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and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to fellow, 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 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 has 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 the beginning of 1724, when I visited
aper. or these letters hen I came, alu se successive d departure had f point of setting n's house, to I saw his
e Governor ws.
g taken leave
hia. At S
me on the
e occasion for
id. my friends. pers. I went for children; whistle, that er boy, I voI then ver the house, Turbing all the d cousins, untold me I had s worth. This at have bought aughed at me ith vexation; grin than the
him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received ne 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 over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, "Stoop! 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 head, 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 1733, 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 1783, but could not obtain my dismissión from this employment here; and now I fear I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes however attend my dear country, "este 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 connexion.
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,
Your most obedient and
Passy, May 12th, 1784.
A True Story-Written to his Nephew.
WHEN I was a child, at seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pockets 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 1 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 the 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 their 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