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colonists to the mother country, a repetition of ill treatment must ultimately alienate their affections. They listened not to his advice. They blindly persevered in their own schemes, and left to the colonists no alternative, but opposition or unconditional submission. The latter accorded not with the principles of freedom, which they had been taught to revere. To the former they were compelled, though reluctantly, to have recourse.
Dr. Franklin, finding all efforts to restore harmony between Great Britain and her colonies useless, returned to America in the year 1775; just after the commencement of hostilities. The day after his return he was elected by the legislature of Pennsylvania a member of congress. Not long after his election a committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lynch, Mr. Harrison, and himself, to visit the camp of Cam. bridge, and, in conjunction with the commander in chief, to endeavour to convince the troops, whose term of enlistment was about to expire, of the necessity of their continuing in the field, and persevering in the cause of their country.
In the fall of the same year he visited Canada, to endeavour to unite them in the common cause of li. berty ; but they could not be prevailed upon to oppose the measures of the British government. M. Le Roy, in a letter annexed to Abbe Fauchet's eulogium of Dr. Franklin, states, that the ill success of this negociation was occasioned, in a great degree, by religious animosi. ties, which subsisted between the Canadians and their neighbours; some of whom had at different times burnt their chapels.
When Lord Howe came to America, in 1776, vested with power to treat with the colonists, a correspondence took place between him and Dr. Franklin, on the subject of a reconciliation. Dr. Franklin was afterwards appointed, together with John Adams and
Edward Rutledge, to wait upon the commissioners, in .. order to learn the extent of their power. These were
found to be only to grant pardons upon submission,
These were terms which would not be excepted; and the object of the commissioners could not be obtained.
The momentous question of Independence was shortly after brought into view ; at a time when the fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedience, were truly formidable. With an army, numerous indeed, 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 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 sentiments.
The public mind had been pretty fully prepared for this event, by Mr. Paine's celebrated pamphlet, Common Sense. There is good reason to believe that Dr. Franklin had no inconsiderable share, at least, in furnishing materials for this work.
In the convention which assembled at Philadelphia in 1776, for the purpose of establishing a new form of government for the state of Pennsylvania, Dr. Frank. lin was chosen president. The late constitution of this state, which was the result of their deliberations, may be considered as a digest of his principles of government. The single legislature, and the plural execu. tive, seem to have been his favourite tenets.
In the latter end of 1776, Dr. Franklin was ap. pointed to assist in the negociations which had been set on foot by Silas Deane at the court of France. A conviction of the advantages of a commercial inter. course with America, and a desire of weakening the British empire by dismembering it, first induced the French court to listen to proposals of an alliance. But they shewed rather a reluctance to the measure, which, by Dr. Franklin's address, and particularly by the success of the American arms against general Bur- • goyne, at length overcome; and in February 1778, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was con
cluded; in consequence of which France became involved in the war with Great Britain.
Perhaps no person could have been found more capable of rendering essential services to the United States at the court of France, than Dr. Franklin. He was well known as a philosopher, and his character was held in the highest estimation. He was received with the greatest marks of respect by all the literary characters; and this respect was extended amongst all classes of men. His personal influence was hence very considerable. To the effects of this were added those of various performances which he published, tending to establish the credit and character of the United States. To his exertions in this way; may, in no small degree, be ascribed the success of the loans negociated in Holland and France, which greatly contributed to bringing the war to a happy conclusion.
The repeated ill success of their arms, and more particularly the capture of Cornwallis and his army, at length convinced the British nation of the impossibility of reducing the Americans to subjection. The trading interest particularly became very clamorous for peace. The ministry were unable longer to oppose their wishes, Provincial articles of peace were agreed to, and signed at Paris on the 30th of November, 1782, by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, on the part of the United States; and by Mr. Oswald on the part of Great Britain. These formed the basis of the definitive treaty, which was concluded the 30th of September 1783, and signed by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Jay, on the one part, and by Mr. David Hartley on the other.
On the 3d of April 1783, a treaty of amity and commerce, between the United States and Sweden, was concluded at Paris, by Dr. Franklin and the Count Von Krutz.
A similar treaty with Prussia was concluded in 1785, not long before Dr. Franklin's departure from Europe.
Dr. Franklin did not suffer his political pursuits to engross his whole attention. Some of his performances made their appearance in Paris. The object of these was generally the promotion of industry and economy.
In the year 1784, when animal magnetism made great noise in the world, particularly at Paris, it was thought a matter of such importance, that the king appointed commissioners to examine into the founda. tion of this pretended science. Dr. Franklin was one of the number. After a fair and diligent examination, in the course of which Mesmer repeated a number of experiments, in the presence of the commissioners, some of which were tried upon themselves, they determined that it was a mere trick, intended to impose upon the ignorant and credulous-Mesmer was thus interrupted in his career to wealth and fame, and a most insolent attempt to impose upon the human understanding baffled.
The important ends of Dr. Franklin's mission being completed by the establishment of American independ. ence, and infirmities of age and disease coming upon him, he became desirous of returning to his native country. Upon application to congress to be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him, in 1783. Sometime in September of the same year, Dr. Frank. lin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen member of the supreme executive council for the city ; and soon after was elected president of the
When a convention was called to meet in Philadel. phia, in 1787, for the purpose of giving more energy to the government of the union by revising and amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was appointed a delegate from the State of Pennsylvania. He signed the constitution which they proposed for the union, and gave it the most unequivocal marks of his approbation.
A society for political enquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president, was established about this period.
The meetings were held at his house. Two or three essays read in the society were published. It did not long continue.
In the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia, founded on principles of the most liberal and refined humanity-the Philadelphia Society for alleviating the miseries of public prisons ; and the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African
Of each of these Dr. Franklin was president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with great success; and they continue to prosecute, with unwearied diligence, the laudable designs for which they were instituted.
Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance in the council-chamber; and, in 1788, he retired wholly from public life.
His constitution had been a remarkable good one, He had been little subject to disease, except an attack of the gout occasionally, until the year 1781, when he was first attacked with the symptoms of the calculous complaint, which continued during his life. During the intervals of pain from this grievous disease, he spent many cheerful hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive manner. His faculties were entirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.
His name, as president of the Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 12th of February 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the constitution, in discouraging the traffic of the human species. This was his last public act. In the debates to which this me. morial gave rise, several attempts were made to justify the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25th there appeared an essay, signed Historicus, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a speech, said to have been delivered in the Diyan of Algiers in 1687, in opposition to the prayer of the petition of a