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France decreed a general mourning of three days. 66 The August spectacle of the first free people on earth in mourning for the father of the liberty of two worlds," says a gentleman, in a letter dated Parisi June 14, "added a peculiar interest and solemnity to the session of this day. So memorable a victory of philosophy over prejudice, is not recorded in the annals of the human race.” The common council of Paris paid an extraordinary tribute of homage to his memory by attending at the funeral oration delivered by the abbé Fauchett, at the Rotundo, in the New Market, which was hung with black, illuminated with lamps and chandeliers, and decorated for the occasion with the most expensive devices.
6- Thou bright luminary of freedom,” apostrophiz. ed the abbé, "why should I call thee great? Grandeur is too often the scourge of the human kind, whose felicity thy goodness was ever exerted to promote. Thou hast been the benefactor of the universe!. Be thy name ever revered! May it be the comfort of the wretched, and the joy of those who are free! What man is more entitled to our gratitude! It was not sufficient to controul the lightning of heaven, and to avert the fury of the growling tempest: thou hast rendered to mankind a service still greater; thou extinguished the thunder of earthly. despots, which was ready to be hurled upon their trembling subjects. What pleasure must it have been to thee on earth to perceive others profiting by thy precepts and thy example! With what greater rapture must thou now contemplate thy own diffusion of light! It will illu. mine the world; and man, perceiving his natural dignity, will raise his soul to heaven, and bow to no empire but that which is founded on virtue and reason, I have but one wish to utter; it is a wish dear to my heart; a wish always cherished in thy virtuous and benevolent bosom. Surely it will derive some favour from the throne of God, when uttered in the name of Franklin! It is, that in becoming free, men may become also wiser and better : there is no other means of deserving liberty. An Eulogium on Dr. Franklin was delivered March 1, 1791, in Philadel. phia, before both Houses of Congress, and the Ameri. cin Philosophical Society, &c. by Wm. Smith, D. D., and published by Cadell, London, 1792. 6. Panegyric,” say the Monthly Reviewers, in noticing this publication, which has so often been disgracefully employed in strewing flowers on the tombs of the worthless, redeems her credit when she comes forth with truth by her side, to immortalize the memory of the great and the good. To these epithets, if greatness and goodness be measured by the capacity and the inclination to serve mankind, no man had ever a fairer title than Benjamin Franklin." The following encomium, from Dr. Smith's eulogy, applies, without being chargeable with any exaggeration to the character of this great man.
6 At the name of Franklin, every thing interesting to virtue, free. dom, and humanity, rises to our recollection ! By what Euloge shall we do justice to his pre-eminent abilities and worth? This would require a pre.emi. nence of abilities and worth like his own. His vast and comprehensive mind was cast in a mould, which nature seems rarely to have used before, and there. fore, can be measured only by a mind cast in a similar mould. His original and universal genius was capable of the greatest things, but disdained not the smallest, provided they were useful. With equal ease and abilities, he could conduct the concerns of a printing-press, and of a great nation; and discharge
the duties of a public minister of state, or the private executor of a will. Those talents, which have separ. ately entered into the composition of other eminent characters in the various departments of life, were in him united to form one great and splendid character; and, whoever, in future shall be said to have deserved well of his country, need not think himself undervalued, when he shall be compared to a Franklin, in any of the great talents he possessed; but the man who shall be said to equal him in all his talents, and who shall devote them to the like benevolent and be. neficent purposes, for the service of his country and the happiness of mankind, can receive no further addition to his praise." Franklin was never ashamed of his origin, or avoided referring to the time when he wrought for daily hire. In a conversation at Paris, in company with Count D'Aranda and the Duke de la Rochefoucault, he replied to an Irish gentleman who asked him some questions concerning the state of the paper manufactory there, " Few men can give you more information on that subject than myself, for I was originally in the printe ing trade.”
When in London he visited the spot, then occupied by Mr Hett, where he once laboured; and he retired with apparent gratification. The following extract may serve to evince that rare degree of modesty which he ever retained. In a letter to Dr. Mather of Boston, he says, “ You mention your being in your 78th year, I am in my 79th. We are grown old together. It is now more than 60 years since I left Boston; but I remember well both your father and grandfather. The last time I saw the former was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pensylvania. He received me in bis library; and on my taking leave,
shewed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he ac. companying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said, hastily, “Stoop, stoop!” I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction; and said to me, “You young
and have the world before you; stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps." This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought on people by their carrying their heads too high." If we may judge from many parts of Dr. Franklin's writings, his character in private life was marked with those finer feelings which are calculated to render mankind in general, and particularly one's friends and descendents, happy. On every occasion he seems to have exerted himself in the promotion of virtue, toleration, and liberality of sentiment; to excite a spirit of diligence and industry among his countrymen; to improve literature and science, and to advance the interests of humanity and universal benevolence.
66 When I was a boy,” says he, “I met with a book entitled “Essays to do good.” It had been so little regarded by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out; but the re. mainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to hare an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of reputation; and if I have been a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book," In a plan drawn up by him and Mr. Dalrymple, dated Aug. 29, 1771,
for subscribing towards a voyage to civilize the in. habitants of New Zaland, the Doctor, among other things, says, “Many voyages have been undertaken with views of profit or plunder, or to gratify resent. ment; to procure some advantage to ourselves or to Co some mischief to others : but a voyage is now.pro-, posed to visit a distant people on the other side of the globe; not to rob them, nor to seize their lands, or enslave'their persons ; but merely to do them good,
and make them, as far as in our power lies, to live as i comfortably as ourselves. It seems a laudable wish
that all the nations of the earth were connected by a knowledge of each other, and a mutual exchange of benefits : but a commercial nation particularly, should wish for a general civilization of mankind, since trade is always carried on to much greater extent with people who have the arts and conveniences of life, than it can be with mere savages. We may therefore hope in this undertaking, to be of sone service to our country as well as to those poor people who, however distant from us, are in truth related to us, and whose interests do in soine degreeconcern every one who can say, “Homo sum, et humani a me lientum puto.” I am a man, and nothing which relates to man can be foreign to my mind. IIis ideas of the s'ave-trade are a further confirmation of the benevolence of his dis position. “ Navigation," observes our philosopher, 6 when employed in supplying necessary provisions
for a country in want, and thereby preventing famines, } which were more frequent and destructive before the
invention of that art, is undoubtedly a blessing to mankind. When employed merely in transporting superfluities, it is a question whether the advantage of the employment it affords is equal to the mischief of hazarding so many lives on the ocean; but when