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not been able to obtain. I have noted in the margin the gradual increase, viz. from every tenth child so thrown upon the public, till it comes to every third. Fifteen years have passed since the last account, and probably it inay now amount to one half. Is it right to encourage this monstrous deficiency of natural affection? A surgeon I met with here excused the women of Paris, by saying seriously, that they could not give suck; «Car,» dit-il, « ils n'ont point de tetons. He assured me it was a fact, and bade me look at them, and observe how flat they were on the breast; “ they have nothing more there,» says he, " than I have upon the back of my hand.» have since thought that there might be some truth in his observation, and that possibly Nature finding they made no use of bubbies, has left off giving them any. Yet since Rousseau, with admirable eloquence, pleaded for the rights of children to their mother's milk, the mode has changed a little, and some ladies of quality now suckle their infants and find milk enough. "May the mode descend to the lower ranks, till it becomes no longer the custom to back their infants away, as soon as born, to the En fants trouvés, with the careless observation, that the king is better able to maintain them. I am credibly informed, that nine-tenths of them die there pretty soon; which is said to be a great relief to the institution, whose funds would not otherwise be sufficient to bring up the remainder. Except the few persons of quality above-mentioned, and the multitude who send to the hospital, the practice is to hire nurses in the country, to carry out the children and take care of them there. Here is an office for examining the health of nurses and giving them licences. They come to town on certain days of the week, in companies, to receive children, and we often meet trains of theni on the road returning to the neighbouring villages, with each a child in arms. But those who are good enough to try this way of raising their children are often not able to pay the expense, so that the prisons of Paris are crod. ed with wretched fathers and mothers, confined pour mois de nourice; though it is laudably a favourite charity to pay for them, and set soch prisoners at liberty. I wish success to the new project of assisting the poor to keep their children at home, because I think there is no nurse, like a mother (or not many) and that if parents did not immediately send their infants out of their sight, they would in a few days begin to love them, and thence be spurred to greater industry for their maintenance. This is a subject you understand better than I, and therefore, having perhaps said too much, I drop it. I only add to the notes a remark from the history of the Academy of Sciences, much in favour of the foundling institution.
The Philadelphia bank goes on, as I hear, very well. What you call the Cincinnati institution is no institution of our government, but a private convention among the officers of our late army, and so universally disliked by
the people, that it is supposed it will be dropped. It was considered as an attempt to establish something like an hereditary rank or nobility. I hold with you that it was wrong; nay I add, that all descending honours are wrong and absurd; that the honour of virtuous actions appertains only to him that performs them, and is in its nature incommunicable. If it were communicable by descent, it must also be divisible among the descendants, and the more ancient the family the less would be found exisiing in any one branch of it; to say nothing of the greater chance of unlucky interruptions. Our constitution seems not to be well understood with
you. If the congress were a permanent body, there would be inore reason in being jealous of giving it powers. But its members are chosen annually, and cannot be chosen more than three years successively, nor more than three years in seven, and any of them may be recalled at any time, whenever their constituents shall be dissatisfied with their conduct. They are of the people, and return again to mix with the people, having no more durable pre-eminence than the different grains of sand in an hourglass. Such an assembly cannot easily become dangerous to liberty. They are the servants of the peo. ple, sent together to do the people's business and promote the public welfare; their powers must be sufficient, or their duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable appointments, but a mere payment of daily wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their expenses, so that having no chance for great places and enormous salaries or pensions, as in some countries, there is no briguing or bri. bing for elections. I wish old England were as happy in its government, but I do not see it. Your people, however, think their constitution the best in the world, and affect to despise ours. It is comfortable to have a good opinion of one's self, and of every thing that belongs to us, to think one's own religion, king, and wife, the best of all possible wives, kings, and religions. I remember three Greenlanders, who had travelled two years in Europe, under the care of some Moravian missionaries, and had visited Germany, Denmark. Holland, and England, when I asked them at Philadelphia (when they were in their way home) whether, now they had seen how much more commodiously the white people lived by the help of the arts, they would not chuse to remain among us? Their answer was, that they were pleased with having had an opportunity of seeing many fine things, but they chose to live in their own country: which country, by the way, consisted of rock only, for the Moravians were obliged to carry earth in their ship from New York, for the purpose of making there a cabbage garden!
By Mr. Dollond's *) saying, that iny double spectacles could only serve particular eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly informed of their construction. I imagine it will
* An eminent mathematical instrument maker in London.
be found pretty generally true, that the same convexity of glass through which a man sees clearest and best at the distance proper for reading, is not the best for greater distances. I therefore had formerly two pair of spectacles, which I swifted occasionally, as in travelling I sometimes read and often want to regard the prospects. Finding this change troublesome, and not always sufficiently ready, I had the glasses cut out and half of each kind associated in the same circle, the least convex, for distant objects, the upper half, and the most convex, for reading, the lower half: by this nieans, as I wear my spectacles con stantly, I have only to nove my eyes up or down, as I want to see distinctly far or near, the proper glasses being always ready. This I find more particularly convenient since my being in France; the glasses that serve me best at table to see what I eat, being the best to see the faces of those on the other side of the table who speak to me, and when one's ears are not well ac. custonied to the sounds of a language, a sight of the movements in the features of him that speaks helps to explain; so that I understand French better by the help of my spectacles.
My intended translator of your piece, the only one I know who understands the subject as well as the two languages, which a translator ought to do, or he cannot make so good a translation, is at present occupied in an affair that prevents his undertaking it; but that will soon be over. - I thank you for the notes. I should be glad to liave another of the printed pamphlets.
We shall always be ready to take your children, if you send them to us; I only wonder, that since London draws to itself and consumes such numbers of your country people, your country should not, to supply their places, want and willingly receive the children you have to dispose of. That circumstance, together with the multitude who voluntarily part with their freedom as men, to serve for a time as lacqueys, or for life as soldiers in consideration of small wages, seems to me a proof that your island is over-peopled, and yet it is afraid of emigrations! Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever,
Yours, very affectionately,
Philadelphia, May 18, 1787. I received duly my good old friend's letter of the 19th of February, with a copy of one from Mr. Williams, to whom I shall communicate it when I see him, which I expect soon to do.
He is generally a punctual correspondent, and I am surprised you have not heard from him.
I thank you much for your notes on banks; thic are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them. "Our bank here has met with great opposition, partly from envy, and partly from those who wish an eriission of more papermoney, which they think the bank influence prevents. But it has stood all attacks, and went on well notwithstanding the assembly repealed its charter; a new assem. bly has restored it; and the management is so prudent, that I have no donbt of its continuing to go on well. The dividend has never been less than 6 per cent. nor will that be augmented for some time, as the surplus profit is reserved to face accidents. The dividend of 11 per cent. which was once made, was from a circumstance scarce avoidable. A new company was proposed, and prevented only by admitting a number of new partners. As many of the first set were adverse to this, and chose to withdraw; t was necessary to settle their accounts; so all were adjusted, the profits shared that had been accumulated, and the new and old proprietors jointly began on a new and equal footing: Their notes are always instantly paid on demand, and pass on all occasions as readily as silver, because they will always produce silver.
Your medallion is in good company; it is placed with those of Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, Marquis of Rockingham, Sir George Savil, and some others, who honoured me with a share of friendly regard when in England. I believe I have thanked you for it, but I thank you again.
I believe with you, that if our plenipotentiary is desirous of concluding a treaty of commerce, he niay need patience. But if I were in his place, and not otherwise instructed, I should be apt to say, Take our own time, gentlemen. If the treaty cannot be made as much to your advantage as to ours, don't make it. I am sure the want of it is not more to our disadvantage than to yours. Let the merchants on both sides treat with one another. Laissez les faire.
I have never considered attentively the congress scheme for coining, and I have it not now at hand, so that at present I can say nothing to it. The chief uses of coining seem to be ascertaining the fineness of the metals, and saving the time that would otherwise be spent in weighing to ascertain the quantity. But the convenience of fixed values to pieces is so great as to force the currency of some whose stamp is worn off, that should have assured their fineness, and which are evidently not of half their due weight; this is the case at present with the sixpences in England, which one with another do not weigh threepence.
You are now 78, and I am 82. You tread fast upon my heels: but, though you have more strength and spirit, you cannot come up with me tilll stop; which must now be soon; for I am grown so old as to have buried most of the friends of my youth; and I now often hear persons,
whom I knew when children, called old Mr. such a one, to distinguish them from their sons now men grown, and in business; so that by living twelve years beyond David's period, I seem to have intruded myself into the company of posterity, when I ought to have been a-bed and asleep. Yet had I gone at 70, it wonld have cut off 12 of the most active years of my life, employed too in matters of the greatest iniportance; but whether I have been doing good or mischief, is for time to discover. I only know that I intended well, and I hope all will end well.
Be so good as to present my affectionate respects to Dr. Rowley. I am under great obligations to him and shall write to him shortly. It well be a pleasure to him to hear that my malady does not grow sensibly worse, and that is a great point: for it has always been so tolerable, as not to prevent my enjoying the pleasures of society, and being cheerful in conversation. I owe this in a great measure to his good counsels. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever, Yours, most affectionately,
B. FRANKLIN. Geo. Whatley, Esq.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN FRANKLIN AND
THE GOUT; translated from the French *)
Midnight, Oct. 22, 1720. Franklin. - Eh! Oh! Eh! What have I done to merit these cruel sufferings ?
Gout. — Many things; you have ate and drank too free. ly, and to much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence.
Franklin, - What is it that accuses me?
Franklin. - 1 repeat; my enemy: for you would not only torment my body to death, but ruin my good name: you reproach me as a glutton and a trippler; now all the world that knows me will allow, that I am neither the one nor the other.
7 For this translation the editor is indebted to the complete works, in
Philosophy, Politics, and Morals, of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, » in thres volumes, octavo.