Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

forward to that tera of civilized humanity, whea, k| consistence with the constitution of the United States, it may be hoped, there shall not be a slave within their jurisdiction or territory! Nay, he looked mors, forward still, to the time when there shall not be a slave nor a savage, within the whole regions of America. He believed that this sublime sera had alreadydawned, and was approaching fast to its raeiridkua glory; for he believed in Divine Revelation, and the beautiful analogy of history, sacred as well as profane! He believed that, human knowledge, however improved and exalted, stood in need of illumination from on high; and that the Divine Creator has not left mankind without such illumination, and evidence of himself, both internal and external, as may be necessary to their present and future happiness.

If I could not speak this from full and experimental knowledge of his character, I should have considered all the other parts of it, however splejndid and beneficial to the world, as furnishing but scanty materials for the present eulogium.

"An undevout philosopher is mad!" T6unc

The man who can think so meanly of his own ,soul, as to believe that it was created to animate a piece of clay, for a few years, and then to be extinguished and exist no more, can never be a great man! But Franklin felt and believed himself immortal! His vast and capacious soul was ever stretching beyond this narrow sphere of things, and grasping an /eternity! Hear himself, " although dead, yet speaking" on this awfully delightful subject! Behold here, in his own hand-writing, the indubitable testimony!

In this Temple of God, and before this august assembly, I read the contents, and consecrate the precious relick to his memory! It is his letter of condolence to his niece, on the death of his Brother; and may be applied as a fit conclusion of our present condolences on his oiv n death

"We have lost a most dear and valuable relation (and friend)—But, 'tis the will of God that these mortal bodies be laid aside when the soul is to enter into real life. Existing here is scarce to be called life; it is rather an embryo-state, a preparative to living; and man is not completely born till he is dead. Why, then, should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society?

"We are spirits!—That bodies should be lent while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided, by which we may get rid of them—Deathisthat way: we ourselves prudently chuse a partial death, in some cases. A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it; and he that quits the ivhole body, parts at once with all the pains, and possibilities of pains and pleasures, it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.

Vol. i. t 4

"Our friend and we are invited abroad on a party of pleasure, that is to last forever. His chair was first ready, and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and ive know where to find him,"

Yes, thou dear departed friend and fellow-citizen! Thou, too, art gone before us—thy chair, thy celestial car, was first ready! We must soon follow, and we know where to find thee! May we seek to follow thee by lives of virtue and benevolence like thine— then shall we surely find thee—and part with thee no more, forever! Let all thy fellow-citizens; let all thy compatriots; let every class of men with whom thou wert associated here on earth—in devising plans of government, in framing and executing good laws, in disseminating useful knowledge, in alleviating human misery, and in promoting the happiness of mankind —let them consider thee as their guardian-genius, still present and presiding amongst them; and what they conceive thou wouldst advise to be Done, let them advise and Do likewise—and they shall not greatly deviate from the path of virtue and glory!

SOME PAPERS REFERRED TO IN THE FOREGOING E0LOG1UM.

No. I.

ENDORSED IN DR. FRANKLIN'S HAND, AS FOLLOWS, VIZ.

Letter to Abbe Soulavie, occasioned by his sending me some Notes he had taken of what I had said to him in conversation on the theory of the Earth. I wrote it to set him right in some points wherein he had mistaken my meaning, i

PASSY, SETTEMBF-R 22, 1732.

SIR,

I RETURN the papers with some corrections. I did not find coal mines under the calcareous rock in Derbyshire. I only remarked, that at the lowest part of that rocky mountain, which was in sight, there were oyster shells mixed with the stone; and part of the high county of Derby being probably as much above the level of the sea, as the coal mines of Whitehaven were below, it seemed a proof that there had been a great Bouleversement in the surface of that island, some part of it having been depressed under the sea, and other parts, which had been under it, being raised above it. Such changes in the superficial parts of the globe, seemed to ine unlikely to happen, if the earth were solid to the centre. I therefore imagined that the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and of greater specific gravity than any of the solids we are acquainted with; which therefore might swim in or upon that fluid. Thus the surface of the globe would be a shell, capable of being broken and disordered by the violent movements of the fluid on which it rested. And, as air has been compressed by art so as to be twice as dense as water, in which case, if such air and water could be contained in a strong glass vessel, the air would be seen to take the lowest place, and the water to float above and upon it; and, as we know not yet the degree of density to which air may be compressed, and M. Amontons calculated, that its density encreasing as it approached

the centre in the same proportion as above the furface, it wouIdV at the depth of leagues, be heavier than gold, possibly the dense fluid occupying the internal parts of the globe might be. air compressed. And as the force of expansion in dense air when* heated, is in proportion to its density; this central air might afford another agent to move the surface, as well as be of use in keeping alive the central fires: Though, as you observe, the sudden, rarefaction of water coming into contact with those fires, may be an agent sufficiently strong for that purpose, when acting between the incumbent earth and the fluid on which it rests. If one might indulge imagination in supposing how such a globe was focmedr I should conceive, that all the elements in separate particles, being originally mixed in confusion, and occupying a great space, they would (as soon as the Almighty Fiat ordained gravity, or the mutual attraction of certain parts, and the mutual repulsion of other parts, to exist) all move towards their common centre: That the air being a fluid- whose ports repel each other, though drawn to the common centre by their gravity, would be densest towards the centre, and rarer as more remote; consequently all bodies, lighter than the central parts of that air, and immersed in it, would recede from the centre, and rise till they arrived at that region of the air, which was of the same specific gravity with themselves, where they would rest;, while other matter, mixed with the lighter air, would descend, and the two meeting would form.the shell of the first.earth, leaving the upper atmosphere nearly clear. The original, mo ve» ment of the parts towards their common centre would form a whirl there;. which would continue in the turning of the new formed globe upon its axis, and the greatest diameter of. the shell would be in its equator. If by any accident afterwards the axis should be changed, the dense internal fluid, by altering its form, must burst.the. shell and throw all its. substance into the confusioa in which we find it. I will not.trouble you at present with my fancies, concerning the manner of forming the rest of our system* Superior beings smile at one theories, and at our presumption in making them. L will just mention that your observation of the ferruginous .nature of the lava which is thrown out from the depths of our volcanoes, gave me great pleasure. It has long.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »