
Lead, such as Balusters, or Frames of dormant Windows, &c., 
there is constantly a Streak on the Shingles from such Paint 
down to the Eaves, on which no Moss will grow, but the wood 
remains constantly clean and free from it. We seldom drink 
Rain Water that falls on our Houses ; and if we did, perhaps 
the small Quantity of Lead, descending from such Paint, 
might not be sufficient to produce any sensible ill Effect on our 
Bodies. But I have been told of a Case in Europe, I forgot 
the Place, where a whole Family was afflicted with what we 
call the Dry Bellyach, or Colica Pictonum, by drinking Rain- 
Water. It was at a Country-Seat, which, being situated too 
high to have the Advantage of a Well, was supply 'd with Water 
from a Tank, which received the Water from the leaded Roofs. 
This had been drunk several Years without Mischief; but 
some young Trees planted near the House growing up above 
the Roof, and shedding their Leaves upon it, it was suppos'd 
that an Acid in those Leaves had corroded the Lead they cov- 
er'd, and furnish'd the Water of that Year with its baneful 
Particles and Qualities. 

When I was in Paris with Sir John Pringle hi 1767, he 



1786] TO MATHEW CAREY 533 

visited La Charitt, a Hospital particularly famous for the Cure 
of that Malady, and brought from thence a Pamphlet con- 
taining a List of the Names of Persons, specifying their Pro- 
fessions or Trades, who had been cured there. I had the 
Curiosity to examine that List, and found that all the Patients 
were of Trades, that, some way or other, use or work in Lead ; 
such as Plumbers, Glaziers, Painters, &c., excepting only two 
kinds, Stonecutters and Soldiers. These I' could not recon- 
cile to my Notion, that Lead was the cause of that Disorder. 
But on my mentioning this Difficulty to a Physician of that 
Hospital, he inform'd me that the Stonecutters are continually 
using melted Lead to fix the Ends of Iron Balustrades in 
Stone ; and that the Soldiers had been employ'd by Painters, 
as Labourers, in Grinding of Colours. 

This, my dear Friend, is all I can at present recollect on the 
Subject. You will see by it, that the Opinion of this mischiev- 
ous Effect from Lead is at least above Sixty Years old ; and 
you will observe with Concern how long a useful Truth may 
be known and exist, before it is generally receiv'd and practis'd 

on. 

I am, ever, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1652. TO MATHEW CAREY 1 (L. c.) 

August 10, 86. 

SIR : The Memoirs you mention would be of little or no 
Use to your Scheme, as they contain only some Notes of my 

1 Mathew Carey had written to Franklin the previous day, August 9, 1786 
(A. P. S.), to ask on the behalf of the proprietors of the Columbian Magazine 
permission to publish an account of Franklin's life with a likeness of him. ED. 



534 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

early Life, and finish in 1730. They were written to my Son, 
and intended only as Information to my Family. I have in 
hand a full Ace* of my Life which I propose to leave behind 
me ; in the meantime I wish nothing of the kind may be pub- 
lish'd, and shall be much oblig'd to the Proprietors of the Co- 
lumbian Magazine if they will drop that Intention, for the 
present. With great Esteem, I am, Sir, your most obed* 
Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1653. TO WILLIAM COCKE 1 (L. c.) 

Philad a , August 12, 1786. 

SIR, 

I received yesterday the Letter you did me the honour of 
writing to me the i5th of June past. 2 I had never before 
been acquainted, that the Name of your intended New State 
had any Relation with my Name, having understood that it 
was called FrankLand. It is a very great Honour indeed, 
that its Inhabitants have done me, and I should be happy if it 
were in my Power to show how sensible I am of it, by some- 
thing more essential than my Wishes for their Prosperity. 

Having resided some Years past in Europe, and being but 
lately arrived thence, I have not had an Opportunity of being 
well inform'd of the Points in Dispute between you and the 
State of North Carolina. I can therefore only say, that I 
think you are perfectly right in resolving to submit them to the 

1 William Cocke was a native of Virginia who served in the Virginian 
legislature, and later became colonel and brigadier-general of militia in Ten- 
nessee. He and William Blount were the first senators from Tennessee 
(1796). ED. 

2 In A. P. S. The new state separated from North Carolina was afterwards 
named Tennessee. ED. 



1786] TO JEAN-BAPTISTE LE ROY 535 

Decision of Congress, and to abide by their Determination. 
It is a wise and impartial Tribunal, which can have no sin- 
ister Views to warp its Judgment. It is happy for us all, that 
we have now in our own Country such a Council to apply to, 
for composing our Differences, without being oblig'd, as for- 
merly, to carry them across the Ocean to be decided, at an 
immense Expence, by a Council which knew little of our 
Affairs, would hardly take any Pains to understand them, and 
which often treated our Applications with Contempt, and re- 
jected them with injurious Language. Let us, therefore, 
cherish and respect our own Tribunal ; for the more generally 
it is held in high Regard, the more able it will be to answer 
effectually the Ends of its Institution, the quieting of our con- 
tentions, and thereby promoting and securing our common 
Peace and Happiness. 

I do not hear any Talk of an Adjournment of Congress, 
concerning which you enquire; and I rather think it likely 
they may continue to sit out their Year, as it is but lately they 
have been able to make a Quorum for Business, which must 
therefore probably be in Arrear. If you proceed in your in- 
tended Journey, I shall be glad to see you as you pass through 
Philadelphia. In the mean time I have the Honour to be, 
very respectfully, Sir, your most obedient Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1654. TO JEAN-BAPTISTE LE ROY (L. c.) 

Philad* Aug* 15. 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

When I was in France, I was press'd by M. Le Noir, and 
M. Cadet, to give a Description of my Stove for burning 



536 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

Smoke, they conceiving it might be useful to the Citizens of 
Paris. I promis'd to do it, but had not time while I staid 
there. When at Sea, I wrote that with some other Pieces, 
which being read to our Philosophical Society here, are now 
printed in their Transactions. I send you herewith a Copy. 
I address'd it to you, wishing that if those publick Spirited 
Gentlemen continue in the mind of publishing it, you would 
do me the Honour to take care of the Translation. M. 
Cadet has my Plate for it ready engrav'd, which I left with 
him. The other two Pieces are, One on the Causes and Cure 
of Smoky Chimneys address'd to D r Ingenhousz our common 
Friend, the other containing maritime Observations address'd 
to our common Brother. M r Grand will show them to you 
if you desire it : tho' you will receive the Volume (by the first 
Ship from this Port,) which contains them all. There is 
a Volume also for the Academy. 
I am, ever, my dear Friend, 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 
I received a Letter from you 

lately which had been very long 
in its Passage. I shall write 
to you fully per first Ship 



1655. TO FERDINAND GRAND (i.e.) 

Philad*. AugJ 15. 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

Having at length been persuaded to build two Houses, this 
Year, I wrote to you sometime since requesting you to put 
your self in Cash for me by selling my Actions of the Caisse 



1786] TO JOHN JAY 537 

d'Escompte ; and I have since drawn on you two Bills for 
Two hundred and Fifty Pound's Sterling each, dated the 2Qth 
and the 3oth of July last, or 28th and 29"*, both Setts in 
favour of the same Person M r Meade Merchant of this City, 
and payable in London at 40 Days sight, which I make no 
doubt will be duly honoured. I must continue to draw from 
time to time as my Buildings go on, and I request you would 
keep me advis'd of the Payment that I may continually see 
how our Account goes on. I bespoke before I left France 
some Printing Letters of M r Didot, they are for Benjamin. 
If ready I request you would pay for them, and ship them for 
me by the first convenient Opportunity. I do not know the 
Amount. I wish you to buy for me also the Marquis de 
Chastellux's Voyages in America. I am much in Arrear 
with my Friends in France on the Score of Correspondence. 
But by the first Ship going from hence thither, I will endeav- 
our to clear my Accounts. This goes via New York. My 
Family continues in good Health, Thanks to God : Those you 
knew of us join in best Wishes of Prosperity to you & yours ; 
and I am ever, my dear Friend, 

Yours most affectionately 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1656. TO JOHN JAY (L.C.) 

Philad', Aug' 24, 1786. 

DEAR SIR : I hear a Treaty is compleated with Portugal. 
As soon as it may be made public, you will oblige me much by 
favouring me with a Copy of it. 

The Monument of General Montgomery, may I ask what 



538 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

is become of it? It has formerly been said, that Republicks 
are naturally ungrateful. The immediate Resolution of Con- 
gress for erecting that Monument contradicts that Opinion; 
but the letting the Monument lie eight Years unpack'd, if true, 
seems rather a Confirmation of it. 

On a Review of my Affairs since my Return, I think it 
proper to make some Change in the Dispositions of my Will. 
Having no other Copy on this Side the Water but that in your 
Possession, I wish you to send it to me, which will much oblige, 

dear Sir, your most obed* Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1657. ON THERMOMETERS 

September 13, 1786. 

THE two thermometers most generally in use at present, 
among the philosophers of Europe, are those of Reaumur and 
Fahrenheit. The French use Reaumur's, the English Fahren- 
heit's. 

In their respective graduations, Reaumur marked his freez- 
ing point o, Fahrenheit fixed his at 32 of his degrees above o, 
and two of his degrees are just equal to one of Reaumur's. 
I know that in some instruments this equality is not exact; 
but, in two which I have, the one Reaumur's, made by Cappy 
in Paris, the other Fahrenheit's, by Nairne, London, it is 
precisely so, they hanging together in the same room. And 
those workmen are famed for their exactness. 

In reading, one frequently finds degrees of heat and cold 
mentioned, as measured by one or the other of those thermome- 
ters, and one is at a loss to reduce that least known to the 
other. 



I ;86] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 539 

Rule. 

Suppose the degree mentioned is 25 of Reaumur, which is 
25 degrees above o, or its freezing point, and you would know 
to what degree of Fahrenheit that answers; 

Double the 25, which will give you 50 of Fahrenheit's, and 
to them add 32, his number at the freezing point, and you will 
have 82, the degree of Fahrenheit's equal to 25 of Re'aumur. 

On the contrary, if you would reduce Fahrenheit to Re'au- 
mur, first subtract 32, and then take half of the remainder; 
thus taking 32 from 82, there remains 50, and the half of 50 
is 25. 

This answers in all cases where the degree is above the 
freezing point. 

If below, double the degrees of Re'aumur, and subtract 
them from the 32 of Fahrenheit, which will give you the 
equivalent degree of his scale. Thus, suppose it 5 below o, 
or the freezing point of Re'aumur; twice 5 is 10, which de- 
ducted from 32, Fahrenheit's freezing point, gives you 22 as 
the equivalent degree of his thermometer. 

And halving the degrees of Fahrenheit that are less than 
32, you have the degree of Re'aumur. Thus 22 of Fahrenheit 
being 10 degrees less than 32, the half of 10 is 5, the equivalent 
degree of Re'aumur. B. FRANKLIN. 



1658. TO MRS. JANE MECOM (L. c.) 

Philad* Sept. 21, 1786. 

MY DEAR SISTER : I received your kind Letter of the 25th 
past, by our Cousin Williams, who, besides, informs me of 
your Welfare, which gives me great Pleasure. 



540 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

Your Grandson having finished all the Business I had to 
employ him in, set out for Boston a few Days before Cousin 
Williams arrived. I suppose he may be with you before this 
time. 

I had begun to build two good Houses next the Street, in- 
stead of three old Ones which I pulPd down, but my Neigh- 
bour disputing my Bounds, I have been obliged to postpone 
till that Dispute is settled by Law. In the meantime, the 
Workmen, and Materials being ready, I have ordered an 
Addition to the House I live in, it being too small for our grow- 
ing Family. There are a good many Hands employ'd, and 
I hope to see it cover'd in before Winter. I propose to have 
in it a long Room for my Library and Instruments, with two 
good Bedchambers and two Garrets. The Library is to be 
even with the Floor of my best old Chamber ; and the Story 
under it will for the present be employ'd only to hold Wood, 
but may be made into Rooms hereafter. This Addition is 
on the Side next the River. I hardly know how to justify 
building a library at an Age that will so soon oblige me to quit 
it ; but we are apt to forget that we are grown old, and Build- 
ing is an Amusement. 

I think you will do well to instruct your Grandson in the Art 
of making that Soap. It may be of use to him, and 'tis pity 
it should be lost. 

Some knowing Ones here hi Matters of Weather predict a 
hard Winter. Permit me to have the Pleasure of helping to 
keep you warm. Lay in a good Stock of Firewood, and draw 
upon me for the Amount. Your Bill shall be paid upon Sight 
by your affectionate Brother, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1786] TO MLLE. LE RAY DE CHAUMONT 541 



1659. TO MLLE. LE RAY DE CHAUMONT 

(L.C.) 
Philadelphia ce 7 Octob" 1786. 

MA CHERE FEMME, 

Dans cette eloignement de mes Amis cle France, je trouve 
quelque Consolation en parcourant leurs Epitres amicales, 
quoique anciennes. Ce jour-ci j'ai relu avec nouveau Plaisir 
la votre (sans datte) dans laquelle vous me faites des Instances 
la plus obligeantes de retourner habiter mon ancienne 
chambre. Cela me fait souvenir comme j'y a vecu heureuse- 
ment tant d'ann^es, jouissant de votre Amitfe* & de ce de 
toute la chere Famille. Ces jours helas ! sont passers, pour 
ne revenir jamais. Et comme je suis deja dans 1'autre monde, 
vous etes libre de prendre un meilleur Man, que je vous sou- 
haite de tout mon cceur. Mons. votre Frere a 1'envie de nous 
priver d'une des nos meilleurs Filles pour en faire sa Femme 
et Pamener en France ; il faut qu'en justice il doit nous en- 
voyer une de ses Sceurs pour nous de dommager: Le sera 
encore mieux si vous venez tous ensemble vous etablir dans ce 
bon pays. Je serai ravi de vous embrasser tous, le bon Pere, 
le bonne Mere, & tous les bonnes enfans, sans omettre aucun, 
les marines. 

Quant a la Demoiselle ci-dessus mentionne', c'est une tres 
aimable Fille, & d'une des premieres Families de ce Pays. 
Elle a une Caractere excellente, & elle vous fera une bonne 
Soeur. Comme vous aimer votre cher Frere, vous feres bien 
de disposer, autant que vous pouvez, ses Parens a lui dormer 
leur Consentement. 

Adieu, ma tres chere Amie, & me croyez toujours la votre : 

B. F. 



542 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

P. S. Vous me demandez si j'ai pay M. Leleu pour les 
Bougies. Je trouve parmis mes papiers son Memoire pour 
25 livres Bougies a 58 sols 72-1-4-10. J'en avoit parti 
& sur la Memoire est la de'charge de ma part que j'ai paye* 
a M. notre Pere: 22 May 85. 

tres mauvais francois, n'est ce pas? 



1660. TO DONATIEN LE RAY DE CHAUMONT 

(L. C.) 
Philad*, October 7, 1786. 

DEAR FRIEND : I have just been writing a French Letter 
to Mademoiselle Chaumont; but it costs me too much time 
to write in that Language, and after all 'tis very bad French, 
and I therefore write to you in English, which I think you will 
as easily understand ; if not, ma chere amie Sophie, can inter- 
pret it for you. 

Some of our Letters are long on the Way. The one you 
were so kind as to write me the 24th of September, '85, l 
did not come to hand till the Beginning of June '86, and lately 
M. Le Caze tells me that he had a Packet from you to me, but 
that he unfortunately left it at L 'Orient, and it is not yet 
arriv'd. 

If you have made any further Experiments in whitening 
the green vegetable Wax, I shall be glad to hear what Suc- 
cess you have met with. 

I have frequently the Pleasure of seeing your valuable 
Son, whom I love as my own. He has communicated to me 
his Inclination to marry a young Lady of this Country, 2 

1 In A. P. S. ED. 2 Miss Coxe of New Jersey. ED. 



I 7 86] TO CHARLES PETTIT 543 

and that he has written to you for your and his Mother's 
Consent. I wish his Happiness, and I believe he will find it 
in the Choice he has made, if you approve of it : for the Lady 
bears an excellent Character, and is one of the first Families 
in this Country. 

Please to present my affectionate Respects to Madam de 
Chaumont, and my Love to all your Children. 

With great Esteem and Affection, I am, my dear Friend, 
yours most sincerely, 

My Grandsons present their Respects and best Wishes. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1661. TO CHARLES PETTIT 1 (L. c.) 

PhilacK Oct. 10. 1786 

SIR, 

I received the Letter you did me the Honour of writing to 
me the 30 th past. The Major Judd you mention has not been 
here, unless a Person who came to me one Evening to enquire 
where Franklin & Jenkins lodged, was the Man. He ap- 
peared as a Traveller just alighted from his Horse, seemed in 
great Hurry and Trepidation, anxious to find them imme- 
diately, but told me nothing of his Business. I could not give 
him the Information he wanted, and he went from me to M r 
Pelatiah Webster, who acquainted him they were gone home, 
and he then enquired the Road to Wyoming that he might 
follow them. M* Webster came to me a Day or two after, 
and brought me the enclos'd Paper, a kind of Manifesto, of 
which he said that Person had a Number of Copies and had 

1 Charles Pettit (1736-1806), a Philadelphia merchant, and delegate to 
Congress (1785-1787). ED. 



544 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

left this with him ; but was not farther communicative. It is 
remarkable that it is signed by Franklin and Jenkins at Wyo- 
ming the 12 th of September, when they were here attending 
the Assembly, had been here sometime before and continu'd 
here for some time after, that Date. The Vice President to 
whom I communicated it, thinks it manufactur'd in this Town : 
I rather suspect it a Manceure of Allen's. Perhaps you 
may learn whether it was really printed [at] Hudson. I have 
heard there is one Hamilton there, who busy's himself much 
in the Wyoming Affairs. 

I read to the Council your Letter as far it concern 'd those 
Affairs and the Recommendation of Judd's Son as Prothono- 
tary for the new County. It appear'd to be the general Senti- 
ment that too little was known of him, and that he was proba- 
bly too young. The Choice nearly unanimous fell upon Col. 
Pickering, who it is hoped, as he is himself a Connecticut 
Man may be a means of conciliating Matters in that hitherto 
unhappy Country. 

With regard to the Spanish Treaty I am not sufficiently 
inform'd of the Particulars upon which Advice can be clearly 
founded. I do not know what Advantages Spain proposes 
as an Equivalent for our agreeing to the Restraint, which she 
does not already allow to all other Nations. I think indeed, 
that the Use of the River for ascending with Ships is worth 
very little, being naturally impracticable to any Advantage, 
from the Time it requires & the Labour, but for descending, 
it is of great Importance to all our Country beyond the Moun- 
tains; not indeed so much at present, till the Settlers have 
spare Produce for Exportation ; but the Prospect, and that not 
very distant, of having that Outlet free and open, encourages 
the Settlement, which a Restraint would discourage. I 



1786] TO CHARLES BIDDLE 545 

should therefore rather advise Procrastination, and drawing 
the Treaty out into length, by making new or varying old 
Propositions which would require sending to Spain for fresh 
Instructions, and which from the natural Slowness of that 
Court would be long before they came : for Time may pro- 
duce a new King with new Ideas, or new Ministers with differ- 
ent Views, while we are daily growing stronger and more in a 
Condition of giving Weight to our Claims. And after all 
I should rather be for buying them out of the Country en- 
tirely by a fair Treaty of Purchase for some valuable Con- 
sideration, than to think of driving them out by Force, being 
almost sure it would be cheaper as well as honester. Per- 
haps it might not be amiss to set on foot such a Treaty imme- 
diately. A Guarantee of their other Possessions in America 
might have Weight in it. With great Esteem, I have the 
honour to be, 

Sir, 

Your most obedient 

& most humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1662. TO CHARLES BIDDLE 1 (A. P. s.) 

Thursday, Nov. 2, '86. 

SIR, 

The Report you mention that your Conduct had been dis- 
approved and complain'd of by me, is an infamous Fals- 
hood. You have always appear'd to me an excellent Officer, 
well understanding the Duties of your Station, and indefati- 

1 Vice-President of Pennsylvania, father of Nicholas Biddle, President of 
the United States Bank. ED. 
VOL. ix 2 N 



546 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

gably active in the Performance of those Duties. I give 
you this Testimonial with great Pleasure, being with sincere 
& great Esteem, Sir, 

Your most obed 1 Serv 1 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1663. TO ABBE DE LA ROCHE (L. c.) 

Philad a , Nov. 20, 1786. 

DEAR SIR, 

I hope soon to be in a Situation when I can write largely 
and fully to my Friends in France, without the perpetual 
Interruptions I now daily meet with. At present I can only 
tell you that I am well, 

and that I esteem you, 
and P Abte Morellet, 



and M. Cabanis, 



infinitely 



and love dear Mme. 
Helv^tius, 

Adieu. Yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

I receiv'd several Productions of the Academy at Auteuil, 1 
which gave me great Pleasure. 

1 A humorous allusion to the literary diversions of the merry guests of 
Madame Helvetius. ED. 



I 7 86] TO WILLIAM HUNTER 547 

1664. TO WILLIAM HUNTER 1 

Philadelphia, Nov. 24, 1786. 
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, 

It rejoiced me much to learn by your kind letter of Febru- 
ary last, which I received about ten days since, that you are 
still in the land of the living, and that you are still at Bath, the 
very place that I think gives you the best chance of passing the 
evening of life agreeably. I too am got into my niche, after 
being kept out of it 24 years by foreign employments. It is 
a very good house that I built so long ago to retire into, with- 
out being able till now to enjoy it. I am again surrounded 
by my friends, with a fine family of grandchildren about my 
knees, and an affectionate good daughter and son-in-law 
to take care of me. And, after fifty years' public service, I 
have the pleasure to find the esteem of my country with 
regard to me undiminished ; the late reelection of me to the 
presidentship, notwithstanding the different parties we are split 
into, being absolutely unanimous. This I tell you, not merely 
to indulge my own vanity, but because I know you love me, 
and will be pleased to hear of whatever happens that is agree- 
able to your friend. 

I find Mr. Anstey, 2 whom you recommend to me, a very 
agreeable, sensible man, and shall render him any service that 
may lie in my power. I thank you for the " New Bath Guide." 8 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), 
Vol. I, p. 211. ED. 

2 Mr. Anstey was a commissioner sent over by the British government to- 
settle the affairs of the refugees in America. S. 

8 A famous series of letters in rhyme entitled the " New Bath Guide, or 
Memoirs of the B-r-d [Blunderhead] Family, in a series of Poetical Epistles," 
by Christopher Anstey (1724-1805). ED. 



54 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

I had read it formerly, but it has afforded me fresh pleas- 
ure. 

Your newspapers, to please honest John Bull, paint our 
situation here in frightful colours, as if we were very miser- 
able since we broke our connexion with him. But I will give 
you some remarks by which you may form your own judg- 
ment. Our husbandmen, who are the bulk of the nation, 
have had plentiful crops, their produce sells at high prices 
and for ready, hard money; wheat, for instance, at 8 s., and 
8 s. 6 d. per bushel. Our working-people are all employed and 
get high wages, are well fed and well clad. Our estates in 
houses are trebled in value by the rising of rents since the 
Revolution. Buildings in Philadelphia increase amazingly, 
besides small towns rising in every quarter of the country. 
The laws govern, justice is well administered, and property 
as secure as in any country on the globe. Our wilderness 
lands are daily buying up by new settlers, and our settlements 
extend rapidly to the westward. European goods were never 
so cheaply afforded us, as since Britain has no longer the 
monopoly of supplying us. In short, all among us may be 
happy, who have happy dispositions; such being necessary 
to happiness even in Paradise. 

I speak these things of Pennsylvania, with which I am 
most acquainted. As to the other States, when I read in 
all the papers of the extravagant rejoicings every 4th of 
July, the day on which was signed the Declaration of 
Independence, I am convinced, that none of them are 
discontented with the Revolution. Adieu, my dear friend, 
and believe me ever, with sincere esteem and affection, 
yours most truly, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1 786] TO 549 

1665. TO THOMAS WIGHT, JR. 1 (L. c.) 

Philad, Nov. 25. 1786. 

SIR : I received your Letter dated the 3d of September 
last, 2 enquiring after John Tyler. 8 He is living and in good 
health, and was here with me a few Days since, but is I be- 
lieve gone back into the Country where he resides ; his Com- 
ing to Town being to apply to Government for some Arrears 
due to him as Armourer to the Troops during the late War. 
I am glad to hear that Mr. and Mrs. Salt are still in the Land 
of the Living. My Respects and best Wishes attend them. 
I shall acquaint Mr. Tyler with what you have mentioned to 
me of something being left him, and am, sir, your humble 
Servant, B. FRANKLIN. 



1666. TO - (L. c.) 

Nov. 25, 1786. 

DEAR SIR : I hope your Gout will be of Service to you, as 
I have always found mine has been to me. I return the Piece. 
And since you seem to wish for my Advice, tho' without ask- 
ing it, I will give it. Do not publish the Piece immediately. 
Let it lie by you at least a Twelvemonth, then reconsider it, 
and do what you find proper. Such personal public Attacks 
are never forgiven. You both have Children, and the Ani- 

1 A brandy merchant of Birmingham. ED. 

a In A. P. S.- ED. 

8 A citizen of Birmingham who had gone to America upon advice and 
direction of Franklin. Mr. Wight wrote that a certain Mrs. Glover who died 
on the 22d of July had left some property to the said John Tyler. ED. 



550 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

mosity may be entail'd to the Prejudice of both sides. With 
great Esteem and Affection, I am ever yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1667. TO EDWARD BANCROFT (L. c.) 

Philad, Nov. 26, 1786. 

DEAR SIR, 

1 received your kind Letter of September 5,* informing me 
of the intention Mr. Dilly has of printing a new Edition of 
my Writings, 2 and of his Desire, that I would furnish him with 
such Additions as I may think proper. At present all my 
Papers and Manuscripts are so mixt with other things, by the 
Confusions occasioned in sudden and various Removals dur- 
ing the late Troubles, that I can hardly find any thing. But, 
having nearly finished an Addition to my House, which will 
afford me Room to put all in Order, I hope soon to be able to 
comply with such a Request ; but I hope Mr. Dilly will have 
a good Understanding in the Affair with Henry and Johnson, 
who, having risqu'd the former Impressions, may suppose they 
thereby acquired some Right in the Copy. As to the Life 
propos'd to be written, if it be by the same hand who furnish'd 
a Sketch to Dr. Lettsom, which he sent me, I am afraid it 
will be found too full of Errors for either you or me to correct : 
And having been persuaded by my Friends, Messrs. Benj a 
Vaughan, M. Le Veillard, Mr. James of this Place, and some 
others, that such a Life, written by myself, may be useful to 

Un A. P. S. ED. 

2 " Philosophical and Miscellaneous Papers. Lately Written by B. Frank- 
lin, LL.D. London; Printed for C. Dilly in the Poultry, 1787." Charles 
Dilly (1739-1807) was the publisher of "Tour to the Hebrides" (1780) and 
the first edition of Boswell's " Life of Johnson " (1791). ED. 



1786] CAPTAIN THOMAS DE UGARTA Y LIANES 551 

the rising Generation, I have made some Progress in it, and 
hope to finish it this Winter ; so I cannot but wish that Project 
of Mr. Dilly's Biographer may be laid aside. I am neverthe- 
less thankful to you for your Friendly Offer of correcting it. 1 
As to Public Affairs, it is long since I gave over all Expec- 
tations of a Commercial Treaty between us and Britain; 
and I think we can do as well, or better, without one than she 
can. Our Harvests are plenty, our Produce fetches a high 
Price in hard Money, and there is in every Part of our Country 
incontestible Marks of public Felicity. We discover, indeed, 
some Errors hi our general and particular Constitutions; 
which it is no Wonder they should have, the time in which 
they were formed being considered. But these we shall mend. 
The little Disorders you have heard of in some of the States, 
rais'd by a few wrong Heads, are subsiding, and will probably 
soon be extinguish'd. My best Wishes, and those of my Fam- 
ily, attend you. We shall be happy to see you here, when it 
suits you to visit us ; being with sincere and great Esteem, 
my dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1668. TO CAPTAIN THOMAS DE UGARTA 

Y LIANES 2 (L.C.) 

Philad', Dec. 16. 1786. 

HONOURABLE SIR : The Council having received In- 
formation that the Ship under your Command lies in a dan- 
gerous Situation, expos'd to be much injur'd, if not destroy 'd, 

1 The biography was omitted. ED. 

a Captain of a Spanish frigate lying at Marcus Hook. ED. 



552 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1786 

by the Violence of the driving Ice, have thought that not only 
the Duty of Hospitality towards Strangers in our Port, but 
the just Regard due from us to the excellent Prince, your 
Sovereign, and the good Friend of these States, required of us 
to afford every Assistance in our Power for her Preservation. 
And apprehending that possibly your People, accustom 'd 
to warmer Climates, may not be so well acquainted with the 
Force and mischievous Effects of Ice, and the Methods of 
guarding against it, we send to you two of the Wardens of the 
Port, Men of Experience and Knowledge in such Matters, 
on whose Advice you may rely, and who have Authority to ob- 
tain such Aid from the Inhabitants, if any should be wanted, 
as may enable them to put her in a Position of the greatest 
possible Safety. 

Wishing you every kind of Prosperity, I have the honour to 
be, Hon ble Sir, your most obedient and most humble Serv*, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1669. TO CAPTAIN NATHANIEL FALCONER (L. c.) 

Philad<S Dec. 16. 1786. 

GENTLEMEN: When you arrive at Marcus Hook you 
will deliver the Letter to the Captain of the Spanish Man-of- 
War, and having view'd the Situation of the Ship and the 
Piers, you will respectfully offer him your Opinion and Advice 
on the best Means of securing her from Damage by the driv- 
ing Ice, in Writing if he desires it, and afford every Assistance 
you can procure, for the Expence of which (if he does not pay 
it), you will be indemnify 'd here. 

If you find the Piers likely to be damag'd in case of his 



1787] TO CHARLES THOMSON 553 

Refusal to follow your Council, you will likely represent that 
to him in Writing, to be made use of hereafter in support of a 
Complaint to his Court and Demand of Satisfaction, if such 
a Step should be thought proper. And you will take such 
prudent Steps as shall occur to you for preventing as far as 
possible, or lessening such Damage. 

You will also inquire into the Truth of the Reports of In- 
juries done by his People to the Inhabitants, and if you find 
them true, acquaint him with them, expressing at the same 
time your Persuasion that he will take Measures to prevent 
such Injuries for the future. 

With sincere Regard, I am, Gentlemen, your humble Serv 1 , 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1670. TO CHARLES THOMSON 1 (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, January 25, 1787. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

You may remember, that in the correspondence between us 
in June last, on the Subject of a Million jree gi]t of the King 
of France, acknowledged in our contract to have been re- 
ceived, but which did not appear to be accounted for in our 
Banker's accounts, unless it should be the same with the 
million said to be received from the Farmers- General, I men- 
tioned, that an explanation might doubtless be easily ob- 
tained by writing to Mr. Grand, or Mr. Jefferson. I know 
not whether you have accordingly written to either of them ; 
but, being desirous that the matter should be speedily cleared 
up, I wrote myself to Mr. Grand a letter upon it, of which I 
now enclose a Copy, with his answers, and several letters 

1 From the Jefferson Papers (L. C.), in the hand of a secretary. ED. 



554 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

from M. Durival, who is Che] du Bureau des Fonds (and has 
under his care la Finance) des Affaires Etr anger es. 

You will see by these letters that the million in question 
was delivered to somebody on the loth of June 1776, but it 
does not appear to whom. It is clear that it could not be to 
Mr. Grand nor to the Commissioners from Congress; for 
we did not meet in France till the end of December 1776, or 
beginning of January 1777, and that Banker was not charged 
before with our affairs. 

By the Minister's [reserve] in refusing him a Copy of the 
Receipt, I conjecture it must be money advanced for our use 
to M. de Beaumarchais, and that it is a mystere du cabinet, 
which perhaps should not be further enquired into, unless 
necessary to guard against more demands than may be just 
from that agent : For it may well be supposed, that, if the 
Court furnished him with the means of supplying us, they 
may not be willing to furnish authentic proofs of such a trans- 
action so early in our dispute with Britain. Pray tell me, 
has he dropped his demands, or does he still continue to 
worry you with them ? 

I should like to have these original letters returned to me, 
but you may, if you please, keep Copies of them. It is true 
the million in question makes no difference in your accounts 
with the King of France, it not being mentioned or charged, 
as so much lent and to be repaid, but stated as freely given. 
Yet if it was put into the Hands of any of your Agents, or 
Ministers, they ought certainly to account for it. I do not 
recollect whether Mr. Deane had arrived in France before 
the loth of June, 1776; * but from his great want of money, 
when I joined him a few months after, I hardly think it could 

1 Deane did not arrive in Paris till the first week in July. ED. 



1787] TO ALEXANDER SMALL 555 

have been paid him. Possibly Mr. Jefferson may obtain the 
information, tho' Mr. Grand could not, and I wish he may 
be directed to make the enquiry, as I know he would do it 
directly [discreetly?]; I mean if by Hortalez and Co.'s fur- 
ther demands, or for any other reason, such an enquiry 

should be thought necessary. 1 I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1671. TO ALEXANDER SMALL (L. c.) 

Philad*, Feb. 19, 1787. 
DEAR FRIEND, 

I received your Favour of June last, 2 and thank you for 
the kind Congratulations contain'd in it. What you have 
heard of my Malady is true, "that it does not grow worse." 
Thanks to God, I still enjoy Pleasure in the Society of my 
Friends and Books, and much more in the Prosperity of my 
Country, concerning which your People are continually 
deceiving themselves. 

I am glad the Improvement of the Book of Common Prayer 8 
has met with your Approbation, and that of good Mrs. Bald- 

1 This matter was not cleared up till 1794, when Gouverneur Morris was 
American Minister in Paris. By application to the government he procured 
a copy of the receipt, which had been given by the person who received the 
million of livres on the loth of June, 1776. It proved to be Beaumarchais, as 
Dr. Franklin had conjectured. See Sparks's " Life of Gouverneur Morris," 
Vol. II, p. 446. 

While the correspondence with the banker in Paris was going on, Dr. 
Franklin's enemies in Congress made themselves busy in propagating a report 
that he was a defaulter to the amount of one million of livres, and thus gave 
currency to a most unjust and injurious suspicion against him throughout the 
country. S. 

2 June 6, 1786, in A. P. S. ED. 

See the letter to Granville Sharp, July 5, 1785. ED. 



556 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

win. It is not yet, that I know of, received in public Practice 
anywhere ; but, as it is said that Good Motions never die, 
perhaps in time it may be found useful. 

I read with Pleasure the Account you gave of the flourish- 
ing State of your Commerce and Manufactures, and of the 
Plenty you have of Resources to carry the Nation thro' all 
its Difficulties. You have one of the finest Countries in the 
World, and, if you can be cur'd of the Folly of making War for 
Trade, (in which Wars more has been always expended than 
the Profits of any Trade can compensate,) you may make 
it one of the happiest. Make the best of your own natural 
Advantages, instead of endeavouring to diminish those of 
other Nations, and there is no doubt but that you may yet 
prosper and flourish. Your beginning to consider France no 
longer as a natural Enemy, is a Mark of Progress in the Good 
Sense of the Nation, of which Posterity will find the Benefit, 
in the Rarity of Wars, the Diminution of Taxes, and Increase 
of Riches. 

As to the Refugees, whom you think we were so impolitic 
in rejecting, I do not find that they are miss'd here, or that 
anybody regrets their Absence. And certainly they must be 
happier where they are, under the Government they admire ; 
and be better receiv'd among a People, whose Cause they 
espous'd and fought for, than among those who cannot so soon 
have forgotten the Destruction of their Habitations, and the 
spilt Blood of their dearest Friends and near Relations. 

I often think with great Pleasure on the happy Days I 
pass'd in England with my and your learned and ingenious 
Friends, who have left us to join the Majority in the World of 
Spirits. Every one of them now knows more than all of us 
they have left behind. It is to me a comfortable Reflection, 



1787] TO NEVIL MASKELYNE 557 

that, since we must live for ever in a future State, there is a 
sufficient Stock of Amusement in reserve for us, to be found in 
constantly learning something new to Eternity, the present 
Quantity of human Ignorance infinitely exceeding that of 
human Knowledge. Adieu, my dear Friend, and believe 
me, in whatever World, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN, 
in his 82* year. 



1672. TO NEVIL MASKELYNE 1 

Philadelphia, March 29, 1787. 
REVEREND AND DEAR SIR, 

The writer of the enclosed paper concerning the variation 
of the compass, and the important use which he supposes may 
be made of that variation, not being satisfied with the judg- 
ment of some of our principal mathematicians here, has ear- 
nestly desired me to communicate it to some of my learned 
friends in Europe. 2 I know no one better acquainted with 
the subject than yourself, and, as I cannot refuse complying 
with his request, I beg you will excuse my giving you this 
trouble, and favour me with a line expressing your opinion ; 
which condescension will very much oblige, Sir, your most 
obedient servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 First printed by Sparks. ED. 

a The writer here alluded to was John Churchman, who published a work, 
entitled " The Magnetic Atlas," in which he advanced a new theory of the varia- 
tion of the compass. ED. 



558 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 



1673. TO M. LE VEILLARD 1 

Philadelphia, April 15, 1787. 

I HAVE received a number of letters from you, which gave 
me great pleasure, though I have not regularly answered. 
When you shall consider the situation of a man who had been 
many years absent from home, the multiplicity of private 
affairs he must consequently have to settle, the public business 
of a great government to be attended to, and this under the 
frequent teasing of a painful disease, you will probably make 
some charitable allowance for his delay in writing to his 
friends, and not charge it all as the effect of forgetfulness and 
want of affection. 

I now have all your letters of the last year before me, and 
shall go through them in order. That of March 25th, an- 
nounced a M. de la Villele, nephew of the late Madame de 
la Fre*te*, as intending a voyage hither, but he has not yet ap- 
peared in these parts. If he arrives while I live, he will be 
paid every attention and civility in my power to show him. 

I thank you for the trouble you have taken in selling my 
forte piano and dividing the money as I desired. 

The Lodge of the Nine Sisters have done me too much 
honour in proposing the prize you mention. 2 

1 In reply to a letter dated June I, 1786, in A. P. S. Printed from "The 
Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. I, p. 214. ED. 

2 M. le Veillard wrote to Franklin April 2, 1786 (A. P. S.), that he had 
sold his pianoforte for twelve Louis, and that the Lodge of the Nine Sisters 
(the Muses) had announced a prize of six hundred francs for a eulogy of 
Franklin. ED. 



1787] TO M. LE VEILLARD 559 

As to the little history I promised you, my purpose still 
continues of completing it, and I hoped to do it this summer, 
having built an addition to my house, in which I have placed 
my library, and where I can write without being disturbed by 
the noise of the children, but the General Assembly having 
lately desired my assistance in a great convention to be held 
here in May next for amending the Federal Constitution, I 
begin to doubt whether I can make any progress in it till that 
business is over. 

Yours of the 23rd of May did not arrive here till the 5th of 
October, and this is not the only instance of the long time 
letters are delayed in your seaports. It is true that we had, 
as you mention, two parties in this State one for preserving 
the Constitution as it is, and the other for adding an Upper 
House as a check to the Assembly. But having tried it 
seven years, the strongest party was for continuing it, and 
since my arrival no obstruction has happened in public busi- 
ness, such as you had been informed of, by the seceding of one 
party from the Assembly. Having served one year as Presi- 
dent of Council, I had not resolution enough to refuse serv- 
ing another, and was again chosen in November last, without 
a single dissenting voice but my own. By our laws one cannot 
serve more than three years, but I think I shall decline the 
third. 

I am quite of your opinion that our independence is not 
quite complete till we have discharged our public debt. This 
State is not behindhand in its proportion, and those who are 
in arrear are actually employed in contriving means to dis- 
charge their respective balances, but they are not all equally 
diligent in business, nor equally successful; the whole will, 
however, be paid, I am persuaded, in a few years. 



560 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

The English have not yet delivered up the posts on our 
frontier, agreeable to treaty; the pretence is that our mer- 
chants have not paid their debts. I was a little provoked 
when I first heard this, and I wrote some remarks upon it 
which I send you. 1 They have been written near a year, 
but I have not yet published them, being unwilling to encour- 
age any of our people who may be able to pay in their neglect 
of that duty. This paper, therefore, is only for your amuse- 
ment and that of our excellent friend, the Duke de la Roche- 
foucauld. 2 

You blame me for writing three pamphlets and neglecting 
to write the little history; you should consider they were 
written at sea, out of my own head ; the other could not so 
well be written there for want of the documents that could 
only be had here. 

As to my malady, concerning which you so kindly inquire, 
I have never had the least doubt of its being the stone. I am 
sensible that it is grown heavier ; but on the whole it does not 
give me more pain than when at Passy, and except in standing, 
walking, or making water, I am very little incommoded by it. 
Sitting or lying in bed I am generally quite easy, God be 
thanked ; and as I live temperately, drink no wine, and use 
daily the exercise of the dumb-bell, I flatter myself that the 
stone is kept from augmenting so much as it might otherwise 
do, and that I may still continue to find it tolerable. People 
who live long, who will drink of the cup of life to the very 
bottom, must expect to meet with some of the usual dregs, 
and when I reflect on the number of terrible maladies human 

1 See " The Retort Courteous." ED. 

2 The following was written in the margin : 

" This omitted at present for want of time to copy it." B. 



1787] TO M. LE VEILLARD 561 

nature is subject to, I think myself favoured in having to my 
share only the stone and the gout. 

In yours of August 2ist, you mention your having written 
the 2ist and 2Qth of June, which letters were in a paquet, 
with one from the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, two from M. 
and Mad. Brillon, etc. I have not been so happy as to re- 
ceive these letters ; they never came to hand. 

You were right in conjecturing that I wrote the remarks 
on the "Thoughts concerning Executive Justice." I have no 
copy of those remarks at hand, and forget how the saying 
was introduced that it was better one thousand guilty persons 
should escape than one innocent suffer. Your criticisms 
thereon appear to be just, and I imagine you may have mis- 
apprehended my intention in mentioning it. I always 
thought, with you, that the prejudice in Europe which sup- 
poses a family dishonoured by the punishment of one of its 
members was very absurd, it being, on the contrary, my 
opinion that a rogue hanged out of a family does it more 
honour than ten that live in it. 

What you mention of our paper money, if you mean that 
of this State, Pennsylvania, is not well understood. It was 
made before my arrival, and not being a legal tender can do no 
injustice to anybody, nor does any one here complain of it, 
though many are justly averse to an increase of the quantity 
at this time, there being a'great deal of real money in the coun- 
try, and one bank in good credit. I have myself purchased 
ten ACTIONS in it, which, at least, shows my good opinion of it. 

Besides the addition to my house, mentioned above, I 
have been building two new houses on my front, next the street. 
They are of brick, and each twenty-four feet wide by forty- 
five deep, and three stories high. The affairs in dealing with 

VOL. IX 2O 



$6z THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

so many workmen and furnishers of materials, such as brick- 
layers, carpenters, stone-cutters, painters, glaziers, lime- 
burners, timber-merchants, copper-smiths, carters, labourers, 
etc., etc., have added not a little to the fatiguing business I 
have gone through in the last year, as mentioned above, and 
strengthen in some degree my apology for being so bad a 
correspondent. 

Mr. Brabanzon has requested me to send him some seeds 
in time to plant this spring, but his letter came to hand too 
late. They will be got the ensuing autumn and sent, so as 
to be ready for planting next year. 

Temple and Benjamin will write to you. This letter 
goes by Mr. Paine, one of our principal writers at the Revolu- 
tion, being the author of "Common Sense" a pamphlet that 
had prodigious effects. 

He does not speak French, or I should recommend him to 
your civilities, as I do to those of our friend, the good Duke. 

The last letter I have had the pleasure of receiving from 
you is that of Nov. 19, 1786. I cannot give you a better idea 
of my present happiness in my family than in telling you that 
my daughter has all the virtues of a certain good lady that you 
allow me to love ; the same tender affections and intentions, 
ingenuity, industry, economy, etc., etc., etc. Embrace that 
good dame for me warmly, and the amiable daughter. My 
best wishes attend the whole family, whom I shall never cease 
to love while I am 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1787] TO THE DUKE DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD 563 

1674. TO THE DUKE DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD > 

Philadelphia, April 15, 1787. 

I HAVE been happy in receiving three very kind letters from 
my greatly respected and esteemed friend, since my being in 
America. They are dated November 3oth, 1785, February 
8th, 1786, and January i4th, I787. 2 In mine of this date to 
M. le Veillard, I have made the best apology I could for my 
being so bad a correspondent. I will not trouble you with a 
repetition of it, as I know you often see him. I will only con- 
fess my fault, and trust to your candour and goodness for 
my pardon. 

Your friendly congratulations on my arrival and reception 
here were very obliging. The latter was, as you have heard, 
extremely flattering. The two parties in the Assembly and 
Council, the constitutionists and anti-constitutionists, joined 
in requesting my service as counsellor, and afterwards in 
electing me as President. Of seventy-four members in Coun- 
cil and Assembly, who voted by ballot, there was in my first 
election but one negative, besides my own; and in the sec- 
ond, after a year's service, only my own. And I experience, 
from all the principal people in the government, every atten- 
tion and assistance that can be desired towards making the 
task as little burdensome to me as possible. So I am going 
on very comfortably hitherto with my second year, and I do 
not at present see any likelihood of a change ; but future events 
are always uncertain, being governed by Providence or sub- 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin " (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 216. ED. 

* All but January 14, 1787, are in A. P. S. ED. 



564 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

ject to chances ; and popular favour is very precarious, being 
sometimes lost as well as gained by good actions ; so I do not 
depend on a continuance of my present happiness, and there- 
fore shall not be surprised, if, before my time of service ex- 
pires, something should happen to diminish it. 

These States in general enjoy peace and plenty. There 
have been some disorders in the Massachusetts and Rhode 
Island governments ; those in the former are quelled for the 
present ; those of the latter, being contentions for and against 
paper money, will probably continue some time. Maryland 
too is divided on the same subject, the Assembly being for it, 
and the Senate against it. Each is now employed in endeav- 
ouring to gain the people to its party against the next elec- 
tions, and it is probable the Assembly may prevail. Paper 
money in moderate quantities has been found beneficial; 
when more than the occasions of commerce require, it 
depreciated and was mischievous; and the populace are 
apt to demand more than is necessary. In this State we have 
some, and it is useful, and I do not hear any clamour for more. 

There seems to be but little thought at present in the par- 
ticular States, of mending their particular constitutions; 
but the grand Federal Constitution 1 is generally blamed as 
not having given sufficient powers to Congress, the federal 
head. A convention is therefore appointed to revise that 
constitution, and propose a better. You will see by the en- 
closed paper, that your friend is to be one in that business, 
though he doubts his malady may not permit his giving 
constant attendance. I am glad to see, that you are named 
as one of a General Assembly to be convened in France. 
I flatter myself, that great good may accrue to that dear 

1 The Old Confederation. ED. 



1787] TO THE DUKE DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD 565 

nation from the deliberations of such an assembly. I pray 
God to give it his blessing. 

I sympathize with you and the family most sincerely, in the 
great loss sustained by the decease of that excellent woman. 1 
It must be indeed a heavy one. My best wishes attend those 
that remain, and that the happiness of your sweet domestic 
society may long continue without such another interruption. 

I send herewith a volume of the Transactions of our Philo- 
sophical Society for you, another for M. de Condorcet, and a 
third for the Academy. The war had interrupted our at- 
tempts to improve ourselves in scientific matters, but we now 
begin to resume them. 

The bearer of this is Mr. Paine, the author of a famous piece, 
entitled " Common Sense," published here with great effect 
on the minds of the people at the beginning of the Revolution. 
He is an ingenious, honest man ; and as such I beg leave to 
recommend him to your civilities. He carries with him the 
model of a bridge of a new construction, his own invention, 
concerning which I intended to have recommended him to M. 
Peyronnet, 2 but I hear he is no more. You can easily pro- 
cure Mr. Paine a sight of the models and drawings of the 

1 The Duchess d'Enville, mother of the Duke de la Rochefoucauld. 
W. T. F. 

2 Jean-Rodolphe Perronet (1708-1794), a famous designer of bridges. 
He was a member of the Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Royal 
Society. In the hall of the Royal Society his bust is placed next to that of 
Franklin. Paine wrote to Franklin, June 22, 1787 (A. P. S.) : "Your old 
friend M. Perinet [sic], the Bridge Architect is yet living. I was introduced 
to him by M. Le Roi. He has taken a Residence in the Elysian Fields, for the 
purpose of being near the works. He has invited me to see his House at Paris 
where all his drawings and Models are." Speaking of Franklin's friends in 
Paris, Paine said in the same letter, " My reception here in consequence of them 
[Franklin's letters of introduction] has been abundantly cordial and friendly. 
I have received visits and invitations from all who were in Town. The Duke 



566 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

collection appertaining to the P outset Chaussees ; they must 
afford him useful lights on the subject. We want a bridge 
over our river Schuylkill, and have no artist here regularly 
bred to that kind of architecture. 

My grandsons are very sensible of the honour of your re- 
membrance, and desire me to present their respects. With 
the most sincere and perfect esteem and attachment, I am ever, 

my dear friend, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1675. TO COMTE D'ESTAING 1 (L. c.) 

Philad% April, 15, 1787. 

DEAR SIR: When I receiv'd the two Letters you did 
me the honour of writing to me last Year, I was made to hope 
for the great Pleasure of soon receiving you here, in your 
Way to Georgia. That Event would have made me very 
happy. I should have had an Opportunity of showing 
some Marks of the Respect I bear and always shall for the 
generous Warrior, who fought and bled in the Cause of 
Liberty and my Country. 2 The Assembly of that State has 

de Rochefoucauld & General Chastellux are in the Country. I dined yester- 
day with an old Friend of yours M. Malesherbes who is of the new Council of 
finances; and who received me with an Heartiness of friendship. It must 
have been a very strong attachment to America that drew you from this 
Country for your friends are very numerous and very affectionate. 

" M. Le Roi has been most attentively kind to me. As he speaks English 
there is scarcely a day pass without an interview. He took me a few days 
ago to see an old friend of yours M. Buffon. But we were informed by the 
servant that he was very ill, and under the operation of Medicine.' ' ED. 

1 Charles Hector-Theodat, Comte d'Estaing (1729-1794), naval officer. 
ED. 

2 D'Estaing was severely wounded, October 9, 1779, in an attack upon 
Savannah. ED. 



1787] TO THE MARQUIS DE CHASTELLUX 567 

granted me 3,000 Acres of their Land to be located where I 
can find any Vacant. I wish much that it might be near 
yours : For you contriv'd to make your Neighbourhood so 
agreable to me at Passy, that I could wish to be your Neigh- 
bour everywhere. 

M. du Plessis staid here but a few Days. I should have 
been glad of any Occasion of being serviceable to him on your 
Account. 

The Bearer of this is Mr. Paine Author of the celebrated 
Pamphlet, " Common Sense," by which the Revolution was 
greatly forwarded : He must be known to you by Reputation. 
Will you permit me to recommend him as a Friend of mine 
to those Civilities you have so much Pleasure in showing to 
Strangers of Merit. 

With sincere and great Esteem and Respect, I am ever, 
Dear Sir, etc., 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1676. TO THE MARQUIS DE CHASTELLUX 1 

Philadelphia, April 17, 1787. 

DEAR SIR, 

Your most pleasing letter, accompanied by the invaluable 
present of your Journal, 2 and translation of Colonel Hum- 
phreys's poem, 8 came to hand but lately, though dated in June 
last. I believe they have been in the West Indies. They 
have given me a great deal of pleasure in the perusal, as every 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 219. ED. 

a "Voyages dans I'Amerique Septentrionale dans les Annees 1780, 81 et 82." 
Paris, 1786. ED. 

* Discours en vers, addresse* aux . . . soldats des . . . Annees Americaines, 
1786 (in French prose). ED. 



5 68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

thing of yours always did. The portrait you have made of 
our country and people is what in painting is called a handsome 
likeness, for which we are much obliged to you. We shall be 
the better for it, if we endeavour to merit what you kindly 
say in our favour, and to correct what you justly censure. 
I am told the Journal is translated into English, and printed 
in one of the States, I know not which, not having seen the 
translation. 

The newspapers tell us, that you are about to have an 
Assembly of Notables, to consult on improvements of your 
government. It is somewhat singular, that we should be 
engaged in the same project here at the same time ; but so it 
is, and a convention for the purpose of revising and amending 
our federal constitution is to meet at this place next month. 
I hope both assemblies will be blessed with success, and that 
their deliberations and counsels may promote the happiness 
of both nations. 

In the State of Pennsylvania, government, notwithstanding 
our parties, goes on at present very smoothly, so that I have 
much less trouble in my station than was expected. Massa- 
chusetts has lately been disturbed by some disorderly people ; 
but they are now quelled. The rest of the States go on pretty 
well, except some dissensions in Rhode Island and Maryland 
respecting paper money. Mr. Paine, whom you know, and 
who undertakes to deliver this letter to you, can give you full 
information of our affairs, and therefore I need not enlarge 
upon them. I beg leave to recommend him to your civilities. 
I have fulfilled all your commissions to the ladies here, who 
are much flattered by your kind remembrance of them. My 
family join in every sentiment of esteem and respect with, 
my dear friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1787] TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 569 

1677. TO MESSRS. THE ABBES CHALUT AND 
ARNAUD 

Philadelphia, April 17, 1787. 
DEAR FRIENDS, 

Your reflections on our situation, compared with that of 
many nations of Europe, are very sensible and just. Let 
me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. 
As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need 
of masters. 

Our public affairs go on as well as can reasonably be ex- 
pected, after so great an overturning. We have had some 
disorders in different parts of the country, but we arrange 
them as they arise, and are daily mending and improving; 
so that I have no doubt but all will come right in time. Yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1678. TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 2 

Philadelphia, April 17, 1787. 

DEAR FRIEND, 

I received the kind letter you did me the honour of writing, 
in February, 1786." The indolence of old age, and the per- 
petual teasing of too much business, have made me so bad 
a correspondent, that I have hardly written a letter to any 
friend in Europe during the last twelvemonth ; but, as I have 

1 From " The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin " (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 220. The letter is a reply to one from the Abbes, dated " Paris 9 Decem- 
bre 1786." ED. 

2 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 221. ED. 

February 10, 1786 : in A. P. S. ED. 



570 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

always a pleasure in hearing from them, which I cannot 
expect will be continued if I do not write to them, I again 
take up my pen, and begin with those whose correspondence 
is of the greatest value ; among which I reckon that of the 
Marquis de la Fayette. 

I was glad to hear of your safe return to Paris, after so 
long and fatiguing a journey. That is the place where your 
enlightened zeal for the welfare of our country can employ 
itself most to our advantage, and I know it is always at work 
and indefatigable. Our enemies are, as you observe, very 
industrious in depreciating our national character. Their 
abuse sometimes provokes me, and I am almost ready to 
retaliate ; but I have held my hand, though there is abundant 
room for recrimination; because I would do nothing that 
might hasten another quarrel by exasperating those, who are 
still sore from their late disgraces. Perhaps it may be best, 
that they should please themselves with fancying us weak, 
and poor, and divided, and friendless ; they may then not be 
jealous of our growing strength, which, since the peace, does 
really make rapid progress, and may be less intent on inter- 
rupting it. 

I do not wonder that the Germans, who know little of free 
constitutions, should be ready to suppose that such cannot 
support themselves. We think they may, and we hope to 
prove it. That there should be faults in our first sketches or 
plans of government is not surprising ; rather, considering 
the times, and the circumstances under which they were 
formed, it is surprising that the faults are so few. Those 
in the general confederating articles are now about to be con- 
sidered in a convention called for that express purpose ; 
these will indeed be the most difficult to rectify. Those of 



1787] TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE 571 

particular States will undoubtedly be rectified, as their in- 
conveniences shall by experience be made manifest. And, 
whatever difference of sentiment there may be among us 
respecting particular regulations, the enthusiastic rejoicings, 
with which the day of declared independence is annually 
celebrated, demonstrate the universal satisfaction of the people 
with the Revolution and its grand principles. 

I enclose the vocabulary you sent me, with the words of 
the Shawanese and Delaware languages, which Colonel 
Harmar has procured for me. He is promised one more 
complete, which I shall send you as soon as it comes to my 
hands. 

My grandson, whom you so kindly inquire after, is at his 
estate in the Jerseys, and amuses himself with cultivating 
his lands. I wish he would seriously make a business of it, 
and renounce all thoughts of public employment, for I think 
agriculture the most honourable, because the most inde- 
pendent, of all professions. But I believe he hankers a 
little after Paris, or some other of the polished cities of Europe, 
thinking the society there preferable to what he meets with 
in the woods of Ancocas; as it certainly is. If he was now 
here, he would undoubtedly join with me and the rest of my 
family, who are much flattered by your remembrance of 
them, in best wishes for your health and prosperity, and that 
of your whole amiable fireside. You will allow an old friend 
of fourscore to say he loves your wife, when he adds, and chil- 
dren, and prays God to bless them all. Adieu ; and believe 
me ever yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



57 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

1679. TO JEAN-BAPTISTE LE ROY 1 

Philadelphia, April 18, 1787. 

MY DEAR OLD FRIEND: I believe I have not written 
to you since I received your kind letter of July 26, 2 and 
October 9, 1786. Such has been my continual occupation 
in public and private business, having the building of three 
houses upon my hands, that I had no time left for philosophical 
correspondence. I now take up my pen with the honest 
resolution of paying off some of my debts. 

You mention that M. de Buffon avoit des douleurs sem- 
blables aux miennes. I sympathize with him. Let me know 
in your next how he does. I do not understand these dis- 
pensations of Providence, though probably they are for the 
best. But it seems to me that if you or I had the disposition 
of good and evil in this world, so excellent a man would not 
have an hour's pain during his existence. 

Your account of the progress made in the art of ballooning, 
by the acquisition of a tight envelope and the means of de- 
scending and rising without throwing out ballast, or letting 
out air, is very pleasing. I am sorry the artists at Javelle 
do not continue their experiments. I always thought they 
were in the likeliest way of making improvements, as they 
were remote from interruption in their experiments. I had 
sometimes wished I had brought with me from France a 
balloon sufficiently large to raise me from the ground. In my 
malady it would have been the most easy carriage for me, 

1 From "The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin" (Bigelow), Vol. IX, 
p. 377. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 



1787] TO THOMAS JEFFERSON 573 

being led by a string held by a man walking on the ground. 
I should be glad to have Mr. Meunier's work. Pray let 
Mr. Grand know where he may buy it for me. 

It gives me pleasure to hear of the success attending the 
conductors at Brest and at Dijon. Time will bring them 
more into use, and of course make them more useful. 

It is a curious fact, that of the death of so many pigeons 
by lightning without disturbing their position. Pray when 
you see M. de Malesherbes, 1 present to him my respects. 
He is one of the most respectable characters of this age. 

Believe me ever, my dear friend, with the sincerest esteem 

and respect, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1680. TO THOMAS JEFFERSON 2 (L. c.) 

Philad*, April 19, 1787. 

DEAR SIR : I have lately received your Favour of Dec. 
23. The Diplomas I hope are got to hand before this time. 
I am much oblig'd by your taking care of my " Encyclopedic." 
Mr. Hopkinson will account with you for it. 

I am glad to learn that everything is quiet in Europe, and 
like to continue so. I hope the same will be the case here ; 
tho' Boutdefeus are not wanting among us, who by inflam- 
matory Writings hi the Papers are perpetually endeavouring 
to set us together by the Ears about Taxes, and Certificates, 
etc. The Insurgents in the Massachusetts are quelled, 

1 Chretien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (1721-1794), French 
statesman, President of the Cour des Aides. ED. 

2 A press copy of this letter is in the Stevens Collection (L. C). The 
original letter is in the Jefferson Papers, Vol. 33, No. 23, Series 2. ED. 



574 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

and I believe a great Majority of that People approve the 
Measures of Government in reducing them. Yet I see that 
in the late Election they have left out the late Governor and 
chosen Mr. Hancock. But he was always more popular 
than Mr. Bowdoin, had resign'd on Acct of his Infirmities, 
and his Health being mended, his Friends have taken advan- 
tage of the Offence given by Mr. Bowdoin to the Malcontents, 
to increase the Number of .Votes against him. His refusing 
the Bill for reducing the governor's Salary has also, I imagine, 
hurt his Interest at this Election. So that upon the whole I 
do not think his not being chosen any Proof of general Dis- 
satisfaction with the Measures taken to suppress the Rebel- 
lion, or with the Constitution. 

Our Federal Constitution is generally thought defective, 
and a Convention, first propos'd by Virginia, and since 
recommended by Congress, is to assemble here next Month, 
to revise it and propose Amendments. The Delegates 
generally appointed, as far as I have heard of them, are Men 
of Character for Prudence and Ability, so that I hope Good 
from their Meeting. Indeed if it does not do Good it must 
do Harm, as it will show that we have not Wisdom enough 
among us to govern ourselves ; and will strengthen the Opin- 
ion of some Political Writers, that popular Governments 
cannot long support themselves. 

I am sorry for the Death of M. Peyronet on Acct of Mr. 
Paine, who would have been pleas'd and instructed by con- 
ferring with that ingenious and skilful Artist on the Subject 
of his Bridge, and it was my Intention to introduce him to 
M. Peyronet's Acquaintance. I have requested the Duke 
de Rochefoucauld to procure him a Sight of the Models and 
Drafts in the Repository of the Ponts et Chausse*es. You 



1787] TO FERDINAND GRAND $7$ 

are well acquainted with Mr. Paine's Merit, and need no 
Request of mine to serve him in his Views, and introduce 
him where it may be proper, and of Advantage to him. 

With great and sincere Esteem I have the honour to be 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1681. TO FERDINAND GRAND (L. c.) 

Philad* April 22, 1787. 

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received in its time your Favour 
of Sept 9, and approve of your Reason for not adding the 1 161 
livres to the Credit of my Account. What related to the 
Million was also very satisfactory. 

Yours of Dec. 28 and Feb. 7 are just come to hand, together 
with my Account for the year 1786, which appears to be right. 
I observe you have sold all my Actions in the caisse d'Es- 
compte ; and tho' I have no longer any concern in that Fund, 
I rejoice to hear of its Prosperity. The Classics and other 
Books are not come to hand, but Mr. Jefferson will take care 
to send them. Those you sent by Mr. Franks are received. 

Your Mention of the Malady of M. de Vergennes afflicted 
me, and much more the News I since hear of his Death. 
So wise and so good a Man taken away from the Station he 
fill'd, is a great Loss not only to France, but to Europe in 
general, to America, and to Mankind. 

Not having found the Cares of Government so burthensome 
as I apprehended, I consented to serve a second Year, and 
was chosen unanimously by the Junction of all Parties, so that 
there was but one Negative Voice, viz., my own, and that given, 



576 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

as you may suppose for Modesty's sake. The three Houses 
which I began to build last year, are nearly finished, and I 
am now about to begin two others. Building is an old Man's 
Amusement. The Advantage is for his Posterity. Since 
my coming home, the Market is extended before my Ground 
next the Street, and the high Rents such a Situation must 
afford, has been one of my Inducements. 

As often as my Drafts may be presented to you, exceeding 
my Cash in your hands, I hereby desire you will furnish 
yourself by immediately disposing of some of my Stock in 
the public Funds. 

For the best Room, in the Addition I have made to my 
Dwelling-House, I want a Mirror measuring 59% French 
Inches long, and 43 Inches wide, and I request you will send 
me such a one. As the Pacquet Boat is henceforth to sail 
from Havre, it will be easier to have things from Paris than 
formerly. No Frame is to be with it, as it is to be fix'd over 
the Chimney. 

I continue, Thanks to God, in good Health. Please to re- 
member me kindly to all my old Acquaintance who do me the 
honour to enquire after me. My Grandsons and the rest of my 
Family join me in best Wishes of Health and Happiness to you 
and yours, and I am ever, with great and sincere Esteem, my 
dear Friend, yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I have desired Madame Helve'tius to execute a little 
Commission for my Daughter. If she does it, I request you 
would pay the Bills. 



1787] TO ABBE MORELLET 577 

1682. TO ABBE MORELLET 1 

Philadelphia, April 22, 1787. 
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, 

I received, though long after they were written, your very 
agreeable favours of October 3oth, 1785, and February gth, 
1786,' with the pieces enclosed, productions of the Auteuil 8 
Academy of Belles Lettres. Your kind and friendly wishes 
and congratulations are extremely obliging. It gives me an 
infinite pleasure to find, that I still retain a favourable place 
in the remembrance of the worthy and the good, whose de- 
lightful and instructive society I had the happiness of enjoy- 
ing while I resided in France. 

But, though I could not leave that dear nation without 
regret, I certainly did right in coming home. I am here in 
my niche in my own house, in the bosom of my family, my 
daughter and grandchildren all about me, among my old 
friends, or the sons of my friends, who equally respect me; 
and who all speak and understand the same language with 
me ; and you know, that, if a man desires to be useful by the 
exercise of his mental faculties, he loses half their force when 
in a foreign country, where he can only express himself in 
a language with which he is not well acquainted. In short, 
I enjoy here every opportunity of doing good, and every thing 
else I could wish for, except repose ; and that I may soon 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), Vol. 
T, p. 223. ED. 

2 See " Memoires de PAbbe Morellet," Tom. T, p. 298. ED. 

3 The residence of Madame Helvetius, with whom the Abbe Morellet, 
Cabanis, La Roche, and other literary friends passed much of their time. 
W. T. F. 

VOL. IX 2 P 



578 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1787 

expect, either by the cessation of my office, which cannot 
last more than three years, or by ceasing to live. 

I am of the same opinion with you, respecting the free- 
dom of commerce, especially in countries where direct taxes 
are practicable. This will be our case in time, when our 
wide-extended country fills up with inhabitants. But at 
present they are so widely settled, often five or six miles dis- 
tant from one another in the back country, that the collection 
of a direct tax is almost impossible the trouble of the col- 
lectors' going from house to house amounting to more than 
the value of the tax. Nothing can be better expressed than 
your sentiments are on this point, where you prefer liberty of 
trading, cultivating, manufacturing, &c., even to civil liberty, 
this being affected but rarely, the other every hour. Our 
debt occasioned by the war being heavy, we are under the 
necessity of using imposts, and every method we can think of, 
to assist in raising a revenue to discharge it; but in senti- 
ment we are well disposed to abolish duties on importation, 
as soon as we possibly can afford to do so. 

Whatever may be reported by the English in Europe, you 
may be assured, that our people are almost unanimous in 
being satisfied with the Revolution. Their unbounded re- 
spect for all who were principally concerned in it, whether as 
warriors or statesmen, and the enthusiastic joy with which 
the day of the declaration of independence is everywhere 
annually celebrated, are indubitable proofs of this truth. In 
one or two of the States there have been some discontents 
on partial and local subjects ; these may have been fomented, 
as the accounts of them are exaggerated, by our ancient ene- 
mies; but they are now nearly suppressed, and the rest of 
the States enjoy peace and good order, and flourish amaz- 



1787] TO ABBE MORELLET 579 

ingly. The crops have been good for several years past, 
the price of country produce high, from foreign demand, 
and it fetches ready money; rents are high in our towns, 
which increase fast by new buildings; labourers and arti- 
sans have high wages well paid, and vast tracts of new 
land are continually clearing and rendered fit for cultiva- 
tion. 

The pains you have taken to translate the congratulatory 
addresses, which I received on my arrival, is a fresh proof of 
the continuance of your friendship for me, which has afforded 
me as much satisfaction as the addresses themselves, and you 
will readily believe, that for me this is not saying little ; for 
this welcome of my fellow citizens has far surpassed my hopes. 
Popular favour, not the most constant thing in the world, 
stands by me. My election to the presidency for the second 
year was unanimous. Will this disposition continue the same 
for the third? Nothing is more doubtful. A man, who 
holds a high office, finds himself so often exposed to the danger 
of disobliging some one in the fulfilment of his duty, that the 
resentment of those, whom he has thus offended, being greater 
than the gratitude of those whom he has served, it almost al- 
ways happens, that, while he is violently attacked, he is feebly 
defended. You will not be surprised, then, if you learn, 
that I have not closed my political career with the same 
eclat, with which it commenced. 

I am sorry for what you tell me of the indisposition you 
have experienced. I sometimes wonder, that Providence 
does not protect the good from all evil and from every suffer- 
ing. This should be so in the best of worlds ; and, since it 
is not so, I am piously led to believe, that, if our world is 
not indeed the best, we must lay the blame on the bad quality 



5 8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

of the materials of which it is made. I am, my dear friend, 
with sincere esteem, and affection, ever yours, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1683. TO FRANCIS CHILDS (A. p. s.) 

Philad 1 . May 8. 1787. 

SIR, 

Your Papers do not come here regularly. I have not re- 
ceived any of them for some Weeks past. I am glad however 
to hear from you that it is well established, and likely to be 
profitable. 

You are always complaining of Imperfections in the Founts, 
which I suppose to proceed from your not having right Ideas 
of that Matter. They were all cast after the best Rules of the 
Founderies in England, and in the same Proportions. But 
as the Stiles of Authors vary, and different Subjects use the 
different Sorts variously, there never could be a Fount so pro- 
portioned as to run out equally in all cases. And if whenever, 
in any Work, four or five Sorts run short, you cast for the De- 
ficiency, in a subsequent Work those Sorts may be super- 
abundant, and all the rest will appear deficient, so that there 
will be no End of proceeding in that Manner. Therefore 
it is, that Printers have usually to every large Fount what they 
call a Bomcase, or Fount Case, that is, a Case with larger 
Divisions, and deeper than the common Cases, to hold those 
Sorts that are superfluous in one kind of Work, and where 
they may be found when wanting in another. You remark 
that your now demanding more of sundry Sorts (after being 
supply'd with all you formerly thought wanting) is owing 
partly to your not taking an accurate List of the Imperfec- 



1787] TO FRANCIS CHILDS 581 

tions at first : and I am persuaded that the present List you 
have sent me is far from being accurate, since it is in Pounds 
weight, and not in the Number of Letters. This lumping 
Method of calling for Sorts to supply supposed Imper- 
fections, 5 lb of m's 3 lb of s's etc, etc, can never be accurate ; 
and in this Instance of the Petit Romain, you may 
see already the Effect of such Inaccuracy, viz, to augment 
instead of diminishing the Imperfections of a Fount ; for at 
first you wanted but 4 or 5 Sorts of the lower Case, and now 
you want 15 or 16, which is a great Part of the four & twenty, 
and proves what I have said above that there can be no End 
of going on in this Way. However, to oblige you, tho' it 
is much more Trouble as the Mold must be adjusted afresh 
for every little Parcel, you shall have the Sorts you want if 
you send a List of them in Numbers. My Grandson l will 
cast them, as soon as he has taken his Degree and got clear 
of the College ; for then he purposes to apply himself closely 
to the Business of Letter founding and this is expected in 
July next. You shall also have some Ws of a better form for 
the Pica as you desire. And I will willingly receive the 
Petit Canon again which you propose to return. By the 
way, I do not know whether I have a perfect Account of 
what you have returned, and I wish you would send it to me, 
I am ever, 

Your assured Friend &c. 

[B. F.] 

1 Benjamin Franklin Bache. ED. 



582 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

1684. TO THOMAS JORDAN 1 

Philadelphia, May 18, 1787. 

DEAR SIR, 

I received your very kind letter of February 27th, 2 together 
with the cask of porter you have been so good as to send me. 
We have here at present what the French call une assemblee 
des notables, a convention composed of some of the principal 
people from the several States of our confederation. They 
did me the honor of dining with me last Wednesday, when the 
cask was broached, and its contents met with the most cor- 
dial reception and universal approbation. In short, the 
company agreed unanimously, that it was the best porter 
they had ever tasted. Accept my thanks, a poor return, but 
all I can make at present. 

Your letter reminds me of many happy days we have 
passed together, and the dear friends with whom we passed 
them ; some of whom, alas ! have left us, and we must regret 
their loss, although our Ha wkes worth is become an Adven- 
turer 3 in more happy regions ; and our Stanley 4 gone, " where 
only his own harmony can be exceeded." You give me joy 
in telling me, that you are "on the pinnacle of content" 
Without it no situation can be happy; with it, any. One 
means of becoming content with one's situation is the com- 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin " (1818), Vol. 
I, p. 225. Thomas Jordan was a London brewer. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 

3 In allusion to the "Adventurer," by John Hawkesworth (1715-1773), 
compiler of the account of the Discoveries made in the South Seas by 
Captain Cook. ED. 

4 John Stanley, an eminent musician and composer, became blind at the 
age of two years. W. T. F. 



1787] TO THOMAS JORDAN 583 

paring it with a worse. Thus, when I consider how many 
terrible diseases the human body is liable to, I comfort my- 
self, that only three incurable ones have fallen to my share, 
viz. the gout, the stone, and old age ; and that these have not 
yet deprived me of my natural cheerfulness, my delight in 
books, and enjoyment of social conversation. 

I am glad to hear, that Mr. Fitzmaurice 1 is married, and 
has an amiable lady and children. 3 It is a better plan than 
that he once proposed, of getting Mrs. Wright to make him 
a wax- work wife to sit at the head of his table. For after all, 
wedlock is the natural state of man. A bachelor is not a 
complete human being. He is like the odd half of a pair of 
scissors, which has not yet found its fellow, and therefore is 
not even half so useful as they might be together. 

I hardly know which to admire most ; the wonderful dis- 
coveries made by Herschel, 8 or the indefatigable ingenuity 
by which he has been enabled to make them. Let us hope, 
my friend, that, when free from these bodily embarrassments, 
we may roam together through some of the systems he has 
explored, conducted by some of our old companions already 
acquainted with them. Hawkesworth will enliven our prog- 
ress with his cheerful, sensible converse, and Stanley accom- 
pany the music of the spheres. 

Mr. Watmaugh 4 tells me, for I immediately inquired after 
her, that your daughter is alive and well. I remember her 

1 The Honourable Fitzmaurice was settled in Wales in the Vale of 
Clwydd, where he employed himself bleaching linen manufactured on his 
estate in Ireland. . ED. 

2 He had one son. ED. 

8 The discovery of the two satellites of Georgium Sidus. ED. 
4 Mr. Watmaugh brought the cask of porter from England to Philadelphia. 
ED. 



584 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

a most promising and beautiful child, and therefore do not 
wonder, that she is grown, as he says, a fine woman. God 
bless her and you, my dear friend, and every thing that per- 
tains to you, is the sincere prayer of yours most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

in his eighty-second year. 

1685. TO WILLIAM HERSCHELL 1 (H.) 

Philad. May 18, 1787. 

SIR, 

I received the letter you did me the honour of writing to 
me the i8 th of Feb. past, together with your Catalogue of 
1000 new nebulae and Clusters of Stars, which I immediately 
communicated to our Philosophical Society, who return their 
thanks, and congratulate you cordially on your important 
new Discovery of the two Satellites revolving round the 
Georgian planet. 

You have wonderfully extended the Power of human 
Vision, and are daily making us Acquainted with Regions 
of the Universe totally unknown to mankind in former Ages. 
Had Fortune place 'd you in this part of America, your Prog- 
ress hi these Discoveries might have been still more rapid, 
as from the more frequent clearness of our Air, we have near 
one Third more in the year of good observing Days than 
there are in England. With great esteem, I have the honour 
to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient, humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 In the Sparks papers at Harvard University, endorsed by Jared Sparks 
"sent by Charles Sumner from Vienna. Rec'd March 3 d 1840." It came 
too late to be published by Sparks. ED. 



1787] TO RICHARD PRICE 585 

1686. TO JOHN ADAMS (M. H. s.) 

Philad* May 18, 1787. 
SIR 

I received by D r White the Letter you did me the honour 
of writing to me the 27 th of January, together with two copies 
of your Defence of the American Constitutions, one for my- 
self for which I beg you would accept my Thanks, the other 
for the Philosophical Society whose Secretary will of course 
officially acknowledge the Obligation. That work is in 
such Request here, that it is already put to Press, and a 
numerous Edition will speedily be abroad. My son Beach 
and my Grandson are much flatter'd by your Remembrance 
of them and join in presenting their Respects. Be pleased 
to offer mine to M rt Adams and your amiable daughter. 
With great Esteem I have the honour to be, 

Your most obedient 

and most humble Servant 
Sir, B. FRANKLIN. 



1687. TO RICHARD PRICE 1 (p. c.) 

Philada, May 18, 1787. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I received your favour of Jan. 26 3 
with the volume of Sermons, for which please to accept my 
thanks. I have read them with great pleasure, and I think 
no one can read them without improvement. 

1 From a copy in M. H. S. The original is in the possession of Mr. 
Walter Ashburner, of London. ED. 

2 In A. P. S. ED. 



S 86 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

I condole with you on the loss of that excellent woman, 
so long your pleasing companion. 1 The being depriv'd of 
dear friends and relations one after another, is a very severe 
tax we pay for living a great while ourselves. But such is 
the miserable state of things in this period of our existence ; 
the rectification is only to be expected in that which is to 
come. 

My health continues as when Mrs. Vaughan left us. My 
malady does not grow perceptibly worse, and I hope may 
continue tolerable to my life's end, which cannot now be 
far distant, being in my 82* year. 

On farther consideration of my scheme for sinking the 
national debt, I became so doubtful of it as not to venture 
exposing it to Baron Maseres. I must digest it a little 
better. 

We have now meeting here a Convention of the principal 
people in the several States, for the purpose of revising the 
federal Constitution, and proposing such amendments as 
shall be thoroughly necessary. It is a most important busi- 
ness, and I hope will be attended with success. 

With great and sincere esteem, I am ever, my dear Friend 
Yours most affectionately. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

If you have not received the Vol. of our Transactions I 
will send you another. 

1 Mrs. Price died of palsy in September, 1786. ED. 



1787] TO GEORGE WHATLEY 587 

1688. TO GEORGE WHATLEY 1 

Philadelphia, May 18, 1787. 

I RECEIVED duly my good old friend's letter of the igth a 
of February. I thank you much for your notes on banks; 
they are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them. Our 
bank here has met with great opposition, partly from envy, and 
partly from those who wish an emission of more paper money, 
which they think the bank influence prevents. But it has 
stood all attacks, and went on well, notwithstanding the As- 
sembly repealed its charter. A new Assembly has restored 
it ; and the management is so prudent, that I have no doubt 
of its continuing to go on well. The dividend has never been 
less than six per cent, nor will that be augmented for some 
time, as the surplus profit is reserved to face accidents. 
The dividend of eleven per cent, which was once made, was 
from a circumstance scarce avoidable. A new company was 
proposed ; and prevented only by admitting a number of new 
partners. As many of the first set were averse to this, and 
chose to withdraw, it was necessary to settle their accounts ; 
so all were adjusted, the profits shared that had been accu- 
mulated, and the new and old proprietors jointly began on 
a new and equal footing. Their notes are always instantly 
paid on demand, and pass on all occasions as readily as silver, 
because they will always produce silver. 

Your medallion is in good company; it is placed with 
those of Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, Marquis of Rock- 

1 From "The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin" (1818), 
Vol. I, p. 227. ED. 

2 This should be i2th of February. The letter is in A. P. S. ED. 



5 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

ingham, Sir George Saville, and some others, who honoured 
me with a show of friendly regard, when in England. I be- 
lieve I have thanked you for it, but I thank you again. 

I believe, with you, that if our Plenipo is desirous of con- 
cluding a treaty of commerce, he may need patience. If 
I were in his place, and not otherwise instructed, I should be 
apt to say, "Take your own time, gentlemen. If the treaty 
cannot be made as much to your advantage as to ours, don't 
make it. I am sure the want of it is not more to our disad- 
vantage than to yours. Let the merchants on both sides 
treat with one another. Laissez-les jaire." 

I have never considered attentively the Congress's scheme 
for coining, and I have it not now at hand, so that at present 
I can say nothing to it. The chief uses of coining seem to 
be the ascertaining the fineness of the metals, and saving the 
time that would otherwise be spent in weighing to ascertain 
the quality. But the convenience of fixed values to pieces 
is so great, as to force the currency of some whose stamp is 
worn off, that should have assured their fineness, and which 
are evidently not of half their due weight ; the case at present 
with the sixpences in England; which, one with another, 
do not weight threepence. 

You are now seventy-eight, and I am eighty-two; you 
tread fast upon my heels ; but, though you have more strength 
and spirit, you cannot come up with me till I stop, which must 
now be soon ; for I am grown so old as to have buried most 
of the friends of my youth, and I now often hear persons 
whom I knew when children, called old Mr. such-a-one, to 
distinguish them from their sons now men grown and in busi- 
ness ; so that, by living twelve years beyond David's period, 
I seem to have intruded myself into the company of posterity, 



1787] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 589 

when I ought to have been abed and asleep. Yet, had I gone 
at seventy, it would have cut off twelve of the most active 
years of my life, employed too in matters of the greatest im- 
portance ; but whether I have been doing good or mischief 
is for time to discover. I only know that I intended well, 
and I hope all will end well. 

Be so good as to present my affectionate respects to Dr. 
Riley. 1 I am under great obligations to him, and shall write 
to him shortly. It will be a pleasure to him to know, that my 
malady does not grow sensibly worse, and that is a great 
point ; for it has always been so tolerable, as not to prevent 
my enjoying the pleasures of society, and being cheerful in 
conversation. I owe this in a great measure to his good 
counsels. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours 
most affectionately, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1689. TO MRS. JANE MECOM (L. c.) 

Philad*, May 30, 1787. 

DEAR SISTER : In your Letter of March 9, you mention 
that you wanted to know all about my Buildings. To the 
East End of my Dwelling-House I have made an Addition 
of 1 6 Feet and an half wide and 33 feet long, that is the whole 
Length of the old House, so that the Front and Back of the 
old and new Building range even, and the Row of Windows, 
Eaves, and Roof are continu'd so as to appear but one Build- 
ing. By this Addition I have gain'd a large Cellar for Wood, 
a Drawing- Room or Dining- Room on the same Level with 

1 The name is written Rowley in Mr. Whatley's letter. Possibly it is Dr. 
William Rowley who wrote a book upon Gout, in 1 780. ED. 



590 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

our old Dining-Room, in which new Room we can dine a 
Company of 24 Persons, it being 16 feet wide and 30^ long; 
and it has 2 Windows at each End, the North and South, 
which will make it an airy Summer Room; and for Winter 
there is a good Chimney in the Middle, made handsome with 
marble Slabs. Over this Room is my Library, of the same 
Dimensions, with like Windows at each End, and lin'd with 
Books to the Cieling. Over this are 2 lodging-Rooms : and 
over all a fine Garret. The Way into the Lower Room is out 
of the Entry passing by the Foot of the Stairs. Into the 
Library I go thro' one of the Closets of the old Drawing- 
Room or Bed- Chamber. And into the two new Rooms above 
thro' a Passage cut off from the Nursery. All these Rooms 
are now finished and inhabited, very much to the Con- 
venience of the Family, who were before too much crowded. 
The two new Houses next the Street are three Stories high, 
besides the Garrets, and an arch'd Passage is left in the middle 
between them to come thro' down to my Dwelling, wide 
enough for a Carriage ; so that I have the old Passage Lot 
left free to build another House. The two Houses are 24 
feet front each, and 45 deep. We are all well, and join in 
Love to you and yours. I am ever, your affectionate Brother, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1690. SPEECH IN THE CONVENTION; 

ON THE SUBJECT OF SALARIES * (L. C.) 
SIR, 

It is with Reluctance that I rise to express a Disapproba- 
tion of any one Article of the Plan, for which we are so much 

1 This speech was delivered June 2, 1787. It is from an auto, draft in 
L. C. ED. 



1787] SPEECH ON SALARIES 591 

obliged to the honourable Gentleman who laid it before us. 
From its first Reading, I have borne a good Will to it, and, 
in general, wish'd it Success. In this Particular of Salaries 
to the Executive Branch, I happen to differ; and, as my 
Opinion may appear new and chimerical, it is only from a 
Persuasion that it is right, and from a Sense of Duty, that I 
hazard it. The Committee will judge of my Reasons when 
they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly 
change mine. I think I see Inconveniences in the Appoint- 
ment of Salaries ; I see none in refusing them, but on the 
contrary great Advantages. 

Sir, there are two Passions which have a powerful Influence 
in the Affairs of Men. These are Ambition and Avarice; 
the Love of Power and the Love of Money. Separately, each 
of these has great Force in prompting Men to Action; but 
when united in View of the same Object, they have in many 
Minds the most violent Effects. Place before the Eyes of 
such Men a Post of Honour^ that shall at the same time be 
a Place of Profit, and they will move Heaven and Earth to 
obtain it. The vast Number of such Places it is that renders 
the British Government so tempestuous. The Struggles for 
them are the true Source of all those Factions which are 
perpetually dividing the Nation, distracting its Councils, 
hurrying it sometimes into fruitless and mischievous Wars, 
and often compelling a Submission to dishonourable Terms 
of Peace. 

And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profit- 
able Preeminence, thro' all the Bustle of Cabal, the Heat of 
Contention, the infinite mutual Abuse of Parties, tearing to 
Pieces the best of Characters? It will not be the wise and 
moderate, the Lovers of Peace and good Order, the men 



59 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

fittest for the Trust. It will be the Bold and the Violent, the 
men of strong Passions and indefatigable Activity in their 
selfish Pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your 
Government, and be your Rulers. And these, too, will be 
mistaken in the expected Happiness of their Situation; for 
their vanquished competitors, of the same Spirit, and from 
the same Motives, will perpetually be endeavouring to 
distress their Administration, thwart their Measures, and 
render them odious to the People. 

Besides these Evils, Sir, tho' we may set out in the Begin- 
ning with moderate Salaries, we shall find, that such will 
not be of long Continuance. Reasons will never be wanting 
for proposed Augmentations ; and there will always be a Party 
for giving more to the Rulers, that the Rulers may be able in 
Return to give more to them. Hence, as all History informs 
us, there has been in every State and Kingdom a constant 
kind of Warfare between the Governing and the Governed ; 
the one striving to obtain more for its Support, and the other 
to pay less. And this has alone occasion'd great Con- 
vulsions, actual civil Wars, ending either in dethroning of the 
Princes or enslaving of the People. Generally, indeed, the 
Ruling Power carries its Point, and we see the Revenues of 
Princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are 
never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the 
People are discontented with the Oppression of Taxes, the 
greater Need the Prince has of Money to distribute among his 
Partisans, and pay the Troops that are to suppress all Re- 
sistance, and enable him to plunder at Pleasure. There is 
scarce a King in a hundred, who would not, if he could, follow 
the Example of Pharaoh, get first all the People's Money, 
then all their Lands, and then make them and their Children 



1787] SPEECH ON SALARIES 593 

Servants for ever. It will be said, that we do not propose to 
establish Kings. I know it. But there is a natural Inclina- 
tion in Mankind to kingly Government. It sometimes 
relieves them from Aristocratic Domination. They had 
rather have one Tyrant than 500. It gives more of the Ap- 
pearance of Equality among Citizens ; and that they like. 
I am apprehensive, therefore, perhaps too apprehensive, 
that the Government of these States may in future times end 
in a Monarchy. But this Catastrophe, I think, may be long 
delay'd, if in our propos'd System we do not sow the Seeds of 
Contention, Faction, and Tumult, by making our Posts of 
Honour Places of Profit. If we do, I fear, that, tho' we em- 
ploy at first a Number and not a single Person, the Number 
will in time be set aside ; it will only nourish the Foetus of a 
King (as the honourable Gentleman from Virg* very aptly 
expressed it), and a King will the sooner be set over us. 

It may be imagined by some, that this is an Utopian Idea, 
and that we can never find Men to serve us in the Execu- 
tive Department, without paying them well for their Ser- 
vices. I conceive this to be a Mistake. Some existing Facts 
present themselves to me, which incline me to a contrary 
Opinion. The High Sheriff of a County in England is an 
honourable Office, but it is not a profitable one. It is rather 
expensive, and therefore not sought for. But yet it is executed, 
and well executed, and usually by some of the principal 
Gentlemen of the County. In France, the Office of Coun- 
sellor, or Member of their judiciary Parliaments, is more 
honourable. It is therefore purchas'd at a high Price ; there 
are indeed Fees on the Law Proceedings, which are divided 
among them, but these Fees do not amount to more than three 
per cent on the Sum paid for the Place. Therefore, as legal 

VOL. IX 2 Q 



59 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

Interest is there at five per cent, they in fact pay two per cent 
for being allow'd to do the Judiciary Business of the Nation, 
which is at the same time entirely exempt from the Burthen 
of paying them any Salaries for their Services. I do not, 
however, mean to recommend this as an eligible Mode for 
our judiciary Department. I only bring the Instance to 
show, that the Pleasure of doing Good and serving their Coun- 
try, and the Respect such Conduct entitles them to, are suffi- 
cient Motives with some Minds, to give up a great Portion of 
their Time to the Public, without the mean Inducement of 
pecuniary Satisfaction. 

Another Instance is that of a respectable Society, who have 
made the Experiment, and practis'd it with Success, now 
more than a hundred years. I mean the Quakers. It is 
an establish'd Rule with them that they are not to go to law, 
but in their Controversies they must apply to their Monthly, 
Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings. Committees of these sit 
with Patience to hear the Parties, and spend much time in 
composing their Differences. In doing this, they are sup- 
ported by a Sense of Duty, and the Respect paid to Useful- 
ness. It is honourable to be so employ'd, but it was never 
made profitable by Salaries, Fees, or Perquisites. And 
indeed, in all Cases of public Service, the less the Profit the 
greater the Honour. 

To bring the Matter nearer home, have we not seen the 
greatest and most important of our Offices, that of General 
of our Armies, executed for Eight Years together, without 
the smallest Salary, by a patriot whom I will not now offend 
by any other Praise ; and this, thro' Fatigues and Distresses, 
in common with the other brave Men, his military Friends 
and Companions, and the constant Anxieties peculiar to his 



1787] PROPORTION OF REPRESENTATION, ETC. 595 

Station ? And shall we doubt finding three or four Men in all 
the United States, with public Spirit enough to bear sitting in 
peaceful Council, for perhaps an equal Term, merely to pre- 
side over our civil Concerns, and see that our Laws are 
duly executed ? Sir, I have a better opinion of our Country. 
I think we shall never be without a sufficient Number of wise 
and good Men to undertake, and execute well and faithfully, 
the Office in question. 

Sir, the Saving of the Salaries, that may at first be propos'd, 
is not an object with me. The subsequent Mischiefs of pro- 
posing them are what I apprehend. And therefore it is that 
I move the Amendment. If it is not seconded or accepted, 
I must be contented with the Satisfaction of having delivered 
my Opinion frankly, and done my Duty. 



1691. SPEECH IN A COMMITTEE OF THE CON- 
VENTION; (L. c.) 

ON THE PROPORTION OF REPRESENTATION AND VOTES l 

MR. CHAIRMAN, 

It has given me great Pleasure to observe, that, till this 
Point, the Proportion of Representation, came before us, our 
Debates were carry'd on with great Coolness and Temper. If 
any thing of a contrary kind has, on this Occasion, appeared, 
I hope it will not be repeated ; for we are sent hither to con- 
sult, not to contend, with each other; and Declaration of a 
fix'd Opinion, and of determined Resolutions never to change 

1 From an auto, draft in L. C This speech was delivered June n, 1787. 
ED. 



596 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1787 

it, neither enlighten nor convince us. Positiveness and 
Warmth on one side naturally beget their like on the other; 
and tend to create and augment Discord and Division in a 
great Concern, wherein Harmony and Union are extremely 
necessary, to give Weight to our Counsels, and render them 
effectual in promoting and securing the common Good. 

I must own, that I was originally of Opinion it would be 
better if every Member of Congress, or our national Council, 
were to consider himself rather as a Representative of the 
whole, than as an Agent for the Interests of a particular 
State; in which Case the Proportion of Members for each 
State would be of less Consequence, and it would not be very 
material whether they voted by States or individually. But 
as I find this is not to be expected, I now think the Number 
of Representatives should bear some Proportion to the 
Number of the Represented, and that the Decisions should 
be by the Majority of Members, not by the Majority of States. 
This is objected to, from an Apprehension that the greater 
States would then swallow up the Smaller. I do not at pres- 
ent clearly see what Advantage the greater States could pro- 
pose to themselves by swallowing the smaller, and therefore 
do not apprehend they would attempt it. I recollect, that 
in the Beginning of this Century, when the Union was pro- 
pos'd of the two Kingdoms, England and Scotland, the Scotch 
patriots were full of Fears, that, unless they had an equal 
Number of Representatives in Parliament, they should be 
ruined by the Superiority of the English. They finally 
agreed, however, that the different Proportions of Importance 
in the Union of the two Nations should be attended to; 
whereby they were to have only Forty Members in the House 
of Commons, and only Sixteen of their Peers were to sit in 



1787] PROPORTION OF REPRESENTATION, ETC. 597 

the House of Lords ; a very great Inferiority of Numbers ! 
And yet, to this Day, I do not recollect that any thing has been 
done in the Parliament of Great Britain to the Prejudice of 
Scotland ; and whoever looks over the Lists of publick Offi- 
cers, Civil and Military, of that Nation, will find, I believe, 
that the North Britons enjoy at least their full proportion of 
Emolument. 

But, Sir, in the present Mode of Voting by States, it is 
equally in the Power of the lesser States to swallow up the 
greater; and this is mathematically demonstrable. Sup- 
pose, for example, that 7 smaller States had each 3 members 
in the House, and the Six larger to have, one with another, 6 
Members ; and that, upon a Question, two Members of each 
smaller State should be in the Affirmative, and one in the 
Negative; they will make 

Affirmatives, 14 Negatives 7 

And that all the large States should 
be unanimously in the negative; 
they would make Negatives 36 

In all 41 [sic] 

It is then apparent, that the 14 carry the question against 
the 41, and the Minority overpowers the Majority, contrary 
to the common Practice of Assemblies in all Countries and 
Ages. 

The greater States, Sir, are naturally as unwilling to have 
their Property left in the Disposition of the smaller, as the 
smaller are to leave theirs in the Disposition of the greater. 
An honourable Gentleman has, to avoid this difficulty, hinted 
a Proposition of equalizing the States. It appears to me an 
equitable one ; and I should, for my own Par