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FACSIMILE OF THE HAND WRITING OF DR FRANKLIN,

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Kings Printer London.

THE

OF

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,

LL.D. F.R.S. &c.

MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AT THE COURT OF FRANCE, AND FOR THE TREATY OF PEACE

AND INDEPENDENCE WITH GREAT BRITAIN, &c. &c.

COMPRISING

A SERIES OF LETTERS

ON

MISCELLANEOUS, LITERARY, AND POLITICAL SUBJECTS:

WRITTEN BETWEEN THE YEARS 1753 AND 1790 ;

ILLUSTRATING THE

Qemoirs of his public and Private Life,

AND DEVELOPING

THE SECRET HISTORY

OF HIS

POLITICAL TRANSACTIONS AND NEGOCIATIONS.
PUBLISHED FROM THE ORIGINALS,

BY HIS GRANDSON
WILLIAM TEMPLE FRANKLIN.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

SECOND EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS.

LONDON:
PRINTED FOR HENRY COLBURN,
PUBLIC LIBRARY, CONDUIT STREET, HANOVER SQUARE.

1817.

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PREFACE

TO

THE FIRST EDITION

OF THE

PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE.

Familiar letters have been usually considered as exhibiting a portraiture of the human mind; and though perhaps they are not always to be so regarded, especially in the intercourse of public men upon subjects involving particular interests and questions of national policy; yet even from these documents the most valuable materials of history are drawn, and the secret springs of great events are disclosed. Hence it is, that a deserved importance has ever been attached to the correspondence of persons who have figured with distinction in political revolutions, and the foundation of new states : for hereby are unfolded the motives of individuals, and the influence of parties; from whose pertinacity and intrigues proceed conflicts, projects, and establishments which the agitators never contemplated, and which the most sagacious observers of human nature could not have anticipated.

Among the changes that have taken place in the condition of political society, the separation of the American colonies from the parent country has been by far the most prolific and extensive in its effects of any in the history of modern ages.

It is presumed, therefore, that little need be said on the value of the correspondence of Dr. FRANKLIN, whose extraordinary abilities as a statesman were felt and acknowledged in both countries, and by persons of opposite sentiments. But what renders his letters on the public concerns in which he was engaged peculiarly interesting, is the spirit of candour that runs through the whole of them, and the style of simplicity by which they are recommended as models of epis

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