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philosophical and political subjects, extending through
some of which are curious marginal notes in his handwriting. The most important of these notes have been selected by the Editor, and they are inserted in the present work. From the manuscripts in the library of the American Philosophical Society he also procured valuable materials, for which, and for numerous kind offices in aid of his inquiries, he is under special obligations to Mr. John Waughan, the librarian and treasurer of the Society. Dr. Franklin was agent for Massachusetts in London nearly five years, during which time he kept up an uninterrupted correspondence on public affairs with the Speaker of the Assembly. A few only of his letters, written on the business of this agency, have before been published. Copies of all that remain in the Secretary's office have now been obtained, and they are printed in these volumes. From another source some very interesting letters have been derived, which relate to public events in the author's life during the same period. In the library of George the Third, presented to the British nation by George the Fourth, is a manuscript volume consisting of a correspondence between the Reverend Dr. Cooper, of Boston, Dr. Franklin, and Governor Pownall, for several years immediately preceding the Revolution. The history of this volume is curious. Immediately after the affair at Lexington, the town of Boston was surrounded by American troops, and all intercourse with the country was cut off, except by permission of the British commander; and no per
son was allowed to pass the lines without being searched. Among the principal men in the town, who were friendly to the cause of the people, was Dr. Cooper, a man distinguished for his abilities and for the influence he had exercised, by his pen and the weight of his character, in opposition to the British claims. With others he obtained a passport to leave the town. At this time he had in his possession a number of original letters from Dr. Franklin and Governor Pownall, and the drafts of his answers, all of which had an immediate bearing on the controversy between the two countries. Being unwilling to destroy or lose these papers, and apprehensive that they would be taken from him if he attempted to convey them through the lines, he determined to leave them behind, in the hands of a confidential friend, with directions to forward them to him by the first safe opportunity. He accordingly put them together in a parcel, and sent them to Mr. Jeffries, who was then confined to his bed by sickness, and unable to leave the town. These papers Mr. Jeffries deposited in a trunk, which contained other things of his own. As soon as Mr. Jeffries recovered, he likewise went into the country. In the mean time his son, Dr. John Jeffries, adhering to the side of the loyalists, did not choose to accompany his father, but remained in Boston; and his father left many things in his charge, and among others the abovementioned trunk, either not knowing or forgetting that it contained the treasure belonging to his friend. This trunk was nearly a year in the possession of Dr. Jeffries, before he examined its contents, when, upon the evacuation of Boston, collecting his effects in order to embark with the British troops for Halifax, he accidentally discovered the packet of letters, and took it with him. From Halifax he carried it to London, and presented it to a Mr. Thompson, who sent it to the King, with an explanation of the particulars, the substance of which is here given. The original papers are bound in a volume, and a copy of the whole was procured in the King's library by Mr. Richard Biddle, the able and ingenious author of the “Memoirs of Sebastian Cabot,” who has obligingly intrusted it to the judgment of the Editor. The letters of both Dr. Franklin and Dr. Cooper, thus furnished, are among the best original materials in the present edition. But the most important and far the most extensive contributions have been received through the politeness and liberality of Mr. Charles P. Fox, of Philadelphia. When William Temple Franklin went to Europe, not long after his grandfather's death, he took with him Dr. Franklin's letter-books, and some other original manuscripts; but the great mass of papers that had accumulated in his hands while he was minister in France, as well as many others of an earlier date, were left behind at Philadelphia in the possession of Mr. Fox, the father of Mr. Charles P. Fox. They have remained in the family mansion WOL. I. C B. "
ever since, now almost fifty years, carefully preserved, and unexamined till they were submitted to the inspection of the Editor. Such of them as were selected for use in preparing this work filled two very large trunks. They consist of original letters written to Dr. Franklin during his residence in France, philosophical tracts, political memoirs, and such miscellaneous papers as would naturally be collected by a man in his situation and employment; and also of a few rough drafts of letters and papers in his own handwriting. When Dr. Franklin went to France, he left a chest of papers with Mr. Galloway, whom he had made one of his executors, and in whose care he supposed the papers would be safe. The chest was sent to Mr. Galloway's country-seat, a few miles from Philadelphia. A short time only after Dr. Franklin's departure, Mr. Galloway joined the enemy, leaving the papers at his house; and, when the British held possession of Philadelphia, this house was within or near the lines. At the time of the evacuation of the city, the chest was broken open and rifled of a large part of its contents. The remainder were scattered about the floor of the house, trodden under foot, and much injured. Whether this was done by the British troops, or by disaffected Americans, has never been ascertained. Mr. Bache, hearing of the condition of the papers, went to Galloway's house, collected such of them as he could find, and put them again into the chest, which he removed to Philadel