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the duties of a public minister of state, or the private executor of a will. Those talents, which have separ. ately entered into the composition of other eminent characters in the various' departments of life, were in him united to form one great and splendid character; and, whoever, in future shall be said to have deserved well of his country, need not think himself undervalued, when he shall be compared to a Franklin, in any of the great talents he possessed; but the man who shall be said to equal him in all his talents, and who shall devote them to the like benevolent and be. neficent purposes, for the service of his country and the happiness of mankind, can receive no further addition to his praise." Franklin was never ashamed of his origin, or avoided referring to the time when he wrought for daily hire. In a conver. sation at Paris, in company with Count D'Aranda and the Duke de la Rochefoucault, he replied to an Irish gentleman who asked him some questions concerning the state of the paper manufactory there, “ Few men can give you more information on that subject than myself, for I was originally in the printing trade.” When in London he visited the spot, then occupied by Mr Hett, where he once laboured ; and he retired with apparent gratification. The following extract may serve to evince that rare degree of modesty which he ever retained. In a letter to Dr. Mather of Boston, he says, “You mention your being in your 78th year, I am in my 79th. We are grown old together. It is now more than 60 years since I left Boston, but I remember well - both your father and grandfather. The last time I saw the former was in the beginning of 1724, when
I visited him after my first trip to Pensylvania. He · received me in bis library; and on my taking leave,
shewed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he ac. companying me behind, and I turping partly towards him, when he said, hastily, “Stoop, stoop!” I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction; and said to me, “You are young and have the world before you; stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps.” This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought on people by their carrying their heads too high." If we may judge from many parts of Dr. Franklin's writings, his character in private life was marked with those finer feelings which are calculated to render mankind in general, and particularly one's friends and descendents, happy. On every occasion he seems to have exerted himself in the promotion of virtue, toleration, and liberality of sentiment; to excite a spirit of diligence and industry among his countrymen ; to improve literature and science; and to advance the interests of humanity and universal benevolence.
66 When I was a boy,” says hé, " I met with a book entitled “Essays to do good.” It had been so little regarded by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out; but the re. mainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to bare an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of reputation; and if I have been a useful citizen, the public owes the ad. vantage of it to that book.” In a plan drawn up by him and Mr. Dalrymple, dated Aug. 29, 1771,
for subscribing towards a voyage to civilize the in. habitants of New Baland, the Doctor, among other things, says, “Many voyages have been undertaken with views of profit or plunder, or to gratify resent. ment; to procure some advantage to ourselves or to do some mischief to others : but a voyage is now.pro.. posed to visit a distant people on the other side of the globe; not to rob them, nor to seize their lands, or enslave their persons ; but merely to do them good, and make them, as far as in our power lies, to live as comfortably as ourselves. It seems a laudable wish that all the nations of the earth were connected by a knowledge of each other, and a mutual exchange of benefits: but a commercial nation particularly, should wish for a general civilization of mankind, since trade is always carried on to much greater extent with people who have the arts and conveniences of life, than it can be with mere savages. We may therefore hope in this undertaking, to be of some service to our coun. try as well as to those poor people who, however dis. tant from us, are in truth related to us, and whose interests do in sojne degreeconcern every one who can say, “Homo sum, et humani a me lientum puto.”_ I am a man, and nothing which relates to man can be foreign to my mind. llis ideas of the s'ave-trade are a further confirmation of the benevolence of his dis position. “ Navigation," observes our philosopher, 66 when employed in supplying necessary provisions for a country in want, and thereby preventing famines, which were more frequent and destructive before the invention of that art, is undoubtedly a blessing to mankind. When employed merely in transporting superfluities, it is a question whether the advantago of the employment it affords is equal to the mischief of hazarding so many lives on the ocean; but when
employed in pillaging merchants, and transporting slaves, it is clearly the means ofzugmenting the mass of human misery. It is amazing to think of the ships and lives risked in fetching tea from Chica, coffee from Arabia, sugar and tobacco from America, all which our ancestors did well without. Sugar employs near one thousand ships, tobacco almost as many. For the utility of tobacco little deeds be said ; and for that of sugar, how much more commendable would it be if we could give up the few minutes gratification afforded once or twice a day by the taste of sugar in our tea, rather than encourage the cruelties exercised in producing it. An eminent French moralist says, that when he considers the wars we excite in Africa
to obtain slaves, the numbers necessarily slain in · those wars, the many prisoners who perish at sea, by sickness, bad provisions, foul air, &c. &c. in the transportation, and how many afterwards die from the hardships of slavery, he cannot look on a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained with spots of human blood! Had he added the consideration of the wars we make to take and retake the sugar islands from one another, and the fleets and armies which perish in those expeditions, he might have seen bis bugar not merely spotted, but thoroughly dyed scarlet in grain. It is these wars which make the maritime powers of Europe, the inhabitants of London and Paris, pay dearer for sugar than those of Vienna, a thousand miles from the sea, because their sugar costs pot only the price they pay for it by the pound, but all they pay in taxes to maintain their fleets and armies which fight for it.-Letter to Mr. Alphonsus le Roy.
In company, Dr. Franklin was sententious, but not fluent; more inclined to listen than to talk; an instructive rather than a lively companion. Yet his conversation was valuable, not only on account of the prominence of truth and virtue therein discoverable, but from a precision and accuracy of definition which rendered him intelligible to the meanest capacity; a habit he had acquired from mathematical study. He was ever impatient of interruption; and ofteu men. tioned the custom of the indians, who always remain silent some time before they give an answer to a question which they have heard attentively; very unlike some of the politer societies iu Europe, among whom it is difficult to complete a single sentence before a. nother begins to reply. Respecting religion, after renouncing his sceptical principles, as neither true por beneficial to society, he became a firm believer in the scriptures. Some interesting thoughts on death, which discover his opinion on this subject, appear in a letter written to Miss Hubbard, on the death of her father-in-law, and his brother John Franklin, in which he says, “ We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fel. low-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and af. ford us pain instead of pleasure, they become an in. cumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given ; it is then equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we may be rid of them. Death is that way. Our friend and ourselves were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last for ever. His carriage was first ready; and he has started before us. We could not all conveniently set out together; and why should you and I grieve at this circumstance, since we are soon to follow, and know where to meet with