Infomotions, Inc.Philadelphia 1785-1790 / Franklin, Benjamin

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Title: Philadelphia 1785-1790
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
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                         PHILADELPHIA 1785-1790
                          by Benjamin Franklin

                                  _A Petition of the Left Hand_


        I address myself to all the friends of youth, and conjure them
to direct their compassionate regards to my unhappy fate, in order to
remove the prejudices of which I am the victim.  There are twin
sisters of us; and the two eyes of man do not more resemble, nor are
capable of being upon better terms with each other, than my sister
and myself, were it not for the partiality of our parents, who make
the most injurious distinctions between us.  From my infancy, I have
been led to consider my sister as a being of a more elevated rank.  I
was suffered to grow up without the least instruction, while nothing
was spared in her education.  She had masters to teach her writing,
drawing, music, and other accomplishments; but if by chance I touched
a pencil, a pen, or a needle, I was bitterly rebuked; and more than
once I have been beaten for being awkward, and wanting a graceful
manner.  It is true, my sister associated me with her upon some
occasions; but she always made a point of taking the lead, calling
upon me only from necessity, or to figure by her side.

        But conceive not, Sirs, that my complaints are instigated
merely by vanity.  No; my uneasiness is occasioned by an object much
more serious.  It is the practice in our family, that the whole
business of providing for its subsistence falls upon my sister and
myself.  If any indisposition should attack my sister, -- and I
mention it in confidence upon this occasion, that she is subject to
the gout, the rheumatism, and cramp, without making mention of other
accidents, -- what would be the fate of our poor family?  Must not
the regret of our parents be excessive, at having placed so great a
difference between sisters who are so perfectly equal?  Alas! we must
perish from distress; for it would not be in my power even to scrawl
a suppliant petition for relief, having been obliged to employ the
hand of another in transcribing the request which I have now the
honour to prefer to you.

        Condescend, Sirs, to make my parents sensible of the injustice
of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessity of distributing
their care and affection among all their children equally.  I am,
with a profound respect, Sirs, your obedient servant,
        THE LEFT HAND.


        _Description of an Instrument for Taking Down Books from High

        January, 1786.
        Old men find it inconvenient to mount a ladder or steps for
that purpose, their heads being sometimes subject to giddinesses, and
their activity, with the steadiness of their joints, being abated by
age; besides the trouble of removing the steps every time a book is
wanted from a different part of their library.

        For a remedy, I have lately made the following simple machine,
which I call the _Long Arm._

        _A B_, the _Arm_, is a stick of pine, an inch square and 8 feet
long.  _C, D_, the _Thumb_ and _Finger_, are two pieces of ash lath,
an inch and half wide, and a quarter of an inch thick.  These are
fixed by wood screws on opposite sides of the end _A_ of the arm _A
B_; the finger _D_ being longer and standing out an inch and half
farther than the thumb _C._ The outside of the ends of these laths
are pared off sloping and thin, that they may more easily enter
between books that stand together on a shelf.  Two small holes are
bored through them at _i, k._ _E F_, the sinew, is a cord of the size
of a small goosequill, with a loop at one end.  When applied to the
machine it passes through the two laths, and is stopped by a knot in
its other end behind the longest at _k._ The hole at _i_ is nearer
the end of the arm than that at _k_, about an inch.  A number of
knots are also on the cord, distant three or four inches from each

        To use this instrument; put one hand into the loop, and draw
the sinew straight down the side of the arm; then enter the end of
the finger between the book you would take down and that which is
next to it.  The laths being flexible, you may easily by a slight
pressure sideways open them wider if the book is thick, or close them
if it is thin by pulling the string, so as to enter the shorter lath
or thumb between your book (Illustrations omitted) and that which is
next to its other side, then push till the back of your book comes to
touch the string.  Then draw the string or sinew tight, which will
cause the thumb and finger to pinch the book strongly, so that you
may draw it out.  As it leaves the other books, turn the instrument a
_quarter_ round, so that the book may lie flat and rest on its side
upon the under lath or finger.  The knots on the sinew will help you
to keep it tight and close to the side of the arm as you take it down
hand over hand, till the book comes to you; which would drop from
between the thumb and finger if the sinew was let loose.

        All new tools require some practice before we can become expert
in the use of them.  This requires very little.

        Made in the proportions above given, it serves well for books
in duodecimo or octavo.  Quartos and folios are too heavy for it; but
those are usually placed on the lower shelves within reach of hand.

        The book taken down, may, when done with, be put up again into
its place by the same machine.

        The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams


        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, _autant de gagne_, so much added to the pleasure of

        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
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
an 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, will not
receive more; and that matter must remain in our bodies, and occasion
diseases; but it gives some previous notice of its being about to be
hurtful, by producing certain uneasiness, slight indeed at first,
which 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 fidgettiness (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 vapour,
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
undrest, walk about your chamber till your skin has had time to
discharge its load, which it will do sooner as the air may be dried
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.

        May 2, 1786

        _The Retort Courteous_

        "John Oxly, Pawnbroker of Bethnal Green, was indicted for
assaulting Jonathan Boldsworth on the Highway, putting him in fear,
and taking from him one Silver Watch, value 5_l._ 5_s._ The Prisoner
pleaded, that, having sold the Watch to the Prosecutor, and being
immediately after informed by a Person who knew him, that he was not
likely to pay for the same, he had only followed him and taken the
Watch back again.  But it appearing on the Trial, that, presuming he
had not been known when he committed the Robbery, he had afterwards
sued the Prosecutor for the Debt, on his Note of Hand, he was found
Guilty, DEATH." -- _Old Bailey Sessions Paper_, 1747.

        I chose the above Extract from the Proceedings at the Old
Bailey in the Trial of Criminals, as a Motto or Text, on which to
amplify in my ensuing Discourse.  But on second Thoughts, having
given it forth, I shall, after the Example of some other Preachers,
quit it for the present, and leave to my Readers, if I should happen
to have any, the Task of discovering what Relation there may possibly
be between my Text and my Sermon.

        During some Years past, the British Newspapers have been filled
with Reflections on the Inhabitants of America, for _not paying their
old Debts to English Merchants._ And from these Papers the same
Reflections have been translated into Foreign Prints, and circulated
throughout Europe; whereby the American Character, respecting Honour,
Probity, and Justice in commercial Transactions, is made to suffer in
the Opinion of Strangers, which may be attended with pernicious

        At length we are told that the British Court has taken up the
Complaint, and seriously offer'd it as a reason for refusing to
evacuate the Frontier Posts according to Treaty.  This gives a kind
of Authenticity to the Charge, and makes it now more necessary to
examine the matter thoro'ly; to inquire impartially into the Conduct
of both Nations; take Blame to ourselves where we have merited it;
and, where it may be fairly done, mitigate the Severity of the
Censures that are so liberally bestow'd upon us.

        We may begin by observing, that before the War our mercantile
Character was good.  In Proof of this (and a stronger Proof can
hardly be desired), the Votes of the House of Commons in 1774-5 have
recorded a Petition signed by the Body of the Merchants of London
trading to North America, in which they expressly set forth, not only
that the Trade was profitable to the Kingdom, but that the
Remittances and Payments were as punctually and faithfully made, as
in any other Branch of Commerce whatever.  These Gentlemen were
certainly competent Judges, and as to that Point could have no
Interest in deceiving the Government.

        The making of these punctual Remittances was however a
Difficulty.  Britain, acting on the selfish and perhaps mistaken
Principle of receiving nothing from abroad that could be produced at
home, would take no Articles of our Produce that interfered with any
of her own; and what did not interfere, she loaded with heavy Duties.
We had no Mines of Gold or Silver.  We were therefore oblig'd to run
the World over, in search of something that would be receiv'd in
England.  We sent our Provisions and Lumber to the West Indies, where
Exchange was made for Sugars, Cotton, &c. to remit.  We brought
Mollasses from thence, distill'd it into Rum, with which we traded in
Africa, and remitted the Gold Dust to England.  We employ'd ourselves
in the Fisheries, and sent the Fish we caught, together with
Quantities of Wheat Flour, and Rice, to Spain and Portugal, from
whence the Amount was remitted to England in Cash or Bills of
Exchange.  Great Quantities of our Rice, too, went to Holland,
Hamburgh &c., and the Value of that was also sent to Britain.  Add to
this, that contenting ourselves with Paper, all the hard Money we
could possibly pick up among the Foreign West India Islands, was
continually sent off to Britain, not a Ship going thither from
America without some Chests of those precious Metals.

        Imagine this great Machine of mutually advantageous Commerce,
going roundly on, in full Train; our Ports all busy, receiving and
selling British Manufactures, and equipping Ships for the circuitous
Trade, that was finally to procure the necessary Remittances; the
Seas covered with those Ships, and with several hundred Sail of our
Fishermen, all working for Britain; and then let us consider what
Effect the Conduct of Britain, in 1774 and 1775 and the following
Years, must naturally have on the future Ability of our Merchants to
make the Payments in question.

        We will not here enter into the Motives of that Conduct; they
are well enough known, and not to her Honour.  The first Step was
shutting up the Port of Boston by an Act of Parliament; the next, to
prohibit by another the New England Fishery.  An Army and a Fleet
were sent to enforce these Acts.  Here was a Stop put at once to all
the mercantile Operations of one of the greatest trading Cities of
America; the Fishing Vessels all laid up, and the usual Remittances,
by way of Spain, Portugal, and the Straits, render'd impossible.  Yet
the Cry was now begun against us, _These New England People do not
pay their Debts!_

        The Ships of the Fleet employ'd themselves in cruising
separately all along the Coast.  The marine Gentry are seldom so well
contented with their Pay, as not to like a little Plunder.  They
stopp'd and seiz'd, under slight Pretences, the American Vessels they
met with, belonging to whatever Colony.  This checked the Commerce of
them all.  Ships loaded with Cargoes destin'd either directly or
indirectly to make Remittance in England, were not spared.  If the
Difference between the two Countries had been then accommodated,
these unauthoriz'd Plunderers would have been called to account, and
many of their Exploits must have been found Piracy.  But what cur'd
all this, set their Minds at ease, made short Work, and gave full
Scope to their Piratical Disposition, was another Act of Parliament,
forbidding any Inquisition into those _past_ Facts, declaring them
all Lawful, and all American Property to be forfeited, whether on Sea
or Land, and authorizing the King's British Subjects to take, seize,
sink, burn, or destroy, whatever they could find of it.  The Property
suddenly, and by surprise taken from our Merchants by the Operation
of this Act, is incomputable.  And yet the Cry did not diminish,
_These Americans don't pay their Debts!_

        Had the several States of America, on the Publication of this
Act seiz'd all British Property in their Power, whether consisting of
Lands in their Country, Ships in their Harbours, or Debts in the
Hands of their Merchants, by way of Retaliation, it is probable a
great Part of the World would have deem'd such Conduct justifiable.
They, it seems, thought otherwise, and it was done only in one or two
States, and that under particular Circumstances of Provocation.  And
not having thus abolish'd all Demands, the Cry subsists, that _the
Americans should pay their Debts!_

        General Gage, being with his Army (before the declaration of
open War) in peaceable Possession of Boston, shut its Gates, and
plac'd Guards all around to prevent its Communication with the
Country.  The Inhabitants were on the Point of Starving.  The
general, though they were evidently at his Mercy, fearing that, while
they had any Arms in their Hands, frantic Desperation might possibly
do him some Mischief, propos'd to them a Capitulation, in which he
stipulated, that if they would deliver up their Arms, they might
leave the Town with their Families and _Goods._ In faith of this
Agreement, they deliver'd their Arms.  But when they began to pack up
for their Departure, they were inform'd, that by the word _Goods_,
the General understood only Houshold Goods, that is, their Beds,
Chairs, and Tables, not _Merchant Goods_; those he was inform'd they
were indebted for to the Merchants of England, and he must secure
them for the Creditors.  They were accordingly all seized, to an
immense Value, _what had been paid for not excepted._ It is to be
supposed, tho' we have never heard of it, that this very honourable
General, when he returned home, made a just Dividend of those Goods,
or their Value, among the said Creditors.  But the Cry nevertheless
continued, _These Boston People do not pay their Debts!_

        The Army, having thus ruin'd Boston, proceeded to different
Parts of the Continent.  They got possession of all the capital
trading Towns.  The Troops gorg'd themselves with Plunder.  They
stopp'd all the Trade of Philadelphia for near a year, of Rhode
Island longer, of New York near eight Years, of Charlestown in South
Carolina and Savanah in Georgia, I forget how long.  This continu'd
Interruption of their Commerce ruin'd many Merchants.  The Army also
burnt to the Ground the fine Towns of Falmouth and Charlestown near
Boston, New London, Fairfield, Norwalk, Esopus, Norfolk, the chief
trading City in Virginia, besides innumerable Country Seats and
private Farm-Houses.  This wanton Destruction of Property operated
doubly to the Disabling of our Merchants, who were importers from
Britain, in making their Payments, by the immoderate Loss they
sustain'd themselves, and also the Loss suffered by their Country
Debtors, who had bought of them the British Goods, and who were now
render'd unable to pay.  The Debts to Britain of course remained
undischarg'd, and the Clamour continu'd, _These knavish Americans
will not pay us!_

        Many of the British Debts, particularly in Virginia and the
Carolinas, arose from the Sales made of Negroes in those Provinces by
the British Guinea merchants.  These, with all before in the country,
were employed when the war came on, in raising tobacco and rice for
remittance in payment of British debts.  An order arrives from
England, advised by one of their most celebrated _moralists_, Dr.
Johnson, in his _Taxation no Tyranny_, to excite these slaves to
rise, cut the throats of their purchasers, and resort to the British
army, where they should be rewarded with freedom.  This was done, and
the planters were thus deprived of near thirty thousand of their
working people.  Yet the demand for those sold and unpaid still
exists; and the cry continues against the Virginians and Carolinians,
that _they do not pay their debts!_

        Virginia suffered great loss in this kind of property by
another ingenious and humane British invention.  Having the small-pox
in their army while in that country, they inoculated some of the
negroes they took as prisoners belonging to a number of plantations,
and then let them escape, or sent them, covered with the pock, to mix
with and spread the distemper among the others of their colour, as
well as among the white country people; which occasioned a great
mortality of both, and certainly did not contribute to the enabling
debtors in making payment.  The war too having put a stop to the
exportation of tobacco, there was a great accumulation of several
years' produce in all the public inspecting warehouses and private
stores of the planters.  Arnold, Phillips, and Cornwallis, with
British troops, then entered and overran the country, burnt all the
inspecting and other stores of tobacco, to the amount of some hundred
ship-loads; all which might, on the return of peace, if it had not
been thus wantonly destroyed, have been remitted to British
creditors.  But _these d -- d Virginians, why don't they pay their

        Paper money was in those times our universal currency.  But, it
being the instrument with which we combated our enemies, they
resolved to deprive us of its use by depreciating it; and the most
effectual means they could contrive was to counterfeit it.  The
artists they employed performed so well, that immense quantities of
these counterfeits, which issued from the British government in New
York, were circulated among the inhabitants of all the States, before
the fraud was detected.  This operated considerably in depreciating
the whole mass, first, by the vast additional quantity, and next by
the uncertainty in distinguishing the true from the false; and the
depreciation was a loss to all and the ruin of many.  It is true our
enemies gained a vast deal of our property by the operation; but it
did not go into the hands of our particular creditors; so their
demands still subsisted, and we were still abused _for not paying our

        By the seventh article of the treaty of peace, it was solemnly
stipulated, that the King's troops, in evacuating their posts in the
United States, should not carry away with them any negroes.  In
direct violation of this article, General Carleton, in evacuating New
York, carried off all the negroes that were with his army, to the
amount of several hundreds.  It is not doubted that he must have had
secret orders to justify him in this transaction; but the reason
given out was, that, as they had quitted their masters and joined the
King's troops on the faith of proclamations promising them their
liberty, the national honour forbade returning them into slavery.
The national honour was, it seemed, pledged to both parts of a
contradiction, and its wisdom, since it could not do it with both,
chose to keep faith rather with its old black, than its new white
friends; a circumstance demonstrating clear as daylight, that, in
making a present peace, they meditated a future war, and hoped, that,
though the promised manumission of slaves had not been effectual in
the _last_, in the _next_ it might be more successful; and that, had
the negroes been forsaken, no aid could be hereafter expected from
those of the colour in a future invasion.  The treaty however with us
was thus broken almost as soon as made, and this by the people who
charge us with breaking it by not paying perhaps for some of the very
negroes carried off in defiance of it.  Why should England observe
treaties, _when these Americans do not pay their debts?_

        Unreasonable, however, as this clamour appears in general, I do
not pretend, by exposing it, to justify those debtors who are still
able to pay, and refuse it on pretence of injuries suffered by the
war.  Public injuries can never discharge private obligations.
Contracts between merchant and merchant should be sacredly observed,
where the ability remains, whatever may be the madness of ministers.
It is therefore to be hoped the fourth article of the treaty of peace
which stipulates, _that no legal obstruction shall be given to the
payment of debts contracted before the war_, will be punctually
carried into execution, and that every law in every State which
impedes it, may be immediately repealed.  Those laws were indeed made
with honest intentions, that the half-ruined debtor, not being too
suddenly pressed by _some_, might have time to arrange and recover
his affairs so as to do justice to _all_ his creditors.  But, since
the intention in making those acts has been misapprehended, and the
acts wilfully misconstrued into a design of defrauding them, and now
made a matter of reproach to us, I think it will be right to repeal
them all.  Individual Americans may be ruined, but the country will
save by the operation; since these unthinking, merciless creditors
must be contented with all that is to be had, instead of all that may
be due to them, and the accounts will be settled by insolvency.  When
all have paid that can pay, I think the remaining British creditors,
who suffered by the inability of their ruined debtors, have some
right to call upon their own government (which by its bad projects
has ruined those debtors) for a compensation.  A sum given by
Parliament for this purpose would be more properly disposed, than in
rewarding pretended loyalists, who fomented the war.  And, the
heavier the sum, the more tendency it might have to discourage such
destructive projects hereafter.

        Among the merchants of Britain, trading formerly to America,
there are to my knowledge many considerate and generous men, who
never joined in this clamour, and who, on the return of peace, though
by the treaty entitled to an immediate suit for their debts, were
kindly disposed to give their debtors reasonable time for restoring
their circumstances, so as to be able to make payment conveniently.
These deserve the most grateful acknowledgments.  And indeed it was
in their favour, and perhaps for their sakes in favour of all other
British creditors, that the law of Pennsylvania, though since much
exclaimed against, was made, restraining the recovery of old debts
during a certain time.  For this restraint was general, respecting
domestic as well as British debts, it being thought unfair, in cases
where there was not sufficient for all, that the inhabitants, taking
advantage of their nearer situation, should swallow the whole,
excluding foreign creditors from any share.  And in cases where the
favourable part of the foreign creditors were disposed to give time,
with the views abovementioned, if others less humane and considerate
were allowed to bring immediate suits and ruin the debtor, those
views would be defeated.  When this law expired in September, 1784, a
new one was made, continuing for some time longer the restraint with
respect to domestic debts, but expressly taking it away where the
debt was due from citizens of the State to any of the subjects of
Great Britain; which shows clearly the disposition of the Assembly,
and that the fair intentions above ascribed to them in making the
former act, are not merely the imagination of the writer.

        Indeed, the clamour has been much augmented by numbers joining
it, who really had no claim on our country.  Every debtor in Britain,
engaged in whatever trade, when he had no better excuse to give for
delay of payment, accused the want of returns from America.  And the
indignation, thus excited against us, now appears so general among
the English, that one would imagine their nation, which is so exact
in expecting punctual payment from all the rest of the world, must be
at home the model of justice, the very pattern of punctuality.  Yet,
if one were disposed to recriminate, it would not be difficult to
find sufficient Matter in several Parts of their Conduct.  But this I
forbear.  The two separate Nations are now at Peace, and there can be
no use in mutual Provocations to fresh Enmity.  If I have shown
clearly that the present Inability of many American Merchants to
discharge their Debts, contracted before the War, is not so much
their Fault, as the Fault of the crediting Nation, who, by making an
unjust War on them, obstructing their Commerce, plundering and
devastating their Country, were the Cause of that Inability, I have
answered the Purpose of writing this Paper.  How far the Refusal of
the British Court to execute the Treaty in delivering up the Frontier
Posts may on account of this Deficiency of Payment, be justifiable,
is chearfully submitted to the World's impartial Judgment.


        _Exception in Favour of British Creditors._

        "Sect. 7. And provided also, and be it further enacted by the
authority aforesaid, that this Act, nor any thing therein contained,
shall not extend, or be construed to extend, to any debt or debts
which were due before the fourth day of July, one thousand seven
hundred and seventy-six, by any of the citizens of the State, to any
of the subjects of Great Britain."


        _Speech in the Convention on the Subject of Salaries_

        It is with Reluctance that I rise to express a Disapprobation
of any one Article of the Plan, for which we are so much obliged to
the honourable Gentleman who laid it before us.  From its first
Reading, I have borne a good Will to it, and, in general, wish'd it
Success.  In this Particular of Salaries to the Executive Branch, I
happen to differ; and, as my Opinion may appear new and chimerical,
it is only from a Persuasion that it is right, and from a Sense of
Duty, that I hazard it.  The Committee will judge of my Reasons when
they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly change mine.  I
think I see Inconveniences in the Appointment of Salaries; I see none
in refusing them, but on the contrary great Advantages.

        Sir, there are two Passions which have a powerful Influence in
the Affairs of Men.  These are _Ambition_ and _Avarice_; the Love of
Power and the Love of Money.  Separately, each of these has great
Force in prompting Men to Action; but when united in View of the same
Object, they have in many Minds the most violent Effects.  Place
before the Eyes of such Men a Post of _Honour_, that shall at the
same time be a Place of _Profit_, and they will move Heaven and Earth
to obtain it.  The vast Number of such Places it is that renders the
British Government so tempestuous.  The Struggles for them are the
true Source of all those Factions which are perpetually dividing the
Nation, distracting its Councils, hurrying it sometimes into
fruitless and mischievous Wars, and often compelling a Submission to
dishonourable Terms of Peace.

        And of what kind are the men that will strive for this
profitable Preeminence, thro' all the Bustle of Cabal, the Heat of
Contention, the infinite mutual Abuse of Parties, tearing to Pieces
the best of Characters?  It will not be the wise and moderate, the
Lovers of Peace and good Order, the men fittest for the Trust.  It
will be the Bold and the Violent, the men of strong Passions and
indefatigable Activity in their selfish Pursuits.  These will thrust
themselves into your Government, and be your Rulers.  And these, too,
will be mistaken in the expected Happiness of their Situation; for
their vanquish'd competitors, of the same Spirit, and from the same
Motives, will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their
Administration, thwart their Measures, and render them odious to the

        Besides these Evils, Sir, tho' we may set out in the Beginning
with moderate Salaries, we shall find, that such will not be of long
Continuance.  Reasons will never be wanting for propos'd
Augmentations; and there will always be a Party for giving more to
the Rulers, that the Rulers may be able in Return to give more to
them.  Hence, as all History informs us, there has been in every
State and Kingdom a constant kind of Warfare between the Governing
and the Governed; the one striving to obtain more for its Support,
and the other to pay less.  And this has alone occasion'd great
Convulsions, actual civil Wars, ending either in dethroning of the
Princes or enslaving of the People.  Generally, indeed, the Ruling
Power carries its Point, and we see the Revenues of Princes
constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but
always in want of more.  The more the People are discontented with
the Oppression of Taxes, the greater Need the Prince has of Money to
distribute among his Partisans, and pay the Troops that are to
suppress all Resistance, and enable him to plunder at Pleasure.
There is scarce a King in a hundred, who would not, if he could,
follow the Example of Pharaoh, -- get first all the People's Money,
then all their Lands, and then make them and their Children Servants
for ever.  It will be said, that we do not propose to establish
Kings.  I know it.  But there is a natural Inclination in Mankind to
kingly Government.  It sometimes relieves them from Aristocratic
Domination.  They had rather have one Tyrant than 500.  It gives more
of the Appearance of Equality among Citizens; and that they like.  I
am apprehensive, therefore, -- perhaps too apprehensive, -- that the
Government of these States may in future times end in a Monarchy.
But this Catastrophe, I think, may be long delay'd, if in our
propos'd System we do not sow the Seeds of Contention, Faction, and
Tumult, by making our Posts of Honour Places of Profit.  If we do, I
fear, that, tho' we employ at first a Number and not a single Person,
the Number will in time be set aside; it will only nourish the
F;oetus of a King (as the honourable Gentleman from Virg'a very aptly
express'd it), and a King will the sooner be set over us.

        It may be imagined by some, that this is an Utopian Idea, and
that we can never find Men to serve us in the Executive Department,
without paying them well for their Services.  I conceive this to be a
Mistake.  Some existing Facts present themselves to me, which incline
me to a contrary Opinion.  The High Sheriff of a County in England is
an honourable Office, but it is not a profitable one.  It is rather
expensive, and therefore not sought for.  But yet it is executed, and
well executed, and usually by some of the principal Gentlemen of the
County.  In France, the Office of Counsellor, or Member of their
judiciary Parliaments, is more honourable.  It is therefore purchas'd
at a high Price; there are indeed Fees on the Law Proceedings, which
are divided among them, but these Fees do not amount to more than
three per cent on the Sum paid for the Place.  Therefore, as legal
Interest is there at five per cent, they in fact pay two per cent for
being allow'd to do the Judiciary Business of the Nation, which is at
the same time entirely exempt from the Burthen of paying them any
Salaries for their Services.  I do not, however, mean to recommend
this as an eligible Mode for our judiciary Department.  I only bring
the Instance to show, that the Pleasure of doing Good and serving
their Country, and the Respect such Conduct entitles them to, are
sufficient Motives with some Minds, to give up a great Portion of
their Time to the Public, without the mean Inducement of pecuniary

        Another Instance is that of a respectable Society, who have
made the Experiment, and practis'd it with Success, now more than a
hundred years.  I mean the Quakers.  It is an establish'd Rule with
them that they are not to go to law, but in their Controversies they
must apply to their Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings.
Committees of these sit with Patience to hear the Parties, and spend
much time in composing their Differences.  In doing this, they are
supported by a Sense of Duty, and the Respect paid to Usefulness.  It
is honourable to be so employ'd, but it was never made profitable by
Salaries, Fees, or Perquisites.  And indeed, in all Cases of public
Service, the less the Profit the greater the Honour.

        To bring the Matter nearer home, have we not seen the greatest
and most important of our Offices, that of General of our Armies,
executed for Eight Years together, without the smallest Salary, by a
patriot whom I will not now offend by any other Praise; and this,
thro' Fatigues and Distresses, in common with the other brave Men,
his military Friends and Companions, and the constant Anxieties
peculiar to his Station?  And shall we doubt finding three or four
Men in all the United States, with public Spirit enough to bear
sitting in peaceful Council, for perhaps an equal Term, merely to
preside over our civil Concerns, and see that our Laws are duly
executed?  Sir, I have a better opinion of our Country.  I think we
shall never be without a sufficient Number of wise and good Men to
undertake, and execute well and faithfully, the Office in question.

        Sir, the Saving of the Salaries, that may at first be propos'd,
is not an object with me.  The subsequent Mischiefs of proposing them
are what I apprehend.  And therefore it is that I move the Amendment.
If it is not seconded or accepted, I must be contented with the
Satisfaction of having delivered my Opinion frankly, and done my

        June 2, 1787

        _Speech in a Committee of the Convention on the Proportion of
Representation and Votes_

        MR. CHAIRMAN,
        It has given me great Pleasure to observe, that, till this
Point, _the Proportion of Representation_, came before us, our
Debates were carry'd on with great Coolness and Temper.  If any thing
of a contrary kind has, on this Occasion, appeared, I hope it will
not be repeated; for we are sent hither to _consult_, not to
_contend_, with each other; and Declaration of a fix'd Opinion, and
of determined Resolutions never to change it, neither enlighten nor
convince us.  Positiveness and Warmth on one side naturally beget
their like on the other; and tend to create and augment Discord and
Division in a great Concern, wherein Harmony and Union are extremely
necessary, to give Weight to our Counsels, and render them effectual
in promoting and securing the common Good.

        I must own, that I was originally of Opinion it would be better
if every Member of Congress, or our national Council, were to
consider himself rather as a Representative of the whole, than as an
Agent for the Interests of a particular State; in which Case the
Proportion of Members for each State would be of less Consequence,
and it would not be very material whether they voted by States or
individually.  But as I find this is not to be expected, I now think
the Number of Representatives should bear some Proportion to the
Number of the Represented, and that the Decisions should be by the
Majority of Members, not by the Majority of States.  This is objected
to, from an Apprehension that the greater States would then swallow
up the Smaller.  I do not at present clearly see what Advantage the
greater States could propose to themselves by swallowing the smaller,
and therefore do not apprehend they would attempt it.  I recollect,
that in the Beginning of this Century, when the Union was propos'd of
the two Kingdoms, England and Scotland, the Scotch patriots were full
of Fears, that, unless they had an equal Number of Representatives in
Parliament, they should be ruined by the Superiority of the English.
They finally agreed, however, that the different Proportions of
Importance in the Union of the two Nations should be attended to;
whereby they were to have only Forty Members in the House of Commons,
and only Sixteen of their Peers were to sit in the House of Lords; a
very great Inferiority of Numbers!  And yet, to this Day, I do not
recollect that any thing has been done in the Parliament of Great
Britain to the Prejudice of Scotland; and whoever looks over the
Lists of publick Officers, Civil and Military, of that Nation, will
find, I believe, that the North Britons enjoy at least their full
proportion of Emolument.

        But, Sir, in the present Mode of Voting by States, it is
equally in the Power of the lesser States to swallow up the greater;
and this is mathematically demonstrable.  Suppose, for example, that
7 smaller States had each 3 members in the House, and the Six larger
to have, one with another, 6 Members; and that, upon a Question, two
Members of each smaller State should be in the Affirmative, and one
in the Negative; they will make
        Affirmatives,                           14    Negatives    7
      And that all the large States should
        be unanimously in the negative;
        they would make                             Negatives   36
                                                    In all      43

        It is then apparent, that the 14 carry the question against the
43, and the Minority overpowers the Majority, contrary to the common
Practice of Assemblies in all Countries and Ages.

        The greater States, Sir, are naturally as unwilling to have
their Property left in the Disposition of the smaller, as the smaller
are to leave theirs in the Disposition of the greater.  An honourable
Gentleman has, to avoid this difficulty, hinted a Proposition of
equalizing the States.  It appears to me an equitable one; and I
should, for my own Part, not be against such a Measure, if it might
be found practicable.  Formerly, indeed, when almost every Province
had a different Constitution, some with greater, others with fewer
Privileges, it was of Importance to the Borderers, when their
Boundaries were contested, whether, by running the Division Lines,
they were placed on one Side or the other.  At present, when such
Differences are done away, it is less material.  The Interest of a
State is made up of the Interests of its individual Members.  If they
are not injured, the State is not injured.  Small States are more
easily, well, and happily governed, than large ones.  If, therefore,
in such an equal Division, it should be found necessary to diminish
Pennsylvania, I should not be averse to the giving a part of it to N.
Jersey, and another to Delaware: But as there would probably be
considerable Difficulties in adjusting such a Division; and, however
equally made at first, it would be continually varying by the
Augmentation of Inhabitants in some States, and their more fixed
proportion in others, and thence frequent Occasion for new Divisions;
I beg leave to propose for the Consideration of the Committee another
Mode, which appears to me to be as equitable, more easily carry'd
into Practice, and more permanent in its Nature.

        Let the weakest State say what Proportion of Money or Force it
is able and willing to furnish for the general Purposes of the Union.

        Let all the others oblige themselves to furnish each an equal

        The whole of these joint Supplies to be absolutely in the
Disposition of Congress.

        The Congress in this Case to be compos'd of an equal Number of
Delegates from each State;

        And their Decisions to be by the Majority of individual Members

        If these joint and equal Supplies should, on particular
Occasions, not be sufficient, let Congress make Requisitions on the
richer and more powerful States for further Aids, to be voluntarily
afforded; so leaving each State the Right of considering the
Necessity and Utility of the Aid desired, and of giving more or less,
as it should be found proper.

        This Mode is not new; it was formerly practic'd with Success by
the British Government, with respect to Ireland and the Colonies.  We
sometimes gave even more than they expected, or thought just to
accept; and in the last War, carried on while we were united, they
gave us back in 5 Years a Million Sterling.  We should probably have
continu'd such voluntary Contributions, whenever the Occasions
appear'd to require them for the common Good of the Empire.  It was
not till they chose to force us, and to deprive us of the Merit and
Pleasure of voluntary Contributions, that we refus'd and resisted.
Those Contributions, however, were to be dispos'd of at the Pleasure
of a Government in which we had no Representative.  I am therefore
persuaded, that they will not be refus'd to one in which the
Representation shall be equal.

        My learned Colleague has already mentioned that the present
method of voting by States, was submitted to originally by Congress,
under a Conviction of its Impropriety, Inequality, and Injustice.
This appears in the Words of their Resolution.  It is of Sept. 6,
1774.  The words are,

        "Resolved, That, in determining Questions in this Congress,
each Colony or Province shall have one vote; the Congress not being
possessed of, or at present able to procure, Materials for
ascertaining the Importance of each Colony."

        June 11, 1787

        _Motion for Prayers in the Convention_

        MR. PRESIDENT,
        The small Progress we have made, after 4 or 5 Weeks' close
Attendance and continual Reasonings with each other, our different
Sentiments on almost every Question, several of the last producing as
many _Noes_ as _Ayes_, is, methinks, a melancholy Proof of the
Imperfection of the Human Understanding.  We indeed seem to _feel_
our own want of political Wisdom, since we have been running all
about in Search of it.  We have gone back to ancient History for
Models of Government, and examin'd the different Forms of those
Republics, which, having been originally form'd with the Seeds of
their own Dissolution, now no longer exist; and we have view'd modern
States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions
suitable to our Circumstances.

        In this Situation of this Assembly, groping, as it were, in the
dark to find Political Truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when
presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto
once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate
our Understandings?  In the Beginning of the Contest with Britain,
when we were sensible of Danger, we had daily Prayers in this Room
for the Divine Protection.  Our Prayers, Sir, were heard; -- and they
were graciously answered.  All of us, who were engag'd in the
Struggle, must have observed frequent Instances of a superintending
Providence in our Favour.  To that kind Providence we owe this happy
Opportunity of Consulting in Peace on the Means of establishing our
future national Felicity.  And have we now forgotten that powerful
Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance?  I have
lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing
proofs I see of this Truth, _that_ GOD _governs in the Affairs of
Men._ And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice,
is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?  We have been
assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the
House, they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and
I also believe, that, without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in
this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel; we
shall be divided by our little, partial, local Interests, our
Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach
and a Bye-word down to future Ages.  And, what is worse, Mankind may
hereafter, from this unfortunate Instance, despair of establishing
Government by human Wisdom, and leave it to Chance, War, and

        I therefore beg leave to move,

        That henceforth Prayers, imploring the Assistance of Heaven and
its Blessing on our Deliberations, be held in this Assembly every
morning before we proceed to Business; and that one or more of the
Clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that Service.  (*)

        (*) The convention, except three or four persons, thought
prayers unnecessary!

        June 28, 1787

        _Speech in the Convention at the Conclusion of its

        MR. PRESIDENT,
        I confess, that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution
at present; but, Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve it; for,
having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being
obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change my
opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but
found to be otherwise.  It is therefore that, the older I grow, the
more apt I am to doubt my own judgment of others.  Most men, indeed,
as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of
all truth, and that wherever others differ from them, it is so far
error.  Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope, that
the only difference between our two churches in their opinions of the
certainty of their doctrine, is, the Romish Church is _infallible_,
and the Church of England is _never in the wrong._ But, though many
private Persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as
of that of their Sect, few express it so naturally as a certain
French Lady, who, in a little dispute with her sister, said, "But I
meet with nobody but myself that is _always_ in the right." _"Je ne
trouve que moi qui aie toujours raison."_

        In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with
all its faults, -- if they are such; because I think a general
Government necessary for us, and there is no _form_ of government but
what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I
believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a
course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have
done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need
despotic government, being incapable of any other.  I doubt, too,
whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a
better constitution; for, when you assemble a number of men, to have
the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with
those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of
opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views.  From such
an assembly can a _perfect_ production be expected?  It therefore
astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to
perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who
are waiting with confidence to hear, that our councils are confounded
like those of the builders of Babel, and that our States are on the
point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of
cutting one another's throats.  Thus I consent, Sir, to this
Constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure
that it is not the best.  The opinions I have had of its _errors_ I
sacrifice to the public good.  I have never whispered a syllable of
them abroad.  Within these walls they were born, and here they shall
die.  If every one of us, in returning to our Constituents, were to
report the objections he has had to it, and endeavour to gain
Partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally
received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great
advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign nations,
as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity.
Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring
and securing happiness to the people, depends on _opinion_, on the
general opinion of the goodness of that government, as well as of the
wisdom and integrity of its governors.  I hope, therefore, for our
own sakes, as a part of the people, and for the sake of our
posterity, that we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending
this Constitution, wherever our Influence may extend, and turn our
future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it _well

        On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every
member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would
with me on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility,
and, to make _manifest_ our _unanimity_, put his name to this

        September 17, 1787

        _On Sending Felons to America_


        We may all remember the Time when our Mother Country, as a Mark
of her parental Tenderness, emptied her Jails into our Habitations,
_"for the_ BETTER _Peopling,"_ as she express'd it, _"of the
Colonies."_ It is certain that no due Returns have yet been made for
these valuable Consignments.  We are therefore much in her Debt on
that Account; and, as she is of late clamorous for the Payment of all
we owe her, and some of our Debts are of a kind not so easily
discharg'd, I am for doing however what is in our Power.  It will
show our good-will as to the rest.  The Felons she planted among us
have produc'd such an amazing Increase, that we are now enabled to
make ample Remittance in the same Commodity.  And since the
Wheelbarrow Law is not found effectually to reform them, and many of
our Vessels are idle through her Restraints on our Trade, why should
we not employ those Vessels in transporting the Felons to Britain?

        I was led into this Thought by perusing the Copy of a Petition
to Parliament, which fell lately by Accident into my Hands.  It has
no Date, but I conjecture from some Circumstances, that it must have
been about the year 1767 or 68.  (It seems, if presented, it had no
Effect, since the Act passed.) I imagine it may not be unacceptable
to your Readers, and therefore transcribe it for your paper; viz.

        To the Honourable the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of Great
Britain, in Parliament assembled,

        The PETITION of B. F., Agent for the Province of Pensilvania;

        Most humbly sheweth;

        That the Transporting of Felons from England to the Plantations
in America, is, and hath long been, a great Grievance to the said
Plantations in general.

        That the said Felons, being landed in America, not only
continue their evil Practices to the Annoyance of his Majesty's good
Subjects there, but contribute greatly to corrupt the Morals of the
Servants and poorer People among whom they are mixed.

        That many of the said Felons escape from the Servitude to which
they were destined, into other Colonies, where their Condition is not
known; and, wandering at large from one populous Town to another,
commit many Burglaries, Robberies, and Murders, to the great Terror
of the People; and occasioning heavy Charges for apprehending and
securing such Felons, and bringing them to Justice.

        That your Petitioner humbly conceives the Easing one Part of
the British Dominions of their Felons, by burthening another Part
with the same Felons, cannot increase the common Happiness of his
Majesty's Subjects, and that therefore the Trouble and Expence of
transporting them is upon the whole altogether useless.

        That your petitioner, nevertheless, observes with extream
Concern in the Votes of Friday last, that leave is given to bring in
a Bill for extending to Scotland, the Act made in the 4th Year of the
Reign of King George the First, whereby the aforesaid Grievances are,
as he understands, to be greatly increased by allowing Scotland also
to transport its Felons to America.

        Your petitioner therefore humbly prays, in behalf of
Pensilvania, and the other Plantations in America, that the House
would take the Premises into Consideration, and in their great Wisdom
and Goodness repeal all Acts, and Clauses of Acts, for transporting
of Felons; or, if this may not at present be done, that they would at
least reject the propos'd Bill for extending the said Acts to
Scotland; or, if it be thought fit to allow of such Extension, that
then the said Extension may be carried further, and the Plantations
be also, by an equitable Clause in the same bill, permitted to
transport their Felons to Scotland.

        And your Petitioner, as in Duty bound, shall pray, &c.

        This Petition, as I am informed, was not receiv'd by the House,
and the Act passed.

        On second Thoughts, I am of Opinion, that besides employing our
own Vessels, as above propos'd, every English Ship arriving in our
Ports with Goods for sale, should be obliged to give Bond, before she
is permitted to Trade, engaging that she will carry back to Britain
at least one Felon for every Fifty Tons of her Burthen.  Thus we
shall not only discharge sooner our Debts, but furnish our old
Friends with the means of _"better Peopling,"_ and with more
Expedition, their promising new Colony of Botany Bay.
                              I am yours, &c.
                                      A. Z.



        _A Comparison of the Conduct of the Ancient Jews and of the
Anti-Federalists in the United States of America_

        A zealous Advocate for the propos'd Federal Constitution, in a
certain public Assembly, said, that "the Repugnance of a great part
of Mankind to good Government was such, that he believed, that, if an
angel from Heaven was to bring down a Constitution form'd there for
our Use, it would nevertheless meet with violent Opposition." He was
reprov'd for the suppos'd Extravagance of the Sentiment; and he did
not justify it.  Probably it might not have immediately occur'd to
him, that the Experiment had been try'd, and that the Event was
recorded in the most faithful of all Histories, the Holy Bible;
otherwise he might, as it seems to me, have supported his Opinion by
that unexceptionable Authority.

        The Supreme Being had been pleased to nourish up a single
Family, by continued Acts of his attentive Providence, till it became
a great People; and, having rescued them from Bondage by many
Miracles, performed by his Servant Moses, he personally deliver'd to
that chosen Servant, in the presence of the whole Nation, a
Constitution and Code of Laws for their Observance; accompanied and
sanction'd with Promises of great Rewards, and Threats of severe
Punishments, as the Consequence of their Obedience or Disobedience.

        This Constitution, tho' the Deity himself was to be at its Head
(and it is therefore call'd by Political Writers a _Theocracy_),
could not be carried into Execution but by the Means of his
Ministers; Aaron and his Sons were therefore commission'd to be, with
Moses, the first establish'd Ministry of the new Government.

        One would have thought, that this Appointment of Men, who had
distinguish'd themselves in procuring the Liberty of their Nation,
and had hazarded their Lives in openly opposing the Will of a
powerful Monarch, who would have retain'd that Nation in Slavery,
might have been an Appointment acceptable to a grateful People; and
that a Constitution fram'd for them by the Deity himself might, on
that Account, have been secure of a universal welcome Reception.  Yet
there were in every one of the _thirteen Tribes_ some discontented,
restless Spirits, who were continually exciting them to reject the
propos'd new Government, and this from various Motives.

        Many still retained an Affection for Egypt, the Land of their
Nativity; and these, whenever they felt any Inconvenience or
Hardship, tho' the natural and unavoidable Effect of their Change of
Situation, exclaim'd against their Leaders as the Authors of their
Trouble; and were not only for returning into Egypt, but for stoning
their deliverers.  (* 1) Those inclin'd to idolatry were displeas'd
that their _Golden Calf_ was destroy'd.  Many of the Chiefs thought
the new Constitution might be injurious to their particular
Interests, that the _profitable Places_ would be _engrossed by the
Families and Friends of Moses and Aaron_, and others equally
well-born excluded.  (* 2) In Josephus and the Talmud, we learn some
Particulars, not so fully narrated in the Scripture.  We are there
told, "That Corah was ambitious of the Priesthood, and offended that
it was conferred on Aaron; and this, as he said, by the Authority of
Moses only, _without the Consent of the People._ He accus'd Moses of
having, by various Artifices, fraudulently obtain'd the Government,
and depriv'd the People of their Liberties; and of _conspiring_ with
Aaron to perpetuate the Tyranny in their Family.  Thus, tho' Corah's
real Motive was the Supplanting of Aaron, he persuaded the People
that he meant only the _Public Good_; and they, moved by his
Insinuations, began to cry out, `Let us maintain the Common Liberty
of our _respective Tribes_; we have freed ourselves from the Slavery
impos'd on us by the Egyptians, and shall we now suffer ourselves to
be made Slaves by Moses?  If we must have a Master, it were better to
return to Pharaoh, who at least fed us with Bread and Onions, than to
serve this new Tyrant, who by his Operations has brought us into
Danger of Famine.' Then they called in question the _Reality of his
Conference_ with God; and objected the _Privacy of the Meetings_, and
the _preventing any of the People from being present_ at the
Colloquies, or even approaching the Place, as Grounds of great
Suspicion.  They accused Moses also of _Peculation_; as embezzling
part of the Golden Spoons and the Silver Chargers, that the Princes
had offer'd at the Dedication of the Altar, (* 3) and the Offerings
of Gold by the common People, (* 4) as well as most of the Poll-Tax;
(* 5) and Aaron they accus'd of pocketing much of the Gold of which
he pretended to have made a molten Calf.  Besides _Peculation_, they
charg'd Moses with _Ambition_; to gratify which Passion he had, they
said, deceiv'd the People, by promising to bring them _to_ a land
flowing with Milk and Honey; instead of doing which, he had brought
them _from_ such a Land; and that he thought light of all this
mischief, provided he could make himself an _absolute Prince._ (* 6)
That, to support the new Dignity with Splendor in his Family, the
partial Poll-Tax already levied and given to Aaron (* 7) was to be
follow'd by a general one, (* 8) which would probably be augmented
from time to time, if he were suffered to go on promulgating new
Laws, on pretence of new occasional Revelations of the divine Will,
till their whole Fortunes were devour'd by that Aristocracy."

        (* 1) Numbers, ch. xiv.

        (* 2) Numbers, ch. xiv, verse 3.  "And they gathered themselves
together against Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, `Ye take too
much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, _every one of
them_; wherefore, then, lift ye up yourselves above the

        (* 3) Numbers, ch. vii.

        (* 4) Exodus, ch. xxxv, verse 22.

        (* 5) Numbers, ch. iii, and Exodus, ch. xxx.

        (* 6) Numbers, ch. xvi, verse 13.  "Is it a small thing that
thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and
honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself
altogether a prince over us?"

        (* 7) Numbers, ch. iii

        (* 8) Exodus, ch. xxx.

        Moses deny'd the Charge of Peculation; and his Accusers were
destitute of Proofs to support it; tho' _Facts_, if real, are in
their Nature capable of Proof.  "I have not," said he (with holy
Confidence in the Presence of his God), "I have not taken from this
People the value of an Ass, nor done them any other Injury." But his
Enemies had made the Charge, and with some Success among the
Populace; for no kind of Accusation is so readily made, or easily
believ'd, by Knaves as the Accusation of Knavery.

        In fine, no less than two hundred and fifty of the principal
Men, "famous in the Congregation, Men of Renown," (* 9) heading and
exciting the Mob, worked them up to such a pitch of Frenzy, that they
called out, "Stone 'em, stone 'em, and thereby _secure our
Liberties_; and let us chuse other Captains, that may lead us back
into Egypt, in case we do not succeed in reducing the Canaanites!"

        (* 9) Numbers, ch. xvi.

        On the whole, it appears, that the Israelites were a People
jealous of their newly-acquired Liberty, which Jealousy was in itself
no Fault; but, when they suffer'd it to be work'd upon by artful Men,
pretending Public Good, with nothing really in view but private
Interest, they were led to oppose the Establishment of the _New
Constitution_, whereby they brought upon themselves much
Inconvenience and Misfortune.  It appears further, from the same
inestimable History, that, when after many Ages that Constitution was
become old and much abus'd, and an Amendment of it was propos'd, the
populace, as they had accus'd Moses of the Ambition of making himself
a _Prince_, and cried out, "Stone him, stone him;" so, excited by
their High Priests and SCRIBES, they exclaim'd against the Messiah,
that he aim'd at becoming King of the Jews, and cry'd out, _"Crucify
him, Crucify him."_ From all which we may gather, that popular
Opposition to a public Measure is no Proof of its Impropriety, even
tho' the Opposition be excited and headed by Men of Distinction.

        To conclude, I beg I may not be understood to infer, that our
General Convention was divinely inspired, when it form'd the new
federal Constitution, merely because that Constitution has been
unreasonably and vehemently opposed; yet I must own I have so much
Faith in the general Government of the world by _Providence_, that I
can hardly conceive a Transaction of such momentous Importance to the
Welfare of Millions now existing, and to exist in the Posterity of a
great Nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree
influenc'd, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and
beneficent Ruler, in whom all inferior Spirits live, and move, and
have their Being.

        _The Federal Gazette_, April 8, 1788


        _On the Abuse of the Press_

        I lately heard a remark, that on examination of _The
Pennsylvania Gazette_ for fifty years, from its commencement, it
appeared, that, during that long period, scarce one libellous piece
had ever appeared in it.  This generally chaste conduct of your paper
is much to its reputation; for it has long been the opinion of sober,
judicious people, that nothing is morelikely to endanger the liberty
of the press, than the abuse of that liberty, by employing it in
personal accusation, detraction, and calumny.  The excesses some of
our papers have been guilty of in this particular, have set this
State in a bad light abroad, as appears by the following letter,
which I wish you to publish, not merely to show your own
disapprobation of the practice, but as a caution to others of the
profession throughout the United States.  For I have seen a European
newspaper, in which the editor, who had been charged with frequently
calumniating the Americans, justifies himself by saying, "that he had
published nothing disgraceful to us, which he had not taken from our
own printed papers." I am, &c.
                         A. B.

        DEAR FRIEND, New York, March 30, 1788.
        "My Gout has at length left me, after five Months' painful
Confinement.  It afforded me, however, the Leisure to read, or hear
read, all the Packets of your various Newspapers, which you so kindly
sent for my Amusement.

        "Mrs. W. has partaken of it; she likes to read the
Advertisements; but she remarks some kind of Inconsistency in the
announcing so many Diversions for almost every Evening of the Week,
and such Quantities to be sold of expensive Superfluities, Fineries,
and Luxuries _just imported_, in a Country, that at the same time
fills its Papers with Complaints of _Hard Times_, and Want of Money.
I tell her, that such Complaints are common to all Times and all
Countries, and were made even in Solomon's Time; when, as we are
told, Silver was as plenty in Jerusalem as the Stones in the Street;
and yet, even then, there were People who grumbled, so as to incur
this Censure from that knowing Prince.  _`Say not thou that the
former Times were better than these; for thou dost not enquire
rightly concerning that matter.'_

        "But the Inconsistence that strikes me the most is, that
between the Name of your City, Philadelphia, (_Brotherly Love,_) and
the Spirit of Rancour, Malice, and _Hatred_ that breathes in its
NewsPapers.  For I learn from those Papers, that your State is
divided into Parties, that each Party ascribes all the public
Operations of the other to vicious Motives; that they do not even
suspect one another of the smallest Degree of Honesty; that the
antifederalists are such, merely from the Fear of losing Power,
Places, or Emoluments, which they have in Possession or in
Expectation; that the Federalists are a set of _Conspirators_, who
aim at establishing a Tyranny over the Persons and Property of their
Countrymen, and to live in Splendor on the Plunder of the People.  I
learn, too, that your Justices of the Peace, tho' chosen by their
Neighbours, make a villainous Trade of their Office, and promote
Discord to augment Fees, and fleece their Electors; and that this
would not be mended by placing the Choice in the Executive Council,
who, with interested or party Views, are continually making as
improper Appointments; witness a _`petty Fidler, Sycophant, and
Scoundrel,'_ appointed Judge of the Admiralty; _`an old Woman and
Fomenter of Sedition'_ to be another of the Judges, and _`a
Jeffries'_ Chief Justice, &c. &c.; with _`two Harpies'_ the
Comptroller and Naval Officers, to prey upon the Merchants and
deprive them of their Property by Force of Arms, &c.

        "I am inform'd also by these Papers, that your General
Assembly, tho' the annual choice of the People, shows no Regard to
their Rights, but from sinister Views or Ignorance makes Laws in
direct Violation of the Constitution, to divest the Inhabitants of
their Property and give it to Strangers and Intruders; and that the
Council, either fearing the Resentment of their Constituents, or
plotting to enslave them, had projected to disarm them, and given
Orders for that purpose; and finally, that your President, the
unanimous joint choice of the Council and Assembly, is _`an old
Rogue,'_ who gave his Assent to the federal Constitution merely to
avoid refunding Money he had purloin'd from the United States.

        "There is, indeed, a good deal of manifest _Inconsistency_ in
all this, and yet a Stranger, seeing it in your own Prints, tho' he
does not believe it all, may probably believe enough of it to
conclude, that Pennsylvania is peopled by a Set of the most
unprincipled, wicked, rascally, and quarrelsome Scoundrels upon the
Face of the Globe.  I have sometimes, indeed, suspected, that those
Papers are the Manufacture of foreign Enemies among you, who write
with a view of disgracing your Country, and making you appear
contemptible and detestable all the World over; but then I wonder at
the Indiscretion of your Printers in publishing such Writings!  There
is, however, one of your _Inconsistencies_ that consoles me a little,
which is, that tho' _living_, you give one another the characters of
Devils; _dead_, you are all Angels!  It is delightful, when any of
you die, to read what good Husbands, good Fathers, good Friends, good
Citizens, and good Christians you were, concluding with a Scrap of
Poetry that places you, with certainty, every one in Heaven.  So that
I think Pennsylvania a good country _to dye in_, though a very bad
one to _live in._"

         after March 30, 1788


           _An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in
Pennsylvania, viz.  The Court of the Press_
                        POWER OF THIS COURT.

        It may receive and promulgate accusations of all kinds against
all persons and characters among the citizens of the state, and even
against all inferior courts, and may judge, sentence and condemn to
infamy, not only private individuals, but public bodies, &c. with or
without enquiry or hearing, _at the court's discretion._

        _In whose favor or for whose emolument this court is

        In favor of about one citizen in 500, who by education, or
practice in scribbling, has acquired a tolerable stile as to grammar
and construction so as to bear printing; or who is possessed of a
press and a few types.  This 500th part of the citizens have the
privilege of accusing and abusing the other 499 parts, at their
pleasure; or they may hire out their pens and press to others for
that purpose.

        _Practice of the Court._
        It is not governed by any of the rules of common courts of law.
The accused is allowed no grand jury to judge of the truth of the
accusation before it is publicly made; nor is the name of the accuser
made known to him; nor has he an opportunity of confronting the
witnesses against him; for they are kept in the dark, as in the
Spanish Court of Inquisition. -- Nor is there any petty jury of his
peers sworn to try the truth of the charges.  The proceedings are
also sometimes so rapid, that an honest good citizen may find himself
suddenly and unexpectedly accused, and in the same morning judged and
condemned, and sentence pronounced against him, That he is a _rogue_
and a _villain._ Yet if an officer of this court receives the
slightest check for misconduct in this his office, he claims
immediately the rights of a free citizen by the constitution, and
demands to know his accuser, to confront the witnesses, and to have a
fair trial by a jury of his peers.

        _The foundation of its authority._
        It is said to be founded on an article in the
state-constitution, which establishes _the liberty of the press._ A
liberty which every Pennsylvanian would fight and die for: Though few
of us, I believe, have distinct ideas of its nature and extent.  It
seems indeed somewhat like the _liberty_ of the _press_ that felons
have by the common law of England before conviction, that is, to be
either _pressed_ to death or hanged.  If by the _liberty of_ _the
press_ were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety
of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it
as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting,
calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself
willing to part with my share of it, whenever our legislators shall
please so to alter the law and shall chearfully consent to exchange
my _liberty_ of abusing others for the _privilege_ of not being
abused myself.

        _By whom this court is commissioned or constituted._
        It is not by any commission from the Supreme Executive Council,
who might previously judge of the abilities, integrity, knowledge,
&c. of the persons to be appointed to this great trust, of deciding
upon the characters and good fame of the citizens; for this court is
above that council, and may _accuse_, _judge_, and _condemn_ it, at
pleasure.  Nor is it hereditary, as is the court of _dernier resort_
in the peerage of England.  But any man who can procure pen, ink, and
paper, with a press, a few types, and a huge pair of BLACKING balls,
may commissionate himself: And his court is immediately established
in the plenary possession and exercise of its rights.  For if you
make the least complaint of the _judge's_ conduct, he daubs his
blacking balls in your face wherever he meets you; and besides
tearing your private character to slitters, marks you out for the
odium of the public, as an _enemy to the liberty of the press._

        _Of the natural support of these courts._
        Their support is founded in the depravity of such minds as have
not been mended by religion, nor improved by good education;

                 _"There is a lust in man no charm can tame,
                 Of loudly publishing his neighbour's shame."_
                 _"On eagle_'s _wings immortal scandals fly,
                 While virtuous actions are but born and die."_

        Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of his
neighbour, will feel a pleasure in the reverse.  And of those, who,
despairing to rise into distinction by their virtues, and are happy
if others can be depressed on a level with themselves, there are a
number sufficient in every great town to maintain one of these courts
by their subscriptions. -- A shrewd observer once said that in
walking the streets in a slippery morning, one might see where the
good natured people lived by the ashes thrown on the ice before their
doors: probably he would have formed a different conjecture of the
temper of those whom he might find engaged in such subscriptions.

        _Of the checks proper to be established against the abuse of
power in those courts._

        Hitherto there are none.  But since so much has been written
and published on the federal constitution, and the necessity of
checks in all other parts of good government has been so clearly and
learnedly explained, I find myself so far enlightened as to suspect
some check may be proper in this part also; but I have been at a loss
to imagine any that may not be construed an infringement of the
sacred _liberty of the Press._ At length however I think I have found
one, that instead of diminishing general liberty, shall augment it;
which is, by restoring to the people a species of liberty of which
they have been deprived by our laws, I mean the _liberty of the
Cudgel._ -- In the rude state of society, prior to the existence of
laws, if one man gave another ill language, the affronted person
might return it by a box on the ear; and if repeated, by a good
drubbing; and this without offending against any law; but now the
right of making such returns is denied, and they are punished as
breaches of the peace; while the right of abusing seems to remain in
full force: the laws made against it being rendered ineffectual by
the _liberty of the Press._

        My proposal then is, to leave the liberty of the Press
untouched, to be exercised in its full extent, force and vigour, but
to permit the _liberty of the Cudgel_ to go with it _pari passu._
Thus my fellow-citizens, if an impudent writer attacks your
reputation, dearer to you perhaps than your life, and puts his name
to the charge, you may go to him as openly and break his head.  If he
conceals himself behind the printer, and you can nevertheless
discover who he is, you may in a like manner way-lay him in the
night, attack him behind, and give him a good drubbing.  If your
adversary hire better writers than himself to abuse you the more
effectually, you may hire brawny porters, stronger than yourself, to
assist you in giving him a more effectual drubbing. -- Thus far goes
my project, as to _private_ resentment and retribution.  But if the
public should ever happen to be affronted, _as it ought to be_ with
the conduct of such writers, I would not advise proceeding
immediately to these extremities; but that we should in moderation
content ourselves with tarring and feathering, and tossing them in a

        If, however, it should be thought that this proposal of mine
may disturb the public peace, I would then humbly recommend to our
legislators to take up the consideration of both liberties, that of
the Press, and that of the Cudgel, and by an explicit law mark their
extent and limits; and at the same time that they secure the person
of a citizen from assaults, they would likewise provide for the
security of his reputation.

        _The Federal Gazette_, September 12, 1789

        _An Address to the Public_


        It is with peculiar satisfaction we assure the friends of
humanity, that, in prosecuting the design of our association, our
endeavours have proved successful, far beyond our most sanguine

        Encouraged by this success, and by the daily progress of that
luminous and benign spirit of liberty, which is diffusing itself
throughout the world, and humbly hoping for the continuance of the
divine blessing on our labours, we have ventured to make an important
addition to our original plan, and do therefore earnestly solicit the
support and assistance of all who can feel the tender emotions of
sympathy and compassion, or relish the exalted pleasure of

        Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that
its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may
sometimes open a source of serious evils.

        The unhappy man, who has long been treated as a brute animal,
too frequently sinks beneath the common standard of the human
species.  The galling chains, that bind his body, do also fetter his
intellectual faculties, and impair the social affections of his
heart.  Accustomed to move like a mere machine, by the will of a
master, reflection is suspended; he has not the power of choice; and
reason and conscience have but little influence over his conduct,
because he is chiefly governed by the passion of fear.  He is poor
and friendless; perhaps worn out by extreme labour, age, and disease.

        Under such circumstances, freedom may often prove a misfortune
to himself, and prejudicial to society.

        Attention to emancipated black people, it is therefore to be
hoped, will become a branch of our national policy; but, as far as we
contribute to promote this emancipation, so far that attention is
evidently a serious duty incumbent on us, and which we mean to
discharge to the best of our judgment and abilities.

        To instruct, to advise, to qualify those, who have been
restored to freedom, for the exercise and enjoyment of civil liberty,
to promote in them habits of industry, to furnish them with
employments suited to their age, sex, talents, and other
circumstances, and to procure their children an education calculated
for their future situation in life; these are the great outlines of
the annexed plan, which we have adopted, and which we conceive will
essentially promote the public good, and the happiness of these our
hitherto too much neglected fellow-creatures.

        A plan so extensive cannot be carried into execution without
considerable pecuniary resources, beyond the present ordinary funds
of the Society.  We hope much from the generosity of enlightened and
benevolent freemen, and will gratefully receive any donations or
subscriptions for this purpose, which may be made to our treasurer,
James Starr, or to James Pemberton, chairman of our committee of
               Signed, by order of the Society,
                    B. FRANKLIN, _President._
         Philadelphia, 9th of November, 1789.

        _Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks_

        The business relative to free blacks shall be transacted by a
committee of twenty-four persons, annually elected by ballot, at the
meeting of this Society, in the month called April; and, in order to
perform the different services with expedition, regularity, and
energy, this committee shall resolve itself into the following
sub-committees, viz.

        I. A Committee of Inspection, who shall superintend the morals,
general conduct, and ordinary situation of the free negroes, and
afford them advice and instruction, protection from wrongs, and other
friendly offices.

        II. A Committee of Guardians, who shall place out children and
young people with suitable persons, that they may (during a moderate
time of apprenticeship or servitude) learn some trade or other
business of subsistence.  The committee may effect this partly by a
persuasive influence on parents and the persons concerned, and partly
by cooperating with the laws, which are, or may be, enacted for this
and similar purposes.  In forming contracts on these occasions, the
committee shall secure to the Society, as far as may be practicable,
the right of guardianship over the persons so bound.

        III. A Committee of Education, who shall superintend the school
instruction of the children and youth of the free blacks.  They may
either influence them to attend regularly the schools already
established in this city, or form others with this view; they shall,
in either case, provide, that the pupils may receive such learning as
is necessary for their future situation in life, and especially a
deep impression of the most important and generally acknowledged
moral and religious principles.  They shall also procure and preserve
a regular record of the marriages, births, and manumissions of all
free blacks.

        IV. A Committee of Employ, who shall endeavour to procure
constant employment for those free negroes who are able to work; as
the want of this would occasion poverty, idleness, and many vicious
habits.  This committee will, by sedulous inquiry, be enabled to find
common labour for a great number; they will also provide, that such
as indicate proper talents may learn various trades, which may be
done by prevailing upon them to bind themselves for such a term of
years as shall compensate their masters for the expense and trouble
of instruction and maintenance.  The committee may attempt the
institution of some useful and simple manufactures, which require but
little skill, and also may assist, in commencing business, such as
appear to be qualified for it.

        Whenever the committee of inspection shall find persons of any
particular description requiring attention, they shall immediately
direct them to the committee of whose care they are the proper

        In matters of a mixed nature, the committees shall confer, and,
if necessary, act in concert.  Affairs of great importance shall be
referred to the whole committee.

        The expense, incurred by the prosecution of this plan, shall be
defrayed by a fund, to be formed by donations or subscriptions for
these particular purposes, and to be kept separate from the other
funds of this Society.

        The committee shall make a report of their proceedings, and of
the state of their stock, to the Society, at their quarterly
meetings, in the months called April and October.


        _Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim on the Slave Trade_


        SIR, March 23d, 1790.
        Reading last night in your excellent Paper the speech of Mr.
Jackson in Congress against their meddling with the Affair of
Slavery, or attempting to mend the Condition of the Slaves, it put me
in mind of a similar One made about 100 Years since by Sidi Mehemet
Ibrahim, a member of the Divan of Algiers, which may be seen in
Martin's Account of his Consulship, anno 1687.  It was against
granting the Petition of the Sect called _Erika_, or Purists, who
pray'd for the Abolition of Piracy and Slavery as being unjust.  Mr.
Jackson does not quote it; perhaps he has not seen it.  If,
therefore, some of its Reasonings are to be found in his eloquent
Speech, it may only show that men's Interests and Intellects operate
and are operated on with surprising similarity in all Countries and
Climates, when under similar Circumstances.  The African's Speech, as
translated, is as follows.

        "_Allah Bismillah, &c.
        God is great, and Mahomet is his Prophet._

        "Have these _Erika_ considered the Consequences of granting
their Petition?  If we cease our Cruises against the Christians, how
shall we be furnished with the Commodities their Countries produce,
and which are so necessary for us?  If we forbear to make Slaves of
their People, who in this hot Climate are to cultivate our Lands?
Who are to perform the common Labours of our City, and in our
Families?  Must we not then be our own Slaves?  And is there not more
Compassion and more Favour due to us as Mussulmen, than to these
Christian Dogs?  We have now above 50,000 Slaves in and near Algiers.
This Number, if not kept up by fresh Supplies, will soon diminish,
and be gradually annihilated.  If we then cease taking and plundering
the Infidel Ships, and making Slaves of the Seamen and Passengers,
our Lands will become of no Value for want of Cultivation; the Rents
of Houses in the City will sink one half; and the Revenues of
Government arising from its Share of Prizes be totally destroy'd!
And for what?  To gratify the whims of a whimsical Sect, who would
have us, not only forbear making more Slaves, but even to manumit
those we have.

        "But who is to indemnify their Masters for the Loss?  Will the
State do it?  Is our Treasury sufficient?  Will the _Erika_ do it?
Can they do it?  Or would they, to do what they think Justice to the
Slaves, do a greater Injustice to the Owners?  And if we set our
Slaves free, what is to be done with them?  Few of them will return
to their Countries; they know too well the greater Hardships they
must there be subject to; they will not embrace our holy Religion;
they will not adopt our Manners; our People will not pollute
themselves by intermarrying with them.  Must we maintain them as
Beggars in our Streets, or suffer our Properties to be the Prey of
their Pillage?  For Men long accustom'd to Slavery will not work for
a Livelihood when not compell'd.  And what is there so pitiable in
their present Condition?  Were they not Slaves in their own

        "Are not Spain, Portugal, France, and the Italian states
govern'd by Despots, who hold all their Subjects in Slavery, without
Exception?  Even England treats its Sailors as Slaves; for they are,
whenever the Government pleases, seiz'd, and confin'd in Ships of
War, condemn'd not only to work, but to fight, for small Wages, or a
mere Subsistence, not better than our Slaves are allow'd by us.  Is
their Condition then made worse by their falling into our Hands?  No;
they have only exchanged one Slavery for another, and I may say a
better; for here they are brought into a Land where the Sun of
Islamism gives forth its Light, and shines in full Splendor, and they
have an Opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the true
Doctrine, and thereby saving their immortal Souls.  Those who remain
at home have not that Happiness.  Sending the Slaves home then would
be sending them out of Light into Darkness.

        "I repeat the Question, What is to be done with them?  I have
heard it suggested, that they may be planted in the Wilderness, where
there is plenty of Land for them to subsist on, and where they may
flourish as a free State; but they are, I doubt, too little dispos'd
to labour without Compulsion, as well as too ignorant to establish a
good government, and the wild Arabs would soon molest and destroy or
again enslave them.  While serving us, we take care to provide them
with every thing, and they are treated with Humanity.  The Labourers
in their own Country are, as I am well informed, worse fed, lodged,
and cloathed.  The Condition of most of them is therefore already
mended, and requires no further Improvement.  Here their Lives are in
Safety.  They are not liable to be impress'd for Soldiers, and forc'd
to cut one another's Christian Throats, as in the Wars of their own
Countries.  If some of the religious mad Bigots, who now teaze us
with their silly Petitions, have in a Fit of blind Zeal freed their
Slaves, it was not Generosity, it was not Humanity, that mov'd them
to the Action; it was from the conscious Burthen of a Load of Sins,
and Hope, from the supposed Merits of so good a Work, to be excus'd

        "How grossly are they mistaken in imagining Slavery to be
disallow'd by the Alcoran!  Are not the two Precepts, to quote no
more, _`Masters, treat your Slaves with kindness; Slaves, serve your
Masters with Cheerfulness and Fidelity,'_ clear Proofs to the
contrary?  Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book
forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the
World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are
to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.  Let us then hear no
more of this detestable Proposition, the Manumission of Christian
Slaves, the Adoption of which would, by depreciating our Lands and
Houses, and thereby depriving so many good Citizens of their
Properties, create universal Discontent, and provoke Insurrections,
to the endangering of Government and producing general Confusion.  I
have therefore no doubt, but this wise Council will prefer the
Comfort and Happiness of a whole Nation of true Believers to the Whim
of a few _Erika_, and dismiss their Petition."

        The Result was, as Martin tells us, that the Divan came to this
Resolution; "The Doctrine, that Plundering and Enslaving the
Christians is unjust, is at best _problematical_; but that it is the
Interest of this State to continue the Practice, is clear; therefore
let the Petition be rejected."

        And it was rejected accordingly.

        And since like Motives are apt to produce in the Minds of Men
like Opinions and Resolutions, may we not, Mr. Brown, venture to
predict, from this Account, that the Petitions to the Parliament of
England for abolishing the Slave-Trade, to say nothing of other
Legislatures, and the Debates upon them, will have a similar
Conclusion?  I am, Sir, your constant Reader and humble Servant,

      _The Federal Gazette_, March 25, 1790



        _To Jonathan Shipley_

        DEAR FRIEND, Philadelphia, Feb. 24'th, 1786.
        I received lately your kind letter of Nov. 27th.  My Reception
here was, as you have heard, very honourable indeed; but I was
betray'd by it, and by some Remains of Ambition, from which I had
imagined myself free, to accept of the Chair of Government for the
State of Pennsylvania, when the proper thing for me was Repose and a
private Life.  I hope, however, to be able to bear the Fatigue for
one Year, and then to retire.

        I have much regretted our having so little Opportunity for
Conversation when we last met.  You could have given me Informations
and Counsels that I wanted, but we were scarce a Minute together
without being broke in upon.  I am to thank you, however, for the
Pleasure I had after our Parting, in reading the new Book you gave
me, which I think generally well written and likely to do good; tho'
the Reading Time of most People is of late so taken up with News
Papers and little periodical Pamphlets, that few now-a-days venture
to attempt reading a Quarto Volume.  I have admir'd to see, that, in
the last Century, a Folio, _Burton on Melancholly_, went through Six
Editions in about Twenty Years.  We have, I believe, more Readers
now, but not of such large Books.

        You seem desirous of knowing what Progress we make here in
improving our Governments.  We are, I think, in the right Road of
Improvement, for we are making Experiments.  I do not oppose all that
seem wrong, for the Multitude are more effectually set right by
Experience, than kept from going wrong by Reasoning with them.  And I
think we are daily more and more enlightened; so that I have no doubt
of our obtaining in a few Years as much public Felicity, as good
Government is capable of affording.

        Your NewsPapers are fill'd with fictitious Accounts of Anarchy,
Confusion, Distresses, and Miseries, we are suppos'd to be involv'd
in, as Consequences of the Revolution; and the few remaining Friends
of the old Government among us take pains to magnify every little
Inconvenience a Change in the Course of Commerce may have occasion'd.
To obviate the Complaints they endeavour to excite, was written the
enclos'd little Piece, from which you may form a truer Idea of our
Situation, than your own public Prints would give you.  And I can
assure you, that the great Body of our Nation find themselves happy
in the Change, and have not the smallest Inclination to return to the
Domination of Britain.  There could not be a stronger Proof of the
general Approbation of the Measures, that promoted the Change, and of
the Change itself, than has been given by the Assembly and Council of
this State, in the nearly unanimous Choice for their Governor, of one
who had been so much concern'd in those Measures; the Assembly being
themselves the unbrib'd Choice of the People, and therefore may be
truly suppos'd of the same Sentiments.  I say nearly unanimous,
because, of between 70 and 80 Votes, there were only my own and one
other in the negative.

        As to my Domestic Circumstances, of which you kindly desire to
hear something, they are at present as happy as I could wish them.  I
am surrounded by my Offspring, a Dutiful and Affectionate Daughter in
my House, with Six Grandchildren, the eldest of which you have seen,
who is now at a College in the next Street, finishing the learned
Part of his Education; the others promising, both for Parts and good
Dispositions.  What their Conduct may be, when they grow up and enter
the important Scenes of Life, I shall not live to _see_, and I cannot
_foresee._ I therefore enjoy among them the present Hour, and leave
the future to Providence.

        He that raises a large Family does, indeed, while he lives to
observe them, _stand_, as Watts says, _a broader Mark for Sorrow_;
but then he stands a broader Mark for Pleasure too.  When we launch
our little Fleet of Barques into the Ocean, bound to different Ports,
we hope for each a prosperous Voyage; but contrary Winds, hidden
Shoals, Storms, and Enemies come in for a Share in the Disposition of
Events; and though these occasion a Mixture of Disappointment, yet,
considering the Risque where we can make no Insurance, we should
think ourselves happy if some return with Success.  My Son's Son,
Temple Franklin, whom you have also seen, having had a fine Farm of
600 Acres convey'd to him by his Father when we were at Southampton,
has drop'd for the present his Views of acting in the political Line,
and applies himself ardently to the Study and Practice of
Agriculture.  This is much more agreable to me, who esteem it the
most useful, the most independent, and therefore the noblest of
Employments.  His Lands are on navigable water, communicating with
the Delaware, and but about 16 Miles from this City.  He has
associated to himself a very skillful English Farmer lately arrived
here, who is to instruct him in the Business, and partakes for a Term
of the Profits; so that there is a great apparent Probability of
their Success.

        You will kindly expect a Word or two concerning myself.  My
Health and Spirits continue, Thanks to God, as when you saw me.  The
only complaint I then had, does not grow worse, and is tolerable.  I
still have Enjoyment in the Company of my Friends; and, being easy in
my Circumstances, have many Reasons to like Living.  But the Course
of Nature must soon put a period to my present Mode of Existence.
This I shall submit to with less Regret, as, having seen during a
long Life a good deal of this World, I feel a growing Curiosity to be
acquainted with some other; and can chearfully, with filial
Confidence, resign my Spirit to the conduct of that great and good
Parent of Mankind, who created it, and who has so graciously
protected and prospered me from my Birth to the present Hour.
Wherever I am, I hope always to retain the pleasing remembrance of
your Friendship, being with sincere and great Esteem, my dear Friend,
yours most affectionately,

        P. S. We all join in Respects to Mrs. Shipley, and best wishes
for the whole amiable Family.


        _To Benjamin Vaughan_

        DEAR FRIEND, Philad'a, July 31, 1786.
        I recollect, that, when I had the great Pleasure of seeing you
at Southampton, now a 12month since, we had some Conversation on the
bad Effects of Lead taken inwardly; and that at your Request I
promis'd to send you in writing a particular Account of several Facts
I then mention'd to you, of which you thought some good use might be
made.  I now sit down to fulfil that Promise.

        The first Thing I remember of this kind was a general Discourse
in Boston, when I was a Boy, of a Complaint from North Carolina
against New England Rum, that it poison'd their People, giving them
the Dry Bellyach, with a Loss of the Use of their Limbs.  The
Distilleries being examin'd on the Occasion, it was found that
several of them used leaden Still-heads and Worms, and the Physicians
were of Opinion, that the Mischief was occasioned by that Use of
Lead.  The Legislature of the Massachusetts thereupon pass'd an Act,
prohibiting under severe Penalties the Use of such Still-heads and
Worms thereafter.  Inclos'd I send you a Copy of the Acc't, taken
from my printed Law-book.

        In 1724, being in London, I went to work in the Printing-House
of Mr. Palmer, Bartholomew Close, as a Compositor.  I there found a
Practice, I had never seen before, of drying a Case of Types (which
are wet in Distribution) by placing it sloping before the Fire.  I
found this had the additional Advantage, when the Types were not only
dry'd but heated, of being comfortable to the Hands working over them
in cold weather.  I therefore sometimes heated my Case when the Types
did not want drying.  But an old Workman, observing it, advis'd me
not to do so, telling me I might lose the Use of my Hands by it, as
two of our Companions had nearly done, one of whom that us'd to earn
his Guinea a Week, could not then make more than ten Shillings, and
the other, who had the Dangles, but seven and sixpence.  This, with a
kind of obscure Pain, that I had sometimes felt, as it were in the
Bones of my Hand when working over the Types made very hot, induced
me to omit the Practice.  But talking afterwards with Mr. James, a
Letter-founder in the same Close, and asking him if his People, who
work'd over the little Furnaces of melted Metal, were not subject to
that Disorder; he made light of any danger from the effluvia, but
ascribed it to Particles of the Metal swallow'd with their Food by
slovenly Workmen, who went to their Meals after handling the Metal,
without well washing their Fingers, so that some of the metalline
Particles were taken off by their Bread and eaten with it.  This
appeared to have some Reason in it.  But the Pain I had experienc'd
made me still afraid of those Effluvia.

        Being in Derbishire at some of the Furnaces for Smelting of
Lead Ore, I was told, that the Smoke of those Furnaces was pernicious
to the neighbouring Grass and other Vegetables; but I do not
recollect to have heard any thing of the Effect of such Vegetables
eaten by Animals.  It may be well to make the Enquiry.

        In America I have often observ'd, that on the Roofs of our
shingled Houses, where Moss is apt to grow in northern Exposures, if
there be any thing on the Roof painted with white Lead, such as
Balusters, or Frames of dormant Windows, &c., there is constantly a
Streak on the Shingles from such Paint down to the Eaves, on which no
Moss will grow, but the wood remains constantly clean and free from
it.  We seldom drink RainWater that falls on our Houses; and if we
did, perhaps the small Quantity of Lead, descending from such Paint,
might not be sufficient to produce any sensible ill Effect on our
Bodies.  But I have been told of a Case in Europe, I forgot the
Place, where a whole Family was afflicted with what we call the Dry
Bellyach, or _Colica Pictonum_, by drinking RainWater.  It was at a
Country-Seat, which, being situated too high to have the Advantage of
a Well, was supply'd with Water from a Tank, which received the Water
from the leaded Roofs.  This had been drunk several Years without
Mischief; but some young Trees planted near the House growing up
above the Roof, and shedding their Leaves upon it, it was suppos'd
that an Acid in those Leaves had corroded the Lead they cover'd, and
furnish'd the Water of that Year with its baneful Particles and

        When I was in Paris with Sir John Pringle in 1767, he visited
_La Charite_, a Hospital particularly famous for the Cure of that
Malady, and brought from thence a Pamphlet containing a List of the
Names of Persons, specifying their Professions or Trades, who had
been cured there.  I had the Curiosity to examine that List, and
found that all the Patients were of Trades, that, some way or other,
use or work in Lead; such as Plumbers, Glaziers, Painters, &c.,
excepting only two kinds, Stonecutters and Soldiers.  These I could
not reconcile to my Notion, that Lead was the cause of that Disorder.
But on my mentioning this Difficulty to a Physician of that Hospital,
he inform'd me that the Stonecutters are continually using melted
Lead to fix the Ends of Iron Balustrades in Stone; and that the
Soldiers had been employ'd by Painters, as Labourers, in Grinding of

        This, my dear Friend, is all I can at present recollect on the
Subject.  You will see by it, that the Opinion of this mischievous
Effect from Lead is at least above Sixty Years old; and you will
observe with Concern how long a useful Truth may be known and exist,
before it is generally receiv'd and practis'd on.
                         I am, ever, yours most affectionately,


        _To Rev. John Lathrop_

        REVEREND SIR, Philad'a, May 31, 1788.
        I received your obliging Favour of the 6th Inst by Mr.
Hilliard, with whose Conversation I was much pleased, and would have
been glad to have had more of it, if he could have spar'd it to me;
but the short time of his stay has prevented.  You need make no
apology for introducing any of your friends to me.  I consider it as
doing me Honour, as well as giving me Pleasure.

        I thank you for the pamphlet of the Humane Society.  In return
please to accept one of the same kind, which was published while I
resided in France.  If your Society have not hitherto seen it, it may
possibly afford them useful Hints.

        It would certainly, as you observe, be a very great Pleasure to
me, if I could once again visit my Native Town, and walk over the
Grounds I used to frequent when a Boy, and where I enjoyed many of
the innocent Pleasures of Youth, which would be so brought to my
Remembrance, and where I might find some of my old Acquaintance to
converse with.  But when I consider how well I am situated here, with
every thing about me, that I can call either necessary or convenient;
the fatigues and bad accommodations to be met with and suffered in a
land journey, and the unpleasantness of sea voyages, to one, who,
although he has crossed the Atlantic eight times, and made many
smaller trips, does not recollect his having ever been at sea without
taking a firm resolution never to go to sea again; and that, if I
were arrived in Boston, I should see but little of it, as I could
neither bear walking nor riding in a carriage over its pebbled
streets; and, above all, that I should find very few indeed of my old
friends living, it being now sixty-five years since I left it to
settle here; -- all this considered, I say, it seems probable, though
not certain, that I shall hardly again visit that beloved place.  But
I enjoy the company and conversation of its inhabitants, when any of
them are so good as to visit me; for, besides their general good
sense, which I value, the Boston manner, turn of phrase, and even
tone of voice, and accent in pronunciation, all please, and seem to
refresh and revive me.

        I have been long impressed with the same sentiments you so well
express, of the growing felicity of mankind, from the improvements in
philosophy, morals, politics, and even the conveniences of common
living, by the invention and acquisition of new and useful utensils
and instruments, that I have sometimes almost wished it had been my
destiny to be born two or three centuries hence.  For invention and
improvement are prolific, and beget more of their kind.  The present
progress is rapid.  Many of great importance, now unthought of, will
before that period be produced; and then I might not only enjoy their
advantages, but have my curiosity gratified in knowing what they are
to be.  I see a little absurdity in what I have just written, but it
is to a friend, who will wink and let it pass, while I mention one
reason more for such a wish, which is, that, if the art of physic
shall be improved in proportion with other arts, we may then be able
to avoid diseases, and live as long as the patriarchs in Genesis; to
which I suppose we should make little objection.

        I am glad my dear sister has so good and kind a neighbour.  I
sometimes suspect she may be backward in acquainting me with
circumstances in which I might be more useful to her.  If any such
should occur to your observation, your mentioning them to me will be
a favour I shall be thankful for.  With great esteem, I have the
honour to be, Reverend Sir, &c.


        _To Benjamin Vaughan_

        _October_ 24, 1788.
        ------ Having now finished my term in the Presidentship, and
resolving to engage no more in public affairs, I hope to be a better
correspondent for the little time I have to live.  I am recovering
from a long continued gout, and am diligently employed in writing the
History of my Life, to the doing of which the persuasions contained
in your letter of January 31, 1783, have not a little contributed.  I
am now in the year 1756 just before I was sent to England.  To
shorten the work, as well as for other reasons, I omit all facts and
transactions that may not have a tendency to benefit the young
reader, by showing him from my example, and my success in emerging
from poverty, and acquiring some degree of wealth, power, and
reputation, the advantages of certain modes of conduct which I
observed, and of avoiding the errors which were prejudicial to me.
If a writer can judge properly of his own work, I fancy on reading
over what is already done, that the book may be found entertaining,
interesting, and useful, more so than I expected when I began it.  If
my present state of health continues, I hope to finish it this
winter: when done you shall have a manuscript copy of it, that I may
obtain from your judgment and friendship, such remarks as may
contribute to its improvement.

        The violence of our party debates about the new constitution
seems much abated, indeed almost extinct, and we are getting fast
into good order.  I kept out of those disputes pretty well, having
wrote only one little piece, which I send you inclosed.

        I regret the immense quantity of misery brought upon mankind by
this Turkish war; and I am afraid the King of Sweden may burn his
fingers by attacking Russia.  When will princes learn arithmetick
enough to calculate if they want pieces of one another's territory,
how much cheaper it would be to buy them, than to make war for them,
even though they were to give an hundred years purchase?  But if
glory cannot be valued, and therefore the wars for it cannot be
subject to arithmetical calculation so as to show their advantage or
disadvantage, at least wars for trade, which have gain for their
object, may be proper subjects for such computation; and a trading
nation as well as a single trader ought to calculate the
probabilities of profit and loss, before engaging in any considerable
adventure.  This however nations seldom do, and we have had frequent
instances of their spending more money in wars for acquiring or
securing branches of commerce, that an hundred years' profit or the
full enjoyment of them can compensate.

        Remember me affectionately to good Dr. Price and to the honest
heretic Dr. Priestly.  I do not call him _honest_ by way of
distinction; for I think all the heretics I have known have been
virtuous men.  They have the virtue of fortitude or they would not
venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient
in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their
many enemies; and they have not like orthodox sinners, such a number
of friends to excuse or justify them.  Do not, however mistake me.
It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty.  On
the contrary, 'tis his honesty that has brought upon him the
character of heretic.  I am ever, my dear friend, yours sincerely,


        _To John Langdon_

        The Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of
slavery, and the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage,
have taken the liberty to ask your Excellency's acceptance of a few
copies of their Constitution and the laws of Pennsylvania, which
relate to one of the objects of their Institution; also, of a copy of
Thomas Clarkson's excellent Essay upon the Commerce and Slavery of
the Africans.

        The Society have heard, with great regret, that a considerable
part of the slaves, who have been sold in the Southern States since
the establishment of peace, have been imported in vessels fitted out
in the state, over which, your Excellency presides.  From your
Excellency's station, they hope your influence will be exerted,
hereafter, to prevent a practice which is so evidently repugnant to
the political principles and form of government lately adopted by
citizens of the United States, and which cannot fail of delaying the
enjoyment of the blessings of peace and liberty, by drawing down, the
displeasure of the great and impartial Ruler of the Universe upon our

        I am, in behalf of the Society,
        Sir, your most obedient servant,



        _To Jane Mecom_

        DEAR SISTER, Philada Augt 3. 1789
        I have receiv'd your kind Letter of the 23d past, and am glad
to learn that you have at length got some of those I so long since
wrote to you.  I think your Post Office is very badly managed.  I
expect your Bill, & shall pay it when it appears. -- I would have you
put the Books into Cousin Jonathan's Hands who will dispose of them
for you if he can, or return them hither.  I am very much pleas'd to
hear that you have had no Misunderstanding with his good Father.
Indeed if there had been any such, I should have concluded that it
was your Fault: for I think our Family were always subject to being a
little Miffy. -- By the way, is our Relationship in Nantucket quite
worn out? -- I have met with none from thence of late Years who were
dispos'd to be acquainted with me, except Capt. Timothy Fulger.  They
are wonderfully shy.  But I admire their honest plainness of Speech.
About a Year ago I invited two of them to dine with me.  Their Answer
was that they would -- if they could not do better.  I suppose they
did better, for I never saw them afterwards; and so had no
Opportunity of showing my Miff, if I had one. -- Give my Love to
Cousin Williams's and thank them from me for all the Kindnesses to
you, which I have always been acquainted with by you, and take as if
done to myself.  I am sorry to learn from his Son, that his Health is
not so firm as formerly.  A Journey hither by Land might do him good,
and I should be happy to see him. -- I shall make the Addition you
desire to my Superscriptions, desiring in Return that you would make
a Substraction from yours.  The Word Excellency does not belong to
me, and Dr will be sufficient to distinguish me from my Grandson.
This Family joins in Love to you and yours, with
                                 Your affectionate Brother


        _To John Wright_

        DEAR FRIEND, Philadelphia, November 4, 1789.
        I received your kind letter of July the 31st, which gave me
great pleasure, as it informed me of the welfare both of yourself and
your good lady, to whom please to present my respects.  I thank you
for the epistle of your yearly meeting, and for the card, a specimen
of printing, which was enclosed.

        We have now had one session of Congress, which was conducted
under our new Constitution, and with as much general satisfaction as
could reasonably be expected.  I wish the struggle in France may end
as happily for that nation.  We are now in the full enjoyment of our
new government for _eleven_ of the States, and it is generally
thought that North Carolina is about to join it.  Rhode Island will
probably take longer time for consideration.

        We have had a most plentiful year for the fruits of the earth,
and our people seem to be recovering fast from the extravagance and
idle habits, which the war had introduced; and to engage seriously in
the country habits of temperance, frugality, and industry, which give
the most pleasing prospect of future national felicity.  Your
merchants, however, are, I think, imprudent in crowding in upon us
such quantities of goods for sale here, which are not written for by
ours, and are beyond the faculties of this country to consume in any
reasonable time.  This surplus of goods is, therefore, to raise
present money, sent to the vendues, or auction-houses, of which we
have six or seven in and near this city; where they are sold
frequently for less than prime cost, to the great loss of the
indiscreet adventurers.  Our newspapers are doubtless to be seen at
your coffee-houses near the Exchange.  In their advertisements you
may observe the constancy and quantity of this kind of sales; as well
as the quantity of goods imported by our regular traders.  I see in
your English newspapers frequent mention of our being out of credit
with you; to us it appears, that we have abundantly too much, and
that your exporting merchants are rather out of their senses.

        I wish success to your endeavours for obtaining an abolition of
the Slave Trade.  The epistle from your Yearly Meeting, for the year
1758, was not the _first sowing_ of the good seed you mention; for I
find by an old pamphlet in my possession, that George Keith, near a
hundred years since, wrote a paper against the practice, said to be
"given forth by the appointment of the meeting held by him, at Philip
James's house, in the city of Philadelphia, about the year 1693;"
wherein a strict charge was given to Friends, "that they should set
their negroes at liberty, after some reasonable time of service, &c.
&c." And about the year 1728, or 1729, I myself printed a book for
Ralph Sandyford, another of your Friends in this city, against
keeping negroes in slavery; two editions of which he distributed
gratis.  And about the year 1736, I printed another book on the same
subject for Benjamin Lay, who also professed being one of your
Friends, and he distributed the books chiefly among them.  By these
instances it appears, that the seed was indeed sown in the good
ground of your profession, though much earlier than the time you
mention, and its springing up to effect at last, though so late, is
some confirmation of Lord Bacon's observation, that _a good motion
never dies_; and it may encourage us in making such, though hopeless
of their taking immediate effect.

        I doubt whether I shall be able to finish my Memoirs, and, if I
finish them, whether they will be proper for publication.  You seem
to have too high an opinion of them, and to expect too much from

        I think you are right in preferring a mixed form of government
for your country, under its present circumstances; and if it were
possible for you to reduce the enormous salaries and emoluments of
great officers, which are at bottom the source of all your violent
factions, that form might be conducted more quietly and happily; but
I am afraid, that none of your factions, when they get uppermost,
will ever have virtue enough to reduce those salaries and emoluments,
but will rather choose to enjoy them.

        I enclose a bill for twenty-five pounds, for which, when
received, please to credit my account, and out of it pay Mr. Benjamin
Vaughan, of Jeffries Square, and Mr. William Vaughan, his brother, of
Mincing Lane, such accounts against me as they shall present to you
for that purpose.  I am, my dear friend, yours very affectionately,


        _To Noah Webster_

        DEAR SIR, Philad'a, Dec'r 26, 1789.
        I received some Time since your _Dissertations on the English
Language._ The Book was not accompanied by any Letter or Message,
informing me to whom I am obliged for it, but I suppose it is to
yourself.  It is an excellent Work, and will be greatly useful in
turning the Thoughts of our Countrymen to correct Writing.  Please to
accept my Thanks for it as well as for the great honour you have done
me in its Dedication.  I ought to have made this Acknowledgment
sooner, but much Indisposition prevented me.

        I cannot but applaud your Zeal for preserving the Purity of our
Language, both in its Expressions and Pronunciation, and in
correcting the popular Errors several of our States are continually
falling into with respect to both.  Give me leave to mention some of
them, though possibly they may have already occurred to you.  I wish,
however, in some future Publication of yours, you would set a
discountenancing Mark upon them.  The first I remember is the word
_improved._ When I left New England, in the year 23, this Word had
never been used among us, as far as I know, but in the sense of
_ameliorated_ or _made better_, except once in a very old Book of Dr.
Mather's, entitled _Remarkable Providences._ As that eminent Man
wrote a very obscure Hand, I remember that when I read that Word in
his Book, used instead of the Word _imployed_, I conjectured that it
was an Error of the Printer, who had mistaken a too short _l_ in the
Writing for an _r_, and a _y_ with too short a Tail for a _v_;
whereby _imployed_ was converted into _improved._

        But when I returned to Boston, in 1733, I found this Change had
obtained Favour, and was then become common; for I met with it often
in perusing the Newspapers, where it frequently made an Appearance
rather ridiculous.  Such, for Instance, as the Advertisement of a
Country-House to be sold, which had been many years _improved_ as a
Tavern; and, in the Character of a deceased Country Gentleman, that
he had been for more than 30 Years _improved_ as a Justice-of-Peace.
This Use of the Word _improved_ is peculiar to New England, and not
to be met with among any other Speakers of English, either on this or
the other Side of the Water.

        During my late Absence in France, I find that several other new
Words have been introduced into our parliamentary Language; for
Example, I find a Verb formed from the Substantive _Notice_; _I
should not have_ NOTICED _this, were it not that the Gentleman,_ &c.
Also another Verb from the Substantive _Advocate_; _The Gentleman
who_ ADVOCATES _or has_ ADVOCATED _that Motion,_ &c.  Another from
the Substantive _Progress_, the most awkward and abominable of the
three; _The committee, having_ PROGRESSED, _resolved to adjourn._ The
Word _opposed_, tho' not a new Word, I find used in a new Manner, as,
_The Gentlemen who are_ OPPOSED _to this Measure_; _to which I have
also myself always been_ OPPOSED.  If you should happen to be of my
Opinion with respect to these Innovations, you will use your
Authority in reprobating them.

        The Latin Language, long the Vehicle used in distributing
Knowledge among the different Nations of Europe, is daily more and
more neglected; and one of the modern Tongues, viz. the French, seems
in point of Universality to have supplied its place.  It is spoken in
all the Courts of Europe; and most of the Literati, those even who do
not speak it, have acquired Knowledge enough of it to enable them
easily to read the Books that are written in it.  This gives a
considerable Advantage to that Nation; it enables its Authors to
inculcate and spread through other Nations such Sentiments and
Opinions on important Points, as are most conducive to its Interests,
or which may contribute to its Reputation by promoting the common
Interests of Mankind.  It is perhaps owing to its being written in
French, that Voltaire's Treatise on _Toleration_ has had so sudden
and so great an Effect on the Bigotry of Europe, as almost entirely
to disarm it.  The general Use of the French Language has likewise a
very advantageous Effect on the Profits of the Bookselling Branch of
Commerce, it being well known, that the more Copies can be sold that
are struck off from one Composition of Types, the Profits increase in
a much greater Proportion than they do in making a great Number of
Pieces in any other Kind of Manufacture.  And at present there is no
Capital Town in Europe without a French Bookseller's Shop
corresponding with Paris.

        Our English bids fair to obtain the second Place.  The great
Body of excellent printed Sermons in our Language, and the Freedom of
our Writings on political Subjects, have induced a Number of Divines
of different Sects and Nations, as well as Gentlemen concerned in
public Affairs, to study it; so far at least as to read it.  And if
we were to endeavour the Facilitating its Progress, the Study of our
Tongue might become much more general.  Those, who have employed some
Part of their Time in learning a new Language, must have frequently
observed, that, while their Acquaintance with it was imperfect,
Difficulties small in themselves operated as great ones in
obstructing their Progress.  A Book, for Example, ill printed, or a
Pronunciation in speaking, not well articulated, would render a
Sentence unintelligible; which, from a clear Print or a distinct
Speaker, would have been immediately comprehended.  If therefore we
would have the Benefit of seeing our Language more generally known
among Mankind, we should endeavour to remove all the Difficulties,
however small, that discourage the learning it.

        But I am sorry to observe, that, of late Years, those
Difficulties, instead of being diminished, have been augmented.  In
examining the English Books, that were printed between the
Restoration and the Accession of George the 2'd, we may observe, that
all _Substantives_ were begun with a capital, in which we imitated
our Mother Tongue, the German.  This was more particularly useful to
those, who were not well acquainted with the English; there being
such a prodigious Number of our Words, that are both _Verbs_ and
_Substantives_, and spelt in the same manner, tho' often accented
differently in Pronunciation.

        This Method has, by the Fancy of Printers, of late Years been
laid aside, from an Idea, that suppressing the Capitals shows the
Character to greater Advantage; those Letters prominent above the
line disturbing its even regular Appearance.  The Effect of this
Change is so considerable, that a learned Man of France, who used to
read our Books, tho' not perfectly acquainted with our Language, in
Conversation with me on the Subject of our Authors, attributed the
greater Obscurity he found in our modern Books, compared with those
of the Period above mentioned, to a Change of Style for the worse in
our Writers, of which Mistake I convinced him, by marking for him
each _Substantive_ with a Capital in a Paragraph, which he then
easily understood, tho' before he could not comprehend it.  This
shows the Inconvenience of that pretended Improvement.

        From the same Fondness for an even and uniform Appearance of
Characters in the Line, the Printers have of late banished also the
Italic Types, in which Words of Importance to be attended to in the
Sense of the Sentence, and Words on which an Emphasis should be put
in Reading, used to be printed.  And lately another Fancy has induced
some Printers to use the short round _s_, instead of the long one,
which formerly served well to distinguish a word readily by its
varied appearance.  Certainly the omitting this prominent Letter
makes the Line appear more even; but renders it less immediately
legible; as the paring all Men's Noses might smooth and level their
Faces, but would render their Physiognomies less distinguishable.

        Add to all these Improvements _backwards_, another modern
Fancy, that grey Printing is more beautiful than black; hence the
English new Books are printed in so dim a Character, as to be read
with difficulty by old Eyes, unless in a very strong Light and with
good Glasses.  Whoever compares a Volume of the _Gentleman's
Magazine_, printed between the Years 1731 and 1740, with one of those
printed in the last ten Years, will be convinced of the much greater
Degree of Perspicuity given by black Ink than by grey.  Lord
Chesterfield pleasantly remarked this Difference to Faulkener, the
Printer of the Dublin _Journal_, who was vainly making Encomiums on
his own Paper, as the most complete of any in the World; "But, Mr.
Faulkener," said my Lord, "don't you think it might be still farther
improved by using Paper and Ink not quite so near of a Colour?" For
all these Reasons I cannot but wish, that our American Printers would
in their Editions avoid these fancied Improvements, and thereby
render their Works more agreable to Foreigners in Europe, to the
great advantage of our Bookselling Commerce.

        Farther, to be more sensible of the Advantage of clear and
distinct Printing, let us consider the Assistance it affords in
Reading well aloud to an Auditory.  In so doing the Eye generally
slides forward three or four Words before the Voice.  If the Sight
clearly distinguishes what the coming Words are, it gives time to
order the Modulation of the Voice to express them properly.  But, if
they are obscurely printed, or disguis'd by omitting the Capitals and
long _s's_ or otherwise, the Reader is apt to modulate wrong; and,
finding he has done so, he is oblig'd to go back and begin the
Sentence again, which lessens the Pleasure of the Hearers.

        This leads me to mention an old Error in our Mode of Printing.
We are sensible, that, when a Question is met with in Reading, there
is a proper Variation to be used in the Management of the Voice.  We
have therefore a Point called an Interrogation, affix'd to the
Question in order to distinguish it.  But this is absurdly placed at
its End; so that the Reader does not discover it, till he finds he
has wrongly modulated his Voice, and is therefore obliged to begin
again the Sentence.  To prevent this, the Spanish Printers, more
sensibly, place an Interrogation at the Beginning as well as at the
End of a Question.  We have another Error of the same kind in
printing Plays, where something often occurs that is mark'd as spoken
_aside._ But the Word _aside_ is placed at the End of the Speech,
when it ought to precede it, as a Direction to the Reader, that he
may govern his Voice accordingly.  The Practice of our Ladies in
meeting five or six together to form a little busy Party, where each
is employ'd in some useful Work while one reads to them, is so
commendable in itself, that it deserves the Attention of Authors and
Printers to make it as pleasing as possible, both to the Reader and

        After these general Observations, permit me to make one that I
imagine may regard your Interest.  It is that _your Spelling Book_ is
miserably printed here, so as in many Places to be scarcely legible,
and on wretched Paper.  If this is not attended to, and the new one
lately advertis'd as coming out should be preferable in these
Respects, it may hurt the future Sale of yours.

        I congratulate you on your Marriage, of which the Newspapers
inform me.  My best wishes attend you, being with sincere esteem,
Sir, &c.


        _To Ezra Stiles_

        REVEREND AND DEAR SIR, Philad'a, March 9. 1790.
        I received your kind Letter of Jan'y 28, and am glad you have
at length received the portrait of Gov'r Yale from his Family, and
deposited it in the College Library.  He was a great and good Man,
and had the Merit of doing infinite Service to your Country by his
Munificence to that Institution.  The Honour you propose doing me by
placing mine in the same Room with his, is much too great for my
Deserts; but you always had a Partiality for me, and to that it must
be ascribed.  I am however too much obliged to Yale College, the
first learned Society that took Notice of me and adorned me with its
Honours, to refuse a Request that comes from it thro' so esteemed a
Friend.  But I do not think any one of the Portraits you mention, as
in my Possession, worthy of the Place and Company you propose to
place it in.  You have an excellent Artist lately arrived.  If he
will undertake to make one for you, I shall cheerfully pay the
Expence; but he must not delay setting about it, or I may slip thro'
his fingers, for I am now in my eighty-fifth year, and very infirm.

        I send with this a very learned Work, as it seems to me, on the
antient Samaritan Coins, lately printed in Spain, and at least
curious for the Beauty of the Impression.  Please to accept it for
your College Library.  I have subscribed for the Encyclopaedia now
printing here, with the Intention of presenting it to the College.  I
shall probably depart before the Work is finished, but shall leave
Directions for its Continuance to the End.  With this you will
receive some of the first numbers.

        You desire to know something of my Religion.  It is the first
time I have been questioned upon it.  But I cannot take your
Curiosity amiss, and shall endeavour in a few Words to gratify it.
Here is my Creed.  I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe.
That he governs it by his Providence.  That he ought to be
worshipped.  That the most acceptable Service we render to him is
doing good to his other Children.  That the soul of Man is immortal,
and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its
Conduct in this.  These I take to be the fundamental Principles of
all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever Sect I
meet with them.

        As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly
desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left
them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I
apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have,
with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his
Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never
studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I
expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.  I
see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that Belief has the
good Consequence, as probably it has, of making his Doctrines more
respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive, that
the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the Unbelievers in his
Government of the World with any peculiar Marks of his Displeasure.

        I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced
the Goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously thro' a long
life, I have no doubt of its Continuance in the next, though without
the smallest Conceit of meriting such Goodness.  My Sentiments on
this Head you will see in the Copy of an old Letter enclosed, which I
wrote in answer to one from a zealous Religionist, whom I had
relieved in a paralytic case by electricity, and who, being afraid I
should grow proud upon it, sent me his serious though rather
impertinent Caution.  I send you also the Copy of another Letter,
which will shew something of my Disposition relating to Religion.
With great and sincere Esteem and Affection, I am, Your obliged old
Friend and most obedient humble Servant

        P. S. Had not your College some Present of Books from the King
of France?  Please to let me know, if you had an Expectation given
you of more, and the Nature of that Expectation?  I have a Reason for
the Enquiry.

        I confide, that you will not expose me to Criticism and censure
by publishing any part of this Communication to you.  I have ever let
others enjoy their religious Sentiments, without reflecting on them
for those that appeared to me unsupportable and even absurd.  All
Sects here, and we have a great Variety, have experienced my good
will in assisting them with Subscriptions for building their new
Places of Worship; and, as I have never opposed any of their
Doctrines, I hope to go out of the World in Peace with them all.


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