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PRE FACE

TO

THE FIRST EDITION

OF THE

PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE.

Familiar letters have been usually considered as exhibiting a portraiture of the human mind; and though perhaps they are not always to be so regarded, especially in the intercourse of public men upon subjects involving particular interests and questions of national policy ; yet even from these documents the most valuable materials of history are drawn, and the secret springs of great events are disclosed. Hence it is, that a deserved importance has ever been attached to the correspondence of persons who have figured with distinction in

political revolutions, and the foundation of new states :

for hereby are unfolded the motives of individuals, and the influence of parties; from whose pertinacity and intrigues proceed conflicts, projects, and establishments which the agitators never contemplated, and which the most sagacious observers of human nature could not have anticipated.

Among the changes that have taken place in the condition of political society, the separation of the American colonies from the parent country has been by far the most prolific and extensive in its effects of any in the history of modern ages.

It is presumed, therefore, that little need be said on the value of the correspondence of Dr. FRANKLIN, whose extraordinary abilities as a statesman were felt and acknowledged in both countries, and by persons of opposite sentiments. But what renders his letters on the public concerns in which he was engaged peculiarly interesting, is the spirit of candour that runs through the whole of them, and the style of simplicity by which they are recommended as models of epistolary composition, and stamped beyond all question as authorities of the first character; though certainly not written with a view to publication. Here will be seen to equal advantage, the philosopher and the man of business, the moralist and negotiator, the profound legislator, and the familiar friend, who opens his mind and delivers his sentiments with the same ingenuousness on matters of science and policy, the conduct of private life, and the interests of nations. The correspondence contained in this collection, is indeed a store of the soundest lessons of practical wisdom upon subjects of universal moment, and it is also a repository of information which will afford the best instruction to politicians, and will prove a sure guide to the future historian, who shall undertake the task of recording the several stages that have led to the establishment of American Independence, with the consequences of that event upon the states of Europe. The MEMOIRS OF THE Life, and the Private CorRESPONDENCE of DR. FRANKLIN, will show much more clearly the great chain on which the fate of nations depends, than the debates in senates, the cabals of cabinets, or the details of battles : and to an Englishman, the Letters, now for the first time published, will be curious and important in a very high degree, as throwing a strong light upon the early part of the reign of George III., and upon the characters of those persons who had a principal share in the councils which produced the dismem

berment of the British empire, and the creation of a power, which, from being a dependent state, has become its most formidable rival.

DR. FRANKLIN'S MEMOIRS

Consist altogether of Six Volumes octavo. They are divided into Three Parts; each Part being published and sold separately; viz.

Vols. 1 and 2. Containing the Life.
Vols. 3 and 4.

Private Correspondence.
Vols. 5 and 6.

Select Works, including many published for the first time.

Private Correspondence.

CONTENTS OF VOLUME FIRST.

PART I.

LETTERS ON MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS.

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Dr. Franklin to the Rev. George Whitfield, June 6, 1753

to Miss Stevenson, May 16, 1760
to John Baskerville, Printer, 1760
to John Alleyne, esq. Aug. 9, 1768
to Michael Collinson, esq. 1768 or 69
to Michael Hillegas, esq. March 17, 1770
to Samuel Rhoads, esq. June 26, 1770
to Governor Franklin, Aug. 19, 1772
to Mr. Anthony Benezet, Aug. 22, 1772
to Dr. Priestley, Sept. 19, 1772
to the Rev. Dr. Mather, July 7, 1773
to Samuel Danforth, esq. July 25, 1773
to His Most Serene Highness Don Gabriel of Bourbon,

Dec. 12, 1775
to Dr. Priestley, Jan. 27, 1777
to Mrs. Thompson, Feb. 8, 1777
to Dr. Cooper, May 1, 1777
to Mr. Winthrop, May 1, 1777
to Mr. Cushing, May 1, 1777

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