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conclusion, in 1762, of that Pennsylvanian business which had brought him to this country. The matter of this continuation was, as a fact, not quite new, though the actual words were now first verified. A French translation published in 1828 had contained this final portion, and the editor explained that it had been communicated to him by the Le Veillard family. How the Le Veillard family came to be able to communicate anything of the sort was much of a mystery; but the historical certification given to Mr. Bigelow along with bis purchases by the Messieurs de Senarmont now explained all. The MS. in their possession was not the copy sent to M. le Veillard by Franklin in September 1789, but Franklin's own original copy in his own handwriting, with all his own corrections, erasures, and marginal comments. These additaments—the use of a Lamb word is privileged here, for more reasons than its correctness—these additaments, which increased the interest of the document for the true devotee so greatly, had been in rather an odd way the cause of its preservation. When Temple Franklin at last took steps to publish his grandfather's Works, he wished to have a fair copy of the Memoirs " for the printers." And being one of these editors—so exceptional, and extraordinary, and fortunate!—who do not fatigue themselves, he coelly asked the Le Veillard family to let him have the use of theirs. At this they very naturally exclaimed, and reminded him of the interest and preciousness to them of this souvenir of their illustrious friend, which they were asked to give up. "Oh, as to that," said the very Anglo-Saxon young man, "you can have my copy in exchange; which is not a 'copy' at all, but the original autograph, and so, you see, much more of a souvenir than your own." The conversation has not been officially reported, any more than the great speeches in Thucydides, but no doubt these were the very words. In this way, at any rate, the exchange was made. But Mr. Temple Franklin, who did not fatigue himself, had not troubled to compare the two manuscripts, and so had failed to remark that the one which he was giving away contained an important addition (besides the additaments aforesaid) not to be found in the one which he was getting in return. And this difference between the two manuscripts is just what, with our present knowledge from other sources, we should be able to affirm without having seen either of them. For we know that when Franklin caused a copy to be sent to Le Veillard in September 1789, he had then brought the story down to June 1757, and considered that he had now done all he would ever be able to do to it. But we also know that in November he had another rally of courage or confidence, and was trying bravely to go on again, and had even some momentary hopes of completing his task yet. Whatever additions resulted from this final effort, they would appear in the autograph copy which he kept beside him, and would be absent from both of those fair copies which were sent to Europe in September. Yet it was from one of these more imperfect copies that Temple Franklin, in forgetfulness rather than indifference, was electing to print. The great lapse of time during which he had kept back the publication would account for this forgetfulness, and thus the pieties neglected invoked a nemesis of a sort; for in the end he was not the possessor of the Complete Autobiography after all, jealously as he had wished to guard that right.
But a detailed comparison of the work as it exists in manuscript and the book as it was given to the world by Temple Franklin, revealed a more important difference between the two. It revealed a pervading lack of identity. In the act of publication, the text had been tampered with throughout. Not only Franklin's spelling and punctuation had been departed from, but a running commentary of silent alterations, corrections, and suppressions of Franklin's own words had been inflicted on every page of the book. Mr. Bigelow gives the number of these changes as 1200 in all. They appear to have been in no case dictated by malevolence or by any motive more considerable than the sempiternal impertinence of youth and modernity. The young man was of his own generation, and not of his grandfather's; he was of a generation which abounded in complete letter-writers, and for which the word "elegant " had an unction that has somehow evaporated for us. The manner of speech which was good enough for the grandfather seemed to the grandson, so differently nurtured, to be a trifle untrimmed, homely, sometimes perhaps coarse. Where Franklin can talk of some one "having got a naughty girl with child," the young gentleman of a more modest age can but speak of "having had an intrigue with a young woman of bad character." Where Benjamin talks of "footing it to London," the politer Temple substitutes "walking." A great many are of this character; but a vast number are even more gratuitous. They consist in substituting for the idiomatic, racy, vernacular diction of Franklin— Franklin, who is an Augustan, but has an affinity with stronger writers than the Augustans—something that was in more complete accord with the recognised correctnesses of polite letterpress in the early Nineteenth Century. I have not room for a detailed citation of passages in parallel columns, but what I have said will put the Reader in a way to understand how greatly we are indebted to Mr. Bigelow for his kindness in permitting us to use for this edition the True Text of the Autobiography, as published by him in 1868 and subsequently.1 The composition of the book has been done from a copy of his 3rd Edition, published by Messrs. J. B. Lippincott Company, to whom also acknowledgments and thanks are due.
1 Be it added that these improving touches are the only acts oi parricide of which the maligned and ill-used Temple Franklin can be convicted. The accusation of having made his grandfather's literary remains the subject of a nefarious deal with the British Government has never been made good. The only piece of positive evidence in favour of the idea is this: that Jefferson speaks of having read a certain passage in the MS. of Franklin's account of the Secret Negotiations carried on during the winter 1774-5; which passage does not appear in the printed version. But 1 do not think this at all conclusive, in the face of manv facts pointing the other way. The delay in bringing out the Edition can be explained on grounds more credible and creditable than those alleged by enemies and enthusiasts. The young man's father was alive, an exiled loyalist, living in England, subsisting on a pension from the King. Here was an influence; here also considerations of prudence, even of seemliness. And as a fact it was immediately after his father's death, and not till then, that Temple Franklin set about, in earnest, the business which had brought him to Europe nearly thirty years earlier. He died soon afterwards,
A word, finally, regarding my own contribution to this volume. I have sought to make it in some degree complementary to the Autobiography; but what I mean by complementary needs to be explained. If there are few more charming or veracious books in the world than Franklin's account of his own life, there is perhaps no other book of its kind so insufficient—no other which gives, with all its appearance of unity and coherence, so fragmentary an impression of the whole man as he really was. This is not due merely to the fact that the book was unfinished, but far more to the fact that the man—the whole man—was so wonderful both from the point of view of character and of career. The Autobiography tells us much about a certain busy and notable and well-doing citizen of Philadelphia; and perhaps even of that civic character the dimensions are understated, by an effect of modesty in the chronicler of his doings. But it tells us nothing of a great and famous man of science; it tells us nothing of a reverend philosopher, of a man of massive wisdom, vast toleration, endless patience, inexhaustible courage and endurance, and matchless in security and counsel; nor anything of a man of so rare and full social qualities that there was no such companion as he, and the record of his friendships would almost fill a book. And as for a certain Great and Illustrious Franklin—the most famous patriot, the wisest statesman, the most successful diplomatist of his age, a man whose presence in the world filled the mind of his generation—it does not afford us a hint that such an one ever existed. To make up for all these biographical and historical deficiencies of a confessed literary classic would be impossible in less than two volumes. Having to choose and to forego, I have chosen to treat of that aspect and period of Franklin's life which stands in most vivid contrast with the picture presented to us in the pages of the Autobiography. My subject is the historical Franklin, the Franklin with whose name "all Europe rang from side to side." Of necessity, the result is a composition fully more compact of history than of biography, for that was the atmosphere in which he lived. The labour has been to leave out, and yet preserve continuity; also so to write that the uninformed in these matters should be able to read with some comprehension and interest, ;ind that those who know might not find the whole thing superfluous.