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périment with unabated diligence and humility. Аз an instance of this disposition, we may quote part of a letter to the Abbé Soulaive, upon a new Theory of the Earth, which he proposes and dismisses, without concern or anxiety, in the course of a few sentences; thou2¿ if the idea had fallen upon the brain of an European philosopher, it might have germinated into a volume of eloquence, like Butfon's. or an infinite array of paragraphs and observations, like those of Parkinson and Dr. Hutlon.
After remarking, that there are manifold indications of some of the highest parts of the laud haviim been formerly covered by sea, Dr. Franklin observes—
"Such changes in the superficial ports of the globe, »cerned to me unlikely to happen, if the earth were »olid in the centre. I therefore imagined, ihn the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and ot greater specific gravity lhan any of the solids we are acquainted with, which therefore might swim in or upon that fluid. Thus the surface of the jlobe would be a shell, capable of being broken and disordered by the violent movements of the fluid on which it rested. And as air has been compressed by art so ae to be twice as dense as water, and ae we know not yet the degree of density to which air may be compressed, and M. Amontone calculated that its density increasing as it approached the centre in the same proportion as above the surface, U would, at the depth of leagues, be heavier thin gold, and possibly the dense fluid occupying the internal parts of the globe might therefore be »ir compressed. And as the force of expansion in dense air, when heated, i« in proportion to it« density, this central sir might afTord another agent to move the surface, as well as be of use in keeping alive 'he subterraneous fires; though, as you observe, tbi- sudden rarefaction of water coming into contact »ith thore fires, may also be an agent sufficiently ftrong for that purpose, when acting between the incumbent earth and the fluid on which it rests.
"If one might indulge imagination in supposing how such a globe was formed, I should conceive, that ill the elements in separate particles being orzinnlly mixed in confusion, and occupying a great *pnce. they would (as soon as the Almighty fiat ordained gravity, or the mutual attraction of certain parts, and the mutual repulsion of others to exist) all move to their common centre : that the air being a fluid whose parts repel each other, though drawn in the common centre by their gravity, would be densest towards the centre, and rarer as more remole; consequently, all matters lighter than the central parts of that air, and immersed in it. would rfcf.de from the centre, and rise till they arrived at that region of the air which was of the same specific gravity with themselves, where they would rest; while other matter, mixed with the lighter air, would descend, and the two, meeting, would form the shell of the first earth, leaving the upper atmosphere nearly clear. The original movement of the parts towards their common centre, would naturally form a whirl there; which would continue, upon the turning of the new-formed globe upon its »us: and the greatest diameter of the shell would be in its equator. If, by anv accident afterwards, the ails should be changed, the dense internal fluid. bv altering its form, must burst the shell, and throw brl Pi substance into the confusion in which we find il- I will not trouble you at present with my fancies concerning the manner of forming the rest of oar system. Superior beings smile at our theories, «nd at onr presumption in making them."—vol. ii. No. 117—119.
He afterwards makes hie theory much finer ud more extravagant, by combining with it a
very wild speculation upon magnetism; and, notwithstanding the additional temptation of this new piece of ingenuity, he abandons it in the end with as much unconcern, as if he had had no share in the making of it. We shall add the whole passage.
"It has long been a supposiiion of mine, that the iron contained in the surface of the glotie has made it capable of becoming, ив it is, a great mngnet; that the fluid of magnetism perhaps exists in all space; so that there is a magnencal nurih and south of the Universe, as well as of this glube, so that if it were possible for a man to fly from star to star, he might govern his course by the compass; that it was by the power of this general magnetism this globe became a particular magnet. In soft or hot iron the fluid of magnetism is naturally diffused equally: But when within the influence of ihe magnet, it is drawn to one end of the iron; made denser there, and rarer at the other. While the iron continues soft and hot, it is only a temporary magnet: it it cools or grows hard in that situation, it becomes a permanent one, the magnetic fluid not easily resuming its equilibrium. Perhaps it may be owing to the permanent magnetism of this globe, which it had not at first, that its axis is at present kept parallel to itself and not liable to the changes it formerly suffered, which occasioned the rupture of its she'll, the submersions and emersions of its lands, and the confusion of its seasons. The present polar and equatorial diameters differing (rom each other near ten leagues, it ia easy to conceive, in case some power should shift the axis gradually, and place it in the present equator, and make the new equator pass through the present poles, what a sinking of the waters would happen in the present equatorial regions, and what a rising in the present polar regions; so that vast tracts would be discovered, that now are under water, and others covered, that are now dry, the water rising and sinking in the different extremes near five leagues. Such an operation as this possibly occasioned much of Europe, and among the rest this Mountain of Passy on which I live, and which is composed of limestone rock and sea-shells, to be abandoned by the sea, and to change its ancient climate, which seems to have been a hot one. The globe being now become a perfect magnet, we ore, perhaps, safe from any change of its axis. But we are still subject to the accidents on the surface, which are occasioned by a wove in the internal ponderous fluid ; and such a wave is producible by the sudden violent explosion you mention, happening from the junction of water and fire under the earth, which not only lifts the incumbent earth that is over the explosion, but impressing with the same force the fluid under it, creates a wave, that may run a thousand leagues, lifting, and thereby shaking, successively, all the countries under which it passes. I know not whether I have expressed myself so clearly, as not to get out of your sight in these reveries. If they occasion any new inquiries, and produce a belter hypothesis, they will not be quite useless. You see I have given a loose to imagination; but I approve much more your method of philosophizing, which proceeds upon actual observation, makes a collection of facts, and concludes no furiher than those facts will warrant. In my present circumstances, that mode of studying the nature of the globe is out of my power, and therefore I have permitted myself to wander a little in the wilds of fancy."—vol. ii. p. 119—121.
Our limits will not permit us to make any analysis of the other physical papers contained in this collection. They are all admirable for the clearness of the description, the felicity and familiarity of the illustrations, and the singular sagacity of the remarks with which they are interspersed. The theory of whirl
winds and waterspouts, as well as the observations on the course of the winds and on cold, »cora to be excellent. The paper called Marilime Observations is full of ingenuity and practical good sense; and the remarks on Evaporation, and on the Tides, most of \\ hich are contained in a series of letters to a young lady, are admirable, not merely for their perspicuity, but for the interest and amusement th;v are calculated to communicate to every description of readers. The remarks on Fireplaces and Smoky chimnies are infinitely mure original, concise, and scientific, than those of Count Rumford; and the observations on the Gulph-stream afford, we believe, the first example of just theory, and accurate investigation, applied to that phenomenon.
Dr. Franklin. \ve think, has never made use of the mathematics, in his investigation of the phenomena of nature; and though this may render it surprising that he has fallen into so few errors of importance, we conceive that it helps in some measure to explain the unequalled perspicuity and vivacity of his expositions. An algebraist, who can work wonders with letters, seldom condescends to be much indebted to words; and thinks himself entitled to make his sentences obscure, provided his calculations be distinct. A writer who has nothing but words to make use of, must make all the use he can of them: he cannot afford to neglect the only chance he has of bums understood.
We should now say something of the political writings of Dr. Franklin,—the productions which first raised him into public office and eminence, and which will be least read or attended to by posterity. They may be divided into two parts; tbose which relate to the internal affairs and provincial differences of the American colonies, before their quarrel with th« mother country: and those which relate to that quarrel and its consequences. The former are no longer in any deirree interesting: and the editor has done wisely, we think, in presenting his readers with an abstract only of the longest of them. This was published in 1759. under the title of an Historical Review of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, and consisted of upwards of 500 pages, composed for the purpose of showintr that the political privileges reserved to the founder of the colony had been illegally and oppressively used. The Canada pamphlet, written in 1760, fnr the purpose of pointing out the importance of retaininsr that colony at the peace, is given entire : and appears to be composed with <rreat f jrce of reason, and in a style of extraordinary perspicuity. The same may be said of what are called the Albany Papen«, or the plan for n treneral political union of the colonies in I 1754; and a variety of other tracts on the' provincial politics of that day. All these are worth preserving, both as monuments of Dr. Franklin's talents and activity, and as affording, in many places, very excellent models of i »Iron;,' n-asonitiir and popular eloquence: but! the interest of the subjects is now completely gone by; and the few specimens of general reasoning which we meet with, serve only to
increase our regret, that the talents of th« author should have been wasted on such perishable materials.
There is not much written on the subject ol the dispute with the colonies; and most of Dr. Franklin's papers on that subject are already well known to the public. His examination before ihe House of Commons in 1766 aflords a striking proof of the extent of his information, the clrarness and force of his extempore ccm|Kis¡ lion, and the steadiness and self-possession which enabled him to display these qualities with so much effect upon such an occasion. His letters before the commencement of hostilities are full of grief and anxiety; but, Do sooner did matters come to extremities, than he appears to have assumed a certain keen and confident cheerfulness, not unmixed with a seasoning of asperity, and more vindictiveness of spirit than perhaps became a philosopher. In a letter written in October 1775. he expresses himself in this manner:—
"Tell our dear good friend * * *, who sometimes has his doubts and despondencies about our firmness, thai America is determined and unanimous; a very few Tories and placemen excepted, who will probably soon expon themselves. Britain, at the expense ot three millions, has killed one hundred and fifty Yankies this campaign, which a 20.00Ш. a heod; nnd, at Bunker's Htfl, she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed lull. During the same time, sixty thousand children have been born in America, í rom these data, his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense necessary 10 kill us all. and conquer our whole ternlory."—vol. iii, p. 357, 358.
The following letters, which passed between Dr. Franklin and Lord Howe, when his Lordship arrived off the American coast with what were called the pacificatory proposals in 1776, show not only the consideration in which the former was held by the Noble Commissioner, but contain a very striking and prophetic statement of the consequences to be apprehended from the perseverance of Great Britain in her schemes of compulsion. His Loidship writes, in June 1776,—
"I cannot, my worthy friend, permit the letters and parcels, which I have sent (in ¡he state 1 received them.) to be Innded, without adding a word upon the subject of the injurious extremities la which our unhappy disputes have engaged us.
"You will learn the nature ot my mission, from Ihe official despatches which I have recommended to be forwarded by the same conveyance. Retaining all the earnestness 1 ever expressed, to see our differences accommodated; I shall conceive, if I meet with the disposition in ihe colonies which I was onre taught to expecl, the most flattering hopes of proving serviceable in the objects of the King's paternal solicitude, by promoting the establishment of lasting peace and union wiih the Colonies. But. it the deep-rooted prejudices of America, and the nrcr.esity of preventing her trade from passing mío fnreign rh;mnel.4. musí keep us still a divided people, I shall, from every private as well as public motive, most heartily lament, that this is not ihe moment, wherein those great objects of my ambition are to be attained, and that I am to be longer deprived of an opportunity to assure you, personally, of the regard with which I am, Aie."—vol. iii. p. 365—3o7.
Dr. Franklin answered,—
"I received safe the leiten your Lordship ю kindly forwarded to me, and beg you to accept my
•' The official despatches 10 which you refer me, contain no'hing more than what we had seen in the act o( Far'.bment, viz- ' Offers of pardon upon submission;1 which I was sorry to find ', as it must i;ive your Lordship pain to be sent so far on so hopeless a business.
"Directing pirdons lo be offered to the colonies, «ho ire the very parties injured, expresses indeed that opinion of our ignorance, baseness, and insensibility, which your uninformed and proud nation Í js long :*en pleased to entertain of us ; but it c.in have n°> other effect than lhat of increasing our resen'menlx. It is impossible we should think of submission to a government lhat has, with the most w.iti'un barbarity and cruelty, burned our defencelea» towns in the midst of winter; excited the íivage» to ma-asaerr our (peaceful) farmers, and our vares tu murder their masters; and is even now* bringing foreign mercenaries to deluge our settlements with blood. These airocious injuries have fitinfuukrd every spark of affection for lhat parent omntry we once held so dear: but, were it possible í'jr u* to forcret and forgive them, it is not possible for you (I moan the British nation) to forgive the people you have eo heavily injured. You can never confide again in those as fellow-subjects, and permit them lo enjoy equal freedom, to whom you know you have given such just causes of lasting «utility: and this must impel you, were we again ander your government, to endeavour the breaking our «pint by the severest tyranny, and obstructing, i'V every means in your power, our growing strength and prosperity.
"But your Lordship mentions ' the King's pa'ernil foliciinde for promoting the establishment of luting pence and union with the Colonies.' If by r-.;re is here meant, a peace to be entered into by distinct »tales, now at war; and his Majesty has e теп уочг Lordship powers to treat with us of such э pe*ce; I may venture to say. though without anthority, that I think a treaty for that purpose not Quite impracticable, before we enter into foreign alliances. Bat I ain persuaded you have no such [ ¿wer*. Your naiion, though, by punishing those American governors who have fomented l he discord, r»bm¡d¡!u»"our burnt towns, and repairing as far as }• >a>ible the mischiefs done us, she might recover a ::rpat shire of our regard, and the greatest share • ! uar growing commerce, with all the advantages of thai additional strength, to be derived from a friendship with us; yet I know too well her aboundi -д priJe and deficient wisdom, to believe she will evtr take such salutary measures. Her fondness for ••'Mi'jur*! as a warlike nation; her lust of dominion *> ат ambitious one; nnd her thirst for a gainful monopoly as a commercial one, (none of them legitimate causes of wnr,) will join to hide from her eye» every view of her true interest, and continually goad her on in those ruinous distant expédiions, so destructive boih of lives and of treasure, mat they must prove as pernicious to her in the end, »» the Croisades formerly were lo most of the nation« of Europe.
"I have not ihe vanity, my Lord, to think of in'•midiiing, by thus predicting the effects of this wsr; for I know it will in England have the fate r-' Ml my former predictions—not to be believed ti'l Ihe event shall verify it.
"Long did I endeavour, w'jth unfeigned and unwearied zeal, 10 preserve from breaking that fine »id noMe porcelain vase—the British empire ; for I «Tew that, being nnce broken, the separate parts could not retain even their ulare of the strength and »Ine that existed in the whole; and that a perfect Пююп of tho*e parís could scarce ever he hoped fw- Year Lordship may possibly remember the '"•jr.* of jov that wetted my cheek, when, at your ь->Л sister's in London, you once gave me expec
talions that a reconciliation might soon lake place. I had the misfortune to lind these expectations disappointed, and to be treated as ihe cause of the mischiel I was labouring to prevent. My consolation under lhat groundless and malevolent treatment was, lhat I retained the friendship of many wise and good men in that country; and, among the rest, some share in the regard of Lord Howe.
"The well-founded esieem, and, permit me to say, affection, whicli 1 shall always have for your Lordship, make it paintul to me lo see you engaged in conducting a war, ihe great ground oí which (as described in your letter) is 'the necessity of preventing the American trade from passing into foreign channels.' To me it seems, lhat neither the obtaining or retaining any trade, how valuable soever, is an objecl for which men may justly spill eachoiher'a blood; that the true and sure means of extending and securing commerce, are ihe poodness and cheapness of commodities; and lhat ihe profits of no trade can ever be equal to ihe expense of compelling it, and holding it by fleets and armies. I consider this war against us. therefore, as both unjust and unwise; and! am persuaded lhat cool and dispassionate posterity will condemn to infamy those who advised it; and that even success will not save from some degree of dishonour, those who have voluntarily engaged to conduct il.
"I know your great motivein coming Miner was the hope of being instrumental in a reconciliation; and I believe, when you find that lo be impossible, on any terms given you to propose, you will then relinquish so odious a command, and return to a more honourable private station.
"With the greatest and most sincere respect. I have the honour to be, &.C."—vol. iii. p. 307—371.
None of Dr. Franklin's political writings, during the nine years when he resided as Ambassador at the Court of France, have yet been made public. Some of them, we should imagine, must be highly interesting.
Of the merit of this author as a political economist, we have already had occasion to say something, in the general remarks which we made on the character of his genius; and we cannot now spare time to go much into particulars. He is perfectly sound upon many important and practical points:—upon the corn-trade, and the theory of money, for instance; and also upon the more general doctrines, as to the freedom, of commerce, and the principle of population. In the more elementary and abstract parts of the science, however, his views seem to have been less just and luminous. He is not very consistent or profound in what he says of the effects of luxury; and seems to hâve gone headlong into the radical error of the Economistes, when he maintains, that all that is done by manufacture, is to embody the value of the manufacturer's subsistence in his work, and that agriculture is the only source from which a real increase of wealth can be derived. An other favourite position is, that all commerce is c/tcoiinjr, where a commodity; produced by a certain quantity of labour, is exchanged for another, on which more labour ha» been expended; and that tho only fair price of any thing, is some other thing requiring the same exertion to bring it to market. This is evidently a very narrow and erroneous view of the nature of commerce. The fair price to the purchaser is, whatever he deliberately chooses to give, rather than go without the commodity;—it is no matter to him, whether the seller bestowed much or little labour upon it. or whether it came into his possession Without any labour at all ;—whether it be a diamond, which he picked up; or a picture, at which he had been working for years. The commodity is not valued by the purchaser, on account of the labour which is supposed to be embodied in it, but solely on account of certain qualities, which he finds convenient or agreeable: he compares the convenience and delight which he expects to derive from this object, with the convenience and delight which is afforded by the things asked in exchange for it; and if he find the former preponderate, he consents to the exchange, and makes a beneficial bargain.
We have stated the case in the name of a purchaser, because, in barter, both parties are truly purchasers, and act upon the same principles; and it is easy to show, that all commerce resolves itself, ultimately, into barter. There can be no unfairness in trade, except where there is concealment on the part of the seller, either of the defects of the commodity, or of the fact that the purchaser may be supplied with it at a cheaper rate by another. It is a matter of fact, but not of morality, that the price of most commodities will be influenced by the labour employed in producing them. If they are capable of being produced in unlimited quantities, the competition of the producers will sink the price very nearly to what is necessary to maintain this labour; and the impossibility of continuing the production, without repaying that labour, will prevent it from sinking lower. The doctrine does not apply at all, to cases where the materials, or the skill necessary to work them up, are scarce in proportion to the demand. The author's speculations on the effects of paper-money, seem also to be superficial and inaccurate. Statistics had not been carefully studied in the days of his activity; and. accordingly, we meet with a good deal of loose assumption, and sweeping calculation in his writings. Yet he had a genius for exact observation, and complicated detail; and probably wanted nothing but leisure, to have made very great advancesin this branch of economy.
As a writer on morality and general literature, the merits of Dr. Franklin cannot be estimated properly, without taking into consideration the peculiarities that have been already alluded to in his early history and situation. He never had the benefit of any academical instruction, nor of the society of men of letters;—his style was formed entirely by his own judgment and occasional reading: and most of his moral pieces were written while he was a tradesman, addressing himself to the tradesmen of his native city. We cannot expect, therefore, either that he should write with extraordinary eleennce or grace: or that he should treat of the accomplishments, follies, and occupations of polite life. He had no great occasion, as a moralist, to expose the guilt and the folly of gaming or •eduction; or to point a poignant and playful ridicule against the lighter immoralities of fashionable life. To the mechanic« and tra
ders of Boston and Philadelphia, auch warr,ings were altogether unnecessary; and ne endeavoured, therefore, with -more appropriate eloquence, to impress upon them the importance of industry, sobriety, and economy, and to direct their wise and humble ambition to the attainment of useful knowledge and honourable independence. That morality, after all. is certainly the most valuable, which is adapted to the circumstances of the greatei part of mankind; and that eloquence the most meritorious, that is calculated to convince and persuade the multitude to virtue. Nothing can be more perfectly and beautifully adapted to its object, than most of Dr. Franklin's compositions of this sort. The tone of familiarity, of good-will, and homely 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 afford the finest specimens of a style which has been but too Utile cultivated in a country which numbers perhaps more than half a million of readers among its tradesmen and artificers.
In writings which possess such solid and unusual merit, it is of no great consequence that the fastidious eye of a critic can discover many blemishes. There is a good deal of vulgarity in the practical writings of Dr. Franklin; and more vulgarity than was any way necessary- for the object he had in view. There is something childish, too, in some of his attempts at pleasantry; his story of the Whistle, and his Parisian letter, announcing the discovery that the sun gives light as soon as he rises, are instances of this. The soliloquy of an Ephemeris, however, is much better; and both it, and the Dialogue with the Gout, are executed with the lightness and spirit of genuine French compositions. The Speech in the Divan of Algiers, composed as a parody on those of the defenders of the slave trade, and the scriptural parable agaii,<t persecution are inimitable;—they have all the point and facility of the fine pleasantries of Swift and Arbuthnot. with something more of directness and apparent sincerity.
The style of his letters, in general, is excellent. They are chiefly remarkable, for great simplicity of language, admirable good sense and ingenuity, and an amiable ar,d inoffensive cheerfulness, that is never overclouded or eclipsed. Among the most valuable of the writings that are published for the first time, in the present edition, are four letters from Dr. Franklin to Mr. Whallev, written within a few years of his death, and expressive of all that unbroken gaiety, philanthropy, and activity, which distinguish the compositions of his earlier years. We give with pleasure the following extracts.
"lam not acquainted with the saving of Alphonffus. which yon allude to as a eanctificalion of vour rigidity, in refusing to allow me the plea of olí age ae an excuse for my want of exactitude in correepondence. What was that saying ?—You do not. it seems, feel any occasion fortuch an excuse, though >flu are, as you say, rising seventy-five, bat I am n«íne (perhaps more properly falling) eighty—and 1 leave the excuse wiih you till you arrive at that age; perhaps you may then be more sensible of ils validity, and see fit to use it for yourself.
"I must »Rrec with you that The gout is bad, and ihu the stone is worse. I am happy in not having them boih together; and I join in your prayer, thai you may live till you die without either. But I doubt t'ne auihorof the epitaph you eent me is a little mistaken, «hen, speaking of the world, he says, that
* he ne'er car'd a pin
What they said or may xay of the mortal within/
"it i» so natural to wish to be well spoken of, whether alive or dead, that I imagine he could not be quite exempt from that desire; and that at least he wished to be thought a wit, or he would not have given himself the trouble of writing so good an epitaph to leave behind him."—"You see I have some reason to wish that in a future state I may not only be as iccll as I was, but a little better. And I hope it: for I, too, with your poet, trust in Goà. And when I observe, that there is great fruiiaiity as well as wisdom in his works, since he has (»•en evidently sparing both of labour and materials; 1er, by the various wonderful inventions of propagation, he has provided for the continual peopling his world with plants and animals, without being it the trouble of repeated new creations: and by the natural reduction of compound substances to :htir original elements, capable of being employed in new compositions, he has prevented the necessity of creating new matter; for that the earth, water, air, and perhaps fire, which being compoundfd. form wood, do, when the wood is dissolved, return, »nd again become air, earth, fire and water;— I ny, that when I see nothing annihilated, and not even a drop of water wasted, I cannot suspect the annihilation of souls; or believe that he will suffer •he daily waste of millions of minds ready made •hat now exist, and put himself to the continual trouble of making new ones. Thus finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall in some shape or other always exist. And with all the inconveniences human life is liable to, I shall not object to a new edition of mine; hoping, however, that the errata of the last may be corrected."—Vol. iri. pp. 546—548.
"Our constitution seems not lo be well understood with you. If the congress were a permanent fwnay. there would be more reason in being jealous of giving it powers. But its members are chosen annually, and cannot he chosen more than three years successively, nor more than three years in seven, and any of them may be recalled at any time, whenever their constituents shall be dissatisfied with their conduct. They are of the people, and return again to mix with the people, having no rooredurable preeminence than the different grains of sand in an hour-glass. Such an assembly can'iot easily become dangerous to liberty. They are 'he servants of the people, sent together to do the people's business, and promote the public welfare; ihehr powers must be sufficient, or their duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable apnointments, but a mere payment of daily wages, firh as are scarcely equivalent to their expenses; ?o ihat, having no chance of great places and enormou« salaries or pensions, as in some countries, >nere is no intriguing or bribing for elections. I wish Old England were as happy in its government, but I do not see it. Your people, however, 'hink their constitution the best in the world, and uflect to despise ours. It is comfortable to have a гола opinion of one's self, and of every thine that Monfri to us; to think one's own religion, king. >nd wife, the best of all possible wives, lungs, and religions. I remember three Greenlanders, who hadtravelled two years in Europe, under the care "Í some Moravian missionaries, and had visited <*rinany. Denmark, Holland, and England : when Inked "them at Philadelphia (when they were in
their way home) whether, now they had seen how much more commodiously the white people lived by the help of the arts, they would not choose to remain among us—their answer was, that they were pleased with having had an opportunity of seeing many fine things, but they chose to live in their own country: which country, by the way, consisted of rock only: for the Moravians were obliged lo carry earth in their ship from New York, tor the purpose of making there a cabbage garden !' '—Vol. iii. pp. 550, 551.
"You are now seventy-eight, and I am eightytwo. You tread fast upon my heels; but, though you have more strength ana spirit, you cannot come up with me till I stop, which must now be soon; for I am grown so old as to have buried most of the friends of my youth; and I now often hear persons, whom I knew when children, called old Mr. such a one, to distinguish them from their sons, now men grown, and in business; so that, by living twelve years beyond David's period, I seem to have intruded myselt into the company of posterity, when I ought to have been abed and asleep. Yet had I gone at seventy, it would have cat oft twelve of the most active years of my life, employed, too, in matters of the greatest importance: but whether I have been doing good or mischief, is for time to discover. I only know that I intended well, and I hope all will end well.
"Be so good as to present my affectionate respects to Dr. Rowley. I am under great obligations to him, and shall write to him shortly. It will be a pleasure to him to hear that my malady does not grow sensibly worse, and that is a great point; for il has always been so tolerable, us not to prevent my enjoying the pleasures of society, ana, being cheerful in conversation. I owe this in a great measure to his good counsels."—Vol. iii. pp. 555, 556.
"Your eyes must continue very good, since you are able to write so small a hand without spectacles. I cannot distinguish a letter even of large print; but am happy in the invention of double spectacles, which, serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were. If all the other defects and infirmities of old age could be as easily and cheaply remedied, it would be worthwhile, my friend, to live a good deal longer. But I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitutions as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning. Adieu, and believe me ever, &c."—Vol. iii. pp. 544, 545.
There is something extremely amiable in old age, when thus exhibited without querulousness, discontent, or impatience, anil free, at the same time, from any affected or unbecoming levity. We think there must be many more of Dr. Franklin's letters in existence, than have yet been given to the public; and from the tone and tenor of those which we have seen, we are satisfied that they would be read with general avidity and improvement.
His account of his own life, down to the year 1730, has been in the hands of the public since 1790. It is written with great simplicity and liveliness, though it contains too many trifling details and anecdotes of obscure individuals. It affords however a striking example of the irresistible force with which talents and industry bear upwards in society; as well as an impressive illustration of the substantial wisdom and good policy of invariable integrity and candour. We should think it a very useful reading for all young persons of unconfirmed principles, who have their fortunes to make or to mend in the world.