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nature, were less adapted for general perusal. These he may probably hereafter publish in a volume by themselves.
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.
"I am hardly able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favour me. Your last 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 striking example, how a man by talents, industry and integrity, may rise from obscurity to the first eminence and consequence in the world; 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 forward to it, there is comfort in being able to reflect-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 infirmi ties, observes, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the conclusion of life, we are furnished with more helps to wean us from it, among which, one of the strongest is the loss of dear friends. Í was delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honor shewn 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 morning 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.
DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
MY DEAR SON,
HAVE amused myself with collecting some little anecdotes of my family. You may remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among such of my relations as were then living; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. To be ac
quainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you, I flatter myself, will afford the same pleasure to you as to me. I shall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted leisure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of opulence and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me through every period of life to my present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning
what were the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be placed in a similar situation, derive some advantage from my narrative.
When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask would be the privilege of an author, to correct in a second edition, certain errors of the first. I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, to change some trivial incidents and events for others more favourable. Were this however denied me, still would I not decline the offer. But since a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so nearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to render their remembrance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus employing myself, I shall yield to the inclination, so natural to old men, to talk of themselves and their exploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age, might think themselves obliged to listen to me; as they will be at liberty to read me or not as they please. In fine-and I may well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny it-I shall perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, "I may say without vanity," but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves; for myself, I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the sphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would in many cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to providence for the blessing.
And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the Divine goodness will still be exercised towards me either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. My future fortune is unknown but to him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.
One of my uncles, desirous like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton in Northamptonshire) upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had resided there prior to that period, my uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, which had formerly been the name of a particular order of individuals.*
As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order of rank in England, see judge Fortescue, De laudibus legum Anglice, written about the year 1412, in which is the following passage to show that good juries might easily be formed in any part of England:
"Regio etiam illa, ita respersa refertaque est possessoribus terrarum et agrorum, quod in ea, villulatam parva reperiri on poterit, in qua non est miles, armiger, vel pater familias, qualis ibidem franklin vulgaritur nuncupatur, magnis ditatus possessonibus, nec non libere, tenentes at alii valecti plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum juratam, in forma prænotata."
"Moreover, the same country is so filled and replenished with "landed menne, that therein so small a thorpe cannot be found