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the copy originally furnished to M. le Veillard, and after. ward given to William T. Franklin, was made by a copying-press, and that that copy was exchanged for the original previous to Romilly's visit in 1802 :
“Sept 7. Mad. Gautier procured for me the reading of the original manuscript of Dr. Franklin's Life. There are only two copies—this, and one which Dr. Franklin took with a machine for copying letters, and which is in possession of his grandson. Franklin gave the manuscript to M. le Veillard, of Passy, who was guillotined during the Revolution. Upon his death it came into the hands of his daughter or grand-daughter, Mad’lle le Veillard, who is the present possessor of it. It appears evidently to be the first draught written by Franklin, for in a great many places the word originally written is erased with a pen, and a word nearly synonymous substituted in its place, not over the other but further on, so as manifestly to show that the correction was made at the time of the original composition. The manuscript contains a great many additions made upon a very wide margin ; but I did not find that a single passage was anywhere struck out. Part of the work, but not quite half of it, has been translated into French, and from French retranslated into English. The Life comes down no lower than to the year 1757."*
The omission of the eight pages which conclude the manuscript, and which constitute one of the most precious chapters of this famous fragment, is susceptible of the following explanation :
William Temple Franklin exchanged the autograph
* Life of Romilly, 3d ed., vol. i. p. 408.
manuscript for the copy sent to M. le Veillard, without being aware that, between the time that copy was made and its author's death, these pages had been added. Presuming they were the same, probably he did not compare them, and thus overlooked one of the most precious chapters of this famous fragment.
William Temple Franklin's delay in the publication of the Memoirs, twenty-seven years after the death of their author, cannot be so satisfactorily accounted for.
It brought a reproach upon our country for the lack of "literary enterprise and activity,” of which it was thought to convict us, and was also attributed, in part, to motives not entirely honorable to the person directly responsible for the delay. The Edinburgh Review gave the most solemn expression to the public discontent in a review of the three-volume edition of Franklin's Works and Memoirs, published by Johnson & Longman, of London, in 1806.*
In the first two paragraphs of this article the writer says:
“Nothing, we think, can show more clearly the singular want of literary enterprise or activity in the States of America than that no one has yet been found in that flourishing republic to collect and publish the works of their only philosopher. It is not even very creditable to the literary curiosity of the English public that there should have been no complete edition of the writings of Dr. Franklin till the year 1806; and we should have been altogether unable to account for the imperfect and unsatisfactory manner in which the work has now been per
* See Edinburgh Review, July, 1806
formed, if it had not been for a statement in a prefatory advertisement, which removes all blame from the editor to attach it to a higher quarter. It is there stated that recently, after the death of the author, his grandson, to whom all his papers had been bequeathed, made a voyage to London for the purpose of preparing and disposing of a complete collection of all his published and unpublished writings, with Memoirs of his life brought down by himself to the year 1757, and continued to his death by his descendant. It was settled that the work should be published in three quarto volumes in England, Germany and France, and a negotiation was commenced with the booksellers as to the terms of purchase and publication. At this stage of the business, however, the proposals were suddenly withdrawn, and nothing more has been heard of the work in this its fair and natural market.
“ The proprietor, it seems, had found a bidder of a different description in some emissary of government, whose object was to withhold the manuscripts from the world, not to benefit it by their publication; and they thus either passed into other hands, or the person to whom they were bequeathed received a remuneration for suppressing them.
“ If this statement be correct, we have no hesitation in saying that no emissary of government was ever employed on a more miserable and unworthy service. It is iudicrous to talk of the danger of disclosing, in 1795, any secrets of State with regard to the war of American Independence; and as to any anecdotes or observations that might give offence to individuals, we think it should always be remembered that public functionaries are the property of the public; that their character belongs to
history and to posterity, and that it is equally absurd and discreditable to think of suppressing any part of the evidence by which their merits must be ultimately determined. But the whole of the works that have been suppressed certainly did not relate to republican politics. The history of the author's life, down to 1757, could not well contain any matter of offence, and a variety of general remarks and speculations which he is understood to have left behind him might have been permitted to see the light, though his diplomatic operations had been interdicted. The emissary of government, however, probably took no care of these things: he was resolved to leave no rubs and botches in his work, and, to stifle the dreaded revelation, he thought the best way was to strangle all the innocents in the vicinage."
William Temple's tardy vindication from these imputations is given in the preface to his edition of his grandfather's works. He there admits that he delayed their publication, that "they might not be the means of awakening painful recollections or of rekindling the dying embers of animosity.”
Mr. Sparks thinks that William Temple Franklin had motives for delaying the publication of the writings of his grandfather which he did not assign in his preface. He
66 There was a rumor that the British ministry interposed and offered the proprietor of the papers a large remunera. tion to suppress them, which he accepted. This rumor was so broadly stated in the preface to Johnson's edition
* The whole of this preface is worth perusing. It will be found at length in Appendix 1.
† Sparks' Life of Franklin, vol. vii. Preface.
as to amount to a positive charge: and it was reiterated with an assurance that would seem at least to imply that it was sustained by the public opinion. To this charge William Temple Franklin replied when, in the year 1917, he published an edition of his grandfather's works from the manuscripts in his possession. In the preface to the first volume he endeavors to explain the reason why he had so long delayed the publication, and he also takes notice of the charge in question. He treats it with indignation and contempt, and appears not to regard it as worthy of being refuted. He was less reserved in conversation. Dr. John W. Francis, of New York, saw him often in London in the year 1916, while he was preparing his grandfather's papers for the press. “To me,' says Dr. Francis, 'he peremptorily denied all interference of any official authorities whatever with his intended publication, and assigned, as sufficient causes for the non-execution of the task committed to him, the interruption of communication and the hostilities between the French and the English nations, and the consequent embarrassments he encountered in collecting the scattered materials. The reason here assigned for delay is not very satisfactory, and there were doubtless others. His father, William Franklin, died in 1813. He had been a pensioner on the British government, in consequence of the part he had taken in the Revolution, and it is probable that he may have been averse to the publication of his father's papers during his lifetime. To say the least, the suspicion that papers were finally suppressed for any cause is without proof and highly improbable. A paper mentioned by Mr. Jefferson, as having been shown to him by Dr. Franklin, and supposed to have been sup.