FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790)
Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces
London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1779. 8vo. (8 5/8 x 5 1/4 inches). xi,,567,pp. Engraved portrait frontispiece, three engraved plates (one folding), and folding table.
Contemporary calf, rebacked preserving original morocco lettering piece
Provenance: Earl of Fife (armorial bookplate)
First edition of a noted lifetime collection of Franklin's essays published during the American Revolution.
Edited by his close friend Benjamin Vaughan and published in London during the American Revolution while Franklin served as the Ambassador to France, this is the "only edition of Franklin's writings (other than his scientific), which was printed during his life time; [and] was done with Franklin's knowledge and consent and contains an 'errata' made by him for it" (Ford).
Many of the pieces published here relate to the Revolution, including the transcript of Franklin's famous appearance before Parliament in 1766 in which he argued successfully for the repeal of the Stamp Act. Also present here is the culmination of his sagacious Poor Richard advice, his The Way to Wealth. And although the compilation is predominantly political or social essays, the collected work also includes his paper on the effectiveness of lightening rods.
The work closes with Franklin's famous mock epitaph: "The body of / B. Franklin, Printer / (Like the Cover of an Old Book / Its Contents torn Out / And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) / Lies Here, Food for Worms. / But the Work shall not be Lost; / For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More / In a New and More Elegant Edition / Revised and Corrected / By the Author."
Howes F330; Sabin 25565; Ford 342; Adams, American Controversy 79- 38b.