Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 164

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 afterward
appointed, together with John Adams and Edward Rutledge, to wait upon
the commissioners, in order to learn the extent of their powers. These
were found to be only to grant pardons upon submission. These were terms
which could not be accepted, 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 others over to his
sentiments.

The public mind had been already 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. Franklin 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 executive seem to have been his favourite
tenets.

In the latter end of 1776, Dr. Franklin was appointed to assist at the
negotiation which had been set on foot by Silas Deane, at the court of
France. A conviction of the advantages of a commercial intercourse 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 showed rather a reluctance to the measure, which, by
Dr. Franklin's address, and particularly by the success of the American
arms against General Burgoyne, was at length overcome; and in February,
1778, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded; 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

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
"This manual is particularly adapted to the purposes of examination and catechetical instruction, and will be found of the utmost service in weekly grammatical enquiries.
Page 1
Virtue and Innocence, a Poem 1 0 The Economy of Human Life 1 0 Old Friends in a New Dress, or Selections from Esop's Fables, in Verse, 2 parts, plates 2 0 Little Jack Horner, in Verse, plain 1s.
Page 2
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
Page 3
] 'So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make these times better, if we bestir ourselves.
Page 4
" II.
Page 5
] [Illustration: Published by W.
Page 6
For, in another place, he says, "Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.
Page 7
'But what madness it must be to run in debt for these superfluities? We are offered, by the terms of this sale, six months credit; and that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it.
Page 8
" At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but "For age and want save while you may, No morning sun lasts a whole day.
Page 9
] W.