Works of the late Doctor Benjamin Franklin
of the Late
Doctor Benjamin Franklin:
His Life, Written by Himself,
Essays, Humorous, Moral, & Literary,
Chiefly in the Manner of
Printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Moore, and W. Jones.
The volume that is here presented to the Public, consists of two parts: the Life of Dr. Franklin; and a Collection of Miscellaneous Essays, the work of that author.
It is already known to many, that Dr. Franklin amused himself, towards the close of his life, with writing memoirs of his own history. These memoirs were brought down to the year 1757. Together with some other manuscripts they were left behind him at his death, and were considered as constituting a part of his posthumous property. It is a little extraordinary that, under these circumstances, interesting as they are, from the celebrity of the character of which they treat, and from the critical situation of the present times, they should so long have been with-held from the Public. A translation of them appeared in France near two years ago, coming down to the year 1731. There can be no sufficient reason, that what has thus been submitted to the perusal of Europe, should not be made accessible to those to whom Dr. Franklin's language is native. The history of his life, as far as page 149 of the present volume, is translated from that publication.
The style of these memoirs is uncommonly pleasing. The story is told with the most unreserved sincerity, and without any false colouring or ornament. We see, in every page, that the author examined his subject with the eye of a master, and related no incidents, the springs and origin of which he did not perfectly understand. It is this that gives such exquisite and uncommon perspicuity to the detail and delight in the review. The translator has endeavoured, as he went along, to conceive the probable manner in which Dr. Franklin expressed his ideas in his English manuscript, and he hopes to be forgiven if this enquiry shall occasionally have subjected him to the charge of a style in any respect bald or low: to imitate the admirable simplicity of the author, is no easy task.
The Essays, which are now, for the first time, brought together from various resources, will be found to be more miscellaneous than any of Dr. Franklin’s that have formerly been collected, and will therefore be more generally amusing. Dr. Franklin tells us, in his Life, that he was an assiduous imitator of Addison, and from some of these papers it will be admitted that he was not an unhappy one. The public will be amused with following a great philosopher in his relaxations, and observing in what respects philosophy tends to elucidate and improve the most common subjects. The editor has purposely avoided such papers as, by their scientifical nature, were less adapted for general perusal. These he may probably hereafter publish in a volume by themselves.
He ſubjoins a letter from the late celebrated and amiable Dr. Price, to a gentleman in Philadelphia, upon, the ſubject of Dr. Franklin's memoirs of his own life.
"Hackney, June 19, 1790.
"I am hardly able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favour me. Your laſt, containing an account of the death of our excellent friend Dr. Franklin, and the circumſtances attending it, deſerves my particular gratitude. The account which he has left of his life will ſhow, in a ſtriking example, how a man, by talents, induſtry, and integrity, may riſe from obſcurity to the firft eminence and conſequence in the world; but it brings his hiſtory no lower than the year 1757, and I underſland that ſince he ſent over the copy, which I have read, he has been able to make no additions to it. It is with a melancholy regret I think of his death; but to death we are all bound by the irreverſible order of nature, and in looking forward to it, there is comfort in being able to reflect—that we have not lived in vain, and that all the uſeful and virtuous ſhall meet in a better country beyond the grave.
"Dr. Franklin, in the laſt letter I received from him, after mentioning his age and infirmities, obſerves, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the concluſion of life, we are furniſhed with more helps to wean us from it, among which one of the ſtrongeſt is the loſs of dear friends. I was delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honour ſhewn to his memory at Philadelphia, and by Congreſs; and yeſterday I received a high additional pleaſure, by being informed that the National Aſſembly of France had determined to go into mourning for him.—What a glorious ſcene is opened there! The annals of the world furniſh no parallel to it. One of the honours of our departed friend is, that he has contributed much to It.
"I am, with great reſpect,
Your obliged and very
- Life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himſelf
- Continuation of his Life by Dr. Stuber
- Extracts from his Will
- On Early Marriages
- On the Death of his Brother, Mr. John Franklin
- To the late Doctor Mather of Boſton
- The Whiſtle, a true Story; written to his Nephew
- A Petition of the Left Hand
- The handſome and deformed Leg
- Converſation of a Company of Ephemeræ; with the Soliloquy of one advanced in Age
- Morals of Chefs
- The Art of procuring pleaſant Dreams
- Advice to a young Tradeſman
- Neceſſary Hints to thoſe that would be rich
- The Way to make Money plenty in every Man's Pocket
- An economical Project
- On modern Innovations in the Engliſh Language, and in Printing
- An Account of the higheſt Court of Judicature in Pennſylvania, viz. the Court of the Preſs
- Paper: a Poem
- On the Art of ſwimming
- New Mode of Bathing
- Obſervations on the generally prevailing Doctrines of Life and Death
- Precautions to be uſed by thoſe who are about to undertake a Sea Voyage
- On Luxury , Idleneſs, and Induſtry
- On the Slave Trade
- Obſervations on War
- On the Impreſs of Seamen
- On the Criminal Laws, and the Practice of Privateering
- Remarks concerning the Savages of North America.
- To Mr. Dubourg, concerning the Diſſentions between England and America
- A Compariſon of the Conduct of the Ancient Jews, and of the Antifederaliſts in the United States of America
- The Internal State of America: being a true Deſcription of the Intereſt and Policy of that vaſt Continent
- Information to thoſe who would remove to America
- Final Speech of Dr. Franklin in the late Federal Convention
- Sketch of an Engliſh School