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Benjamin Franklin

By

Sydney George Fisher

Author of "Men, Women, and Manners in Colonial Times,"
"The Making of Pennsylvania," "The Evolu-
tion of the Constitution," etc.

"If rigid moral analysis be not the purpose of historical
writing, there is no more value in it than in the fictions of
mythological antiquity."-CHARles Francis Adams, Sr.

Philadelphia

J. B. Lippincott Company

A

HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY
JUN 13 1952

COPYRIGHT, 1898

BY

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

Preface

THIS analysis of the life and character of Franklin has in view a similar object to that of the volume entitled "The True George Washington," which was prepared for the publishers by Mr. Paul Leicester Ford and issued a year or two ago.

Washington sadly needed to be humanized, to be rescued from the myth-making process which had been destroying all that was lovable in his character and turning him into a mere bundle of abstract qualities which it was piously supposed would be wholesome examples for the American people. This assumption that our people are children who must not be told the eternal truths of human nature, but deceived into goodness by wooden heroes and lay figures, seems, fortunately, to be passing away, and in a few years it will be a strange phase to look back upon.

So thorough and systematic has been the expurgating during the last century that some of its details are very curious. It is astonishing how easily an otherwise respectable editor or biographer can get himself into a state of complete intellectual dishonesty. It is interesting to follow one of these literary criminals and see the minute care with which he manufactures an entirely new and imaginary being out of the real man who has been placed in his hands. He will not allow his victim to say even a

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