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THE Essays and Letters of Dr. Franklin are introduced here by the editor who first collected and presented them in a regular form to the world. From their instructive nature, it was impossible that, in a series of English classics, they should not constitute a link. Few authors have written in a more pleasing or more impressive style. It is by playing round the head that he reaches the heart. Of a great poet it has been said, that “ he lisp'd in numbers ;” and with equal truth may it be affirmed of our philosopher, that, in the first efforts of his mind, he thought in proverbs, which have been denominated the wisdom of nations. His earliest productions, particularly his Poor Richard, abundantly luxuriant in this respect, may be adduced in proof; and the same quality will be found sparkling here and there through the whole of these little volumes. Like his writings,
his life too was eminently instructive. Sober, diligent, studious, he rose from low beginnings (a journeyman printer) to respectable offices in the state, and was at last chosen to represent his country as ambassador to the court of France, Read him, imitate him, my young friends : you will find it the sure way to wealth, to honours, and to happiness.
ESSAYS AND LETTERS
MORAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS.
THE BUSY-BODY.–No. 1. From the American Weekly Nercury, from Tues
day, Jan. 28, to Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1728—9. MR. ANDREW BRADFORD, I DESIGN this to acquaint you, that I, who have long been one of your courteous readers, have lately entertained some thought of setting up for an author myself: not out of the least vauity, I assure you, or desire of showing my parts, but purely for the good of my country.
I have often observed with concern, that your Mercury is not always equally entertaining. The delay of ships expected in, and want of fresh adviccs from Europe, make it frequently very dull; and I find the freezing of our river has the same effect on news as trade. With more concern have I conti. pually observed the growing vices and follies of my couutry folk : and though reformation is properly the concern of every man, that is, every one ought to mend one ; yet it is too true in this case, that what is every body's business is nobody's business, and the business is done accordingly. I therefore,