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will be the probable termination of the present excitement on the subject, in the English public on both sides of the Atlantic, are questions of the highest moment, which we have not now room to discuss, but which we hope to find some early opportunity of examining, with the attention they deserve. For the present, we can only say, that if the final triumph of the cause of liberty throughout the Christian world may fairly be considered as to a very great extent identified with the success of our political experiment, Liberty may well say, in the language of the Spanish proverb, Save me from my friends, and I will save myself from my enemies.' Of the circumstances, that are likely to impede,-perhaps defeat,--the farther progress of liberal political principles, by far the most threatening is the injudicious zeal of the advocates of the immediate abolition of slavery, especially in this country. If the question were confined to Great Britain, where it affects immediately only a few remote and insignificant colonies, it would be of little moment; and it is accordingly easy to conceive the apparent indifference, with which it is brought into view by the British ministry. In this country the case is different. Here the question involves interests of paramount magnitude; it affects immediately the condition of half the Union; it cannot be agitated without shaking the whole political fabric to its foundation. We have been struck with alarm, -we had almost said dismay,-at the disposition, recently shown by some persons of intelligence and high respectability in this quarter, to encourage projects having in view the immediate abolition of slavery. It is not unnatural that reckless and unprincipled adventurers, who can only acquire consequence in times of trouble and confusion, should set such projects on foot; but it is melancholy enough, that men who have a large share in the preservation of the public tranquillity, and who act habitually upon full deliberation, and with the best motives, should be so far deluded by a few specious phrases, as to lend them their names and influence. We entreat such persons to consider what they are doing, and to change their course, before it is too late. They may rest assured, that the formation and activity of a party in this quarter, avowedly bent upon the immediate abolition of slavery, would produce, in the Southern States, a feeling entirely incompatible with the existence of the Union. A separation of these States, we hardly need to say, would be attended with results, infinitely more disastrous to the cause of freedom and humanity, than the continuance of slavery, as it now exists in this country, for a thousand years. But this is not the alternative presented. The institution of slavery contains within itself the principles of its own destruction, and will die a natural death at one time or another. Whether this catastrophe can be much expedited by the use of any artificial expedients, is exceedingly doubtful. That it will not be expedited by the agitation of projects of immediate abolition in the free States, is a point that admits of no doubt, and one which we earnestly recommend to the attention of the real friends of humanity and the country.

ART. IX.-Franklin's Familiar Letters.
A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous

Papers of Benjamin Franklin; now for the first time
published. Boston. 1833.

The impression has always prevailed to a considerable extent, that Franklin was a selfish man, and that he took no interest in any thing which did not tend either to flatter his vanity, or advance the purposes of his ambition. It was sufficiently evident that the philosophic repose, which has always been ascribed to him, by no means prevented him from observing others; and that, instead of being indifferent to them, he was one of the most shrewd and sarcastic of men: but there are no traces of bitterness,--no appearances of envy or jealousy,—no attempts to injure the standing of others, in any of his writings which the world has ever seen; so that this impression concerning him seems rather traditional and indefinite, than sustained either by the spirit of his familiar writings, the records of his life, or the testimony of those who knew him best.

Political men may have been prejudiced against him from personal motives, and their hostile feelings would, of course, be shared by all the members of their party. The impression, too, would be confirmed by inferences drawn from the spirit of some of his writings. He gave practical rules for the government of life; he recommended a thriving, minute attention to the details of business, a close regard to small gains, which, to many, would have an air of selfishness about them, VOL. XXXVII.-NO. 80.


since they seem to concentrate upon one's own prosperity all the powers of the mind and the affections of the heart. But those who are acquainted with men, know full well that so far from being inconsistent with generous feeling, this habitual exactness is necessary, to make generosity of any value : without this practical sagacity, it spends itself in feeling, or runs to waste, and neither benefits its possessor nor the world. He was in the habit of attaching conditions to his gifts, which sometimes seemed to lessen bis reputation for liberality : but it was afterwards found, that the favor had been doubled instead of diminished, by a compliance with the conditions which had been exacted. We have seen more instances than one, of princely benefactions, thus accompanied with conditions, which at first seemed embarrassing and impracticable, but which afterwards proved to be so judicious, and tended so much to the prosperity of the receiver, that he felt as much gratitude to his benefactor for those conditions, as for the donation itself. That kind of liberality, which secures as far as possible the right use of its gifts, is the most desirable in the world. It is true, that there are those, who insist upon doing favors in their own way as they call it, and make it manifest that they are thinking all the while more of themselves than of others. Such, however, was not the case with Franklin.

Those who have indulged the suspicion that the integrity of Franklin was apt to be overcome by self-interest, have brought forward certain passages in his published correspondence, in which he alludes to a proposed grant from the crown, which, they imagined was solicited for himself and his son. Mr. Sparks, however, has removed all the mystery of this transaction. It appears, that while Franklin was residing in England, as agent for Pennsylvania, a company was formed by Sir William Johnson and others in America, who requested Dr. Franklin to use his influence to procure for them a grant of land in the Ohio country. This bore the name of Walpole's Grant, so called from Mr. Walpole, a banker in London, who was placed at the head of the company. All the petitions and other proceedings of this company were public, and Franklin had no more personal interest, than any other individual of the numerous proprietors. The plan succeeded so far as respected the grant, but the disorders of the country, which were then beginning, prevented its execution.

But those who have never doubted the uprightness of Dr.

Franklin, and have given him credit for general liberality, and good feeling, have not, we believe, regarded him as a warmhearted man or an active friend. This book will serve to give a different impression. There is something exceedingly pleasing in the interest which he expresses for his connexions, the kind attention and advice which he gives them, the forbearance with which he treats their faults, and the pleasure with which he encourages their virtues. Some of these letters were written more than a century ago, when he was poor and unknown: they therefore show the man as he was,-not when he lived in the broad sunshine of life, where it is easy to be generous, -but as he was when struggling with difficulties, and laden with cares, which seem to have left him little time to think of others. But we will let them speak for themselves. They will bear a favorable testimony to the character of Franklin.

It may be proper here to remark, that all of the thirteen brothers and sisters of Dr. Franklin, who reached the age of maturity, excepting two, died before he had attained to wealth and eminence; but his correspondence with his sister, who resided in this city, was affectionate and unremitted till the last moment of his life. The three letters which follow were addressed to his sister Jane Franklin, afterwards Mrs. Mecom.

Philadelphia, 6 January, 1726–7. "I am highly pleased with the account Captain Freeman gives me of you. I always judged by your behavior when a child, that you would make a good, agreeable woman, and you know you were ever my peculiar favorite. I have been thinking what would be a suitable present for me to make, and for you to receive, as I hear you are grown a celebrated beauty. I had almost determined on a tea-table ; but when I considered, that the character of a good housewife was far preferable to that of being only a pretty gentlewoman, I concluded to send you a spinning-wheel, which I hope you will accept as a small token of my sincere love and affection.

os Sister, farewell, and remember that modesty, as it makes the most homely virgin amiable and charming, so the want of it infallibly renders the most perfect beauty disagreeable and odious. But when that brightest of female virtues shines among other perfections of body and mind in the same person, it makes the woman more lovely than an angel. Excuse this freedom, and use the same with me.?

Philadelphia, 21 May, 1752. 'I received yours with the affecting news of our dear good mother's death. I thank you for your long continued care of her in her old age and sickness. Our distance made it impracticable for us to attend her, but you have supplied all. She has lived a good life, as well as a long one, and is happy.'

' New York, 19 April, 1757. 'I wrote a few lines to you yesterday, but omitted to answer yours, relating to sister Douse. As having their own way is one of the greatest comforts of life to old people, I think their friends should endeavor to accommodate them in that, as well as in any thing else. When they have long lived in a house, it becomes natural to them; they are almost as closely connected with it, as the tortoise with his shell; they die, if you tear them out of it; old folks and old trees, if you remove them, 't is ten to one that you kill them; so let our good old sister be no more importuned on that head. We are growing old fast ourselves, and shall expect the same kind of indulgences; if we give them, we shall have a right to receive them in our turn.

' And as to her few fine things, I think she is in the right not to sell them, and for the reason she gives, that they will fetch but little ; when that little is spent, they would be of no further use to her; but perhaps the expectation of possessing them at her death may make that person tender and careful of her, and helpful to her to the amount of ten times their value. If so, they are put to the best use they possibly can be.

* I hope you visit sister as often as your affairs will permit, and afford her what assistance and comfort you can in her present situation. Old age, infirmities and poverty, joined, are afflictions enough. The neglect and slights of friends and near relations should never be added. People in her circumstances are apt to suspect this sometimes without a cause ; appearances should therefore be attended to, in our conduct towards them, as well as realities. I write by this post to cousin Williams, to continue his care, which I doubt not he will do.'

Another letter, addressed in 1760 to his sister, contains the following account of his family.

It is remarkable, that so many breaches by death should be made in our family in so short a space. Out of seventeen children, that our father had, thirteen lived to grow up and settle in the world. I remember these thirteen (some of us then very young) all at one table, when an entertainment was made at our house, on occasion of the return of our brother Josiah, who had

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