Front Page Titles (by Subject) CXCV: TO THE PRINTER OF THE LONDON CHRONICLE - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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CXCV: TO THE PRINTER OF THE LONDON CHRONICLE - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. III (Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763).
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TO THE PRINTER OF THE LONDON CHRONICLE
I met lately with an old quarto book on a stall, the titlepage and the author’s name wanting, but containing discourses, addressed to some king of Spain, extolling the greatness of monarchy, translated into English, and said in the last leaf to be printed at London, by Bonham Norton and John Bill, “Printers to the King’s most excellent Majestie, MDCXXIX.” The author appears to have been a Jesuit, for, speaking of that order in two places, he calls it our Society. Give me leave to communicate to the public a chapter of it, so apropos to our present situation (only changing Spain for France), that I think it well worth general attention and observation, as it discovers the arts of our enemies, and may therefore help in some degree to put us on our guard against them.
What effect the artifices here recommended might have had in the times when our author wrote, I cannot pretend to say; but I believe, the present age being more enlightened and our people better acquainted than formerly with our true national interest, such arts can now hardly prove so generally successful; for we may with pleasure observe, and to the honor of the British people, that, though writings and discourses like these have lately not been wanting, yet few in any of the classes he particularizes seem to be affected by them, but all ranks and degrees among us persist hitherto in declaring for a vigorous prosecution of the war, in preference to an unsafe, disadvantageous, or dishonorable peace; yet, as a little change of fortune may make such writings more attended to, and give them greater weight, I think the publication of this piece, as it shows the spring from whence these scribblers draw their poisoned waters, may be of public utility.
On the Means of disposing the Enemie to Peace.
Warres, with whatsoever Prudence undertaken, and conducted, do not always succeed. Many Thinges out of Man’s Power to governe, such as Dearth of Provision, Tempests, Pestilence, and the like, oftentimes interfering and totally overthrowing the best Designes; so that these Enemies (England and Holland) of our Monarchy though apparently at first the weaker, may by disastrous Events of Warre, on our Parte, become the stronger, and though not in such degree as to endanger the Bodie of this great Kingdom, yet, by their greater Power of Shipping and Aptness in Sea Affairs, to be able to cut off, if I may so speake, some of its smaller Limbs and Members that are remote therefrom and not easily defended, to wit, our Islands and Colonies in the Indies; thereby however depriving the Bodie of its wonted Nourishment, so that it must thenceforthe languish and grow weake, if those Parts are not recovered, which possibly may by continuance of Warre be found unlikelie to be done. And the Enemie, puffed up with their successes, and hoping still for more, may not be disposed to Peace on such Termes as would be suitable to the honor of your Majestie, and to the Welfare of your State and Subjects. In such Case, the following Meanes may have good Effect.
It is well knowne, that these Northerne People, though hardie of Bodie and bold in Fight, be nevertheless, through overmuch Eating and other Intemperance, slowe of Wit, and dull in Understanding, so that they are ofttimes more easilie to be governed and turned by Skill than by Force. There is, therefore, always Hope that, by wise Counsel and dexterous Management, those Advantages, which through cross Accidents in Warre have been lost, may again with Honour be recovered. In this Place I shall say little of the Power of Money secretly distributed among Grandees, or their Friends or Paramours; that Method being in all Ages known and practised. If the minds of Enemies can be changed, they may be brought to grant willingly and for nothing what much Gold would scarcely have otherwise prevailed to obtaine. Yet, as the procuring this Change is to be by fitte Instruments, some few Doubloones will not unprofitably be distributed by your Majestie. The manner whereof I shall now briefly recite.
In those Countries, and particularly in England, there are not wanting Menne of Learning, ingenious Speakers and Writers, who are nevertheless in lowe Estate, and pinched by Fortune. These, being privately gained by proper Meanes, must be instructed in their Sermons, Discourses, Writings, Poems, and Songs, to handle and specially inculcate Points like these which followe. Let them magnifie the Blessings of Peace, and enlarge mightilie thereon, which is not unbecoming grave Divines and other Christian Menne. Let them expatiate on the Miseries of Warre, the Waste of Christian Blood, the growing Scarcitie of Labourers and Workmen, the Dearness of all foreign Wares and Merchandise, the Interruption of Commerce, the Captures of Ships, the Increase and great Burthen of Taxes. Let them represent the Warre as an unmeasurable Advantage to Particulars, and to Particulars only (thereby to excite envie against those, who manage and provide for the same), while so prejudicial to the Commonweale and People in general. Let them represent the Advantages gained against us, as trivial and of little Import; the Places taken from us, as of small Trade and Produce, inconvenient for Situation, unwholesome for Ayre and Climate, useless to their Nations, and greatlie chargeable to keepe, draining the home Countrie both of Menne and Money.
Let them urge, that, if a Peace be forced on us, and those Places withheld, it will nourishe secret Griefe and Malice in the King and Grandees of Spain, which will ere long breake forthe in new Warres, when those Places may again be retaken, without the Merit and Grace of restoring them willingly for Peace’s Sake. Let them represent the making or Continuance of Warres, from views of Gaine, to be base and unworthy a brave People, as those made from Views of Ambition are mad and wicked. Let them insinuate, that the Continuance of the present Warre, on their Parte, hath these Ingredients in its Nature. Then let them magnifie the great Power of your Majestie, and the Strength of your Kingdome, the inexhaustible Wealthe of your Mines, the Greatness of your Incomes, and thence your Abilitie of continuing the Warre; hinting withal the new Alliances you may possiblie make, at the same time setting forth the sincere Disposition you have for Peace, and that it is only a Concerne for your Honor, and the Honor of your Realme, that induceth you to insist on the Restitution of the places taken.
If, with all this, they shrewdly intimate, and cause it to be understood by artful Wordes and believed, that their own Prince is himself in Heart for Peace, on your Majestie’s Termes, and grieved at the Obstinacy and Perverseness of those among his People, who are for continuing the Warre, a marvellous Effect shall by these Discourses and Writings be produced; and a wonderful strong Partie shall your Majestie raise among your Enemies in Favour of the Peace you desire; insomuch that their own Princes and wisest Counsellours will in a Sorte be constrained to yeeld thereto. For, in this Warre of Wordes, the Avarice and Ambition, the Hope and Fears, and all the Crowd of humane Passions will be raised and put in Array to fight for your Interests against the reall and substantiall Interest of their own Countries. The simple and undiscerning Many shall be carried away by the Plausibilitie and Well-seeming of these Discourses; and the Opinions becoming more popular, all the Rich Menne, who have great Possessions, and fear the Continuance of Taxes, and hope Peace will end them, shall be emboldened thereby to crie aloud for Peace; their Dependents, who are many, must do the same.
All Merchaunts, fearing Loss of Ships and greater Burthens on Trade by further Duties and Subsidies, and hoping greater Profits by the ending of the Warre, shall join in the crie for Peace. All the Usurers and Lenders of Money to the State, who on a Peace hope great Profits on their Bargains, and fear if the Warre be continued the State shall become bankeroute, and unable to pay them; these, who have no small Weighte, shall join the crie for Peace. All, who maligne the bold Conductors of the Warre, and envie the Glorie they may have thereby obtained; these shall crie aloud for Peace, hoping, that, when the Warre shall cease, such Menne becoming less necessarie shall be more lightly esteemed, and themselves more sought after. All the Officers of the Enemie’s Armies and Fleets, who wish for Repose and to enjoy their Salaries or Rewardes in Quietnesse and without Peril; these, and their Friends and Families, who desire their Safetie and the Solace of their Societie, shall all crie for Peace.
All those, who be timorous by Nature, amongste whom be reckoned Menne of Learning that lead sedentarie Lives, doing little Exercise of Bodie, and thence obtaining but few and weake Spirits; great Statesmen, whose natural Spirits be exhausted by much Thinking, or depressed by overmuch Feasting; together with all Women, whose Power, weake as they are, is not a little amongste the Menne; these shall incessantly speake for Peace. And finally all Courtiers, who suppose they conforme thereby to the Inclinations of the Prince (ad Exemplum Regis, &c.); all who are in Places, fear to lose them, or hope for better; all who are out of Places, and hope to obtaine them; with all the worldly minded Clergy, who seeke Preferment; these, with all the Weighte of their Character and Influence, shall join the crie for Peace; till it becomes one universal Clamour, and no Sound, but that of Peace, Peace, Peace, shall be heard from every Quarter.
Then shall your Majestie’s Termes of Peace be listened to with much readinesse, the Places taken from you be willingly restored, and your Kingdome, recovering its Strength, shall only need to waite a few Years for more favourable Occasions, when the Advantages to your Power, proposed by beginning the Warre, but lost by its bad Successe, shall, with better Fortune, be finally obtained.”
TO HUGH ROBERTS
London, 26 February, 1761.
I think I have before acknowledged the receipt of your favor of the 15th of the 5th month, 1760. (I use your own notation, because I cannot tell what month it was, without reckoning.) I thank you for it, however, once more. I received it by the hand of your son, and had the pleasure withal of seeing him grown up a solid, sensible young man. You will have, I see, a great deal of satisfaction in him, and I congratulate you cordially on that head.
I was glad to hear that the Hospital is still supported. I write to the managers by this ship. In my journeys through England and Scotland I have visited several of the same kind, which I think were all in a good way. I send you by this ship sundry of their accounts and rules, which were given me. Possibly you may find a useful hint or two in some of them. I believe we shall be able to make a small collection here; but I cannot promise it will be very considerable.
You tell me you sometimes visit the ancient Junto. I wish you would do it oftener. I know they all love and respect you, and regret your absenting yourself so much. People are apt to grow strange, and not understand one another so well, when they meet but seldom. Since we have held that Club till we are grown gray together, let us hold it out to the end. For my own part, I find I love company, chat, a laugh, a glass, and even a song, as well as ever, and at the same time relish better than I used to do the grave observations and wise sentences of old men’s conversation; so that I am sure the Junto will be still as agreeable to me as it ever has been. I therefore hope it will not be discontinued as long as we are able to crawl together.1
I thank you for the frequent kind visits you are so good as to make to my little family. I now hope in a little time to have the pleasure of seeing them, and thanking my friends in person. With the sincerest esteem and regard, I am, dear friend, yours affectionately,
[1 ]One of Franklin’s songs for the Junto, of a political complexion, has been found among his manuscripts, which was probably written about the time of the Stamp Act, or a little later. The allusion to France, in the last stanza but one, would seem to refer to that period. The author was then in England, and it is not known for what occasion the song was composed.