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Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to laft for ever. His chair was ready firft; and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently ftart together: and why should you and I be grieved at this, fince we are foon to follow, and know where to find him?
TO THE LATE
DOCTOR MATHER OF BOSTON.
I RECEIVED your kind letter, with your excellent advice to the people of the United States, which I read with great pleasure, and hope it will be duly regarded. Such writings, though they may be lightly paffed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impreffion on one active mind in a hundred, the effects may be confiderable..
Permit me to mention, one little inftance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninterefting to you. When I was a boy, I met with a book entitled "Effays to do good," which I think was written by your father. It had been fo little regarded by a former poffeffor, that feveral leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder gave me fuch a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct through life: for I have always fet a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you feem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.
You mention your being in your feventyeighth year. I am in my feventy-ninth. We are grown old together. It is now more than fixty years fince I left Bofton; but I remember well both your father and grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and feen them in their houses. The last time I faw your father
was in the beginning of 1724, when I vifited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received me in his library; and on my taking leave, fhewed me a fhorter way out of the house, through a narrow paffage, which was croffed by a beam overhead. We were ftill talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me be hind, and I turning partly towards him, when he faid haftily, "Stoop, Stoop!" I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never miffed any occafion of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me: "You are young, and have "the world before you : ftoop as you go through
it, and you will mifs many hard thumps." This advice, thus beat into my heart, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I fee pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
I long much to fee again my native place; and once hoped to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723. I vifited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763; and in 1773 I was in England. In 1775 I had a fight of it, but could not enter, it being in poffeffion of the enemy. I did hope to have been there in 1783, but could not obtain my difmiffion from this employment here; and now I fear I fhall never have that happiness: My best wishes however attend my dear country, "efto perpetua." It is now blessed with an excellent conftitution: may it laft for ever!
This powerful monarchy continues its friendfhip for the United States. It is a friendship of the utmost importance to our fecurity, and fhould be carefully cultivated. Britain has not yet well digefted the lofs of its dominion over us; and has ftill at times fome flattering hopes of
of recovering it. Accidents may increase those hopes, and encourage dangerous attempts. A breach between us and France would infallibly bring the English again upon our backs: and yet we have fome wild beafts among our countrymen, who are endeavouring to weaken that connection.
Let us preferve our reputation, by performing our engagements; our credit, by fulfilling our contracts; and our friends, by gratitude and kindness for we know not how foon we may have occafion for all of them.
With great and fincere efteem,
I have the honour to be,
Your moft obedient and
moft humble fervant,
PASSY, May 12, 1784.
THE WHISTLE :
A TRUE STORY.
WRITTEN TO HIS NEPHEW.
WHEN I was a child, at feven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a fhop where they fold toys for children; and being charmed with the found of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but difturbing all the family. My brothers, and fifters, and coufins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the reft of the money; and they laughed at me fo much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.
This however was afterwards of ufe to me, the impreffion continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy fome unneceffary thing, I faid to myself Don't give too much for the whistle; and fo I faved my money.
As I grew up, came into the world, and obferved the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
When I faw any one too ambitious of court favours, facrificing his time in attendance on