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(From Edition of 1817, p. 16.) (From the Autograph, p. 14.)

The time I allotted for writing My time for these exercises and Exercises and for reading was at for reading was at night after work, night or before work began in the or before it began in the morning morning or on Sunday, when I or on Sundays, when I contrived contrived to be in the printing to be in the printing house alone, house, evading as much as I could avoiding as much as I could the the constant attendance at public Common attendance on public worworship, which my father used to ship which my father used to exact from me when I was under exact from me when I was under his care and which I still con his care and which, indeed, I still tinued to consider as a duty, though thought a duty, though I could not, I could not afford time to practice as it seemed to me, afford time to it.

practice it.

(Edition of 1817, p. 21.)

(Autograph, p. 22.) He agreed with the captain of a He agreed with the captain of a New York sloop to take me under New York sloop for my passage, pretence of my being a young man under the notion of my being a of his acquaintance that had an young acquaintance of his that had intrigue with a girl of bad charac got a naughty girl with child, whose ter, whose parents would compel friends would compel me to marry me to marry her; and that I could her, and therefore I could not apneither appear or come away pub- pear, or come away publicly. licly.

(From the Edition of 1817, p. 23.) (From the Autograph, p. 24.)

On approaching the island, we When we drew near the island found it was in a place where there we found it was at a place where could be no landing, there being a there could be no landing, there begreat surf on the stony beach, so ing a great surf on the stony beach, we dropped anchor and swung out so we dropped anchor and swung our cable towards the shore. Some around toward the shore. Some people came down to the shore and people came down to the water hallooed as we did to them, but the edge and hallooed to us as we did to wind was so high and the surf so them, but the wind was so high loud that we could not understand and the surf so loud, that we could each other. There were some not hear, so as to understand each small boats near the shore and we other. There were canoes on the made signs and called them to shore, and we made signs and hol.

fetch us; but they either did not loed that they should fetch us, but comprehend us, or it was imprac- they either did not understand us ticable, so they went off; night ap or thought it impracticable, so they proaching, we had no remedy but went away, and night coming on, to have patience till the wind abated, we had no remedy but to wait till and in the meantime the boatman the wind should abate; and, in the and myself concluded to sleep if meantime, the boatman and I conwe could; and so we crowded into cluded to sleep if we could; and so the hatches where we joined the crowded into the scuttle with the Dutchman, who was still wet, and Dutchman who was still wet, and the spray breaking over the head the spray beating over the head of of our boat, etc.

our boat, etc.

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(Edition 1817, p. 47.)

(Autograph, P. 53.) I drank only water, the other I drank only water, the other workmen, near fifty in number, workmen, near fifty in number, were great drinkers of beer.

were great guzzlers of beer.

(Edition 1817, P. 55.)

(Autograph, p. 62.) At length, receiving his quar At length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas, terly allowance of fifteen guineas, instead of discharging his debts he instead of discharging his debts he went out of town, hid his gown in walked out of town, hid his gown a furze bush and walked to London. in a furze bush, and footed it to


By whom were these changes made in the text of this manuscript?

How came the closing pages to be overlooked?

Why was the publication which purported to be made from the manuscript deferred for twenty-seven years after their author's death?

How happened it that this posthumous work which may be read in nearly every written language and is one of the half-dozen most widely popular books ever printed, should have filled the book-marts of the world for a quarter of a century without having ever been verified by the original manuscript?

I doubt if it will ever be possible to determine all these questions with absolute certainty ; but I propose to lay before the reader such information as I have been able to glean from a variety of sources, both published and unpublished, leaving him to draw from them such conclusions as he thinks the testimony will warrant. The array which I shall make, if it do not settle all these questions, may lead, it is to be hoped, to the production of latent testimony that will.


Dr. Franklin informs us, in the very first paragraph of his Memoirs, that he had undertaken to prepare them for the edification of his family. The first eighty-seven pages of the MS., which embrace the first twenty-five years of his life down to his marriage, appear to have been written in 1771, during one of his visits to Twyford, the countryseat of Dr. Shipley, then Bishop of St. Asaph, and without any view to publication.*

The MS. of this part was shown to some of his friends, among others to Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, Mr. Abel James, and to M. le Veillard, who were all so pleased with it that they urged him to resume and publish them. He was persuaded to do so, and in 1784, while residing at Passy, then a suburb of Paris, wrote the succeeding pages of the MS. to page 104. The part written in England was followed with this memorandum, written, doubtless, when he revised the Memoirs in 1789:

“ MEM.—Thus far was written with the intention expressed in the beginning, and therefore contains several little family anecdotes of no importance to others. What follows was written many years after, and in compliance with the advice contained in these letters,t and accord

* “Expecting,” he says, “a week's uninterrupted leisure in my present country retirement, I sit down to write them for you.” The MS. shows that he had originally written it "for your perusal.” “Perusal” was afterward stricken out, and “use" written after it. This word was also stricken out, and the phrase left as in the text. The editor of the edition of 1817 strikes out the words “to you” also.

† The letters here referred to are from Messrs. Vaughan and James, and will be found in their proper place.

ingly intended for the public. The affairs of the Revolution occasioned the interruption.”

Another reason for continuing his Memoirs, and giving them to the press, has been assigned by M. Castera, who published a French edition of some of Franklin's works in 1793. He attributes the Autobiography to a desire on the part of Franklin and his French friends to neutralize the pernicious influence of Rousseau's Confessions, which, during the latter part of Franklin's residence in Paris, were the topic of every salon. These friends thought that it would be curious to compare the history of a writer who seemed to have used his brilliant imagination merely to render himself miserable, with that of a philosopher who employed all the resources of an equally gifted intellect to assure his own happiness by contributing to the happiness of others.*

* For the whole Preface, see Appendix, No. 1. It is a curious cir. cumstance that the copy of the Memoirs given in this collection of Castera was translated from an English edition, which was itself only a translation from the first French translation, thus removed by three translations from the original. The gossips of Paris used to circulate a story illustrative of Franklin's constitutional propensity to take cheerful views of things. The author of Correspondence secrète inédite sur Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, la Cour et la Ville, de 1777 à 1792, edited by M. Lescure, and published by M. Henri Plon in 1866, writing from Versailles the 6th February, 1777, says: “I fear to speak to you of the Americans. The British Minister represents them as beaten, destroyed, dispersed, annihilated even. Letters from St. Domingo, from our own ports and to M. Franklin, assure us on the contrary that the English are in a bad way; that Howe has been whipped, &c. We wait for confirmation of the news. Meantime I must tell you that Franklin is not the médecin tant pis. For whenever they speak to him at Paris of any check experienced by the Americans, he cries out, tant mieux,' the English will be caught at last.” Vol. i.

P. 18.

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