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the first, when he had read but part of the work, he seemed to think something wanting in it. In the next, he calls his first sentiments in question. I think I will send you the letters, though of no great importance, lest, since I have mentioned them, you should think his remarks might be of more consequence. You can return them when any friend is coming this way.

To Miss Mary Your good mamma has just been saying to Stevenson,

me, that she wonders what can possibly be the dated Monday morning, reason she has not had a line from you for so 8 March, 1762.

long a time. I have made no complaint of that kind, being conscious, that, by not writing myself, I have forfeited all claim to such favor, though no letters give me more pleasure, and I often wish to hear from you; but indolence grows upon me with years, and writing grows more and more irksome to me.

Have you finished your course of philosophy? No more doubts to be resolved ? No more questions to ask? If so, you may now be at full leisure to improve yourself in cards. Mamma bids me tell you she is lately much afflicted and half a cripple with the rheumatism. I send you two or three French Gazettes de Médecine, which I have just received from Paris, wherein is a translation of the extract of a letter you copied out for me. You will return them with my French letters on Electricity, when you have perused them.

To his wife,
dated Lon-
don, 24
March, 1762.

I condole with you most sincerely on the death of our good mother,* being extremely sensible of the distress and affliction it must

* Mrs. Read, the mother of Mrs. Franklin.-ED.

have thrown you into. Your comfort will be, that no care was wanting on your part towards her, and that she had lived as long as this life could afford her any rational enjoyment. It is, I am sure, a satisfaction to me, that I cannot charge myself with having ever failed in one instance of duty and respect to her during the many years that she called me son. The circumstances attending her death were indeed unhappy in some respects; but something must bring us all to our end, and few of us shall see her length of days. My love to brother John Read, and sister and cousin Debby, and young cousin Johnny Read, and let them all know, that I sympathize with them all affectionately.

This I write in haste, Mr. Beatty having just called on me to let me know, that he is about to set out for Portsmouth, in order to sail for America. I am finishing all business here in order for my return, which will either be in the Virginia fleet, or by the packet of May next; I am not yet determined which. I pray God grant us a happy meeting

We are all well, and Billy presents his duty. Mr. Strahan has received your letter, and wonders he has not been able to persuade you to come over.

To David

It is no small pleasure to me to hear from Hume, dated London,

you that my paper on the means of preserving

19 May, 1762. buildings from damage by lightning, was acceptable to the Philosophical Society. Mr. Russel's proposals of improvement are very sensible and just. A lead spout or pipe is undoubtedly a good conductor, so far as it goes. If the conductor enters the ground just at the foundation, and from thence is carried horizontally to some well, or to a distant rod driven downright into the earth, I would

then propose, that the part under the ground should be lead, as less liable to consume with rust than iron. Because, if the conductor near the foot of the wall should be wasted, the lightning might act on the moisture of the earth, and by suddenly rarefying it occasion an explosion, that may damage the foundation. In the experiment of discharging my large case of electrical bottles through a piece of small glass tube filled with water, the suddenly rarefied water has exploded with a force equal, I think, to that of so much gunpowder; bursting the tube into many pieces, and driving them with violence in all directions and to all parts of the room. The shivering of trees into small splinters, like a broom, is probably owing to this rarefaction of the sap in the longitudinal pores, or capillary pipes, in the substance of the wood. And the blowing up of bricks or stones in a hearth, rending stones out of a foundation, and splitting of walls, are also probably effects sometimes of rarefied moisture in the earth, under the hearth, or in the walls. We should therefore have a durable conductor under ground, or convey the lightning to the earth at some distance.

It must afford Lord Marischal a good deal of diversion to preside in a dispute so ridiculous as that you mention. Judges in their decisions often use precedents. I have somewhere met with one, that is what the lawyers call a case in point. The Church people and the Puritans in a country town had once a bitter contention concerning the erecting of a Maypole, which the former desired and the latter opposed. Each party endeavoured to strengthen itself by obtain'ng the authority of the mayor, directing or forbidding a Maypole. He heard their altercation with great patience, and then gravely determined thus : “You,

that are for having no Maypole, shall have no Maypole; and you, that are for having a Maypole, shall have a Maypole. Get about your business, and let me hear no more of this quarrel.''*

Your compliment of gold and wisdom is very obliging to me, but a little injurious to your country. The various value of every thing in every part of this world arises, you know, from the various proportions of the quantity to the demand. We are told, that gold and silver in Solomon's time were so plenty, as to be of no more value in his country than the stones in the street. You have here at present just such a plenty of wisdom. Your people are,

, therefore, not to be censured for desiring no more among them than they have; and if I have any, I should certainly carry it where, from its scarcity, it may probably come to a better market.

*

To Mary Ste

Our ships for America do not sail venson, dated London,

so soon as I expected; it will be yet five or

7 June, 1762. six weeks before we embark, and leave the old world for the new. I fancy I feel a little like dying saints, who, in parting with those they love in this world, are only comforted with the hope of more perfect happiness in the next. I have, in America, connexions of the most engaging kind; and, happy as I have been in the friendships here contracted, those promise me greater and more lasting felicity. But God only knows whether these promises shall be fulfilled.

* Lord Marischal was a person of consideration in Neufchâtel, to whom Dr. Franklin had communicated, through Mr. Hume, a paper containing directions for putting up lightning rods.-S.

To Mary Ste This is the best paper I can get at this venson, dated Portsmouth,

wretched inn, but it will convey what is inII August, trusted to it as faithfully as the finest. It will 1762.

tell my Polly how much her friend is afflicted, that he must, perhaps, never again see one for whom he has so sincere an affection, joined to so perfect an esteem ; who he once flattered himself might become his own, in the tender relation of a child, but can now entertain such pleasing hopes no more.* Will it tell how much he is afflicted? No, it cannot.

Adieu, my dearest child. I will call you so. Why should I not call you so, since I love you with all the tenderness of a father? Adieu. May the God of all goodness shower down his choicest blessings upon you, and make you infinitely happier, than that event would have made you. And, wherever I am, believe me to be, with unalterable affection, my dear Polly, your sincere friend.

To Lord

I am now waiting here only for a wind to Kames, dated Portsmouth,

waft me to America, but cannot leave this 17 August, happy island and my friends in it, without 1762.

extreme regret, though I am going to a country and a people that I love. I am going from the old world to the new; and I fancy I feel like those, who are leaving this world for the next; grief at the parting ; fear of the passage ; hope of the future. These different passions all affect their minds at once; and these have tendered me down exceedingly. It is usual for the dying to beg forgiveness of their surviving friends, if they have ever offended them.

Can you, my Lord, forgive my long silence, and my not

This paragraph discloses Franklin's hope that his son William would have married Miss Stevenson.-ED.

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