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I shall tire you, perhaps, with the length of this letter; but I am the more particular, in order, if possible, to satisfy your mind about your son's situation. His master has, by a letter this post, desired me to write to him about his staying out of nights, sometimes all night, and refusing to give an account where he spends his time, or in what company. This I had not heard of before, though I perceive you have. I do not wonder at his correcting him for that. If he was my own son, I should think his master did not do his duty by him, if he omitted it, for to be sure it is the high road to destruction. And I think the correction very light, and not likely to be very effectual, if the strokes left no marks.
His master says farther, as follows; “I think I cannot charge my conscience with being much short of my duty to him. I shall now desire you, if you have not done it already, to invite him to lay his complaints before you, that I may know how to remedy them.” Thus far the words of his letter, which giving me a fair opening to inquire into the affair, I shall accordingly do it, and I hope settle every thing to all your satisfactions. In the mean time, I have laid by your letters both to Mr. Parker and Benny, and shall not send them till I hear again from you ; because I think your appearing to give ear to such groundless stories may give offence, and create a greater misunderstanding, and because I think what you write to Benny, about getting him discharged, may tend to unsettle his mind, and therefore improper at this time.
I have a very good opinion of Benny in the main, and have great hopes of his becoming a worthy man, his faults being only such as are commonly incident to boys of his years, and he has many good qualities, for which I love him. I never knew an apprentice con
tented with the clothes allowed him by his master, let them be what they would. Jemmy Franklin, when with me, was always dissatisfied and grumbling. When I was last in Boston, his aunt bid him go to a shop and please himself, which the gentleman did, and bought a suit of clothes on my account dearer by one half, than any I ever afforded myself, one suit excepted; which I don't mention by way of complaint of Jemmy, for he and I are good friends, but only to show you the nature of boys.
The letters to Mr. Vanhorne were sent by Mr. Whitefield, under my cover.
I am, with love to brother and all yours, and duty to mother, to whom I have not time now to write, your affectionate brother,
TO JOSIAH AND ABIAH FRANKLIN.
Remedies for the Stone and Gravel.
Philadelphia, 6 September, 1744. HONORED FATHER AND MOTHER I apprehend I am too busy in prescribing and meddling in the doctor's sphere, when any of you complain of ails in your letters. But, as I always employ a physician myself, when any disorder arises in my family, and submit implicitly to his orders in every thing, so I hope you consider my advice, when I give any, only as a mark of my good will, and put no more of it in practice than happens to agree with what your doctor directs.
Your notion of the use of strong lye I suppose may have a good deal in it. The salt of tartar, or salt of wormwood, frequently prescribed for cutting, opening,
and cleansing, is nothing more than the salt of lye procured by evaporation. Mrs. Stevens's medicine for the stone and gravel, the secret of which was lately purchased at a great price by the Parliament, has for its principal ingredient salt, which Boerhaave calls the most universal remedy. The same salt intimately mixed with oil of turpentine, which you also mentioned, make the sapo philosophorum, wonderfully extolled by some chemists for like purposes. It is highly probable, as your doctor says, that medicines are much altered in passing between the stomach and bladder; but such salts seem well fitted in their nature to pass with the least alteration of almost any thing we know; and, if they will not dissolve gravel and stone, yet I am half persuaded that a moderate use of them may go a great way towards preventing these disorders, as they assist a weaker digestion in the stomach, and powerfully dissolve crudities such as those which I have frequently experienced. As to honey and molasses, I did not mention them merely as openers and looseners, but also from conjecture, that, as they are heavier in themselves than our common drink, they might when dissolved in our bodies increase the gravity of our fluids, the urine in particular, and by that means keep separate and suspended therein those particles, which, when unused, form gravel, &c.
I will inquire after the herb you mention. We have a botanist here, an intimate friend of mine, who knows all the plants in the country. He would be glad of the correspondence of some gentlemen of the same taste with you, and has twice, through my hands, sent specimens of the famous Chinese ginseng, found here, to persons who desired it in Boston, neither of whom has had the civility to write him a word in answer, or
even to acknowledge the receipt of it, of which please to give a hint to brother John.
We have had a very healthy summer and a fine harvest; the country is filled with bread; but, as trade declines since the war began, I know not what our farmers will do for a market. I am your affectionate and dutiful son,
TO JOHN FRANKLIN, AT BOSTON Humorous Remarks on the Expedition against Cape Breton.*
Philadelphia, 1745. - Our people are extremely impatient to hear of your success at Cape Breton. My shop is filled with thirty inquiries at the coming in of every post. Some wonder the place is not yet taken. I tell them I shall be glad to hear that news three months hence. Fortified towns are hard nuts to crack; and your teeth have not been accustomed to it. Taking strong places is a particular trade, which you have taken up without serving an apprenticeship to it. Armies and veterans need skilful engineers to direct them in their attack. Have you any? But some seem to think forts are as easy taken as snuff. Father Moody's prayers look tolerably modest. You have a fast and prayer day for that purpose; in which I compute five hundred thousand petitions were offered up to the same effect in New England, which added to the petitions of every family morning and evening, multiplied by the number of days since January 25th, make forty-five millions of
* The expedition against Cape Breton proved successful, by the surrender of Louisburg, on the 17th of June. The news arrived in Boston on the 3d of July.
prayers; which, set against the prayers of a few priests in the garrison, to the Virgin Mary, give a vast balance in your favor.
If you do not succeed, I fear I shall have but an indifferent opinion of Presbyterian prayers in such cases, as long as I live. Indeed, in attacking strong towns I should have more dependence on works, than on faith ; for, like the kingdom of heaven, they are to be taken by force and violence; and in a French garrison I suppose there are devils of that kind, that they are not to be cast out by prayers and fasting, unless it be by their own fasting for want of provisions. I believe there is Scripture in what I have wrote, but I cannot adorn the margin with quotations, having a bad memory, and no Concordance at hand; besides no more time than to subscribe myself, &c.
TO JAMES READ.
Saturday Morning, 17 August, 1745. DEAR JEMMY, I have been reading your letter over again, and, since you desire an answer, I sit down to write you one; yet, as I write in the market, it will, I believe, be but a short one, though I may be long about it. I approve of your method of writing one's mind, when one is too warm to speak it with temper; but, being quite cool myself in this affair, I might as well speak as write, if I had an opportunity.
Are you an attorney by profession, and do you know no better how to choose a proper court in which to bring your action ? Would you submit to the decision of a husband, a cause between you and his wife? Don't you know that all wives are in the right? It