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ESSAYS, HUMOUROUS, MORAL AND
ON EARLY MARRIAGES,
TO JOHN ALLEYNE, ESQ.
DEAR JACK, VOU desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the .
1 subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections that have been made by numerous persons to your own. You may remember, when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think, that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying, as 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 offer their aɛvice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage, vouth 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 eircumstances of particular persons, may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay eptering 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 ourselves, such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages 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 condi. tion, find, at length, that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lesa sens 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 scissors? it can't well cut any thing; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher.
Pray make my compliments and best wishes ac. ceptable 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
vou, 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 frequent bandyings, are apt to end in anger 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 vill 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,
ON THE DEATH OF HIS BROTHER,
Mr. JOHN FRANKLIN.
TO MISS HUBBARD. I CONDOLE, with you, We have lost a most dear 1 and valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead. Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy soci. ety? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure ; instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolenç that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it; and he who quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains, and possibili. ties of pain and diseases, it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.
Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first ; and he is gone before us. We could not all con. veniently start together: and why should you and I'be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him ?
TO THE LATE
Dr. MATHER of BOSTON,
REV. SIR, T RECEIVED your kind letter, with your excellent
advice to 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 cha
racter of a doer of good, than any other kind of repu., tation ; 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 vi. sited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania : he received me in his library ; and on my taking leave, shewed 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 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 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 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 ognstitution : may it last forever!