Imágenes de página

acknowledging till now the favor you did me in sending me your excellent book? Can you make some allowance for a fault in others, which you have never experienced in yourself; for the bad habit of postponing from day to day, what one every day resolves to do to-morrow? A habit that grows upon us with years, and whose only excuse is we know not how to mend it. If you are disposed to favor me, you will also consider how much one's mind is taken up and distracted by the many little affairs one has to settle before the undertaking such a voyage, after so long a residence in a country; and how little, in such a situation, one's mind is fitted for serious and attentive reading; which, with regard to the "Elements of Criticism," I intended before I should write. I can now only confess and endeavour to amend. In packing up my books, I have reserved yours to read on the passage. I hope I shall therefore be able to write to you upon it soon after my arrival. At present I can only return my thanks, and say that the parts I have read gave me both pleasure and instruction; that I am convinced of your position, new as it was to me, that a good taste in the arts contributes to the improvement of morals; and that I have had the satisfaction of hearing the work universally commended by those who have read it.

And now, my dear Sir, accept my sincere thanks for the kindness you have shown me, and my best wishes of happiness to you and yours. Wherever I am, I shall esteem the friendship you honor me with as one of the felicities of my life; I shall endeavour to cultivate it by a more punctual correspondence; and I hope frequently to hear of your welfare and prosperity.*

* Dr. Franklin sailed for America immediately after writing this letter, and after a sojourn in England of five years.-Ed.


His Reception in America-His Son's Marriage, and appointment as Governor of New Jersey-Tour through the Colonies as Postmaster-GeneralInsurrection of the Indians-Drafts a Militia Bill-Its Rejection by the Governor-Drafts a Petition to the Throne for a Change of GovernorIs Defeated for the Assembly-Sent to England again as Agent of the Colony of Pennsylvania-Parting Advice to his Daughter.

To Mr Whiteford, dated

Philadelphia, 7 Dec., 1762.


If he

I THANK you for your kind congratulations on my son's promotion and marriage.* makes a good governor and husband, (as I hope he will, for I know he has good principles and a good disposition,) these events will both of them give me continual pleasure.

* Dr. Franklin sailed for America towards the end of August, 1762, but did not reach Philadelphia until the 1st of November of that year, and after an absence from his country of five years. A few days before sailing, his son William was named Governor of New Jersey; and very shortly after, somewhat to the father's disappointment we may infer from his last letter to Miss Stevenson, the governor married a young West Indian girl by the name of Dowes. As William had personally no pretensions to an appointment of such dignity, it is not easy to misunderstand the motives of the ministry in making it. The differences between the mother country and the colonies had already assumed such importance as to make it desirable to detach a man of Franklin's influence from the colonial party. The effort to induce

The taking of the Havana, on which I congratulate you, is a conquest of the greatest importance, and will doubtless contribute a due share of weight in procuring us reasonable terms of peace. It has been, however, the dearest conquest, by far, that we have made this war, when we consider the terrible havoc made by sickness in that brave army of veterans, now almost totally ruined.

To Mrs. Cath

I received with great pleasure my dear erine Greene, friend's favor of December 20th, as it informed Mrs. me that you and yours are all well. Franklin admits of your apology for dropping

dated Philadelphia, 23 Jan., 1763.

the correspondence with her, and allows your reasons to be good; but hopes, when you have more leisure, it may be resumed. She joins with me in congratulating you on your present happy situation. I thank you for your kind invitation. I purpose a journey into New England in the spring or summer coming. I shall not fail to pay my respects to you and Mr. Greene, when I come your way. Please to make my compliments acceptable to him.

him to bring his family to England and settle there having failed, the blandishments of patronage were essayed, with what expectations may be inferred from the following paragraph in a letter from Thomas Penn, one of the proprietaries, to Governor Hamilton:

"I am told you will find Mr. Franklin more tractable, and I believe we shall, in matters of prerogative; as his son must obey instructions, and what he is ordered to do the father cannot well oppose in Pennsylvania."

The artifice had its perfect work upon the son, who, to the infinite chagrin of the father, from that time forth became the servile instrument of the ministry, and in the due course of events a pensioned refugee in London. The ministers were not long in discovering that their compliments had been wasted upon the doctor, whose zeal and vigilance in maintaining the rights of the colonies increased with every new provocation.-ED.

* Formerly Miss Catherine Ray, married to Mr. William Greene, afterwards Governor of Rhode Island.-ED.

I have had a most agreeable time of it in Europe. I have, in company with my son, been in most parts of England, Scotland, Flanders, and Holland; and generally have enjoyed a good share of health. If you had asked the rest of your questions, I could more easily have made this letter longer. Let me have them in your next. I think I am not much altered; at least my esteem and regard for my Katy (if I may still be permitted to call her so) is the same, and I believe will be unalterable, whilst I am, &c.


To Lord You require my history from the time I set Kames, dated sail for America. I left England about the end London, June, 1765.* of August, 1762, in company with ten sail of merchant ships, under a convoy of a man-of-war.† We had a pleasant passage to Madeira, where we were kindly received and entertained; our nation being then in high honor with the Portuguese, on account of the protection we were then affording them against the united invasions of France and Spain. It is a fertile island, and the different heights and situations among its mountains afford such temperaments of air, that all the fruits of northern and southern countries are produced there; corn, grapes, apples, peaches, oranges, lemons, plantains, bananas, &c. Here we furnished ourselves with fresh provisions, and refreshments of all kinds; and, after a few days, proceeded on our voyage, running southward until we got into the trade winds, and then with them westward, till we drew near the coast of America. The weather was so favorable, that there were

* This letter, written after Franklin's return to London, is given here for the sake of its recapitulation of his experiences during his absence from England.-ED.

† England was then at war with France.-ED.

437 few days in which we could not visit from ship to ship, dining with each other, and on board of the man-of-war; which made the time pass agreeably, much more so than when one goes in a single ship; for this was like travelling in a moving village, with all one's neighbors about one.

On the 1st of November, I arrived safe and well at my own home, after an absence of near six years, found my wife and daughter well; the latter grown quite a woman, with many amiable accomplishments acquired in my absence; and my friends as hearty and affectionate as ever, with whom my house was filled for many days, to congratulate me on my return. I had been chosen yearly during my absence to represent the city of Philadelphia in our provincial Assembly; and, on my appearance in the House, they voted me three thousand pounds sterling for my services in England, and their thanks, delivered by the Speaker. In February following, my son arrived with my new daughter; for, with my consent and approbation, he* married soon after I left England a very agreeable West India lady, with whom he is very happy. I accompanied him to his government, where he met with the kindest reception from the people of all ranks, and has lived with them ever since in the greatest harmony. A river only parts that province and ours, and his residence is within seventeen miles of me, so that we frequently see each other.

In the spring of 1763, I set out on a tour through all the northern Colonies to inspect and regulate the post-offices in the several provinces. In this journey I spent the summer, travelled about sixteen hundred miles, and did not get

*This apparently superfluous statement is made doubtless to explain his absence from a ceremony which took place only a few days after he left England.-ED.

« AnteriorContinuar »