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PRE FACE.

The volumes that are here presented to the Public, consist 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 first part of the history of his life is trandated from that publication,

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The ftyle 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 perfe&tly understand. It is this that gives such exquifrte and uncommon perfpicuity to the detail and delight in the review, The transfator has endeavoured, as he went along, to conceive the probable manner in which Dr. Franklin expresfed his ideas in his English manufcript, and he hopes to be forgiven if this enquiry shall occasionally have subjected him to the charge of a style in any respeet bald or low; to intimate the admirable fimplicity of the autlior, is no easy task.

The Essays, which are now, for the first time, brought together from various refources, will be found to be more miscellaneous than any of Dr. Franklin's that have formerly been collectcd, and will therefore be more generally amufing. Dr. Franklin tells us, in his Life that he was an assiduous imitator of Addison; and from fome 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 phi. lofophy 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 perufal. These he may probably hereafter publish in a volume by themselvo.

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.

DEAR

SIR.

** -I am hardily able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favoür me. Your laft 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 Atriking example, how a man, by talents, industry, and integrity, may rise from obscurity to the firft eminence and consequence in the worid; but it brings his history no lower than the year 1757, and I understand 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 for. ward to it, there is comfort in being able to refle&-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 becn kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the conclusion of life, we are furnished with more helps to wean up from it, among which one of

the strongest is the loss of dear friends. I was delighted with the account you gave me in your letter of the honour fhewn 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 in 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 humble servant,

RICHARD PRICE."

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