Benjamin Franklin Part 89

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[Footnote 137: Dr. Stuber's note, cited in _Writings_, X, 86-7: "Dr.

Franklin's name, as President of the Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 12th of February, 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the Const.i.tution, in discouraging the traffic of the human species. This was his last public act. In the debates to which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were made to justify the trade. In the _Federal Gazette_ of March 25th, 1790, there appeared an essay, signed _Historicus_, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a Speech, said to have been delivered in the Divan of Algiers, in 1687, in opposition to the prayer of the pet.i.tion of a sect called _Erika_, or Purists, for the abolition of piracy and slavery. This pretended African speech was an excellent parody of one delivered by Mr. Jackson, of Georgia. All the arguments, urged in favour of negro slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving of Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the futility of the arguments in defence of the slave-trade, and of the strength of mind and ingenuity of the author, at his advanced period of life. It furnishes, too, a no less convincing proof of his power of imitating the style of other times and nations, than his _Parable against Persecution_. And as the latter led many persons to search the Scriptures with a view to find it, so the former caused many persons to search the bookstores and libraries for the work from which it was said to be extracted." According to the _Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography_, XX, 50, the memorial was presented in 1790.]

[Footnote 138: Date of composition uncertain. Printed as pamphlet in 1784.]

[Footnote 139: Date unknown.]

[Footnote 140: A. H. Smyth dates this piece as during the summer of 1786 (_Writings_, X, 131-2 note). Sparks and Bigelow had conjecturedly dated it 1772.]

Benjamin Franklin Part 89

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Benjamin Franklin Part 89 summary

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