THE last and most complete edition of Franklin’s works is that by the late Professor Albert H. Smyth, published in ten volumes by the Macmillan Company, New York, under the title, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin. The other standard edition is the Works of Benjamin Franklin by John Bigelow (New York, 1887). Mr. Bigelow’s first edition of the Autobiography in one volume was published by the J. B. Lippincott Company of Philadelphia in 1868. The life of Franklin as a writer is well treated by J. B. McMaster in a volume of The American Men of Letters Series; his life as a statesman and diplomat, by J. T. Morse, American Statesmen Series, one volume; Houghton, Mifflin Company publish both books. A more exhaustive account of the life and times of Franklin may be found in James Parton’s Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2 vols., New York, 1864). Paul Leicester Ford’s The Many-Sided Franklin is a most chatty and readable book, replete with anecdotes and excellently and fully illustrated. An excellent criticism by Woodrow Wilson introduces an edition of the Autobiography in The Century Classics (Century Co., New York, 1901). Interesting magazine articles are those of E. E. Hale, Christian Examiner, lxxi, 447; W. P. Trent, McClure’s Magazine, viii, 273; John Hay, The Century Magazine, lxxi, 447.
See also the histories of American literature by C. F. Richardson, Moses Coit Tyler, Brander Matthews, John Nichol, and Barrett Wendell, as well as the various encyclopedias. An excellent bibliography of Franklin is that of Paul Leicester Ford, entitled A List of Books Written by, or Relating to Benjamin Franklin (New York, 1889).
The following list of Franklin’s works contains the more interesting publications, together with the dates of first issue.
1722. Dogood Papers.
1729. The Busybody.
1729. A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency.
1732. Prefaces to Poor Richard’s Almanac.
to Among these are Hints for those that would be Rich, 1737;
1757. and Plan for saving one hundred thousand pounds to New Jersey, 1756.
1743. A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge Among the British Plantations in America.“This paper appears to contain the first suggestion, in any public form, for an American Philosophical Society.” Sparks.
1744. An Account of the New Invented Pennsylvania Fire-Places.
1749. Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania.Contains the plan for the school which later became the University of Pennsylvania.
1752. Electrical Kite.A description of the famous kite experiment, first written in a letter to Peter Collinson, dated Oct. 19, 1752, which was published later in the same year in The Gentleman’s Magazine.
1754. Plan of Union.A plan for the union of the colonies presented to the colonial convention at Albany.
1755. A Dialogue Between X, Y and Z.An appeal to enlist in the provincial army for the defense of Pennsylvania.
1758. Father Abraham’s Speech.Published as a preface to Poor Richard’s Almanac and gathering into one writing the maxims of Poor Richard, which had already appeared in previous numbers of the Almanac. The Speech was afterwards published in pamphlet form as the Way to Wealth.
1760. Of the Means of disposing the Enemy to Peace.
A satirical plea for the prosecution of the war against France.
1760. The Interest of Great Britain Considered, with regard to her Colonies, and the Acquisitions of Canada and Guadaloupe.
1764. Cool Thoughts on the Present Situation of our Public Affairs.A pamphlet favoring a Royal Government for Pennsylvania in exchange for that of the Proprietors.
1766. The Examination of Doctor Benjamin Franklin, etc., in The British House of Commons, Relative to The Repeal of The American Stamp Act.
1773. Rules by which A Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One.Some twenty satirical rules embodying the line of conduct England was pursuing with America.
1773. An Edict of The King of Prussia.A satire in which the King of Prussia was made to treat England as England was treating America because England was originally settled by Germans.
1777. Comparison of Great Britain and the United States in Regard to the Basis of Credit in The Two Countries.One of several similar pamphlets written to effect loans for the American cause.
1782. On the Theory of the Earth.The best of Franklin’s papers on geology.
1782. Letter purporting to emanate from a petty German Prince and to be addressed to his officer in Command in America.
1785. On the Causes and Cure of Smoky Chimneys.
1786. Retort Courteous.
Sending Felons to America.Answers to the British clamor for the payment of American debts.
1789. Address to the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting Abolition of Slavery.
1789. An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz. The Court of the Press.
1790. Martin’s Account of his Consulship.
A parody of a pro-slavery speech in Congress.
1791. Autobiography.The first edition.
1818. Bagatelles.The Bagatelles were first published in 1818 in William Temple Franklin’s edition of his grandfather’s works. The following are the most famous of these essays and the dates when they were written:
1774? A Parable Against Persecution.Franklin called this the LI Chapter of Genesis.
1774? A Parable on Brotherly Love.
1778. The Ephemera, an Emblem of Human Life.A new rendition of an earlier essay on Human Vanity.
1779. The Story of the Whistle.
1779? The Levee.
1779? Proposed New Version of the Bible.Part of the first chapter of Job modernized.
(1779. Published) The Morals of Chess.
1780? The Handsome and Deformed Leg.
1780. Dialogue between Franklin and the Gout. (Published in 1802.)
1802. A Petition of the Left Hand.
1806. The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams.