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has recently been reprinted, with some additions, in two volumes of the royal octavo size. There has also recently been published at Paris, in two small volumes, a selection from Franklin's writings, in Spanish, translated from the French by Mangino.
In the volumes now presented to the public, it has been the Editor's design to make a complete collection of the writings of Franklin, as far as they are known to exist, and to add such occasional notes and explanations, as he supposed would be in some degree useful to the reader. The previous collections have been examined, and every piece contained in them has been inserted, except a few, which the Editor was convinced by competent evidence were not written by Franklin. Moreover, a careful search has been made in all the printed books, magazines, pamphlets, and newspapers, in which it was deemed probable that any of the author's writings would be found, in the form either of essays, political tracts, or letters. By this research the mass materials from printed sources has been considerably enlarged. Seven years ago the Editor published a small volume of Franklin's “ Familiar Letters,” which were then nearly all printed for the first time, and to which were added several original pa
The entire contents of that volume are embraced in the present work. In short, no printed paper has been omitted, which is known to have been written by Franklin.
The Editor has been fortunate, also, in obtaining
manuscript materials. His researches, as well in the public offices of London and Paris, as in those of the United States, and in many private collections, while he was preparing the “Life and Writings of Washington " for publication, brought into his hands numerous original and unpublished letters of Franklin, of which he has availed himself in this work. But he has been mainly indebted to individuals, who, with a liberality demanding the warmest acknowledgment, have readily contributed such original papers as they possessed.
First, more than twenty original letters were found among
of Cadwallader Colden, now in the possession of Mr. David C. Colden, of New York, who politely allowed copies of them to be taken. They are the more valuable, as being of an early date, and containing biographical incidents. Among these papers, also, was the only copy, which has been discovered, of Franklin's original proposal for an American Philosophical Society. Secondly, the manuscripts of James Logan have furnished a few letters, and much matter for notes, selected by Mr. J. Francis Fisher, of Philadelphia, from whom the Editor has likewise received many other substantial tokens of kindness in aid of his undertaking, particularly copies of Franklin's letters to John Bartram, the botanist. Thirdly, a dozen letters to the Reverend Jared Eliot, of early date, interesting and curious, furnished by Mr. Thomas F. Davies, of New Haven. Fourthly, correspondence with James Bowdoin, on
philosophical and political subjects, extending through many years, now in the possession of Mr. Thomas L. Winthrop, of Boston, who, in the most liberal manner, permitted the whole to be inspected, and free use of it to be made. Fifthly, more than forty letters to Mary Stevenson, afterwards Mrs. Hewson, and some other original papers, received from her daughter, Mrs. Caldwell, of Philadelphia. Sixthly, several letters to his relative, Jonathan Williams, and others to Samuel Franklin, furnished by Mr. Samuel Bradford, of Philadelphia. Seventhly, letters to Catherine Ray, afterwards married to William Greene, governor of Rhode Island, some of them of an early date and interesting, received from Mr. William Greene, of Cincinnati. Eighthly, letters to Charles Thomson, furnished through the kindness of Mr. William B. Reed, of Philadelphia, who procured them from Mr. John Thomson. Ninthly, numerous letters to his sister, Jane Mecom, derived from various sources.
The Reverend Dr. Charles Lowell obtained in Scotland, through the politeness of Mr. Home Drummond and Baron Hume, copies of a few letters to Lord Kames and David Hume, which had not been published. One of those to Hume is important, as affording positive proof, that Dr. Franklin was not the author of the “ Historical Review of Pennsylvania,” a point that had long been a subject of dispute.
In the Philadelphia Athenæum are volumes of pamphlets, which belonged to Dr. Franklin, and in some of which are curious marginal notes in his handwriting. The most important of these notes have been selected by the Editor, and they are inserted in the present work. From the manuscripts in the library of the American Philosophical Society he also procured valuable materials, for which, and for numerous kind offices in aid of his inquiries, he is under special obligations to Mr. John Vaughan, the librarian and treasurer of the Society. Dr. Franklin was agent for Massachusetts in London nearly five years, during which time he kept up an uninterrupted correspondence on public affairs with the Speaker of the Assembly. A few only of his letters, written on the business of this agency, have before been published. Copies of all that remain in the Secretary's office have now been obtained, and they are printed in these volumes.
From another source some very interesting letters have been derived, which relate to public events in the author's life during the same period. In the library of George the Third, presented to the British nation by George the Fourth, is a manuscript volume consisting of a correspondence between the Reverend Dr. Cooper, of Boston, Dr. Franklin, and Governor Pownall, for several years immediately preceding the Revolution. The history of this volume is curious. Immediately after the affair at Lexington, the town of Boston was surrounded by American troops, and all intercourse with the country was cut off, except by permission of the British commander ; and no person was allowed to pass the lines without being searched. Among the principal men in the town, who were friendly to the cause of the people, was Dr. Cooper, a man distinguished for his abilities and for the influence he had exercised, by his pen and the weight of his character, in opposition to the British claims. With others he obtained a passport to leave the town.
At this time he had in his possession a number of original letters from Dr. Franklin and Governor Pownall, and the drafts of his answers, all of which had an immediate bearing on the controversy between the two countries. Being unwilling to destroy or lose these papers, and apprehensive that they would be taken from him if he attempted to convey them through the lines, he determined to leave them behind, in the hands of a confidential friend, with directions to forward them to him by the first safe opportunity. He accordingly put them together in a parcel, and sent them to Mr. Jeffries, who was then confined to his bed hy sickness, and unable to leave the town. These papers Mr. Jeffries deposited in a trunk, which contained other things of his own.
As soon as Mr. Jeffries recovered, he likewise went into the country.
In the mean time his son, Dr. John Jeffries, adhering to the side of the loyalists, did not choose to accompany his father, but remained in Boston; and his father left many things in his charge, and among others the abovementioned trunk, either not knowing or forgetting that it contained the treas