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tives in favour of violence or outrage, such as afflicted France in the convulsions which produced so many afflictions to the friends of liberty as well as to the adherents of despotism; that, on the contrary, the moderation and temperate reasoning of Franklin's political writings were rather to be feared by the advocates of legitimacy, than stimulatives to the pensioned apostles of discord and destruction, without reference to any argument founded on the personal circumstances of the legatee; the works, as they appear under his more authentic publication, afford very little matter in addition to what had been collected and published by booksellers in the fair pursuit of their business ; nor did the first rumour of the suppression, in the edition of 1806, excite so much or such general attention as the circumstance would seem to call for, in the United States ; where the hostility to the memory of Franklin's services, strange but true to tell, had found a body of animosity so ample as to produce a certain measure of exultation rather than of resentment or shame on the appearance of the rumour. In Europe the Edinburgh Review, in noticing the preface to the edition of 1806, did not overlook the alleged suppression; that article was copied into the Boston Monthly Anithology, No. 12, for December, 1806, from which a few short extracts will be pertinent to the present purpose.
“ 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 been found in that flourishing republic to collect and publish the works of their only philosopher. It is not even creditable to the liberal curiosity of the English public, that there should be no complete edition of the works of Dr. Franklin till 1806 ; and we should have been altogether unable to account for the imperfect and unsatisfactory manner in which the task has been now performed, if it had not been for the prefatory advertisement, which removes all blame from the editor of that edition, to attach it to a higher quarter.”
Here the preface is quoted, and animadverted upon by the reviewer, in which he observes that the whole of Franklin's works were not political and republican, and that a variety of remarks and speculations said to have been left by him might have been permitted to see the light, though his diplomatic operations had been interdicted; and the reviewer thus proceeds :
“ The emissary of government, however, probably took care of these things ; he was resolved to leave no botches in his work;' and to stifle the dreaded revelation, he thought the best way was to strangle all the innocents in the vicinage.
“ This self-taught American is the most rational, perhaps, of all philosophers. He never loses sight of common sense in any of his speculations; and when his philosophy does not comport entirely in its fair and vigorous application, it is al. ways regulated and controlled by it in its application and results. No individual, perhaps, ever possessed a juster understanding, or was so seldom obstructed in the use of it by indolence, enthusiasm, or authority.
“Regular education appears to be unfavourable to vigour and originality of un. derstanding. We cannot help fancying that if Franklin had been bred in a college, he would have contented himself in expounding Pindar, and mixing argument with his port in the Conmon Room; and that if Boston had abounded with men of letters, he would never have ventured to come forth from his printing house, or been driven back to it, at any rate, by the sneers of the critics after the first publication of the Busy Body.
“ There are not many among the thorough-bred scholars and philosophers of Europe who can lay claim to distinction in more than one or two departments of science and literature. The uneducated tradesman of America has left writings that call for our attention in natural philosophy-in politics—in political economy, and in general literature and morality. His examination before the House of Commons, in 1766, affords a striking proof of the extent and minuteness of his information, the clearness and force of his extempore composition, and the steadiness and self-possession which enabled him to display those qualities with so much effect upon such an occasion. His letters before the commencement of hostilities are full of grief and anxiety ; but no sooner did matters come to extremities, than he appears to have assumed a certain keen and confident cheerfulness, not unmixed with a sprinkling of asperity, and more vindictiveness than became a philosopher.
“ Nothing can be more perfectly and beautifully adapted to its object than most of the moral compositions of. Dr. Franklin. The tone of familiarity, of good will, and harmless jocularity; the plain and pointed illustrations; the short sentences, made up of short words ; and the strong sense, clear information, and obvious conviction of the author himself, make most of his moral exhortations perfect models of popular eloquence, and often the finest specimens of a style which has been too little cultivated in his native country.
“ The most remarkable thing, however, in these, and indeed in the whole of his physical speculations, is the onparalleled simplicity and facility with which the reader is conducted from one stage of the inquiry to another. The author never appears for a moment to labour or to be at a loss. The most ingenious and profound explanations are suggested, as if they were the most natural and obvious way of accounting for the phenomena; and the author seems to value himself so little on his most important discoveries, that it is necessary to compare him with others before we can form a just notion of his merits. As he seems to be conscious of no exertion, he feels no partiality for any part of his speculations, and never seeks to raise the reader's ideas of their importance, by any arts of declamation or eloquence. Indeed, the habitual precision of his conceptions, and his invariable practice of referring to specific facts and observations, secured him, in a great measure, both from extravagant conjectures, in which too many naturalists have indulged, and from the zeal and enthusiasm which seems so naturally to be engendered in their defence. He was by no means averse to give scope to his imagination in suggesting a variety of explanations of obscure and unmanageable phenomena ; but he never allowed himself to confound these vague and conjectural theories with the solid results of experience and observation. In his meteorological papers, and in his observations upon heat and light, there is a great deal of such bold and original suggestion; but the author evidently sets little value on them, and has no sooner disburdened his mind of the impressions from which they proceeded, than he seems to dismiss them entirely from his consideration, and turns to the legitimate philosophy of experiment with unabated diligence and humility. As an instance of this disposition, we may quote part of a letter to the Abbé Soulavie upon a new theory of the earth, which he proposes and dismisses, without concern or anxiety, in the course of a few sentences ; · though, if the idea had fallen on the brain of an European philosopher, it might have germinated into a volume of eloquence, like Buffon's, or an infinite array of paragraphs and observations like those of Parkinson or Dr. Hutton."
Returning to the subject of the disputed suppression, there are other facts which may perhaps aid in the formation of a reasonable conclusion. Before the materials were prepared for an edition in Philadelphia, in 1815, the editor addressed many of Dr. Franklin's contemporaries, in general or special terms, soliciting any matter adapted to the purpose ; among whom was Mr. Jefferson, who often spoke of a suppression in England; an intimation some years before from the late B. F. Bache, that he had made, three several copies of certain political transactions, which would make some noise whenever published. In consequence, a communication was made through a third person, in substance as follows :
“ Being on my way to Congress, which then sat in New York, I could not but call on my venerable friend :-I found him confined to his bed; he thrust his hand from under the bedclothes—which struck me from its presenting the resemblance rather as an anatomical preparation, of mere bones and skin : he entered into conversation with the vivacity of health ; and after we had touched every topic he had thought fit to suggest, I was about to take my leave. “Stop,' said the doctor, • I have something to give you ; you shall see that I have not been idle, much as I have suffered.' He called one of his grandsons, William, whom he directed to go into the library, and from a shelf described where he would find three folio-stitched books, bring him one of them. The book was brought, and he said, • Take that, it was intended for you.' To avoid interrupting our conversation, I placed the book in my bosom, buttoning my coat over it; and our conversation continued some time : being about to retire, he repeated, • Take care of that book : it is for you and for posterity.'- I took my leave it was the last time! Soon after, while I was yet in New York, my venerable friend died. An advertisement appeared in the public prints, calling upon all persons who possessed papers, books, or manuscripts of the deceased to return them to the legatee.
“ Apprehending that the manuscript presented to me might be among the objects sought, I inconsiderately, and without taking a copy, sent it to Mr. T. Franklin, who on receiving from the gentleman by whom I sent it, said, “Hah! this is the very thing I wanted.' Reflecting afterwards on the subject, the importance of the matter, and the expression, it was intended for you,' I have never ceased to regret that my eagerness to do justice to the wishes of my venerable friend, by returning the manuscript, had precipitated me to do what appears to have been his purpose to prevent by placing the manuscript in my hands.".
Such is the information derived from Mr. Jefferson, which he is known to have repeated to many others of his friends. Conversing with the late Benj. F. Bache, the doctor's grandson, on the subject of the memoirs published by Dr. Steuber, he casually said there were some transactions which were yet to appear, which would excite great attention when Temple should publish his grandfather's papers ; he had himself made three copies of a very important writing, one of which he had been told was intended for himself; but, said he, “ Temple tells me he possesses them all." Being asked if the subject was proper to be mentioned, he replied, " No! I expected to have had some concern in the publication myself, but he whose right it was to decide has disposed of them otherwise ; he considered Temple so ill requited by the government for his laborious services abroad, that as a small com
pensation, he bestowed the whole on him-his wishes were always sacred with me-my lips are sealed.”
Upon the receipt of Mr. Jefferson's statement, the editor of the Philadelphia edition, who had been previously in occasional correspondence with governor Franklin, then residing in London, communicated to him the preceding information, and enclosing a duplicate for Mr. T. Franklin, then in Paris. From the governor a most feeling and manly letter was received ; but although at subsequent period a correspondence on the contemporaneous publication at London and Philadelphia took place, no notice whatever was taken by Mr. T. Franklin of the communication, though made with the most friendly purpose.
“What the suppressed manuscript contained," says the editor of a London edition, “ that should have excited the jealousy of the government, we are unable to affirm, but from the conspicuous part acted by the author in the American revolution, and the wars connected with it, it is by no means difficult to guess; and of this we are sure from his character, that no disposition of his writings could have been more contrary to his intentions or wishes."
These observations, indicating an acquaintance with the character and history of Franklin, are such as the circumstances warrant. Indeed, on comparing the facts here developed, and looking to the writings published, the matter offered by W. T. Franklin falls infinitely short of a vindication.
The only article in the edition, given by him as complete, which is new or interesting, is the social intercourse and correspondence brought about between Mrs. Howe, the sister of Earl Howe, with the doctor ; and in that, nothing is to be found sufficient to induce or require a suppression : it is very interesting indeed, and honourable to all the parties, but involving, in its publication, nothing implicating any one. Che contents of the stitched book does not appear, nor is it accounted for in the ostensible vindication ; it is suppressed; and unless some future Walpole, Dalrymple, or Doddington shall draw it forth from the British archives, it is not probable that it will ever appear.
In the same edition, published by Johnson, London, the editor notices what he considers as Franklin's probationary political essay, admired for its principles, its boldness, and its success ; yet it was the fruit of much previous discipline in composition, and was followed by many others of more comprehensive application. The occasion of its production had been before noticed by Dr. Wm. Smith, in his eulogium pronounced before the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia in these words : “ In 1744, a Spanish privateer, having entered the Delaware, ascended as far as Newcastle, to the great terror of the citizens of Philadelphia. On this occasion, Franklin wrote his first political pamphlet, called PLAIN 'Truth, exhorting his fellow-citizens to the bearing of arms; which laid the foundation of those military associations which have ever since followed for the defence of the country." The effect of this pamphlet was prodigious. A public meeting was held in the meeting-house, where Whitfield had preached, and Franklin being called upon for his plan, produced it; twelve hundred signatures were at once obtained, and the author was requested to take the appointment of colonel, which he modestly declined, recommending Mr. Lawrence as better qualified, and the recommendation was adopted.
But although on this occasion he declined military command, he accepted it a few years after. Just before the defeat at Fort du Quesne had reached Philadelphia, some citizens had.proposed to raise a subscription for the purpose of exhibiting fireworks on the expected reduction of that place. “It will be time enough,” said Franklin, “to prepare for rejoicing when we know we ought to rejoice." The implied prognostication gave offence, but the advices which came upon the heels of the purpose too well justified his sagacity; and he resolved to arouse the people to a new energy. A numerous volunteer association was formed; the assembly appropriated £60,000 to defray the expenses, and the proprietary added £5000 more; the governor invested Franklin with ample military powers, and the rank of colonel; his son, afterwards governor of Jersey, who had been an officer in the previous Canada war, became his aid-de-camp. Though there was no invasion by a foreign enemy, the Indians, at that period, very much harassed the frontier settlers, and in 1755, he marched in command of a detachment to Gnadenhutten, a Moravian settlement, where his faculties were called upon to establish discipline, and protect the frontiers against a crafty enemy. Here we find the future sage unfolding faculties which have not been noticed by any of his biographers, nor ever noted as of moment by himself. The facts are few, and the scene of action very limited, but such as it was, we find him at the moment of his appointment calling upon the resources of his own mind, to supply what previous inexperience and the novelty of his position required. The few facts here referred to are found in his own handwriting.
We find the following notes made immediately upon his appointment to the command :
“Considerations to be taken : " What number of men ? “ Should the post be fortified, and in what manner ? “: How long to be continued there? “ Could they not be partly employed in raising their own provisions ? “Could they have some lots of land assigned them for their encouragement ? “ What their pay ? and from what funds ? “How much the annual expense ?
“ Is it certain that the late method of giving rewards for apprehending rioters will be effectual ?
“ To whom does the land belong ?”
The commissioners to whom the charge of conducting the affairs with the Indians was intrusted, at this period, were, the well known in Pennsylvania history, Conrad Wifer, with Jonas Seely, and James Reed, Esqs., to whom the following letter was addressed :
B. Franklin to James Reed, Esq.
“Philadelphia, Nov. 2, 1755,—5 o'clock P. M. “ DEAR SIR,I have your letter per Mr. Sea, and one just now by express. I am glad to hear the arms are well got up: they are the best that we could procure. I wish they were better; but they are well fortified, will bear a good charge, and I should imagine they would do good service with swan or buck-shot, if not so fit for single ball. I have been ill these eight days, confined to my room and bed most of the time, but am now getting better. I have however done what I could in sending about to purchase arms, &c. for the supply of the frontiers, and can now spare you fifty more, which I shall send up to-morrow