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It was in this year that Dr. Franklin addressed that memorable and laconic epistle to his old friend and companion, Mr. Strahan, then king's printer, and member of the British parliament, of which the following is a correct copy, and of which a fac-simile is given in the last, and most correct edition of his works:
PhUada. July 5, 1775. Mr. Strahan,
You are a Member of Parliament, and one of that Majority which has doomed my Country to Destruction.—You have begun to burn our Towns, and murder our People—Look upon your Hands! —They are stained with the Blood of your Relations!—You and I were long Friends:—You are now my Enemy,—and I am,
In October, 1775, Dr. Franklin was appointed by Congress, jointly with Mr. Harrison and Mr. Lynch, a committee to visit the American camp at Cambridge, and, in conjunction with the commander in chief, (general Washington,) 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.
He was, afterwards, sent on a mission to Canada, to endeavour to unite that country to the cornWon cause of liberty. But the Canadians could not'be prevailed upon to oppose the measures of the British government.
It was directed that a printing apparatus, and hands, competent to print in French and English, should accompany this mission. Two papers were •vritten and circulated very extensively through Canada; but it was not until after the experiment had been tried, that it was found not more than one person in five hundred could read.— Dr. Franklin Was accustomed to make the best of every occurrence, suggested that if it were intended to send another mission, it should be a mission composed of schoolmasters.
He was, in 1776, appointed a committee with John Adams and Edward Rutledge, to inquire into the powers, with which lord Howe was invested in regard to the adjustment of our differences with Great Britain. When his lordship expressed his concern at being obliged to distress those, whom he so much regarded, Dr. Franklin assured him that the Americans, out of reciprocal regard, would endeavour to lessen, as much as possible, the pain which he might feel on their account,, by taking the utmost care of themselves. In the discussion of the great question of independence, he was decidedly in favour of the measure. He was in the same year, chosen president of the convention which met in Philadelphia, to form a new constitution for Pennsylvania. The single legislature and the plural executive, seem to have been his favourite principles. In the latter end of the year 1776, he was sent to France to assist in negotiation with Mr. Arthur Lee and Silas Deane. He had much influence in forming the treaty of alliance and commerce, which was signed February 6, 1778, and he afterwards completed a treaty of amity and commerce with Sweden. In conjunction with Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, he signed the provisional articles of peace, November 30, 1782, and the definitive treaty, September 30, 1783. While he was in France he was appointed one of the commissioners to examine Mesmer's animal magnetism in 1784. Being desirous of returning to his native country he requested that an ambassador might be appointed in his
•place, ,and on the arrival of his successor, Mr. Jefferson, he immediately sailed for Philadelphia, where he arrived in September, 1785. He was received with universal applause, and was soon appointed president of the supreme executive council. In 1787, he was a delegate to the grand convention, which formed the constitution of the United States. In this convention he had differed in some points from the majority; but when the articles were ultimately decreed, he said to his colleagues, "We ought to have but oiu opinion; the good of Our country requires that the resolution should be unanimous;" and he signed.
On the 17th of April, 1790, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, he expired in the city of Philadelphia; encountering this last solemn conflict, with the same philosophical tranquility and pious resignation to the will of Heaven, which had distinguished him through all the various events of his life.
He was interred, on the 21st of April, and con. gi'css ordered a general mourning for him through» out America, of one month. In France, the expression of public grief, was scarcely less enthusiastic. There the event was solemnized, under the direction of the municipality of Paris, by funeral orations; and the national assembly, his death being announced in a very eloquent and pathetic discourse, decreed that each of the members should wear mourning for three days, "in commemoration of the event;" and that a letter of condolence, for the irreparable loss they had sustained, should be directed to the American congress. Honours extremely glorious to his memory, and such, it has been remarked, as were never before paid by any public body of one nation, to the citizen of another.
He lies buried in the north-west corner of Christ Church-yard; distinguished from the surrounding P
dead, by the humility of his sepulchre. He is covered by a small marble slab, on a level with the surface of the earth, and bearing the single inscription of his name, with that of his wife. A monument sufficiently corresponding to the plainness of his manners, little suitable to the splendor ef his virtues.
He had two children, a son and a daughter, and several grand-children who survived him. The son, who had been governor of New-Jersey, under the British government, adhered, during the revolution, to the royal party, and spent the remainder of his life in England. The daughter married Mr Bache, of Philadelphia, whose descendants yet reside in that city.
Franklin enjoyed, during the greater part of his life, a healthy constitution, and excelled in exercises of strength and activity. In stature he was above the middle size; manly, athletic, and well proportioned. His countenance, as it is represented in his portrait, is distinguished by an air of serenity and satisfaction; the natural consequences of a vigorous temperament, of strength of mind, and conscious integrity: It is also marked, in visible characters, by deep thought and inflexible resolution.
The whole life of Franklin, his meditations and his labours, have all been directed to public utility; but the grand object that he had always in view, did not shut his heart against private friendship; he loved his family, and his friends, and was extremely beneficent. In society he was sententious, but not fluent; a listener rather than a talker; an informing rather than a pleasing companion: impatient of interruption, he often mentioned the custom of the Indians, who always remain silent some time before they give an answer to a question, which they have heard attentively; unlike some of the politest societies in Europe, where a sentence can scarcely be finished without interruption. Iu the midst of his greatest occupations for the liberty of his country, he had some physical experiment always near him in his closet; and the sciences, which he had rather discovered than studied, afforded him a continual source of pleasure. He made various bequests and donations to cities, public bodies and individuals.
The following epitaph was written by Dr. Franklin, for himself, when he was only twentythree years of age, as appears by the original (with various corrections) found among his papers, and from which this is a faithful copy. "The body of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
(Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents torn out.
And stript of its lettering and gilding,)
Lies here, food for worms;
But the work shall not be lost,
For it will (as he believed) appear once more,
In a new, and more elegant edition,
Revised and corrected
GADSDEN, Christopher, lieutenant governor of South Carolina, and a distinguished friend of his country, was born about the year 1724. So high was his reputation in the colony in which he lived, that he was appointed one of the delegates to the congress, which met at New York in October, 1765, to petition against the stamp-act.
Judge Johnson, in his life of general Greene, says, "There was at least one man in South Carolina, who, as early as 1766, foresaid and foretold the views of the British government, and explicitly urged his adherents to the resolution to resist even to death. General Gadsden, it is well known,