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Ben Franklin

Life of Benjamin Franklin by Jared Sparks


Dr. Franklin is appointed Agent for Georgia. — Causes the "Farmer's Letters" to be republished in London. — His Opinion of them. — Chosen President of the American Philosopical Society. — Promotes the of Culture of Silk in Pennsylvania. — Encourages his Countrymen to adhere to their Non-importation Agreements. — Journey to France. — Appointed Agent for New Jersey. — His Answers to Mr. Strahan's Queries. — Repeal of some of the American Revenue Acts. — Intimations that he would be removed from Office. — His Remarks on that Subject. — Chosen Agent for the Assembly of Massachusetts. — Singular Interview with Lord Hillsborough. — Objectionable Footing on which the Colonial Agents were placed by his Lordship. — Dr. Franklin makes a Tour through the North of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. — His Reception by Lord Hillsborough in Ireland. — Irish Parliament — Richard Bache. — Bishop of St. Asaph.

During the year 1768, Dr. Franklin was on the point of returning to America. In the present agitated condition of public affairs with respect to the colonies, he despaired of drawing the attention of the British rulers to the principal purpose of his mission, a change of government in Pennsylvania, although the Assembly had renewed their application every year with increased urgency, and the last time by a vote of every member except one. His private concerns, he said, required his presence at home, and the general business of the province could be transacted by his associate, Mr. Jackson, who resided in London.

At this juncture he received intelligence, in a letter from Governor Wright, of his having been appointed agent for Georgia. He then felt it his duty to wait for the papers and instructions of the Georgia Assembly, which would probably demand his special care. The appointment had been made without any previous intimation, and therefore he was under no obligation to accept it; yet he was unwilling to decline a trust, which had been spontaneously conferred upon him by so respectable a portion of his countrymen, and which he might possibly execute for their benefits. This kept him till winter; other business followed; and he found himself detained in England much longer than be had anticipated.×

Having read, with approbation and pleasure, the celebrated "Farmer's Letters," written by John Dickinson, he caused them to be republished in London, with a commendatory Preface from his own pen. Besides the patriotic motive for this publication, it afforded him an opportunity of showing, that the extreme warmth, with which Mr. Dickinson had opposed his appointment in the Pennsylvania Assembly, had not produced on his part any diminution of friendship or personal regard. This was still further manifested by their harmonious intercourse after he returned again to his own country.

The Farmer's Letters were written against the late revenue acts. The depth of research, force of argument, and perspicuity of style, which appeared in these letters, made them popular with all classes of readers in America. Franklin had a high opinion of their general merits, but be thought there was one important point, which was not well established nor clearly explained. The Farmer acknowledged the power of Parliament to regulate the trade of the colonies, yet he denied the right of laying certain duties, which would seem to be included in the power of regulation. If Parliament was to be the judge, this distinction amounted to little. Every state in Europe claimed and exercised the right of laying duties on its exports. In Franklin's opinion the grievance was not, that Britain imposed duties on exported commodities, but that she prohibited the colonists from purchasing the like commodities in the markets of other countries, thus forcing them to pay such prices as she pleased, and depriving them of the advantages of a competition in trade. It was true, that Parliament had exercised this power, and compelled obedience, under the vague pretence of regulating trade; but it had been done in violation of the principles upon which the relations between Great Britain and the colonies had originally been established.

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As early as the year 1743, when Franklin was much engaged in philosophical studies, be projected a society, which was to include the principal men in America, who were fond of such pursuits, and who would thus be enabled to combine their efforts for the promotion of science. The plan met with favor, and an association was formed. The original members, besides Franklin, were Thomas Hopkinson, John Bartram the botanist, Thomas Godfrey the mathematician, Dr. Thomas Bond, Dr. Phineas Bond, William Parsons, Samuel Rhoads, and William Coleman, of Philadelphia; Chief Justice Morris, Mr. Home, John Coxe, and Mr. Martyn, of New Jersey; Cadwallader Colden and William Alexander, of New York. Other members were soon added, whose names are not known. Hopkinson was president, and Franklin secretary.

This association proceeded with some degree of vigor at first, but it gradually declined. It was revived at a later day, and, in January, 1769, it was united with another society, which had been formed in Philadelphia for similar objects. The institution, which grew out of this union, took the name of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin was chosen president, and the same honor was annually conferred upon him to the end of his life, although he was much the larger part of the time absent from the country. He contributed several valuable papers to the second volume of the Society's Transactions.×

All his philosophical inquiries, and, indeed, all the studies to which he applied his mind, whether in science, politics, morals, or the economy of life, were directed to some useful end, either for the improvement of mankind, or the increase of human comfort. With this aim he endeavoured to promote the culture of silk in America, believing the soil and climate extremely well adapted to it, and that it might be carried to a great extent without interfering with any other branch of industry. He spared no pains to collect in Europe such information, as would enable the cultivators to prosecute the undertaking with success, as well in regard to the planting of mulberry trees, as to the rearing of silkworms, and reeling the silk from the cocoons. The particulars were communicated, from time to time, to Dr. Cadwallader Evans, of Philadelphia, who, with some other gentlemen, was zealously engaged in the enterprise. A company was formed for the cultivation of silk, and public-spirited individuals contributed money to aid in prosecuting the work.

In one of his letters on this subject, Dr. Franklin says; "There is no doubt with me but that it might succeed in our country. It is the happiest of all inventions for clothing. Wool uses a good deal of land to produce it, which, if employed in raising corn, would afford much more subsistence for man, than the mutton amounts to. Flax and hemp require good land, impoverish it, and at the same time permit it to produce no food at all. But mulberry trees may be planted in hedgerows on walks or avenues, or for shade near a house, where nothing else is wanted to grow. The food for the worms, which produce the silk, is in the air, and the ground under the trees may still produce grass, or some other vegetable good for man or beast. Then the wear of silken garments continues so much longer, from the strength of the materials, as to give it greatly the preference. Hence it is, that the most populous of all countries, China, clothes its inhabitants with silk, while it feeds them plentifully, and has besides a vast quantity, both raw and manufactured, to spare for exportation." And again; "I hope our people will riot be disheartened by a few accidents, and such disappointments as are incident to all new undertakings, but persevere bravely in the silk business, till they have conquered all difficulties. By diligence and patience the mouse ate in twain the cable. It is not two centuries since it was as much a novelty in France, as it is now with us in North America, and the people as much unacquainted with it." The difficulties have not yet been conquered; but so much progress has been made as to render it certain, that these anticipations will finally be realized.×

The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's having requested the opinion of the Royal Society in regard to the best method of protecting the cathedral from lightning, Dr. Franklin was one of the committee appointed to investigate the subject. The other members were Mr. Canton, Dr. Watson, Mr. Delaval and Mr. Wilson. On the 8th of June they made a report, which was approved by the Society, and the method recommended by them for putting up electrical conductors was accordingly followed.

Dr. Franklin did not cease, in writing to his friends in America, to urge upon them a strict adherence to the resolutions, which bad been universally adopted, not to import or use British goods. The more he reflected on what was passing before him, the more he was convinced, that the British government would not relax from the measures, so much and so justly complained of by the colonists, which, it was now said, even if they had originated in ignorance and a false policy, must be continued for the honor and dignity of Parliament. The supremacy of the national legislature was not to be questioned by the King's subjects anywhere, and opposition was to be suppressed without reference to the cause or the consequences. Parliament might repeal its acts, when besought to do so by humble petitions; but it could never yield to a demand, or tolerate a refractory spirit.

This was the doctrine of the ruling party in Great Britain, and perhaps not a very extravagant one when viewed in the abstract. But unfortunately it was at variance with practice. The colonists had petitioned, till their patience was exhausted, without obtaining relief or even a hearing. When thus neglected and trifled with, they thought it time to take care of themselves, not by resisting the laws, but by rendering these laws ineffectual in their application. They resolved to provide for their own wants by their industry and frugality, and such other means as Providence had blessed them with, and not to depend on a foreign people for supplying them at exorbitant prices, loaded with such additional burdens of taxation, as, in the plenitude of their power, they might choose to impose.

A committee of merchants in Philadelphia sent to Dr. Franklin a copy of their non-importation agreements, with a request that he would communicate them to the British merchants, who were concerned in the American trade. In his reply, dated July 9th, 1769, he commended their zeal, and remarked ; "By persisting steadily in the measures you have so laudably entered into, I hope you will, if backed by the general honest resolution of the people to buy British goods of no others, but to manufacture for themselves, or use colony manufactures only, be the means, under God, of recovering and establishing the freedom of our country entire, and of handing it down complete to posterity." This advice he often repeated; and, although he was too far distant to partake of the feeling kindled by sympathy throughout the colonies, yet his sentiments accorded perfectly with those of his countrymen.

A few days after writing the letter, quoted above, be went over to France, and passed several weeks at Paris. He has left no account of the journey, or of the business that called him abroad.

His son being governor of New Jersey, an opportunity had thus been afforded to Dr. Franklin for rendering occasional services to that colony; and, on the 8th of December, 1769, he was chosen, by a unanimous vote of the Assembly, to be the agent for transacting their affairs in England. A letter of instructions accompanied the notice of his appointment. He was requested to procure the royal signature to certain laws, which had been passed by the Assembly, and, among others, an act for emitting one hundred thousand pounds in bills of credit, to be least at five per cent, but not a legal tender. There had been a controversy long pending between East and West Jersey respecting a boundary line, which it had now become more necessary than ever to have settled, and which was intrusted to his management.

Just before the meeting of Parliament, Mr. Strahan addressed to Dr. Franklin certain Queries, designed to draw out from him an opinion as to the effect, which a partial repeal of the revenue acts would have on the minds of the Americans; the repealing act being so framed as to preserve the dignity and supremacy of the British legislature. The queries were, promptly, and explicitly answered.

In regard to the supremacy of Parliament, so much talked of, Dr. Franklin said the best way of preserving it was, to make a very sparing use of it, and never to use it at all to the prejudice of one part of the empire for the advantage of another part. By such a prudent course be imagined the supremacy might be established, but otherwise it would be disputed and lost. The colonies had submitted to it in regulations of commerce; but this was voluntary, as they were not bound to yield obedience to acts of Parliament by their original constitution. An assumed authority might safely be exercised when it aimed only to do good and render equal justice to all; but, if it erred in this respect, its dignity might be impaired, and the most likely method of restoring it would be to correct the error as soon as an opportunity offered. And thus the British legislature might easily keep its dignity front harm, in relation to the colonies, by repealing the revenue acts intended to operate against them.

To Mr. Strahan's inquiry, whether the Americans would be satisfied with a partial repeal, he replied in the negative. He said it was not the amount to be paid in duties that they complained of, but the duties themselves and the reasons assigned for laying them, namely, that the revenue might be appropriated for the support of government and the administration of justice in the colonies. This was encroaching upon their rights, and interfering with the power of their Assemblies. In fact, if this principle were allowed, it might be so extended as to reduce the Assemblies to anullity, and thus subject the people to a servile dependence on the will and pleasure of Parliament, without having any voice in making the laws they were to obey. Till the principle itself should be abandoned, therefore, he was persuaded there would be no chance of a reconciliation.

Other questions were asked, which he answered in the same spirit, giving it as his unqualified opinion, that the people would not be quieted by any thing short of a total repeat of all the acts for collecting a revenue from them without their consent. If this were done, and they were restored to the situation they were in before the Stamp Act, be believed their discontents would subside, that they would dissolve their agreements not to import goods, and that commerce, returning again into its old channels, would revive and flourish. He added, however, that he, saw no prospect of any such salutary measures, either in the wisdom of ministers, or in the temper of the British legislature.

When Parliament assembled, the subject was brought forward; and in April 2 1770, after an experiment, of three years, the British ministry finding the Americans still obstinate in refusing to import goods, and trade declining, procured a repeal of the duties on all the commodities enumerated in the revenue act, except tea. This was done with a view to commercial policy, and not with any regard to the rights of the colonists, or the least pretence that it was meant to remove the cause of their complaints. On the contrary, the insignificant tea duty was retained for the express purpose of upholding the sovereignty of Parliament. The consequence was, that it rather increased than allayed the popular ferment in America — for it implied, that they estimated their grievances — by the amount of money demanded of them, and not by the principle upon which this demand was made, They renewed their non-importation agreements with more zeal than ever.

The freedom with which Dr. Franklin wrote to his correspondents in America, and the sentiments he repeatedly uttered respecting the disputes between the two countries, gave offence to the British government. Copies of some of his letters were clandestinely obtained and forwarded to the ministers. Intimations were thrown out, that he would be made to feel their resentment, by being removed from his place in the American post-office. As he had never been charged with neglect in this station, but, on the contrary, by long and unwearied exertions, had raised the post-office from a low condition to a state of prosperity and productiveness, a removal could only be intended as a punishment for his political conduct, and opinions, or rather for his perseverance in defending, what he believed to be the true interests and just claims of his country. He was determined, therefore, not to give up the office, till it should be taken from him, although he was plentifully abused in the newspapers to provoke him to a resignation. A retreat, under such circumstances,, did not comport with his ideas either of self-respect or of consistency. Abuse from adversaries, the displeasure of ministers, and the loss of his office, were not to be coveted; but they could be borne, and they would never drive him to sacrifice his principles, or to desert a cause, which he had embraced from a conviction of its justice and a sense of duty.

"As to the letters complained of," said be, "it was true I did write them, and they were written in compliance with another duty, that to my country; a duty quite distinct from that of postmaster. My conduct in this respect was exactly similar to that I held on a similar occasion but a few years ago, when the then ministry were ready to hug me for the assistance I afforded them in repealing a former revenue act. My sentiments were still the same, that no such acts should be made here for America; or, if made, should as soon as possible be repealed; and I thought it should not be expected of me to change my political opinions every time his Majesty thought fit to change his ministers. This was in language on the occasion; and I have lately heard, that, though I was thought much to blame, it being understood, that every man who holds an office should act with the ministry, whether agreeable or not to his own judgment, yet, in consideration of the goodness of my private character (as they were pleased to compliment me), the office was not to be taken from me. Possibly they may still change their minds, and remove me; but no apprehension of that sort will, I trust, make the least alteration in my political conduct. My rule, in which I have always found satisfaction, is, never to turn aside in public affair, through views of private interest; but to go straight forward in doing what appears to me right at the time, leaving the consequences with Providence."

The person most active on this occasion was Lord Hillsborough, who had taken umbrage at Dr. Franklin's conduct of late, finding him in the way of all his schemes for humbling the Americans and forcing upon them his official mandates. How far the other ministers participated in his feelings of hostility is uncertain, but Franklin as permitted for some time longer to retain his office.

For many years he had corresponded on political affairs with gentlemen in Massachusetts, who had been much influenced by his opinions and advice. Some of his best letters were written to the Reverend Dr. Samuel Cooper, a man of strong abilities, skilful with his pen, extremely well informed on all the public transactions of the time, and a zealous defender of the rights and privileges of the colonists. Dr. Franklin confided in his discretion and good sense, and opened his mind to him freely, receiving in return accurate intelligence of what was doing in America, with sound and judicious observations on the state of the country, and the impressions produced on the minds of the people by the policy and a6ts of the British government. The correspondence was shown, from time to time, to the prominent men in Massachusetts, who thus became acquainted with Dr. Franklin's private sentiments, as well as with his labors in promoting the cause of his country, both of which met with their entire approbation. It was natural, therefore, that they should wish to secure his services for the province, and more especially as he was a native of Boston, and had always manifested a warm attachment to the place of his birth. He was accordingly chosen by the Assembly to be their agent, as expressed in the resolve, "to appear for the House at the court of Great Britain," and to sustain their interests, "before his Majesty in Council, or in either House of Parliament, or before any public board." The appointment was made on the 24th of October, 1770, and was to continue for one year; but it was annually renewed whist he remained abroad.

Mr. Cushing, the Speaker of the Assembly, transmitted to him a certificate of his election, and other papers, setting forth in detail the grievances of which the people complained, and instructing the agent to use his best efforts to have them redressed.

The first step be took, after receiving these papers, was to wait on Lord Hillsborough, the American Secretary, both to announce his appointment officially, and to explain the purport of his instructions. The interview was a very singular one. Franklin had but just time to mention Massachusetts, and to add, that the Assembly had chosen him to be their agent, when his Lordship hastily interrupted him by saying, "I must set you right there, Mr. Franklin; you are not agent." To which the latter replied, "I do not understand your Lordship. I have the appointment in my pocket." The minister still insisted, that it was a mistake; he had later advices, and Governor Hutchinson would not give his assent to the bill. "There was no bill, my Lord," said Franklin, "it was by a vote of the House." Whereupon his Lordship called his secretary, and asked for Governor Hutchinson's letter; but it turned out that the letter related wholly to another matter, and there was not a word in it about the agent. "I thought it could not well be," said Franklin, "as my letters are by the last ships, and they mention no such thing. Here is the authentic copy of the vote of the House appointing me, in which there is no mention of any act intended. Will your Lordship please to look at it?" But this his Lordship was not pleased to do. He took the paper with apparent unwillingness, and, without opening or paying the least regard to it, he declaimed in an angry tone against the practice of appointing agents by a vote of the Assembly, and declared, that no agent should for the future be attended to, except such as had been appointed by a regular act of the Assembly, approved by the Governor.

Franklin expostulated with his Lordship on this head; he could not conceive that the consent of the Governor was necessary; the agent was to transact the business of the people, and not that of the Governor; the people had a right, by their representatives, to appoint and instruct such agents as they thought proper to manage their own affairs; they had always done, so, and the thing was as reasonable in itself as it had been common in practice.

The minister was not in a humor to be reasoned with. He would not even read the certificate of Dr. Franklin's appointment, nor any of the papers, but handed them back unopened. Franklin had kept himself cool during the altercation, yet he could not brook this effrontery, especially as it was not more a breach of good manners, than an insult to the Assembly of Massachusetts; and he bluntly told his Lordship, that he believed it was of little consequence whether the appointment was acknowledged or not, for it was clear to his mind, that, as affairs were now administered, an agent could be of no use to any of the colonies.

The doctrine, here broached by Lord Hillsborough, was both novel and dangerous. If carried out, it would deprive the people of the only method, by which they could hold communication with the King, or any other branch of the government, except, through the intervention of governors, who were often unfriendly to their interests, indeed, generally opposed to them, and might, by, their negative, defeat any choice, the Assemblies should make. It would, moreover, place them, in this respect, at the mercy of a minister, since he might easily instruct the governors not to approve the appointment of particular men, or men whose opinions were suspected of being too much tinctured with ideas favorable to the popular claims. And thus, in reality, the minister would nominate the agents, and such of them as were not subservient to his wishes would be sure to lose their places at the next election. Dr. Franklin declared that he would not accept an agency under such an appointment, nor countenance in any way so arbitrary and mischievous a doctrine. Lord Hillsborough succeeded in procuring a resolution of the Board of Trade not to allow an agent to appear before them, who had not been appointed according to his plan. It was never followed, however, by the Assemblies, and never could have been, without sacrificing one of their most valuable privileges. In the mean time, the business was prosecuted before the Board, whilst Lord Hillsborough continued at the head of it, though to a great disadvantage, by written applications and indirect influence with the members.

Having now in his change the concerns of four colonies, Dr. Franklin's time was necessarily much occupied with them. Little being done by Parliament, however, relating to American affairs, in the year 1771, he had leisure for his annual excursions, which, from his confinement and close attention to business while in London, he found essential to his health. He made short journeys through different parts of England, stopping and passing some time at gentlemen's country-seats, to which he had been invited. He visited Dr. Priestley at Leeds, Dr. Percival at Manchester, and Dr. Darwin at Litchfield and assisted them in performing some new philosophical experiments. With each of these gentlemen he corresponded for many years, chiefly on scientific subjects. Priestley's celebrated experiments on air, and discoveries in the economy of vegetation, were regularly communicated to him during their progress. When Dr. Priestley was in London, their intercourse was constant and intimate. They belonged to a club of "honest Whigs," as it was designated by Dr. Franklin, which held stated meetings, and of which Dr. Price and Dr. Kippis were also members.

After these little excursions, he made a tour through Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. He had never been in Ireland before. He was entertained, as he says, "by both parties, the courtiers and the patriots; the latter treating him with particular respect." But the most remarkable occurrence, that happened to him there, was his meeting with Lord Hillsborough, who had retreated from the fatigues of public business for a few weeks to seek relaxation on his estates. The story is best told in his own words, as contained in a letter to Mr. Cushing.

"Being in Dublin at the same time with his Lordship, I met with him accidentally at the Lord Lieutenant's, who had happened to invite us to dine with a large company on the same day. As there was something curious in our interview, I must give you an account of it. He was surprisingly civil, and urged my follow travellers and me to call at his house in our intended journey northward, where we might be sure of better accommodations than the inns would afford us. He pressed us so politely, that it was not easy to refuse without apparent rudeness, as we must pass through his town, Hillsborough, and by his door; and therefore, as it might afford an opportunity of saying something on American affairs, I concluded to comply with his invitation.

"His Lordship went home some time before we left Dublin. We called upon him, and were detained at his house four days, during which time he entertained us with great civility, and a particular attention to me, that appeared the more extraordinary, as I knew that just before we left London he had expressed himself concerning me in very angry terms, calling me a republican, a factious, mischievous fellow, and the like."

"He seemed attentive to every thing, that might make my stay in his house agreeable to me, and put his eldest son, Lord Killwarling, into his phaeton with me, to drive me a round of forty miles, that I might see the country, the seats, and manufactures, covering, me with his own greatcoat, lest I should take cold. In short, he seemed extremely solicitous to impress me, and the colonies through me, with a good opinion of him. All which I could not but wonder at, knowing that he likes neither them nor me; and I thought it inexplicable but on the supposition, that he apprehended an approaching storm, and was desirous of lessening beforehand the number of enemies be had so imprudently created. But, if he takes no steps towards withdrawing the troops, repealing the duties, restoring the Castle,× or recalling the offensive instructions, I shall think all the plausible behaviour I have described is meant only, by patting and stroking the horse, to make him more patient, while the reins are drawn tighter, and the spurs set deeper into his sides."

He stayed in Dublin till the opening of the Irish Parliament, for the purpose of seeing the principal patriots in that Assembly. "I found them," he says, "disposed to be friends of America, in which I endeavoured to confirm them, with the expectation that our growing weight might in time be thrown into their scale, and, by joining our interests with theirs a more equitable treatment from this nation might be obtained for them as well as for us. There are many brave spirits among them. The gentry are a very sensible, polite, and friendly people. Their Parliament makes a most respectable figure, with a number of very good speakers in both parties, and able men of business. And 1 must not omit acquainting you, that, it being a standing rule to admit members of the English Parliament to sit (though they do not vote), in the House among the members, while others are only admitted into the gallery, my fellow traveller, being an English member,× was accordingly admitted as such. But I supposed I must go to the gallery, when the Speaker stood up, and acquainted the House, that he understood there was in town an American gentleman of (as he was pleased to say) distinguished character and merit, a member or delegate of some of the Parliaments of that country, who was desirous of being present at the debates of the House; that there was a rule of the House for admitting members of English Parliaments, and that he supposed the House would consider the American Assemblies as English Parliaments; but, as this was the first instance, he had chosen not to give any order in it without receiving their directions. On the question, the House gave a loud, unanimously when two members came to me without the bar, led me in between them, and placed me honorably and commodiously."

In Scotland he had many friends, who received him with a cordial welcome and an open-handed hospitality. He spent five days with Lord Kames at Blair Drummond, near Stirling, two or three days at Glasgow, and about three weeks at Edinburgh, where he lodged with David Hume. His old acquaintances, Sir Alexander Dick, Drs. Robertson, Cullen, Black, Ferguson, Russel and others, renewed the civilities, which they had, formerly shown to him, and which attached him so strongly to Scottish manners and society. His intimacy with Dr. Robertson had before enabled him to be the means of rendering a just tribute to the merit of some of his countrymen, by obtaining for them honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, over which that distinguished historian presided. Dr. Cooper, President Stiles, and Professor Winthrop of Harvard College, were among those upon whom this honor was conferred in consequence of his recommendation.

On his way back from Scotland, at Preston in Lancashire, he met his son-in-law, Mr. Richard Bache, who, with his consent, had married his only daughter four years before in Philadelphia. Mr. Bache had just come over from America, and was on a visit to his mother and sisters, who resided at Preston. He accompanied his father-in-law to London, and sailed thence for Philadelphia a few weeks afterwards. Dr. Franklin had never seen him before, but this, short acquaintance seems to have made a favorable impression. In writing to his wife, he said he had been much pleased with what he had observed of his character and deportment, as also with the condition and good repute of his relations in England.

Some of Dr. Franklin's happiest days were passed in the family of Dr. Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph, a man renowned for his virtues, his abilities, attainments, and steady adherence to the principles of political and civil liberty. He was one of the very small number on the bench of Bishops in the House of Lords, who opposed, from the beginning, the course pursued by the ministry in the American controversy. His writing's on this subject were applauded by all parties as models of style and argument, and by the friends of liberty for their candor and independent spirit. In the course of this year, Franklin paid two visits to the "good Bishop," as he was accustomed to call him, at Twyford in Hampshire, the place of the Bishop's summer residence ; and, while there, he employed his leisure hours in writing the first part of his autobiography. His friendship for this amiable family continued without diminution through life, and was kept bright by an uninterrupted correspondence with the Bishop and his daughters, particularly Miss Georgiana Shipley, a young lady of distinguished accomplishments.

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