deserve a little indulgence.
I am yours, &c.
* * * * *
SINGULAR CUSTOM AMONG THE AMERICANS, ENTITLED WHITEWASHING.
My wish is to give you some account of the people of these new states;
but I am far from being qualified for the purpose, having as yet seen
but little more than the cities of New-York and Philadelphia. I have
discovered but few national singularities among them. Their customs and
manners are nearly the same with those of England, which they have long
been used to copy. For, previous to the revolution, the Americans were
from their infancy taught to look up to the English as patterns of
perfection in all things. I have observed, however, one custom, which,
for aught I know, is peculiar to this country. An account of it will
serve to fill up the remainder of this sheet, and may afford you some
When a young couple are about to enter into the matrimonial state, a
never-failing article in the marriage treaty is, that the lady shall
have and enjoy the free and unmolested exercise of the rights of
_whitewashing_, with all its ceremonials, privileges, and appurtenances.
A young woman would forego the most advantageous connexion, and even
disappoint the warmest wish of her heart, rather than resign the
invaluable right. You would wonder what this privilege of _whitewashing_
is: I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony, as I have
seen it performed.
There is no season of the year in which the lady may not claim her
privilege, if she pleases; but the latter end of May is most generally
fixed upon for the purpose. The attentive husband may judge by certain
prognostics when the storm is nigh at hand. When the lady is unusually
fretful, finds fault with the servants, is discontented with the
children, and complains much of the filthiness of everything about her,
these are signs which ought not to be neglected; yet they are not
decisive, as they sometimes come on and go off again without producing
any farther effect. But if, when the husband rises in the morning, he
Franklin 365 Dr.Page 10
And thus, if they should at any time manufacture some coarse article, which on account of its bulk or some other circumstance, cannot so well be brought to them from Britain; it only enables them the better to pay for finer goods, that _otherwise_ they could not indulge themselves in: so that the exports thither are not diminished by such manufacture, but rather increased.Page 133
Our wise first proprietor and founder was fully sensible of this; and being desirous of leaving his people happy, and preventing the mischiefs that he foresaw must in time arise from that circumstance if it was continued, he determined to take it away, if possible, during his own lifetime.Page 140
But your.Page 142
" What! without enquiry! without examination! without a hearing of what the assembly might say in support of it! "wholly disregard" the petition of your representatives in assembly, accompanied by other petitions, signed by thousands of your fellow-subjects as loyal, if not as wise and as good, as yourselves! Would you wish to see your great and amiable prince act a part that could not become a dey of Algiers? Do you, who are Americans, pray for a _precedent_ of such contempt in the treatment of an American assembly! such "total disregard" of their humble applications to the throne? Surely your wisdoms here have overshot yourselves.Page 173
It was written possibly about the time that governor Pownall was engaged in publishing his book on the _administration of the colonies_.Page 175
_ There is only a post between Montreal and Quebec.Page 180
I know there have been some attempts, by ministerial instructions from hence, to oblige the assemblies to settle permanent salaries on governors, which they wisely refused to do; but I believe no assembly of New York, or any other colony, ever refused duly to support government by proper allowances, from time to time, to public officers.Page 183
_ I suppose it was.Page 199
28, 1768.Page 233
Howe in Boston; and I believe it was during this visit, that gen.Page 270
The different factions, which at present divide us, aim all at the public good: the differences are only about the various modes of promoting it.Page 285
Franklin's, to require being authenticated.Page 399
in fermentation, the same as that of the human body, 80.Page 406
_Smoky_ chimnies, observation on the causes and cure of, ii.