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seemed to be announced in the dawn of the French Revolution. These hopes have since been found only delusive visions : but they were then generally entertained; and we do not envy the cold selfishness of that man who in such circumstances could not kindle at the prospect of millions of his fellow-creatures bursting the chains of slavery, and claiming that freedom which is the birth-right of man. “I hope,' savs Franklin,
the fire of liberty which you mention as spreading itself over Europe will act upon the inestimable rights of man, as common fare does upon gold; purify without destroying them; so that a lover of liberty may find a country in any part of . Christendom.
We have sometimes heard evil-surmises thrown out respecting Dr. Franklin's religious belief: but, if the expressions of devotional sentiment and of faith in a world to come after death are not deemed sufficiently explicit to remove this prejudice, we trust that it will not be retained by those who peruse the following candid answer, in March 1790, to the Reverend President Styles of Philadelphia, who appears to have requested Franklin to favour him with the particulars of his creed.
• It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavour in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is in.mortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever sect I meet with them. As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatise upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble.'
From a letter which we find at p. 132., without date or inscription, it appears that Dr. Franklin, though a philosopher, was a believer in a particular providence, without which he thought that the basis of all religion would be taken away. • For without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favour particular persons, there is no motive to worship a deity, to fear its displeasure, or to pray for its protection.”
Lord Clare was succeeded by Lord Hillsborough, at the Board of Trade, while he retained the title and powers of Secretary of State for the Colonies. Of the latter nobleman, Dr. Franklin says, p. 172., I know him to be as double and deceitful as any man I ever met with. The dislike between Lord Hillsborough and Dr. F. was mutual; for they were composed of very different materials, and no antipathies could well be less formed for amicable union. They met at the installation at Oxford in 1773, when the philosopher shewed that he was not to be vanquished in courtesy by the noble Earl.
"I went down to Oxford,' says Dr. F., 'with, and at the instance of Lord le Despenser, who is on all occasions very good to me, and seems of late very desirous of my company.-Lord Hillsborough called on Lord le D., whose chamber and mine were together in Queen's College. I was in the inner room shifting, and heard his voice, but did not see him, as he went down stairs immediately with Lord le D., who mentioning that I was above, he returned directly and came to me in the pleasantest manner imaginable, “ Dr. F.,” says he, “I did not know till this minute that you were here, and I am come back to make you my bow. I am glad to see you at Oxford, and that you look so well,” &c. In return for this extravagance, I complimented him on his son's (Lord Fairford's performance in the theatre, though indeed it was but indifferent ; so that account was settled. For as people say, when they are angry, if he strikes me, I'll strike him again, I think sometimes it may be right to say, if he flatters me, I'll flatter him again. This is lex talionis, returning offences in kind.' (P. 196.)
In 1773, Dr. Franklin wrote a small piece under the title of “ Prussian Edict,” &c. in order to expose in a lively and striking manner the absurd pretensions of the English government with respect to her American colonies. In this edict, which is dated Dantzic, September 5. 1773, the King of Prussia is made to impose a duty of four and a half per cent. ad valoren on all goods imported into 'Great Britain, in virtue of the rights which had descended to him from his ducal ancestors, whose subjects had made the first German settlements in our island. This jeu d'esprit, which was composed with no small share of ability, was inserted in the Public Advertiser; and the artifice was not immediately detected by all who perused it. Dr. Franklin was passing some time at Lord le Despencer's seat at West Wycombe, when the fictitious edict made its first appearance in the news-papers. Mr. Whitehead,' says he, was there too, who runs early through all the papers, and tells the company what he finds remarkable. He had them in another room, and we were chatting in the