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COLLECTED AND EDITED
WITH A LIFE AND INTRODUCTION
ALBERT HENRY SMYTH
WITH A LIFE AND INDEX
All rights reserved
Jan 5, 1939
ti alter t'. Irigque
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1909. Reprinted October, 1907
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
SINCE the appearance of the first volume of this edition so many new documents have been discovered by the diligent investigations of scholars, and generously furnished from private collections, that it has become an embarrassing problem to include both the new and the old within the limits of the work as originally proposed. I have been forced reluctantly to abandon my cherished plan of a comprehensive biography of Franklin, and to content myself with a more meagre outline of the story of his life. The publication of his works in their original integrity is the object of first importance, and to that end all other causes must give way. Moreover, Franklin's writings are his best biography, a fact recognized by Mr. Bigelow, who, in his “Life of Franklin,” has allowed the great man through his Memoirs and his correspondence — “almost miraculously preserved from incalculable perils” — to tell his own story. In the sketch of personal and political history contained in the present volume, I have been as brief as was consistent with clearness, because I have had small space at my command, and because it has seemed unnecessary to quote from documents which exist in the previous volumes of this work.
In the writing of the biography I have been chiefly indebted to the late lamented Henri Doniol, whose monumental work, “Histoire de la Participation de la France à l'Etablissement des Etats-Unis d'Amérique,” is one of the triumphs of histori
cal research. “The Life of Franklin," by James Parton, is a work of much labour and learning which has fallen into unmerited neglect. I have found the Vicomte de Noailles' “Marins et Soldats Français en Amérique” frequently helpful.
The second centenary of the birth of Franklin was made in 1906 the occasion of extraordinary honours and unprecedented commemorations. Anniversary feasts and elaborate celebrations continued in ever increasing interest in many parts of America, from their beginning in the first week of the year until their stately culmination in the august proceedings of the month of April in Paris and the splendid ceremonials of the same time in Philadelphia. The State of Pennsylvania made a liberal appropriation to The American Philosophical Society to defray the cost of the latter celebration, at which one hundred and twenty-seven societies and institutions of learning in Europe and America were represented. A gold medal, designed by Louis and Augustus St. Gaudens, was struck by order of Congress and presented, under the direction of the President of the United States, to the Republic of France.
In Paris a statue of Franklin, the gift of Mr. John H. Harjes, was unveiled at the entrance into the Place du Trocadéro of the rue Franklin, on which the philosopher and statesman dwelt during his stay at Passy. Two ex-presidents of the French Republic and one of the United States, distinguished officials and diplomatists of world-wide fame, constituted a Committee of Honour to add brilliancy to the fête. The celebration took place in the salle des fêtes of the Palace of the Trocadéro in the presence of nearly five thousand persons and almost all the high officials of the French government and the ministers and ambassadors of foreign powers. A distinguished French orator and cabinet minister was chosen