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far more tremendous violence, during the progress of which his name was adduced by anarchists as a sanction for their practices, and his authority quoted by dreamy theorists in support of their visionary projects.
"Whether, therefore, the publication of his Memoirs and other papers, amidst such a scene of perturbation, would have been conducive to the desirable ends of peace, may be a matter of question ; but, at all events, the sober and inquisitive part of mankind can have no cause to regret the suspension of what might have suffered from the perverted talents of designing partisans and infuriated zealots. It may fairly be observed, that the writings of Dr. Franklin are calculated to serve a far more important purpose than that of ministering to the views of party and keeping alive national divisions, which, however necessitated by circumstances, ought to cease with the occasion, and yield to the spirit of philanthropy. Even amidst the din of war and the contention of faction, it was the constant aim of this excellent man to promote a conciliatory disposition, and to correct the acerbity of controversy. Though no one could feel more sensibly for the wrongs of his country, or have more enlarged ideas on the subject of general liberty, his powerful efforts to redress the one and extend the other, were always connected with the paramount object of social improvement, in the recommendation of those habits which tend more effectually to unite men together in the bonds of amity. Happening, however, to live himself in a turbulent period, and called upon to take a leading part in those scenes which produced a new empire in the Western World, much of his latter Memoirs and correspondence will be to exhibit his undisguised thoughts upon the public men and occurrences of the day. These sketches, anecdotes, and reflections will now be read by men of opposite sentiments, without awakening painful recollections or rekindling the dying embers of animosity, while the historian and the moralist may learn from them the secret springs of public events, and the folly of being carried away by political pre udice.
While, therefore, some contracted minds in different countries may be querulously disposed to censure the delay that has taken place in the publication of these posthumous papers, it is presumed that the more considerate and liberal on either side of the Atlantic will approve of the motives which have operated for the procrastination, even though the period has so far exceeded the nonum annum assigned by Horace, the oldest and best of critics, for the appearance of a finished performance.
"The editor, in offering this justificatory plea to the public, and taking credit for having exercised so much discretion as to keep these relics in his private custody till the return of halcyon days and a brightened horizon, when their true value might be best appreciated, feels that he has discharged his duty in that manner which the venerable writer himself would have prescribed, could he have anticipated the disorders which have ravaged the most polished and enlightened states since his removal from this scene of pride and weakness, where nations as well as individuals have their periods of infancy and decrepitude, of moral vigor and wild derangement.
“Shortly after the death of Dr. Franklin, there were not wanting the usual train of literary speculators to exercise their industry in collecting his avowed productions, together with those which public rumor ascribed to his pen. These miscellanies were printed in various forms, both in England and America, greatly to the advantage of the publishers; nor did the possessor of the originals avail himself of the general avidity and the celebrity of his ancestor, to deprive those persons of the profits which they continued to reap from repeated editions of papers that have cost them nothing. When, however, they had reason to apprehend that the genuine Memoirs and other works of Franklin, as written and corrected by himself, would be brought forward in a manner suitable to their importance and the dignified rank of the author in the political and literary world, invidious reports were sent abroad, and circulated with uncommon diligence; asserting that all the literary remains of Dr. Franklin
had been purchased at an enormous rate by the British ministry, who (mirabile dictu) it seems were more afraid of this arsenal of paper than of the power of France, with all her numerous resources and auxiliaries. This convenient tale, absurd as it was, found reporters both in Europe and in the United States, who bruited it about with so much art as to make many who were unacquainted with the legatee of the manuscripts, believe it to be true, and to lament feelingly, that such inestimable productions should be suppressed, and lost for ever, through the cupidity of the person to whom they were bequeathed. Provoking as the story was, the party whom it most affected, and whose interests it was designed to injure, felt too much of the conscia mens recti to do otherwise than treat the ridiculous invention with contempt, from a persuasion that the refutation of an improbable falsehood is beneath the dignity of truth. He, therefore, endured the opprobrium without complaint, and even suffered it to be repeated without being goaded into an explanation; contented to wait for the time when he might best fulfill his duty and shame his calumniators. That period has at length arrived, and the world will now see whether an enlightened government could be weak enough to be frightened by the posthumous works of a philosopher; or whether a man of integrity, bred under Franklin, bearing his name, and entrusted with his confidence, could be bribed into an act of treachery to his memory.
“Of the present collection it remains to be observed, that the only portion which has hitherto appeared in any form, is the first fasciculus of the Memoirs of Dr. Franklin, extending from his birth to the year 1757, forming one hundred and seventy-five pages only of the present volume. But even what has formerly been printed of this part, can scarcely lay claim to originality, since the English edition is no more than a translation from the French, which of itself is a professed version of a transcription ; so that the metamorphoses of this interesting piece of biography may be said to resemble the fate of Milton's epic poem, which a French Abbé paraphrased into inflated prose, and which an
English writer, ignorant of its origin, turned back again under the double disguise into its native tongue.
“Admitting, however, that the small portion of the Memoir given to the world, is substantially correct in the materials of the narrative, the present publication of it must be infinitely more estimable by being printed literally from the original autograph.
" It is much to be regretted, that Dr. Franklin was not enabled, by his numerous avocations and the infirmities of old age, to complete the narrative of his life in his own inimitable manner. That he intended to have done this is certain, from his correspondence, as well as from the parts in continuation of the Memoir which are now for the first time communicated to the world. But the convulsed state of things during the American Revolution, the lively concern which he had in that event, and his multiplied public engagements, after contributing to the establishment of the independence of his country, prevented him from indulging his own inclinations, and complying with the earnest desire of his numerous friends."
APPENDIX No. II. See p. 60.
By M. Charles Malo.
[Translation.] "In publishing in France a complete Correspondence of Dr. Franklin, I have intended to afford the public an opportunity of enjoying the only part of the works of this celebrated man which has remained unknown to us up to this time. This Correspondence has the inappreciable advantage of being neither altered nor abridged. France, England, America, there play a part so important that I should reproach myself if I had sup
pressed the smallest passage of it. Franklin will be found there in this Correspondence complete and characteristic, with all that freedom of speech so piquant and so noble which he indulged toward all the courts of Europe.
"Two or three journals have announced a Select Correspondence of Franklin. It is my duty to enlighten the public on this fraudulent speculation of M. Temple (Franklin). Desirous of prejudicing the interests of French booksellers, and at the same time desperate at having been so unfortunately anticipated by the appearance of a Complete Correspondence, this gentleman had no other resource but to make a Selected Correspondence ; but he has not foreseen that in reducing to one-half the work which I publish to-day in two octavo volumes, he would really give only an abridgment of it, an extract; that his boasted Selection will be but an insignificant piece of claptrap, a thing of shreds and patches. When, in fact, will the formidable scissors stop of a foreigner who is directed by considerations of self-love, and animated by local passions? In purchasing the Abridged Correspondence' of M. Temple (Franklin), one will still not have Franklin. But let us be just. If M. Temple (Franklin) cuts up and piteously lacerates a Correspondence as yet entirely unpublished, and which was absolutely unknown in France, in revenge, and by an equally reasonable calculation, he is about to reproduce for the fourth time, that is to say to satiety, the ‘Memoirs of the Life of Franklin,' printed at Paris, for the first time, in 1791 (one volume in 8vo., by Buisson); for the second time, in the year II. (one volume in 12mo., Rue Therese); and for the third time, in 1800 (two volumes in 8vo., by Buisson), from the English edition of Dundee.
"I owe this confidence to my readers, especially to that public which M. Temple (Franklin) appeals to, that it may be duly instructed as to the merit of the editions of which this person wishes to give France the benefit.
“Since the month of January, and by many French booksellers, with a competition much more formidable than the