« ZurückWeiter »
LIFE AND WRITINGS
LL.D. F.R.S. &c.
MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF TO A LATE PERIOD,
AND CONTINUED TO THE TIME OF HIS DEATH
BY HIS GRANDSON,
WILLIAM TEMPLE FRANKLIN.
Stub jBuoIfc 0tqotiatiom of SDr. JFranMttt,
AND HI! SELECT
POLITICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, AND MISCELLANEOUS WORKS,
PRINTED FOR HENRY COLBURN, CONDUIT STREET.
THE FIRST EDITION
Familiar letters have been usually considered as exhibiting a portraiture of the human mind; and though perhaps they are not always to be so regarded, especially in the intercourse of public men upon subjects involving particular interests and questions of national policy; yet even from these documents the most valuable materials of history are drawn, and the secret springs of great events are disclosed. Hence it is, that a deserved importance has ever been attached to the correspondence of persons who have figured with distinction in political revolutions, and the foundation of new states: for hereby are unfolded the motives of individuals, and the influence of parties; from whose pertinacity and intrigues proceed conflicts, projects, and establishments which the agitators never contemplated, and which the most sagacious observers of human nature could not have anticipated.
Among the changes that have taken place in the condition of political society, the separation of the American colonies from the parent country has been by far the most prolific and extensive in its effects of any in the history of modern ages.
It is presumed, therefore, that little need be said on the value of the correspondence of Dr. FrankLin, whose extraordinary abilities as a statesman were felt and acknowledged in both countries, and by persons of opposite sentiments. But what renders his letters on the public concerns in which he was engaged peculiarly interesting, is the spirit of candor that runs through the whole of them, and the style of simplicity by which they are recommended as models of epistolary composition, and stamped beyond all question as authorities of the first character; though certainly not written with a