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Another great curiosity was a rolling press, for taking the copies of letters or any other writing. A sheet of paper is completely copied in less than two minutes; the copy as fair as the original, and without defacing it in the smallest degree. It is an invention of his own, extremely useful in many situations of life. He also showed us his long, artificial arm and hand, for taking down and putting up books on high shelves, which are out of reach; and his great arm-chair, with rockers, and a large fan placed over it, with which he fans himself, keeps off the flies, &c., while he sits reading, with only a small motion of the foot; and many other curiosities and inventions, all his own, but of lesser note. Over his mantel he has a prodigious number of medals, busts, and casts in wax, or plaster of Paris, which are the effigies of the most noted characters in Europe.

"But what the Doctor wished principally to show me was a huge volume on botany, which indeed afforded me the greatest pleasure of any one thing in his library. It was a single volume, but so large, that it was with great difficulty that he was able to raise it from a low shelf, and lift it on the table. But, with that senile ambition, which is common to old people, he insisted on doing it himself, and would permit no person to assist him, merely to show us how much strength he had remaining. It contained the whole of Linnæus's Systema Vegetabilium, with large cuts of every plant, colored from nature. It was a feast to me, and the Doctor seemed to enjoy it as well as myself. We spent a couple of hours in examining this volume, while the other gentlemen amused themselves with other matters. The Doctor is not a botanist, but lamented he did not in early life attend to this science. He delights in Natural History, and expressed an earn

est wish, that I should pursue the plan that I had begun, and hoped this science, so much neglected in America, would be pursued with as much ardor here as it is now in every part of Europe. I wanted, for three months at least, to have devoted myself entirely to this one volume; but, fearing lest I should be tedious to him, I shut up the volume, though he urged me to examine it longer.

"He seemed extremely fond, through the course of the visit, of dwelling on philosophical subjects, and particularly that of Natural History; while the other gentlemen were swallowed up with politics. This was a favorable circumstance for me; for almost the whole of his conversation was addressed to me, and I was highly delighted with the extensive knowledge he appeared to have of every subject, the brightness of his memory, and clearness and vivacity of all his mental faculties, notwithstanding his age. His manners are perfectly easy, and every thing about him seems to diffuse an unrestrained freedom and happiness. He has an incessant vein of humor, accompanied with an uncommon vivacity, which seems as natural and involuntary as his breathing. He urged me to call on him again, but my short stay would not admit. We took our leave at ten, and I retired to my lodgings." *

While the States were engaged in electing delegates to the convention, there was much speculation as to the results of this experiment, and political discussions abounded in all parts of the country. Partaking of the common impulse, a number of gentlemen in Philadelphia formed themselves into an association, called the Society for Political Inquiries, the design of which is well expressed by its name. Dr. Frank

*Communicated to the Editor by Mr. Caleb Emerson, who transcribed it from the original Journal.

lin was chosen president, and the meetings were usually held at his house. For some time they were well attended; various topics of general politics were discussed; essays were written, and prize questions proposed. But, after having been in operation about two years, the society languished, and it was finally dissolved by the tacit consent of the members. He was also president of a Society for alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons.

Dr. Franklin's third and last year's service, as President of Pennsylvania, expired in October, 1788. After that time he held no public office, although he was often consulted on public measures.

His sensibility seems to have been touched by the neglect of Congress to settle his accounts, or even to notice in any way his long and faithful services to the public. Before he left France, his pecuniary transactions were examined in detail by Mr. Barclay, the commissioner appointed by Congress to liquidate and settle the accounts of the agents of the United States, who had been intrusted with the expenditure of public money in Europe. The result of Mr. Barclay's examination differed from Dr. Franklin's statement only seven sols, or about six cents, which sum he had by mistake overcharged. Mr. Barclay was ready to settle the accounts as they then stood; but Dr. Franklin requested that they might be submitted to the inspection of Congress, because he believed there were some other charges, which ought properly to be paid by the public, but which Mr. Barclay did not feel authorized by his instructions to allow. The accounts were accordingly kept open, and transmitted to Congress. One of the first things, which Dr. Franklin did on his arrival in Philadelphia, was to send his grandson to New York, where Congress were then in session, to

obtain a settlement. He returned unsuccessful, being told that necessary documents were expected from France, although the vouchers had all been examined by Mr. Barclay. After waiting a long time, without hearing any thing from Congress on the subject, Dr. Franklin wrote a letter to the President, containing an earnest request that the business might be taken up and considered.

"It is now more than three years," said he, "that those accounts have been before that honorable body, and, to this day, no notice of any such objection has been communicated to me. But reports have, for some time past, been circulated here, and propagated in the newspapers, that I am greatly indebted to the United States for large sums, that had been put into my hands, and that I avoid a settlement. This, together with the little time one of my age may expect to live, makes it necessary for me to request earnestly, which I hereby do, that the Congress would be pleased, without further delay, to examine those accounts, and if they find therein any article or articles, which they do not understand or approve, that they would cause me to be acquainted with the same, that I may have an opportunity of offering such explanations or reasons in support of them as may be in my power, and then that the accounts may be finally closed. I hope the Congress will soon be able to attend to this business for the satisfaction of the public, as well as in condescension to my request."

This act of justice was not rendered. The accounts were never settled, nor was any allowance made for what he conceived to be equitable demands for extraordinary services. It is true, that, after this letter was written, the deranged state of the Old Congress, in consequence of the non-attendance of members, may

have prevented its being brought regularly before that body; but there is no apology for the previous neglect of three years; nor does there appear any good reason why the business should not have been resumed, and honorably adjusted by the first Congress under the new constitution.

The zeal with which he had promoted the first establishment of an Academy in Philadelphia, forty years before, was revived during the last year of his life. He believed that the intentions of the original founders had not been fulfilled, in regard to the English school connected with that institution, and that the study of Greek and Latin had gradually gained too great an ascendency. He wrote a long and very interesting paper, in which he sketched a history of the Academy, with an account of the transactions of its founders and early supporters, claiming a larger attention, than had hitherto been given, to English studies, as well on the ground of utility, as on that of the state of learning in modern times. Committees occasionally met at his house. One evening the conversation turned upon the study of the Greek and Latin languages in schools. Franklin was of the opinion, that they engrossed too much time. He said, that, when the custom of wearing broad cuffs with buttons first began, there was a reason for it; the cuffs might be brought down over the hands, and thus guard them from wet and cold. But gloves came into use, and the broad cuffs were unnecessary; yet the custom was still retained. So likewise with cocked hats. The wide brim, when let down, afforded a protection from the rain and sun. Umbrellas were introduced, yet fashion prevailed to keep cocked hats in vogue, although they were rather cumbersome than useful. Thus with the Latin language. When nearly

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