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effect upon him. His labor had not been wasted. A purpose once abandoned might yet be accomplished. He hesitated, sent both letter and manuscript to his friend B. Vaughan, and from Vaughan, in 1783, came back a still more urgent entreaty to go on.

Franklin was then deep in affairs of state. Peace negotiations were on foot. The treaty was being framed. He was too busy making the history of his country to find time to write the history of his life. But in 1784 he undertook the task, and worked with diligence till he went home in 1785, when he once more put the work aside. But his friends would not suffer him to abandon it. Again and again Benjamin Vaughan and M. le Veillard besought him to go on. Again and again he promised and excused himself. His papers were in disorder. His office left him no time. He would go on with the work when the Constitutional Convention rose. But when it rose he was suffering too much from the stone. At last, in 1788, the promise was kept. The Autobiography was brought down to 1757, and a fair copy sent to Dr. Price and Benjamin Vaughan. The original went to M. le Veillard and Rochefoucauld-Liancourt at Paris. Thus a second time the manuscript left the author, and a second time was doomed to a series of strange adventures.

Pennsylvania Gazettes for 1786. He observed that the British public were growing clamorous on the subject of the debts due their merchants before the war. But there was a debt of long standing about which nothing was said, and which might now be paid. Everybody remembered the time when the mother country, as a mark of paternal tenderness, emptied her gaols into America for "the better peopling," as she termed it, of the colonies. America was therefore much in debt on that account; and as Great Britain was eager for a settlement of old accounts, this was a good one to begin with. Let every English ship that comes to our shores be forbidden to land her goods till the master gave bonds to carry back one felon for every fifty tons of burden. These remittances could easily be made, for the felons she had planted had increased most amazingly.

The "Retort Courteous" also treats of the debts. The clamor which had so long been going the rounds of the British press had now been taken up by the ministry, and the Americans made to understand that the posts along the frontier would not be given up till the debts due the British were paid. The justness of this conduct is coolly and honestly examined in the "Retort." The substance of the paper is, that, having brought America, by their own

wicked acts, to the very brink of ruin, they now cry out that old scores are not settled. General Gage takes possession of Boston, shuts the gates, cuts off communication with the country, brings the people to the verge of starvation, and then tells them if they will deliver up their arms they may leave with their families and their goods. The arms are given up, and they are then told that "goods " mean chairs, tables, beds, but not merchandise. Merchant goods he seizes, and the cry at once goes up, "Those Boston people do not pay their debts."

One act of Parliament shuts the port of Boston; another destroys the New England fishery; a British army harries the country, burns Falmouth and Charlestown, Fairfield and New London; and the whole world is told, "Those knavish Americans will not pay us."

The humane Dr. Johnson, in his "Taxation no Tyranny," suggests that the slaves be excited to rise, cut the throats of their masters, and come to the British army. The thing is done, and the planters of Virginia and the Carolinas lose thirty thousand of their laboring people, and are in turn denounced as men who do not pay their debts. War having put a stop to the shipment of tobacco, the crops of several years are piled up in the inspecting warehouses, and in the private stores of the Virginia

planters. Then comes Arnold, Phillips, and Cornwallis, and the British troops. The tobacco is burned, and the British merchants, to whom it might have been sent in payment of debt, exclaim, "Those damned Virginians! why don't they pay their debts?”

The seventh article of the treaty sets forth that the king's troops in leaving America should take no negroes with them. Guy Carleton goes off with several hundred. The treaty

is thus broken almost as soon as made. But why should England keep a treaty when the Americans do not pay their debts?

During 1787 he wrote nothing. He was still president of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was a delegate to the convention that framed the Constitution, and the duties of the two posts left no time for literature, In 1788 he drew a comparison of the conduct of the ancient Jews and the Anti-federalists in the United States of America. In 1789 came a "Plea for improving the Condition of Free Blacks;" an "Address to the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting Abolition of Slavery;" and "An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, namely, the Court of the Press."

The press for two years past had been grow ing most abusive. Men who two years befo

had been held up as models of every republican virtue had, since the Constitution was framed, been blackened, named rogue or villain, and fairly dragged in the mire. Washington had been called by the Anti-federalists a fool by nature. The same party had described Franklin a fool from old age. To this he replied good-naturedly in a letter proposing that to the liberty of the press should be added the more ancient liberty of the cudgel. In a humorous way he reviewed the power of the court, the practice of the court, the foundation of its authority, by whom it was commissioned, and the checks proper to be set up against the bad use of its powers. The authority came from the article in the State Constitution which established the liberty of the press, something every Pennsylvanian was ready to die for, but which very few understood. To him the liberty of the press seemed like the liberty of the press felons had in England; that is, the liberty of being pressed to death or hanged. If, as many thought, liberty of the press meant the liberty of abusing each other, he would gladly give up his share of the liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused himself. A great deal had been said of late about the needs of checks on the powers of the Constitution. For like reason might be well put a check on

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