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age and infirmities render him unfit for the business, as the business would be for him. After the expiration of the term of his Presidentship, which will now be in a few months, he is determined to engage no more in public affairs even if required; but his countrymen will be too reasonable to require it. You are not so considerate. You are a hard taskmaster. You insist on his writing his life, already a long work, and at the same time would have him continually employed in augmenting the subject, while the term shortens in which the work is to be executed."*

The Doctor did resume the Memoirs in 1788, and probably wrote about this time all of the remainder that has hitherto been published in English. It appears, however, from the following passage in a letter to M. le Veillard, dated September 5, 1789, that he had then abandoned all hope of completing the Memoirs, and was making arrangements to transmit a copy of what was done, to M. le Veillard and to Mr. Vaughan. Whether he intended one for each or for both is not quite certain: "I hope you have perfectly recovered of your fall at Madame Helvetius's, and that you now enjoy perfect health; as to mine, I can give you no good account. I have a long time been afflicted with almost constant and grievous pain, to combat which I have been obliged to have recourse to opium, which indeed has afforded me some ease from time to time, but then it has taken away my appetite, and so impeded my digestion that I am become totally emaciated, and little remains of me but a skeleton covered with a skin. In this situation, I have

*Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol. x. p. 349.

not been able to continue my Memoirs, and now I suppose I shall never finish them. Benjamin has made a copy of what is done for you, which shall be sent by the first safe opportunity."*

Shortly before this letter was written on the 3d of June of that year-the Doctor wrote to his friend Vaughan, who, it appears, had been urging him to go on with the Memoirs :

"I received your kind letter of March 4th, and wish I may be able to complete what you so earnestly desire— the Memoirs of my life. But of late I am so interrupted by extreme pain, which obliges me to have recourse to opium, that, between the effects of both, I have but little time in which I can write anything. My grandson, however, is copying what is done, which will be sent to you for your opinion by the next vessel; and not merely for your opinion, but for your advice; for it is a difficult task to speak decently and properly of one's own conduct; and I feel the want of a judicious friend to encourage me in scratching out.” †

On the 2d of November he writes again to Mr. Vaughan in the same desponding strain of his health, though still more hopeful of continuing the Memoirs than he appeared when he wrote the letter last cited to M. le Veillard:

“I thank you much for your intimations of the virtues of hemlock; but I have tried so many things with so little effect that I am quite discouraged, and have no longer any faith in remedies for the stone. The palliating system

* Le Veillard Collection, Appendix, No. 5.
Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol. x. p. 393.

is what I am now fixed in.

Opium gives me ease when I am attacked by pain, and by the use of it I still make life tolerable. Not being able, however, to bear sitting to

rite, I now make use of the hand of one of my grandsons, dictating to him from my bed. I wish, indeed, I had tried this method sooner; for so I think I might by this time have finished my Memoirs, in which I have made no progress for these six months past. I have now taken the resolution to endeavor completing them in this way of dictating to an amanuensis. What is already done I now send you, with an earnest request that you and my good friend, Dr. Price, would be so good as to take the trouble of reading it, critically examining it, and giving me your candid opinion whether I had best publish or suppress it; and if the first, then what parts had best be expunged or altered. I shall rely upon your opinions; for I am now grown so old and feeble in mind, as well as body, that I cannot place any confidence in my own judgment. In the mean time, I desire and expect that you will not suffer any copy of it, or of any part of it, to be taken for any purpose whatever.”*

This was the last allusion to the Memoirs of which I find any trace in the Doctor's correspondence. The only evidence, beyond the promise contained in his letter of the 3d of June, that he sent a copy to Mr. Vaughan, is a statement made by the Duc de la Rochefoucault in a eulogium which he pronounced before a society in Paris on the 13th of June, 1789. In this discourse he says:

"The most voluminous of his works is the history of

* Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol. x. p. 397.

his own life, which he commenced for the use of his son, and for the continuation of which we are indebted to the ardent solicitations of Monsieur le Veillard, one of his most intimate friends. It employed his leisure hours during the latter part of his life; but the bad state of his health and his excruciating pains, which gave him little respite, frequently interrupted his work; and the two copies one of which was sent by him to London, to Dr. Price and Mr. Vaughan, and the other to Monsieur le Veillard and me-reach no farther than the year 1757He speaks of himself as he would have done of another person, delineating his thoughts, his actions, and even his errors and faults; and he describes the unfolding of his genius and talents with the simplicity of a great man, who knows how to do justice to himself, and with the testimony of a clear conscience, void of reproach and ' of offence toward God and toward man.'

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His Memoirs, gentlemen, will be published as soon as we receive from America the additions he may have made to the manuscript in our possession; and we then intend to give a complete collection of his works."

The Duke had evidently derived his information in regard to the Memoirs exclusively from the letter last cited to M. le Veillard.

The Doctor died in a little less than six months after his letter of the 2d of November to Mr. Vaughan. By his will, made in the summer of 1788, he bequeathed his books, manuscripts, and papers, after deducting a few special bequests, to his grandson, William Temple Franklin. Among the manuscripts was the original text of these Memoirs. On the 22d of May, Wm. Temple wrote M. le Veil

lard, announcing his grandfather's death and the interest he had acquired in the Memoirs, which might be said to have owed their existence to M. le Veillard's pertinacity; his intention to prepare them for publication, and requesting M. le Veillard to show them to no one unless to the Academician who should be charged to make the eulogy of the deceased, and to permit no one to take a copy of what had been sent him. He adds that he himself has the original. This letter was written in French.*

"PHILADELPHIA, 22 May, 1790.

"You have already learned, my dear friend, the loss which you and I, and the world, have experienced, in the death of this good and amiable papa. Although we have long expected it, we were none the less shocked by it when it arrived. He loved you very tenderly, as he did all your family, and I do not doubt you will share my just sorrow. I intended writing you the details of his death by M. de Chaumont, but the duty of arranging his affairs, and especially his papers, prevents my answering your last, as well as the one which your daughter was pleased to write me, accompanying her work. I have been touched with this mark of her condescension and friendship, and I beg you to testify to her my gratitude until I have an opportunity of writing to her, which will certainly be by the first occasion for France. Now, as I am about writing, her goodness will awaken me. This letter will reach you by way of England.

"I feel it my duty to profit by this occasion to inform you that my grandfather, among other legacies, has left all his papers and manuscripts to me, with permission to

* Le Veillard Collection. For the original see Appendix, No. 6.

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