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to be sent to his constituents; and the cover of the letters, on which the direction had been written, being lost, he only guessed at the person to whom they where addressed, by the contents. The late Mr. Pennant has said of Dr. Franklin, that “living under the protection of our mild government, he was secretly playing the incendiary, and too successfully inflaming the minds of our fellow-subjects in America, till that great explosion happened, which for ever disUnited us from our once happy colonies." it is in my power," says. Dr. Priestley, “ as far as my testimony will be regarded, to refute this charge, I think it due to our friendship to do it. It is probable that no person now living was better acquainted with Dr. Franklin and his sentiments on all subjects of importance, than myself, for several years before the America war. I think I knew him as well as one man generally knows another. At that time I spent the winters in London, in the family of the Marquis of Lansdown, and few days passed without my seeing more or less of Dr. Franklin; and the last day which he passed in England, wespent together, without any interruption, from morning till night. Now he was so far from wishing a rupture with the colonies, that he did more than most men would have done to prevent it. His constant advice to his countrymen, he always said, was “to bear every thing from England however unjust;' saying, that it could not last long, as they would soon outgrow all their hardships." On this account, Dr. Price, who corresponded with some of the principal persons in America, said, he be_ gan to be unpopular there. He always said, “If there must be a war, it will be a war of ten years, and I shall not live to see the end of it.” This I have heard him say many times. 1. "It was at his request, en"The unity
forced by that of Dr. Fothergill, that I wrote an an. nonymous pamphlet, calculated to shew the injustice and impolicy of a war with the colonies, previous to the meeting of a new parliament,
66 As I then lived at Leeds, he corrected the press himself; and, to a passage in which I lamented the attempt to estab. lish arbitrary power in so large a part of the British empire, he added the following clause, “To the im. minent hazard of our most valuable commerce, and of that national strength, security, and felicity, which depend on union and on liberty.” of the British empire, in all it's parts, was a favourite idea of his. He used to compare it to a beautiful China
vase, which if once broken, could never be put together again ; and so great an admirer was he at that time of the British constitution, that he said “he saw no inconvenience from it's being extended over a great part of the globe.” He was, however, at this time regarded by government with such jealousy, that he was dismissed from his office of postmaster-general, and it was proposed to arrest him as a fomenter of rebellion. The Doctor, however, de. parted for America in the beginning of 1775, pri. vately, and before it was suspected that he had such an intention.
Being elected a delegate to the continental congress, he had a principal share in bringing about the revolution, and declaration of in. dependency. In 1776, Dr. Franklin was de. puted by congress to persuade the Canadians to throw offthe British yoke; but they had been so much disgusted with the hot-headed zeal of the New Eng. landers, who had burnt some of their chapels, that they refused to listen to the proposals, tho' enforced by every argument which he could urge. the arrival of Lord Howein America, he entered into
a correspondence with him on the subject of recon. ciliation. In these Letters he strongly expresses
his opinion of the temper of the British nation, to which and not to any particular designs of the court or: ministry, he imputed the fatal extremity which was then arrived. He was afterwards appointed, with two others, to wait on the English commissioners, and learn the extent of their powers. As these were found to extend only to a grant of pardon on submission, he joined his colleagues in considering them as insufficient. The momentous question of independ. ence was soon after investigated, at a time when the fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedi. enc, were truly formidable. With a numerous army, but ignorant of discipline, and entirely unskilled in the art of war; without money, without a fleet, without allies, and with nothing but the love of liberty to support them, the colonists determined to separate from a country, from which they conceived they had experienced a repetition of injury and insult. In this question, Dr. Franklin was decidedly in favour of the measure proposed, and had great influence in bringing over others to his opinions. He afterwards sat as president of the convention assembled for the pur. pose of establishing a new government for the state of Pennsylvania. On this occasion, his idea of the best form of a constitution seemed to be that of a single legislative and a plural executive. In the latter end of the same year, Dr. Franklin was made choice of to assist in the negotiation which had been commenced by Silas Deane, at the court of France. This important commission was readily accepted, tho' he was in his 71st year. He brought to effect the treaty of alliance offensive and defensive in 1778, which produced an immediate war between France and England. In 1777 he was appointed plenepo. tentiary from Congress to the French court. Having at length seen the full accomplishment of his wishes, by the conclusion of the peace in 1783, which confirmed the independence of America, he requested to be recalled, and was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson. Before he left Europe, however, he effected a treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and Sweden; and a similar treaty was concluded also with Prussia. These treatises are replete with benevo. lence, and perhaps an unparallelled instance of this kind may be found in the 23d article of the latter. “If war should arise between the contending parties, all merchant and trading vessels, employed in exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy to be obtained, and more general, shall be allowed to pass free and unmolested and neither of the contracting powers shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or destroy such trading vessels, or to interrupt such commerce." The article concerning the treatment of prisoners of war is also remarkable for it's truly benevolent spirit. The whole treaty is a singular phænomenon in the history of nations. Military powers uniting to alleviate the miseries of war, to lessen the horrors of blood sbed, and relieve the distresses of their enemies, is the best lesson of humanity which a philosophical king, acting in concert with a philosophical patriot, could possibly give to the princes and statesmen of the earth. Privateering is certainly totally contrary to the princi. ples of equity and morality. The practice is altogether robbery, and is as much a violation of justice as any other species of theft or plunder whatever. The
states of America have put in practice the benevolent principles of our author for abolishing privateering, by offering in all their treaties articles of this nature. Would it were universally adopted by all nations on the éarth!
Franklin arrived safe at Phiļa. delphia in September 1785, and was received amidst the acclamations of a vast multitude, who conducted him in triumph to his own house. He was after wards twice elected president of the assembly. In 1787, he was appointed a delegate from Pennsyl. vania, for revising the articles of confederation; and signed the new constitution in the name of the State. In concluding the deliberations on this important transaction, he delivered a truly wise and patriotic speech recommending perfect unanimity in adopting the resolutions of the majority, tho' not entirely con. formable to the opinions of individuals, as was the case with respect to himself. The high regard in which he was held by his fellow-citizens appeared in his being chosen president of various societies, among which were the “ Philadelphia Society for alleviatiog the miseries of Prisons,” and of the “Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Sla. very.'
:" His last public act was signing a memorial on this subject, Feb. 12, 1789. Dr. Franklin during the greatest part of his life had been very healthy He had, however, in 1735, been attacked by a pleurisy, which ended in a suppuration on the left lobe of the lungs, so that he was nearly suffocated by the quantity of matter thrown up. But from this, as well as another attack, he recovered so completely that his breathing was not afterwards in the least affected.
As he advanced in years, however he became subject to fits of thegout, to which, in 1782, a nephritie colic was superadded. His memory was