Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure I: Abel James to Benjamin Franklin, [1782]

Enclosure I

Abel James to Benjamin Franklin


My dear & honored Friend

I have often been desirous of writing to thee, but could not be reconciled to the Thoughts that the Letter might fall into the Hands of the British, lest some Printer or busy Body should publish some Part of the Contents & give our Friends Pain and myself Censure.

Some Time since there fell into my Hands to my great joy about 23 sheets in thy own hand-writing containing an Account of the Parentage & Life of thyself, directed to thy Son ending in the Year 1730 with which there were Notes likewise in thy writing, a Copy of which I inclose in Hopes it may be a means if thou continuedst it up to a later period, that the first & latter part may be put together; & if it is not yet continued, I hope thou wilt not delay it, Life is uncertain as the Preacher tells us, and what will the World say if kind, humane & benevolent Ben Franklin should leave his Friends & the World deprived of so pleasing and profitable a Work, a Work which would be useful & entertaining not only to a few, but to millions.

The Influence Writings under that Class have on the Minds of Youth is very great, and has no where appeared so plain as in our public Friend’s Journal. It almost insensibly leads the Youth into the Resolution of endeavouring to become as good and as eminent as the Journalist. Should thine for Instance when published, and I think it could not fail of it, lead the Youth to equal the Industry & Temperance of thy early Youth, what a Blessing with that Class would such a Work be. I know of no Character living nor many of them put together, who has so much in his Power as Thyself to promote a greater Spirit of Industry & early Attention to Business, Frugality and Temperance with the American Youth. Not that I think the Work would have no other Merit & Use in the World, far from it, but the first is of such vast Importance, that I know nothing that can equal it.

The inclosed Letters are of much Importance to our mutual worthy Friend John Strettell & myself as Executors of our deceased Friend Amos Strettell Esqr. decd. as well as his Children &c. which with that directed to Frederick Pigon, I shall be obliged to thee to forward in such Way as will be likely to reach them in Safety & charge the Expence of Postage to me. The Balance resting with thee in Payment of Stringfellow’s Right will serve for such Purpose, at same Time I acknowlege the many Obligations I am under, & present my best Respects to thy Grandsons, particularly Temple. I am not much in Trade yet have been very attentive to the Goods imported here from France, in examining the spining & weaving & the Quality of the Materials from which they are manufactured, & with Pleasure I can assure thee, that not only in Silks, but Cottons & Linens say every Kind manufactured in & about Manchester, I think the spinning & weaving rather excel & the Dyes are equal. England to be sure has the Advantage in woollen & worsted as well as Iron & Steel Wares, but the latter we can easily help ourselves in, if Industry & Œconomy prevails as I wish it. My Partner & self have brought the casting of almost all Kind of Iron ware to acknowledged great Perfection, to the Benefit of ourselves & the public at a large Work we have between this & little Egg harbour, which could Hands be obtained at reasonable Wages, might be carried to great Extent in other Branches, I think with the Assistance of two Potters and Founders from New England we made last year & sold near 2000 neat Tea-kettles very pleasing at this Time to the People.

I trust I need make no Apology to my good Friend for mentioning to him these Matters believing he continues a Relish for every Exertion of the Sort, in Confidence of which I rest with great Truth & perfect Esteem his very affectionate Friend

Abel James

My writing Mrs. Dogood’s Letters.1 Differences arise between my Brother and me—(his Temper and mine)—their Cause in general. His Newspaper—The Prosecution2 suffered—My Examination—Vote of Assembly—His Manner of evading it—Whereby3 I became free—My Attempt to get Employ with other Printers—He prevents me. Our frequent pleadings before our Father—The final Breach—My Inducements to quit Boston—Manner of coming to a Resolution—My leaving him & going to New york—(return to eating Flesh) thence to Pennsylvania—The Journey, & its Events on the Bay, at Amboy, the Road, meet with Dr. Brown—His Character—His great Work at Burlington—The good Woman on the River—My Arrival at Philadelphia—First Meal & first Sleep—Money left—Employment—Lodging—First acquaintance with my afterwards Wife—With J. Ralph—with Keimer—their Characters4—Offers to set me up—My Return to Boston—Voyage & Accidents—Reception—My Father dislikes the Proposal—I return to New york & Philadelphia—Governor Burnet—J. Collins—The Money for Vernon—The Governor’s Deceit—Collins not finding Employment goes to Barbadoes5 much in my Debt—Ralph & I go to England—Disappointment of Governor’s Letters—Colo French his Friend—Cornwallis’s Letters—Cabbin, Denham—Hamilton—Arrival in England6—Write a Pamphlet & print 100—Schemes—Lyons—Dr Pemberton—My Diligence & yet poor through7 Ralph—My Landlady—her Character—Wygate—Wilkes—Cibber—Plays—Books I borrowed—Preachers I heard—Redmayne—At Watts’s—Temperance—Ghost-Conduct & Influence among the Men—Persuaded by Mr Denham to return with him to Philadelphia & be his Clerk—Our Voyage & Arrival—My Resolutions in writing—My Sickness—His Death—Found D. R married—Go to work again with Keimer—Terms—his ill Usage of me—my Resentment—Saying of Decow—My Friends at Burlington—Agreement with H. Meredith to set up in Partnership—do so—Success with the Assembly—Hamilton’s Friendship—Swells8 History-Gazette—Paper money—Webb—writing Busybody—Breintnal—Godfrey—his Character—Suit against us—Offer of my Friends Coleman & Grace—continue the Business & M. goes to Carolina—Pamphlet on Paper money—Gazette from Keimer—Junto erected—its Plan—Marry—Library erected—manner of conducting the Project—its Plan & Utility9—Children—Almanach—The Use I made of it—great Industry—constant Study—Father’s Remark & Advice upon Diligence—Carolina—Partnership—learn French & German—Journey to Boston after 10 Years—Affection of my Brother—his Death & leaving me his Son— Act of Virtue10—Occasion—City-watch amended11—Post-office—Spotswood—Bradford’s Behaviour—Clerk of Assembly—Lose one of my Sons—Project of subordinate Juntoes12—Write occasionally in the Papers—Success in Business—Fire-Companies13—Engines—go again to Boston in 1743—see Dr Spence—Whitefield—my Connexion14 with him—His Generosity to me—my Returns—Church-differences—my Part in them—propose a College—not then prosecuted—propose & establish a Philosophical Society—War—Electricity—my first Knowlege of it-Partnership with Dr. Hall &c.15—Dispute in Assembly upon Defence-Project for it—Plain3 Truth—its Success—10,000 Men raised & disciplined—Lotteries—Battery built—New-Castle—My Influence in the Council16—put in the Commission of the Peace—Logan fond of me—His Library—appointed Post-master general—chosen Assembly-man-Commissioner to treat with Indians at Carlisle17—project & establish Academy—Pamphlet on it—Journey to Boston—At Albany—Plan of Union of the Colonies—Copy of it—Remarks upon it—It fails & how—(Journey to Boston in 1754) Disputes about it in our Assembly—my Part in them—New Governor—Disputes with him—his Character & sayings to me—chosen Alderman—Project of Hospital—my Share in it—Its Success—Boxes—made a Commissioner of the Treasury—My Commission to defend the Frontier Counties—raise Men & build Forts—Militia-Law of my drawing—made Colonel—Parade of my Officers-Offence to Proprietor—Assistance to Boston Ambassadors—Journey with Shirley &c—meet with Braddock—Assistance to him—to the Officers of his Army—furnish him with forage—his Concessions to me & Character3 of me—Success of my electrical Experiments—Medal sent me by18 Royal Society & Speech of President—Denny’s Arrival & Courtship to me—His Character—my Service to the Army in the Affair of Quarters—Disputes about the Proprietors, Taxes continued19—Project for paving the City—I am sent to England20—Negociation there21—Canada delenda est—my Pamphlet—its Reception & Effect3—Projects drawn from me, concerning the Conquest—Acquaintance made & other22 Services to me—Mrs. S. Mr. Small—Sir John P—Mr Wood-Sergeant Strachan & others23—their Characters—Doctorate from Edinburg24—Doctorate from Oxford—Journey to Scotland—Lord Leicester—Mr Prat—De Grey—Jackson—State of Affairs in England—Delays—Event—Journey into Holland and Flanders—Agency from Maryland—Son’s Appointment—My Return25—Allowance & Thanks—Journey to Boston—John Penn Governor26—My Conduct towards him—The Paxton Murders—My Pamphlet—Rioters march to Philadelphia—Governor retires to my House—my Conduct—sent out to the Insurgents—turn them back—little Thanks—Disputes revived—Resolutions against continuing under Proprietary Government—Another Pamphlet—Cool Thoughts—sent again to England with Petition—Negociation there—Lord H—his Character—Agencies3 from New-Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts27—Journey into Germany 1766—Civilities recieved there—Gottingen Observations—Ditto into France in 1767—Ditto in 1769—Entertainment there at the Academy—Introduced to the King & the Mesdames—Mad. Victoria & Mrs. Lamagnon—Duc de Chaulnes—M. Beaumont.28 Le Roy. Dalibard.29 Nollet. see Journals-Holland—reprint my Papers & add many—Books presented to me from30 many Authors—My Book translated into French—Lightning Kite—various Discoveries—my Manner of prosecuting that Study-King of Denmark invites me to Dinner—recollect my Father’s Proverb—Stamp-Act—my Opposition to it—Recommendation of J Huges31—Amendment of it—Examination in Parliament—Reputation it gave me—caressed by Ministry—Charles Townsend’s Act—Opposition to it-Stoves & Chimney Plates—Armonica32—Acquaintance with Ambassadors—Russian Intimation—writing in News-papers—Glasses from Germany—Grant of Land in Nova Scotia—Sicknesses—Letters to America returned hither—The Consequences33—Insurance-Office34—my Character—costs me nothing to be civil to inferiors, a good deal to be submissive to superiors &c. &c.

Farce of perpetual35 Motion-

Writing for Jersey Assembly36

Hutchinson’s Letters—Temple—Suit in Chancery—Abuse before the Privy Council—Lord Hilsborough’s37 Character & Conduct—Lord Dartmouth—Negociation to prevent the War—Return to America—Bishop of St Asaph38—Congress—Assembly Committee of Safety—Chevaux de Frise39—Sent to Boston, to the Camp, to Canada, to Lord Howe, to France, Treaty &c.

Tr (DLC: TJ Papers, 6: 1018–25); entirely in Short’s hand, consisting of 14 numbered pages; the text of James’ letter ends in the middle of p. 5 and the text of the outline begins immediately following, running down to, but including only one line at the top of p. 14, which is otherwise blank; p. [15] is blank and its verso also, save for the following endorsement in TJ’s hand: “Notes of Doctor Franklin’s life written by himself.”

The original of James’ letter evidently has not survived; Farrand states that when Franklin received it late in 1782 or early in 1783, “he passed it on to Benjamin Vaughan, with a request for his opinion” (Huntington Lib. Bull., No. 10 [Oct. 1936], 58). Vaughan was in Paris late in 1782 and Franklin may have handed him the original; if so, and if Vaughan retained it, it evidently has not survived among his papers (PPAP). Vaughan’s opinion, which Franklin inserted in full in his memoirs, was in the form of a letter dated at Paris 31 Jan. 1783. In it Vaughan speaks of having “read over your sheets of minutes of the principal incidents of your life, recovered for you by your Quaker acquaintance” (Van Doren, ed., Franklin’s Autobiographical Writings, p. 617). These “sheets of minutes” may have been the ones that James sent or they may have been some other text, for more than one copy came into existence after 1782. The likelihood that Vaughan referred to some other text than that actually enclosed by Abel James is supported by his reference to “sheets of minutes,” an expression he probably would not have used as applying to the copy sent by James, which consisted of a single sheet of four pages, the last one blank as it left James’ hands.

Since difference of opinion exists about the identity of the copy enclosed by James and since the textual study of the outline of Franklin’s memoirs has not been so carefully done as that pertaining to the text of the memoirs, it is necessary to take note of the various copies of the outline that exist, that are known to have existed at one time, or that may have existed. These are as follows:

(1) The original manuscript (notes likewise in thy writing), which James retained. This MS is not now among the papers of the firm of James & Drinker of Philadelphia (PHi) and evidently has not survived. Though James turned over to Franklin on the latter’s return in 1785 the 23 sheets in thy own hand-writing (the original MS of the memoirs, now in CSmH), he may or may not have turned over to him the retained original of the outline; the inference to be drawn from a study of the text of the outline by Short is that he did (see comment on prototype of the WTF Copy, below).

(2) The Copy enclosed by Abel James. Farrand concluded that the text purchased from the grandnephews of Le Veillard by John Bigelow in 1866 (now in NNP), consisting of three pages in an unidentified clerk’s hand, with alterations and a substantial addition at the top of the fourth page in Franklin’s hand, was the identical copy that Franklin received in the letter from James in 1782; that it was evidently prepared in the office of James & Drinker; and that its “handwriting is similar to that of some of the clerical records of the firm … and bears a striking resemblance to the writing of Henry Drinker” (Farrand, ed., Franklin’s Memoirs, p. xxi, 419). Van Doren, without making a categorical statement, evidently did not accept this conclusion, for in publishing the text of the Franklin-LeVeillard-Bigelow-Morgan copy he described it only as “the manuscript Outline from which Bigelow printed.” Also, in annotating the outline described below (the WTF Copy) he stated: “It is a reasonable guess that the Outline in 1782 extended through ‘I am sent to England’; for that marks the end of the fuller, more specific notes, and also a natural break in Franklin’s history” (Van Doren, ed., Franklin’s Autobiographical Writings, p. 210, 213). This was a natural conclusion for a comment on a text of the outline that began at the point indicated, and from it Van Doren drew the further conclusions that Franklin, “having written the fuller part of his Outline at Twyford [in 1771], did not make any further notes after ‘I am sent to England’ till he had filled in the narrative down to that point”; and that “after November 1789, when Franklin sent copies of the Autobiography through July 1757 to friends in Europe, he then wrote his further notes for the Outline as well as the final part of the Autobiography.” In brief, this rests on the puzzling nature of the “further notes” (the WTF Copy) and, especially, on the natural assumption that when Franklin returned to America in 1785 James turned over to him the original manuscripts of both the memoirs and the outline. If, however, the Franklin-LeVeillard-Bigelow-Morgan copy was in fact the identical text that James transmitted in his letter of 1782, then these conclusions fall, for the clerk’s text of that copy extends up to the point indicated in note 36 below. On this matter the Editors concur fully with Farrand. The evidence for this seems overwhelming. (1) It is a clerk’s copy that is known to have been used by Franklin after 1782. (2) It bears additions and amplifications in Franklin’s hand that were made in Passy about 1784, as proved by the fact that some of these alterations were incorporated in the copy made by Short. (3) No other text fits the requirements of the copy enclosed by James, and its identity as that copy has been doubted only in the light of the puzzling text of a part of the outline compiled by Temple Franklin evidently after Franklin’s death in 1790, a text for which an alternative explanation now seems more plausible. For these and other reasons indicated in the notes below, the Franklin-LeVeillard-Bigelow-Morgan copy of the outline is regarded as the identical copy enclosed in the letter of Abel James and is hereafter referred to as the James Copy.

(3) The Copy in the hand of Short, printed herewith and referred to hereafter as the Short Copy. A comparison of this text with that of the James Copy reveals at once a number of similarities. The text in both is continuous; the lines occupy the full width of the page (except for the two items indicated in note 36); and the phraseology is so closely parallel as to prove that the Short Copy is a derivative of the James Copy. But the variations are also marked. The items in the Short Copy are separated not by periods but by dashes. There are numerous variations in punctuation and capitalization. Aside from these, which are not indicated in the notes below, there are many textual variations. Three of these are major omissions, each of them possessing a characteristic proving them to result from a common copyist’s fault—that of omitting a line or passage between two identical or nearly identical words (see notes 4, 6, and 16). Others are nonsensical or erroneous readings when tested by the James Copy. Several important conclusions follow from these facts. First, the text that Le Veillard lent TJ, though certainly a derivative of the James Copy, was not the James Copy itself. The evidence for this lies primarily in the number and nature of the clerical errors. Short was an experienced, able, and accurate copyist; he might have moderately polished the rough edges of some of John Lamb’s illiteracies when his copy was intended for scrutiny by Congress, but he would never have made so careless a copy as that which he was forced to use as his prototype in the present instance, whose errors reflected nonsense as well as gross carelessness and incompetence. On the other hand, when given a text which required him to be faithfully accurate, he reproduced that text as nearly as possible. It should be pointed out in this connection that in no less than six instances in making the present copy Short first began a word with a lower-case letter—natural enough for TJ’s secretary—and then altered it in each case to a capital, proving that he was particularly careful to be exact and literal; on the other hand, as noted above, a great many words capitalized in the James Copy are not so treated in the Short Copy, and vice versa. In brief, Short’s experience as TJ’s secretary required him to be extremely accurate and all available evidence tends to prove that he was. The Short Copy of the outline is, among all of Short’s papers, evidently unique in the number and nature of its provable errors; no other document copied by him can be compared with it in this respect. The only acceptable explanation for this is that Short copied exactly and literally the document that was before him and that the errors were not his but those of the unknown copyist of the text that he employed. Second, Le Veillard did not possess the James Copy in 1786. The obvious imperfections of the text that he lent to TJ would probably have prompted TJ or Short to inquire about a better text, and Le Veillard, with or without such inquiry, would no doubt have supplied the James Copy or some other superior text if he had possessed it. Third, if Franklin allowed Vaughan and Le Veillard to borrow the James Copy, he received it back after one or more copies had been made from it. This follows from the preceding and from the fact that the James Copy contains two additions made by Franklin after the text in Le Veillard’s possession had been made (notes 17 and 24). Franklin may have made these additions in Passy after permitting one or more copies to be taken, but it is also possible that this was done after he returned to America. Fourth, this suggests that Franklin brought the James Copy back with him to America. He had promised to occupy the voyage with a resumption of his memoirs and would therefore have needed a text of the outline (Huntington Lib. Bull., No. 10 [Oct. 1936], 60). Finally, if this is so, Temple Franklin must have turned over to Le Veillard both the James Copy and the original manuscript of the memoirs in exchange for the fair copy of the latter that Franklin had sent to Le Veillard in 1789 (see Le Veillard to TJ, 25 July 1790; Farrand, ed., Franklin’s Memoirs, p. xxviii-xxix; Farrand shows that the exchange was made during Le Veillard’s lifetime, and conjectures that it was done late in 1791 or early in 1792).

(4) The prototype of the Short Copy. This is not known to be extant, and may have been discarded by Le Veillard or turned over to Temple Franklin along with the fair copy of the memoirs. It is not likely that this was a text that Le Veillard himself had made from the James Copy, for Le Veillard, as translator, was meticulous in following Franklin’s words and doubtless would have been as careful in making a copy of the outline (see also notes to Enclosure ii). More likely, this missing prototype of the Short Copy was made by a French clerk not too familiar with English and exceedingly careless in any language. Also, it is possible that the unknown copyist was employing another copy made by another clerk from the James Copy. One aspect of the prototype of the Short Copy that can be depended upon with some certainty is that it contained most if not all of the errors indicated in the notes below.

(5) The copy in the hand of William Temple Franklin. This MS is in DLC: Franklin Papers, 2d ser., IX: 2120–1; it is described, and was printed for the first time, in Van Doren, ed., Franklin’s Autobiographical Writings, p. 213–5, but the description errs in attributing to it an endorsement in TJ’s hand; it is a document that TJ probably never saw. There are three salient points to be noted about this text of the outline (hereafter called the WTF Copy). (1) Its heading, which reads: “P. 214 of Manuscript. We (himself & Son) arriv’d in London the 27th July 1757. [Here closes the Narration of Dr Franklin Life as <written> compleated by himself.—The following Notes for the continuance of it, are in his own hand Writing.]” This introduction was presumably written by Temple Franklin after Franklin’s death, and the date affixed to the document (“[1790]”) is probably a late 19th century addition. But the point to be noted is that the copyist had before him “Notes for the continuance of it … in his [Franklin’s] own hand Writing.” (2) The text is that of only the latter part of Franklin’s outline, but the phraseology is, with some significant differences, substantially the same as that in the corresponding part of James Copy and Short Copy (see notes 21 and 36). But there are there differences: the topics are not written continuously but are in list form; they have two sets of numbers whose significance is doubtful save that in one set the item pertaining to the Stamp Act is placed in proper chronological order; and the items “Recommendation of J. Hughes”—an embarrassing note to be placed in a didactic and moralistic work—and “Insurance Office” were struck out (see notes 31 and 34). But (3) most important of all, none of the additions and alterations made by Franklin himself in the James Copy and included in the Short Copy (as indicated in notes 17, 24, 32, and 36) is to be found in the WTF Copy, and none, of course, was in its prototype, which was in Franklin’s hand. The obvious inference to be drawn from these facts is that Temple Franklin had found among Franklin’s papers an early and variant text of the latter part of the outline. This missing and partial outline was clearly not the prototype of the James Copy, for the text of the James Copy was longer and different in form, in order, and, at times, in phraseology. Because the James Copy has a line drawn through it down to the point corresponding to the end of Part i of the memoirs, completed at Twyford in 1771, and because the WTF Copy begins at the point at which the first three parts of the memoirs ended, all of these parts having been copied off and sent to Vaughan and Le Veillard in 1789, Van Doren naturally concluded that Franklin had made these “further notes” after Nov. 1789 and that the final seventeen items “in red ink … were presumably added still later, before Franklin died in April.” But the evidence is conclusive as to the fact that the final seventeen items (see note 36 below) were added to the James Copy before Franklin left Europe and is strongly presumptive of the fact that Franklin brought that copy back to America with him. If the obvious inference is valid, then, Franklin may have had available during the writing of Parts iii and iv of the memoirs no less than three texts of the outline partially or wholly in his own hand: (1) the prototype of the James Copy; (2) the James Copy; and (3) the prototype of the WTF Copy, assuming it to be different from the first. Such a fact would not be surprising, for Franklin frequently produced as many as three, four, or five states of a document much less important than that pertaining to “the most famous autobiography in the world” (Van Doren, ed., Franklin’s Autobiographical Writings, p. 216).

(6) The prototype of the WTF Copy. As indicated in the prefatory comment to the WTF Copy, the prototype employed by Temple Franklin was a MS in Franklin’s “own hand Writing.” But which MS? Was it one, as conjectured by Van Doren, drawn up some time after Franklin had completed Part iii of the memoirs (which ended with his arrival in London in 1757) and had dispatched copies of Parts i, ii, and iii to Vaughan and Le Veillard? If so, this would seem to imply that Franklin did not bring back to America a text of the James Copy or even the James Copy itself; that the James Copy and its prototype extended in 1782 only up to the point that would carry the memoirs to about 1757; and that the various additions made by Franklin to the James Copynone of which appears in the WTF Copy—were drawn up by Franklin after the WTF Copy had been completed—that is, sometime between Nov. 1789 and 17 Apr. 1790 when Franklin died. But to sustain these assumptions would mean that the Franklin-LeVeillard-Bigelow-Morgan text is not the James Copy; that what Short copied as the text of the James enclosure was not in fact the text that James had enclosed but some other that was completed after 1790 and therefore the Short Copy itself was made after that date; and that Le Veillard in 1786 possessed the James Copy but allowed Short to make his transcript from an inferior text instead. The evidence against the assumptions is so weighty that the Editors cannot believe them valid.

The inference to be drawn from Temple Franklin’s prefatory comment in the WTF Copy to the effect that these “further notes” were in Franklin’s hand is obvious—that sometime after Nov. 1789 Franklin had drawn up a partial outline that began and ended at the points indicated in notes 21 and 36. But if this were so, why did Franklin omit the various amplifications of the James Copy that he had inserted in that copy in France around 1784? Why also, did he need such a partial outline when he must have had with him after 1785 either the James Copy or its prototype or both? It is possible, despite the problems raised by these questions, that Franklin made such a partial outline, but the Editors think it unlikely. The simplest, most plausible, and indeed the only explanation that seems to fit all of the requirements is that Temple Franklin did not in fact find among his grandfather’s papers such an early and partial text of the outline in Franklin’s hand, but that he used the prototype of the James Copy which had remained in America all the time and which in consequence included none of the additions to the James Copy that Franklin had inserted in France. The question at once arises why Temple Franklin should have used such a text when the James Copy with its further additions was available. Two obvious answers occur: (1) he may not have found the James Copy among Franklin’s papers at the time he prepared the WTF Copy, a real possibility in view of the fact that, as he informed Le Veillard on 22 Apr. 1791, his “late grandfather’s papers … were left in the greatest disorder” (John Bigelow, ed., Works of Benjamin Franklin, i [1887], p. xix); or (2), what is more probable, the WTF Copy may have been made after Temple Franklin had delivered the manuscript of the memoirs and the James Copy to Le Veillard.

But even if these conjectural explanations are acceptable, the question still remains why Temple Franklin should have needed to make such a partial copy of the outline after 1790. A clue to the answer may be found in two deletions in the WTF Copy and in several variations in its phraseology. These two deletions (notes 31 and 34) do not appear in the one text that Franklin is known to have used for his own guidance after 1782, and the presumption is that Temple Franklin himself struck them out. The variations in phraseology are even more significant. Franklin’s original outline had phrased most of the items succinctly; four, for example, read: “My Return … John Penn Governor … M. Beaumont … Letters to America returned hither.” These are amplified in the WTF Copy to read: “My Return to America … John Penn, Governor of Pennsylvania … M. Elie de Beaumont … Letters <from> to America, returned hither (England)” (see notes 23, 25, 26, 28, and 33). Not one of these amplifications would have been needed by Franklin for his own guidance in composition, but all would have been useful clarifications for anyone not familiar with the circumstances under which the outline had been composed or with the purposes which its author had in mind. As Franklin’s legatee engaged in preparing an edition of his grandfather’s papers, Temple Franklin in copying and, so to speak, “annotating” the text of the outline may have been doing no more than editors of Franklin’s autobiographical writings have done since—that is, using the materials at hand in order to make more complete the memoirs whose author was no longer available to carry the narrative down to the point indicated by the outline. In other words, these deletions and additions in phraseology point to the fact that Temple Franklin was preparing the text of the WTF Copy for publication as an addendum to the memoirs. His changing the entry “Mrs. S” to “Mr. ——” is a similar indication (see note 23). If this was his object, as seems clear, he chose for some puzzling reason to employ the less complete text of the outline. But this was by no means the only or the most important puzzle that he as editor left behind.

The foregoing account of actual and putative texts of Franklin’s famous outline suggests the following: (1) that the Franklin-LeVeillard-Bigelow-Morgan manuscript is the one enclosed by James in his letter to Franklin and was used by Franklin for further notes and as the prototype of one or more copies, one of which was in the possession of Le Veillard in 1786 and was employed as the prototype of the copy executed by Short for TJ as here printed; (2) that Franklin brought the James Copy back to America and continued to use it as his guide; and (3) that Temple Franklin turned it over to Le Veillard along with the manuscript of the memoirs. If these conclusions—admittedly based in part on inference and conjecture—are valid, then they suggest that two of the most interesting marks on the James Copy may have been made by Franklin himself, the one being a long vertical line extending down the middle of the first page up to the point at which Part i of the memoirs ended and the other being a closing bracket marking the end of Part iii (see notes 9 and 20). Having no text of the memoirs with him in Passy, Franklin may have drawn the vertical line on his return to America when Abel James turned over to him the original manuscript of the memoirs and enabled him to determine, if his memory had not, precisely where Part i ended. The line is in a different ink from that of the clerk’s text, it is irregular in form, and it clearly was not made by the hand that formed the precise, copperplate writing in the James Copy. In addition, the different methods used in designating in the outline the end of Part i and the end of Part ii are not without significance. The fact that the former employed a vertical line and the latter a closing bracket suggests that they were done at different times and, therefore, during the progress of completion of the narrative down through Part iii in 1789. Who but the author himself in the course of composition could have needed so to mark his outline?

1These two items in James Copy are separated by a period and occupy half of the first line, the remainder of that line and the space between the first and second lines being filled with the following in two different and later hands: “Copie d’un <Autographe> Projet très curieux de Bn. Franklin—lere. Esquisse mémorandum de ses mémoires. Les additions à l’encre rouge sont de la main de Franklin.” See note 36 below.

2James Copy reads: “The Prosecution he suffered.” Franklin’s original outline which served as prototype of the James Copy may well have read “Persecution”; James Franklin was “taken up, censur’d, and imprison’d for a Month by the Speaker’s Warrant,” but evidently there was not a formal prosecution and trial (Farrand, ed., Franklin’s Memoirs, p. 48).

3In Short Copy this word was originally written with an initial lower case letter and then altered to upper case by overwriting; see note 25.

4A line was omitted by the copyist at this point. James Copy reads: “… their Characters. Osborne, Watson. The Governor takes Notice of me. the Occasion and Manner. his Character. Offers to set me up.” In James Copy, the word “Character” occurs immediately below and on the line following “Characters”; see notes 6 and 16, below.

5James Copy reads: “Barbados.”

6A line was omitted by the copyist at this point. James Copy reads: “… Arrival in England. Get Employment. Ralph not. He is an Expence to me. Adventures in England. Write a Pamphlet and print 100.” The second “England” occurs immediately below and on the line following the first; see notes 4 and 16.

7James Copy reads: “thro.”

8James Copy reads, correctly: “Sewells History.”

9In James Copy a vertical line is drawn down the center of the first page through the first 32 lines. Such a line must not have been in Franklin’s original outline, the prototype of the James Copy, and the line in the James Copy was evidently drawn after Franklin received it. This marks the end of Part i of the memoirs, completed by Franklin at Twyford in 1771.

10James Copy reads: “Art of Virtue.” The word “Art” as written in James Copy could easily have been misconstrued as “Act,” particularly by a French clerk, but it is very improbable that Short would have so read it.

11James Copy reads: “City Watch. amended.”

12James Copy reads: “Junto’s.”

13James Copy reads: “Companys.”

14James Copy reads: “Connection.”

15James Copy reads: “D Hall &c.”

16A line was omitted by the copyist at this point. James Copy reads: “… in the Council. Colours, Devices and Motto’s. Ladies. Military Watch. Quakers. chosen of the common council. Put in the Commission of the peace.” The second “council” is in the line below the first and to the right of it; see notes 4 and 6.

17In James Copy the words “and at Easton” are interlined in Franklin’s hand; this addition was made, of course, after the prototype of the Short Copy had been prepared and may have been made after Franklin returned to America.

18James Copy reads: “pr.”

19James Copy reads, correctly: “Disputes about the Proprietors Taxes continued.” The punctuation in Short Copy results in a nonsense reading and is further proof that Short was copying from some other prototype than the James Copy.

20At this point in James Copy there is a closing bracket; this marks the end of Part m of the memoirs, completed in 1789 in Philadelphia. The bracket seems to be in the same ink as the vertical line indicated in note 9 and was evidently made in 1789 or later. It is possible that both the vertical line and bracket were made by Franklin on his return to America when he found Part i and began to work on Part iii.

21WTF Copy, which begins at this point except for the prefatory matter described above, reads: “1. Negotiations in England.” Here and elsewhere in WTF Copy the words “negociate” and “negociation” as spelled in James Copy and Short Copy are written “negotiate” and “negotiation.”

22James Copy reads: “their.” The word is unmistakable in James Copy and, as written by Short, a legible word is turned into a nonsense reading. The inference is unavoidable that Short was copying from some other text than the James Copy.

23James Copy reads: “Sargent Strahan and others”; it should have read: “Sargent, Strahan and others.” WTF Copy reads: “3 (4) Mr. —— & Mr.Small. Acquaintance made and their services to me. 4 (5) Sir John Pringle, Messrs. Wood, Sargent, Strahan & others: their Characters.” It will be noted that Temple Franklin changed “Mrs S.” (as in James Copy) to “Mr. ——.”

24At this point in James Copy the words “St. Andrews” are interlined in Franklin’s hand; this addition was made, of course, after the prototype of the Short Copy had been prepared and was possibly done after Franklin returned to America.

25In Short Copy this word was originally written with initial lower case letter and then altered to upper case by overwriting. WTF Copy reads: “My Return to America.”

26WTF Copy reads: “John Penn, Governor of Pennsylvania.”

27James Copy reads: “Massachusets.”

28WTF Copy reads: “M. Elie de Beaumont.”

29James Copy originally read: “Dalitard”; this was changed by overwriting (perhaps by Franklin) to read as above.

30This word in James Copy is interlined in substitution for “by,” deleted; this deletion was evidently done by the clerk who prepared the James Copy.

31James Copy reads, correctly: “J. Hughes”; this item has a line drawn through it in WTF Copy.

32James Copy has “Armonica” interlined at this point in Franklin’s hand. This addition was made at Passy by Franklin after he had received the James Copy and before the prototype of the Short Copy was executed; it is not in WTF Copy.

33At this point WTF Copy reads: “Letters <from> to America, returned hither (England) the Consequences.” This may indicate that Temple Franklin executed the WTF Copy in England after 1790, or it may only mean that he wished to clarify the meaning for the reader. In either case the word “England” is a significant addition to the text. Benjamin Franklin would have needed no such clarification; a general reader would have, for he could not be expected to know that an outline drawn up for an author’s guidance and never intended for publication was in fact drawn up in England and therefore that “hither” referred to that country. This and comparable additions to the text of the outline made by Temple Franklin in WTF Copy (see notes 25, 26, 28, and 34), strongly support the supposition advanced above that he may have been editing these “further notes” for publication and that Franklin himself had made no such partial outline in his own hand.

34This item has two lines drawn through it in WTF Copy; see note 31. These two deletions in WTF Copy, which do not appear in the only text that Franklin is known to have used after 1783, were evidently made by Temple Franklin, a fact which again supports the conjecture that he intended these “further notes” for publication.

35James Copy reads: “perpetl.”

36WTF Copy ends at this point. The text of the James Copy as Franklin received it also ended at this point; the last two items are in list form rather than running-on. The fact that Short copied them thus indicates that they were so arranged in the prototype of the Short Copy. At foot of p. [3] of James Copy Franklin wrote “verte.” At top verso of p. [3] the remainder of the text of the outline—seventeen items—is written in Franklin’s hand in red ink. These seventeen items were added by Franklin to the James Copy before the prototype of the Short Copy was prepared, hence in France about 1784. No part of this additional matter is to be found in the WTF Copy.

37James Copy reads: “Hillsborough’s.”

38This word occurs at the end of the line in James Copy and there appears to be the remnant of an “s” at its close; Franklin would probably have written the word so.

39James Copy reads: “Chevaux de Frize.”

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