Графични страници
PDF файл

York, where, as he was unable to reduce that city, he went into winter quarters. The only appearance of an existing war were some skirmishes and predatory excursions.

On the 5th of May, 1782, Sir Guy Carleton arrived at New York, being appointed to command the British army in America.--Immediately on his arrival, he acquainted Washington and Congress, that negociations for a peace had been commenced at Paris. Meanwhile the British troops evacuated all their posts in South-Carolina and Georgia, and retired to the main army at New-York.

Preliminary articles of peace were signed at Paris, on the 30th of November, 1782, by Mr. Fitzherbert and Mr. Oswald, on the part of Great Britain, and by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Lawrence, on the part of the United States. By this treaty his Majesty acknowledged the Thirteen United Colonies to be “ free, sovereign, and independent States."

Benjamin Franklin, the celebrated American philosopher, was born at Boston, on the 17th of January, 1706. Iu the year 1720, he went to Philadelphia, and engaged himself with the only printer then in that city, who taught him the typographic art. In conjunction with some other young men, Franklin instituted a book society; its members rapidly increased, and similar establishments were afterwards formed in Boston, New-York, and Charleston.

In the year 1725, Franklin went to England, and worked for some time in London, as a journeyman printer .After a residence of some years in the metropolis, he returned to America, when he commenced business for himself in Philadelphia, which he pursued with diligence for several years, till he acquired a fortune, which enabled him to devote his time to the study of natural philosophy. In consequence of his curious and useful discoveries in electricity, the Royal Society of London, on the 30th of November. 1753, adjudged Sir Godfry Copeley's medal to Franklin.

In the year 1758, he paid another visit to England, and returned to Philadelphia in 1762. His stay in America was short, for he went back to England in 1764, and continued there till the year 1775.

During his residence in London, he was appointed agent for the House of Representatives of the province of Massachusetts, and in 1773, he presented a petition from that body to bis Majesty, praying for the removal of Governor Hutchinson.

[ocr errors]

In January, 1774, Dr. Franklin was examined on the subject of this petition before the Privy Council, when the committee made a report on it, in consequence of which his Majesty ordered it to be dismissed the board.

Dr. Franklin, however, exerted himself to the utmost to prevent a breach between Great Britain and America, but finding his attempts fruitless, he, in the year 1775, embarked in the Pennsylvania packet, and returned to Philadelphia. In the autumn of 1776, he was sent by Congress to Canada, to effect an alliance with that province. He was unsuccessful, and on his return he was dispatched to France, to finish the negociation, which Mr. Dean had conducted in a very private manner.

In February, 1777, Dr. Franklin was appointed Plenipotentiary from Congress to the Court of France, where, in 1783, he signed a treaty of peace with the English commissioners.

The Dr. acquired the French language after he was turned of seventy. During his embassy he became the ton, and the ladies, for whom he was a strenuous advocate, wore hats a-la-Franklin. In the year 1778, he was visited by Voltaire, who conversed with him in English. A gay young lady inter

rupted them by saying, that Dr. Franklin understood French, and the rest of the company were desirous to learn the subject of their conversation.

« Excuse me, my dear,” replied Voltaire, “ I have the vanity to shew, that I am not unacquainted with the language of a Franklin.'

He enjoyed a good state of health for many years, but in 1782 he was afflicted with the gout and a nephritic cholic. Having accomplished the object of his highest ambition by his exertions for the emancipation of his country, he solicited Congress for leave to return. He embarked at Havre on the 24th July, 1785, landed at Southampton, and proceeded to Cowes, where a vessel was ready to convey him to Philadelphia.

He arrived in that city on the 15th of September, and was accompanied to his house by the members of Congress, amid the acclamations of his fellow-citizens. person who was present, observed, “ that he never beheld so affecting a scene.”

When the Doctor stepped ashore, all the people exclaimed, “LIBERTY."

He was appointed President of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, but at the expiration of two years, finding his infirmities increase, he retired from public business.

I lis re

His death was occasioned by the bursting of an imposthume, which had formed itself in his lungs, and he expired on the 7th of April, 1790, in the 85th year of his age. mains were interred on the 21st, andattended to the grave by thirty clergymen, and a multitude of the citizens of Philadelphia, of all ranks, who moved in the greatest order.--All the bells in the city were tolled, muffled, and their sound was accompanied by a discharge of artillery. Congress, on this occasion, ordered a general mourning for one month throughout the United States; and the National Assembly of France decreed a general mourning of three days. The genius and patriotism of Franklin have jnstly rendered his name illustrious. He had the felicity to see all his hopes realized, respecting the freedom of America, and his name will be revered by posterity as a philosopher and a legislator. The following item of bis will is a sufficient proof of the high estimation in which he held the commander in chief of the American armies.

My fine crab-tree walking stick, with a gold head, curiously wrought in the form of the

cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a sceptre, he has merited it, and would become it."

« ПредишнаНапред »