« ZurückWeiter »
-- 3 y J o OF THE LATE
coxsistING of HIS
L I F E,
The style of these memoirs is uncommonly pleasing. The story is told with the most unreserved sincerity, and without any false colouring or ornament. We see, in every page, that the author examined his subjects with the eye of a master, and related no incidents, the springs and origin of which he did not perfectly understand. It is this that gives such exquisite and uncommon perspicuity to the detail and delight in the review. The translator has endeavoured, as he went along, to conceive the probable manner in which Dr. Franklin expressed his ideas in his English manuscript, and he hopes to be forgiven if this enquiry shall occasionally have subjected him to the charge of a style in any respect bald or low; to imitate the admirable simplicity of the author, is no easy task. The Essays, which are now for the first time, brought together from various resources, will be found to be more miscellaneous than any of Dr. Franklin's that have formerly been collected, and will therefore be more generally amusing.
Dr. Franklin tells us, in his Life, that he was .
an assiduous imitator of Addison; and from some of these papers it will be admitted he was not an unhappy one. The public will be amused with following a great philosopher in his relaxation, and observe in what respects philosophy tends to elucidate and improve the most common subject. The editor has purposely avoided such papers, as by their scientifical
nature, were less adapted for general perusal. These he may probably hereafter publish in a volume by themselves. He subjoins a letter from the late celebrated and amiable Dr. Price, to a gentleman in Philadelphia, upon the subject of Dr. Franklin's memoirs of his own life. .
“I am hardly able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favour me. Your last containing an account of the death of our excellent friend, Dr. Franklin, and the circumstances attending it, deserves my particular gratitude. The account which he has left of his life will show, in a striking example, how a man by talents, industry, and integrity, may rise from obscurity to the first eminence and consequence in the world; but it brings his history no lower than the year 1757, and I understand that since he sent over the copy, which I have read, he has been able to make no additions to it. It is with a melancholy regret I think of his death; but to death we are all bound by the irreversible order of nature; and in looking forward to it, there is comfort in being able to reflect—that we have not lived in vain, and that all the useful and virtuous shall meet in a better country beyond the grave.
“Dr. Franklin, in the last letter I received from him, after mentioning his age and infirmities, observes, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the conclusion of life, we are furnished with more helps to wean us from it, among which, one of the strongest is the loss of dear friends. I was delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honours shewn to his memory at Philadelphia, and by Congress; and yesterday I received a high additional pleasure, by being informed that the National Assembly of France had determined to go in mourning for him.— What a glorious scene is opened there ! The annals of the world furnish no parallel to it. One of the honours of our departed friend is, that he has contributed much to it.
I am, with great respect,
Your obliged and very humble servant.