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when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence, which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage, youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life; and possibly some of those accidents or connections, that might have injured the constitution, or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. Particular circumstances of particular persons may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favour, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience, that there is not the same chance that the parents shall live to see their offspring educated. “ Late children,” says the Spanish proverb,“ are early orphans.” A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be! With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to our selves, such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early inarriages we are blessed with more children; and from the mode among us, founded by nature, of every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Thence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe. In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life-the fate of many here, who never intended it, but who, having too long postponed the change of their condition, find, at length, that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation, that greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume of a set of books bears not the value of its proportion to the set: what think you of the odd half of a pair of scissar's? it cannot well cut any thing; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher.
Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe it. Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest; for slights in jest, after fre. quent bandyings, are apt to end in angry earnest. Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least, you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both! being ever your affectionate friend,
TO DOCTOR MATHER OF BOSTON*.
Effect of early Impressions on the Mind. Rev. Sir, 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 passed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, the effects may be considerable.
Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy, I met with a book entitled, “ Essays to do good,” which I think was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by a former possessor that several leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct through life: for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.
You mention your being in your seventy-eighth year. I am in my seventy ninth. We are grown old together. It is now more than sixty years since I left Boston; but I remember well both your father and grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after
* From the American Museum, Vol. VII. p. 100, Editor.
my first trip to Pensylvania. He received me in his library; and, on my taking leave, showed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, “ Sloop, stoop!" I did not understand him, till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me: “ You are young, and have the world before you : stoop as you go through it, and you will miss 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 see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
I long much to see again my native place; and once hoped to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723. I visited it in 173, 1743, 1753, and 1763; and in 1773 I was in England. In 1775 I had a sight of it, but could not enter, it being in possession of the enemy. I did hope to have been there in 1789, but could not obtain my dismission from this employment here; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes however attend my dear country," esto perpetua." It is now blessed with an excellent constitution : may it last for ever!
This powerful monarchy continues its friendship for the United States. It is a friendship of the utmost importance to our security, and should be carefully cultivated. Britain has not yet well digested the loss of its dominion over us; and has still at times some flattering hopes 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 some wild beasts among our countrymen, who are endeavouring to weaken that connection.
Let us preserve our reputation, by performing our engagements;, our credit, by fulfilling our contracts; and our friends, by gratitude and kindness : for we know not how soon we may again have occasion for all of them. With great and sincere esteem,
I have the honour to be,
Passy, May, 12, 1784.
Passy, Nov. 10, 1779. I RECEIVED my dear friend's two letters, one for Wednesday, and one for Saturday. This is again Wednesday. I do not deserve one for to day, because I have not answered the former. But indolent as I am, and averse to writing, the fear of having no more of
* This story has generally been supposed to have been written by Dr. Franklin for his nephew; but it seems, by the introductory paragraphs which we have no where seen prefixed to the story but in a small collection of our author's works printed at Paris, to have been addressed to some female relative. The two concluding paragraphs, which are from the same source, are equally new to us. Editor.