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listened not to his advice. They blindly persevered in tneir uwn schemes, and left to the colonists no alternative, but opposition, or unconditional submission. The latter accorded not with the principles of freedom, which they had been taught to revere. To the former they were compelled, though reluctantly, to have recourse.
Dr. Franklin, finding all effoits tc restore harmoIry between Great Britain and her colonies useless, returned to America in the year 1775; just after the commencement of hostilities. The day after his return he was elected by the legislature of Pennsylvania a delegate to congress. Not long after his election a committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lynch, Mr. Harrison, and himself, to visit the camp at Cambridge, and, in conjunction with the commander-inchief, to endeavour to convince the troops, whose term of enlistment was about to expire, of the necessity of their continuing in the tield, ana persevering in the cause of their country.
In the fall of the same year he visited Canada, to endeavLur to unite them in the common cause of liberty; but they could not be prevailed upon to oppose the measures of the British government. M. le Roy, in n loiter annexed to AbbiS F'aurhet's eulogium of Dr. Franklin, states, that the ill succeis of this negotiation was occasioned, in a great degree, by religious animosities, which subsisted between thi Canadians aml theii neighbours, some of whom had, at different times, durnt the'r chapels.
When Lord Howe came to America, in I776, vest,ed with power to treat with the colonists, acorres*pondence took place between him and Dr. Franklin on the subject of a reconciliation. Dr. Franklin una afterwards appointed, together with John Adams an Edward Rutledge, to wait upon the commissioners, in order to learn the extent of their powers. These were found to be only to grant pardons upon submission. These were terms which would not lie a*> cepied; and the object of the commissioners could not be obtained.
The momentous question of indcpende.-K* shortly after brought into view, at a time when <ii» fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedience, were truly formidable. With an army, numerous indeed, but ignorant of discipline, and entirely unskilled in the art of war, without money, without a fleet, without allies, and with nothing but the love of liberty to support them, the colonists determined to separate from a country, from which they had experienced a repetition of injury and insult. In this question, Dr. Franklin was decidedly in fa vour of the measure proposed, and had great infill enr.e in bringing others over to his sentiments.
The public mind had been already prepared foi this event, by Mr. Paine's celebrated pamphlet, Com. men Sense. There is good reason to believe that Dr. Franklin had no inconsiderable share, nt least, ii> furnishing materials for this work. In the convention which assembled at Philadelphia m I776, for the purpose of establishing anew form of government for the state of Pennsylvania, Dr. Franklin was chosen president. The late constitution of this state, which was the result of their deliberations, may be considered as a digest of his principles of government. The single legislature, and the plural executive, seem to have been his favourite tenets.
In the latter end of 1776, Dr. Franklin was appointed to assist at the negotiation which had been set on foot by Silas Deane, at the court of France. A conviction of the advantages of a commercial intercourse with America, and a desire of weakening the British empire by dismembering it, first induced the French court to listen to proposals of an alliance. But they showed rather a reluctance to the measure, which by Dr. Franklin's address, and particularly by the success of the American arms against General Burgoyne, was at length overcome; and in February, 1778, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded; in consequence of which France became involved in the war with Great Britain.
Perhaps no person could have been found more capable of rendering essential services to the United States at the court of France than Dr. Franklin. He was well known as a philosopher, and his character was held in the highest estimation. He was received with the greatest marks of respect by all the literary characters; and this respect was extended amongst all classes of men. His personal influence was hence very considerable. To the effects of this were added those of various performances which he published, tending to establish the credit and character of the United States. To his exertions in this way may, in no small degree, be ascribed the success of the loans negotiated in Holland and France, which greatly contributed to bringing the war to a happy conclusion.
The repeated ill-success of their arms, and more particularly the capture of Cornwallis and his army, at length convinced the British nation of the impossibility of reducing the Americans to subjection. The trading interest particularly became clamorous for peace. The ministry were unable longer to oppose their wishes, l'rovisionl articles of peace were agreed to, and signed at Paris, on the 30th of November. I782, by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, on the part of the United States; and by Mr. Oswald on the part of Great Britain. These formed the basis of the definitive treaty, which was concluded the third of September, 1783, and signed by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Jay, on the one part, and by Mr. David Hartly on the other.
On the 3d of April, 1783, a treaty of amity and commerce, between the United States and Sweden, was concluded at Paris by Dr. Franklin and the Count Von Kiutz. t
A similar treaty with Prussia was concluded ir I785, not long before Dr. Franklin's departure from Europe.
Dr. Franklin did not suffer his political pursuits to engross his whole attention. Some of his perform euces made their appearance in Paris. The object of these was generally the promotion of industry and economy.
In the year 1784, when animal magnetism made great noise in the world, particularly at Paris, it was thought a matter of such importance, that the King
appointed commissioners to examine into the foundation of this pretended science. Dr. Franklin was one of the number. After a fair and diligent examination, in the course of which Mesmer repeated a number of experiments, in the presence of the commissioners, some of which were tried upon themeelves, they determined that it was a mere trick, intended to impose upon the ignorant and credulous Mesmer was thus interrupted in his career to wealth and fame, and a most insolent attempt to impose upon the human understanding baffled.
The important ends of Dr. Franklin's mission being completed by the establishment of American independence, and the infirmities of age and disease coming upon him, he became desirous of returning to his native country. Upon application to congress to be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him, in 1785. Sometime in September of the same year, Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen a member of the supreme executive council for the city, and soon after was elected president of the same.
When a convention was called to meet in Philadelphia, in 1787, for the purpose of giving more energy to the government of the union, by revising and amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was appointed a delegate from the State of Pennsylvania. He signed the constitution which they proposed for the union, and gave it the most unequivocal marks of his approbation.
A society for political inquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president, was established about this period. The meetings were held at his house. Two or three essays read in this society were published. It did not long continue.
r.t the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia, founded on the principles of the most liberal and refined humanity—The Philadelphia Sotiely for alleviating the miseries of public prisons; tnd ihe Pennsylvania Satiety, for promoting the abolition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African race. Of each of these Dr. Franklin was president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with great success; and they continue to prosecute, with unwearied diligence, the laudable designs for which they were established.
Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance at the council-chamber; and, in 1788, he retired wholly from public life.
His constitution had been a remarkably good one. He hud been little subject to disease, except an attack of the gout occasionally, until about the year 1781, when he was first attacked with symptoms of the calculous complaint, which continued during his life. During the intervals of pain from this grievous disease, he spent many cheerful hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive manner. His faculties were entirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.
His name as president of the abolition society, was signed to the memorial presented to the house of representatives of the United States, on the 12th of February, 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the constitution, in discouraging the traffic of the human species. This was his last public act.—In the debates to which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were made to justify the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25th, there appeared an essay, signed Historicus, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a speech, said to have been delivered in the Divan of Algiers, in 1687, in opposition to the prayer of the petition of a sect called Erika, or purists, for the abolition of piracy and slavery. This pretended African speech was an excellent parody of one delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia. All the arguments urged in favour of negro slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving of Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the futility of the arguments in defence of the slave trade, and of the strength of mind and ingenuity of the author, at his advanced period of life. It furnished too, a no less convincing proof of his power of imitating the style of other times and nations than his celebrated parable against persecution. And as toe