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this enquiry fhall occafionally have fubjected him to the charge of a ftyle in any refpect bald or low: to imitate the admirable fimplicity of the author, is no eafy task.
The Effays, which are now, for the first time, brought together from various refources, will be found to be more mifcellaneous than any of Dr. Franklin's that have formerly been collected, and will therefore be more generally amufing. Dr. Franklin tells us, in his Life, that he was an affiduous imitator of Addifon; and from fome of these papers it will be admitted that he was not an unhappy one. The public will be amufed with following a great philofopher in his relaxations, and obferving in what refpects philofophy tends to elucidate and improve the most common fubjects. The editor has purposely avoided fuch papers as, by their fcientifical nature, were lefs adapted for general perufal. Thefe he may probably hereafter publifh in a volume by themfelves.
He fubjoins a letter from the late celebrated and amiable Dr. Price, to a gentleman in Philadelphia, upon the fubject 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 laft, containing an account of the death of our excellent friend Dr. Franklin, and the circumftances attending it, deferves my particular gratitude. The account which he has left of his life will fhow, in a ftriking example, how a man, by talents, industry, and integrity, may rife from obfcurity to the first eminence and confequence in the world; but it brings his history no lower than the year 1757, and I understand that fince he fent 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 a
ble to reflect-that we have not lived in vain, and that all the ufeful and virtuous fhall meet in a better country beyond the grave.
"Dr. Franklin, in the last letter I received from him, after mentioning his age and infirmities, obferves, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the conclufion of life, we are furnished with more helps to wean us from it, among which one of the strongest is the lofs of dear friends. I was delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honour fhewn to his memory at Philadelphia, and by Congrefs; and yesterday I received a high additional pleasure, by being informed that the National Affembly of France had determined to go in mourning for him.-What a glorious fcene is opened there! The annals of the world furnith 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,
MY DEAR SON,,
HAVE amused myself with collecting fome lit. tle anecdotes of my family. You may remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among fuch of my relations as were then living; and the journey I undertook for that purpofe. To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you, I flatter myfelf, will afford the fame pleafure to you as to me. I fhall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted leifure, which I promife myself during my prefent retirement in the country. There are alfo other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bofom of poverty and obfcurity, in which I drew my firft breath and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of ори lence and to fome degree of celebrity in the world. A conftant good fortune has attended me through
every period of life to my prefent advanced age; and my defcendants may be defirous of learning what were the means of which I made ufe, and which, thanks to the affifting hand of providence, have proved fo eminently fuccefsful. They may alfo, fhould they ever be placed in a fimilar fituation, derive fome advantage from my narrative.
When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I fometimes fay to myfelf, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the fame career of life. All I would afk would be the privilege of an author, to correct in a fecond edition, certain errors of the firft. I could wifh, likewise, if it were in my power, to change fome trivial incidents and events for others more favourable. Were this however denied me, ftill would I not decline the offer. But fince a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so nearly refembles it, as to call to mind all its circumftances, and, to render their remembrance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus employing myself, I fhall yield to the inclination, fo natural to old men, to talk of themselves and their exploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tirefome to thofe who, from refpect to my age, might think themselves obliged to liften to me; as they will be at liberty to read me or not as they pleafe. In fine--and I may well avow it, fince nobody would believe me were I to deny it-I fhall perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever heard or read the introductory phrafe, I may fay without vagi ty but fome ftriking and characteristic infance