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advantages of a conquest of that province by the English. The subsequent expedition against it, and it's
retention under the British government at the peace, were 'probably much influenced by his reasonings. In visiting England, he had opportunities of seeing those friends which his merit had procured him while in America. The opposition which had been made to his discoveries had ceased, and the Royal Society of London, which had refused to admit his performances into it's transactions, now thought it an honour to rank him among it's fellows. He had likewise the degree of LL. D. confer. red on him by the universities of St. Andrews, Edin. burgh, and Oxford. His correspondence was court. ed by the most eminent philosophers of Europe. His Letters abound with true science, detailed in language the most simple and unadorned. Altho' Dr. Franklin was now principally occupied in political investigation, yet he extended his electric researches, particularly by experiments on the stone called the tourmalin. He repeated some of Dr. Cullen's experiments on cold produced by evaporation, and found that by evaporating æther in the exhausted receiver of an air-pump, so great a degree of cold was obtained, that water was converted into ice on a sum. mer's daỹ. At this time the effect produced by rubbing the brim of a drinking glass with a wet fin. ger was generally known. The sweetness of those tones induced Dr. Franklin to make various experiments. The construction of that elegant instrument called the “ Harmonica,” was the result of them. In 1762 he returned to America. On his passage, he had an opportunity of trying the singular effect produced on an agitated vessel by casting oil on the water. The surface of the oil remaining smooth and
undisturbed, while the surrounding water was in the utmost commotion. Dr. Franklin received the thanks of the assembly of Pensylvania, and a compensation of 50001. American currency, for his services during his residence in England. He took his seat as a member of the Assembly and continued a steady defender of the liberties of the people. The part he took against the proprietary interest occasioned the loss of his re-election, in 1773, but so powerful were his friends in the assembly, that he was immediately re-appointed agent for the province, and in consequence again visited England. The disturbances produced in America by Mr. Gren. ville's stamp-act, and the opposition made to it are well known. Among other means of collecting information respecting the disposition of the people, Dr. Franklin was called to the bar of the House of Commons. His examination was published; in which the strength and clearness of his representations had a material effect in producing the repeal of that obnoxious measure. At this time, the disputes between the partisians of the British government and the friends of the people ran high. Letters were dis. covered written by Governor Hutchinson and others in Massachusetts' bay to Thomas Whateley, esq.(pri. vate secretary to Mr. Grenville) containing the most unfavourable reports of the conduct and intentions of persons in that country, and advising coercive measures, These letters were privately put into the possession of Dr. Franklin, who, as agent for the colony, thought it his duty to transmit them to the legislature there, by whom they were published. The assembly of the province was so much exasperated, that they returned attested copies of the letters accompanied with a petition and remonstrance, for the removal of Governor Hutchinson, and Lientenant Governor Andrew Oliver from their posts. Some letters had passed in the public prints between Mr. Thomas Whately's brother and Mr. John Temple, concerning the manner in which the letters of Gov. Hutchinson, &c. had escaped from among the papers of Mr. Thomas Whately, at that time deceased. One of the gentlemen wished to avoid the charge of having given them; the other of having taken them. At length the dispute became so personal and point. ed, that Mr. Temple thought it necessary to call the brother to the field. The letter of provocation appeared in the morning, and the parties met in the af. ternoon. Dr. Franklin was not apprized of their intention in time to prevent it; but he immediately afterwards published the following letter addressed to the printer of the “ Public Advertiser.” Sir,
Finding that two gentlemen have been unfortunately engaged in a duel about a transaction and it's circumstances, of which both of them are totally ignorant and innocent; I think it incumbent on me to declare (for the prevention of farther mischief, as far as such a declaration may contribute to prevent it) that I alone am the person who obtained and transmitted to Boston the letters in question. Mr. Whate. ly could not communicate them because they were never in his possession; and for the same reason, they could not be taken from him by Mr. Temple. They were not of the nature of private letters between friends. They were written by public officers to persons in public stations, on public affairs, and in. tended to procure public measures; they were there. fore handed to other public persons who might be inFrienced by them to produce those measures. Their
tendency was to incense the mother country against her colonies, and, by the steps recommended, to widen the breach; which they effected. The chief caution expressed with regard to privacy, was to keep their contents from the colony agents; who the writers apprehended might return them, or copies of them to America. That apprehension was, it seems, well founded; for the first agent who laid his hands on them, thought it his duty to transmit them to his constituents. CRAVEN-STREET,
B. FRANKLIN, Dec. 25, 1773. Agent for the House of Representatives
of the Massachusetts' Bay. In consequence of these events, Dr. Franklio was called to attend at the Council chamber, Jan. 29, 1774, when Mr. Dunning and Mr. John Lee appear. ed as counsel for the assembly, and Mr. Wedder. burne (afterwards Lord Loughborough) as counsel for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Wedderburne was very long in his answer; which chiefly related to the mode of obtaining and sending away Mr. Whately's letters; and spoke of Dr. Frank. lin in terms of gross abuse. The following are the principal passages, which may serve as a specimen of the rancour of political malice, and of that intemper. ate acrimony which too frequently characterises the eloquence of the bar.
« The letters could not have come to Dr. Franklin,” said Mr. Wedderburne,
by fair means. The writers did not give them to him; nor yet did the deceased correspondent, who, from our intimacy would otherwise have told me of it. Nothing, then, will acquit Dr. Franklin of the charge of obtaining them by fradulent or corrupt means, for the most malignant of purposes ; unless he stole them, from the person who stole them.
This argument is
I hope, my lords, you will mark and brand the man, for the honour of this country, of Europe, and of mankind. Private cor. respondence has hitherto been held sacred, in times of the greatest party rage, not only in politics but religion. He has forfeited all the respect of societies and of men. Into what companies will he hereafter go with an unembarrassed face, or the hon. est intrepidity of virtue. Men will watch him with a jealous eye; they will hide their papers from him, and lock up their escrutoires. He will henceforth esteemi it a libel to be called a man of letters; homo trium [i. e. fur or thief] literatum ! But he not only took away the letters from one brother, but kept himself concealed till he nearly occasioned the murder of the other. It is impossible to read his account, expressive of the coolest and most deliberate malice, without horror. He here read the foregoing letter published by Dr. Franklin in the Public Advertiser.” “ Amidst these tragical events,” he then continued, of one person nearly murdered, of an. other answerable for the issue, of a worthy governor hurt in his dearest interests, the fate of America in suspense ; here is a man, who with the utmost insen, sibility of remorse, stands up and avows himself the author of all. I can compare it only to Zanga in Dr. Young's Revenge." Know then 't was
I hated, I despised, and I destroy ! I ask, my lords, whether the revengeful temper attributed, by poetic fiction only, to the bloody Afri. can, is not surpassed by the coolness and apathy of the wily American ?” These pleadings for a time effected much. The lords assented, the town was