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self an authorized agent, he contrived to insinuate ideas, which may be presumed to have had their origin in a higher source. He put into Dr. Franklin's hands an ingenious paper, which he called a Fragment of Polybius, purporting to have been taken from a treatise by that historian on the Athenian government. It relates to a war in which Athens was engaged with the Grecian Islands, then in alliance with Caria. A close parallel is drawn between this pretended Grecian war and the actual war between England, France, and the United States. It ends with the plan of a treaty proposed by the Athenians, which, by merely changing the names of the parties, is intended to apply to the existing situation of the belligerent powers. The performance is elaborated with skill, and as a composition it shows the hand of a master. The terms are somewhat more favorable to the Americans, than any that had been before suggested, but the idea of independence is not admitted.

Dr. Franklin was ever ready to promote whatever could be useful to mankind. When Captain Cook's vessel was about to return from a voyage of discovery, he wrote a circular letter to the commanders of American cruisers, in his character of minister plenipotentiary, requesting them, in case they should meet with that vessel, not to capture it, nor suffer it to be detained or plundered of any thing on board, but to "treat the captain and his people with civility and kindness, affording them, as common friends of mankind, all the assistance in their power." This act of magnanimity was properly estimated by the British government. After Cook's Voyage was published, a copy of the work was sent to him by the Board of Admiralty, with a letter from Lord Howe, stating that it was forwarded with the approbation of the King.

One of the gold medals, struck by the Royal Society in honor of Captain Cook, was likewise presented to him.*

Acts of a similar kind were repeated in other instances. There was a settlement of Moravian missionaries on the coast of Labrador, to which the Society in London annually despatched a vessel laden with supplies. Dr. Franklin, at the request of Mr. Hutton, granted a passport to this vessel, which was renewed every year during the war. He afforded the same protection to a vessel, which sailed from Dublin with provisions and clothing for sufferers in the West Indies, contributed by charitable persons in that city.

When Paul Jones came to France, after his cruise in the Ranger, and his fortunate action with the Drake, a British sloop of war, the French ministry planned a descent upon the coast of England by a naval armament combined with land forces. The Marquis de Lafayette, who had recently returned from America, where he had won laurels by his bravery and good conduct in two campaigns, was to be at the head of the expedition. Paul Jones was to command the squadron, under the American flag, and he received. his instructions from Dr. Franklin. The plan was changed, just as it was on the point of being executed, in consequence of larger designs of the French cabinet; but Jones sailed with his little fleet some

* Dr. Kippis, in his "Life of Captain Cook," said, that Dr. Franklin's circular letter was disapproved by Congress, and that orders were sent out to seize the vessel, if an opportunity should occur. Dr. Belknap took pains to investigate the grounds of this charge, and ascertained that it was erroneous in every particular. Congress neither issued orders nor passed any resolve on the subject. The facts were communicated to Dr. Kippis, and he publicly acknowledged the error, into which he had been led by false information. See the Collections of the Mass. Hist. Society, Vol. IV. pp. 79-85; V. p. 1; and the Gentleman's Magazine for September, 1795, p. 715.

time afterwards, met the enemy, and gained a brilliant victory in the well known and desperate engagement between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis. The task of settling the affairs of his cruise, of reconciling the difficulties between him and Captain Landais, who was the second in command, and of deciding on the conflicting claims for prize money, devolved on Franklin.

Notwithstanding his laborious duties in the public service, he found time to bestow some attention upon philosophical studies; and, in the year 1779, he read a paper on the Aurora Borealis to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, in which he professed only to advance Suppositions and Conjectures towards forming an hypothesis for its explanation. His ideas are original and curious, though his conjectures may not perhaps be sustained by more recent discoveries. He says of this paper, in a letter to Dr. Priestley; "If it should occasion further inquiry, and so produce a better hypothesis, it will not be wholly useless." He seeks for the cause of this phenomenon in electricity, and supports his theory by plausible reasons, founded on such a knowledge of the science and of facts as then existed.*

It was also in the course of this year, that he communicated to Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, of London, materials for a more complete collection of his miscel

* Sir Humphrey Davy has described, with an acute discrimination, the predominant characteristics of Franklin's philosophical writings. "A singular felicity of induction guided all his researches, and by very small means he established very grand truths. The style and manner of his publication on Electricity are almost as worthy of admiration, as the doctrine it contains. He has endeavoured to remove all mystery and obscurity from the subject. He has written equally for the uninitiated and for the philosopher; and he has rendered his details amusing as well as perspicuous, elegant as well as simple. Science appears in his language in a dress wonderfully decorous, the best adapted to dis




laneous and political writings, than had hitherto appeared. Mr. Vaughan's edition is comprised in a single volume, but it possesses the merit of a methodical arrangement, and of having judicious and appropriate notes, explanatory and illustrative, which he was enabled to render accurate and valuable by his correspondence with the author.*

Doubting his powers to treat of peace, under his commission of plenipotentiary to France, even if an opportunity should offer, he recommended to Congress to appoint a minister for that purpose, and invest him with the requisite powers. The appointment was conferred on Mr. John Adams, soon after his return to the United States.

play her native loveliness. He has in no instance exhibited that false dignity, by which philosophy is kept aloof from common applications; and he has sought rather to make her a useful inmate and servant in the common habitations of man, than to preserve her merely as an object of admiration in temples and palaces."


*The volume is entitled, Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces." It was published by Johnson, in London, 1779. The editor's name is not mentioned in the title-page. Dr. Franklin read the printed sheets before they were published, and, in writing to Mr. Vaughan on the subject, he said; "I thank you for the great care and pains you have taken in regulating and correcting the edition of those papers. Your friendship for me appears in almost every page; and, if the preservation of any of them should prove of use to the public, it is to you that the public will owe the obligation." Under an engraved head of the author, at the beginning of the volume, is the following motto (from Horace), which was suggested by Bishop Shipley, - NON SORDIDUS AUCTOR NATURE VERIQUE. He also proposed another, "His Country's Friend, but more of Human Kind."


A French Army sent to the United States. - Lafayette. - Northern Powers of Europe combine in Defence of Neutrals. - Franklin's Opinion of Privateering. - Correspondence between Count de Vergennes and Mr. Adams. - Franklin's Remarks upon it. Charges against Franklin by his Enemies, examined and refuted. - New Attempt in Congress to procure his Recall.- Count de Vergennes's Opinion of him as Minister at the French Court. The numerous Duties of his Office. Colonel John Laurens.. - Franklin proposes to retire from New Propositions for Peace, through the Agency of Mr. Hartley. - Franklin's Answer to them.-His Friends at Passy and Auteuil. - Madame Brillon. - Madame Helvétius.

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IT had been a question much agitated both in France and America, since the treaty of alliance, whether it was advisable to send French troops to coöperate with the armies of the United States. The prudence of such an experiment was thought extremely doubtful. While fighting the battles of the mother country in former wars, the Americans had often been brought into conflict with the French on the frontiers. It was feared, that prejudices had been contracted, and habits formed, which would prevent the troops of the two nations from acting together in harmony, even if the people themselves could be reconciled to the presence of a French army. All aids from France, it was said, would be the most effectually rendered in money and by a naval force. Such was likewise the view taken by the French cabinet, and they acted upon this plan for two years. But many persons in the United States thought differently. They saw no reason, in the common principles of human nature, why a people should sacrifice their interests, and put their freedom in jeopardy, by giving themselves up to an inherited prejudice.

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