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OF THE LATE
DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN :
CONSISTING OF HIS
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.
HUMOUROUS, MORAL, AND LITERARY
CHIEFLY IN THE MANNER OF THE SPECTATOR.
AMONG WHICH ARE SEVERAL NOT INSERTED IN ANY AMERICAN
PUBLISHED BY DAVID ABBOTT.
William Brown, Printer.
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 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 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 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 subjects 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 occasionlly 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 he was not an unhappy one. The public will be amused with following a great philosopher in his relaxation, and observe in what respects philosophy tends to elucidate and improve the most common subject. The editor has purposely avoided such papers, as by their scientifical