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Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772 
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. V (Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772).
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Franklin Found by Diogenes
After the painting by d’Estamps
The Works of Benjamin Franklin in Twelve Volumes
The Knickerbocker Press, New York[Back to Table of Contents]
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Volume V
CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS[Back to Table of Contents]
TO M. DUBOURG1
I am apprehensive that I shall not be able to find leisure for making all the disquisitions and experiments which would be desirable on this subject. I must, therefore, content myself with a few remarks.
The specific gravity of some human bodies, in comparison to that of water, has been examined by Mr. Robinson, in our Philosophical Transactions, Volume L., page 30, for the year 1757. He asserts that fat persons with small bones float most easily upon the water.
The diving-bell is accurately described in our Transactions.
When I was a boy I made two oval palettes, each about ten inches long and six broad, with a hole for the thumb, in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand. They much resembled a painter’s palettes. In swimming I pushed the edges of these forward, and I struck the water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam faster by means of these palettes, but they fatigued my wrists. I also fitted to the soles of my feet a kind of sandals; but I was not satisfied with them, because I observed that the stroke is partly given by the inside of the feet and the ankles, and not entirely with the soles of the feet.
We have here waistcoats for swimming, which are made of double sail-cloth, with small pieces of cork quilted in between them.
I know nothing of the scaphandre of M. de la Chapelle.
I know by experience that it is a great comfort to a swimmer who has a considerable distance to go, to turn himself sometimes on his back, and to vary in other respects the means of procuring a progressive motion.
When he is seized with the cramp in the leg, the method of driving it away is, to give to the parts affected a sudden, vigorous, and violent shock; which he may do in the air as he swims on his back.
During the great heats of summer there is no danger in bathing, however warm we may be, in rivers which have been thoroughly warmed by the sun. But to throw one’s self into cold spring water, when the body has been heated by exercise in the sun, is an imprudence which may prove fatal. I once knew an instance of four young men who, having worked at harvest in the heat of the day, with a view of refreshing themselves plunged into a spring of cold water; two died upon the spot, a third the next morning, and the fourth recovered with great difficulty. A copious draught of cold water, in similar circumstances, is frequently attended with the same effect in North America.
The exercise of swimming is one of the most healthy and agreeable in the world. After having swam for an hour or two in the evening, one sleeps coolly the whole night, even during the most ardent heat of summer. Perhaps, the pores being cleansed, the insensible perspiration increases and occasions this coolness. It is certain that much swimming is the means of stopping a diarrhœa, and even of producing a constipation. With respect to those who do not know how to swim, or who are affected with a diarrhœa at a season which does not permit them to use that exercise, a warm bath, by cleansing and purifying the skin, is found very salutary, and often effects a radical cure. I speak from my own experience, frequently repeated, and that of others, to whom I have recommended this.
You will not be displeased if I conclude these hasty remarks by informing you that as the ordinary method of swimming is reduced to the act of rowing with the arms and legs, and is consequently a laborious and fatiguing operation when the space of water to be crossed is considerable, there is a method in which a swimmer may pass to a great distance with much facility, by means of a sail. This discovery I fortunately made by accident, and in the following manner:
When I was a boy I amused myself one day with flying a paper kite; and approaching the bank of a pond, which was near a mile broad, I tied the string to a stake and the kite ascended to a very considerable height above the pond while I was swimming. In a little time, being desirous of amusing myself with my kite, and enjoying at the same time the pleasure of swimming, I returned, and loosing from the stake the string with the little stick which was fastened to it, went again into the water, where I found that, lying on my back and holding the stick in my hands, I was drawn along the surface of the water in a very agreeable manner. Having then engaged another boy to carry my clothes round the pond, to a place which I pointed out to him on the other side, I began to cross the pond with my kite, which carried me quite over without the least fatigue, and with the greatest pleasure imaginable. I was only obliged occasionally to halt a little in my course and resist its progress when it appeared that, by following too quick, I lowered the kite too much; by doing which occasionally I made it rise again. I have never since that time practised this singular mode of swimming, though I think it not impossible to cross in this manner from Dover to Calais. The packet-boat, however, is still preferable.
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOHN WINTHROP
London, 2 July, 1768.
You must needs think the time long that your instruments have been in hand. Sundry circumstances have occasioned the delay. Mr. Short, who undertook to make the telescope, was long in a bad state of health, and much in the country for the benefit of the air. He however at length finished the material parts that required his own hand, and waited only for something about the mounting that was to have been done by another workman, when he was removed by death. I have put in my claim to the instrument, and shall obtain it from the executors as soon as his affairs can be settled. It is now become much more valuable than it would have been if he had lived, as he excelled all others in that branch. The price agreed for was one hundred pounds.
The equal altitudes and transit instrument was undertaken by Mr. Bird, who doing all his work with his own hands for the sake of greater truth and exactness, one must have patience that expects any thing from him. He is so singularly eminent in his way, that the commissioners of longitude have lately given him five hundred pounds merely to discover and make public his method of dividing instruments. I send it you herewith. But what has made him longer in producing your instrument is the great and hasty demand on him from France and Russia, and our Society here, for instruments to go to different parts of the world for observing the next transit of Venus; some to be used in Siberia, some for the observers that go to the South Seas, some for those that go to Hudson’s Bay. These are now all completed and mostly gone, it being necessary, on account of the distance, that they should go this year to be ready on the spot in time. And now he tells me he can finish yours, and that I shall have it next week. Possibly he may keep his word. But we are not to wonder if he does not.
Mr. Martin, when I called to see his panopticon, had not one ready; but was to let me know when he should have one to show me. I have not since heard from him, but will call again.
Mr. Maskelyne wishes much that some of the governments in North America would send an astronomer to Lake Superior to observe this transit. I know no one of them likely to have a spirit for such an undertaking, unless it be the Massachusetts, or that have a person and instruments suitable. He presents you one of his pamphlets, which I now send you, together with two letters from him to me relating to that observation. If your health and strength were sufficient for such an expedition, I should be glad to hear you had taken it. Possibly you may have an élève that is capable. The fitting you out to observe the former transit, was a public act for the benefit of science, that did your province great honor.
We expect soon a new volume of the Transactions, in which your piece will be printed. I have not yet got the separate ones which I ordered.
It is perhaps not so extraordinary that unlearned men, such as commonly compose our church vestries, should not yet be acquainted with, and sensible of the benefits of metal conductors in averting the stroke of lightning, and preserving our houses from its violent effects, or that they should be still prejudiced against the use of such conductors, when we see how long even philosophers, men of extensive science and great ingenuity, can hold out against the evidence of new knowledge that does not square with their preconceptions1 ; and how long men can retain a practice that is conformable to their prejudices, and expect a benefit from such practice though constant experience shows its inutility. A late piece of the Abbé Nollet, printed last year in the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences, affords strong instances of this; for, though the very relations he gives of the effects of lightning in several churches and other buildings show clearly that it was conducted from one part to another by wires, gildings, and other pieces of metal that were within or connected with the building, yet in the same paper he objects to the providing metalline conductors without the building, as useless or dangerous.2 He cautions people not to ring the church bells during a thunder-storm, lest the lightning, in its way to the earth, should be conducted down to them by the bell-ropes,1 which are but bad conductors, and yet is against fixing metal rods on the outside of the steeple, which are known to be much better conductors, and which it would certainly choose to pass in, rather than in dry hemp. And, though for a thousand years past bells have been solemnly consecrated by the Romish Church,2 in expectation that the sound of such blessed bells would drive away the storms, and secure our buildings from the stroke of lightning; and during so long a period, it has not been found by experience that places within the reach of such blessed sound are safer than others where it is never heard; but that, on the contrary, the lightning seems to strike steeples of choice, and that at the very time the bells are ringing1 ; yet still they continue to bless the new bells, and jangle the old ones whenever it thunders. One would think it was now time to try some other trick; and ours is recommended (whatever this able philosopher may have been told to the contrary) by more than twelve years’ experience, wherein, among the great number of houses furnished with iron rods in North America, not one so guarded has been materially hurt with lightning, and several have evidently been preserved by their means; while a number of houses, churches, barns, ships, &c., in different places, unprovided with rods, have been struck and greatly damaged, demolished, or burnt. Probably the vestries of our English churches are not generally well acquainted with these facts; otherwise, since as good Protestants they have no faith in the blessing of bells, they would be less excusable in not providing this other security for their respective churches, and for the good people that may happen to be assembled in them during a tempest, especially as those buildings from their greater height, are more exposed to the stroke of lightning than our common dwellings.
I have nothing new in the philosophical way to communicate to you, except what follows. When I was last year in Germany, I met with a singular kind of glass, being a tube about eight inches long, half an inch in diameter, with a hollow ball of near an inch diameter at one end, and one of an inch and a half at the other, hermetically sealed, and half filled with water. If one end is held in the hand, and the other a little elevated above the level, a constant succession of large bubbles proceeds from the end in the hand to the other end, making an appearance that puzzled me much, till I found that the space not filled with water was also free from air, and either filled with a subtile, invisible vapor continually rising from the water, and extremely rarefiable by the least heat at one end, and condensable again by the least coolness at the other; or it is the very fluid of fire itself, which parting from the hand pervades the glass, and by its expansive force depresses the water till it can pass between it and the glass, and escape to the other end, where it gets through the glass again into the air. I am rather inclined to the first opinion, but doubtful between the two.
An ingenious artist here, Mr. Nairne, mathematical instrument-maker, has made a number of them from mine, and improved them; for his are much more sensible than those I brought from Germany. I bored a very small hole through the wainscot in the seat of my window, through which a little cold air constantly entered, while the air in the room was kept warmer by fires daily made in it, being winter time. I placed one of his glasses, with the elevated end against this hole; and the bubbles from the other end, which was in a warmer situation, were continually passing day and night, to the no small surprise of even philosophical spectators. Each bubble discharged is larger than that from which it proceeds, and yet that is not diminished; and by adding itself to the bubble at the other end, the bubble is not increased, which seems very paradoxical.
When the balls at each end are made large, and the connecting tube very small, and bent at right angles, so that the balls, instead of being at the ends, are brought on the side of the tube, and the tube is held so that the balls are above it, the water will be depressed in that which is held in the hand, and rise in the other as a jet or fountain; when it is all in the other, it begins to boil, as it were, by the vapor passing up through it; and the instant it begins to boil, a sudden coldness is felt in the ball held; a curious experiment this, first observed and shown by Mr. Nairne. There is something in it similar to the old observation, I think mentioned by Aristotle, that the bottom of a boiling pot is not warm; and perhaps it may help to explain the fact; if indeed it be a fact.
When the water stands at an equal height in both these balls, and all at rest, if you wet one of the balls by means of a feather dipped in spirit, though that spirit is of the same temperament as to heat and cold with the water in the glasses, yet the cold occasioned by the evaporation of the spirit from the wetted ball will so condense the vapor over the water contained in that ball, as that the water of the other ball will be pressed up into it, followed by a succession of bubbles, till the spirit is all dried away. Perhaps the observations on these little instruments may suggest and be applied to some beneficial uses. It has been thought, that water reduced to vapor by heat was rarefied only fourteen thousand times, and on this principle our engines for raising water by fire are said to be constructed; but, if the vapor so much rarefied from water is capable of being itself still farther rarefied to a boundless degree, by the application of heat to the vessels or parts of vessels containing the vapor (as at first it is applied to those containing the water), perhaps a much greater power may be obtained, with little additional expense. Possibly, too, the power of easily moving water from one end to the other of a movable beam (suspended in the middle like a scale-beam) by a small degree of heat, may be applied advantageously to some other mechanical purposes.
The magic square and circle, I am told, have occasioned a good deal of puzzling among the mathematicians here; but no one has desired me to show him my method of disposing the numbers. It seems they wish rather to investigate it themselves. When I have the pleasure of seeing you, I will communicate it.
With singular esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
PETITION OF THE LETTER Z
From The Tatler, No. 1778.
To the Worshipful Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire, Censor-General.
The petition of the letter Z, commonly called Ezzard, Zed, or Izard, most humbly showeth:
That your petitioner is of as high extraction, and has as good an estate, as any other letter of the Alphabet;
That there is therefore no reason why he should be treated as he is, with disrespect and indignity;
That he is not only actually placed at the tail of the Alphabet, when he had as much right as any other to be at the head; but it is by the injustice of his enemies totally excluded from the word WISE; and his place injuriously filled by a little hissing, crooked, serpentine, venomous letter, called S, when it must be evident to your worship, and to all the world, that W, I, S, E, do not spell Wize, but Wise.
Your petitioner therefore prays, that the Alphabet may by your censorial authority be reversed; and that in consideration of his long-suffering and patience he may be placed at the head of it; that S may be turned out of the word Wise, and the petitioner employed instead of him.
And your petitioner, as in duty bound, shall ever pray, &c., &c.
Mr. Bickerstaff, having examined the allegations of the above petition, judges and determines that Z be admonished to be content with his station, forbear reflections upon his brother letters, and remember his own small usefulness, and the little occasion there is for him in the Republic of Letters since S, whom he so despises, can so well serve instead of him.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 2 July, 1768.
Since my last I have received yours of May 10th, dated at Amboy, which I shall answer particularly by next week’s packet. I purpose now to take notice of that part wherein you say it was reported at Philadelphia I was to be appointed to a certain office here, which my friends all wished, but you did not believe it for the reasons I had mentioned. Instead of my being appointed to a new office, there has been a motion made to deprive me of that I now hold,1 and, I believe, for the same reason, though that was not the reason given out, viz., my being too much of an American; but, as it came from Lord Sandwich, our new postmaster-general, who is of the Bedford party, and a friend of Mr. Grenville, I have no doubt that the reason he gave out, viz., my non-residence, was only the pretence, and that the other was the true reason; especially as it is the practice in many other instances to allow the non-residence of American officers, who spend their salaries here, provided care is taken that the business be done by deputy or otherwise.
The first notice I had of this was from my fast friend, Mr. Cooper, secretary of the treasury. He desired me, by a little note, to call upon him there, which I did, when he told me that the Duke of Grafton had mentioned to him some discourse of Lord Sandwich’s, as if the office suffered by my absence, and that it would be fit to appoint another, as I seemed constantly to reside in England; that Mr. Todd, secretary of the post-office, had also been with the Duke, talking to the same purpose, &c.; that the Duke wished him (Mr. Cooper) to mention this to me, and to say to me, at the same time, that, though my going to my post might remove the objection, yet, if I choose rather to reside in England, my merit was such in his opinion as to entitle me to something better here, and it should not be his fault if I was not well provided for. I told Mr. Cooper that, without having heard any exception had been taken to my residence here, I was really preparing to return home, and expected to be gone in a few weeks; that, however, I was extremely sensible of the Duke’s goodness in giving me this intimation, and very thankful for his favorable disposition towards me; that, having lived long in England, and contracted a friendship and affection for many persons here, it could not but be agreeable to me to remain among them some time longer, if not for the rest of my life; and that there was no nobleman to whom I could, from sincere respect for his great abilities and amiable qualities, so cordially attach myself, or to whom I should so willingly be obliged for the provision he mentioned, as to the Duke of Grafton, if his Grace should think I could, in any station where he might place me, be serviceable to him and to the public.
Mr. Cooper said he was very glad to hear I was still willing to remain in England, as it agreed so perfectly with his inclinations to keep me here; wished me to leave my name at the Duke of Grafton’s as soon as possible, and to be at the treasury again the next board day. I accordingly called at the Duke’s and left my card; and when I went next to the treasury, his Grace not being there, Mr. Cooper carried me to Lord North, chancellor of the exchequer, who said very obligingly, after talking of some American affairs, “I am told by Mr. Cooper that you are not unwilling to stay with us. I hope we shall find some way of making it worth your while.” I thanked his Lordship, and said I should stay with pleasure, if I could any ways be useful to government. He made me a compliment and I took my leave, Mr. Cooper carrying me away with him to his country-house at Richmond to dine and stay all night.
He then told me that Mr. Todd had been again at the Duke of Grafton’s, and that upon his (Mr. Cooper’s) speaking in my behalf, Mr. Todd had changed his style, and said I had, to be sure, a great deal of merit with the office, having by my good management regulated the posts in America so as greatly to increase the revenue; that he had had great satisfaction in corresponding with me while I was there, and he believed they never had a better officer, &c. The Thursday following, being the birthday, I met with Mr. Todd at court. He was very civil, took me with him in his coach to the King’s Arms in the city, where I had been invited to dine by Mr. Trevor, with the gentlemen of the post-office; we had a good deal of chat after dinner between us two, in which he told me Lord Sandwich (who was very sharp) had taken notice of my stay in England, and said, “If one could do the business why should there be two?” On my telling Mr. Todd that I was going home (which I still say to everybody, not knowing but that what is intimated above may fail of taking effect), he looked blank, and seemed disconcerted a little, which makes me think some friend of his was to have been vested with my place; but this is surmise only. We parted very good friends.
That day I received another note from Mr. Cooper, directing me to be at the Duke of Grafton’s next morning, whose porter had orders to let me in. I went accordingly, and was immediately admitted. But his Grace being then engaged in some unexpected business, with much condescension and politeness made that apology for his not discoursing with me then, but wished me to be at the treasury at twelve the next Tuesday. I went accordingly, when Mr. Cooper told me something had called the Duke into the country, and the board was put off, which was not known till it was too late to send me word; but was glad I was come, as he might then fix another day for me to go again with him into the country. The day fixed was Thursday. I returned yesterday; should have stayed till Monday, but for writing by these vessels. He assures me the Duke has it at heart to do something handsome for me. Sir John Pringle, who is anxious for my stay, says Mr. Cooper is the honestest man of a courtier that he ever knew, and he is persuaded they are in earnest to keep me.
The piece I wrote against smuggling, in the Chronicle of November last, and one in April, on the Laboring Poor, which you will find in the Gentleman’s Magazine for that month, have been lately shown by Mr. Cooper to the chancellor of the exchequer, and to the Duke, who have expressed themselves much pleased with them. I am to be again at the treasury on Tuesday next, by appointment of Mr. Cooper. Thus particular I have been, that you may judge of this affair.
For my own thoughts, I must tell you that, though I did not think fit to decline any favor so great a man expressed an inclination to do me, because at court if one shows an unwillingness to be obliged it is often construed as a mark of mental hostility, and one makes an enemy, yet, so great is my inclination to be at home and at rest, that I shall not be sorry if this business falls through, and I am suffered to retire with my old post; nor indeed very sorry if they take that from me, too, on account of my zeal for America, in which some of my friends have hinted to me that I have been too open. I shall soon be able, I hope, by the next packet to give you farther light. In the meantime, as no one but Sir John knows of the treaty, I talk daily of going in the August packet at farthest. And when the late Georgia appointment of me to be their agent is mentioned, as what may detain me, I say, I have yet received no letters from that Assembly acquainting me what their business may be; that I shall probably hear from them before that packet sails; that if it is extraordinary and of such a nature as to make my stay another winter necessary, I may possibly stay, because there would not be time for them to choose another; but if it is common business, I shall leave it with Mr. Jackson and proceed.
I do not, by the way, know how that appointment came about, having no acquaintance that I can recollect in that country. It has been mentioned in the papers some time; but I have only just now received a letter from Governor Wright, informing me that he had that day given his assent to it, and expressing his desire to correspond with me on all occasions, saying the Committee, as soon as they could get their papers ready, would write to me and acquaint me with their business.1
We have lost Lord Clare from the Board of Trade. He took me home from court the Sunday before his removal, that I might dine with him, as he said, alone, and talk over American affairs. He seemed as attentive to them as if he was to continue ever so long. He gave me a great deal of flummery, saying that, though at my Examination I answered some of his questions a little pertly, yet he liked me from that day for the spirit I showed in defence of my country; and at parting, after we had drunk a bottle and a half of claret each, he hugged and kissed me, protesting he never in his life met with a man he was so much in love with. This I write for your amusement. You see by the nature of this whole letter that it is to yourself only. It may serve to prepare your mind for any event that shall happen.
If Mr. Grenville comes into power again, in any department respecting America, I must refuse to accept of any thing that may seem to put me in his power, because I apprehend a breach between the two countries; and that refusal might give offence. So that, you see, a turn of a die may make a great difference in our affairs. We may be either promoted or discarded; one or the other seems likely soon to be the case, but it is hard to divine which. I am myself grown so old as to feel much less than formerly the spur of ambition; and if it were not for the flattering expectation, that by being fixed here I might more effectually serve my country, I should certainly determine for retirement without a moment’s hesitation. I am, as ever, your affectionate father,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY
London, 2 July, 1768.
Since my last nothing material has occurred here relating to American affairs, except the removal of Lord Clare from the head of the Board of Trade to the treasury of Ireland, and the return of Lord Hillsborough to the Board of Trade as first commissioner, retaining the title and powers of secretary of state for the colonies. This change was very sudden and unexpected. My Lord Clare took me home from court to dine with him but two days before, saying he should be without other company and wanted to talk with me on sundry American businesses. We had accordingly a good deal of conversation on our affairs, in which he seemed to interest himself with all the attention that could be supposed in a minister who expected to continue in the management of them. This was on Sunday, and on the Tuesday following he was removed. Whether my Lord Hillsborough’s administration will be more stable than others have been for a long time, is quite uncertain; but as his inclinations are rather favorable towards us (so far as he thinks consistent with what he supposes the unquestionable rights of Britain), I cannot but wish it may continue, especially as these perpetual mutations prevent the progress of all business.
But another change is now talked of that gives me great uneasiness. Several of the Bedford party being now got in, it has been for some time apprehended that they would sooner or later draw their friend Mr. Grenville in after them. It is now said he is to be secretary of state, in the room of Lord Shelburne. If this should take place, or if in any other shape he comes again into power, I fear his sentiments of the Americans, and theirs of him, will occasion such clashings as may be attended with fatal consequences. The last accounts from your part of the world, of the combinations relating to commerce with this country, and resolutions concerning the duties here laid upon it, occasion much serious reflection; and it is thought the points in dispute between the two countries will not fail to come under the consideration of Parliament early in next session. Our friends wonder that I persist in my intention of returning this summer, alleging that I might be of much more service to my country here than I can be there, and wishing me by all means to stay the ensuing winter, as the presence of persons well acquainted with America, and of ability to represent these affairs in a proper light, will then be highly necessary. My private concerns, however, so much require my presence at home, that I have not yet suffered myself to be persuaded by their partial opinion of me.
The tumults and disorders, that prevailed here lately, have now pretty well subsided. Wilkes’ outlawry is reversed, but he is sentenced to twenty-two months imprisonment, and one thousand pounds fine, which his friends, who feared he would be pilloried, seem rather satisfied with. The importation of corn, a pretty good hay harvest, now near over, and the prospect of plenty from a fine crop of wheat, make the poor more patient, in hopes of an abatement in the price of provisions; so that, unless want of employment by the failure of American orders should distress them, they are like to be tolerably quiet.
I purpose writing to you again by the packet that goes next Saturday, and therefore now only add that I am, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO M. DUBOURG.1
London, 28 July, 1768.
I greatly approve the epithet which you give, in your letter of the 8th of June, to the new method of treating the small-pox, which you call the tonic or bracing method; I will take occasion from it to mention a practice to which I have accustomed myself. You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here as a tonic; but the shock of the cold water has always appeared to me, generally speaking, as too violent, and I have found it much more agreeable to my constitution to bathe in another element, I mean cold air. With this view I rise almost every morning and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing. This practice is not in the least painful, but, on the contrary, agreeable; and, if I return to bed afterwards, before I dress myself, as sometimes happens, I make a supplement to my night’s rest of one or two hours of the most pleasing sleep that can be imagined. I find no ill consequences whatever resulting from it, and that at least it does not injure my health, if it does not in fact contribute much to its perservation. I shall therefore call it for the future a bracing or tonic bath.
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO DUPONT DE NEMOURS1
London, 28 July, 1768.
I received your obliging letter of the 10th May, with the most acceptable present of your Physiocratie, which I have read with great pleasure, and received from it a great deal of instruction. There is such a freedom from local and national prejudices and partialities, so much benevolence to mankind in general, so much goodness mixt with the wisdom, in the principles of your new philosophy, that I am perfectly charmed with them, and wish I could have stayed in France for some time, to have studied in your school, that I might by conversing with its founders have made myself quite a master of that philosophy. . . . I had, before I went into your country, seen some letters of yours to Dr. Templeman, that gave me a high opinion of the doctrines you are engaged in cultivating and of your personal talents and abilities, which made me greatly desirous of seeing you. Since I had not that good fortune, the next best thing is the advantage you are so good to offer me of your correspondence, which I shall ever highly value, and endeavor to cultivate with all the diligence I am capable of.
I am sorry to find that that wisdom which sees the welfare of the parts in the prosperity of the whole, seems yet not to be known in this country. . . . . We are so far from conceiving that what is best for mankind, or even for Europe in general, may be best for us, that we are even studying to establish and extend a separate interest of Britain, to the prejudice of even Ireland and our own colonies. . . . It is from your philosophy only that the maxims of a contrary and more happy conduct are to be drawn, which I therefore sincerely wish may grow and increase till it becomes the governing philosophy of the human species, as it must be that of superior beings in better worlds. I take the liberty of sending you a little fragment that has some tincture of it, which, on that account, I hope may be acceptable.
Be so good as to present my sincere respect to that venerable apostle, Dr. Quesnay, and to the illustrious Ami des Hommes (of whose civilities to me at Paris I retain a grateful remembrance), and believe me to be, with real and very great esteem, Sir,
Your obliged and most obedient humble servant,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOHN ALLEYNE, ESQ.
9 August, 1768.
You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections that have been made by numerous persons to your own. You may remember, when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying as when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life; and possibly some of those accidents or connexions that might have injured the constitution, or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented.
Particular circumstances of particular persons may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature’s favor, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience, that there is not the same chance that the parents shall live to see their offspring educated. “Late children,” says the Spanish proverb, “are early orphans.” A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be! With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves; such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blessed with more children; and from the mode among us, founded by nature, every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Thence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe.
In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life, the fate of many here, who never intended it, but who, having too long postponed the change of their condition, find at length that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lessens a man’s value. An odd volume of a set of books bears not the value of its proportion to the set. What think you of the odd half of a pair of scissors? It cannot well cut any thing; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher.
Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man’s privilege, that of giving advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe it. Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest, for slights in jest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry earnest. Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both; being ever your affectionate friend,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
A SCHEME FOR A NEW ALPHABET AND REFORMED MODE OF SPELLING
I hope I shall be forgiven for observing that even our present printed and written characters are fundamentally the same. The (Roman) printed one is certainly the neatest, simplest, and most legible of the two; but for the sake of ease and rapidity in our writing, it seems we there insert a number of joining or terminating strokes, substitute curves for angles, and give the letters a small inclination, to which rules even the letters a, g, r, and w, are easily reconcilable. This will cease to appear a remark of mere curiosity, if applied to the deciphering of foreign correspondence. But for this purpose I would add that the French in particular seem to treat the small up-stroke in the letters h, p, and c, as proceeding originally in an angle from the bottom of the down-stroke: they therefore begin it with a curve from the bottom, and keep it all the way distinct; hence forming their written r much like our written v. This last letter v, they again distinguish by a loop at the bottom; which loop they often place where we place an outward curve. The remarkable terminating s which they sometimes use, seems intended for our printed s begun from the bottom, but from corrupt writing inverted and put horizontally, instead of vertically. It is rather from bad writing than system that their n and m appear like u and w. I could go on to speak of the formation of written and printed capitals, but as this would be a work of mere curiosity, I leave it for the reader’s amusement.
In this alphabet c is omitted as unnecessary; k supplying its hard sound, and s the soft; k also supplies well the place of q, and, with an s added, the place of x; q and x are therefore omitted. The vowel u, being sounded as oo, makes the w unnecessary. The y, where used simply, is supplied by i and, where as a diphthong, by two vowels; that letter is therefore omitted as useless. The jod j is also omitted, its sound being supplied by the new letter , ish, which serves other purposes, assisting in the formation of other sounds; thus the with a d before it gives the sound of the jod j and soft g, as in “James, January, giant, gentle,” “deems, danueri, dyiant, dentel”; with a t before it, it gives the sound of ch, as in “cherry, chip,” “teri, tip”; and, with a z before it, the French sound of the jod j, as in “jamais,” “zame.”
Thus the g has no longer two different sounds, which occasioned confusion, but is, as every letter ought to be, confined to one. The same is to be observed in all the letters, vowels, and consonants, that wherever they are met with, or in whatever company, their sound is always the same. It is also intended, that there be no superfluous letters used in spelling; that is, no letter that is not sounded; and this alphabet, by six new letters, provides that there be no distinct sounds in the language without letters to express them. As to the difference between short and long vowels, it is naturally expressed by a single vowel where short, a double one where long; as for “mend,” write “mend,” but for “remain’d,” write “remeen’d;” for “did,” write “did,” but for “deed,” write “diid,” &c.
What in our common alphabet is supposed the third vowel, i, as we sound it, is as a diphthong, consisting of two of our vowels joined; viz. as sounded in “into,” and i in its true sound. Any one will be sensible of this, who sounds those two vowels i quick after each other; the sound begins and ends ii. The true sound of the i is that we now give to e in the words “deed, keep.” Though a single vowel appears to be put in the table for did and deed equally, yet in the remarks—above—the latter is made to require two i’s. Perhaps the same doubling of the vowel is meant for name and lane; for certainly name is not pronounced as nem, in the expression nem. con., corresponding to the sound in men. Some critics may probably think that these two sets of sounds are so distinct as to require different characters to express them: since in mem, pronounced affectedly for ma’am—madam—and corresponding in sound to men, the lips are kept close to the teeth, and perpendicular to each other; but in maim, corresponding in sound to name, the lips are placed poutingly and flat towards each other; a remark that might be applied with little variation to did and deed compared. As this is a subject I have never much examined, it becomes me only to add, that spelling may be considered as “an analysis of the operations of the organs of speech, where each separate letter has to represent a different movement”; and that among these organs of speech, we are to enumerate the epiglottis, and perhaps even the lungs themselves, not merely as furnishing air for sound, but as modifying the sound of that air both in inhaling and expelling it.
FROM MISS STEVENSON TO B. FRANKLIN
Kensitn,26 Septembr, 1768.
i hav transkrib’d iur alfabet, &c., huit i ink mit bi v srvis tu oz, hu ui to akuir an akiuret pronnsien, if at kuld bi fiks’d; bt i si meni inknviiniensis, az uel az difikltis at uuld atend i brii iur letrs and rgrafi intu kmn ius. l ur etimlodiz uuld be lst, knsikuentli ui kuld nt asrteen i miini v meni urds; i distinkn, tu, bituiin urds v difrent miini and similar sund uuld bi iusles, nles ui livi riters pbli nu iidins. In rt i biliiv ui mst let piipil spel n in eer old ue, and (as ui find it iisiiest) du i seem urselves. With ease and sincerity I can, in the old way, subscribe myself,
|Catt or bark, from the coal trade, of 350 tons, estimated at about||£2,000|
|Extra expenses, stores, boats, &c.||3,000|
|To be manned with sixty men at £4 per man per month||£240|
|Wages and provisions||£8,640||for three years||8,640|
|Cargo included, supposed||£15,000|
The expenses of this expedition are calculated for three years; but the greatest part of the amount of wages will not be wanted till the ship returns, and a great part of the expense of provisions will be saved by what is obtained in the course of the voyage, by barter or otherwise, though it is proper to make provision for contingencies.[Back to Table of Contents]
CONCERNING THE PROVISION MADE IN CHINA AGAINST FAMINE1
I have somewhere read that, in China, an account is yearly taken of the number of people, and the quantities of provision produced. This account is transmitted to the emperor, whose ministers can thence foresee a scarcity, likely to happen in any province, and from what province it can best be supplied in good time. To facilitate the collecting of this account, and prevent the necessity of entering houses and spending time in asking and answering questions, each house is furnished with a little board, to be hung without the door during a certain time each year; on which board are marked certain words, against which the inhabitant is to mark the number and quantity, somewhat in this manner:
All under sixteen are accounted children, and all above men and women. Any other particulars, which the government desires information of, are occasionally marked on the same boards. Thus the officers appointed to collect the accounts in each district, have only to pass before the doors, and enter into their book what they find marked on the board, without giving the least trouble to the family. There is a penalty on marking falsely; and as neighbors must know nearly the truth of each other’s account, they dare not expose themselves by a false one, to each other’s accusation. Perhaps such a regulation is scarcely practicable with us.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MR. WILLIAM STRAHAN
Edinburgh, 17 November, 1771.
I have been at Blair Drummond on a visit to my friend Lord Kames, thence I went to Glasgow, thence to Carron Works, viewing the Canal by the way. Extreme bad weather detained me in several places some days longer than I intended. But on Tuesday I purpose setting out on my return, and hope for the pleasure of seeing you by the Tuesday following. I thank you for your kind congratulations on the news you have heard. I like immortal friendships, but not immortal enmities; and therefore kill the latter whenever I have a good opportunity, thinking it no murder. I am but just come back hither, and write this line just to let you know I am well and again under the hospitable roof of the good Samaritan. As to news, which you seem to expect from me, I protest I know of none, and I am too dull for invention. My love to Mrs. Strahan and your children, and believe me, ever, my dear friend,
Yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO THOMAS PERCIVAL1
On my return to London I found your favor of the 16th of May (1771). I wish I could, as you desire, give you a better explanation of the phenomenon in question, since you seem not quite satisfied with your own; but I think we want more and greater variety of experiments in different circumstances to enable us to form a thoroughly satisfactory hypothesis. Not that I make the least doubt of the facts already related, as I know both Lord Charles Cavendish and Dr. Heberden to be very accurate experimenters; but I wish to know the event of the trials proposed in your six queries; and also, whether in the same place where the lower vessel receives nearly twice the quantity of water that is received by the upper, a third vessel placed at half the height will receive a quantity proportionable. I will, however, endeavour to explain to you what occurred to me when I first heard of the fact.
I suppose it will be generally allowed, on a little consideration of the subject, that scarce any drop of water was, when it began to fall from the clouds, of a magnitude equal to that it has acquired when it arrives at the earth; the same of the several pieces of hail; because they are often so large and so weighty that we cannot conceive a possibility of their being suspended in the air, and remaining at rest there, for any time, how small soever; nor do we conceive any means of forming them so large before they set out to fall. It seems, then, that each beginning drop, and particle of hail receives continual addition in its progress downwards. This may be several ways: by the union of numbers in their course, so that what was at first only descending mist becomes a shower; or by each particle, in its descent through air that contains a great quantity of dissolved water, striking against, attaching to itself, and carrying down with it such particles of that dissolved water as happen to be in its way; or attracting to itself such as do not lie directly in its course by its different state with regard either to common or electric fire; or by all these causes united.
In the first case, by the uniting of numbers, larger drops might be made, but the quantity falling in the same place would be the same at all heights; unless, as you mention, the whole should be contracted in falling, the lines described by all the drops converging, so that what set out to fall from a cloud of many thousand acres, should reach the earth in perhaps a third of that extent, of which I somewhat doubt. In the other cases we have two experiments.
1. A dry glass bottle filled with very cold water, in a warm day, will presently collect from the seemingly dry air that surrounds it a quantity of water that shall cover its surface and run down its sides; which perhaps is done by the power wherewith the cold water attracts the fluid common fire that had been united with the dissolved water in the air, and drawing the fire through the glass into itself, leaves the water on the outside.
2. An electrified body, left in a room for some time, will be more covered with dust than other bodies in the same room not electrified, which dust seems to be attracted from the circumambient air.
Now we know that the rain, even in our hottest days, comes from a very cold region. Its falling sometimes in the form of ice shows this clearly; and perhaps even the rain is snow or ice, when it first moves downward though thawed in falling; and we know that the drops of rain are often electrified. But those causes of addition to each drop of water, or piece of hail, one would think could not long continue to produce the same effect; since the air, through which the drops fall, must soon be stripped of its previously dissolved water, so as to be no longer capable of augmenting them. Indeed very heavy showers of either are never of long continuance; but moderate rains often continue so long as to puzzle this hypothesis; so that upon the whole I think, as I intimated before, that we are yet hardly ripe for making one.
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. MARY HEWSON
Preston, 25 November, 1771.
I came to this place on Saturday night, right well, and untired with a seventy miles’ journey. That day I met with your and my Dolly’s joint letter, which would have refreshed me with its kindness, if I had been ever so weary.
The account you give of a certain lady’s having entertained a new gallant, in my absence, did not surprise me; for I have been used to rivals, and scarce ever had a friend or a mistress in my whole life, that other people did not like as well as myself. And, therefore, I did not wonder, when I read in the newspapers some weeks since, that “the Duke of C.” (that general lover) “had made many visits of late to an old lady not many miles from Craven Street.” I only wondered, considering the dislike she used to have for the family, that she would receive his visits. But as I saw, soon after, that Prince Charles had left Rome, and was gone a long journey, nobody knew whither, I made no doubt but the newswriters had mistaken the person, and that it was he who had taken the opportunity of my absence to solace himself with his old friend.
I thank you for your intelligence about my godson. I believe you are sincere when you say you think him as fine a child as you wish to see. He had cut two teeth, and three, in another letter, make five; for I know you never write tautologies. If I have over-reckoned, the number will be right by this time. His being like me in so many particulars pleases me prodigiously; and I am persuaded there is another, which you have omitted, though it must have occurred to you while you were putting them down. Pray let him have every thing he likes. I think it of great consequence while the features of the countenance are forming; it gives them a pleasant air, and, that being once become natural and fixed by habit, the face is ever after the handsomer for it, and on that much of a person’s good fortune and success in life may depend. Had I been crossed as much in my infant likings and inclinations as you know I have been of late years, I should have been, I was going to say, not near so handsome, but as the vanity of that expression would offend other folks’ vanity, I change it out of regard to them and say a great deal more homely.
I rejoice that your good mother’s new regimen succeeds so well with her. We are to set out, my son and I, to-morrow for London, where I hope to be by the end of the week, and to find her and you and all yours well and happy. My love to them all. They tell me dinner is coming in, and I have yet said nothing to Dolly; but must nevertheless conclude, my dear friend. Yours ever most affectionately,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. JANE MECOM
London, 13 January, 1772.
My Dear Sister:—
I received your kind letters of September 12th and November 9th. I have now been some weeks returned from my journey through Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the north of England, which, besides being an agreeable tour with a pleasant companion, has contributed to the establishment of my health; and this is the first ship I have heard of, by which I could write to you.
I thank you for the receipts; they are as full and particular as one could wish; but they can easily be practised only in America, no bayberry wax, nor any Brasiletto, being here to be had, at least to my knowledge. I am glad, however, that those useful arts, which have so long been in our family, are now put down in writing. Some future branch may be the better for it.
It gives me pleasure that those little things sent by Jonathan proved agreeable to you. I write now to cousin Williams to press the payment of the bond. There has been forbearance enough on my part; seven years or more, without receiving any principal or interest. It seems as if the debtor was like a whimsical man in Pennsylvania, of whom it was said that, it being against his principle to pay intertes, and against his interest to pay the principal, he paid neither one nor the other.
I doubt you have taken too old a pair of glasses, being tempted by their magnifying greatly. But people in choosing should only aim at remedying the defect. The glasses that enable them to see as well, at the same distance they used to hold their book or work, while their eyes were good, are those they should choose; not such as make them see better, for such contribute to hasten the time when still older glasses will become necessary.
All who have seen my grandson agree with you in their accounts of his being an uncommonly fine boy, which brings often afresh to my mind the idea of my son Franky,1 though now dead thirty-six years, whom I have seldom since seen equalled in every thing, and whom to this day I cannot think of without a sigh. Mr. Bache is here; I found him at Preston, in Lancashire, with his mother and sisters, very agreeable people, and I brought him to London with me. I very much like his behaviour. He returns in the next ship to Philadelphia. The gentleman who brought your last letter, Mr. Fox, stayed but a few minutes with me, and has not since called, as I desired him to do.
I shall endeavour to get the arms you desire for cousin Coffin. Having many letters to write, I can now only add my love to cousin Jenny, and that I am, as ever, your affectionate brother,
P. S.—Sally Franklin presents her duty. Mrs. Stevenson desires to be affectionately remembered. No arms of the Folgers are to be found in the Herald’s Office. I am persuaded it was originally a Flemish family, which came over with many others from that country in Queen Elizabeth’s time, flying from the persecution then raging there.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE IN MASSACHUSETTS
London, 13 January, 1772.
On my return from a late tour through Ireland and Scotland, for the establishment of my health, I found your respected letter of June 25th, with the papers therein referred to, relating to the townships settled eastward of Penobscot River. I immediately waited on Mr. Bollan to consult with him, agreeably to your instructions, who informed me that in my absence he had by himself thoroughly considered the same, having formerly had occasion to be acquainted with the whole affair, and he suggested to his constituents, the Council, a plan of accommodation to be proposed to government here, if they should approve of it; and that he hoped by the meeting of Parliament (before which little public business is done here, so many of the Lords of the Council being out of town) he might have their answer; and it would otherwise be to little purpose to attempt any thing sooner. I make no doubt but the proposal has been communicated to the House of Representatives, if they have since had a meeting, and that we may soon receive their further instructions thereon.
The town now begins to fill with members of Parliament, and great officers of state coming in daily to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, and be present at the opening of the session, which is fixed for next Tuesday. It is given out that nothing relating to America is likely to be agitated this session; that is, there is no purpose either to abrogate the old duties or lay new ones. For the first I am sorry, believing, as I do, that no harmony can be restored between the two countries while these duties are continued. This, with the other aggrievances mentioned in your letters of June 29th and July 13th, your agents will constantly attend to, and take every step possible in their present situation, unacknowledged as they are here, to obtain the redress that is so justly your due, and which it would be so prudent in government here to grant.
In yours of July 9th it is mentioned that the House desire I would annually send an account of the expense I am at, in carrying on the affairs of the province. Having business to do for several colonies, almost every time I go to the public offices, and to the ministers, I have found it troublesome to keep an account of small expenses, such as coach and chair hire, stationery, &c., and difficult to divide them justly. Therefore I have some time since omitted keeping any account, or making any charge of them, but content myself with such salaries, grants, and allowances as have been made me. Where considerable sums have been disbursed, as in fees to counsel, payment of solicitor’s bills, and the like, those I charge. But as yet I have made no such disbursements on the account of your province. Please to present my duty to the House of Representatives, and believe me to be, with great esteem and respect, Gentlemen, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO SAMUEL COOPER
London, 13 January, 1772.
I have now before me your several favors. A long journey I took in the summer and autumn, for the establishment of my health, prevented my answering sooner the two first. I hope the state of your health also is mended by your retirement into the country, as mine has sensibly been by that journey.
You have furnished me with a very good additional argument against the crown paying its governors, namely, that the proposed independence is impolitic on the part of the crown, and tends to prejudice it is interest, even considered separately from that of the people, as it will prove a strong temptation to governors to hold a conduct that will greatly lessen their esteem and influence in the province, and consequently their power to promote the service of the King. Indeed, the making it a rule among ourselves, that the governor is to have his salary from our assemblies, though his public conduct should be wilfully and maliciously prejudicial to the province, has the same tendency, of which the conduct of Governor Bernard, while he was constantly and regularly paid by us, is a considerable proof; and, therefore, in my opinion, if we would have our power of granting the support operate with any weight in maintaining an influence with the governor, it should have been withheld from him, and we should withhold it in part or in the whole, according to the circumstances, as often as such a conduct appears in any governor; otherwise the power, if in such cases it is not to be used, would seem of very little importance. And since the Assembly have of late years, and under such great provocations, never attempted to abridge or withhold the salary, no reason appears why the American minister should now think it necessary or advisable for the crown to take the payment of its governor upon itself, unless it be with an intention to influence him, by withholding it when he declines executing arbitrary instructions; and then, in such cases, the people should be sure to compensate him. As to procuring here any change of this measure, I frankly own to you that I despair of it while the administration of American affairs continues in the hands of Lord Hillsborough; and while, by our paying the duties, there is a sufficient American fund out of which such salaries can be satisfied. The failure of that fund would be the most likely means of demolishing the project.
The attempt to get the Commissioners exempted from the payment of their taxes, by an instruction to the governor, is the most indiscreet thing surely, to say nothing of its injustice, that any prudent government was ever guilty of. I cannot think it will be persisted in. I hope it will never be complied with. If the supply bill is duly offered without the clause, I am persuaded it will not long be refused. The public must, however, suffer in the meantime by the want of the supply; but that will be a good foundation for an impeachment here. Your reasonings against the instruction are unanswerable, and will be of use in the discussing that business.
I am glad that Commodore Gambier behaved in so satisfactory a manner. His uncle, Mr. Mead, first commissioner of the customs, is a particular and intimate friend of mine, a man of great moderation and prudence. I knew that he gave his nephew, before he went hence, a great deal of good advice with regard to his conduct among the people of Boston, for whom he has a great esteem and regard, having formerly commanded a frigate stationed there; and he is happy to find by your letter, which I communicated to him, that his advice was so well followed. He gave also equally good advice to your indiscreet Commissioners, when they were sent out; but they had not sense enough to follow it, and therefore have been the authors of infinite mischief. I wonder at the invention of so improbable a lie, as that I should desire a place among them, who am daily urging the expediency of their dissolution. The other calumny you mention, contained in an anonymous letter to the Speaker, is so weak that I believe you do not think that I ought to take any notice of it.1
As to the agency, whether I am re-chosen or not, and whether the General Assembly is ever permitted to pay me or not, I shall nevertheless continue to exert myself in behalf of my country as long as I see a probability of my being able to do it any service. I have nothing to ask or expect of ministers. I have, thanks to God, a competency for the little time I may expect to live, and am grown too old for ambition of any kind, but that of leaving a good name behind me.
Your story of the clergymen and proclamation is a pleasant one. I can only match it with one I had from my father. I know not if it was ever printed. Charles the First ordered his proclamation, authorizing sport on a Sunday, to be read in all churches. Many clergymen complied, some refused, and others hurried it through as indistinctly as possible. But one, whose congregation expected no such thing from him, did, nevertheless, to their great surprise read it distinctly. He followed it, however, with the fourth commandment, Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day, and then said: “Brethern, I have laid before you the commandment of your King, and the commandment of your God. I leave it to yourselves to judge which of the two ought rather to be observed.” With great and sincere esteem, I remain, dear Sir, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JAMES BOWDOIN
London, 13 January, 1772.
I should very readily have recommended your son to the care of my friend, Dr. Priestley, if he had continued to superintend the academy at Warrington; but he has left that charge some time since, and is now pastor of a congregation at Leeds in Yorkshire. I am much obliged to you for introducing me to the acquaintance of Mr. Erving, who appears a very intelligent, sensible man.
The governing of colonies by instruction has long been a favorite point with ministers here. About thirty years since, in a bill brought into Parliament relating to America, they inserted a clause to make the King’s instructions laws in the colonies, which, being opposed by the then agents, was thrown out. And I well remember a conversation with Lord Granville, soon after my arrival here, in which he expressed himself on that subject in the following terms: “Your American assemblies slight the King’s instructions, pretending that they are not laws. The instructions sent over to your governors are not like the pocket instructions given to ambassadors, to be observed at their discretion, as circumstances may require. They are drawn up by grave men, learned in the laws and constitutions of the realm; they are brought into Council, thoroughly weighed, well considered, and amended if necessary, by the wisdom of that body; and, when received by the governors, they are the laws of the land; for the King is the legislator of the colonies.”
I remember this the better, because, being a new doctrine to me, I put it down as soon as I returned to my lodgings. To be sure, if a governor thinks himself obliged to obey all instructions, whether consistent or inconsistent with the constitution, laws, and rights of the country he governs, and can proceed to govern in that train, there is an end of the constitution, and those rights are abolished. But I wonder, that any honest gentleman can think there is honor in being a governor on such terms. And I think the practice cannot possibly continue, especially if opposed with spirit by our assemblies. At present no attention is paid by the American ministers to any agent here, whose appointment is not ratified by the governor’s assent; and if this is persisted in, you can have none to serve you in a public character, that do not render themselves agreeable to these ministers, and those otherwise appointed can only promote your interests by conversation, as private gentlemen, or by writing.
Virginia had, as you observe, two agents, one for the Council, the other for the Assembly; but I think the latter only was considered as agent for the province. He was appointed by an act, which expired in the time of Lord Botetourt, and was not revived. The other, I apprehend, continues; but I am not well acquainted with the nature of his appointment. I only understand that he does not concern himself much with the general affairs of the colony.
It gives me great pleasure that my book afforded any to my friends. I esteem those letters of yours among its highest ornaments; and have the satisfaction to find that they add greatly to the reputation of American philosophy.
There is, in the governor’s Collection of Papers Relative to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, published in 1769, a copy of an answer made by Randolph to several Heads of Inquiry, which I take to be the same with those I sent you.1 I shall be very glad to have an account of the present number of ratables, when you can obtain it for me.
In Ireland, among the patriots, I dined with Dr. Lucas. They are all friends of America, in which I said every thing I could think of to confirm them. Lucas gave Mr. Bowdoin, of Boston, for his toast. My best respects to Mrs. Bowdoin. With sincere and great esteem, I am, dear Sir, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOSHUA BABCOCK
London, 13 January, 1772.
It was with great pleasure I learnt, by Mr. Marchant, that you and Mrs. Babcock and all your good family continue well and happy. I hope I shall find you all in the same state, when I next come your way, and take shelter, as often heretofore, under your hospitable roof. The Colonel, I am told, continues an active and able farmer, the most honorable of all employments, in my opinion, as being the most useful in itself, and rendering the man most independent. My namesake, his son, will soon, I hope, be able to drive the plough for him.
I have lately made a tour through Ireland and Scotland. In those countries, a small part of the society are landlords, great noblemen, and gentlemen, extremely opulent, living in the highest affluence and magnificence. The bulk of the people are tenants, extremely poor, living in the most sordid wretchedness, in dirty hovels of mud and straw, and clothed only in rags.
I thought often of the happiness of New England, where every man is a freeholder, has a vote in public affairs, lives in a tidy, warm house, has plenty of good food and fuel, with whole clothes from head to foot, the manufacture, perhaps, of his own family. Long may they continue in this situation! But, if they should ever envy the trade of these countries, I can put them in a way to obtain a share of it. Let them, with three fourths of the people of Ireland, live the year round on potatoes and buttermilk, without shirts, then may their merchants export beef, butter, and linen. Let them, with the generality of the common people of Scotland, go barefoot, then may they make large exports in shoes and stockings; and, if they will be content to wear rags, like the spinners and weavers of England, they may make cloths and stuffs for all parts of the world.
Farther, if my countrymen should ever wish for the honor of having among them a gentry enormously wealthy, let them sell their farms and pay racked rents; the scale of the landlords will rise, as that of the tenants is depressed, who will soon become poor, tattered, dirty, and abject in spirit. Had I never been in the American colonies, but were to form my judgment of civil society by what I have lately seen, I should never advise a nation of savages to admit of civilization; for I assure you that, in the possession and enjoyment of the various comforts of life, compared to these people, every Indian is a gentleman, and the effect of this kind of civil society seems to be, the depressing multitudes below the savage state, that a few may be raised above it. My best wishes attend you and yours, being ever, with great esteem, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 13 January, 1772.
I am now returned again to London from a journey of some months in Ireland and Scotland. Though my constitution, and too great confinement to business during the winter, seem to require the air and exercise of a long journey once a year, which I have now practised for more than twenty years past, yet I should not have been out so long this time, but that I was well assured the Parliament would not meet till towards the end of January, before which meeting few of the principal people would be in town, and no business of importance likely to be agitated relating to America.
I have now before me your esteemed favors. In the first you mention that the General Assembly was still held out of its ancient and only convenient seat, the Townhouse in Boston, and by the latest papers from thence I see that it was prorogued again to meet in Cambridge, which I a little wonder at, when I recollect a question asked me by Lord Hillsborough in Ireland, viz.: Whether I had heard from New England lately, since the General Court was returned to Boston? From this I concluded that orders had been transmitted by his Lordship for its removal. Perhaps such may have been sent, to be used discretionally. I think I have before mentioned to you one of the articles of impeachment brought against a bad minister of a former King: “That to work his ends he had caused the Parliament to sit in villibus et remotis partibus regni, where few people, propter defectum hospitii et victualium, could attend, thereby to force illos paucos, qui remanebunt de communitate regni, concedere regi quamvis pessima.” Lord Clarendon, too, was impeached for endeavouring to introduce arbitrary government into the colonies.
Lord Hillsborough seems, by the late instructions, to have been treading in the paths that lead to the same unhappy situation, if the Parliament here should ever again feel for the colonies. Being in Dublin, at the same time with his Lordship, I met with him accidentally at the Lord Lieutenant’s, who had happened to invite us to dine with a large company on the same day. As there was something curious in our interview, I must give you an account of it. He was surprisingly civil, and urged my fellow-travellers and me to call at his house in our intended journey northward, where we might be sure of better accommodations than the inns would afford us. He pressed us so politely that it was not easy to refuse without apparent rudeness, as we must pass through his town, Hillsborough, and by his door; and therefore, as it might afford an opportunity of saying something on American affairs, I concluded to comply with his invitation.
His Lordship went home some time before we left Dublin. We called upon him, and were detained at his house four days, during which time he entertained us with great civility, and a particular attention to me, that appeared the more extraordinary, as I knew that just before we left London he had expressed himself concerning me in very angry terms, calling me a republican, a factious, mischievous fellow, and the like.
In our conversations he first showed himself a good Irishman, blaming England for its narrowness towards that country in restraining its commerce and discouraging its woollen manufacture. When I applied his observations to America, he said he had always been of opinion that America ought not to be restrained in manufacturing any thing she could manufacture to advantage; that he supposed that, at present, she found more profit in agriculture; but, whenever she found that less profitable, or any particular manufacture more so, he had no objection to her pursuing it, and that the subjects in every part of the King’s dominion had a natural right to make the best use they could of the productions of their country. He censured Lord Chatham for affecting in his speech that the Parliament had a right or ought to restrain manufactures in the colonies; adding that, as he knew the English were apt to be jealous on that head, he avoided every thing that might inflame that jealousy; and, therefore, though the Commons had requested the crown to order the governor to send over annually accounts of such manufactures as were undertaken in the colonies, yet, as they had not ordered such accounts to be annually laid before them, he should never produce them till they were called for.
Then he gave me to understand that the bounty on silk raised in America was a child of his, and he hoped it would prove of great advantage to that country; and that he wished to know in what manner a bounty on raising wine there might be contrived, so as to operate effectually for that purpose, desiring me to turn it in my thoughts, as he should be glad of my opinion and advice. Then he informed me that Newfoundland was grown too populous to be left any longer without a regular government, but there were great difficulties in the forming such a kind of government as would be suitable to the particular circumstances of that country, which he wished me likewise to consider, and that I would favor him with my sentiments.
He seemed attentive to every thing that might make my stay in his house agreeable to me, and put his eldest son, Lord Killwarling, into his phaeton with me, to drive me a round of forty miles, that I might see the country, the seats, and manufactures, covering me with his own greatcoat, lest I should take cold. In short, he seemed extremely solicitous to impress me, and the colonies through me, with a good opinion of him. All which I could not but wonder at, knowing that he likes neither them nor me; and I thought it inexplicable, but on the supposition that he apprehended an approaching storm, and was desirous of lessening beforehand the number of enemies he had so imprudently created. But, if he takes no steps towards withdrawing the troops, repealing the duties, restoring the Castle, or recalling the offensive instructions, I shall think all the plausible behaviour I have described is meant only, by patting and stroking the horse, to make him more patient, while the reins are drawn tighter, and the spurs set deeper into his sides.
Before leaving Ireland I must mention that, being desirous of seeing the principal patriots there, I stayed till the opening of their Parliament. I found them disposed to be friends of America, in which I endeavoured to confirm them, with the expectation that our growing weight might in time be thrown into their scale, and, by joining our interests with others, a more equitable treatment from this nation might be obtained for them as well as for us. There are many brave spirits among them. The gentry are a very sensible, polite, and friendly people. Their Parliament makes a most respectable figure, with a number of very good speakers in both parties, and able men of business. And I must not omit acquainting you that, it being a standing rule to admit members of the English Parliament to sit (though they do not vote) in the House among the members, while others are only admitted into the gallery, my fellow-traveller, being an English member, was accordingly admitted as such. But I supposed I must go to the gallery, when the Speaker stood up, and acquainted the House that he understood there was in town an American gentleman of (as he was pleased to say) distinguished character and merit, a member or delegate of some of the Parliaments of that country, who was desirous of being present at the debates of the House; that there was a rule of the House for admitting members of English Parliaments, and that he supposed the House would consider the American assemblies as English parliaments; but, as this was the first instance, he had chosen not to give any order in it without receiving their directions. On the question, the House gave a loud, unanimous aye; when two members came to me without the bar——[The remainder is lost.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO SAMUEL FRANKLIN
London, 13 January, 1772.
I received your kind letter of November 8th, and rejoice to hear of the continued welfare of you and your good wife and four daughters. I hope they will all get good husbands. I dare say they will be educated so as to deserve them.
I knew a wise old man who used to advise his young friends to choose wives out of a bunch; for where there were many daughters, he said, they improved each other, and from emulation acquired more accomplishments, knew more, could do more, and were not spoiled by parental fondness, as single children often are. Yours have my best wishes and blessing, if that can be of any value.
I received a very polite letter from your friend, Mr. Bowen, relating to the print. Please to present him my respectful compliments. I am just returned from a long journey. Your affectionate cousin,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO EZRA STILES
London, 13 January, 1772.
There is lately published in Paris a work entitled Zend-Avesta, Ouvrage de Zoroastre, contenant les Idées Théologiques, Physiques et Morales de ce Législateur; les Cérémonies du Culte Religieuxqu’il a établi, et plusieurs Traits importans relatifs à l’Ancienne Histoire des Parses. Traduit en François sur l’Original Zend, avec des Remarques; et accompagné de plusieurs Traités propres à éclaircir les Matières, qui en sont l’Objet; par M. Anquetil du Perron, de l’Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, et Interprète du Roy pour les Langues Orientales. It is in two volumes quarto. Near half the work is an account of the author’s travels in India, and his residence among the Parses during several years to learn their languages.
I have cast my eye over the religious part; it seems to contain a nice morality, mixed with abundance of prayers, ceremonies, and observances. If you desire to have it, I will procure it for you. There is no doubt of its being a genuine translation of the books at present deemed sacred, as the writings of Zoroaster, by his followers; but perhaps some of them are of later date, though ascribed to him; for to me there seems too great a quantity and variety of ceremonies and prayers to be directed at once by one man. In the Romish church they have increased gradually in the course of ages to their present bulk. Those who added new ones from time to time found it necessary to give them authority by pretences of their antiquity. The books of Moses, indeed, if all written by him, which some doubt, are an exception to this observation. With great esteem, I am ever, dear Sir, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 28 January, 1772.
My Dear Child:—
I have written several short letters to you lately, promising to write more fully by Captain Falconer, which I now sit down to do with a number of your favors before me. I take notice of the considerable sums you have paid. I would not have you send me any receipts. I am satisfied with the accounts you give.
I am much pleased with your little histories of our grandson, and happy in thinking how much amusement he must afford you. I pray that God may continue him to us and to his parents. Mr. Bache is about retiring. His behaviour here has been very agreeable to me. I have advised him to settle down to business in Philadelphia, where I hope he will meet with success. I mentioned to you before that I saw his mother and sisters at Preston, who are very genteel and agreeable people.
I received your young neighbour Haddock’s silk, and carried it to her relations, who live very well, keeping a linen-draper’s shop in Bishop’s-gate Street. They have a relation in Spitalfields that is a manufacturer, who I believe will do it well. I shall honor much every young lady that I find on my return dressed in silk of her own raising. I thank you for the sauceboats, and am pleased to find so good a progress made in the china manufactory. I wish it success most heartily.
Mrs. Stevenson, too, loves to hear about your little boy. Her own grandson and my godson is a fine child, now nine months old. He has an attentive, observing, sagacious look, as if he had a great deal of sense; but as yet he is not enough acquainted with our language to express it intelligently. His mother nurses him herself, for which I much esteem her; as it is rather unfashionable here, where numbers of little innocents suffer and perish. His name is William.
The squirrels came safe and well. You will see by the enclosed how welcome they were. A hundred thanks are sent for them, and I thank you for the readiness with which you executed the commission. The buckwheat and Indian meal are come safe and good. They will be a great refreshment to me this winter; for, since I cannot be in America, every thing that comes from thence comforts me a little, as being something like home. The dried peaches, too, are excellent; those dried without their skins. The parcel in their skins are not so good. The apples are the best I ever had, and came with the least damage. The sturgeon you mention did not come; but that is not so material.
I hope our cousin Fisher will do well among us. He seems a sober, well-inclined man; and when I saw him in Birmingham he appeared to be well respected by his relations and friends. An active, lively, industrious wife would be a good thing for him. I sent you from Ireland a fine piece of the holland of that country. Captain All, whom I met with there, found a captain whom he knew, who promised to take care of it and deliver it safe. You mention nothing of it in your letter of December 2d, when, in the common course, you ought to have had it before that time, which makes me fear it is lost. I wrote to you from Dublin, and from Glasgow in Scotland. I was in Ireland about seven weeks; in Scotland about four weeks; absent from London, in all, more than three months. My tour was a very pleasant one. I received abundance of civilities from the gentry of both kingdoms, and my health is improved by the air and exercise.
I have advised Mr. Bache to deal only in the ready-money way though he should sell less. It is the safest and the most easy manner of carrying on business. I have given him two hundred pounds sterling to add something to his cargo. My love to our dear Sally. Your affectionate husband,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. SARAH BACHE
London, 29 January, 1772.
I met with Mr. Bache at Preston, where I stayed two or three days, being very kindly entertained by his mother and sisters, whom I liked much. He came to town with me, and is now going home to you. I have advised him to settle down to business in Philadelphia, where he will always be with you. I am of opinion that almost any profession a man has been educated in is preferable to an office held at pleasure, as rendering him more independent, more a free man, and less subject to the caprices of superiors; and I think that in keeping a store, if it be where you dwell, you can be serviceable to him, as your mother was to me; for you are not deficient in capacity, and I hope you are not too proud.
You might easily learn accounts, and you can copy letters, or write them very well upon occasion. By industry and frugality you may get forward in the world, being both of you yet young; and then what we may leave you at our death will be a pretty addition, though of itself far from sufficient to maintain and bring up a family. It is of more importance for you to think seriously of this, as you may have a number of children to educate. Till my return you need be at no expense for rent, as you are all welcome to continue with your mother; and indeed it seems to be your duty to attend her, as she grows infirm, and takes much delight in your company and the child’s. This saving will be a help in your progress; and for your encouragement I can assure you that there is scarce a merchant of opulence in your town whom I do not remember a young beginner with as little to go on with, and no better prospects than Mr. Bache.
I hope you will attend to what is recommended to you in this letter, it proceeding from sincere affection, after due consideration, with the knowledge I have of the world and my own circumstances. I am much pleased with the account I receive from all hands of your dear little boy. I hope he will be continued a blessing to us all. It is a pleasure to me that the little things I sent you proved agreeable. I am ever, my dear Sally, your affectionate father,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 30 January, 1772.
My Dear Son:—
In your last you mention some complaisance of Lord Hillsborough towards you, that showed a disposition to be on better terms. His behaviour to me in Ireland corresponds exactly. We met first at the Lord Lieutenant’s. Mr. Jackson and I were invited to dine there, and when we came we were shown into a room where Lord Hillsborough was alone. He was extremely civil, wonderfully so to me, whom he had not long before abused to Mr. Strahan, as a factious, turbulent fellow, always in mischief, a republican, enemy to the King’s service, and what not. He entered very frankly into conversation with us both, and invited us both to stop at his house in Hillsborough, as we should travel northward, and urged it in so polite a manner that we could not avoid saying that we would wait on him if we went that way. In my own mind I was determined not to go that way; but Mr. Jackson thought himself obliged to call on his Lordship, considering the connexion his office forms between them. His Lordship dined with us at the Lord Lieutenant’s. There were at the table the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker, and all the great officers of state. He drank my health, and was otherwise particularly civil. He went from Dublin some days before us.1
At Dublin we saw and were entertained by both parties, the courtiers and the patriots. The latter treated me with particular respect. We were admitted to sit among the members of the Commons’ House; Mr. Jackson as member of the British Parliament, and I as member of some British Parliament in America. The Speaker proposed it on my behalf, with some very obliging expressions of respect for my character, and was answered by the House with a unanimous aye of consent, when two members came out to me, led me in between them, and placed me honorably and commodiously. I hope our assemblies will not fall short of them in this politeness, if any Irish member should happen to be in our country.
In Scotland I spent five days with Lord Kames at his seat, Blair Drummond, near Stirling, two or three days at Glasgow, two days at Carron Iron Works, and the rest of the month in and about Edinburgh, lodging at David Hume’s, who entertained me with the greatest kindness and hospitality, as did Lord Kames and his lady. All our old acquaintances there, Sir Alexander Dick and lady, Mr. McGowan, Drs. Robertson, Cullen, Black, Ferguson, Russel, and others, inquired affectionately of your welfare. I was out three months, and the journey was evidently of great service to my health.
Mr. Bache had some views of obtaining an office in America; but I dissuaded him from the application, as I could not appear in it, and rather wish to see all I am connected with in an independent situation, supported by their own industry. I therefore advised him to lay out the money he brought with him in goods, return and sit down to business in Philadelphia, selling for ready money only, in which way I think he might, by quick returns, get forward in the world. It would have been wrong for Sally to leave her mother, besides incurring the expense of such a voyage.
I cast my eye over Goddard’s piece against our friend Mr. Galloway, and then lit my fire with it. I think such feeble, malicious attacks cannot hurt him.
The resolution of the Board of Trade to admit, for the future, no agents to appear before them but such as are appointed by “concurrent act of the whole Legislature,” will, I think, put an end to agencies, as, I apprehend, the assemblies will think agents, under the ministerial influence that must arise from such appointments, cannot be of much use in their colony affairs. In truth, I think the agents, as now appointed, of as much use to the government here, as to the colonies that send them, having often prevented its going into mistaken measures through misinformation, that must have been very inconvenient to itself and would have prevented more of the same kind if they had been attended to; witness the Stamp and Duty acts. I believe, therefore, we shall conclude to leave this omniscient, infallible minister to his own devices, and be no longer at the expense of sending any agent, whom he can displace by a repeal of the appointing act. I am sure I should not like to be an agent in such a suspicious situation, and shall therefore decline serving under every such appointment.
Your Assembly may avoid the dispute you seem apprehensive of, by leaving the appointment of an agent out of the support bill, or rather, I should say, the sum for his salary. The money in my hands will pay him, who ever he is, for two or three years, in which the measure and the minister may be changed. In the meantime, by working with a friend who has great influence at the Board, he can serve the province as effectually as by an open reception and appearance.
Our friend, Sir John Pringle, put into my hands the other day a letter from Mr. Bowman, seeming, I thought, a good deal pleased with the notice you had taken of his recommendation. I send you a copy of it that you may see the man has a grateful disposition. Temple has been at home with us during the Christmas vacation from school. He improves continually, and more and more engages the regard of all that are acquainted with him by his pleasing, sensible, manly behaviour.
I have of late great debates with myself whether or not I shall continue here any longer. I grow homesick, and, being now in my sixty-seventh year, I begin to apprehend some infirmity of age may attack me, and make my return impracticable. I have also some important affairs to settle before my death, a period I ought now to think cannot be far distant. I see here no disposition in Parliament to meddle farther in colony affairs for the present, either to lay more duties or to repeal any, and I think, though I were to return again, I may be absent from here a year without any prejudice to the business I am engaged in, though it is not probable that, being once at home, I should ever again see England. I have indeed so many good kind friends here, that I could spend the remainder of my life among them with great pleasure, if it were not for my American connexions, and the indelible affection I retain for that dear country from which I have so long been in a state of exile. My love to Betsey. I am ever your affectionate father,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
MAYZ, OR INDIAN CORN
It is remarked in North America that the English farmers, when they first arrive there, finding a soil and climate proper for the husbandry they have been accustomed to, and particularly suitable for raising wheat, they despise and neglect the culture of mayz, or Indian corn; but, observing the advantage it affords their neighbours, the older inhabitants, they by degrees get more and more into the practice of raising it; and the face of the country shows, from time to time, that the culture of that grain goes on visibly augmenting.
The inducements are, the many different ways in which it may be prepared, so as to afford a wholesome and pleasing nourishment to men and other animals. 1st. The family can begin to make use of it before the time of full harvest; for the tender green ears, stripped of their leaves, and roasted by a quick fire till the grain is brown, and eaten with a little salt or butter are a delicacy. 2dly. When the grain is ripe and harder, the ears, boiled in their leaves, and eaten with butter, are also good and agreeable food. The tender green grains, dried, may be kept all the year, and, mixed with green haricots,1 also dried, make at any time a pleasing dish, being first soaked some hours in water, and then boiled. When the grain is ripe and hard, there are also several ways of using it. One is, to soak it all night in a lessive or lye, and then pound it in a large wooden mortar with a wooden pestle; the skin of each grain is by that means skinned off, and the farinaceous part left whole, which, being boiled, swells into a white soft pulp, and eaten with milk, or with butter and sugar, is delicious.2 The dry grain is also sometimes ground loosely, so as to be broke into pieces of the size of rice, and being winnowed to separate the bran, it is then boiled and eaten with turkeys or other fowls, as rice. Ground into a finer meal, they make of it, by boiling, a hasty-pudding, or bouilli, to be eaten with milk, or with butter and sugar; this resembles what the Italians call polenta. They make of the same meal, with water and salt, a hasty cake, which, being stuck against a hoe or other flat iron, is placed erect before the fire, and so baked, to be used as bread. Broth is also agreeable thickened with the same meal. They also parch it in this manner. An iron pot is filled with sand, and set on the fire till the sand is very hot. Two or three pounds of the grain are then thrown in, and well mixed with the sand by stirring. Each grain bursts and throws out a white substance of twice its bigness. The sand is separated by a wire sieve, and returned into the pot, to be again heated, and repeat the operation with fresh grain. That which is parched is pounded to a powder in mortars. This being sifted, will keep long for use. An Indian will travel far and subsist long on a small bag of it, taking only six or eight ounces of it per day, mixed with water.
The flour of mayz, mixed with that of wheat, makes excellent bread, sweeter and more agreeable than that of wheat alone. To feed horses, it is good to soak the grain twelve hours; they mash it easier with their teeth, and it yields them more nourishment. The leaves, stripped off the stalks after the grain is ripe, and tied up in bundles when dry, are excellent forage for horses, cows, &c. The stalks, pressed like sugar-cane yield a sweet juice, which, being fermented and distilled, yields an excellent spirit; boiled without fermentation, it affords a pleasant syrup. In Mexico, fields are sown with it thick, that multitudes of small stalks may arise, which, being cut from time to time like asparagus, are served in desserts, and their sweet juice extracted in the mouth by chewing them. The meal wetted is excellent food for young chickens, and the whole grain for grown fowls.1[Back to Table of Contents]
PRECAUTIONS TO BE USED BY THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO UNDERTAKE A SEA VOYAGE
When you intend to take a long voyage, nothing is better than to keep it a secret till the moment of your departure. Without this, you will be continually interrupted and tormented by visits from friends and acquaintances, who not only make you lose your valuable time, but make you forget a thousand things which you wish to remember; so that, when you are embarked, and fairly at sea, you recollect, with much uneasiness, affairs which you have not terminated, accounts that you have not settled, and a number of things which you proposed to carry with you, and which you find the want of every moment. Would it not be attended with the best consequences to reform such a custom and to suffer a traveller, without deranging him, to make his preparations in quietness, to set apart a few days, when these are finished to take leave of his friends, and to receive their good wishes for his happy return?
It is not always in one’s power to choose a captain; though great part of the pleasure and happiness of the passage depends upon this choice, and though one must for a time be confined to his company, and be in some measure under his command. If he is a social, sensible man, obliging, and of a good disposition, you will be so much the happier. One sometimes meets with people of this description, but they are not common; however, if yours be not of this number, if he be a good seaman, attentive, careful, and active in the management of his vessel, you must dispense with the rest, for these are essential qualities.
Whatever right you may have, by your agreement with him, to the provisions he has taken on board for the use of the passengers, it is always proper to have some private store, which you may make use of occasionally. You ought, therefore, to provide good water, that of the ship being often bad; but you must put it into bottles, without which you cannot expect to preserve it sweet. You ought also to carry with you good tea, ground coffee, chocolate, wine of that sort which you like best, cider, dried raisins, almonds, sugar, capillaire, citrons, rum, eggs dipped in oil, portable soup, bread twice baked. With regard to poultry, it is almost useless to carry any with you, unless you resolve to undertake the office of feeding and fattening them yourself. With the little care which is taken of them on board ship, they are almost all sickly, and their flesh is as tough as leather.
All sailors entertain an opinion, which has undoubtedly originated formerly from a want of water, and when it has been found necessary to be sparing of it, that poultry never know when they have drunk enough; and that when water is given them at discretion, they generally kill themselves by drinking beyond measure. In consequence of this opinion, they give them water only once in two days, and even then in small quantities; but as they pour this water into troughs inclining on one side, which occasions it to run to the lower part, it thence happens that they are obliged to mount one upon the back of another in order to reach it; and there are some which cannot even dip their beaks in it. Thus continually tantilized and tormented by thirst, they are unable to digest their food, which is very dry, and they soon fall sick and die. Some of them are found thus every morning, and are thrown into the sea; whilst those which are killed for the table are scarcely fit to be eaten. To remedy this inconvenience, it will be necessary to divide their troughs into small compartments, in such a manner that each of them may be capable of containing water; but this is seldom or never done. On this account sheep and hogs are to be considered as the best fresh provision that one can have at sea; mutton there being in general very good, and pork excellent.
It may happen that some of the provisions and stores which I have recommended may become almost useless, by the care which the captain has taken to lay in a proper stock; but in such a case you may dispose of it to relieve the poor passengers, who, paying less for their passage, are stowed among the common sailors, and have no right to the captain’s provisions, except such part of them as is used for feeding the crew. These passengers are sometimes sick, melancholy, and dejected; and there are often women and children among them, neither of whom have any opportunity of procuring those things which I have mentioned, and of which, perhaps, they have the greatest need. By distributing amongst them a part of your superfluity, you may be of the greatest assistance to them. You may restore their health, save their lives, and, in short, render them happy; which always affords the liveliest sensation to a feeling mind.
The most disagreeable thing at sea is the cookery; for there is not, properly speaking, any professional cook on board. The worse sailor is generally chosen for that purpose, who for the most part is equally dirty. Hence comes the proverb used among the English sailors, that God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks. Those, however, who have a better opinion of Providence, will think otherwise. Knowing that sea air, and the exercise or motion, which they receive from the rolling of the ship, have a wonderful effect in whetting the appetite, they will say that Providence has given sailors bad cooks to prevent them from eating too much; or that, knowing they would have bad cooks, has given them a good appetite to prevent them from dying with hunger. However, if you have no confidence in those succours of Providence, you may yourself, with a lamp and a boiler, by the help of a little spirits of wine, prepare some food, such as soup, hash, &c. A small oven made of tin-plate is not a bad piece of furniture; your servant may roast in it a piece of mutton or pork. If you are ever tempted to eat salt beef, which is often very good, you will find that cider is the best liquor to quench the thirst generally caused by salt meat or salt fish. Sea biscuit, which is too hard for the teeth of some people, may be softened by steeping it; but bread double-baked is the best; for, being made of good loaf-bread cut into slices, and baked a second time, it readily imbibes water, becomes soft, and is easily digested; it consequently forms excellent nourishment, much superior to that of biscuit, which has not been fermented.
I must here observe that this double-baked bread was originally the real biscuit prepared to keep at sea; for the word biscuit, in French, signifies twice baked. Pease often boil badly, and do not become soft; in such case, by putting a two-pound shot into the kettle, the rolling of the vessel, by means of this bullet, will convert the pease into a kind of porridge, like mustard.
Having often seen soup, when put upon the table at sea in broad, flat dishes, thrown out on every side by the rolling of the vessel, I have wished that our tinmen would make our soup-basins with divisions or compartments, forming small plates, proper for containing soup for one person only. By this disposition, the soup, in an extraordinary roll, would not be thrown out of the plate, and would not fall into the breast of those who are at table, and scald them.
Having entertained you with these things of little importance, permit me now to conclude with some general reflections upon navigation.
When navigation is employed only for transporting necessary provisions from one country, where they abound, to another where they are wanting; when by this it prevents famines, which were so frequent and so fatal before it was invented and became so common, we cannot help considering it as one of those arts which contribute most to the happiness of mankind. But when it is employed to transport things of no utility, or articles merely of luxury, it is then uncertain whether the advantages resulting from it are sufficient to counterbalance the misfortunes it occasions by exposing the lives of so many individuals upon the vast ocean. And when it is used to plunder vessels and transport slaves, it is evidently only the dreadful means of increasing those calamities which afflict human nature.
One is astonished to think on the number of vessels and men who are daily exposed in going to bring tea from China, coffee from Arabia, and sugar and tobacco from America; all, commodities which our ancestors lived very well without. The sugar trade employs nearly a thousand vessels, and that of tobacco, almost the same number. With regard to the utility of tobacco, little can be said; and, with regard to sugar, how much more meritorious would it be to sacrifice the momentary pleasure which we receive from drinking it once or twice a day in our tea, than to encourage the numberless cruelties that are continually exercised in order to procure it us!
A celebrated French moralist said that, when he considered the wars which we foment in Africa to get negroes, the great number who of course perish in these wars; the multitude of those wretches who die in their passage, by disease, bad air, and bad provisions; and, lastly, how many perish by the cruel treatment they meet with in a state of slavery, when he saw a bit of sugar he could not help imagining it to be covered with spots of human blood. But, had he added to these considerations the wars which we carry on against one another, to take and retake the islands that produce this commodity, he would not have seen the sugar simply spotted with blood, he would have beheld it entirely tinged with it.
These wars make the maritime powers of Europe and the inhabitants of Paris and London pay much dearer for their sugar than those of Vienna, though they are almost three hundred leagues distant from the sea. A pound of sugar, indeed, costs the former not only the price which they give for it, but also what they pay in taxes, necessary to support the fleets and armies which serve to defend and protect the countries that produce it.[Back to Table of Contents]
TOLERATION IN OLD ENGLAND AND NEW ENGLAND1
I understand from the public papers that, in the debates on the bill for relieving the Dissenters in the point of subscription to the church articles, sundry reflections were thrown out against that people, importing “that they themselves are of a persecuting, intolerant spirit; for that, when they had the superiority, they persecuted the church, and still persecute it in America, where they compel its members to pay taxes for maintaining the Presbyterian or Independent worship, and, at the same time, refuse them a toleration in the full exercise of their religion by the administrations of a bishop.”
If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practised it against the Puritans. These found it wrong in the bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves, both here and in New England. To account for this we should remember that the doctrine of toleration was not then known, or had not prevailed in the world. Persecution was, therefore, not so much the fault of the sect as of the times. It was not in those days deemed wrong in itself. The general opinion was only that those who are in error ought not to persecute the truth; but the possessors of truth were in the right to persecute error, in order to destroy it. Thus every sect, believing itself possessed of all truth, and that every tenet differing from theirs was error, conceived that, when the power was in their hands, persecution was a duty required of them by that God whom they supposed to be offended with heresy. By degrees more moderate and more modest sentiments have taken place in the Christian world; and among Protestants, particularly, all disclaim persecution, none vindicate it, and but few practise it. We should then cease to reproach each other with what was done by our ancestors, but judge of the present character of sects or churches by their present conduct only.
Now, to determine on the justice of this charge against the present Dissenters, particularly those in America, let us consider the following facts. They went from England to establish a new country for themselves, at their own expense, where they might enjoy the free exercise of religion in their own way. When they had purchased the territory of the natives, they granted the lands out in townships, requiring for it neither purchase-money nor quit-rent, but this condition only to be complied with, that the free-holders should for ever support a gospel minister (meaning probably one of the governing sects) and a free-school within the township. Thus what is commonly called Presbyterianism became the established religion of that country. All went on well in this way while the same religious opinions were general, the support of minister and school being raised by a proportionate tax on the lands. But, in process of time some becoming Quakers,1 some Baptists, and, of late years, some returning to the Church of England (through the laudable endeavours, and a proper application1 of their funds, by the Society for Propagating the Gospel), objections were made to the payment of a tax appropriated to the support of a church they disapproved and had forsaken.
The civil magistrates, however, continued for a time to collect and apply the tax according to the original laws, which remained in force; and they did it more freely, as thinking it just and equitable that the holders of land should pay what was contracted to be paid when they were granted, as the only consideration for the grant, and what had been considered by all subsequent purchasers as a perpetual incumbrance on the estate, bought therefore at a proportionably cheaper rate; a payment which it was thought no honest man ought to avoid, under the pretence of his having changed his religious persuasion. And this, I suppose, is one of the best grounds of demanding tithes of Dissenters now in England. But the practice being clamored against by the Episcopalians as persecution, the legislature of the province of Massachusetts Bay, near thirty years since, passed an act for their relief, requiring indeed the tax to be paid as usual, but directing that the several sums levied from members of the Church of England, should be paid over to the minister of that church, with whom such members usually attended divine worship, which minister had power given him to receive, and on occasion to recover the same by law.
It seems that the legislature considered the end of the tax was to secure and improve the morals of the people and promote their happiness, by supporting among them the public worship of God and the preaching of the Gospel; that where particular people fancied a particular mode, that mode might probably, therefore, be of most use to those people; and that, if the good was done, it was not so material in what mode or by whom it was done. The consideration that their brethren, the Dissenters in England, were still compelled to pay tithes to the clergy of the church, had not weight enough with the legislature to prevent this moderate act, which still continues in full force; and I hope no uncharitable conduct of the church towards the Dissenters will ever provoke them to repeal it.
With regard to a bishop, I know not upon what grounds the Dissenters, either here or in America, are charged with refusing the benefit of such an officer to the church in that country. Here they seem to have naturally no concern in the affair. There they have no power to prevent it, if government should think fit to send one. They would probably dislike, indeed, to see an order of men established among them, from whose persecutions their fathers fled into that wilderness, and whose future domination they may possibly fear, not knowing that their natures are changed. But the non-appointment of bishops for America seems to arise from another quarter. The same wisdom of government, probably, that prevents the sitting of convocations, and forbids by noli-prosequis the persecution of Dissenters for non-subscription, avoids establishing bishops where the minds of the people are not yet prepared to receive them cordially, lest the public peace should be endangered.1
And now let us see how this persecution account stands between the parties.
In New England, where the legislative bodies are almost to a man dissenters from the Church of England—
1. There is no test to prevent churchmen from holding offices.
2. The sons of churchmen have the full benefit of the universities.
3. The taxes for support of public worship, when paid by churchmen, are given to the Episcopal minister.
In Old England—
1. Dissenters are excluded from all offices of profit and honor.
2. The benefits of education in the universities are appropriated to the sons of churchmen.
3. The clergy of the Dissenters receive none of the tithes paid by their people, who must be at the additional charge of maintaining their own separate worship.
But is it said the Dissenters of America oppose the introduction of a bishop.
In fact, it is not alone the Dissenters there that give opposition (if not encouraging must be termed opposing), but the laity in general dislike the project, and some even of the clergy. The inhabitants of Virginia are almost all Episcopalians. The church is fully established there, and the Council and General Assembly are perhaps to a man its members; yet, when lately, at a meeting of the clergy, a resolution was taken to apply for a bishop, against which several, however, protested, the Assembly of the province at their next meeting expressed their disapprobation of the thing in the strongest manner, by unanimously ordering the thanks of the House to the protesters; for many of the American laity of the church think it some advantage whether their own young men come to England for ordination and improve themselves at the same time with the learned here, or the congregations are supplied by Englishmen, who have had the benefit of education in English universities, and are ordained before they come abroad. They do not, therefore, see the necessity of a bishop merely for ordination, and confirmation is deemed among them a ceremony of no very great importance, since few seek it in England, where bishops are in plenty. These sentiments prevail with many churchmen there, not to promote a design which they think must sooner or later saddle them with great expenses to support it. As to the Dissenters, their minds might probably be more conciliated to the measure, if the bishops here should, in their wisdom and goodness, think fit to set their sacred character in a more friendly light, by dropping their opposition to the Dissenters’ application for relief in subscription, and declaring their willingness that Dissenters should be capable of offices, enjoy the benefit of education in the universities, and the privilege of appropriating their tithes to the support of their own clergy. In all these points of toleration they appear far behind the present Dissenters of New England, and it may seem to some a step below the dignity of bishops to follow the example of such inferiors. I do not, however, despair of their doing it some time or other, since nothing of the kind is too hard for true Christian humility. I am, Sir, yours, &c.,
A New England Man.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOHN FOXCROFT
London, 4 February, 1772.
I have written two or three small letters to you since my return from Ireland and Scotland. Mr. Todd has not yet shown me that which you wrote to him about the New Colony, though he mentioned it, and will let me see it, I suppose, when I call on him.1 I told you in one of mine, that he has advanced for your share what has been paid by others, though I was ready to do it, and shall in the whole affair take the same care of your interest as of my own.
You take notice that “Mr. Wharton’s friends will not allow me any merit in this transaction, but insist the whole is owing to his superior abilities.” It is a common error in friends, when they would extol their friend, to make comparisons, and to depreciate the merits of others. It was not necessary for his friends to do so in this case. Mr. Wharton will in truth have a good deal of merit in the affair if it succeeds, he having been exceedingly active and industrious in soliciting it, and in drawing up memorials and papers to support the application and remove objections. But though I have not been equally active, it not being thought proper that I should appear much in the solicitation, since I became a little obnoxious to the ministry, on account of my letters to America, yet I suppose my advice may have been thought of some use, since it has been asked on every step, and I believe that, being longer and better known here than Mr. Wharton, I may have lent some weight to his negotiations by joining in the affair, from the greater confidence men are apt to place in one they know, than in a stranger. However, as I neither ask nor expect any particular consideration for any service I may have done, and only think I ought to escape censure, I shall not enlarge on this invidious topic.
Let us all do our endeavours, in our several capacities, for the common service; and, if one has the ability or opportunity of doing more for his friends than another, let him think that a happiness, and be satisfied. The business is not yet quite completed; and, as many things may happen between the cup and the lip, perhaps there may be nothing of this kind for friends to dispute about. For, if nobody should receive any benefit, there would be no scrambling for the honor.
In yours from New York, of July 3d, you mentioned your intention of purchasing a bill to send hither, as soon as you returned home from your journey. I have not since received any from you, which I only take notice of that, if you have sent any, you may not blame me for not acknowledging the receipt of it.
In mine of April 20th, I explained to you what I had before mentioned, that, in settling our private accounts, I had paid you the sum of three hundred and eighty-nine pounds, or thereabouts, in my own wrong, having before paid it for you to the general post-office. I hope that since you have received your books, and looked over the accounts, you are satisfied of this. I am anxious for your answer upon it, the sum being too large to be left long without an adjustment. I am, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO CADWALLADER EVANS
London, 6 February, 1772.
The trunks of silk were detained at the custom-house till very lately; first, because of the holidays, and then waiting to get two persons, skilful in silk, to make a valuation of it, in order to ascertain the bounty. As soon as that was done, and the trunks brought to my house, I waited on Dr. Fothergill to request he would come and see it opened and consult about disposing of it, which he could not do till last Thursday. On examining it, we found that the valuers had opened all the parcels, in order, we suppose, to see the quality of each, had neglected to make them up again, and the directions and marks were lost (except that from Mr. Parke, and that of the second crop), so that we could not find which was intended for the Queen and which for the Proprietary family. Then, being no judges ourselves, we concluded to get Mr. Patterson, or some other skilful person, to come and pick out six pounds of the best for her Majesty, and four pounds for each of the other ladies. This I have endeavoured, but it is not yet done, though I hourly expect it.
Mr. Boydell, broker for the ship, attended the custom-house to obtain the valuation, and had a great deal of trouble to get it managed. I have not since seen him, nor heard the sum they reported, but hope to give you all the particulars by the next ship, which I understand sails in about a fortnight, when Dr. Fothergill and myself are to write a joint letter to the committee, to whom please to present my respects, and assure them of my most faithful services. I am charmed with the sight of such a quantity the second year, and have great hopes the produce will now be established. The second crop silk seems to me not inferior to the others; and, if it is practicable with us to have two crops, and the second season does not interfere too much with other business in the farming way, I think it will be a great addition to the profits as well as to the quantity.
Dr. Fothergill has a number of Chinese drawings, of which some represent the process of raising silk, from the beginning to the end. I am to call at his house and assist in looking them out, he intending to send them as a present to the Silk Company. I have now only time to add that I am, ever yours very affectionately,
B. Franklin.1[Back to Table of Contents]
FROM DAVID HUME TO B. FRANKLIN
Edinburgh, 7 February, 1772.
I was very glad to hear of your safe arrival in London, after being exposed to as many perils as St. Paul, by land and by water, though to no perils among false brethren; for the good wishes of all your brother philosophers in this place attend you heartily and sincerely, together with much regret that your business would not allow you to pass more time among them.
Brother Lin expects to see you soon, before he takes his little trip round the world. You have heard, no doubt, of that project. The circumstances of the affair could not be more honorable for him, nor could the honor be conferred on one who deserves it more.
I really believe, with the French author of whom you have favored me with an extract, that the circumstance of my being a Scotchman has been a considerable objection to me. So factious is this country! I expected, in entering on my literary course, that all the Christians, all the whigs, and all the tories, should be my enemies. But it is hard that all the English, Irish, and Welsh should be also against me. The Scotch likewise cannot be much my friends as no man is a prophet in his own country. However, it is some consolation that I can bear up my head under all this prejudice. I fancy that I must have recourse to America for justice. You told me, I think, that your countrymen in that part of the world intended to do me the honor of giving an edition of my writings, and you promised that you should recommend to them to follow the last edition, which is in the press. I now use the freedom of reminding you of it.
Pray make my compliments to Sir John Pringle, and tell him how much I wish for his company; and be so good as to give him a description of the house I reserve for him in the Square. If you really go over to America, we hope you will not grudge us Sir John as a legacy. I am, dear Sir, with great truth and regard, your most obedient humble servant,
David Hume.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 13 April, 1772.
I wrote to you in January last a long letter, by Meyrick, and at the same time wrote to the Committee, since which I have received no line from any one in Boston, nor has Mr. Bollan yet received the answer we wait for, respecting the eastern settlements on the crown land.
The Parliament has been employed in the royal marriage bill, and other business; nothing of importance relating to America has been mentioned hitherto during the session, and it is thought that India affairs will fill up the remainder of the time, to the prorogation. I have not met with Lord Hillsborough since my return from Ireland, seeing no use at present in attending his levees. The papers mentioned his intention of moving something in the House of Lords relating to America, but I cannot learn there was any truth in it.
It is my present purpose to return home this summer, in which case I suppose I am to leave your business and papers in the hands of Mr. Lee, which I shall do if I do not receive other directions.
Upon the present plan here of admitting no agent but such as governors shall approve of, from year to year, and of course none but such as the ministry approves of, I do not conceive that agents can be of much use to you; and, therefore, I suppose you would rather decline appointing any. In my opinion, they have at all times been of full as much service to government here, as to the colonies from whence they come, and might still be so, if properly attended to, in preventing, by their better information, those disgraceful blunders of government that arise from its ignorance of our situation, circumstances, abilities, temper, &c., such as the Stamp Act, which too would have been prevented, if the agents had been regarded. Therefore I should think that, if agents can be allowed here on no other footing than is now proposed, we should omit sending any, and leave the crown, when it wants our aids, or would transact business with us, to send its minister to the colonies.
Be pleased to present my respects to the Committee, and duty to the Assembly, and believe me, with sincere esteem, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO M. LE ROY
London, 20 April, 1772.
I received your favor of March 5th, by M. Dazeux, and shall be glad of any opportunity of doing him service. It gave me great pleasure to learn by him that you are well and happily married, on which I give you joy. It is after all the most natural state of man.
Mr. West, our President, concering whom you make inquiry, is esteemed a good antiquarian, but has not distinguished himself in any other branch of science. He is a member of Parliament, was formerly Secretary to the Treasury, and is very rich.1
I am glad to hear that a voyage is intended from France to the North Pole. The world owes much to the noble spirit with which your nation pursues the improvement of knowledge, and to the liberality with which you communicate what you acquire to the rest of mankind. I hope your philosophers on this voyage will be able to discover more clearly the cause of the Aurora Borealis, and a passage round the north of America.
I suppose care has been taken to make their ships very strong, that they may bear thumping among the ice. My best wishes will attend them for their success and safe return.
Messrs. Banks and Solander are to sail with two ships in about a fortnight for the South. They expect to be out near four years. They present their compliments, and are pleased with the notice you honor them with in your letter to me. Sir John Pringle continues well, and presents his respectful compliments to you. I am, with the most perfect esteem, dear Sir, yours, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY
London, 4 May, 1772.
I think with you that there cannot be the least occasion for my explaining your method of impregnating water with fixed air to Messrs. Banks and Solander, as they were present, and I suppose are as well acquainted with it as myself; however, I shall readily do it if they think it necessary. I am glad you intend to improve and publish the process.
You must go half an inch farther with your spark to exceed what I showed here with my Philadelphia machine in 1758, to Lord Charles Cavendish and others, who judged them to be nine inches. My cushion was of buckskin, with a long damp flap, and had a wire from it through the window down to the iron rails in the yard; the conductor of tin four feet long and about four inches diameter. So powerful a machine had then never been seen in England before, as they were pleased to tell me. A machine was made from mine for Mr. Timmer, and was afterwards in the possession of Lord Morton. A more convenient construction I have never since seen, except that of yours. I intend soon to repeat Baretti’s experiments, being provided with the requisites, and shall let you know the result.
I should be glad to see the French translation of your book. Can you conveniently lend it to me when you have perused it? I fancy it was translated at the request of Abbé Nollet by a friend and disciple of his; as I know there was one (whose name I have forgotten) that used to translate for him extracts of English electrical books.
The Abbé’s machine was a very bad one, requiring three persons to make the smallest experiment; one to turn the great wheel, and one to hold hands on the globe. And the effect after all was but weak. De Lor had a similar one, and invited me to see him exhibit to the Duchess of Rochefoucauld; but, the weather being a little warm, he could perform nothing, scarce obtaining a spark.
This inconvenience must have occasioned his making fewer experiments, and of course his not being so easily convinced. M. Le Roy however, got early possession of the truth, and combated for it with Nollet; yet I think the Academy rather favored the latter. Le Roy will, I suppose, now confute this translator, for I have just seen a letter of his to Mr. Magalhaens, thanking him for sending so excellent an electrical machine to France (it is one of the plate ones), which he has improved so as to produce the positive and negative electricities separately or together at the same time. “De façon,” says he, “qu’on peut faire toutes les expériences possibles sur l’une ou l’autre de ces deux électricités. Enfin on étoit si eloigné de connoître les phénomènes de ces deux électricités ici, faute de machines commodes de les demontrer, que beaucoup des gens ont été étonnés de voir avec quelle évidence ils établissent la distinction des ces deux électricités,” &c. This letter is of the 5th instant.
My best wishes attend you and yours. I am ever, with great respect, my dear friend,
Yours most sincerely,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 5 May, 1772.
My Dear Child:—
I received your kind letter of March 2d, and am glad to hear that the ship from Ireland is got safe into Antigua. I hope you will now get the little token I sent you from thence. I have not received the letter you mention to have given the young Scotchman, nor that from Mr. Craige.
I am sorry for the disorder that has fallen on our friend Kinnersley, but hope he will get the better of it. I thank you for your advice about putting back a fit of the gout. I shall never attempt such a thing. Indeed I have not much occasion to complain of the gout, having had but two slight fits since I came last to England. I hope Mr. Bache is with you and his family by this time, as he sailed from the Downs the latter end of February. My love to him and Sally, and young master, who, I suppose, is master of the house. Tell him that Billy Hewson is as much thought of here as he can be there; was weaned last Saturday; loves music; comes to see his grandmother; and will be lifted up to knock at the door himself, as he has done while I was writing this at the request of Mrs. Stevenson, who sends her love, as Sally does her duty. Thanks to God, I continue well, and am, as ever, your affectionate husband,
B. Franklin.1[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MAJOR DAWSON, ENGINEER1
- Craven Street,
29 May, 1772.
Having visited yesterday, as you desired, the powder magazines at Purfleet, in order to see how they may be protected against danger from lightning, I think—
1. That all the iron bars, which pass down along the arches, from the top to the place where the powder is deposited, should be removed; as they now constitute, with the brass hoops with which the casks are bound, an imperfect conductor; imperfect in proportion to the greater or less height to which the casks are piled; but, in any case, such that they can only serve to attract towards the powder the first stroke that falls upon the arch; and that they are consequently very dangerous.
2. That the building, which has a leaden coping along the ridge from one end to the other, may be secured by means of a pointed iron rod, carried up near each end, communicating with this coping, and extending through the rock of chalk, which serves as the foundation of the building, till it meets with water. This rod should be at least an inch in diameter, that it may be more durable, and afford the lightning a more free course through its substance; and it should be painted, to preserve it from rust. Its upper extremity should be carried ten feet above the summit of the roof, and taper off gradually till it ends in a sharp point; and, the better to preserve this point, the last six inches should be of brass, because it is less liable to become blunted by rust. If the rod cannot well be made entirely of a single piece, the different pieces composing it should be strongly screwed together, or into one another very closely, with a thin plate of lead between the joints, in order to render the junction or continuation of the metal more perfect.
After all the electrical experiments that I have made in reference to this subject, and all the examples that have come to my knowledge of the effects of lightning on these conductors, it seems to me that (provided they are good and perfect, carried down till water or very moist ground is reached) they are equally safe, whether placed directly against the wall, and secured by staples driven into it, or whether supported by a pole or staff planted in the ground, at some distance from the wall. The former is the better rod, as the rod can be bent to avoid the windows or doors, which are situated directly below the summit of the roof. Yet, as certain apprehensions may be more effectually set at rest by supporting the rods in the other manner, I should make no objection to this, provided that they can be suitably placed, without interfering with any passage, and that they are so firmly fixed that the wind cannot, by causing them to vibrate, interrupt the communication of iron or lead between the side of the rod and the lead that covers the ridge.
3. As I am informed that the roofs of the other four buildings are to be reconstructed after the model of that of which I have just been speaking, the same method may be followed with regard to them, when they are finished in this manner. But if it be asked how they may be rendered secure in the meantime, I would advise that (as their roofs are now of a different form, being hip-roofs with four corners, and the joining at their corners, as well as their ridge-pieces, having a coping of lead, which extends to the gutters) the passages which it is proposed to carry down till water is reached, be bored or dug immediately, and that that part of each conductor which is to be carried up from the water as high as the gutters, be fixed in them. From the top of this conductor I would carry out two arms of iron to the corners of the gutters, where the leaden coping of the corners of the roof should be united to the ends of these bars; and at the junction of these corners with the ridge-piece, I would carry up rods to the height of ten feet, pointed as directed above; which, when a new roof is made, could be used for the upper part of a straight conductor. I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
P. S.—For that part of the conductor which is to be carried under ground, leaden pipes should be used, as less liable to rust.1[Back to Table of Contents]
FROM JOSEPH PRIESTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN
Leeds, 3 June, 1772.
You make me very happy by the near prospect of seeing you and Sir John Pringle at Leeds. I shall be entirely at liberty to receive you, and I hope you will contrive to stay as long as possible in this town and neighbourhood. I thank you for the Native of New England.1 I had casually seen the same paper and was particularly struck with it, without having any suspicion of Poor Richard being the author of it. I am obliged to you for your advice with respect to the Dedication, and shall comply with it; but some other alterations, besides what you noted, must be made in it, if it be addressed to Lord Sandwich only.
I am intent upon the prosecution of my experiments on air, and since I wrote to you have observed several remarkable appearances. That very extraordinary kind of air, which Dr. Hales got from Walton pyrites, and which I had despaired of procuring, I get from all the metals I have yet tried, by means of spirit of nitre. It is quite transparent; but a mixture of it and common air is red for a considerable time, in which the whole quantity is greatly reduced in bulk. A mixture of this and fixed air is not turbid. This air alone is reduced above one half by a mixture of iron filings and brimstone standing in it, whereas common air is diminished only about one fifth in the same process.
When I have the pleasure of seeing you, I shall acquaint you with some other remarkable properties of this new kind of air. In the meantime you will do me a very important service by procuring for me, and bringing along with you, a little of highly concentrated marine acid. There is none to be got here; and, using a weaker sort in the solution of gold, I was obliged to apply a considerable degree of heat, the consequence of which was that, the acid menstruum suddenly boiling, my hands, face, clothes, and the walls of the room have been great sufferers by it, as I am afraid, I shall be able to show you. A penny-weight of gold, which I had bought for the purpose, was also lost.
As a reward for this damage, I preserved about three ounce measures of air extracted from gold, which I believe was never seen before, and have the prodigious satisfaction of finding that it has the very same properties with that which is produced from copper. If I had studied Poor Richard in time, I should not have indulged myself in these expenses; but bad habits are not easily corrected. If, however, the passion be not kept up by considerable success, frugality and an attention to a growing family will, at length, get the better of experimenting, and then I shall write nothing but Politics or Divinity, to furnish the Bishop of Llandaff with more quotations for his future invectives against the Dissenters.
The French translation of my History of Electricity I borrowed of Mr. Walsh; but, as it will be of some use to me in a future edition of my work, I think to purchase it. In the meantime Mr. Walsh will have no objection to your having it for what time you please, and I can give it to you when you are here.
I am surprised that the French electricians should not have been able to provide themselves with better machines. I am confident that plates will never answer so well as globes or cylinders. I am, with my respectful compliments to Sir John Pringle,
Dear Sir, yours sincerely,
P. S.—I wish you could bring Dr. Price with you.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MR. MASERES
- Craven Street,
17 June, 1772.
I thank you for the pamphlets proposing to establish Life Annuities in Parishes, &c. I think it an excellent one. In compliance with your wish, pages 25, 26, I send it back with a few marginal notes (perhaps of no great importance) made in reading it, requesting it may be returned to me.
In page 118 of Dr. Price’s book on Annuities, 2d edition, you will find mention made of an institution in Holland. He had that information from me. Those houses are handsome, neat buildings, with very comfortable apartments. Some form the sides of a square, with grass-plots and gravel walks, flowers, &c., and some have little separate gardens behind each apartment. Those for men are called Oude Mannen Huyzen; for women, Oude Vrouwen Huyzen. I think the different kinds sometimes make different sides of the same square. There is a chapel for prayers, a common kitchen, and a common hall in which they dine together. Two persons, such as best like one another, and choose so to associate, are generally lodged in one apartment, though in separate beds, that they may be at hand to assist each other in case of sudden illness in the night, and otherwise be mutually helpful.
The Directors have also a room to meet in, who form rules for the government of the house, hear complaints, and rectify what is amiss. Gentlemen are directors of the Oude Mannen Huyzen, ladies of the Oude Vrouwen Huyzen. A committee of two are chosen every year, who visit often, see the rules observed, and take care of the management. At the end of the year these are thanked off, and as an honorable memorial of their services, their names, with the year they served, are added to the Gold-Letter List on the walls of the room. All the furniture is neat and convenient, the beds and rooms kept clean and sweet by the servants of the house; and the people appear to live happily.
These institutions seem calculated to prevent poverty, which is rather a better thing than relieving it. For it keeps always in the public eye a state of comfort and repose in old age, with freedom from care held forth as an encouragement to so much industry and frugality in youth as may at least serve to raise the required sum (suppose £50) that is to entitle a man or a woman at fifty to a retreat in those houses. And in acquiring this sum habits may be acquired that produce such affluence before that age arrives, as to make the retreat unnecessary and so never claimed. Hence if £50 would (as by your table) entitle a man at fifty years of age to an annuity of £19 3 6½, I suppose that in such a house, entertainment, and accommodations to a much greater value might be afforded him; because the right to live there is not transferable, and therefore every unclaimed right is an advantage to the house, while annuities would probably all be claimed. Then it seems to me that the prospect of a distant annuity will not be so influencing on the minds of young people, as the constant view of the comfort enjoyed in those houses, in comparison of which the payment and receipt of the annuities are private transactions.
I write this in hopes you will, after consideration, favor me with your opinion whether (in addition to your plan, which will still have all advantages for smaller sums) one or more such houses in every county, would not probably be of great use in still farther promoting industry and frugality among the lower people, and of course lessening the enormous weight of the poor-tax?
I enclose a little piece I wrote in America, to encourage and strengthen those important virtues, of which I beg your acceptance, and am, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient and humble Servant,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
FROM JOSEPH PRIESTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN
Leeds, 1 July, 1772.
I presume that by this time you are arrived in London, and I am willing to take the first opportunity of informing you that I have never been so busy, or so successful in making experiments, as since I had the pleasure of seeing you at Leeds.
I have fully satisfied myself that air, rendered in the highest degree noxious by breathing, is restored by sprigs of mint growing in it. You will probably remember the flourishing state in which you saw one of my plants. I put a mouse in the air in which it was growing on the Saturday after you went away, which was seven days after it was put in, and it continued in it five minutes without showing any sign of uneasiness, and was taken out quite strong and vigorous, when a mouse died after being not two seconds in a part of the same original quantity of air, which had stood in the same exposure without a plant in it. The same mouse, also, that lived so well in the restored air, was barely recoverable after being not more than one second in the other. I have also had another instance of a mouse living fourteen minutes without being at all hurt in little more than two ounce measures of another quantity of noxious air, in which a plant had grown.
I have completely ascertained the restoration of air, in which tallow or wax candles, spirit of wine, or brimstone-matches, have burned out by the same means.
The nitrous air, which I showed you, I found to be an admirable test of air that is fit for breathing. It makes this air red and turbid, but no other that I have tried. I took air, in which a mouse had putrified, which was in the highest degree noxious and fetid, and also a quantity of fixed air. The nitrous air, admitted to each of these kinds of air separately, made no sensible alteration in them; but, when they were mixed (which I discovered to make a wholesome air), the nitrous air made the mixture turbid and diminished the bulk of it, as in common air, though not in the same degree. A mouse put into this mixture lived five minutes without uneasiness, when, if it had been put into either of them separately a few minutes before, it would have died in a few seconds.
Air that has passed through hot charcoal has many, perhaps all the properties of air that has been diminished by other processes. It extinguishes flame, kills animals, and is not diminished or made turbid by a mixture of nitrous air.
But the observation, that pleases me more than any I ever made, is the diminution of air by the crystallization (I believe) of quicksilver and the nitrous acid. This effect both precedes and follows the generation of nitrous air from the same mixture. This I suspect to be the case with other crystallizations.
I have observed many other things, which I have not room to mention at present.
I am, with great respect, dear Sir,
Joseph Priestley.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 14 July, 1772.
My Dear Child:—
I am just returned from a journey of near a month, which has given a new spring to my health and spirits. I did not get home in time to write by Osborne, but shall write fully to my friends in general by Captain All, who sails about the end of the week.
I was charged with abundance of love to you and Sally, and Ben, from our sister Bache and her amiable daughters. I spent some days at Preston, visited several friends in Cumberland, Westmoreland, Yorkshire, and Staffordshire. Rachel Wilson sent her love to you and our children, as did our remaining relations at Birmingham, where I likewise stayed several days. In Cumberland I ascended a very high mountain, where I had a prospect of a most beautiful country, of hills, fields, lakes, villas, &c., and at Whitehaven went down the coal mines, till they told me I was eighty fathoms under the surface of the sea, which rolled over our heads; so that I have been nearer both the upper and lower regions than ever in my life before. My love to our children, and all inquiring friends. I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 17 August, 1772.
At length we have got rid of Lord Hillsborough, and Lord Dartmouth takes his place, to the great satisfaction of all the friends of America. You will hear it said among you, I suppose, that the interest of the Ohio planters has ousted him; but the truth is, what I wrote you long since, that all his brother ministers disliked him extremely, and wished for a fair occasion of tripping up his heels; so, seeing that he made a point of defeating our scheme, they made another of supporting it, on purpose to mortify him, which they knew his pride could not bear. I do not mean they would have done this if they had thought our proposal bad in itself, or his opposition well founded; but I believe if he had been on good terms with them they would not have differed with him for so small a matter. The King, too, was tired of him and of his administration, which had weakened the affection and respect of the colonies for the royal government, of which (I may say it to you) I used proper means from time to time that his Majesty should have due information and convincing proofs. More of this when I see you.
The King’s dislike made the others more firmly united in the resolution of disgracing Hillsborough, by setting at nought his famous report. But, now that business is done, perhaps our affair may be less regarded in the cabinet, and suffered to linger, and possibly may yet miscarry. Therefore let us beware of every word and action, that may betray a confidence in its success, lest we render ourselves ridiculous in case of disappointment. We are now pushing for a completion of the business; but the time is unfavorable, everybody gone or going into the country, which gives room for accidents.
I am writing by Falconer, and therefore in this only add that I am ever your affectionate father,
P. S.—The regard Lord Dartmouth has always done me the honor to express for me, gives me room to hope being able to obtain more in favor of our colonies upon occasion, than I could for some time past.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO GOVERNOR FRANKLIN, NEW JERSEY
London, 19 August, 1772.
In yours of May 14th, you acquaint me with your indisposition, which gave me great concern. The resolution you have taken to use more exercise is extremely proper; and I hope you will steadily perform it. It is of the greatest importance to prevent diseases, since the cure of them by physic is so very precarious.
In considering the different kinds of exercise, I have thought that the quantum of each is to be judged of, not by time or by distance, but by the degree of warmth it produces in the body. Thus, when I observe, if I am cold when I get into a carriage in a morning, I may ride all day without being warmed by it; that, if on horseback my feet are cold, I may ride some hours before they become warm, but if I am ever so cold on foot, I cannot walk an hour briskly, without glowing from head to foot by the quickened circulation, I have been ready to say (using round numbers without regard to exactness, but merely to make a great difference) that there is more exercise in one mile’s riding on horseback, than in five in a coach; and more in one mile’s walking on foot, than in five on horseback; to which I may add that there is more in walking one mile up and down stairs, than in five on a level floor. The two latter exercises may be had within doors, when the weather discourages going abroad; and the last may be had when one is pinched for time, as containing a great quantity of exercise in a handful of minutes. The dumb-bell is another exercise of the latter compendious kind. By the use of it I have in forty swings quickened my pulse from sixty to one hundred beats in a minute, counted by a second watch; and I suppose the warmth generally increases with quickness of pulse.
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 19 August, 1772.
I received yours of June 30th. I am vexed that my letter to you, written at Glasgow, miscarried; not so much that you did not receive it, as that it is probably in other hands. It contained some accounts of what passed in Ireland, which were for you only.
As Lord Hillsborough in fact got nothing out of me, I should rather suppose he threw me away as an orange that would yield no juice, and therefore not worth more squeezing. When I had been a little while returned to London, I waited on him to thank him for his civilities in Ireland, and to discourse with him on a Georgia affair. The porter told me he was not at home. I left my card, went another time, and received the same answer, though I knew he was at home, a friend of mine being with him. After intermissions of a week each, I made two more visits, and received the same answer. The last time was on a levee day, when a number of carriages were at his door. My coachman driving up, alighted, and was opening the coach door, when the porter, seeing me, came out and surlily chid the coachman for opening the door before he had inquired whether my Lord was at home; and then turning to me, said, “My Lord is not at home.” I have never since been nigh him, and we have only abused one another at a distance.
The contrast, as you observe, is very striking between this conversation with the Chief Justice, and his letter to you concerning your province. I know him to be as double and deceitful as any man I ever met with. But we have done with him, I hope, for ever. His removal has, I believe, been meditated ever since the death of the Princess Dowager. For I recollect that on my complaining of him about that time to a friend at court, whom you may guess, he told me we Americans were represented by Hillsborough as an unquiet people, not easily satisfied with any ministry; that, however, it was thought too much occasion had been given us to dislike the present; and asked me whether, if he should be removed, I could name another likely to be more acceptable to us. I said: “Yes, there is Lord Dartmouth; we liked him very well when he was at the head of the Board formerly, and probably should like him again.” This I heard no more of, but I am pretty sure it was reported where I could wish it, though I know not that it had any effect.
As to my situation here, nothing can be more agreeable, especially as I hope for less embarrassment from the new minister; a general respect paid me by the learned, a number of friends and acquaintance among them, with whom I have a pleasing intercourse; a character of so much weight that it has protected me when some power would have done me injury, and continued me in an office they would have deprived me of; my company so much desired that I seldom dine at home in winter, and could spend the whole summer in the country-houses of inviting friends, if I chose it. Learned and ingenious foreigners, that come to England, almost all make a point of visiting me; for my reputation is still higher abroad than here. Several of the foreign ambassadors have assiduously cultivated my acquaintance, treating me as one of their corps, partly I believe from the desire they have, from time to time, of hearing something of American affairs, an object become of importance in foreign courts, who begin to hope Britain’s alarming power will be diminished by the defection of her colonies; and partly that they may have an opportunity of introducing me to the gentlemen of their country who desire it. The King, too, has lately been heard to speak of me with great regard.
These are flattering circumstances; but a violent longing for home sometimes seizes me, which I can no otherwise subdue but by promising myself a return next spring or next fall, and so forth. As to returning hither, if I once go back, I have no thoughts of it. I am too far advanced in life to propose three voyages more. I have some important affairs to settle at home, and considering my double expenses here and there, I hardly think my salaries fully compensate the disadvantages. The late change, however, being thrown into the balance, determines me to stay another winter.
August 22d.—I find I omitted congratulating you on the honor of your election into the Society for Propagating the Gospel. There you match indeed my Dutch honor. But you are again behind, for last night I received a letter from Paris, of which the enclosed is an extract, acquainting me that I am chosen Associé Etranger (foreign member) of the Royal Academy there. There are but eight of these Associés Etrangers in all Europe, and those of the most distinguished names for science. The vacancy I have the honor of filling was made by the death of the late celebrated Van Swieten of Vienna. This mark of respect from the first academy in the world, which Abbé Nollet, one of its members, took so much pains to prejudice against my doctrines, I consider as a kind of victory without ink shed, since I never answered him. I am told he has but one of his sect now remaining in the Academy. All the rest, who have in any degree acquainted themselves with electricity, are, as he calls them, Franklinists.1 Yours, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
REPORT ON LIGHTNING-CONDUCTORS FOR THE POWDER MAGAZINES AT PURFLEET
To the President and Council of the Royal Society:
The Society being consulted by the Board of Ordnance, on the propriety of fixing conductors for securing the powder magazines at Purfleet from lightning, and having thereupon done us the honor of appointing us a committee to consider the same and report our opinion, we have accordingly visited those buildings, and examined with care and attention their situation, construction, and circumstances, which we find as follows:
They are five in number, each about one hundred and fifty feet long, about fifty-two feet wide, built of brick, arched under the roof, which in one of them is slated, with a coping of lead twenty-two inches wide on the ridge, from end to end; and the others, we were informed, are soon to be covered in the same manner. They stand parallel to each other, at about fifty-seven feet distance, and are founded on a chalk-rock about one hundred feet from the river, which rises at high tides within a few inches of the level of the ground, its brackish water also soaking through to the wells that are dug near the buildings.
The barrels of powder, when the magazines are full, lie piled on each other up to the spring of the arches; and there are four copper hoops on each barrel, which, with a number of perpendicular iron bars (that come down through the arches to support a long, grooved piece of timber, wherein the crane was usually moved and guided to any part where it was wanted), formed broken conductors, within the building, the more dangerous from their being incomplete; as the explosion from hoop to hoop, in the passage of lightning drawn down through the bars among the barrels, might easily happen to fire the powder contained in them; but the workmen were removing all those iron bars (by the advice of some members of the Society who had been previously consulted), a measure we very much approve of.
On an elevated ground, nearly equal in height with the tops of the magazines, and one hundred and fifty yards from them, is the house wherein the Board usually meet; it is a lofty building, with a pointed hip-roof, the copings of lead down to the gutters; whence leaden pipes descend at each end of the building into the water of two wells forty feet deep, for the purpose of conveying water, forced up by engines, to a cistern in the roof.
There is also a proof-house adjoining to the end of one of the magazines; and a clock-house at the distance of —— feet from them, which has a weathercock on an iron spindle, and probably some incomplete conductors within, such as the wire usually extending up from a clock to its hammer, the clock, pendulum-rod, &c.
The blowing up of a magazine of gunpowder by lightning within a few years past, at Brescia in Italy, which demolished a considerable part of the town, with the loss of many lives, does, in our opinion, strongly urge the propriety of guarding such magazines from that kind of danger. And since it is now well known from many observations, that metals have the property of conducting, and a method has been discovered of using that property for the security of buildings, by so disposing and fixing iron rods, as to receive and convey safely away such lightning as might otherwise have damaged them, which method has been practised near twenty years in many places, and attended with success in all the instances that have come to our knowledge, we cannot therefore but think it advisable to provide conductors of that kind for the magazines in question.
In common cases it has been judged sufficient, if the lower part of the conductor were sunk three or four feet into the ground till it came to moist earth; but, this being a case of the greatest importance, we are of opinion that greater precaution should be taken. Therefore we would advise that at each end of each magazine a well should be dug in or through the chalk, so deep as to have in it at least four feet of standing water. From the bottom of this water should rise a piece of leaden pipe to or near the surface of the ground, where it should be strongly joined to the end of an upright bar, an inch and a half in diameter, fastened to the wall by leaden straps, and extending ten feet above the ridge of the building, tapering from the ridge upwards to a sharp point; the upper twelve inches to be copper; the iron to be painted.
We mention lead for the underground part of the conductor, as less liable to rust in water and moist places, in the form of a pipe, as giving greater stiffness for the substance; and iron for the part above ground, as stronger and less likely to be cut away. The pieces of which the bar may be composed should be screwed strongly into each other by a close joint, with a thin plate of lead between the shoulders, to make the joining or continuation of metal more perfect. Each rod, in passing above the ridge, should be strongly and closely connected by iron or lead, or both, with the leaden coping of the roof, whereby a communication of metal will be made between the two bars of each building, for a more free and easy conducting of the lightning into the earth.
We also advise, in consideration of the great length of the buildings, that two wells, of the same depth with the others, should be dug within twelve feet of the doors of the two outside magazines; that is to say one of them on the north side of the north building, the other on the south side of the south building; from the bottoms of which wells similar conductors should be carried up to the eaves, there joining well with a plate of lead, extending on the roof up to the leaden coping of the ridge, the said plate of lead being of equal substance with that of the coping.
We are further of opinion that it will be right to form a communication of lead from the top of the chimney of the proof-house to the lead on its ridge, and thence to the lead on the ridge of the corridor, and thence to the iron conductor of the adjacent end of the magazine; and also to fix a conductor from the bottom of the weathercock-spindle of the clock-house down on the outside of that building into the moist earth.
As to the board-house, we think it already well furnished with conductors by the several leaden communications above mentioned, from the point of the roof down into the water; and that, by its height and proximity, it may be some security to the buildings below it; we therefore propose no other conductor for that building, and only advise erecting a pointed rod on the summit, similar to those before described, and communicating with those conductors.
To these directions we would add a caution that, in all future alterations or repairs of the buildings, special care be taken that the metallic communications are not cut off or removed.
It remains that we express our acknowledgments to Sir Charles Frederick, Surveyor-general of the Ordnance, for the obliging attention with which he entertained and accommodated us on the day of our inquiry.
With very great respect, we are, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient humble servants,
J. Robertson.1[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MR. ANTHONY BENEZET,1 PHILADELPHIA
London, 22 August, 1772.
I made a little extract from yours of April 27th, of the number of slaves imported and perishing, with some close remarks on the hypocrisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable commerce by laws for promoting the Guinea trade; while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and the equity of its courts, in setting free a single negro. This was inserted in the London Chronicle, of the 20th of June last.
I thank you for the Virginia address, which I shall also publish with some remarks. I am glad to hear that the disposition against keeping negroes grows more general in North America. Several pieces have been lately printed here against the practice, and I hope in time it will be taken into consideration and suppressed by the legislature. Your labors have already been attended with great effects. I hope, therefore you and your friends will be encouraged to proceed. My hearty wishes of success attend you, being ever, my dear friend, yours affectionately,
B. F.[Back to Table of Contents]
EXPERIMENTS, OBSERVATIONS, AND FACTS, TENDING TO SUPPORT THE OPINION OF THE UTILITY OF LONG, POINTED RODS, FOR SECURING BUILDINGS FROM DAMAGE BY STROKES OF LIGHTNING.
read at the committee appointed to consider the erection of conductors to secure the magazines at purfleet, august 27, 1772
The prime conductor of an electric machine, A, B, (see Plate I.) being supported about ten inches and a half above the table by a wax stand, and under it erected a pointed wire, seven inches and a half high and one fifth of an inch thick, and tapering to a sharp point, communicating with the table; when the point (being uppermost) is covered by the end of a finger, the conductor may be full charged, and the electrometer1 will rise to the height indicating a full charge; but the moment the point is uncovered, the ball of the electrometer drops, showing the prime conductor to be instantly discharged and nearly emptied of its electricity. Turn the wire its blunt end upward (which represents an unpointed bar), and no such effect follows, the electrometer remaining at its usual height when the prime conductor is charged.
What quantity of lightning a high, pointed rod, well communicating with the earth, may be expected to discharge from the clouds silently in a short time, is yet unknown; but I reason from a particular fact to think it may at some times be very great. In Philadelphia I had such a rod fixed to the top of my chimney, and extending about nine feet above it. From the foot of this rod, a wire (the thickness of a goose-quill) came through a covered glass tube in the roof, and down through the well of the staircase; the lower end connected with the iron spear of a pump. On the staircase opposite to my chamber door, the wire was divided; the ends separated about six inches, a little bell on each end; and between the bells a little brass ball, suspended by a silk thread, to play between and strike the bells when clouds passed with electricity in them. After having frequently drawn sparks and charged bottles from the bell of the upper wire, I was one night awakened by loud cracks on the staircase. Starting up and opening the door, I perceived that the brass ball, instead of vibrating as usual between the bells, was repelled and kept at a distance from both; while the fire passed, sometimes in very large, quick cracks from bell to bell, and sometimes in a continued, dense, white stream, seemingly as large as my finger, whereby the whole staircase was enlightened as with sunshine, so that one might see to pick up a pin.1 And from the apparent quantity thus discharged, I cannot but conceive that a number1 of such conductors must considerably lessen that of any approaching cloud, before it comes so near as to deliver its contents in a general stroke; an effect not to be expected from bars unpointed, if the above experiment with the blunt end of the wire is deemed pertinent to the case.
The pointed wire under the prime conductor continuing of the same height, pinch it between the thumb and finger near the top, so as just to conceal the point; then turning the globe, the electrometer will rise and mark the full charge. Slip the fingers down, so as to discover about half an inch of the wire then another half inch, and then another; at every one of these motions discovering more and more of the pointed wire; you will see the electrometer fall quick and proportionably, stopping when you stop. If you slip down the whole distance at once, the ball falls instantly down to the stem.
From this experiment it seems that a greater effect in drawing off the lightning from the clouds may be expected from long, pointed rods, than from short ones; I mean from such as show the greatest length above the building they are fixed on.
Instead of pinching the point between the thumb and finger, as in the last experiment, keep the thumb and finger each at near an inch distance from it, but at the same height, the point between them. In this situation, though the point is fairly exposed to the prime conductor, it has little or no effect; the electrometer rises to the height of a full charge. But the moment the fingers are taken away, the ball falls quick to the stem.
To explain this, it is supposed that one reason of the sudden effect produced by a long, naked, pointed wire is that (by the repulsive power of the positive charge in the prime conductor) the natural quantity of electricity contained in the pointed wire is driven down into the earth, and the point of the wire made strongly negative; whence it attracts the electricity of the prime conductor more strongly than bodies in their natural state would do; the small quantity of common matter in the point not being able by its attractive force to retain its natural quantity of the electric fluid, against the force of that repulsion. But the finger and thumb, being substantial and blunt bodies, though as near the prime conductor, hold up better their own natural quantity against the force of that repulsion; and so, continuing nearly in the natural state, they jointly operate on the electric fluid in the point, opposing its descent, and aiding the point to retain it; contrary to the repelling power of the prime conductor, which would drive it down. And this may also serve to explain the different powers of the point in the preceding experiment, on the slipping down the finger and thumb to different distances.
Hence is collected that a pointed rod, erected between two tall chimneys, and very little higher (an instance of which I have seen) cannot have so good an effect, as if it had been erected on one of the chimneys, its whole length above it.
If, instead of a long, pointed wire, a large, solid body (to represent a building without a point) be brought under and as near the prime conductor, when charged, the ball of the electrometer will fall a little; and on taking away the large body, will rise again.
Its rising again shows that the prime conductor lost little or none of its electric charge, as it had done through the point; the falling of the ball while the large body was under the conductor therefore shows that a quantity of its atmosphere was drawn from the end where the electrometer is placed, to the part inmediately over the large body, and there accumulated ready to strike into it with its whole undiminished force, as soon as within the striking distance; and were the prime conductor movable like a cloud, it would approach the body by attraction till within that distance. The swift motion of clouds, as driven by the winds, probably prevents this happening so often as otherwise it might do; for though parts of the cloud may stoop towards a building as they pass, in consequence of such attraction, yet they are carried forward beyond the striking distance before they could by their descending come within it.
Attach a small, light lock of cotton to the under side of the prime conductor, so that it may hang down towards the pointed wire mentioned in the first experiment. Cover the point with your finger, and the globe being turned, the cotton will extend itself, stretching down towards the finger, as at a; but, on uncovering the point it instantly flies up to the prime conductor, as at b, and continues there as long as the point is uncovered. The moment you cover it again the cotton flies down again, extending itself towards the finger; and the same happens in the degree, if (instead of the finger) you use, uncovered, the blunt end of the wire uppermost.
To explain this it is supposed that the cotton, by its connexion with the prime conductor, receives from it a quantity of its electricity; which occasions its being attracted by the finger that remains still in nearly its natural state. But when a point is opposed to the cotton, its electricity is thereby taken from it faster than it can at a distance be supplied with a fresh quantity from the conductor. Therefore being reduced nearer to the natural state, it is attracted up to the electrified prime conductor; rather than down, as before, to the finger.
Supposing farther, that the prime conductor represents a cloud charged with the electric fluid; the cotton, a ragged fragment of cloud (of which the underside of great thunder-clouds are seen to have many), the finger, a chimney or highest part of a building. We then may conceive that when such a cloud passes over a building, some one of its ragged, under-hanging fragments may be drawn down by the chimney, or other high part of the edifice; creating thereby a more easy communication between it and the great cloud. But a long, pointed rod being presented to this fragment may occasion its receding, like the cotton, up to the great cloud; and thereby increase, instead of lessening the distance, so as often to make it greater than the striking distance. Turning the blunt end of a wire uppermost (which represents the unpointed bar), it appears that the same good effect is not from that to be expected. A long, pointed rod, it is therefore imagined, may prevent some strokes; as well as conduct others that fall upon it, when a great body of cloud comes on so heavily that the above repelling operation on fragments cannot take place.
Opposite the side of the prime conductor place separately, isolated by wax stems, Mr. Canton’s two boxes with pith balls suspended by fine linen threads. On each box lay a wire six inches long and one fifth of an inch thick, tapering to a sharp point; but so laid, as that four inches of the pointed end of one wire, and an equal length of the blunt end of the other, may project beyond the ends of the boxes; and both at eighteen inches distance from the prime conductor. Then charging the prime conductor by a turn or two of the globe, the balls of each pair will separate; those of the box, whence the point projects most, considerably; the others less. Touch the prime conductor and those of the box with the blunt point will collapse, and join; those connected with the point will at the same time approach each other, till within about an inch, and there remain.
This seems a proof, that, though the small, sharpened part of the wire must have had a less natural quantity in it before the operation, than the thick, blunt part, yet a greater quantity was driven down from it to the balls. Thence it is again inferred, that the pointed rod is rendered more negative; and, farther, that if a stroke must fall from the cloud over a building, furnished with such a rod, it is more likely to be drawn to that pointed rod than to a blunt one; as being more strongly negative, and of course its attraction stronger. And it seems more eligible that the lightning should fall on the point of the conductor (provided to convey it into the earth) than on any other part of the building, thence to proceed to such conductor. Which end is also more likely to be obtained by the length and loftiness of the rod; as protecting more extensively the building under it.
It has been objected, that erecting pointed rods upon edifices is to invite and draw the lightning into them; and therefore dangerous. Were such rods to be erected on buildings without continuing the communication quite down into the moist earth, this objection might then have weight; but, when such complete conductors are made, the lightning is invited, not into the building, but into the earth, the situation it aims at, and which it always seizes every help to obtain, even from broken, partial metalline conductors.
It has also been suggested that from such electric experiments nothing certain can be concluded as to the great operations of nature; since it is often seen that experiments, which have succeeded in small, in large have failed. It is true that in mechanics this has sometimes happened. But when it is considered that we owe our first knowledge of the nature and operations of lightning to observations on such small experiments; and that, on carefully comparing the most accurate accounts of former facts, and the exactest relations of those that have occurred since, the effects have surprisingly agreed with the theory; it is humbly conceived that in natural philosophy, in this branch of it at least, the suggestion has not so much weight; and that the farther new experiments, now adduced in recommendation of long, sharp-pointed rods, may have some claim to credit and consideration.
It has been urged, too, that, though points may have considerable effects on a small prime conductor at small distances, yet, on great clouds and at great distances, nothing is to be expected from them. To this it is answered, that in those small experiments it is evident the points act a greater than the striking distance; and, in the large way, their service is only expected where there it such nearness of the cloud as to endanger a stroke; and there, it cannot be doubted, the points must have some effect. And, if the quantity discharged by a single pointed rod may be so considerable as I have shown it, the quantity discharged by a number will be proportionally greater.
But this part of the theory does not depend alone on small experiments. Since the practice of erecting pointed rods in America (now near twenty years), five of them have been struck by lightning, namely: Mr. Raven’s and Mr. Maine’s in South Carolina, Mr. Tucker’s in Virginia, Mr. West’s and Mr. Moulder’s in Philadelphia. Possibly there may have been more, that have not come to my knowledge. But, in every one of these, the lightning did not fall upon the body of the house, but precisely on the several points of the rods; and, though the conductors were sometimes not sufficiently large and complete, was conveyed into the earth without any material damage to the buildings. Facts then in great, as far as we have them authenticated, justify the opinion that is drawn from the experiments in small, as above related.
It has also been objected that, unless we knew the quantity that might possibly be discharged at one stroke from the clouds, we cannot be sure we have provided sufficient conductors; and therefore cannot depend on their conveying away all that may fall on their points. Indeed we have nothing to form a judgment by in this, but past facts; and we know of no instance where a complete conductor to the moist earth has been insufficient, if half an inch in diameter. It is probable that many strokes of lightning have been conveyed through the common leaden pipes affixed to houses to carry down the water from the roof to the ground; and there is no account of such pipes being melted and destroyed, as must sometimes have happened if they had been insufficient. We can then only judge of the dimensions proper for a conductor of lightning, as we do of those proper for a conductor of rain, by past observation. And, as we think a pipe of three inches bore sufficient to carry off the rain that falls on a square of twenty feet, because we never saw such a pipe glutted by any shower, so we may judge a conductor of an inch diameter more than sufficient for any stroke of lightning that will fall on its point. It is true that, if another deluge should happen wherein the windows of heaven are to be opened, such pipes may be unequal to the falling quantity; and, if God for our sins should think it fit to rain fire upon us, as upon some cities of old, it is not expected that our conductors, of whatever size, should secure our houses against a miracle. Probably, as water drawn up into the air and there forming clouds, is disposed to fall again in rain by its natural gravity, as soon as a number of particles sufficient to make a drop can get together, so, when the clouds are (by whatever means) over- or under-charged with the electric fluid to a degree sufficient to attract them towards the earth, the equilibrium is restored, before the difference becomes great beyond that degree. Mr. Lane’s electrometer, for limiting precisely the quantity of a shock that is to be administered in a medical view, may serve to make this more easily intelligible. The discharging knob does by a screw approach the conductor to the distance intended, but there remains fixed. Whatever power there may be in the glass globe to collect the fulminating fluid, and whatever capacity of receiving and accumulating it there may be in the bottle or glass jar, yet neither the accumulation nor the discharge ever exceeds the destined quantity. Thus, were the clouds always at a certain fixed distance from the earth, all discharges would be made when the quantity accumulated was equal to the distance. But there is a circumstance which, by occasional lessening the distance, lessens the discharge; to wit, the movableness of the clouds, and their being drawn nearer to the earth by attraction when electrified; so that discharges are thereby rendered more frequent and of course less violent. Hence, whatever the quantity may be in nature, and whatever the power in the clouds of collecting it, yet an accumulation and force beyond what mankind has hitherto been acquainted with is scarce to be expected.1
August 27, 1772.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY
London, 29 August, 1772.
I acknowledged before the receipt of your favor of May 14th, since which I have no line from you. It will be a pleasure to render any service to Mr. Tilghman, whom you recommended.
The acts passed in your winter and spring sessions I have not yet received; nor have I heard from Mr. Wilmot, that they have been presented.
Lord Hillsborough, mortified by the Committee of Council’s approbation of our grant, in opposition to his report, has resigned. I believe, when he offered to do so, he had such an opinion of his importance, that he did not think it would be accepted, and that it would be thought prudent rather to set our grant aside than part with him. His colleagues in the ministry were all glad to get rid of him, and perhaps for this reason joined more readily in giving him that mortification. Lord Dartmouth succeeds him, who has much more favorable dispositions towards the colonies. He has heretofore expressed some personal regard for me, and I hope now to find our business with the Board more easy to transact.
Your observations on the state of the islands did not come to hand till after Lord Rochford had withdrawn his petition.1 His Lordship and the promoters of it were so roasted on the occasion, that I believe another kind will not very soon be thought of. The Proprietor was at the expense of the opposition; and, as I knew it would not be necessary, and thought it might be inconvenient to our affairs, I did not openly engage in it; but I gave some private assistance, that I believed was not without effect. I think too that Mr. Jackson’s opinion was of great service. I would lodge a copy of your paper in the Plantation Office against any similar future applications, if you approve of it. I only think the island holders make too great a concession to the crown, when they suppose it may have a right to quit-rent. It can have none, in my opinion, on the old grants from Indians, Swedes, and Dutch, where none was reserved. And I think those grants so clearly good, as to need no confirmation; to obtain which I suppose is the only motive for offering such quit-rent. I imagine, too, that it may not be amiss to affix a caveat in the Plantation Office, in the behalf of holders of property in those islands, against any grant of them that may be applied for, till they have had timely notice, and an opportunity of being fully heard. Mr. Jackson is out of town, but I shall confer with him on the subject as soon as he returns. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 3 September, 1772.
I write this line, just to acknowledge the receipt of your several favors of July 15th and 16th, containing the resolves of the House relating to the governor’s salary and the petition to the King.
Lord Dartmouth, now our American minister, is at present in the country, and will probably not be in town till the season of business comes on. I shall then immediately put the petition into his hands, to be presented to his Majesty. I may be mistaken, but I imagine we shall not meet the same difficulty in transacting business with him, as with his predecessor, on whose removal I congratulate you and the Assembly most heartily. I shall write fully by some of the next Boston ships; at present can only add that, with the sincerest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO DR. PRIESTLEY
London, 19 September, 1772.
In the affair of so much importance to you, wherein you ask my advice, I cannot, for want of sufficient premises, advise you what to determine; but, if you please, I will tell you how. When these difficult cases occur, they are difficult, chiefly because, while we have them under consideration, all the reasons pro and con are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us.
To get over this, my way is, to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one pro, and over the other con; then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different times occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights; and, where I find two (one on each side) that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I find a reason pro equal to some two reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two reasons con, equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the balance lies; and if, after a day or two of farther consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly. And though the weight of reasons cannot be taken with the precision of algebraic quantities, yet, when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less likely to make a rash step; and in fact I have found great advantage from this kind of equation, in what may be called moral or prudential algebra.
Wishing sincerely that you may determine for the best, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY1
on the loss of her american squirrel. who, escaping from his cage was killed by a shepherd’s dog
London, 26 September, 1772.
I lament with you most sincerely the unfortunate end of poor Mungo. Few squirrels were better accomplished; for he had had a good education, had travelled far, and seen much of the world. As he had the honor of being, for his virtues, your favorite, he should not go like common skuggs, without an elegy or an epitaph. Let us give him one in the monumental style and measure, which, being neither prose nor verse, is perhaps the properest for grief; since to use common language would look as if we were not affected, and to make rhymes would seem trifling in sorrow.
- Alas! poor Mungo!
- Happy wert thou hadst thou known
- Thy own felicity.
- Remote from the fierce bald eagle,
- Tyrant of thy native woods,
- Thou hadst nought to fear from his piercing talons,
- Nor from the murdering gun
- Of the thoughtless sportsman.
- Safe in thy wired castle,
- Grimalkin never could annoy thee.
- Daily wert thou fed with the choicest viands,
- By the fair hand of an indulgent mistress;
- But, discontented,
- Thou wouldst have more freedom.
- Too soon, alas! didst thou obtain it;
- And wandering,
- Thou art fallen by the fangs of wanton, cruel Ranger!
- Learn hence,
- Ye who blindly seek more liberty,
- Whether subjects, sons, squirrels, or daughters,
- That apparent restraint may be real protection,
- Yielding peace and plenty
- With security.
You see, my dear Miss, how much more decent and proper this broken style is, than if we were to say, by way of epitaph:
- Here Skugg
- Lies snug
- As a bug
- In a rug.
And yet perhaps there are people in the world of so little feeling as to think this would be a good enough epitaph for poor Mungo.
If you wish it, I shall procure another to succeed him; but perhaps you will now choose some other amusement.1
Remember me affectionately to all the good family, and believe me ever your affectionate friend,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
THE ART OF PROCURING PLEASANT DREAMS
inscribed to miss ——, being written at her request
As a great part of our life is spent in sleep, during which we have sometimes pleasant and sometimes painful dreams, it becomes of some consequence to obtain the one kind and avoid the other; for, whether real or imaginary, pain is pain and pleasure is pleasure. If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dream, it is, as the French say, autante de gagné, so much added to the pleasure of life.
To this end it is, in the first place, necessary to be careful in preserving health, by due exercise and great temperance; for, in sickness, the imagination is disturbed, and disagreeable, sometimes terrible, ideas are apt to present themselves. Exercise should precede meals, not immediately follow them; the first promotes, the latter, unless moderate, obstructs digestion. If, after exercise, we feed sparingly, the digestion will be easy and good, the body lightsome, the temper cheerful, and all the animal functions performed agreeably. Sleep, when it follows, will be natural and undisturbed; while indolence, with full feeding, occasions nightmares and horrors inexpressible; we fall from precipices, are assaulted by wild beasts, murderers, and demons, and experience every variety of distress. Observe, however, that the quantities of food and exercise are relative things; those who move much may, and indeed ought to, eat much more; those who use little exercise should eat little. In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires. Suppers are not bad, if we have not dined; but restless nights naturally follow hearty suppers after full dinners. Indeed, as there is a difference in constitutions, some rest well after these meals; it costs them only a frightful dream and an apoplexy, after which they sleep till doomsday. Nothing is more common in the newspapers than instances of people who, after eating a hearty supper, are found dead abed in the morning.
Another means of preserving health to be attended to is the having a constant supply of fresh air in your bed-chamber. It has been a great mistake the sleeping in rooms exactly closed, and in beds surrounded by curtains. No outward air that may come in to you is so unwholesome as the unchanged air, often breathed, of a close chamber. As boiling water does not grow hotter by longer boiling, if the particles that receive greater heat can escape, so living bodies do not putrefy, if the particles, so fast as they become putrid, can be thrown off. Nature expels them by the pores of the skin and the lungs, and in a free, open air they are carried off; but in a close room we receive them again and again, though they become more and more corrupt. A number of persons crowded into a small room thus spoil the air in a few minutes, and even render it mortal, as in the Black Hole at Calcutta. A single person is said to spoil only a gallon of air per minute, and therefore requires a longer time to spoil a chamber-full; but it is done, however, in proportion, and many putrid disorders hence have their origin. It is recorded of Methusalem, who, being the longest liver, may be supposed to have best preserved his health, that he slept always in the open air; for, when he had lived five hundred years, an angel said to him, “Arise, Methusalem, and build thee an house, for thou shalt live yet five hundred years longer.” But Methusalem answered and said, “If I am to live but five hundred years longer, it is not worth while to build me a house; I will sleep in the air, as I have been used to do.” Physicians, after having for ages contended that the sick should not be indulged with fresh air, have at length discovered that it may do them good. It is therefore to be hoped that they may in time discover likewise that it is not hurtful to those who are in health, and that we may be then cured of the aerophobia that at present distresses weak minds, and makes them choose to be stifled and poisoned, rather than leave open the window of a bed-chamber, or put down the glass of a coach.
Confined air, when saturated with perspirable matter,1 will not receive more; and that matter must remain in the bodies, and occasion diseases; but it gives some previous notice of its being about to be hurtful, by producing certain uneasinesses, slight indeed at first, such as with regard to the lungs is a trifling sensation, and to the pores of the skin a kind of restlessness, which is difficult to describe, and few that feel it know the cause of it. But we may recollect that sometimes, on waking in the night, we have, if warmly covered, found it difficult to get asleep again. We turn often, without finding repose in any position. This fidgetiness (to use a vulgar expression for want of a better) is occasioned wholly by an uneasiness in the skin, owing to the retention of the perspirable matter, the bed-clothes having received their quantity, and, being saturated, refusing to take any more. To become sensible of this by an experiment, let a person keep his position in the bed, but throw off the bed-clothes, and suffer fresh air to approach the part uncovered of his body; he will then feel that part suddenly refreshed; for the air will immediately relieve the skin, by receiving, licking up, and carrying off the load of perspirable matter that incommoded it. For every portion of cool air that approaches the warm skin, in receiving its part of that vapor, receives therewith a degree of heat that rarefies and renders it lighter, when it will be pushed away with its burthen, by cooler and therefore heavier fresh air, which for a moment supplies its place, and then, being likewise changed and warmed, gives way to a succeeding quantity. This is the order of nature, to prevent animals being infected by their own perspiration. He will now be sensible of the difference between the part exposed to the air and that which, remaining sunk in the bed, denies the air access; for this part now manifests its uneasiness more distinctly by the comparison, and the seat of the uneasiness is more plainly perceived than when the whole surface of the body was affected by it.
Here then is one great and general cause of unpleasing dreams. For when the body is uneasy the mind will be disturbed by it, and disagreeable ideas of various kinds will in sleep be the natural consequences. The remedies, preventive and curative, follow.
1. By eating moderately (as before advised for health’s sake), less perspirable matter is produced in a given time; hence the bed-clothes receive it longer before they are saturated, and we may therefore sleep longer before we are made uneasy by their refusing to receive any more.
2. By using thinner and more porous bed-clothes, which will suffer the perspirable matter more easily to pass through them, we are less incommoded, such being longer tolerable.
3. When you are awakened by this uneasiness, and find you cannot easily sleep again, get out of bed, beat up and turn your pillow, shake the bed-clothes well with at least twenty shakes, then throw the bed open and leave it to cool; in the meanwhile, continuing undressed, walk about your chamber till your skin has had time to discharge its load, which it will do sooner as the air may be drier and colder. When you begin to feel the cold air unpleasant, then return to your bed, and you will soon fall asleep and your sleep will be sweet and pleasant. All the scenes presented to your fancy will be too of the pleasing kind. I am often as agreeably entertained with them as by the scenery of an opera. If you happen to be too indolent to get out of bed, you may instead of it lift up your bed-clothes with one arm and leg, so as to draw in a good deal of fresh air, and by letting them fall force it out again. This, repeated twenty times, will so clear them of the perspirable matter they have imbibed, as to permit your sleeping well for some time afterwards. But this latter method is not equal to the former.
Those who do not love trouble and can afford to have two beds, will find great luxury in rising, when they wake in a hot bed, and going into the cool one. Such shifting of beds would also be of great service to persons ill of a fever, as it refreshes and frequently procures sleep. A very large bed that will admit a removal so distant from the first situation as to be cool and sweet, may, in a degree, answer the same end.
One or two observations more will conclude this little piece. Care must be taken when you lie down to dispose your pillow so as to suit your manner of placing your head, and to be perfectly easy; then place your limbs so as not to bear inconveniently hard upon one another, as, for instance, the joints of your ankles; for, though a bad position may at first give but little pain and be hardly noticed, yet a continuance will render it less tolerable, and the uneasiness may come on while you are asleep, and disturb your imagination. These are the rules of the art. But, though they will generally prove effectual in producing the end intended, there is a case in which the most punctual observance of them will be totally fruitless. I need not mention the case to you, my dear friend, but my account of the art would be imperfect without it. The case is, when the person who desires to have pleasant dreams has not taken care to preserve, what is necessary above all things,
A Good Conscience.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MR. BACHE
London, 7 October, 1772.
I received yours of September 1st, and am rejoiced to hear you are all well. Your good mother and sisters were so about a fortnight ago, when I heard from them. The bill you sent me for £60, Whinney on Smith, Wright, & Grey, being good, I return your note enclosed and canceld. There remains five guineas unpaid, which you had of me just on going away, so I suppose you forgot it. Send it in a venture for Ben to Jamaica. By the way, it has been reported here, that some years since a very long building in that island, which had a rod or conductor at each end, was nevertheless struck by lightning in the middle and much damaged. Did you hear of such a thing while you was there? If so, pray enquire and learn the particulars from thence. What kind of rods, how placed, how high above the roof, how deep in the ground, and other material circumstances with regard to the building and the damage. If you heard of no such event while you was there, I suppose the story is not true; but a Mr. Smith, who was there in some business, and now here a merchant, I think, relates it as what he heard spoken of when there.
I am surprised to hear that the Dutchman I assisted with 25 guineas turned out a rogue; and that Sheets has paid nothing of what I furnished him when here. I am afraid I do not grow wiser as I grow older. Pray let me know whether the Dutch printer, Armbruster, has paid any thing, or is solvable or not. And also how the affair stands of the mortgage I had on my friend Maugridge’s plantation, no intelligible information has yet been given me of it.
We are moving to another house in the same [mutilated] leaving this to Mr. Hewson. As soon as I am settled in my new apartments I shall examine Parker’s accounts and write to you on them.
You hope I was not a sufferer in the late general wreck of credit here. My two banking-houses, Browns & Collinson, and Smith, Wright, & Grey, stood firm, and they were the only people here in debt to me, so I lost nothing by the failure of others; and being out of debt myself, my credit could not be shaken by any run upon me; out of debt, as the proverb says, was being out of danger, but I have since hazarded a little in using my credit with the bank to support that of a friend as far as £5,000, for which I am secured by bills of the bank of Douglas, Heron, & Co., accepted by a good house here; and therefore I call it only hazarding a little, though the sum is large enough to ruin me if I were to lose it. Our friends, the Alexanders, went on again immediately, being supported by great houses here and through them by the bank, their bottom being manifestly very great and good, though they had embarrassed themselves by assisting the Adamses and others.
The affair of the Grant is in good train, and we expect it to be completed soon after the Boards meet, if no new difficulties start up unexpected.
My love to Sally and the boy.
I am your affectionate father,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOHN BARTRAM
London, 17 October, 1772.
My Dear Old Friend:—
I received some time since the enclosed letter from Dr. Hope; and lately the gold medal it mentions was delivered to me for you. By the first ship directly to Philadelphia, I shall send it, in the care of some safe hand, thinking it not so well to hazard it with this letter round through New York.
I hope the rhubarb you have sown and distributed will be taken care of. There seems to me no doubt of its doing as well with us as in Scotland. Remember, that for use the root does not come to its perfection of power and virtue in less than seven years. The physicians here, who have tried the Scotch, approve it much, and say it is fully equal to the best imported. I send you enclosed a small box of Upland rice, brought from Cochin China. It grows there on dry grounds, and not in water like the common sort. Also a few seeds of the Chinese tallow-tree. They have been carefully preserved in bringing hither by Mr. Ellis’ method. I had them from him, and he tells me they may grow under your skilful care. My love to Mrs. Bartram, and all yours, from your affectionate friend,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS
London, 3 November, 1772.
My sister, to whom I have not now time to write, acquainted me in her last letter that there was some expectation her daughter would soon be married with her consent.
If that should take place, my request is that you would lay out the sum of fifty pounds, lawful money, in bedding or such other furniture as my sister shall think proper to be given the new-married couple towards housekeeping, with my best wishes; and charge that sum to my account. I can now only add that I am ever
Yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO LORD STIRLING
London, 3 November, 1772.
On my return to town I found your favor, with the schemes of your lottery, to which I wish success, and besides ordering some tickets for myself, I have spoken well of it on every occasion; but I find little inclination among my acquaintances to engage in lotteries at such a distance, and one cannot be very open in promoting them, it being contrary to express acts of Parliament, as well as offensive to administration here, which would avail itself of all that is to be gained that way.
With great and sincere esteem, I am, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient and most humble servant,
B. F.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO GOVERNOR WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 3 November, 1772.
I wrote to you per the October packet, and have not since had any line from you. I spent sixteen days at Lord Le Despencer’s most agreeably, and returned in good health and spirits. Lord Dartmouth came to town last week, and had his first levee on Wednesday, at which I attended. He received me very politely in his room, only Secretary Pownall present, expressing some regret that he happened to be from home when I was near him in the country, where he had hoped for the pleasure of seeing me, &c. I said I was happy to see his lordship in his present situation, in which for the good of both countries I hoped he would long continue; and I begged leave to recommend my son to his protection, who, says I, is one of your Governors in America. The Secretary then put in—and a very good governor he is. Yes, says my lord, he has been a good Governor, and has kept his province in good order during times of difficulty. I then said that I came at present only to pay my respects, and should wait on his lordship another day on business; to which he said he should always be ready to hear me and glad to see me. I shall attend his levee again to-day, on some N. England affairs, and hope we may now go on more smoothly; but time will show.
As the Boards are met again, the Ohio affair will again be put forward as soon as Mr. Walpole comes to [town? mutilated in record], who went lately into Norfolk. I am almost settled in my new apartment; but removing, and sorting my papers, and placing my books and things has been a troublesome job. I am amazed to see how books have grown upon me since my return to England. I brought none with me, and have now a roomful; many collected in Germany, Holland, and France; and consisting chiefly of such as contain knowledge that may hereafter be useful to America.
My love to Betsey concludes at present from your affectionate father,
P. S.—I was this day again at Lord Dartmouth’s levee, who showed me particular respect in sending for me out of the crowd long before my turn, and apologizing for having kept me so long by means of Mr. Maseres detaining him on Canada affairs. He received my business, too, very properly, not making any objection to my acting as agent for the Massachusetts without the Governor’s approbation of my appointment, as his predecessor had done. Whether this will continue or not, is now the question; for as he has the same secretaries, Pownall and Knox, probably they will remind him of the late measures, and prompt him to continue them.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MR. TIMOTHY
London, 3 November, 1772.
I received yours of Aug. 24th, by Capt. Vanderhorst, to whom I should willingly have shown any civilities in my power, but I being gouty of late, seldom go into the city, and he has not called on me since he delivered your letter. I am sorry you talk of leaving off your business with a view of getting some post. It is so difficult a matter to obtain any thing of the kind, that I think to leave a good trade in hopes of an office, is quitting a certainty for an uncertainty, and losing substance for shadow. I have known so many here dangling and soliciting years for places, till they were reduced to the lowest poverty and distress, that I cannot but pity a man who begins to turn his thoughts that way. The proverb says; “He who has a trade has an office of profit and honor; because he does not hold it during any other man’s pleasure, and it affords him honest subsistence with independence.” I hope, therefore, you will alter your mind and go on with your business. I assure you it is not in my power to procure you that post you mention or any other, whatever my wishes may be for your prosperity. I am not [sic] thought here too much an American to have any interest of the kind. You have done me honor in giving a son my name. I wish he may live to be an honor and comfort to you.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 4 November, 1772.
Lord Dartmouth, our American minister, came to town last week, and held his first levee on Wednesday, when I paid my respects to him, acquainting him at the same time that I should in a few days wait upon him, on business from Boston; which I have accordingly since done, and have put your petition to the King into his Lordship’s hands, that being the regular course.
He received me very obligingly, made no objection to my acting as agent without an appointment assented to by the governor, as his predecessor had done, so that I hope business is getting into a better train. I shall use my best endeavours in supporting the petition, and write you more fully by the next ship to Boston. In the meantime I remain with great respect, your most obedient and humble servant,
London, 2 December, 1772.
The above is a copy of my last. A few days after my leaving your petition with Lord Dartmouth, his Lordship sent for me to discourse with me upon it. After a long audience, he was pleased to say that, notwithstanding all I had said or could say in support and justification of the petition, he was sure the presenting it at this time could not possibly produce any good; that the King would be exceedingly offended, but what steps his Majesty would take upon it was uncertain; perhaps he would require the opinion of the judges or government lawyers, which would surely be against us; perhaps he might lay it before Parliament, and so the censure of both Houses would be drawn down upon us. The most favorable thing to be expected was a severe reprimand to the Assembly, by order of his Majesty, the natural consequence of which must be more discontent and uneasiness in the province. That, possessed as he was with great good-will for New England, he was extremely unwilling that one of the first acts of his administration, with regard to the Massachusetts, should be of so unpleasant a nature. That minds had been heated and irritated on both sides of the water, but he hoped those heats were now cooling, and he was averse to the addition of fresh fuel. That, as I had delivered the petition to him officially, he must present it if I insisted upon it; but he wished I would first consult my constituents, who might possibly, on reconsideration, think fit to order its being deferred.
I answered that the great majority with which the petition and the resolves on which it was founded were carried through the House, made it scarce expectable that their order would be countermanded; that the slighting, evading, or refusing to receive petitions from the colonies, on some late occasions by the Parliament, had occasioned a total loss of the respect for and confidence in that body, formerly subsisting so strongly in America, and brought on a questioning of their authority; that his Lordship might observe that petitions came no more from thence to Parliament, but to the King only; that the King appeared now to be the only connexion between the two countries; and that as a continued union was essentially necessary to the well-being of the whole empire, I should be sorry to see that link weakened, as the other had been; that I thought it a dangerous thing for any government to refuse receiving petitions, and thereby prevent the subjects from giving vent to their griefs.
His Lordship interrupted me by replying that he did not refuse to deliver the petition; that it should never justly be said of him that he interrupted the complaints of his Majesty’s subjects; and that he must and would present it, as he had said before, whenever I should absolutely require it; but, for motives of pure good-will to the province, he wished me not to insist on it, till I should receive fresh orders.
Finally, considering that since the petition was ordered there had been a change in the American administration; that the present minister was our friend in the repeal of the Stamp Act, and seems still to have good dispositions towards us; that you had mentioned the probability that the House would have remonstrated on all the other grievances, had not their time been taken up with the difficult business of a general valuation; and since the complaint of this petition was likely alone to give offence, it might perhaps be judged advisable to give the substance of all our complaints at once, rather than in part and after a reprimand received; I say upon the whole I thought it best not to disoblige him in the beginning of his administration by refusing him what he seemed so desirous of—a delay at least in presenting the petition till further directions should be received from my constituents. If after deliberation they should send me fresh orders, I shall immediately obey them, and the application to the Crown itself may possibly derive greater weight from the reconsideration given it, while the temper of the House may be somewhat calmed by the removal of a minister who had rendered himself so obnoxious to them. Accordingly I consented to the delay desired, wherein I hope my conduct will not be disapproved.1
With the greatest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, your and the committee’s most obedient and most humble servant,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
BY THE BRITISH EDITOR
to “the votes and proceedings of the freeholders and other inhabitants of the town of boston”1
All accounts of the discontent so general in our colonies, have of late years been industriously smothered and concealed here; it seeming to suit the views of the American minister,1 to have it understood, that by his great abilities all faction was subdued, all opposition suppressed, and the whole country quieted. That the true state of affairs there may be known, and the true causes of that discontent well understood the following piece (not the production of a private writer, but the unanimous act of a large American city) lately printed in New England, is republished here. This nation, and the other nations of Europe, may thereby learn, with more certainty, the grounds of a dissension that possibly may, sooner or later, have consequences interesting to them all.
The colonies had from their first settlement been governed with more ease than perhaps can be equalled by any instance in history of dominions so distant. Their affection and respect for this country, while they were treated with kindness, produced an almost implicit obedience to the instructions of the Prince, and even to acts of the British Parliament; though the right of binding them by a legislature in which they were unrepresented, was never clearly understood. That respect and affection produced a partiality in favor of every thing that was English; whence their preference of English modes and manufactures; their submission to restraints on the importation of foreign goods, which they had but little desire to use; and the monopoly we so long enjoyed of their commerce, to the great enriching of our merchants and artificers.
The mistaken policy of the Stamp Act first disturbed this happy situation; but the flame thereby raised was soon extinguished by its repeal, and the old harmony restored, with all its concomitant advantage to our commerce. The subsequent act of another administration, which, not content with an established exclusion of foreign manufactures, began to make our own merchandise dearer to the consumers there, by heavy duties, revived it again; and combinations were entered into throughout the continent to stop trading with Britain till those duties should be repealed. All were accordingly repealed but one, the duty on tea. This was reserved (professedly so) as a standing claim and exercise of the right assumed by Parliament of laying such duties.1
The colonies, on this repeal, retracted their agreement, so far as related to all other goods, except that on which the duty was retained. This was trumpeted here by the minister for the colonies as a triumph; there it was considered only as a decent and equitable measure, showing a willingness to meet the mother country in every advance towards a reconciliation, and a disposition to a good understanding so prevalent that possibly they might soon have relaxed in the article of tea also. But the system of commissioners of customs, officers without end, with fleets and armies for collecting and enforcing those duties, being continued, and these acting with much indiscretion and rashness (giving great and unnecessary trouble and obstruction to business, commencing unjust and vexatious suits, and harassing commerce in all its branches, while that the minister kept the people in a constant state of irritation by instructions which appeared to have no other end than the gratifying his private resentments1 ), occasioned a persevering adherence to their resolutions in that particular; and the event should be a lesson to ministers not to risk through pique the obstructing any one branch of trade; since the course and connexion of general business may be thereby disturbed to a degree impossible to be foreseen or imagined. For it appears that the colonies finding their humble petitions to have this duty repealed were rejected and treated with contempt, and that the produce of the duty was applied to the rewarding with undeserved salaries and pensions every one of their enemies, the duty itself became more odious, and their resolution to share it more vigorous and obstinate.
The Dutch, the Danes, and French took this opportunity thus offered them by our imprudence, and began to smuggle their teas into the plantations. At first this was something difficult; but at length, as all business is improved by practice, it became easy. A coast fifteen hundred miles in length could not in all parts be guarded, even by the whole navy of England; especially where their restraining authority was by all the inhabitants deemed unconstitutional, the smuggling of course considered as patriotism. The needy wretches, too, who, with small salaries, were trusted to watch the ports, day and night, in all weathers, found it easier and more profitable not only to wink, but to sleep in their beds; the merchant’s pay being more generous than the King’s. Other India goods, also, which, by themselves, would not have made a smuggling voyage sufficiently profitable, accompanied tea to advantage; and it is feared the cheap French silks, formerly rejected, as not to the tastes of the colonies, may have found their way with the wares of India, and now established themselves in the popular use and opinion.
It is supposed that at least a million of Americans drink tea twice a day, which, at the first cost here, can scarce be reckoned at less than half a guinea a head per annum. This market, that in the five years which have run on since the act passed, would have paid two million five hundred thousand guineas for tea alone, into the coffers of the Company, we have wantonly lost to foreigners.
Meanwhile, it is said the duties have so diminished, that the whole remittance of the last year amounted to no more than the pitiful sum of eighty-five pounds,1 for the expense of some hundred thousands, in armed ships and soldiers, to support the officers. Hence the tea, and other India goods, which might have been sold in America, remain rotting in the Company’s warehouses2 ; while those of foreign ports are known to be cleared by the American demand. Hence, in some degree, the Company’s inability to pay their bills; the sinking of their stock, by which millions of property have been annihilated; the lowering of their dividend, whereby so many must be distressed; the loss to government of the stipulated four hundred thousand pounds a year,3 which must make a proportionable reduction in our savings towards the discharge of our enormous debt; and hence, in part, the severe blow suffered by credit in general,4 to the ruin of many families; the stagnation of business in Spitalfields and Manchester, through want of vent for their goods; with other future evils, which, as they cannot, from the numerous and secret connexions in general commerce, easily be foreseen, can hardly be avoided.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 1 December, 1772.
My Dear Child:—
I received yours of October 14th, and one without date which I suppose to be written since. Capts. All, Osborne, and Sparkes are arrived; and a barrel of apples with another of cranberries are come, I know not yet by which of them.
I am glad to hear you continue so well, and that the pain in your side and head have left you. Eat light foods, such as fowls, mutton, etc., and but little beef or bacon, avoid strong tea, and use what exercise you can; by these means you will preserve your health better, and be less subject to lowness of spirits.
It seems Polly Pitts is really dead. I suppose you know that we have a mortgage on her lots? Mr. Galloway took it for me. You do not tell me whether any thing has been done about it, or whether any interest was ever paid; nor have you ever told me whether Mr. Maugridge’s executors have paid off his mortgage to me, and that to the insurance office. I wish you would.
Give my love to Mrs. Montgomery and all inquiring friends. Mrs. Stevenson and Polly Hewson and Sally Franklin present their love, the latter adds her duty. She is about to be married to a farmer’s son. I shall miss her, as she is nimble-footed and willing to run of errands and wait upon me, and has been very serviceable to me for some years, so that I have not kept a man.
I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
P. S.—Have just opened the apples and cranberries, which I find in good order, all sound. Thanks for your kind care in sending them.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY
London, 2 December, 1772.
I am glad you are returned again to a seat in the Assembly, where your abilities are so useful and necessary in the service of your country. We must not in the course of public life expect immediate approbation and immediate grateful acknowledgement of our services. But let us persevere through abuse and even injury. The internal satisfaction of a good conscience is always present, and time will do us justice in the minds of the people, even those at present the most prejudiced against us.
I have given Dr. Denormandie a recommendation to a friend in Geneva, for which place he set out this morning; and I shall be glad of any opportunity of serving him when he returns to London. I see by the Pennsylvania Gazette, of October 21st, that you are continued Speaker, and myself agent; but I have no line from you or the Committee relative to instructions. Perhaps I shall hear from you by Falconer. I find myself upon very good terms with our new minister, Lord Dartmouth, who we have reason to think means well to the colonies. I believe all are now sensible that nothing is to be got by contesting with or oppressing us.
Two circumstances have diverted me lately. One was that, being at the court of exchequer on some business of my own, I there met with one of the commissioners of the stamp office, who told me he attended with a memorial from that board, to be allowed in their accounts the difference between their expense in endeavouring to establish those offices in America, and the amount of what they received, which from Canada and the West India Islands was but about fifteen hundred pounds, while the expense, if I remember right, was above twelve thousand pounds, being for stamps and stamping, with paper and parchment returned upon their hands, freight, &c. The other is the present difficulties of the India Company, and of government on their account. The Company have accepted bills, which they find themselves unable to pay, though they have the value of two millions in tea and other India goods in their stores, perishing under a want of demand; their credit thus suffering, and their stock falling one hundred and twenty per cent., whereby the government will lose the four hundred thousand pounds per annum, it having been stipulated that it should no longer be paid, if the dividend fell to that mark. And although it is known that the American market is lost by continuing the duty on tea, and that we are supplied by the Dutch, who doubtless take the opportunity of smuggling other India goods among us with the tea, so that for the five years past we might probably have otherwise taken off the greatest part of what the Company have on hand, and so have prevented their present embarrassment, yet the honor of government is supposed to forbid the repeal of the American tea duty; while the amount of all the duties goes on decreasing, so that the balance of this year does not (as I have it from good authority) exceed eighty pounds after paying the collection; not reckoning the immense expense of guarda-costas, &c. Can an American help smiling at these blunders? Though, in a national light, they are truly deplorable.
With the sincerest esteem and inviolable attachment, I am, my dear friend, ever most affectionately yours,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO MR. ABEL JAMES
London, 2 December, 1772.
I duly received your favors of September 22d and October 9th, and am glad the purchase proves acceptable. Our friend Dr. Evans has remitted me the bill you mention, drawn for the produce of the silk. It exceeds what I paid, and I wait orders for the disposition of the overplus, particularly what I am to pay Wheeler for his services in the business.
I do not at this distance understand the politics of your last election, why so many of the members declined the service, and why yourself and Mr. Fox were omitted (which I much regret) while Goddard was voted for by so great a number. Another year I hope will set all right. The people seldom continue long in the wrong, when it is nobody’s interest to mislead them. It must be very discouraging to our friend Galloway, to see his long and faithful services repaid with abuse and ingratitude; but let him persevere in well-doing and all will end well, and to his final satisfaction. And though it may be inconvenient to your private affairs to attend public business, I hope neither you nor Mr. Fox will through resentment of the present slight, decline the service when again called upon by your country.
With great and sincere esteem, I am ever, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and most obedient servant,
B. F.[Back to Table of Contents]
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 2 December, 1772.
I have received yours of Oct. 4th, 8th, and 13th. I cannot imagine what became of my letter of August 3d from May Place. It was, however, of no great importance. Mr. Denormandie is gone this day to Geneva. I gave him a letter of recommendation to a friend there.
I am persuaded that your packets were not opened at the office; for though a Secretary of State has the power of ordering letters to be opened, I think it is seldom used but in times of war, rebellion, or on some great public occasion, and I have heard they have means of copying the seal so exactly, as that it cannot be discovered that the letters have been looked into.
It is plain therefore, that whoever rubbed your packets open, had not the use of such means, and yet as you are satisfied it was not done on your side the water, I suspect the letter-carrier might be corrupted and the business done between the office in Lombard Street and my house. When a packet arrives, a special messenger goes directly from the office with the public letters before the sorting is finished. Mine have been sometimes sent by the same messenger, who called on me on his way to Lord H.’s, sometimes on his return, and as he told Mr. Strahan that his letters to you were often returned to me from America, and yours to him sent through my hands to be seen he supposed by me before delivery; and since his resignation your packets do not appear to have suffered the least violation, I fancy the rubbing them open may possibly have been the ingenuity of Mr. Secretary Knox. By the list you have sent me I find none of the papers missing. Another circumstance in favor of this opinion is, that no letters to me were thus abused but yours and those from the Assembly of Boston. This I think clears the person you suspected, and rather fixes the above conjecture.
I have not seen your speech at the opening of your last session, but I hear it has been commended by the Ministry.
I return Mr. Foxcroft’s letters as you desire. I make no remarks on the reports he mentions. I know not who is meant by the Hero of your speech. Nor will I say more at present of the Ohio affair, than that it is not yet quite secure, and therefore I still advise discretion in speaking of it.
Dr. Price has been so good as to give me his opinion of your scheme, which I send, hoping it may be of use; I suppose you have his book, referred to in the paper. Some acknowledgment or thanks should be sent him for the trouble he has taken.
I continue very well, thanks to God. On Monday last I was chosen into the Council of the Royal Society for the fourth time. Our friend Sir John Pringle was elected President, which is very agreeable to him.
I shall send you a tea-urn by the first ship. I just now hear that the November packet is arrived, so I stop here till I receive the letters that come by her. [These words are crossed out in the record, apparently in the same ink.]
Just now comes to hand yours of November 3d, whereby I find mine of August 3d is received. I am glad to learn that you and your neighbouring governors are so sociable. I shall communicate what you write about the Virginia grants. At present I can only add that I am, with love to Betsey,
Your ever affectionate father,
B. Franklin.[Back to Table of Contents]
ANSWER TO M. DUBOURG’S QUERIES RESPECTING THE ARMONICA
London, 8 December, 1772.
When the glasses are ranged on the horizontal spindle, or, to make use of your expression, enfilés, and each one is definitely fixed in its place, the whole of the largest glass appears at the extremity to the left; the following one, nearly enclosed in the preceding one, shows only about an inch of its border, which advances so much further than the edge of the larger glass; and so, in succession, each glass exceeds the one containing it, leaving by this placement an uncovered border on which the fingers may be applied. The glasses do not touch one another, but they are so near as not to admit a finger to pass between them; so that the interior border is not susceptible of being rubbed.
The finger is to be applied flat on the borders of the largest glasses, and on the borders of the smaller; but in part on the borders, and in part on the edges, of the glasses of an intermediate size. Nothing but experience can instruct with respect to this manutation (fingering), because the different-sized glasses require to be touched differently, some nearer the edge, and others farther from it. A few hours’ exercise will teach this.
SOME DIRECTIONS FOR DRAWING OUT THE TONES FROM THE GLASSES OF THE ARMONICA
Before you sit down to play, the fingers should be well washed with soap and water, and the soap well rinsed off.
The glasses must be always kept perfectly clean from the least greasiness; therefore suffer nobody to touch them with unwashed hands; for even the common slight natural greasiness of the skin rubbed on them will prevent their sounding for a long time.
You must be provided with a bottle of rain-water (spring water is generally too hard and produces a harsh tone), and a middling sponge in a little slop-bowl, in which you must keep so much of the water that the sponge may be always very wet.
In a teacup keep also ready some fine scraped chalk, free from grit, to be used on occasion.
The fingers when you begin to play should not only be wet on the surface, but the skin a little soaked, which is readily done by pressing them hard a few times in the sponge.
The first thing after setting the glasses in motion is to pass the sponge slowly along from the biggest glass to the smallest, suffering it to rest on each glass during at least one revolution of the glasses, whereby they will all be made moderately wet. If too much water is left on them, they will not sound so readily.
If the instrument is near a window, let the window be shut or the curtain drawn, as wind or sunshine on the glasses dries them too fast.
When these particulars are all attended to, and the directions observed, the tone comes forth finely with the slightest pressure of the fingers imaginable, and you swell it at pleasure by adding a little more pressure, no instrument affording more shades, if one may so speak, of the Forte Piano.
One wetting with the sponge will serve for a piece of music twice as long as Handel’s Water-piece, unless the air be uncommonly drying.
But a number of thin slices of sponge, placed side by side, and their ends held fast between two stripes of wood, like rulers, of a length equal to the glasses, and placed so that the loose ends of the sponges may touch the glasses behind, and by that means keep them constantly wet, is very convenient where one proposes to play a long time. The sponges being properly wetted will supply the glasses sufficiently a whole evening, and touching the glasses lightly do not in the least hurt the sound.
The powder of chalk is useful two ways.
Fingers, after much playing, sometimes begin to draw out a tone less smooth and soft, and you feel as well as hear a small degree of sharpness. In this case, if you dip the ends of your wet fingers in the chalk so as to take up a little, and rub the same well on the skin, it will immediately recover the smoothness of tone desired. And, if the glasses have been sullied by handling, or the fingers not being just washed have some little greasiness on them, so that the sounds cannot easily be produced, chalk so used will clean both glasses and fingers, and the sounds will come out to your wish.
A little practice will make all this familiar; and you will also find by trials what part of the fingers most readily produces the sound from particular glasses, and whether they require to be touched on the edge chiefly, or a little more on the side; as different glasses require a different touch, some pretty full on the flat side of the brim, to bring out the best tone, others more on the edge and some of the largest may need the touch of two fingers at once.[Back to Table of Contents]
SETTLEMENT ON THE OHIO RIVER1
Report of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, on the Petition of the Honorable Thomas Walpole and his Associates, for a Grant of Lands on the River Ohio, in North America.
Pursuant to your Lordships’ order of the 25th May, 1770, we have taken into our consideration the humble memorial of the Honorable Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, John Sargent, and Samuel Wharton, Esquires, in behalf of themselves and their associates, setting forth among other things, “That they presented a petition to his Majesty in Council, for a grant of lands in America (parcel of the lands purchased by government of the Indians), in consideration of a price to be paid in purchase of the same; that, in pursuance of a suggestion which arose when the said petition was under consideration of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, the memorialists presented a petition to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, proposing to purchase a larger tract of land on the river Ohio in America, sufficient for a separate government; whereupon their Lordships were pleased to acquaint the memorialists they had no objection to accepting the proposals made by them with respect to the purchase-money and quit-rent to be paid for the said tract of land, if it should be thought advisable by those departments of government to whom it belonged to judge of the propriety of the grant, both in point of policy and justice, that the grant should be made; in consequence whereof the memorialists humbly renew their application that a grant of said lands may be made to them, reserving therein to all persons their just and legal rights to any parts or parcels of lands which may be comprehended within the tract prayed for by the memorialists”; whereupon we beg leave to report to your Lordships:—
I. That, according to the description of the tract of land prayed for by the memorialists, which description is annexed to their memorial, it appears to us to contain part of the dominion of Virginia, to the south of the river Ohio, and to extend several degrees of longitude westward from the western ridge of the Appalachian Mountains, as will more fully appear to your Lordships from the annexed sketch of the said tract, which we have since caused to be delineated with as much exactness as possible, and herewith submit to your Lordships, to the end that your Lordships may judge, with the greater precision, of the situation of the lands prayed for in the memorial.
II. From this sketch your Lordships will observe that a very considerable part of the lands prayed for lies beyond the line which has, in consequence of his Majesty’s orders for that purpose, been settled by treaty, as well with the tribes of the Six Nations and their confederates, as with the Cherokee Indians, as the boundary-line between his Majesty’s territories and their hunting-grounds; and as the faith of the crown is pledged in the most solemn manner, both to the Six Nations and to the Cherokees, that, notwithstanding the former of these nations had ceded the property in the lands to his Majesty, yet no settlement shall be made beyond that line, it is our duty to report to your Lordships our opinion that it would on that account be highly improper to comply with the request of the memorial, so far as it includes any lands beyond the said line.
It remains, therefore, that we report to your Lordships our opinion, how far it may consist with good policy and with justice that his Majesty should comply with that part of the memorial which relates to those lands which are situated to the east of that line, and are part of the dominion of Virginia.
III. And, first, with regard to the policy, we take leave to remind your Lordships of that principle which was adopted by this Board, and approved and confirmed by his Majesty, immediately after the treaty of Paris, viz.: the confining the western extent of settlements to such a distance from the sea-coast as that those settlements should lie within the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom, upon which the strength and riches of it depend, and also of the exercise of that authority and jurisdiction which was conceived to be necessary for the preservation of the colonies in a due subordination to, and dependence upon, the mother country. And these we apprehend to have been two capital objects of his Majesty’s proclamation of the 7th of October, 1763, by which his Majesty declares it to be his royal will and pleasure to reserve under his sovereignty, protection, and dominion, for the use of the Indians, all the lands not included within the three new governments, the limits of which are described therein, as also all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest; and by which all persons are forbid to make any purchases or settlements whatever, or to take possession of any of the lands above reserved, without special license for that purpose.
IV. It is true, indeed, that, partly from want of precision in describing the line intended to be marked out by the proclamation of 1763, and partly from a consideration of justice in regard to legal titles to lands which had been settled beyond that line, it has been since thought fit to enter into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary between his Majesty’s territories and their hunting-grounds.
V. By this boundary, so far as regards the case now in question, your Lordships will observe, that the hunting-grounds of the Indians are reduced within narrower limits than were specified by the proclamation of 1763. We beg leave, however, to submit to your Lordships that the same principles of policy, in reference to settlements at so great a distance from the sea-coast as to be out of the reach of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom, continue to exist in their full force and spirit; and, though various propositions for erecting new colonies in the interior parts of America have been, in consequence of this extension of the boundary line, submitted to the consideration of government (particularly in that part of the country wherein are situated the lands now prayed for, with a view to that object), yet the dangers and disadvantages of complying with such proposals have been so obvious as to defeat every attempt made for carrying them into execution.
VI. Many objections, besides those which we have already stated, occur to us to propositions of this kind; but as every argument on this subject is collected together with great force and precision, in a representation made to his Majesty by the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in March, 1768, we beg leave to state them to your Lordships in their words.
In that representation they deliver their opinion upon a proposition for settling new colonies in the interior country as follows, viz.:
“The proposition of forming inland colonies in America is, we humbly conceive, entirely new. It adopts principles in respect to American settlements different from what has hitherto been the policy of this kingdom, and leads to a system which, if pursued through all its consequences, is, in the present state of that country, of the greatest importance.
“The great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America has been to improve and extend the commerce, navigation, and manufactures of this kingdom, upon which its strength and security depend.
“1. By promoting the advantageous fishery carried on upon the northern coast.
“2. By encouraging the growth and culture of naval stores, and of raw materials, to be transported hither in exchange for perfect manufactures and other merchandise.
“3. By securing a supply of lumber, provisions, and other necessaries, for the support of our establishments in the American islands.
“In order to answer these salutary purposes, it has been the policy of this kingdom to confine her settlements as much as possible to the sea-coast, and not to extend them to places inaccessible to shipping, and consequently more out of the reach of commerce; a plan which, at the same time that it secured the attainment of these commercial objects, had the further political advantage of guarding against all interfering of foreign powers, and of enabling this kingdom to keep up a superior naval force in those seas, by the actual possession of such rivers and harbors as were proper stations for fleets in time of war.
“Such, may it please your Majesty, have been the considerations inducing that plan of policy hitherto pursued in the settlement of your Majesty’s American colonies, with which the private interest and sagacity of the settlers coöperated from the first establishments formed upon that continent. It was upon these principles, and with these views, that government undertook the settlement of Nova Scotia in 1749; and it was from a view of the advantages represented to arise from it in these different articles that it was so liberally supported by the aid of Parliament.
“The same motives, though operating in a less degree, and applying to fewer subjects, did, as we humbly conceive, induce the forming the colonies of Georgia, East Florida, and West Florida, to the south, and the making those provincial arrangements in the proclamation of 1763, by which the interior country was left to the possession of the Indians.
“Having thus briefly stated what has been the policy of this kingdom in respect to colonizing in America, it may be necessary to take a cursory view of what has been the effect of it in those colonies where there has been sufficient time for that effect to discover itself, because if it shall appear from the present state of these settlements and the progress they have made that they are likely to produce the advantages above stated, it will, we humbly apprehend, be a very strong argument against forming settlements in the interior country, more especially when every advantage derived from an established country would naturally tend to draw the stream of population, fertility of soil and temperature of climate offering superior incitements to settlers, who, exposed to few hardships, and struggling with few difficulties, could, with little labor, earn an abundance for their own wants, but without a possibility of supplying ours with any considerable quantities. Nor would these inducements be confined in their operation to foreign emigrants, determining their choice where to settle, but would act most powerfully upon the inhabitants of the northern and southern latitudes of your Majesty’s American dominions; who, ever suffering under the opposite extremes of heat and cold, would be equally tempted by a moderate climate to abandon latitudes peculiarly adapted to the production of those things which are by nature denied to us, and for the whole of which we should, without their assistance, stand indebted to, and dependent upon, other countries.
“It is well known that antecedent to the year 1749 all that part of the sea-coast of the British empire in America which extends northeast from the province of Maine to Canceau, in Nova Scotia, and from thence north to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, lay waste and neglected, though naturally affording, or capable by art of producing, every species of naval stores, the seas abounding with whale, cod, and other valuable fish, and having many great rivers, bays, and harbors fit for the reception of ships of war. Thus circumstanced, a consideration of the great commercial advantages which would follow from securing the possession of this country, combined with the evidence of the value set upon it by our enemies, who, during the war which terminated at that period, had, at an immense expense, attempted to wrest it from us, induced that plan for the settlement of Nova Scotia, to which we have before referred, and which, being prosecuted with vigor, though at a very large expense to this kingdom, secured the possession of that province, and formed those establishments which contributed so greatly to facilitate and promote the success of your Majesty’s arms in the late war.
“The establishment of government in this part of America having opened to the view and information of your Majesty’s subjects in other colonies the great commercial advantages to be derived from it, induced a zeal for migration, and associations were formed for taking up lands and making settlements in this province by principal persons residing in these colonies.
“In consequence of these associations upwards of ten thousand souls have passed from those colonies into Nova Scotia, who have either engaged in the fisheries or become exporters of lumber and provisions to the West Indies. And further settlements, to the extent of twenty-one townships, of one hundred thousand acres each, have been engaged to be made there by many of the principal persons in Pennsylvania, whose names and association for that purpose now lie before your Majesty in Council.
“The government of Massachusetts Bay, as well as the proprietors of large tracts to the eastward of the province of Maine, excited by the success of these settlements, are giving every encouragement to the like settlements in that valuable country lying between them and Nova Scotia; and the proprietors of the twelve townships lately laid out there, by the Massachusetts government, now solicit your Majesty for a confirmation of their title.
“Such, may it please your Majesty, is the present state of the progress making in the settlement of the northern parts of the sea-coasts of North America, in consequence of what appears to have been the policy adopted by this kingdom; and many persons of rank and substance here are proceeding to carry into execution the plan, which your Majesty (pursuing the same principles of commercial policy) has approved, for the settlement of the islands of St. John and Cape Breton, and of the new-established colonies to the south; and, therefore, as we are fully convinced, that the encouraging settlements upon the sea-coast of North America is founded in the true principles of commercial policy; and as we find, upon examination, that the happy effects of that policy are now beginning to open themselves, in the establishment of those branches of commerce, culture, and navigation upon which the strength, wealth, and security of this kingdom depend, we cannot be of opinion that it would in any view be advisable to divert your Majesty’s subjects in America from the pursuit of those important objects, by adopting measures of a new policy, at an expense to this kingdom which in its present state it is unable to bear.
“This, may it please your Majesty, being the light in which we view the proposition of colonizing in the interior country, considered as a general principle of policy, we shall, in the next place, proceed to examine the several arguments urged in support of the particular establishments now recommended.
These arguments appear to us reducible to the following general propositions, viz.:
First, That such colonies will promote population, and increase the demands for, and consumption of, British manufactures.
Secondly, That they will secure the fur trade and prevent an illicit trade, or interfering of French or Spaniards with the Indians.
Thirdly, That they will be a defence and protection to the old colonies against the Indians.
Fourthly, That they will contribute to lessen the present heavy expense of supplying provisions to the distant forts and garrisons.
Lastly, That they are necessary in respect to the inhabitants already residing in those places where they are proposed to be established, who require some form of civil government.
After what we have already stated, with respect to the policy of encouraging colonies in the interior country as a general principle, we trust it will not be necessary to enter into an ample discussion of the arguments brought to support the foregoing propositions.
We admit, as an undeniable principle of true policy, that, with a view to prevent manufactures, it is necessary and proper to open an extent of territory for colonization proportioned to the increase of people, as a large number of inhabitants cooped up in narrow limits, without a sufficiency of land for produce, would be compelled to convert their attention and industry to manufactures; but we submit whether the encouragement given to the settlement of the colonies upon the sea-coast, and the effect which such encouragement has had, have not already effectually provided for this object, as well as for increasing the demand for, and consumption of, British manufactures, an advantage which, in our humble opinion, would not be promoted by these new colonies, which, being proposed to be established at the distance of above fifteen hundred miles from the sea, and in places which, upon the fullest evidence, are found to be utterly inaccessible to shipping, will, from their inability to find returns wherewith to pay for the manufactures of Great Britain, be probably led to manufacture for themselves; a consequence which experience shows has constantly attended, in a greater or lesser degree, every inland settlement, and therefore ought, in our humble opinion, to be carefully guarded against, by encouraging the settlement of that extensive tract of sea-coast hitherto unoccupied; which, together with the liberty that the inhabitants of the middle colonies will have (in consequence of the proposed boundary line with the Indians) of gradually extending themselves backwards, will more effectually and beneficially answer the object of encouraging population and consumption, than the erection of new governments. Such gradual extension might, through the medium of a continued population, upon even the same extent of territory, preserve a communication of mutual commercial benefits between its extremest parts and Great Britain, impossible to exist in colonies separated by immense tracts of unpeopled desert.
As to the effect which it is supposed the colonies may have to increase and promote the fur trade, and to prevent all contraband trade or intercourse between the Indians under your Majesty’s protection and the French or Spaniards; it does appear to us, that the extension of the fur trade depends entirely upon the Indians being undisturbed in the possession of their hunting-grounds; that all colonizing does in its nature, and must in its consequences, operate to the prejudice of that branch of commerce; and that the French and Spaniards would be left in possession of a great part of what remained, as New Orleans would still continue the best and surest market.
As to the protection which it is supposed these new colonies may be capable of affording to the old ones, it will, in our opinion, appear upon the slightest view of their situation, that, so far from affording protection to the old colonies, they will stand most in need of it themselves.
It cannot be denied that new colonies would be of advantage in raising provisions for the supply of such forts and garrisons as may be kept up in the neighborhood of them; but, as the degree of utility will be proportioned to the number and situation of these forts and garrisons, which, upon the result of the present inquiry, it may be thought advisable to continue, so the force of argument will depend upon that event.
The present French inhabitants in the neighborhood of the Lakes will, in our humble opinion, be sufficient to furnish with provisions whatever posts may be necessary to be continued there; and as there are also French inhabitants settled in some parts of the country lying upon the Mississippi, between the rivers Illinois and the Ohio, it is to be hoped that a sufficient number of these may be induced to fix their abode where the same convenience and advantage may be derived from them. But, if no such circumstance were to exist, and no such assistance to be expected from it, the objections stated to the plan now under our consideration are superior to this, or any other advantage it can produce; and although civil establishments have frequently rendered the expense of an armed force necessary for their protection, one of the many objections to these now proposed, yet we humbly presume there never has been an instance of a government instituted merely with a view to supply a body of troops with suitable provisions; nor is it necessary in these instances for the settlements, already existing as above described, which, being formed under military establishments, and ever subjected to military authority, do not, in our humble opinion, require any other superintendence than that of the military officers commanding at these posts.”
In addition to this opinion of the Board of Trade, expressed in the foregoing recital, we further beg leave to refer your Lordships to the opinion of the commander-in-chief of his Majesty’s forces in North America, who, in a letter laid before us by the Earl of Hillsborough, delivers his sentiments with regard to settlements in the interior parts of America in the following words, viz.:
VII. “As to increasing the settlements to respectable provinces, and to colonization in general terms in the remote countries, I conceive it altogether inconsistent with sound policy; for there is little appearance that the advantages will arise from it which nations expect when they send out colonies into foreign countries. They can give no encouragement to the fishery, and though the country might afford some kind of naval stores, the distance would be too far to transport them; and for the same reason they could not supply the sugar islands with lumber and provisions. As for the raising wine, silk, and other commodities, the same may be said of the present colonies, without planting others for the purpose at so vast a distance; but, on the supposition that they would be raised, their very long transportation must probably make them too dear for any market.
“I do not apprehend the inhabitants could have any commodities to barter for manufactures, except skins and furs, which will naturally decrease as the country increases in people and the deserts are cultivated; so that, in the course of a few years, necessity would force them to provide manufactures of some kind for themselves; and, when all connection upheld by commerce with the mother country shall cease, it may be expected that an independency on her government will soon follow; the pretence of forming barriers will have no end; wherever we settle, however remote, there must be a frontier; and there is room enough for the colonists to spread within our present limits, for a century to come.
If we reflect how the people of themselves have gradually retired from the coast, we shall be convinced they want no encouragement to desert the sea-coast, and go into the back countries, where the lands are better and got upon easier terms; they are already almost out of the reach of law and government; neither the endeavors of government, nor fear of Indians, has kept them properly within bounds; and it is apparently most for the interest of Great Britain to confine the colonies on the side of the back country, and to direct their settlements along the sea-coast, where millions of acres are yet uncultivated. The lower provinces are still thinly inhabited and brought to the point of perfection that has been aimed at for the mutual benefit of Great Britain and themselves.
Although America may supply the mother country with many articles, few of them are yet supplied in quantities equal to her consumption; the quantity of iron transported is not great, of hemp very small, and there are many other commodities, not necessary to enumerate, which America has not yet been able to raise, notwithstanding the encouragement given her by bounties and premiums. The laying open new tracts of fertile territory in moderate climates might lessen her present produce; for it is the passion of every man to be a landholder, and the people have a natural disposition to rove in search of good lands, however distant. It may be a question likewise, whether colonization of the kind could be effected without an Indian war and fighting for every inch of ground. The Indians have long been jealous of our power, and have no patience in seeing us approach their towns, and settle upon their hunting-grounds; atonements may be made for a fraud discovered in a trader, and even the murder of some of their tribes, but encroachments upon their lands have often produced serious consequences. The springs of the last general war are to be discovered near the Alleghany Mountains, and upon the banks of the Ohio.
It is so obvious that settlers might raise provision to feed the troops cheaper than it can be transported from the country below that it is not necessary to explain it; but I must own I know no other use in settlements, nor can give any other reason for supporting forts than to protect the settlements and keep the settlers in subjection to government.
I conceive that to procure all the commerce it will afford, and at as little expense to ourselves as we can, is the only object we should have in view in the interior country for a century to come, and I imagine it might be effected by proper management without either forts or settlements. Our manufactures are as much desired by the Indians as their peltry is sought for by us. What was originally deemed a superfluity or a luxury by the natives is now become a necessary. They are disused to the bow, and can neither hunt nor make war without fire-arms, powder, and lead. The British provinces can only supply them with their necessaries, which they know, and for their own sakes would protect the trader, which they actually do at present. It would remain with us to prevent the traders being guilty of frauds and impositions, and to pursue the same methods to that end, as are taken in the southern district, and I must confess, though the plan pursued in that district might be improved by proper laws to support it, that I do not know a better or more economical plan for the management of trade; there are neither forts nor settlements in the southern department, and there are both in the northern department, and your Lordships will be the best judge which of them has given you the least trouble; in which we have had the fewest quarrels, with or complaints from, the Indians.
I know of nothing so liable to bring on a serious quarrel with Indians as an invasion of their property. Let the savages enjoy their deserts in quiet. Little bickerings that may unavoidably sometimes happen may soon be accommodated, and I am of opinion, independent of the motives of common justice and humanity, that the principles of interest and policy should induce us rather to protect than molest them. Were they driven from their forests, the peltry trade would decrease, and it is not impossible that worse savages would take refuge in them; for they might then become the asylum of fugitive negroes, and idle vagabonds escaped from justice, who in time might become formidable, and subsist by rapine, and plundering the lower countries.”
VIII. The opinions delivered in the foregoing recitals are so accurate and precise as to make it almost unnecessary to add any thing more. But we beg leave to lay before your Lordships the sentiments of his Majesty’s governor of Georgia upon the subject of large grants in the interior parts of America, whose knowledge and experience in the affairs of the colonies give great weight to his opinion.
In a letter to us on the subject of the mischiefs attending such grants, he expresses himself in the following manner, viz.:
“And now, my Lords, I beg your patience a moment, while I consider this matter in a more extensive point of view, and go a little further in declaring my sentiments and opinion, with respect to the granting of large bodies of land, in the back parts of the province of Georgia, or in any other of his Majesty’s northern colonies, at a distance from the sea-coast, or from such parts of any province as is already settled and inhabited.
And this matter, my Lords, appears to me in a very serious and alarming light, and I humbly conceive may be attended with the greatest and worst of consequences. For, my Lords, if a vast territory be granted to any set of gentlemen, who really mean to people it, and actually do so, it must draw and carry out a great number of people from Great Britain; and I apprehend they will soon become a kind of separate and independent people, and who will set up for themselves; that they will soon have manufactures of their own; that they will neither take supplies from the mother country, nor from the provinces, at the back of which they are settled; that, being at a distance from the seat of government, courts, magistrates, etc., etc., they will be out of the reach and control of law and government; that it will become a receptacle and kind of asylum for offenders, who will fly from justice to such new country or colony; and therefore crimes and offences will be committed, not only by the inhabitants of such new settlements, but elsewhere, and pass with impunity; and that, in process of time (and perhaps at no great distance), they will become formidable enough to oppose his Majesty’s authority, disturb government, and even give law to the other or first-settled part of the country, and throw every thing into confusion.
My Lords, I hope I shall not be thought impertinent, when I give my opinion freely, in a matter of so great consequence as I conceive this to be; and, my Lords, I apprehend that in all the American colonies great care should be taken that the lands on the sea-coast should be thick settled with inhabitants, and well cultivated and improved; and that the settlements should be gradually extended back into the province and as much connected as possible, to keep the people together in as narrow a compass as the nature of the lands and state of things will admit of; and by which means there would probably become only one general view and interest amongst them, and the power of government and law would of course naturally and easily go with them, and matters thereby properly regulated and kept in due order and obedience; and they would have no idea of resisting or transgressing either, without being amenable to justice, and subject to punishment for offences they may commit.
But, my Lords, to suffer a kind of province within a province, and one that may, indeed must, in process of time, become superior, and too big for the head, or original settlement or seat of government, to me conveys with it many ideas of consequences of such a nature as I apprehend are extremely dangerous and improper, and it would be the policy of government to avoid and prevent, whilst in their power to do so.
My ideas, my Lords, are not chimerical; I know something of the situation and state of things in America; and from some little occurrences or instances that have already really happened, I can very easily figure to myself what may, and, in short, what will, certainly happen, if not prevented in time.”
IX. At the same time that we submit the foregoing reasons against colonization in the interior country to your Lordships’ consideration, it is proper we should take notice of one argument, which has been invariably held forth in support of every proposition of this nature, and upon which the present proponents appear to lay great stress. It is urged, that such is the state of the country now proposed to be granted, and erected into a separate government, that no endeavors on the part of the crown can avail to prevent its being settled by those who, by the increase of population in the middle colonies, are continually emigrating to the westward, and forming themselves into colonies in that country, without the intervention or control of government, and who, if suffered to continue in that lawless state of anarchy and confusion, will commit such abuses as cannot fail of involving us in quarrel and dispute with the Indians, and thereby endangering the security of his Majesty’s colonies.
We admit that this is an argument that deserves attention; and we rather take notice of it in this place, because some of the objections stated by Governor Wright lose their force, upon the supposition that the grants against which he argues are to be erected into separate governments. But we are clearly of opinion that his arguments do, in the general view of them, as applied to the question of granting lands in the interior parts of America, stand unanswerable; and, admitting that the setlers in the country in question are as numerous as report states them to be, yet we submit to your Lordships that this is a fact which does, in the nature of it, operate strongly in point of argument against what is proposed; for, if the foregoing reasoning has any weight, it certainly ought to induce your Lordships to advise his Majesty to take every method to check the progress of these settlements, and not to make such grants of the land as will have an immediate tendency to encourage them; a measure which we conceive is altogether as unnecessary as it is impolitic, as we see nothing to hinder the government of Virginia from extending the laws and constitution of that colony to such persons as may have already settled there under legal titles.
X. And there is one objection suggested by Governor Wright to the extension of settlements in the interior country, which, we submit, deserves your Lordships’ particular attention, viz.: the encouragement that is thereby held out to the emigration of his Majesty’s European subjects, an argument which, in the present peculiar situation of this kingdom, demands very serious consideration, and has for some time past had so great weight with this Board, that it has induced us to deny our concurrence to many proposals for grants of land, even in those parts of the continent of America where, in all other respects, we are of opinion that it consists with the true policy of this kingdom to encourage settlements; and this consideration of the certain bad consequences which must result from a continuance of such imigrations as have lately taken place from various parts of his Majesty’s European dominions, added to the constant drains to Africa, to the East Indies, and to the new-ceded islands, will, we trust, with what has been before stated, be a sufficient answer to every argument that can be urged in support of the present memorial, so far as regards the consideration of it in point of policy.
XI. With regard to the propriety, in point of justice, of making the grant desired, we presume this consideration can have reference only to the case of such persons who have already possession of lands in that part of the country, under legal titles derived from grants made by the governor and council of Virginia, upon which case we have only to observe that it does appear to us that there are some such possessions held by persons who are not parties to the present memorial; and therefore, if your Lordships shall be of opinion that the making the grant desired would, notwithstanding the reservation proposed, in respect to such titles, have the effect to disturb those possessions, or to expose the proprietors to suit and litigation, we do conceive that, in that case, the grant would be objectionable in point of justice.
XII. Upon the whole, therefore, we cannot recommend to your Lordships to advise his Majesty to comply with the prayer of this memorial, either as to the erection of any parts of the lands into a separate government, or the making a grant of them to the memoralists; but, on the contrary, we are of opinion that settlements in that distant part of the country should be as much discouraged as possible; and that, in order thereto, it will be expedient, not only that the orders which have been given to the governor of Virginia, not to make any further grants beyond the line prescribed by the proclamation of 1763, should be continued and enforced, but that another proclamation should be issued, declaratory of his Majesty’s resolution not to allow, for the present, any new settlements beyond that line, and to forbid all persons from taking up or settling any lands in that part of the country.
We are, my Lords,
Your Lordships’ most obedient and
Most humble servants.
Whitehall, April 15, 1772.
DR. FRANKLIN’S ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING REPORT
I. The first paragraph of the report, we apprehend, was intended to establish two propositions as facts; viz.:
First, That the tract of land, agreed for with the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, contains part of the dominion of Virginia.
Secondly, That it extends several degrees of longitude westward from the western ridge of the Alleghany Mountains.
On the first proposition we shall only remark that no part of the above tract is to the eastward of the Alleghany Mountains, and that those mountains must be considered as the true western boundary of Virginia; for the king was not seized and possessed of a right to the country westward of the mountains, until his Majesty purchased it, in the year 1768, from the Six Nations; and, since that time, there has not been any annexation of such purchase, or of any part thereof, to the colony of Virginia.
On the second proposition we shall just observe that the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations appear to us to be as erroneous in this, as in the former proposition; for their Lordships say that the tract of land under consideration extends several degrees of longitude westward. The truth is, that it is not more, on a medium, than one degree and a half of longitude from the western ridge of the Alleghany Mountains to the river Ohio.
II. It appears, by the second paragraph, as if the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations apprehended that the lands southwesterly of the boundary line, marked on a map annexed to their Lordships’ report, were either claimed by the Cherokees, or were their hunting-grounds, or were the hunting-grounds of the Six Nations and their confederates.
As to any claim of the Cherokees to the above country, it is altogether new and indefensible, and never was heard of until the appointment of Mr. Stuart to the superintendency of the southern colonies, about the year 1764; and this, we flatter ourselves, will not only be obvious from the following state of facts, but that the right to all the country on the southerly side of the river Ohio, quite to the Cherokee River, is now undoubtedly vested in the king, by the grant which the Six Nations made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix, in November, 1768. In short, the lands from the Great Kenhawa to the Cherokee River were never either the dwelling or hunting-grounds of the Cherokees; but formerly belonged to and were inhabited by the Shawanese, until such time as they were conquered by the Six Nations.
Mr. Colden, the present lieutenant-governor of New York, in his History of the Five Nations, observes that, about the year 1664, “the Five Nations, being amply supplied by the English with fire-arms and ammunition, gave a full swing to their warlike genius. They carried their arms as far south as Carolina, to the northward of New England, and as far west as the river Mississippi, over a vast country, which extended twelve hundred miles in length, from north to south, and about six hundred miles in breadth, where they entirely destroyed whole nations, of whom there are no accounts remaining among the English.”
In 1701 the Five Nations put all their hunting-lands under the protection of the English, as appears by the records, and by the recital and confirmation thereof, in their deed to the king, of the 4th September, 1726; and Governor Pownall, who many years ago diligently searched into the rights of the natives, and in particular into those of the northern confederacy, says, in his book entitled the Administration of the Colonies: “The right of the Five-Nation confederacy to the hunting-lands of Ohio, Ticûcksouchrondite, and Scaniaderiada, by the conquest they made in subduing the Shaôanoes, Delawares (as we call them), Twigtwees, and Oilinois, may be fairly proved, as they stood possessed thereof at the peace of Ryswick, 1697.” And confirmatory hereof, Mr. Lewis Evans, a gentleman of great American knowledge, in his map of the middle colonies, published in America in the year 1755, has laid down the country on the southeasterly side of the river Ohio, as the hunting-lands of the Six Nations; and in his analysis to this map he expressly says:
“The Shawanese, who were formerly one of the most considerable nations of those parts of America, whose seat extended from Kentucky southwestward to the Mississippi, have been subdued by the confederates (or Six Nations), and the country since became their property. . . . No nation held out with greater resolution and bravery; and, although they have been scattered in all parts for a while, they are again collected on Ohio, under the dominion of the confederates.”
At a Congress held in the year 1744, by the provinces of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, with the Six Nations, the commissioners of Virginia, in a speech to the sachems and warriors of that confederacy, say:
“Tell us what nations of Indians you conquered any lands from in Virginia, how long it is since, and what possession you have had; and if it does appear that there is any land on the borders of Virginia, that the Six Nations have a right to, we are willing to make you satisfaction.”
To this speech, the Six Nations gave the following animated and decisive answer:
“All the world knows we conquered the several nations living on Susquehanna, Cohongoranto [that is, Potomac], and on the back of the great mountains in Virginia: the Conoy-uck-suck-roona, Cock-now-was-roonan, Tohoa-irough-roonan, and Connut-skin-ough-roonaw feel the effects of our conquests, being now a part of our nations, and their land at our disposal. We know very well it hath often been said by the Virginians, that the king of England and the people of that colony conquered the people who lived there; but it is not true. We will allow they conquered the Sachdagughronaw, and drove back the Tuskaroras [the first resided near the branches of James River in Virginia, and the latter on these branches], and that they have, on that account, a right to some parts of Virginia; but, as to what lies beyond the mountains, we conquered the nations residing there, and that land, if the Virginians ever get a good right to it, it must be by us.”
In the year 1750 the French seized four English traders, who were trading with the Six Nations, Shawanese, and Delawares, on the waters of the Ohio, and sent them prisoners to Quebec, and from thence to France.
In 1754 the French took a formal possession of the river Ohio, and built forts at Venango, at the confluence of the Ohio and Monongahela, and at the mouth of the Cherokee River.
In 1755 General Braddock was sent to America with an army to remove the French from their possessions over the Alleghany Mountains and on the river Ohio; and on his arrival at Alexandria, he held a council of war with the governors of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and the Massachusetts Bay; and, as these gentlemen well knew that the country claimed by the French, over the Alleghany Mountains, and southwesterly to the river Mississippi, was the unquestionable property of the Six Nations, and not of the Cherokees, or any other tribe of Indians, the general gave instructions to Sir William Johnson to call together the Indians of the Six Nations, and lay before them their before-mentioned grant to the king in 1726, wherein they had put all their hunting-lands under his Majesty’s protection, to be guaranteed to them and to their use. And, as General Braddock’s instructions are clearly declaratory of the right of the Six Nations to the lands under consideration, we shall here transcribe the conclusive words of them:
“And it appearing that the French have, from time to time, by fraud and violence, built strong forts within the limits of the said lands, contrary to the covenant chain of the said deed and treaties, you are, in my name, to assure the said nations that I am come by his Majesty’s order to destroy all the said forts, and to build such others as shall protect and secure the said lands to them, their heirs and successors for ever, according to the intent and spirit of the said treaty; and I do therefore call upon them to take up the hatchet and come and take possession of their own lands.”
That General Braddock and the American governors were not singular in their opinion, as to the right of the Six Nations to the land over the Alleghany Mountains, and on both sides of the river Ohio, quite to the Mississippi, is evident from the memorials which passed between the British and French courts in 1755.
In a memorial delivered by the king’s ministers on the 7th June, 1755, to the Duc de Mirepoix, relative to the pretensions of France to the above-mentioned lands, they very justly observed:
“As to the exposition which is made in the French memorial of the fifteenth article of the treaty of Utrecht, the court of Great Britain does not think it can have any foundation, either by the words or the intention of this treaty.
“The court of Great Britain cannot allow of this article relating only to the persons of the savages, and not their country. The words of this treaty are clear and precise; that is to say, the Five Nations, or Cantons, are subject to the dominion of Great Britain, which by the received exposition of all treaties must relate to the country, at well as to the persons of the inhabitants; it is what France has acknowledged in the most solemn manner; she had well weighed the importance of this acknowledgment at the time of signing this treaty, and Great Britain can never give it up. The countries possessed by these Indians are very well known, and are not at all so undetermined as it is pretended in the memorial. They possess and make them over, as other proprietors do in all other places.
“Whatever pretext might be alleged by France in considering these countries as the appurtenances of Canada, it is a certain truth that they have belonged, and (as they have not been given up or made over to the English) belong still, to the same Indian nations, which by the fifteenth article of the treaty of Utrecht, France agreed not to molest, Nullo in posterum impedimento aut molestiâ afficiant.
“Notwithstanding all that has been advanced in this article, the court of Great Britain cannot agree to France having the least title to the river Ohio and the territory in question.”
N. B.—This was all the country from the Alleghany Mountains to the Ohio, and down the same and on both sides thereof to the river Mississippi.
“Even that of possession is not, nor can it be alleged on this occasion, since France cannot pretend to have had any such before the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, nor since, unless it be that of certain forts, unjustly erected lately on the lands which evidently belong to the Five Nations, or which these have made over to the crown of Great Britain or its subjects, as may be proved by treaties and acts of the greatest authority. What the court of Great Britain maintained, and what it insists upon, is that the Five Nations of the Iroquois, acknowledged by France to be the subjects of Great Britain, are, by origin or by right of conquest, the lawful proprietors of the river Ohio and the territory in question. And as to the territory which has been yielded and made over by these people to Great Britain (which cannot but be owned must be the most just and lawful manner of making an acquisition of this sort), she reclaims it as belonging to her, having continued cultivating it for above twenty years past, and having made settlements in several parts of it from the sources even of the Ohio to Pichawillanes in the centre of the territory between the Ohio and the Wabash.”
In 1755 the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations were so solicitous to ascertain the territory of the Six Nations that Dr. Mitchell, by their desire, published a large map of North America, and Mr. Pownall, the present secretary of the Board of Trade, then certified, as appears on the map, that the doctor was furnished with documents for the purpose from that board. In this map Dr. Mitchell observes “that the Six Nations have extended their territories ever since the year 1672, when they subdued and were incorporated with the ancient Shawanese, the native proprietors of these countries and the river Ohio; besides which they likewise claim a right of conquest over the Illinois, and all the Mississippi, as far as they extend. This,” he adds, “is confirmed by their own claims and possessions in 1742, which include all the bounds here laid down, and none have ever thought fit to dispute them.” And, in confirmation of this right of the Six Nations to the country on the Ohio, as mentioned by the king’s ministers in their memorial to the Duc de Mirepoix in 1755, we would just remark that the Six Nations, Shawanese, and Delawares were in the actual occupation of the lands southward of the Great Kenhawa for some time after the French had encroached upon the river Ohio; and that in the year 1752 these tribes had a large town on Kentucky River, two hundred and thirty-eight miles below the Scioto; that in the year 1753 they resided and hunted on the southerly side of the river Ohio, in the lower country, at about three hundred and twenty miles below the Great Kenhawa, and in the year 1755 they had also a large town opposite to the mouth of the Scioto, at the very place which is the southern boundary line of the tract of land applied for by Mr. Walpole and his associates. But it is a certain fact that the Cherokees never had any towns or settlements in the country southward of the Great Kenhawa; that they do not hunt there, and that neither the Six Nations, Shawanese, nor Delawares do now reside or hunt on the southerly side of the river Ohio, nor did for several years before they sold the country to the king. These are facts which can be easily and fully proved.
In October, 1768, at a Congress held with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, they observed to Sir William Johnson:
“Now, brother, you, who know all our affairs, must be sensible that our rights go much farther to the southward than the Kenhawa, and that we have a very good and clear title as far south as the Cherokee River, which we cannot allow to be the right of any other Indians, without doing wrong to our posterity, and acting unworthy those warriors who fought and conquered it; we therefore expect our right will be considered.”
In November, 1768, the Six Nations sold to the king all the country on the southerly side of the river Ohio as far as the Cherokee River; but notwithstanding that sale, as soon as it was understood in Virginia, that government favored the pretensions of the Cherokees, and that Dr. Walker and Colonel Lewis (the commissioners sent from that colony to the Congress at Fort Stanwix) had returned from thence, the late Lord Botetourt sent these gentlemen to Charleston, South Carolina, to endeavor to convince Mr. Stuart, the southern superintendent of Indian affairs, of the necessity of enlarging the boundary line which he had settled with the Cherokees; and to run it from the Great Kenhawa to Holston River. These gentlemen were appointed commissioners by his Lordship, as they had been long conversant in Indian affairs, and were well acquainted with the actual extent of the Cherokee country. Whilst these commissioners were in South Carolina, they wrote a letter to Mr. Stuart, as he had been but a very few years in the Indian service (and could not, from the nature of his former employment, be supposed to be properly informed about the Cherokee territory), respecting the claims of the Cherokees to the lands southward of the Great Kenhawa, and therein they expressed themselves as follows:
“Charleston, South Carolina, February 2, 1769.—The country southward of the Big Kenhawa was never claimed by the Cherokees, and now is the property of the crown, as Sir William Johnson purchased it of the Six Nations at a very considerable expense, and took a deed of cession from them at Fort Stainwix.”
In 1769 the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia represented to Lord Botetourt, “That they have the greatest reason to fear the said line” (meaning the boundary line which the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have referred to in the map annexed to their Lordships’ report), “if confirmed, would constantly open to the Indians, and other enemies to his Majesty, a free and easy ingress to the heart of the country on the Ohio, Holston River, and the Great Kenhawa; whereby the settlements which may be attempted in those quarters will, in all probability, be utterly destroyed, and that great extent of country [at least eight hundred miles in length] from the mouth of the Kenhawa to the mouth of the Cherokee River, extending eastward as far as Laurel Hill, so lately ceded to his Majesty, to which no tribe of Indians at present set up any pretensions, will be entirely abandoned to the Cherokees; in consequence of which, claims totally destructive of the true interest of his Majesty may at some future time arise, and acquisitions justly ranked among the most valuable of the late war be altogether lost.”
end of volume v.
[1 ]Translated from Dubourg’s edition of Franklin’s Works, vol. ii., p. 258.
[1 ]Alluding to the following passage in a letter from Professor Winthrop, respecting St. Bride’s steeple:
. . . I have read in the Philosophical Transactions the account of the effects of lightning on St. Bride’s steeple. It is amazing to me, that after the full demonstration you had given, of the identity of lightning and of electricity, and the power of metalline conductors, they should ever think of repairing that steeple without such conductors. How astonishing is the force of prejudice, even in an age of so much knowledge and free inquiry!”
[2 ]“Notre curiosité pourroit peutêtre s’applaudir des recherches qu’elle nous a fait faire sur la nature du tonnerre, et sur la mécanisme de ses principaux effets mais ce n’est point ce qu’il y a de plus important; il vaudroit bien mieux que nous puissions trouver quelque moyen de nous en garantir: on y a pensé; on s’est même flatté d’avoir fait cette grande découverte; mais malheureusement douze années d’épreuves et un peu de réflexion nous apprennent qu’il ne faut pas compter sur les promesses qu’on nous a faites. Je l’ai dit, il y a long temps et avec regret, toutes, ces pointes de fer qu’on dresse en l’air, soit comme électroscopes, soit comme préservatifs, sont plus propre à nous attirer le feu du tonnerre qu’à nous en préserver; et je persiste à dire que le projet d’épuiser une nuée orageuse du feu dont elle est chargée, n’est pas celui d’on physicien.”—Mémoire sur les Effets du Tonnerre.—F.
[1 ]“Les cloches, en vertu de leur bénédiction, doivent écarter les orages et nous préserver de coups de foudre; mais l’église permet à la prudence humaine le choix des momens où il convient d’user de ce préservatif. Je ne sais si le son, considéré physiquement, est capable ou non de faire crever une nuée, et de causer l’épanchement de son feu vers les objets terrestres: mais il est certain et prouvé par l’expérience, que le tonnerre peut tomber sur un clocher, soit que l’on y sonne ou que l’on n’y sonne point, et si cela arrive dans le premier cas, les sonneurs sont en grand danger, parcequ’ils tiennent des cordes par lesquelles la commotion de la foudre peut se communiquer jusqu’à eux; il est donc plus sage de laisser les cloches en repos quand l’orage est arrivé au-dessus de l’église.”—Ibid.
[2 ]Suivant le rituel de Paris, lorsqu’on bénit des cloches, on récite les oraisons suivantes.
“Benedic, Domine, . . . quoties-cumque sonuerit, procul recedat virtus insidiantium, umbra phantasmatis, incursio turbinum, percussio, fulminum læsio tonitruum, calamitas tempestatum, omnisque spiritus procelarum,” &c.
Deus, qui per beatum Moisen, &c., . . . procul pellentur insidiæ inimici, fragor grandinum, procella turbinum, impetus tempestatum, temperentur infesta tonitrua,” &c.
Omnipotens, sempiterne Deus, &c., . . . ut ante sonitum ejus effugentur ignita jacula inimici, percussio fulminum, impetus lapidum, læsio tempestatum,” &c.—F.
[1 ]“En 1718, M. Deslandes fit savoir à l’Académie Royale des Sciences, que la nuit du 14 où 15 d’Avril de la même année, le tonnerre étoit tombé sur vingt-quatre églises, depuis Landernau jusqu’à Saint-Polde-Léon en Brétagne; que ces églises étoient précisément celles où l’on sonnoit, et que la foudre avoit épargné celles où l’on ne sonnoit pas; que dans celle de Gouisnon, qui fut entièrement ruinée, le tonnerre tua deux personnes de quatre qui sonnoient,” &c.—Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, 1719.—F.
[1 ]Deputy Postmaster-General in America.
[1 ]Dr. Franklin was appointed Agent for Georgia by an ordinance of the Assembly, dated April 11, 1768, at a salary of one hundred pounds sterling money of Great Britain, “over and above his reasonable charges and disbursements.” The appointment was annually renewed while he remained in England, and the salary was enlarged to two hundred pounds a year.—Ed.
[1 ]Translated from M. Dubourg’s edition of Franklin’s Works, vol. ii., p. 310.
[1 ]Among the cherished friendships which grew out of Franklin’s visit to Paris in 1767-8, was that with Dupont de Nemours, one of the chief apostles of the school of French Economistes, of whom Doctor Quesnay and the Marquis de Mirabeau were the high priests. Dupont studied for the medical profession, but his attention was early turned aside to economical and agricultural inquiries about which he became a voluminous writer. He enjoyed the confidence of Turgot, under whom he took office. He afterward wrote the Mémoires sur la Vie de Turgot. He assisted Vergennes in negotiating the treaty for the recognition of the Independence of the United States in 1782, and the treaty of commerce with Great Britain of 1786. During the French Revolution he found it convenient to emigrate to the United States. On his return he assisted in negotiating the purchase of Louisiana by the United States, and, at the request of Jefferson, prepared a scheme of national education for the young republic, which was published in 1812 and entitled Sur l’Education Nationale dans les États Unis. On the downfall of Napoleon in 1814, Dupont became Secretary to the Provisional government, and on the restoration was made Counsellor of State. The return of the Emperor in 1815 determined him to leave France and join his two sons, who had settled on the banks of the Delaware, where they had established a powder manufactory, which is still one of the flourishing industries of the country. He died there in 1817. Dupont failed to see Franklin on his first visit to Paris, but soon after his return sent him his treatise entitled Physiocratie and with it a letter, to which, the letter in the text is a reply.
[1 ]For the nature and intention of this alphabet, I must refer to what Dr. Franklin has himself said upon the subject, in answer to Miss Stevenson’s objections; as the reader may understand the whole in an hour or two. It is necessary to add, that the new letters used in the course of printing this paper, are exactly copied from the manuscript in my possession; there being no provision for a distinction in the character as written or printed. I have no other way, therefore, of marking the scored parts of the manuscript (answering to italics) than by placing such passages between inverted commas. As to capitals, I should have provided for them by means of larger types, but the form of some of them would have made them too large for the page. However, were the author’s general system ever adopted, nothing would be easier than to remedy this particular.—B. V.
[1 ]Dr. Franklin used to lay some little stress on this circumstance, when he occasionally spoke on the subject. “A dictionary, formed on this model, would have been serviceable to him, he said, even as an American”; because, from the want of public examples of pronunciation in his own country, it was often difficult to learn the proper sound of certain words, which occurred very frequently in our English writings, and which of course every American very well understood as to their meaning. I think I have seen a French grammar which endeavored to represent the French pronunciation by a resolution of it into English letters, but for want of proper characters it seemed an embarrassed business. Is not the bad spelling observed in French manuscripts owing in some degree to the great variance between their orthography and pronunciation?—B. V.
[1 ]Peter Collinson, F. R. S., a very celebrated botanist, was descended from a family of ancient standing in the county of Westmoreland, but born himself in 1693, in Clement’s Lane, Lombard Street. His parents realized a handsome fortune by trade in Gracechurch Street, the bulk of which coming to Peter, who was the eldest son, he was enabled to follow his favorite pursuit of natural history. He had one of the finest gardens in England, at Peckham, in Surrey, whence he removed in 1749 to Mill Hill, in the parish of Hendon in Middlesex, where he died, in August, 1768. Mr. Collinson kept up a correspondence with men of science in all parts of the world, and he sent the first electrical machine that was ever seen in America, as a present to the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia. He was also a liberal contributor to the public library of that city; and an intimate friend of Dr. Franklin, who received from him many hints and papers on the subject of electricity.
[1 ]See supra the letter of April 11, 1767.
[1 ]See Vindication of the Provincial Paper Money System, vol. iv., p. 358.
[1 ]Experiments and Observations on Electricity made at Philadelphia, in America, by B. Franklin, LL.D. and F.R.S., to which are added Letters and Papers on Philosophical Subjects, &c. London: David Henry, 1769, 4°.
[1 ]These were probably Positions to be Examined concerning National Wealth. See infra, April 4, 1769.
In his reply to the above letter, Lord Kames said. “The letter you mention about American affairs never came to hand. I have an essay on the subject of your Queries, and you shall hear from me soon about our agreeing or differing. I have a great fund of political knowledge reduced into writing, far from being ripe, but fit for your perusal. If you will come to my aid, I know not but that we shall make a very good thing of it. If not, it may be lost to the world, and what a loss will that be!”—Edinburgh, January 21, 1769.
[2 ]This “dear friend” was Peter Collinson, who had recently died, and who had long corresponded with John Bartram.
[1 ]Mr. Bartram’s merit as a naturalist attracted the attention of the King, and he was appointed American botanist to his Britannic Majesty, which station probably entitled him to a pension.
[1 ]Dr. Franklin was elected President of the American Philosophical Society on the 19th February, 1768, and was annually re-elected until his death.
[1 ]Degree of Doctor in Divinity, conferred by the University of Edinburgh.
[1 ]At this time the controversy ran high in the colonies respecting the expediency of having an American bishop of the Episcopal Church.
[1 ]The reasons for paying a price are not founded merely upon a computation of the expense of production. A general knowledge of the expenses of producing a bushel of corn does not prevent the producer from demanding and the consumer from paying a higher price when the article is scarce; nor the consumer from offering and the producer from accepting a lower price when it is plenty. A proposition bearing a near affinity to that stated in the text seems to be true, namely, that those things which are of general production and habitual consumption, like the common agricultural products, are more likely to bear a market price near to the cost of production, than things of less common production and less regular use, as the article of lace, mentioned in the next section. It may also be generally the case, that the greater the distance of the place of consumption from that of production, the longer an article is likely to be sold at a great profit, since the operation of competition, in bringing down the price, is likely to be slower.—W. Phillips.
[1 ]Franklin does not, probably, intend to be literally understood as recommending a system of defrauding foreigners; the benefit he proposes from manufactures does not, by any means, amount to this. Nobody considers it cheating to obtain from a domestic purchaser more for a thing than it costs the vender to make it. The most scrupulous mercantile morality does not proscribe profits. The author has elsewhere stated, that gain is the great motive of commerce. He can only mean what he has elsewhere stated, that the nation exporting manufactures has the means of carrying on a more profitable foreign trade, which it may do as long as there are few competitors in effecting sales. But the other reason mentioned immediately before, in favor of exporting manufactures, namely, that it gives an opportunity of exporting the products of more labor, is of much greater importance than the chance of making extraordinary profits; a chance which has been very much diminished by the diffusion of the manufacturing arts, since this article was written.—W. Phillips.
[1 ]Captain Jonathan Carver, celebrated for his travels in the interior parts of North America, was born in Connecticut in the year 1732. He served on the frontiers in the French war, with the reputation of a good officer, till the peace of 1763, after which he travelled near the sources of the Mississippi as far as the river Minnesota, and on the borders of Lake Superior. He returned to Boston in 1768, and thence went to England to solicit from the King some remuneration for his services and aid in publishing his charts and journals. So far from his application being favorably entertained, he was ordered to deliver up his papers as the property of the government, and was obliged to repurchase them from the bookseller to whom he had sold them for publication. He published his Travels through the Interior of North America, in 1778, and in 1779 a Treatise on the Culture of the Tobacco Plant. He died the following year, destitute and neglected.—Editor.
[1 ]The original of this letter, with several others belonging to Dr. Cooper, was seized by a British officer in Boston, soon after the battle of Lexington, when many of the inhabitants, and Dr. Cooper among them, had left the town. The parcel was sent to the King, and the letters themselves, in their original form, are now preserved in the British Museum, having been contained in the library presented by George the Fourth to that institution. Copies of the letters in that collection have been procured for this work, and the above letter is one of the number. Hence the complimentary paragraph, intended only for a private friend, was seen by the King five years after it was written, when Franklin was a member of the Continental Congress, and when, from subsequent experience, his sentiments had changed in regard to the King’s good dispositions towards at least one part of his subjects. The letters from Dr. Franklin to Dr. Cooper, which were sent to the King as here mentioned, were those dated February 24, April 27, August 3, 1769; April 14, June 8, 1770; February 5, 1771; January 13, 1772; February 25, 1774.—Sparks.
[1 ]The associations, as they were called, or resolutions not to import goods from Great Britain had been unequally observed in the different colonies, as will appear by the following statement, taken from the custom-house entries, of the value of all the goods exported from England to the several colonies, enumerated, from Christmas, 1767 to Christmas, 1769.
|1767 to 1768.||1768 to 1769.|
|Maryland and Virginia||475,000||488,000|
[1 ]The office to which Franklin alludes in this letter was probably that of governor of Pennsylvania. It has been said that at one time he was tempted by the offer of the position of under-secretary of State. He was thought of also as a successor to Governor Bernard, in Massachusetts. The ministry would, no doubt, have given him any thing he would have asked to have him with them, but they never found him in a frame of mind which made it safe to approach him with any proposition which was irreconcilable with his devotion and loyalty to the interests of the colonies. Referring to similar reports set afloat some three or four years previous, he wrote to his sister. “As to the reports you mention, that are spread to my disadvantage, I give myself as little concern about them as possible. I have often met with such treatment from people that I was all the while endeavouring to serve. At other times I have been extolled extravagantly, where I had little or no merit. These are the operations of nature. It sometimes is cloudy, it rains, it hails; again it is clear and pleasant, and the sun shines on us. Take one thing with another, and the world is a pretty good sort of a world, and it is our duty to make the best of it and be thankful. One’s true happiness depends more upon one’s own judgment of one’s self, or a consciousness of rectitude in action and intention, and the approbation of those few who judge impartially, than upon the applause of the unthinking, undiscerning multitude, who are apt to cry Hosanna to day, and to-morrow, Crucify him.”
[1 ]This communication first appeared in the London Chronicle, and in reply to “some extracts of letters from officers serving in the British army in America,” tending to cover the Americans with ridicule and obloquy, which appeared in that print in the month of May, 1769. I found it in Walsh’s Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain, &c., p. 447. It seems to have escaped the attention of Mr. Sparks.—Editor.
[1 ]Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of Massachusetts. He embarked at Boston on the 1st of August.
[2 ]Commissioners of the Customs in Boston.
[3 ]Translated from M. Dubourg’s edition of Franklin’s Works.
[1 ]From a tour on the continent.
[1 ]This young physician was Mr. Hewson, to whom she was married the year following.
[1 ]At the suggestion of Franklin, the American Philosophical Society was organized in Philadelphia, in 1744. Thomas Hopkinson was president of it and Franklin secretary. Nothing is known of its transactions. The records of its proceedings are lost, and if any papers were contributed by its members, they were never published. Franklin became absorbed in his electrical experiments, and the Society languished. Meantime another society sprang up in Philadelphia, called the Junto, or Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge. The portion of the records of this Society which have been preserved, begin with September 22, 1758.
In 1762 this society apparently began to decline. No records have been found from October, of that year, to April 25, 1766, when the society met, and took the name of The American Society for Promoting and Propagating Useful Knowledge. Thirty members then signed the constitution and rules. It was evidently intended now to embrace a much larger compass of objects than formerly, and to have more of a public character. Franklin was elected into this society on the 19th of February, 1768, and chosen president of it on the 4th of November following. He was then absent in England.
In November, 1767, the old Philosophical Society of 1744 was revived by a few of the original members, then residing in Philadelphia. They elected many new members. A union was proposed by the other society, which was accepted on the 2d of February, 1768, by choosing all the members of that association into this society. But they refused to unite on these terms, or on any other, which did not imply a certain equality between the two associations. On the 23d of September, 1768, the American Society was again organized, new rules were adopted, and its title was changed to The American Society Held at Philadelphia for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge; and, on the 4th of November, the Medical Society of Philadelphia was incorporated with it.
After much negotiation, it was finally agreed that the two societies should unite on equal terms, each electing all the members of the other. This union was effected on the 2d of January, 1769. A new name was formed by uniting those of the two societies, which thus became The American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge.
It is of this union that Franklin here speaks.
[1 ]Some of the author’s friends in Philadelphia, engaged in raising silk, sent over a sample of their manufacture as a present to the Queen, which is alluded to in the following note:
“Dr. Franklin presents his respectful compliments to Sir John Pringle, and is much obliged to him for the trouble he has so kindly taken in the affair of the silk, and is very happy to learn that the Queen has graciously condescended to accept it with the purpose of wearing it. Her Majesty’s countenance so afforded to the raisers of silk in Pennsylvania, where her character is highly revered, will give them great encouragement to proceed in a measure which the British Parliament seems to have had much at heart, the procuring a supply of that valuable article from our colonies, for which at present large sums are paid to France, Spain, Italy, and the Indies.”
[1 ]Examination before the British House of Commons. See vol. iv., p. 171, under date of February 3, 1766.
[2 ]Written by John Dickinson, with a Preface by Dr. Franklin. See vol. iv., p. 437.
[1 ]Mr. Strahan was printer to the King, and became a man of wealth and influence. In 1775 he was elected to Parliament from the borough of Malmsbury, as a colleague with Mr. Fox. He was one of Franklin’s oldest and most cherished friends in England.
[1 ]In the year 1767, for the express purpose of raising a revenue in America, glass, red lead, white lead, painters’ colors, paper, and tea (which last article was subject to various home impositions) became charged by act of Parliament, with new permanent duties payable in the American ports. Soon after, in the same sessions, (the East India Company promising indemnification for the experiment,) a temporary alteration was made with respect to the home customs or excise upon certain teas; in the hope that a deduction in the nominal imposition, by producing a more extended consumption, would give an increased sum to the exchequer. Mr. Strahan, comparing only the amounts of the imposed American duty, and the deducted home duty, determines that the Americans had suffered no new imposition. The Americans, it seems, thought otherwise. Had we established this precedent for a revenue, we thought we had every thing to hope; yet we affected surprise when the colonies avoided an acquiescence, which by parity of reasoning gave them every thing to fear.—B. V.
[1 ]“Men may lose little property by an act which takes away all their freedom. When a man is robbed of a trifle on the highway, it is not the two pence lost that makes the capital outrage. Would twenty shillings have ruined Mr. Hampden’s fortune? No! but the payment of half twenty shillings, on the principle it was demanded would have made him a slave.” See Mr. Burke’s speeches in 1774 and 1775.—B. V.
[1 ]Nova Scotia, Georgia, the Floridas, and Canada.
[1 ]“The opposition [to Lord Rockingham’s administration],” says Lord Chesterfield, “are for taking vigorous, as they call them, but I call them violent, measures—not less than les dragonades; and to have the tax collected by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw a froward child mended by whipping; and I would not have the mother become a step-mother.”—Letter, No. 360.
“Is it a certain maxim,” pleads Mr. Burke, “that the fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by government, the more the subject will be inclined to resist and rebel?” “I confess I do not feel the least alarm from the discontents which are to arise from putting people at their ease. Nor do I apprehend the destruction of this empire, from giving, by an act of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of my fellow-citizens, some share of those rights upon which I have always been taught to value myself.”—Speeches in 1774 and 1775.—B. V.
[1 ]This was afterwards attempted by the British legislature, in the case of the Massachusetts Bay province.—B. V.
[2 ]The Lords and Commons very prudently concurred in an address for this purpose; and the King graciously assured them of his compliance with their wishes.—B. V.
[1 ]This State of the Constitution of the Colonies was printed at the close of 1769, and communicated to various persons, with a view to prevent mischief from the misunderstandings between the government of Great Britain and the people of America. I have taken the liberty of ascribing it to Governor Pownall, as his name could have been no secret at the time. Dr. Franklin’s Remarks (which from their early date are the more curious) are in manuscript; and from an observation in reply, signed T. P., appear to have been communicated to Governor Pownall.—B. V.
[2 ]Pratt and York.
[3 ]General words in all charters.
[1 ]Law in New England, confirmed by the crown, October 22, 1700.
[1 ]16th Car. I. c. 10.
[2 ]The case of the court erected by act of Parliament, 11th and 12th of William III. c. 7, (since the enacting of the Habeas Corpus Act) for the trial of piracies, felonies, and robberies committed in or upon the sea, or in any haven, river, creek, or place where the admiral has jurisdiction, does no way affect this position; nor doth the 14th section of the said statute, directing that the commissioners, of whom such court subsists, may issue their warrant for apprehending such pirates, &c., in order to their being tried in the colonies, or sent into England, any way militate with the doctrine here laid down, nor can it be applied as the case of a jurisdiction actually existing, which supersedes the jurisdictions of the courts in the colonies and plantations, and as what authorizes the taking the accused of such piracies, &c., from those jurisdictions, and the sending such, so taken, to England for trial. It cannot be applied as a case similar and in point to the application of an act of Parliament (passed in the 35th of Henry VIII. concerning the trial of treasons), lately recommended, in order to the sending persons, accused of committing crimes in the plantations, to England for trial; because this act of the 11th and 12th of William III. c. 7, respects crimes committed in places “where the admiral has jurisdiction,” and cases to which the jurisdiction of those provincial courts do not extend. In the case of treasons committed within the jurisdiction of the colonies and plantations, there are courts competent to try such crimes, and to give judgment thereupon, where the trials of such are regulated by laws to which the King hath given his consent; from which there lies no appeal, and wherein the King hath given power and instruction to his governor, as to execution or respite of judgment. The said act of Henry VIII., which provides remedy for a case which supposes the want of due legal jurisdiction, cannot be any way, or by any rule, applied to a case where there is due legal and competent jurisdiction.
[1 ]In referring to an old act, made for the trial of treasons committed out of the realm by such persons as had no legal resiancy but within the realm, and who were of the realm, applying the purview of that statute which was made to bring subjects of the realm, who had committed treason out of the realm (where there was no criminal jurisdiction to which they could be amenable), to trial within the realm, under that criminal jurisdiction to which alone, by their legal resiancy and allegiance, they were amenable; applying this to the case of subjects whose legal resiancy is without the realm, and who are, by that resiancy and their allegiance, amenable to a jurisdiction authorized and empowered to try and give judgment upon all capital offences whatsoever without repeal, thus applying this statute so as to take up a proceeding for which there is no legal process, either by common or statute law as now established, but in defiance of which there is a legal process established by the Habeas Corpus Act, would be to disfranchise the subject in America of those rights and liberties which by statute and common law he is now entitled to.
[2 ]13th and 14th Car. II. c. 2.
[1 ]If the King was to absent himself for a time from the realm, and did, as usual, leave a regency in his place (his locum tenens as supreme civil magistrate), could he authorize and commission any military commander-in-chief to command the militia forts and forces independent of such regency? Could he do this in the colonies and plantations where the governor is already, by commission or charter, or both, under the great seal, military commander-in-chief, as part of (and inseparably annexed to) the office of supreme civil magistrate his Majesty’s locum tenens within said jurisdiction? If he could, then while openly, by patent according to law, he appeared to establish a free British constitution, he might by a fallacy establish a military power and government.
[1 ]Governor Pownall accompanied this paper to Dr. Franklin with a sort of prophetic remark. After stating that these theorems, and their application to existing bases, were intended to remedy the prejudice, indigestion, indecision, and errors then prevailing, either in opinions or conduct, he adds: “The very attention to the investigation may lead to the discovery of some truths respecting the whole British empire, then little thought of, and scarce even suspected, and which perhaps it would not be prudent at this time to mark and point out.” The minister, however, judged the discussion of dubious rights over growing states a better policy than possession, discretion, and silence. He turned civilian, and lost an empire.—B. V.
[1 ]James Barbeu Dubourg, the first French editor of Franklin’s works, was an accomplished scholar and naturalist. In 1761, he published a medical periodical; in 1767, he published the Botaniste Francaise in two volumes, judged in its day to be “one of the most agreeable elementary books in the language.” He translated Bolingbroke’s Letters on History into French, and held at one time intimate relation with their author. He dedicated his Petit Code de la Raison Humaine to Franklin. He was one of the Society of Economistes in France.
[1 ]See Philosophical Transactions, Vol. LIX., p. 352.
[1 ]Alluding to a proposal from Mr. Hewson, a physician of London, to whom Miss Stevenson was soon afterwards married.
[1 ]This letter is one of those which was sent to the King, as heretofore mentioned. It was seen by Governor Hutchinson before he wrote the third volume of his History, in which are contained extracts from it with comments.
[1 ]These papers were Mr. Strahan’s Queries respecting American affairs, and Dr. Franklin’s answers to them. See supra, p. 127.
[2 ]Alluding to the tragical scene in the streets of Boston, on the 5th of March, commonly called the Massacre, when Captain Preston’s troops fired upon the inhabitants, and killed three persons.
[1 ]Mary Stevenson had just been married to Mr. Hewson.
[1 ]William Temple Franklin, son of William Franklin, Governor of New Jersey. He was educated by his grandfather, subsequently became his private secretary, and the legatee of most of his library and papers.
[1 ]While Dr. Franklin resided in London he lived for the most part in the family of Mrs. Stevenson in Craven Street. This humorous journal pretends to have been kept during a few days’ absence of that lady from home.
[1 ]See supra, page 187.
[1 ]Mr. Cushing was Speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly, and in this capacity corresponded with Dr. Franklin during his agency for that colony in England.
[2 ]He succeeded Mr. De Berdt as agent. Mr. Bollan was agent for the Council. The following extracts are taken from the Journal of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts.
“October 24th, 1770.—The House proceeded, according to order, to bring in their votes for an agent to appear for this House at the court of Great Britain for one year; and the committee having assorted and counted the votes, reported that Benjamin Franklin was chosen.”
“October 30th.—Ordered, that Mr. Speaker, Mr. Hancock, and Mr. Samuel Adams prepare a resolve authorizing Benjamin Franklin, to appear as agent for this House, agreeable to the choice made of him on the 24th instant, and report.”
“October 31st.—Resolved, that Benjamin Franklin be, and hereby is appointed and authorized, in behalf of the House, to appear, as there shall be occasion, before his Majesty in Council, or in either House of Parliament, or before any public board in Great Britain, there to plead, and defend, as the exigency of the case and the service of the province may require, for the space of one year henceforward, agreeably to such directions or instructions as he may from time to time receive from the House, or from such committee as may by them be appointed and authorized for that purpose; relying on his vigilance, and the utmost exertion of his abilities, to support the constitutional rights of this House and the province, and, as far as in him lies, to defend against whatsoever may tend to prejudice the same.”
[1 ]Arthur Lee had taken the degree of doctor in medicine before he commenced the study of the law; hence he was sometimes called Dr. Lee.
[1 ]Lord Hillsborough.
[1 ]John Pownall, Secretary to the Board of Trade, and brother to Governor Pownall.
[1 ]His sister, Mrs. Jane Mecom, was married very young, and became a widow in early life. She was left in narrow circumstances, but these were repaired, as far as they could be, by the generous and constant bounty of her brother. The sickness and death of some of her children, and the ill success of others in their worldly affairs, caused her much affliction. Her deep feeling on the death of a daughter is forcibly expressed in a letter written soon afterwards. “Sorrows roll upon me like the waves of the sea. I am hardly allowed time to fetch my breath. I am broken with breach upon breach, and I have now, in the first flow of my grief, been almost ready to say, ‘What have I more?’ But God forbid that I should indulge that thought, though I have lost another child. God is sovereign, and I submit.”
She was remarkable for her strength of mind and character, her good sense and practical views of life, resembling in these respects, more than any others of the family, her brother Benjamin, whom she survived, being the youngest of seventeen children, and the last that died.
[1 ]For an account of this “Ohio affair,” see vol. iv., p. 416.
[1 ]Dr. Franklin sent the papers here requested, and Mr. Rhoads wrote to him a year afterwards as follows: “The several papers and pamphlets on canals came safe to hand, and I hope they will be useful, as I find the reports of the great engineers, Smeaton and Brindley, concerning the Scotch canal, contain a great deal of instruction for us inexperienced Americans. . . . I should have made this acknowledgment by Falconer, but was then out of town with the ingenious David Rittenhouse, on an examination of the ground, in order to judge of the practicability of a canal between the Schuylkill and Susquehanna, to save our western trade from total loss. As he was taken sick on the road, and I was not very well, our discoveries are yet too imperfect to communicate to thee; except that on levelling the waters of the Schuylkill, we find that river to ascend, or the bed of it to rise, near sixty feet in less than twenty miles, and I suppose it to continue the same ascent to Reading.”—May 30th, 1772.
[1 ]The members of this committee were Thomas Cushing, James Otis, and Samuel Adams.
[1 ]It was during this visit to Twyford that Franklin began his Autobiography.
[1 ]The Assembly of Georgia, of which Mr. Jones was Speaker.
[1 ]Commissioners appointed by the government to collect the customs in America.
[1 ]These proposals were printed upon a sheet of paper, and distributed. The parts written by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Dalrymple are easily distinguished.—B. V.
[1 ]Taken from Dr. Percival’s Essays (vol. iii., p. 25), being an extract from a letter written to him by Dr. Franklin, on the subject of his Observations on the State of Population in Manchester and Other Adjacent Places.—B. V.
[1 ]This letter, without date, was first printed in the Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, vol. ii., p. 110.
[1 ]His son, Francis Folger, who died when four years of age.
[1 ]Dr. Cooper had written. “Mr. Cushing showed me this morning an anonymous letter, directed to him as from London in a feigned hand, representing you as a tool of Lord Hillsborough. Whether it originated on this or your side of the water is uncertain. It will make no impression to your disadvantage, but rather confirm the opinion of your importance, while it shows the baseness of its author.”—August 23, 1771. Considering the time when Mr. Cushing received this anonymous letter, and that similar sentiments were expressed nearly at the same time in a letter from London to Mr. Samuel Adams, there can be little doubt as to its origin. See the second note to a letter from Dr. Franklin to Mr. Cushing under date of July 7, 1773.
[1 ]Dr. Franklin had sent to Mr. Bowdoin a set of Queries, respecting the state of affairs in New England, which were given to Edward Randolph by the ministry, when he was about to visit Massachusetts in 1676. Randolph returned answers to them the same year. The queries and answers are contained in Hutchinson’s Collection of Papers, etc., p. 477. Accompanying the queries, Randolph received an estimate, which is said to have been drawn from the best sources of information. A copy of this estimate was obtained by Dr. Franklin, and sent to Mr. Bowdoin. It is curious as an historical document, and has the merit of brevity. Its date is fifty-six years after the first settlement of Plymouth.
“There are in New England about 120,000 souls; 13,000 families, 16,000 that can bear arms; 12 ships of between 100 and 220 tons; 190, of between 20 and 100 tons; 440 fisherboats of about six tons each.
There are 5 iron works, which cast no guns; 15 merchants worth about £5,000, one with another; 500 persons worth £3,000 each. No house in New England hath above 20 rooms; not 20 in Boston which have above 10 rooms each. About 1,500 families in Boston. The worst cottages in New England are lofted. No beggars; not 3 put to death for theft.
About 35 rivers and harbours. About 23 islands and fishing-places. The three provinces of Boston, Maine, and Hampshire are three fourths of the whole in wealth and strength; the other four provinces of Plymouth, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Kennebec being but one quarter of the whole in effect. Not above three of their military men have ever been actual soldiers, but many are such soldiers as the artillerymen at London. Amongst their magistrates, Leverett, the governor, Major Dennison, Major Clarke, and Mr. Broadstreet are the most popular. And amongst their ministers, Mr. Thatcher, Mr. Oxenbridge, and Mr. Higginson.
There are no musicians by trade. One dancing-school was set up, but put down. A fencing-school is allowed. All cordage, sailcloth, and nets come from England. No cloth made there worth above 4s. a yard, nor linen worth above 2s. 6d. No allum, nor copperas, nor salt by the sun.
They take an oath of fidelity to the governor, but none to the King, The governor is chosen by every freeman. A freeman must be orthodox, above twenty years of age, and worth about £200.”
[1 ]In the original, here follows an account of his visit to Lord Hillsborough, the same in substance as that contained in the letter to Mr. Cushing, dated January 13th. See supra, page 288.
[1 ]Kidney beans.
[2 ]Called hominy, and much used in the Southern States, but seldom in New England.
[1 ]In a speech made by the late Governor Tilden on his return from a trip to Europe in the summer of 1877, he alluded to this staple in terms which confer an almost prophetic significance upon this brief paper of Franklin:
“I predict a great increase in the consumption of our corn by Great Britain over the sixty million bushels which it reached last year. It is the most natural and spontaneous of our cereal products. Our present crop ought to be 1,500,000,000 bushels, against 300,000,000 bushels of wheat. It is but little inferior to wheat in nutritive power. It costs less than one half on the seaboard, and much less than one half on the farm. It can be cooked, by those who consent to learn how, into many delicious forms of human food. Why should not the British workmen have cheaper food? Why should not our farmers have a great market? Why should not our carriers have the transportation? Let us remember that commercial exchanges must have some element of mutuality. Whoever obstructs the means of payment obstructs also the facilities of sale. We must relax our barbarous revenue system so as not to retard the natural processes of trade. We must no longer legislate against the wants of humanity and the beneficence of God.”
[1 ]This piece was first printed in the The London Packet, June 3, 1772.
[1 ]No person appeared in New England, who professed the opinion of the Quakers, until 1656; that is, about thirty-six years after the first settling of the colony; when Mary Fisher and Ann Austin came from Barbadoes; and, soon after, nine others arrived in the ship Speedwell from London. They were successful in their preaching; and the provincial government, wishing to keep the colony free from them, attempted to send away such as they discovered, and prevent the arrival of others. Securities, fines, banishment, imprisonment, and corporal punishments were instituted for this purpose; but with so little effect, that at last “a law was made for punishing with death all such as should return into the jurisdiction after banishment. A few were hanged.” See History of the British Dominions, 4to, 1773, pp. 118, 120.—B. V.
[1 ]They were to spread the Gospel, and maintain a learned and orthodox clergy, where ministers were wanted or ill provided; administering God’s word and sacraments, and preventing atheism, infidelity, popery, and idolatry.—B. V.
[1 ]No bishops were appointed in America till after the Revolution. Previously to that time, the ecclesiastical affairs of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country were under the charge of the Bishop of London. At length, in the year 1786, an act of Parliament was passed, empowering English bishops to consecrate to that office persons who might be subjects or citizens of other countries. In the following year, William White and Samuel Prevost were consecrated at Lambeth Palace, the one as Bishop of Pennsylvania, the other of New York.
[1 ]For further particulars about this New Colony, see vol. iv., p. 416.
[1 ]On the same subject he subsequently wrote the following short notes to Dr. Evans:
“London, 5 May, 1772.—You write that, besides what was sent here, fifty-four pounds had been reeled at the filature of private persons, who are getting it manufactured into mitts, stockings, and stuffs. This gives me great pleasure to hear; and I hope that practice will be rather followed, than the sending small parcels to be manufactured here, which are difficult to get done, where all goes on in the great way. Let nothing discourage you. Perseverance will conquer all difficulties; and the contributors will have the glorious satisfaction of having procured an inestimable advantage to their country.”
“London, 3 June, 1772.—I have at length purchased Stringfellow’s right for you, or for you and Mr. James, as you settle it between you. As it was he who immediately recommended the business to me, I have sent the writings to him by this packet. The rights cost £110, and the charges were £5 15 6d. There is a letter of the Proprietary to Mr. Tilghman, which it is supposed will remove all difficulties in the office, and I hope the purchase will prove advantageous. Be so good as to acquaint the Silk Committee, to whom I wrote fully by the last packet, that I have since received the bounty from Boydell, the broker. The whole sum from government was £35 19 6; the charges were £5 11 6; so the net sum received by me was £30 8 0. This, with the £121 5 0, which I am to receive on the 10th instant, will make the whole £152 13 0, subject to the orders of the Committee.”
“London, 2 December, 1772.—I received your favor of October 21st, with the bill enclosed, drawn on me by order of the managers for promoting the culture of silk, for £152 0 9, in favor of James & Drinker and yourself, and am glad the purchase I made was satisfactory. As the sum exceeds my disbursement, the overplus will wait your orders; and particularly I wish to have directions what I am to pay Mr. Wheeler for his diligence and trouble in the transaction, which really was considerable.”
In a letter to his wife, he says:
“The Silk Committee were so good as to make me a present of four pounds of raw silk. I have had it worked up, with some addition of the same kind of silk, into a French grey ducape, which is a fashionable color, either for old or young women. I therefore send it as a present to you and Sally, understanding there is enough to make each of you a negligée. If you should rather incline to sell it, it is valued here at six shillings and sixpence a yard; but I hope you will wear it.”—July 15, 1773.
[1 ]James West was President of the Royal Society from November, 1768, till his death in July, 1772. He possessed a very extensive library of rare and valuable books, which were sold by auction after his death. His curious collection of manuscripts was sold to the Marquis of Lansdowne, of whom they were purchased by Parliament, and they now make a part of the Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum.
[1 ]He wrote the same day to another correspondent. “The session of Parliament has been a quiet one, and now draws near a conclusion. Opposition has made no figure, and Lord North manages ably. Peace is negotiating between the Turks and Russians, and miserable Poland is in a fair way of being pacified too, if the entrance of more standing armies into it can produce peace. There is no appearance of any other war likely to arise in Europe, and thence a prospect of lessening considerably the national debt. I continue well. Sir John Pringle has proposed to me a journey for this summer to Switzerland. But I have not resolved upon it, and I believe I shall not. I am balancing upon a wish of visiting at least, if not returning for good and all (as the phrase is) to America. If I do not do that, I shall spend the summer with some or other of those friends who have invited me to their country-houses.”
[1 ]This letter is here printed in a translation from the French, as contained in M. Dubourg’s edition of the author’s writings (tom. i., p. 280).—Ed.
[1 ]In consequence of this letter the Ordnance Department directed that the advice of the writer should be followed in some respects; but that they might be still better authorized to proceed with regard to other points, these gentlemen were desirous to obtain the sanction of the Royal Society, and therefore requested their opinion. The Royal Society appointed Messrs. Cavendish, Watson, Franklin, Wilson, and Robertson, a committee to examine the subject, and report thereon—Dubourg.
[1 ]Probably alluding to a piece entitled Toleration in Old England and New England, and signed A New England Man. This piece was first printed in the London Packet, June 3, 1772. See supra, page 313.
[1 ]The following is the reply which Dr. Franklin wrote to the Duke de Vrillière, who had informed him of his having been chosen a member of the Royal Academy at Paris.
It was with the greatest pleasure I received the information your Grace has condescended to give me, of my nomination by the King to fill a vacancy in the Academy of Sciences, as Associé Etranger. I have a high sense of the great honor thereby conferred on me, and beg that my grateful acknowledgments may be represented to his Majesty. With the greatest respect, &c.”
[1 ]Mr. Benjamin Wilson, one of the committee appointed by the Royal Society, dissented from the part of the above report which relates to pointed conductors.—Ed.
“I dissent from the report,” said he, “in that part only which recommends that each conductor should terminate in a point.
My reason for dissenting is, that such conductors are, in my opinion, less safe than those which are not pointed.
Every point, as such, I consider as soliciting the lightning, and by that means not only contributing to increase the quantity of every actual discharge, but also frequently occasioning a discharge, where it might not otherwise have happened.
If, therefore, we invite the lightning, while we are ignorant what the quantity or the effects of it may be, we may be promoting the very mischief we mean to prevent.
Whereas if, instead of pointed, we make use of blunted conductors, those will as effectually answer the purpose of conveying away the lightning safely, without that tendency to increase or invite it.
My further reasons for disapproving of points, in all cases where conductors are judged necessary, are contained in a letter addressed to the Marquis of Rockingham, and published in the Philosophical Transactions, Vol. LIV., p. 247.
There are other reasons also which I have to offer, for rejecting points on this particular occasion, and which were mentioned at the committee. Those I shall lay before the Royal Society at another opportunity, for the benefit of the public.”
[1 ]An American philanthropist. In 1767, he wrote a caution to Great Britain and her colonies in a short Representation of the Calamitous State of the Enslaved Negroes in the British Dominions. In 1772, he published Historical Accounts of Guinea; with an Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave Trade, its Nature and lamentable Effect. This amiable man seemed to have nothing else at heart but the good of his fellow-creatures, and the last act of his life was to take from his desk six dollars for a poor widow.
[1 ]Mr. Henley’s.
[1 ]M. de Romas saw still greater quantities of lightning brought down by the wire of his kite. He had “explosions from it, the noise of which greatly resembled that of thunder, and were heard (from without) into the heart of the city, notwithstanding the various noises there. The fire seen at the instant of the explosion had the shape of a spindle, eight inches long and five lines in diameter. Yet, from the time of the explosion to the end of the experiment, no lightning was seen above, nor any thunder heard. At another time the streams of fire issuing from it were observed to be an inch thick, and ten feet long.” See Dr. Priestley’s History of Electricity, pp. 134-136 first edition.
[1 ]Twelve were proposed on and near the magazines at Purfleet.
[1 ]It may be fit to mention here, that the immediate occasion of the dispute concerning the preference between pointed and blunt conductors of lightning arose as follows. A powder-mill having blown up at Brescia, in consequence of its being struck with lightning, the English Board of Ordnance applied to their painter, Mr. Wilson, then of some note as an electrician, for a method to prevent the like accident to their magazines at Purfleet. Mr. Wilson having advised a blunt conductor, and it being understood that Dr. Franklin’s opinion, formed upon the spot, was for a pointed one, the matter was referred in 1772, to the Royal Society, and by them as usual to a committee, who, after consultation, prescribed a method conformable to Dr. Franklin’s theory. But a harmless stroke of lightning having, under particular circumstances, fallen upon one of the buildings and its apparatus in May, 1777, the subject came again into violent agitation, and was again referred to the Society, and by the Society again referred to a new committee, which committee confirmed the decision of the first committee.—B. V.
[1 ]Islands in the Delaware River, to which Lord Rochford had made a claim.
[1 ]A daughter of the Bishop of St. Asaph.
[1 ]The squirrel which furnished the occasion for this bit of pleasantry, had been sent to Miss Shipley by Mrs. Franklin. For fuller particulars of its cruel fate, the reader is referred to a letter from the Doctor to his wife, from London, under date of February 14, 1773. See infra, Vol. VI.
[1 ]What physicians call the perspirable matter is that vapor which passes off from our bodies, from the lungs, and through the pores of the skin. The quantity of this is said to be five eighths of what we eat.—Author.
[1 ]With this letter were communicated Hutchinson’s letters, which produced so much excitement at the time in Massachusetts.
[1 ]On the 20th of November, 1772, there was a meeting of the inhabitants of Boston, at which was read a report of a committee, who had been appointed at a previous meeting. This report contained a view of the state of public affairs, touching largely on the rights of the colonists, and the infringement and violations of those rights by the British government. It was the boldest exposition of the American grievances, which had hitherto been made public, and was drawn up with as much ability as freedom.
Hutchinson says of this report of the committee, that, “although at its first appearance it was considered as their own work, yet they had little more to do than to make the necessary alterations in the arrangement of materials prepared for them by their great director in England, whose counsels they obeyed, and in whose wisdom and dexterity they had an implicit faith. Such principles in government were avowed, as would be sufficient to justify the colonies in revolting, and forming an independent state; and such instances were given of the infringement of their rights by the exercise of Parliamentary authority, as, upon like reasons, would justify an exception to the authority in all cases whatever; nevertheless, there was color for alleging that it was not ‘expressly’ denied in ‘every’ case. The whole frame of it, however, was calculated to strike the colonists with a sense of their just claim to independence, and to stimulate them to assert it.”—History of Massachusetts, vol. iii., p. 364.
The person alluded to by Governor Hutchinson, as “the great director in England,” was Dr. Franklin, and it is insinuated, that he was in effect the author of the report; but this is in no sense true, nor did he wholly approve the measures adopted at that meeting. He thought the affair was carried a little farther than the occasion required at the time, and was afraid that ill consequences would result. It was only the time and manner of bringing the subject forward, however, upon which he had any doubts. To the sentiments expressed in the report of the committee, and adopted by the inhabitants of the town, he fully assented. This is proved by his sending a copy of the proceedings to the press, as soon as he received it in London, with a prefatory notice written by himself. The pamphlet was entitled, The Votes and Proceedings of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, in Town Meeting assembled, according to Law. Published by Order of the Town. The following is Dr. Franklin’s Preface to the London edition.—Sparks.
[1 ]Lord Hillsborough. This nobleman, already first Lord of Trade, was introduced in 1768 into the new-titled office of Secretary of State for the Colonies.—B. V.
[1 ]Mr. Burke says (in his speech in 1774), that this preambulary tax had lost us at once the benefit of the west and of the east; had thrown open the folding-doors to contraband; and would be the means of giving the profits of the colony trade to every nation but ourselves. He adds, in the same place: “It is indeed a tax of sophistry, a tax of pedantry, a tax of disputation, a tax of war and rebellion, a tax for any thing but benefit to the imposers, or satisfaction to the subject.”—B. V.
[1 ]Some of his circular-letters had been criticized and exposed by one or two of the American assemblies.—B. V.
[1 ]“Eighty-five pounds, I am assured, my Lords, is the whole equivalent we have received for all the hatred and mischief, and all the infinite losses this kingdom has suffered during that year, in her disputes with North America.” See the Bishop of St. Asaph’s “Speech, intended to have been spoken.”—B. V.
[2 ]At this time they contained many millions of pounds of tea, including the usual stock on hand. Mr. Burke, in his Speech in 1774, supposes that America might have given a vent for ten millions of pounds. This seems to have been the greater part of the whole quantity.—B. V.
[3 ]On account of a temporary compromise of certain disputes with government.—B. V.
[4 ]Seen in certain memorable mercantile failures in the year 1772.
[1 ]The report which follows was drawn up by Lord Hillsborough President of the Board of Trade, in opposition to the petition of a company of gentlemen, with Thomas Walpole at their head, for a grant of land on the Ohio River, already referred to in the preceding correspondence as Walpole’s Grant.
It is followed by an answer prepared by Dr. Franklin, which proved so cogent and conclusive that when the subject came again before the council on the first of July, 1772, and his answer was read, the petition was granted. Hillsborough was greatly chagrined by his defeat, and shortly after resigned his seat as President of the Board of Trade. Lord Dartmouth succeeded him. In both changes Hillsborough’s late colleagues, as well as the colonies, found great satisfaction. In a letter to his son, dated July 14, 1773, Franklin wrote of this matter:
“Mr. Todd, who has some attachment to Lord Hillsborough, told me, as a secret, that Lord Hillsborough was much chagrined at being out of place, and could never forgive me for writing that pamphlet against his report about the Ohio. Of all the men I ever met with, he is surely the most unequal in his treatment of people, the most insincere, and the most wrong-headed. Witness, besides his various behavior to me, his duplicity in encouraging us to ask for more land. ‘Ask for enough to make a province’ (when we at first asked only for two millions five hundred thousand acres), were his words, pretending to befriend our application; then doing every thing to defeat it, and reconciling the first to the last by saying to a friend, that he meant to defeat it from the beginning, and that his putting us upon asking so much was with that very view, supposing it too much to be granted. Thus, by the way, his mortification becomes double. He has served us by the very means he meant to destroy us, and tripped up his own heels into the bargain.”
Lord Hillsborough’s report and Dr. Franklin’s answer were published, in the year 1797, in the second volume of a work entitled Biographical, Literary, and Political Anecdotes of Several of the Most Eminent Persons of the Present Age. The author of that work remarks on the subject as follows:
“Lord Hillsborough was so much offended by the decision of the Privy Council, that he resigned upon it. He resigned for that reason only. He had conceived the idea, and was forming the plan, of a boundary line to be drawn from the Hudson River to the Mississippi, and thereby confining the British colonies between that line and the ocean, similar to the scheme of the French after the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which brought on the war of 1756. His favorite project being thus defeated, he quitted the ministry. Dr. Franklin’s answer to the report of the Board of Trade was intended to have been published, but, Lord Hillsborough resigning, Dr. Franklin stopped the sale on the morning of the publication, when not above five copies had been disposed of.”
Whatever may have been Hillsborough’s other accomplishments, this report shows conclusively that he was but poorly equipped for a seat in the executive councils of a great empire.—Ed.