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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 dominions 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,
most humble servant, Passy, May 12,
B. FRANKLIN 1784.
A TRUE STORY.
WRITTEN TO HIS NEPHEW.
'HEN I was a child, at seven years old, my friendt
on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers, I' went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and being charmed with the sound 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 disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, 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 rest of my money; and they laughed at me so 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 use to me, the impression continuing on my mind: so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle ; and so I saved my money.
As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
When I saw any one too ambitious of court favours, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives 100 much for his whistle.
When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining thein by that neglect: He pays indeed, says I, too much for his whistle.
If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth : Poor man, says I, you do indeed pay too much. for your whistle.
When I meet a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations; Mistaken man, says I, you are providing rain for yourself, instead of pleasures you give too much for your whistle.
If I see one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in prison ; Alas, says I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.
When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl, married to an ill-natured brute of a husband; What a pity it is, says I, that she has paid so much for a whistle.
In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the false estimates they had made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.
TO THOSE WHO HAVE THE SUPERINTEN
DENCY OF EDUCATION.
ADDRESS myself to all the friends of youth,
and conjure them to direct their compassionate regards to my unhappy fate, in order to remove the prejudices of which I am the victim. There are twin sisters of us; and the two eyes of man do not more resemble, nor are capable of being upon better terms with each other, than my sister and myself, were it not for the partiality of our parents, who make the most injurious distinctions between us. From my infancy I have been led to consider my sister as a being of a more elevated rank. I was suffered to grow up without the least instruction, while nothing was spared in her education. She had masters to teach her writing, drawing, music, and other accomplishments; but if by chance I touched a pencil, a pen, or a needle, I was bitterly rebuked ; and more than once I have been beaten for being aukward, and wanting a graceful manner. It is true, my sister associated me with her upon some occasions ; but she always made a point of taking the lead, calling upon me only from necessity, or to figure by her side.
But conceive not, Sirs, that my complaints are instigated merely by vanity-No ; my uneasiness is occasioned by one object much more serious. It is the practice in our family, that the whole business of providing for its subsistence falls upon my sister and my. self. If any indisposition should attack my sisterand I mention it in confidence, upon this occasion, that she is subject to the gout, the rheumatism and cramp, without making mention of other accidents—what would be the fate of our poor family ? Must not the regret of our parents be excessive, at having placed so great a difference between sisters who are perfectly equal? Alas! we must perish from distress: for it would not be in my power even to scrawl a suppliant petition for relief, having been obliged to employ the hand of another in transcribing the request which I have now the honour to prefer to you.
Condescend, Sirs, to make my parents sensible of the injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessity of distributing their care and affection among all their children equally.
I am, with a profound respect,
THE LEFT HAND.
HANDSOME and DEFORMED LEG,
THERE are two sorts of people in the world, who
other comforts of life, become the one happy, and the other miserable. This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and events ; and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.
In whatever situation men can be placed, they may find conveniencies and inconveniencies ; in whatever company, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing; at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed : in whatever climate they will find good and bad weather: under whatever government, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws : in whateva er poem, or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties: in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above-mentioned, fix their attention, those who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniencies of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the well-dressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy all with cheerfulness. Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and by their remark, sour the pleasures of society ; offend personally many people, and make themselves every where disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons would be the more to be pitied. But as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is perhaps, taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may nevertheless bé cured, when those who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity ; I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them on changing a habit, which, though in the exercise, it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfor