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AMERICANA GERMANICA 

MONOGRAPHS DEVOTED TO THE COMPARATIVE 
STUDY OF THE 

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Germany and America 



EDITOR 

MARION DEXTER LEARNED 

University of Pennsylvania 

(See List at the End of the Book} 



ERRATA. 



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BIOGRAPHY. 




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88a. James, Edmund J. 


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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND GERMANY 



Thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School 
of the University of Pennsylvania in partial fulfill 
ment of the requirements for the Degree 
of Doctor of Philosophy. 



Bv 

BEATRICE MARGUERITE VICTORY 



Ctmertcana (Bermamca 

NUMBER 21. 



PUBLICATIONS OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 

1915 



COPYKIGHT 1915 
BY 

BEATRICE MARGUERITE VICTORY 



TO MY PARENTS 



CONTENTS. 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND GERMANY. 

Chapter I. Frederick the Great. 

a. Attitude toward England. 

b. Attitude toward the North American Colonies. 

Chapter II. Franklin s Diplomatic Career. 

d. Diplomatic Relations with Austria and Prussia. 

b. Three Visits to Paris. 

1. 1767. 

2. 1769. 

3- 1776. 

c. Emperor Joseph s Visit to Paris. 

d. Diplomatic Relations with Prussia and Austria. 

e. Attitude of Louis XVI toward England and the North 

American Colonies. 

Chapter III. Franklin s Visit to Germany. 

a. Evidences of His Visit. 

b. Franklin s References to Absence. 

Chapter IV. Franklin s Knowledge of Things German. 

a. At Home. 

b. Abroad. 

c. Knowledge of the German Language. 

d. Edict of the King of Prussia. 

Chapter V. Franklin s Reputation in Europe Germany. 

a. In the Eighteenth Century. 

b. In the Nineteenth Century. 

c. In the Twentieth Century. 

Chapter VI. Franklin in German Poetry. 

Chapter VII. Franklin as Known to 

a. Goethe. 

b. Schiller. 

c. Justus Moser. 

d. Herder (Johann Fried). 

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8 Contents 

Chapter VIII. Franklin in the German Novel. 

a. Charles Sealesfield. 

b. Proskow. 

c. Berthold Auerbach. 

d. Elise Polko. 

Chapter IX. Letters to Franklin from Germans. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY. 

Chapter X. Chronological List of Franklin s Works in German. 
Chapter XI. Chronological Bibliography. 



PREFACE. 

If one examines the bibliography of Benjamin Franklin, it 
will seem almost impossible to conceive of any phase of the life 
or activities of the "many-sided" Doctor, which has not been ex 
haustively treated. 

The following dissertation was suggested by Professor 
Marion Dexter Learned, of the University of Pennsylvania, who 
was kind enough to place in the author s hands photographic re 
productions 1 of the correspondence of the American representa 
tives, Carmichael, Arthur and William Lee and others, which 
were directed for the most part to Schulenburg, the Minister of 
War and State for Frederick the Great. These were most helpful 
in following Franklin s diplomatic career. 

Benjamin Franklin spent from June 15 to August 13, 1766, 
in Germany. The American Philosophical Society of Philadel 
phia in the Collection of Franklin Papers possesses ample proof 
of this visit in several original letters. One addressed to Mrs. 
Franklin dated London, June 13, 1766, gives his intended plans 
thus: "Tomorrow I set out with my friend Mr. Pringle (now Sir 
John) on a journey to Pyrmont where he goes to drink the waters. 
I propose to leave him at Pyrmont and visit some of the principal 
cities nearest to it and call for him again when the time for our 
return dra\vs nigh." Franklin visited Gottingen and Hanover. 
Of his visit to Hanover we possess but one proof a Latin letter 
from a Dr. Hartmann of that city.- Of the journey to the Uni 
versity of Gottingen and his associations with professors of that 
institution there is richer proof. Franklin himself intended to 
treat this trip in his Autobiography under headlines "Journey into 
Germany, 1766. Civilities received there. Gottingen observa 
tions." 3 Dr. Herbert P. Gallinger in his thesis entitled Relation 
of German Publicists to the American War of Independence 



*To be found in the Collection of the Emperor William Institution of 
German American Research at University of Pennsylvania. 

2 Mentioned by Sparks in his Franklin, Vol. VII, p. 326. 

3 Franklin draft copy of Autobiography. Printed Smyth, Vol. I, p. 224. 

(9) 



i o Preface 

/83), Leipzig, 1900; Mr. L. Viereck, in Americana Gcr- 



manica (Vol. IV, No. 2) ; Mr. Joseph G. Rosengarten in his ad 
dress Gentian Lfnircrsitics delivered on October 24, 1902, at the 
University of Pennsylvania, and Edmund J. James, The Nation, 
April 1 8, 1895, p. 296 f., give very fruitful suggestions of 
Franklin s visit to Germany. 

The author spent one year in Germany endeavoring to en 
large the field of these suggestions. Original letters have been 
most carefully examined and a thorough investigation of Amer 
ican material has been made. The author desires to express her 
sincerest appreciation to Dr. I. Minis Hays of the American 
Philosophical Society, who kindly placed at her disposal the 
valuable Franklin Collection. Help was given by Professor ]. 
Wiesner, of Vienna, and by the Amerika-Institut in Berlin. 
To Herr Walter Gerlach the author is grateful for his research 
work at the University of Gottingen. 

BEATRICE MARGUERITE VICTORY, M. A. 



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND GERMANY. 

CHAPTER I. 

FREDERIC THE GREAT. 

(a) Attitude Toward England. 

Frederic the Great hated England most cordially and, we 
may say, most justly, for from the earliest days of his accession 
to the throne of Prussia, 1740, his uncle, George II, had ever 
shown an animosity which he took but meagre, if any, pains to con 
ceal. The real and only cause was an inherent jealousy and fear 
that this nephew might increase his small domain even by inches, 
to the detriment of the English ancestral continental centre, the 
Electorate of Hanover. 

With the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, 1748, England and 
Spain, France and England, found their mutual conditions prac 
tically the same as before those eight weary years of reciprocal 
grievances and leakages in the public treasuries. "To the balance 
of power, sustained by standing armies of a million of men, the 
statesmen of that day intrusted the preservation of the tranquility, 
and, ignorant of the might of principles to mould the relations 
of states, saw in Austria the certain ally of England, in France 
the natural ally of Prussia." 3 * 1 

In spite of the fact that George II, in the summer of 1745, 
during the second war of the Austrian Succession, still harbor 
ing in the caucles of his heart the secret displeasure at the wrest 
ing of Silesia from Austria by Frederic, turned to Maria Theresa 
and carried on friendly relations with the Catholic Power, at 
the same time offering subsidies to Mayence, Cologne, Bavaria 
and the Count Palatine to Joseph II, King of the Romans in 
spite of all this, he had the audacity to expect the support of his 
kinsman for the furtherance of his plans. Thus playing his part 
diplomatically, in 1756, he formulated with Frederic the treaty 



3a George Bancroft, History of the United States of America (1884); 
Vol. II, p. 312. 



12 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

of Westminster, hoping by this agreement of neutrality to protect 
Hanover from the coalition of the European Powers. In this 
same year, the houses of Hapsburg and Capet, after nearly three 
hundred years of contention, joined hands to support the inter 
ests of Catholicism and propagate the utter downfall of Prussia 
and, if possible, the ruin of Germany. Frederic, however, sur 
prised and frustrated the hopes of these combined allies against 
him, by saving Prussia. All Europe stood aghast before this 
"Gustavus Adolphus", as the Protestant nations called him. In 
his terrible campaigns "two hundred and sixty thousand men 
stood against seven hundred thousand, and had not conquered". 4 

With the accession of George III and the appointment, Octo 
ber, 1761, of Bute as minister in the place of Pitt, the staunch- 
adherent and supporter of the Prussian king, any real or seeming 
alliance between the two Powers was at once broken off. Prussia 
found herself utterly abandoned. Among the English diplomats, 
Frederic knew that plans for peace were being made, but the ben 
efits of such an armistice meant for his kingdom the assured loss 
of his Silesian territory. "How is it possible", such were the 
words addressed by Frederic to Pitt, "how can the English nation 
propose to make cessions to my enemies that nation which has 
guaranteed my possessions by authentic acts known to the whole 
world?" 5 

Benjamin Franklin describes these wars on the continent in 
a letter to David Hall, dated London, April 8, 1759: 

"The Powers at war on the Continent have excited them 
selves to the utmost this Winter, to be able to bring vast armies 
into the field, and they are already in motion. If this King of 
Prussia can stand his Ground this Year, his Enemies will be tired 
of so costly a War. And he bids fair for it, for he takes the 
Field this Spring with as fine an Army as he had since the War 
began, and hitherto he has very little burthen d his own People 
for Supplies either of Money or Men, drawing both from his 
Enemies or Neighbors. But what the event will be God only 



4 Ibid., p. 481. 

5 Mid., p. 538. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 13 

knows. Three Monarchys the most powerful in Europe besides 
the Swedes, on his Back at once; No Magnamity (sic) but his 
own could think of bearing it; no Courage but his that would not 
sink under it, no any less Bravery, Skill and Activity than his 
that would equal to it. If he again should drub them all around, 
and at length obtain an honorable and advantageous peace, his 
Renown will far exceed that of all the Heroes in History." 6 

Again he writes concerning this same subject late in Sep 
tember, 1761, to his friend, William Strahan : "Call to mind 
your former fears for the King of Prussia, and remember my 
telling you that the man s abilities were more than equal to all 
the forces of his enemies, and that he would finally extricate 
himself and triumph." 7 

As late as 1789, he still felt a keen interest in all things that 
pertained to his Prussian Majesty and wrote on June 3rd of that 
year from Philadelphia, the following to Benjamin Vaughan : 
"I have not seen the King of Prussia s posthumous works ; what 
you mention makes me desirous to have them. Please to mention 
it to your brother William, and that I request him to add them 
to the books I have desired him to buy for me." 8 

Thus deserted and wilfully betrayed, since George had 
diplomatically ordered Sir William Yorke, minister at The 
Hague, to offer the Empress of Austria even Silesia to renew 
her friendly relationship with him, Frederic, nothing daunted, 
found alone his road to success and unfading glory, as Franklin 
had predicted. At every turn England flaunted her hatred in 
the very eyes of this irrestible warrior. Any means to break the 
iron tenacity of his indomitable will. Why hesitate at the sum 
of one hundred thousand pounds? Well could Frederic laugh 
to scorn his recognized enemy at the news of the rise of the North 
American Colonies. Perhaps George felt a little misgiving and a 
faint twinge of fear that the far-sighted and cunning Frederic 
might now see clearly the long desired method of mildly wreak- 



* Original letter in the Museum of Independence Hall. 

* Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin (1818), Vol. I, p. 251. 
Collection of Hon. S. W. Pennypacker. Printed in Smyth s Benjamin 

Franklin, Vol. X, p. 209. 



14 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

ing vengeance for the past wrongs by dispatching well trained 
troops to the New World. Great must have been the astonish 
ment of all England, that he took no active part in the rising 
controversy and only a seeming, passive interest. Passive it most 
assuredly was, but yet a friendly attitude, which asserted itself 
later, however, in a more tangible form. 

One of the leading motives of the policy of Frederic was 
to increase the trade and commerce of his beloved Prussia. This 
policy he hoped to perpetrate by eventually binding the ports of 
east Frisia closely and permanently with the markets of the 
North American Colonies. East Frisia first fell into the posses 
sion of Prussia in 1744. Through the position of this province 
on the North Sea and because of its not unimportant ports it 
seemed to assure the world commerce, for which the king so 
earnestly and ardently yearned. It was then with this point in 
view, that we find Frederic s energies directed toward the Amer 
ican Colonies, but it was these colonies themselves that made the 
first venture into the fields of diplomacy. What was the reason 
for this modest backwardness on the part of this persistently 
aggressive ruler, who with the exception of Joseph II of Austria, 
was then the only king in Germany? Burdened with years that 
rested heavily upon his drooping shoulders, longing for the 
staunch support of those faithful friends, whom the god of war 
had claimed as his booty, alone with the reflections of victories, 
that haunted him with their bloody carnage, that strangled in 
the gaunt hand of death the breath of their lasting glory thus 
we find Frederic at the crucial moment, when the Colonies were 
just mustering those potent forces and stirring the embers, which 
were to burst forth in the flame of the American Revolution. 
As Bancroft says : "No one of the Powers of Europe is heartily 
his ally. Russia will soon leave for Austria, his great deeds 
become to him so many anxieties; his system meets with per 
sistent and deadly enmity. He seeks rest; and strong and un 
avoidable antagonism allow his wasted strength no repose. He 
is childless and alone ; his nephew, who will be his successor 
neglects him, and follows other counsels ; his own brother hopes 
and prays to heaven that the king s days may not be prolonged. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 15 

Worn by unparelled labor and years he strikes against obstacles 
on all sides as he seeks to give a sure life to his kingdom; and 
prudence teaches him that he must still dare and suffer and 

1 1 Q 

go on. - 

In the North American Colonies themselves the exploits 
and surprising succession of victories of the great crusader of 
Protestantism were hailed with national rejoicing and thanks 
giving by those rabid exponents of religious sentiment, the Puri 
tans. In the Middle States, New York and Pennsylvania, the 
admiration for Frederic was no less markedly sincere. The 
Germans of Pennsylvania, who followed with keenest interest 
the military conquests of their beloved king "Fritz", saw in the 
victory of Rossbach the thwarting of their arch-enemy, the 
French, who had driven their fathers and their forefathers from 
their hereditary homes on the banks of the Rhine and in 
Swabia. Washington in a letter to Lafayette acknowledged 
the great honor of being so cordially esteemed by so renowned a 
statesman and warrior, as Frederic. Franklin took occasion to 
use the personality of the Prussian ruler to satirize the English 
and to show the interest of Frederic for the struggling Colonies. 
Green, in a letter to the Prussian Baron von Steuben, assured 
him of his hopes of his success in all campaigns since he intended 
to use the same military tactics, as those he had learned under 
the master of w r ar, Frederic. In fact, the baron himself owed 
his ready acceptance and the American acquiescence to his sug 
gestions in matter of warfare to the prestige gained from the 
honor accorded one who had been an adjutant in the Prussian 
army. Thomas Jefferson expressed the general opinion of the 
American Colonies when he wrote of the death of this king as 
an irreparable loss to the entire civilized world : "Still today in 
America they believe so quickly a myth arises around popular 
figures that Frederic demonstrated his respect for Washington 
by sending a sword of honor over to him : indeed the scientific 
magazines repeated in all good faith this fable, which it seems 
was founded on the fact that the Prussian smith of arms 
Theophilus Alte in Solingen sent to Washington a beautiful 



9 Bancroft, History of the U. S. A.; Vol. V, p. 236. 



1 6 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

sword made by himself with an inscription expressing his ad 
miration." 10 

Frederic was awake to the significance of the uprising of 
England s Colonies, for he felt confident that the offspring of the 
mother country would prefer to see the work which they had 
centered in the upbuilding of their settlements in ruins, rather 
than withdraw one iota from their determined stand of opposition 
against the bonds of a selfish and despotic ruler. In September, 
1774, he expressed himself in regard to the action of the Colonies 
as follows : "The more I reflect on the measures of the English 
government the more they appear to me arbitrary and despotic. 
That the court has provoked its colonies to withstand its meas 
ures, nobody can doubt. It invents new taxes; it wishes by its 
own authority to impose them on its colonies in manifest breach 
of their privileges; the colonies do not refuse their former taxes 
and demand only in regard to new ones to be placed on the same 
footing with England; but the government will not accord to 
them the right to tax themselves. This is the whole history of 
these disturbances." 11 

Again in a letter to his minister, Count Maltzan, in London, 
he writes in December, 1775: "Es erhellt immer mehr dass der 
Konig von England mit seinen Colonien hohes Spiel spielt und 
sich in diese Wirren zu tief eingelassen hat um siegreich daraus 
hervorzugehen. . . . Die grosse Frage ist immer ob die Colo 
nien nicht Mittel finden werden, sich ganz vom Mutterlande zu 
trennen und eine freie Republik zu stiften. . . . Gewiss ist 
dies, fast ganz Europa nimmt Partei fur die Colonien und ver- 
theidigt ihre Sache, wahrend die Sache des Hofes weder Conner 
noch Forderer findet." 12 

Yet Frederic was, at this time, too conservative to hazard 
any loss to the kingdom for which he had labored so untiringly, 
for the sake of coming like a knight errant to rescue the oppressed 



10 F. Kapp, Friederich der Grosse und die Vereinigtcn Staaten von Ame- 
rika; S. 13. 

"Bancroft, History of U. S. A.; Vol. V, p. 237. 

" Das Zeitaltcr Fricderichs des Grossen. Dr. Wm. Oncken. Bd. 2 
S. 838-839. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 17 

children of England : "In a careful search through his cabinet 
papers, I have found no letter or part of a letter in which he 
allowed the interest of his kingdom to suffer from -personal pique 
or dynastic influence. His cares are for the country which he 
rather serves than rules. He sees and exactly measures its weak 
ness as well as its strength, and gathers everyone of its discon 
nected parts under his wings." 13 

(b) His Attitude Toward the North American Colonies. 

"Dem Befreiungskampfe der Amerikaner war von Frie- 
derich clem Grossen mit gepaukester Aufmerksamkeit gefolgt, 
aber ohne die leistete Regung solcher Empfindungen, wie sie von 
diesen bei ihm voraus gesetzt worden war. Allerdings leistete 
er den Amerikanern einen unschatzbaren Dienst." 14 This service 
\vas indeed no small one. When in October, 1/77, the German 
auxiliaries, hired by the English, began to make their way from 
Ansbach and Hesse, he forbade their passing through his realm 
and domains unless a certain toll per head was paid. In May, 
17/6, a plan for a direct commerce was advanced by Silas Deane, 
the first agent sent by the American Congress, with Montessuy, 
the Prussian minister for commercial affairs. This request 
was followed by the permission for the exchange of American 
products through the ports of Brittany. Commerce, however, 
between the North American Colonies and Prussia was declined ; 
for Frederic felt that without a formidable fleet the results of 
such an action on the part of Prussia would be most uncertain. 
Just at this time the thoughts of the king were distracted from 
such foreign interests by the unwarranted claim of Austria to a 
contingent share in the inheritance of a large portion of Bavaria. 
Frederic, to ward off such a blow, turned to France. Through 
his minister he assured the French government that he would 
maintain neutrality and do his utmost to preserve peace, and 
Maurepas gave him a similar guarantee. 

As early as the first of October, Deane wrote from Paris to 
the Committee of Secret Correspondence, its members being 



"Bancroft, History of U. S. A.; Vol. V, p. 238. 

14 Das Zcitalter Fricdcrichs dcs Grossen. W. Oncken. Vol. II, pp. 838-839. 



1 8 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee, Robert Morris and 
William Cooper, as follows: "Would you have universal com 
merce, commission some person to visit every kingdom on the 
continent that can hold any commerce with America. Among 
them by no means forget Prussia. Grain will be in demand in 
this kingdom and in the south of Europe." In the same letter 
he adds : "P. S. It is of importance, as I have mentioned in my 
former letters, to have some one deputed and empowered to treat 
with the king of Prussia. I am acquainted with his agent here, 
and have already through him received some queries and pro 
posals respecting American commerce to which I am preparing a 
reply. . . . France and Spain are naturally our allies; the 
Italian States want our flour and some other articles; Prussia, 
ever pursuing her own interest, needs but be informed of some 
of the facts relative to America s growing commerce to favor 
us/ 15 Again in a letter to Dumas he gives expression to this 
same thought, October 3, 1776: "Since my last in which I 
mentioned the King of Prussia, I have obtained a method of 
sounding that monarch s sentiments more directly through an 
other channel, which voluntary offering I have accepted." 16 In 
a letter to John Jay on the 3rd of December that same year, from 
Paris, he shows that the relations in commercial interests are 
still being urged: "I have had overtures from the King of 
Prussia in the commercial way and have a person of greater 
confidence to his court, with letters of introduction from his 
agent here with whom I am on the best of terms." 17 



"Secret Journals of Congress (Library of Congress); Wharton Diplo 
matic Correspondence. Vol. II, p. 154. 

"Ibid.,?. 163. 

17 Ibid., p. 213. 

Whether it was from mismanagement on the part of Arthur Lee, or 
from a change of policy by Frederick, there was no treaty until 1785. See 
Wharton, I; p. 445 ff. 



CHAPTER II. 

FRANKLIN S DIPLOMATIC CAREER. 

The diplomacy of the American Revolution was dominated 
to the greatest extent by the all prevailing force of finance. 
Economy of finance meant recognition from the desired ally, 
France, and power over the oppressive enemy, England. With 
argumentations based on the principles of war and finance, the 
American diplomatists exerted every tangible method to ac 
complish their ends, not only against the mother country, but to 
their advantage with the European countries, that were willing 
or unwilling to lend their ears. Franklin, for instance, was not 
only diplomatic agent in Paris, but he was also, in the negotiation 
of our loans from France and the disbursement of the funds thus 
obtained, a secretary of the treasury ; while in concerting allied 
campaigns, he was to some extent secretary of war, and in direct 
ing our navy, in European waters to some extent secretary of 
the navy. Our own success at home and the persistent bravery in 
crises, as displayed in the siege of Boston, won the natural sup 
port of the French nation, which grasped the importance of such 
a victory as Saratoga by raw recruits and a handful of unprac- 
ticed troops against the strength of the veteran army of Great 
Britain. The longed-for alliance with France was ratified in 
. 1778, and the support of this country was the fruit of that genius 
of diplomacy, the world-famed Franklin, the head of the legation 
at Paris, and by whom so many of the intricate and difficult 
political affairs of the United Colonies were so tactfully and suc 
cessfully managed. It was this venerable statesman, who showed 
the importance of the unbreakable spirit of independence, when 
he replied to an old friend, Hartley, who warned him of the 
clanger, to which he would be perhaps exposed, in a foreign land : 
"I thank you for your kind caution, but having nearly finished a 
long life, I set but little value on what remains of it. Like a 
draper, when one chaffers with him for a remnant, I am ready 
to say, As it is only the fag end, I will not differ with you about 
it ; take it for what you please. Perhaps the best use such an old 

(19) 



20 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

fellow can be put to is to make a martyr of him." This same 
idea of the humble value of his services to his country, he ex 
pressed, when he was chosen as commissioner to France in his 
seventieth year, September 27, 1776, as he turned to Dr. Rush, 
who sat near him in the Assembly: "I am old and good for noth 
ing; but as the storekeepers say of their remnants of cloth, I am 
but a fag end, and you may have me for what you propose to 
give." Appointments were given at the same time to Silas Deane 
and Arthur Lee, both of whom were absent in Europe, to assist 
Dr. Franklin with their joint services in the cause of freedom, in 
the official capacity of recognized agents of the North American 
Colonies abroad. 

The diplomatic activity of Franklin abroad opened his life 
to the closest scrutiny of those, who were ever watchful to find 
flaws in the calibre of his ability, which had won for him this 
post of honor. We can repudiate the accusation made against 
him, that he never lost an opportunity to grow rich on public 
money and furthered the appointment of his nephew, Mr. Wil 
liams, by quoting his letter to William Lee in regard to this 
appointment : "Your proposition about appointing agents in the 
ports shall be laid before the commissioners when they meet. In 
the meantime I can only say that as to my nephew, Mr. Williams, 
though I have from long knowledge and experience of him a 
high opinion of his abilities, activity and integrity, I will have no 
hand in his appointment or in approving it, not being desirous of 
his being in any way concerned in that business." 18 

Again he can be defended against the slightest fraudulent 
intentions, by this fact, that he sent a personal account of his 
expenditures to Congress, November 29, 1788, after his arrival 
in Philadelphia : "In pursuance of this resolution, and as soon 
as Mr. Barclay was at leisure from more pressing business, I 
rendered to him all my accounts, which he examined and stated 
methodically. By his statement he found a balance due me on the 
4 of May 1785, of 7533 livres nineteen sols 3 den., which by 

18 North American Review, April, 1830. (Fnnted in Sparks Benjamin 
Franklin, Vol. Ill, p. 30.) 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 21 

mistake I had overcharged about three pence halfpenny 
sterling." 19 

If we cannot exactly agree with the high opinion of Matthew 
Arnold, who considers Franklin "a man who was the very in 
carnation of sanity and clear sense, a man the most remarkable, 
it seems to me, whom America has produced", still we can accord 
to him the distinction of the possession of the greatest admin 
istrative genius of the time, when such a man of judicial powers 
was so sorely needed. He never swerved in the great cause of 
independence, even at the cost of war, which was in every respect 
opposed to his peace-loving nature. 

(a) His Diplomatic Correspondence. 

His diplomatic correspondence may not be as entertaining 
as that of Adams from Holland, or the Spanish letters of Jay, 
which he enlivened with pithy bits of European gossip, yet those 
of Dr. Franklin are unique in clearness of style, brevity, and all 
the essentials for the accomplishment of their varied purposes. 
In short, they are just as typical and characteristic of the many- 
sided and versatile personality, as is the Autobiography or his 
more personal letters. They teem with a wholesome wit, a healthy 
wisdom, coupled with the knack of saying just the tactful thing 
at the critical moment. He knew to the most exact fraction the 
capacity of the heavy sack of diplomatic nuts and filled it so that 
it could stand upright, after he had carefully balanced it, and 
better still he could crack the nuts within and share them with 
his countrymen most generously. He always hit the nail upon 
the head, and if the hammer slipped and hit his fingers, he hunted 
some timely maxim and kept his own counsel. 

The Continental Assembly could not have shown sounder 
judgment than the selection of such a citizen as Franklin for such 
an important foreign post. For forty years he had been busied 
in Pennsylvania politics. No man was better acquainted with 
the conditions of not only this state, but of practically all the 
habitable sections of the other states. In the position of Post- 



" Sparks, III ; p. 508. 



22 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

master General, he had visited these districts, traversing a dis 
tance of six thousand miles, and his trained eye had readily 
grasped all the essential details. In the French struggle against 
the forces of England, he had arranged for the transportation of 
troops by securing the services of the much needed wagons of the 
Pennsylvania farmers. Was his brain ever free from some new 
innovation for the betterment of the Colonies? The results of 
his well devised schemes are widely known, to the present day 
throughout the world. Not only had the State of Pennsylvania 
felt the benefits of his services, but for a number of years he had 
been the spokesman of Continental affairs in the mother country, 
as representative of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts 
and Georgia. Experience had prepared and reared him in all the 
intricate arts of efficiency for his position as the American com 
missioner at the court of France. One of the characteristics, 
which assured his unfailing success, was, as De Witt expresses it, 
"he could see in the future and live in the present". 20 

(b) Franklins Visits to Paris. 
I. First Visit, 1767. 

Franklin had visited Paris in 1767 and again in 1769, as 
an honored guest, and he was welcomed back in 1776, with a 
cordiality which proved his growing and permanent popularity. 
Europe was the target for the guns of American diplomatists. 
From the coffers of these Powers must come the gold for carrying 
on the struggle at home. Here the means must be found for 
supplying the American troops. On this foreign soil were the 
opportunities for the display of the powers of capable diplomat 
ists. We find American privateers in the ports of Holland, 
France and Spain, being cargoed for services at home; here the 
naval tactics were planned, before their coming in touch with 
Continental conditions. When we carefully examine the political 
letters of Franklin, we cannot fail to be impressed by the great 
responsibility which rested upon his shoulders. The loans to the 
Colonies were intrusted entirely to his hands, in fact they were 

20 De Witt, Jefferson; p. 59. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 23 

paid to him alone. It was to him that Congress had to turn for 
the payment of the national debts, contracted abroad. He was 
recognized as the sole agent in Paris, and even although bills were 
at times directed to Adams, Jay, or Laurens, still to Franklin the 
ultimate appeal had to be made. His labors seem too intricate 
for one man to manage alone, but his accounts have proved him 
to be the master of his duties and tasks. His only secretary, at 
this time, was his grandson, who might relieve him in copying 
from drafts, many of which are preserved today, but could not, 
of course, draft a single official document. If he had been sur 
rounded fry congenial colleagues, his heavy burdens might have 
been greatly lightened, but he was handicapped by assistants, who 
were jealous, selfish and suspicious and only too ready to be a 
hindrance to his plans. France had warranted confidence in the 
honesty and integrity of Franklin and no matter who his col 
leagues may have been, he was the one personality whose influence 
and persuasion resulted in the friendly alliance with her. This 
high estimate of Franklin we can judge from two letters, written 
from the Count de Vergennes, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the 
French Minister at Philadelphia : "As to Dr. Franklin, his 
conduct leaves Congress nothing to desire. It is as zealous and 
patriotic as it is wise and circumspect." Again on February 15, 
1781, "If you are questioned respecting the opinion of Dr. Frank 
lin, you may without hesitation say, that we esteem him as much 
on account of his patriotism as the wisdom of his conduct; and 
it has been owing in a great part to this cause, and the confidence 
we put in the veracity of Dr. Franklin, that we have determined 
to relieve the pecuniary embarrassment in which he has been 
placed by Congress." 

Of the two visits of Franklin to Paris, 1767 and 1769, there 
seems to be a certain reticence in his letters of this time. We 
do know that the companion of these journeys was the "steady 
and good friend Sir John Pringle", who also had been his fellow- 
traveller on the visit to the Netherlands and Germany in the 
summer of 1766. The only letter written, while he was in France 
1767, is that in which he describes his experiences to his clever 
friend, Miss Stevenson. His electrical experiments had already 



24 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

been the herald of his entree into France, where they had been 
carefully investigated by the abbes Nollet and D Alibard. Yet 
it is not exactly true to ascribe the cordial welcome which the 
scientist received as entirely due to his electrical innovations. 
The far-sighted Durand, no doubt, clearly saw the diplomacy of 
favoring the agent of the Colonies in England. Franklin felt 
this underlying motive and was successful in visiting Paris, with 
out the British government being cognizant of his absence. 
Durand s visits to him, at this time, opened up the way for his 
acceptance into the social whirl of the metropolis. Franklin 
wisely saw the reason for his popularity, as he expresses it: "I 
fancy that intriguing nation would like very well on occasion to 
blow up the coals between Britain and her colonies; but I hope 
we shall give them no opportunity." It is to the political writings 
of Franklin, that he owed more than anything else, the approval 
of a nation, which at this time was so permeated by the influence 
of such economists as Quesnay and the Marquis de Mirabeau, the 
masters with their disciples, M. Dupont de Nemours, the life 
long friend of Franklin, and the Abbe Baudeau. The French 
editor of Franklin s works, James Barbeu Dubourg, was also 
an active force among these men. We have the positive proof 
of this visit to France in a letter to his son, in which he carefully 
admonishes him to maintain the utmost secrecy on the matter. 
From London dated October 9, 1/67, he writes to Mrs. Deborah 
Franklin, "My dear Child, I returned yesterday Evening from 
Paris safe and well, having had an exceeding pleasant Journey, 
and quite recovered my health." He returned to London on 
October ist, and Dupont informed him shortly after of the publi 
cation of some of his writings on the conditions in the Colonies, 
which he had taken the liberty of presenting thus to the public in 
translation. (M. Dubourg had been the recipient of these Frank 
lin papers and had passed them on their way to Dupont. 

2. Franklin s Second Visit, 1769. 

In July, 1769, Franklin visited Paris again. The only 
mention of this journey is a letter addressed to Samuel Cooper, 
of Boston: 1 T have just returned from France, where I find our 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 25 

dispute much attended to, several of our pamphlets being trans 
lated and printed there, among others my Examination and the 
Farmers Letters, with two of my pieces annexed, of which last 
I send you a copy. In short all Europe, except Britain, appears to 
be on our side." From subsequent correspondence we know, that 
Franklin arranged for an official French translation of his works 
with Dubourg. Franklin was again in London by September ist. 

3. Franklin s Third Visit to Paris. 

Franklin left Philadelphia on October 26, 1776. He arrived 
on the French shore on November 29th. The Reprisal, under 
Captain Wilkes, after carrying off two prizes, landed Franklin 
with his two grandsons at Auray on December 3rd. They pro 
ceeded by post to Nantes, where they arrived on the 7th, then 
reaching Paris on the 2ist. Perhaps some of the delay was 
due to Franklin s condition. "Being poorly nourished", as he 
says on the Reprisal: "I was very weak on my arrival." 

He took up his abode at the Hotel d Hambourg, in the Rue 
de 1 Universite and remained there several weeks, removing then 
to the luxurious hotel of Monsieur Ray de Chaumont in the 
suburb of Passy. The proprietor refused any rent for Franklin s 
apartments, until the independence of the American Colonies was 
established, and being a true politician in every sense of the word, 
Franklin readily accepted this most generous offer and we find 
him maintaining his establishment, according to Mr. Adams, in 
a most extravagant manner. To be sure, he kept servants in 
sufficient number to entertain any guests who felt inclined to 
enjoy his kind hospitality, and with full rights of an American 
ambassador rode to the city in a carriage drawn by his own horses ; 
but the wide display of unnecessary extravagant luxury can not 
be proved. 

When his arrival was known throughout Europe, his numer 
ous friends began to welcome him back to the Old World, and one 
of the first was the German naturalist and physician at the court 
of Vienna, Jan Ingen FIousz, who assured Franklin that he hoped 
he had come to re-establish the amicable feeling between the 
mother country and her colonies. 



26 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

(c) Joseph II s Visit to Paris. 

While at the French court, at this time, there was war be 
tween the schools of music, led by Gliick and Piccini, the brother 
of Marie Antoinette, Emperor Joseph II visited Paris. He ex 
pressed his keen desire to see Franklin and though the Abbe 
Niccoli, the representative of the Duke of Tuscany, did his utmost 
to bring about a meeting of these men, fate intervened. The abbe 
sent an invitation to Franklin to take a cup of chocolate on Wed 
nesday, May 28th. Franklin was of the opinion that this would 
give to a meeting with the Emperor the appearance of pure acci 
dent. Turgot was present with Franklin, who writes of the affair 
as follows : "The Emperor did not appear, and the Abbe since 
tells me that the number of other persons who occasionally visited 
him that morning, of which the Emperor was informed prevented 
his coming; that at twelve, understanding they were gone, he 
came but I was gone also." A meeting of Emperor Joseph and 
Franklin is recorded most interestingly in a book entitled Joseph 
II t Emperor of Germany, and Benjamin Franklin. Joseph and 
Benjamin. A Conversation Translated from a French Manu 
script. London, MDCCLXXXVII, an account of which runs 
thus. 

"The interview between the Emperor of Germany and his 
American Excellency was kept a secret ; and that as well as what 
passed at the interview was unknown even to the numerous spies 
about Paris and Versailles, and except for the accident which dis 
covered all, it might perhaps not have been known for some years, 
that these two remarkable men ever saw each other." The atti 
tude of the author, whoever he may be, is thoroughly English, 
tinged with the strongest prejudice against France, "which always 
has had and always will have designs upon the liberty or im 
portance of other nations". "During the residence of the great 
American negotiator, Benjamin Franklin, at Paris, he received 
a letter written by the Imperial Joseph, who was then also in that 
capitol, under an assumed name. The letter was expressive of 
that high esteem, which great abilities gain even from the rulers 
of nations, and intimated the intention of the royal stranger, who 
had long wished to have personal acquaintance with his American 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 27 

Excellency ; and who intended to wait upon him the next day, not 
as Emperor, but as a private person, desirous of acquiring knowl 
edge by the conversation of a man, who had distinguished himself 
as a philosopher and politician, by sharing in the dangers of a con 
test, which had added the liberty to his country." . . 

. . . "The old philosopher, who had long been accus 
tomed to the company of the great, and who had in every sense 
of the word, except he was not rich, become one of that order 
himself, embraced with more than ordinary pleasure the oppor 
tunity of conversing with such a man whose abilities and unre 
mitting attention to the promotion of human happiness had long 
attracted his esteem. The urbanity which the political hero of 
the Western world, had acquired during a long life, added to that 
great sense of propriety, for which he is eminently distinguished, 
determined him to return an answer in person. He waited upon 
the illustrious stranger at his hotel immediately. It was agreed 
that they should enjoy each other s company for one day at a 
small retired spot a few miles distant from Paris, where the old 
philosopher used to rest himself from the fatigues that accom 
pany a political life." . . . "On the following Saturday they 
were to have their interview. Scarcely had the venerable old man 
arrived from Paris, when his Imperial Visitor alighted from a 
post-chaise at the gate. The Imperial Joseph, forgetting the ideal 
distinctions of rank, threw his arms around the old man and 
embraced him with a cordiality and sincerity that is seldom 
manifested or felt by princes. 

"The two walked out into a small garden, which, though not 
elegant, was sequestered and agreeable; and nature blessed this 
extraordinary confidence with her most delightful day. Here 
did these illustrious characters meet to discuss their opinions and 
exchange their sentiments. They proceeded to philosophize upon 
human conditions." One idea discussed runs as follows : 

"The King led the conversation by this remark If I were 
not Emperor of Germany, I should rejoyce in being an Emperor 
of America. He then continued with a subject of French aggres 
siveness and the need of state funds which led Franklin to reply : 
Your subjects, the Germans, tenacious as they are of customs, 



28 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

are more easy to reform than Americans. Your people have 
learned the habit of obedience, which will overcome prejudice; 
but to a lawless and ungovernable disposition the Americans add 
prejudices peculiar to themselves; and if there was a man who 
could benefit his country by good code of laws, the Americans 
would not adopt them ! This conversation was to be repeated 
on the third day, but no evidence of it is given. 

The author satisfies our curiosity as to the means which dis 
close this conversation with this explanation : "All that at present 
can be said on this subject is that Accident, but not dishonorable, 
not unfair means, has brought this important conversation before 
the eyes of the public." 

Franklin in reality, highly esteemed the Emperor Joseph, if 
we can judge from a letter dated Passy, April 29, 1785, to Jan 
Ingen Housz : "Your account of the Emperor s condescending 
conversation with you concerning me, is pleasing. I respect very 
much the character of that, Monarch, and think this if I were one 
of his Subjects, he would find me a good one." 21 

(d) Diplomatic Relations With Austria and Prussia. 
i. Austria. 

Stating briefly the mutual feelings of Austria and the Ameri 
can colonies we can say, that "Prince Kaunitz saw in the close 
and intimate friendship between Franklin and Ingen Housz (the 
Court Physician of Vienna) a means to perpetrate a treaty at 
some future time between their two representative powers. And 
there can be no doubt that such a result was due to this inti 
macy." 22 

The attitude of the Colonies can be judged from the follow 
ing letter taken from an unsigned draft copy : 

"The United States of America to all to whom these present 
shall come send Greeting. Whereas his most Christian Majesty our 
great and beloved friend and ally hath informed us by his minis- 

11 American Philosophical Society (Franklin Papers). 

22 Die Bczichungen Ostcrrcichs su den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, 
H. Schlitter; pp. 65-66. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 29 

ter plenipotentiary whom he hath appointed to reside near us that 
their Imperial Majesties the Empress of Russia and the Emperor 
of Germany actuated by sentiments of humanity and a desire to 
put a stop to the calamities of War have offered their mediation 
to the belligerent powers in order to promote peace. Now know 
ye we desirous as far as depends upon us to put a stop to the 
effusions of blood and convince all the powers of Europe that we 
wish for nothing more ardently than to terminate the war by a 
safe and honourable peace relying on the justice of our cause and 
persuaded of the wisdom and equity of their imperial Majesties 
who ever have so generously interposed their good offices for pro 
moting so salutary a measure have constituted and appointed 
and by these present do constitute and appoint . . . the Honble. 
John Adams late delegate in Congress from the state of Massa 
chusetts, the Honble Benjamin Franklin our minister at the Court 
of France, the Honble John Jay late president of Congress and 
now our minister at the Court of Madrid, the Honble. Henry 
Laurens formerly president of Congress and commissioner & 
sent as our agent to the United provinces of the Netherlands and 
the Honble. Thomas Jefferson governor of the commonwealth 
of Virginia our Minister plenipotentiary giving and granting to 
them or such of them as shall assemble or in case of death, ab 
sence, indisposition or other impediment of the others to any one 
of them full power and authority in our name and on our behalf, 
in concurrence with his most Christian Majesty to accept in due 
form the mediation of their Imperial Majesties, the Empress of 
Russia and the Emperor of Germany. In testimony whereof we 
have caused these present to be signed by our president and 
sealed with his seal. Done at Philadelphia, this fifteenth day of 
June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven and eighty one 
and in the fifth year of our Independence. By the United States 
in Congress assembled." 23 

Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Thomas Mifflin dated Passy, 
December 25, 1783, gives his intentions to take official action. 
The letter reads thus : 



Papers of Continental Congress, Vol. I, p. 345- 



30 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

"I shall immediately proceed, in pursuance of the first In 
structions, to take the proper steps for acquainting his Imperial 
Majesty of Germany with the Disposition of Congress, having 
some reason to believe the Overture may be acceptable. His Min- 

L ix ^" 

ister here is of late extremely civil to me, and we are on very 
good terms. I leave likewise an Intimate Friend at that Court." 24 
Commissioners for the United States of America to promote 
peace between the Empress of Russia and the Emperor of Ger 
many were appointed by Congress officially thus : 

"The United States of America to all to whom these present 
shall come send Greeting. Whereas his most Christian Majesty 
our great and beloved friend and ally, hath informed us by his 
minister plenipotentiary whom he hath appointed to reside near 
us that their imperial Majesties, the Empress of Russia and the 
Emperor of Germany actuated by sentiments of humanity and a 
desire to put a stop to the calamities of War have offered their 
mediation to the belligerent powers in order to promote peace. 
Commissioners Appointed. 
John Adams, 
Hon. Benjamin Franklin, 
John Jay, 
Henry Laurens, 
Thomas Jefferson. 

Giving and granting to them or any one of them full power 
to accept the mediation of the aforesaid powers. 

June 15, 1781. " 25 

Orders to negotiate a treaty read thus : 
"By the United States in Congress Assembled. 

"October 29th, 1783. 

"To the ministers plenipotentiary of the United States of 
America at the Court of Versailles empowered to negotiate a 
peace to any one or more of them. 

"First. You are instructed and authorized to announce to 

Library of Congress. Smyth, Vol. IX, p. 67. 
25 Library of Congress. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 31 

his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Germany or his Ministers 
the high sense which the United States in Congress Assembled 
entertain of his exalted character and eminent virtues and their 
earnest desire to cultivate his friendship and to enter into a 
Treaty of Amity and Commerce for the mutual advantage of the 
Subjects of his Imperial Majesty and the Citizens of the United 
States." 20 

2. Prussia. 

It was William Carmichael who made a visit to Berlin in 
order to arouse the interest of the Prussian Minister Schulenburg 
in the cause of the American Colonies. His journey was not at 
this time an official one, but the following letter of recommenda 
tion from Montessuy shows the encouragement which that gov 
ernment promised Carmichael. 

The following letters have been copied by the author from 
official photographs of the originals in the Prussian State Archives 
in Berlin, through the kindness of Professor Learned : 

Montessuy, the Prussian Minister at Paris, wrote to Schulen- 
burg, the minister at the Prussian capitol at Berlin, on the roth 
of October, 1776: "J e prends La Liberte de vous adresser Mr. 
William Carmichael du Maryland, qui se trouvant icy avec Le 
Depute des Colonies Anglaises s est decide lui Les demands qui 
je Lui ai gaittu et a ma sollicitation a se rendu de Votre Excel 
lence Je desire beaucoup qu il puisse, etablir quelques Branches 
d Commerce de La Prusse." Already, as early as the 2Qth of 
July that same year, this agent had addressed a letter to his 
Majesty: "Les agens des Colonies Anglaises, qui sont depuis pen 
ici, m ont fait demander une quantite assez considerable de Muni 
tion de guerre telles, que fusils Poudre et Canons, sans cesse 
occupe de procurer a Vos fitats, Sire un debouche advantageux 
du Product de ses Manufactures je serais flatte, d en pouvoir tirer 
ces objets si cela ne contrarie point les vues de V. M. J attendrai 
done les ordres, qu elle est suppliee de me faire passer a ces sujets 
Ne serait-il pas possible, par suite de cette operation, de faire 



26 Wharton Diplomatic Correspondence, Vol. V, p. 545. (Original letter 
signed by Chas. Thomson.) 



32 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

un traite de commerce entre les sujets de V. M. et les Colonies 
Anglaises de 1 Amerique, dont la balance ne pourrait etre qu en 
faveur de Vos Etats, qu en tireraient, un double avantage par 
un debouche considerable des Matieres premieres et un augmenta 
tion de Marine." Thus we see that this minister personally 
favored the propositions which were offered by Mr. Car- 
michael, but the Baron Schulenburg was personally a little scep 
tical of this enthusiastic presentation of the matter and we find 
this admonition in a letter addressed to Montessuy, on the i6th 
of October: "En attendant les reponses detailles des Agens des 
dites Colonies je vous conseille serieusement, Monsieur, d aller 
bride en main, et de prendre toutes les precautions possibles, pour 
ne vous compromettre en aucune fagon, ou qu il est absolument 
necessaire de sender le terrain avant que de s engager a la moin- 
dre chose." The arrival of the American envoy in Berlin caused 
much inquiry on the matter of his reception on the part of the 
representative of the Prussian court. The king received the fol 
lowing from his minister: "Si a 1 arriver du Sr. Carmichael je 
dois entrer avec lui et en quelle qualite je dois le recevoir?" Fur 
ther he says in a letter to the King October 21, 1776: "Comme 
le dit Carmichael peut arriver tons les jours, et que sa qualite 
d Agent muni d une Patente du Depute general des Colonies An 
glaises en Amerique, pourrait mettre de 1 embarras a cette nego- 
ciation et meme ne peut convenir aux intentions de Votre Majeste, 
il serait sans doute plus convenable de ne recevoir le dit Car 
michael qu en qualite de simple negociant." On the margin of 
this letter is the response of Frederic: "Bene mais cela ne durera 
pas parceque les Anglais out battu Les Colonies." Again the 
King treats this matter of commerce between Prussia and the 
American Colonies, in a letter of the 2nd of December, in which 
he emphasizes the impossibility of a treaty : "quelques favor - 
ables, que paroissent les propositions & les idees de commerce du 
Sr. Carmichael, on faut cependant rien precipiter avec lui. Les 
realiser par un traite formel de commerce c est chose impossible ; 
& u n commerce direct a etablir avec sa patrie Me paroit sujet 
egalement a mille difficultes." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 33 

William Carmichael addressed the Minister Schulenburg in 
the following letter: 

"Havre, iQth January, 1777. 

". . . Your excellency will no doubt be surprised at not 
sooner hearing from me after my return to France, the truth is, 
that I wished to be able to give you some satisfaction on the sub 
ject I had the honor of conversing with you on at Berlin and at 
the same time to give you the real state of our Situation in Amer 
ica. The Arrival of Mr. Franklin at Paris, almost at the instant 
of my return to that City with the multiplicity of affairs in which, 
we were consequently involved prevented me from receiving such 
a State of our prices and our Shipping for Exportation, and 
would put it in my power to tell you whether or not we could 
comply with the terms proposed by Mr. Magusch. 

"Other arrivals with the opinion of the most Intelligent of 
our Merchts. together with our inability of gaining admission on 
easy terms with Ports fixed on, unless we would precisely assure 
a full supply of that Nation, now oblige me to my great regret 
to tell your Excellency, that I see no other method of your Ad 
ministration supplying itself, than by adopting the mode I had 
the honor to recommend to Monsieur Magusch, which is to send 
Ships with Cargoes of your Manufactures to purchase & import 
it themselves. Our Sailors, in the first place are engaged in 
Privateering or in the Service of the Public, to which they are 
excited by the prodigious Captures made on the English. The 
Public by these had paid in the middle of last October, the whole 
Expense of Equipping & Insuring our marine, and Individual? 
had amassed large fortunes. In the next place, your Excellency 
will please to observe that the whole of our Tobacco & great 
part of our rice trade was carried on by British Ships and British 
Sailors. The Southern Colonies attended very little to other 
Commerce, than that in the West Indies. When they saw our 
Intercourse with Britain, heard we had to look out for 6 or eight 
hundred ships to Export our Produce & to search employment 
for the same number. This their transportation service has done 
effectually for their subjects, while it impoverishes the State. 
In this respect England shows superior wisdom, for it is lavish 



34 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

of blood and treasure to retain while with open arms we court 
the rest of Europe, but your nation particularly to accept the 
riches derived from our commerce. The articles most necessary 
for America (woolens & Linnens) your countries manufacture. 
The demand being very great with us. The price for these is 
enormous & having little opportunity of exportation our produce 
sells for little or nothing. By our last advices Tobacco was at 
7 & 9 shillings sterling per ct. & our other produce proportionally 
low. Without appearing to cut at all in the matter. Adminis 
tration must employ some of your richest merchts. at first to sup 
ply it. The advantages they will gain will excite others. And as 
a direct Commerce will commence from Emden the reputation of 
that Port once established & the channel of trade fixed there of 
course it will be the mart of Germany for our whole exports. 
Would we meet with encouragement from his Majesty, your Ex 
cellency will readily see, that the trade of Hambourgh may be 
so molested, as to make its Merchants go to Emden, for similar 
reasons to those which the Merchants of Bruges, Antwerp & 
Ostend to repair to Amsterdam & Rotterdam. As to the State 
of our Public affairs, the campaign is like to end more favorable 
for us, than we imagined at the moment we declared our inde 
pendence. And I can assure Your Excellency that Great Britain 
has done us more harm by her Gazette & Embassadors, than by 
her fleets and Armies : for while British Administration can per 
suade Europe, that our Subjugation is certain that persuasion 
disables us from making such effective resistance as we other 
wise should do, however the activity of our Merchants & the 
adventurous boldness of our Privateers enable us to continue our 
operations thro the winter, and we shall open the campaign now 
with fairer prospects than we have ever hitherto had. For not 
really meaning from the first what our Enemies have charged us 
with & since obliged us to declare Independence our operations 
even for defence were delayed by the Timidity of some & the 
prejudices of others. These are all removed since we have fully 
discovered the rooted obstinacy of the British administration & 
the passive lameness of the Nation. Each of whom we now 
regard with that kind of Animosity as will eternally keep alive 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 35 

the flame of war untill we are separated forever. I beg leave to 
assure Your Excellency that this very general sketch of our pres 
ent situation & disposition is founded on a detail of facts and 
correspondence, which more than justify all I have said. I beg 
leave to repeat what I had to say to your Excellency at Berlin 
that as it is my duty to promote a commercial Intercourse be 
tween the Nations of Europe & the United States, so it will be 
my particular pleasure & glory to have done it with his Majesty s 
dominion; and in this respect if I can be of any service, I shall 
receive your Excellency s command with all respect & pleasure. 
I have the honor to be 

Your Excellency s most obedient humble sert. 

. CARMICHAEL. 



"Should I have the honor to hear from Your Excellency it 
will be made under cover to . . ." 

The German translation of this was sent by Magusch and 
forwarded to the king by Schulenburg. 27 

In response to a letter from the Prussian minister regard 
ing an ambassador from the American Colonies we read : 

"Paris, iQth of April, 1777. 
"Sir: 

"We received the Letter which you did us the honor to write 
us the 1 5th ult. and should earlier have replied particularly 
thereto, but from the Daily expectation we had of receiving 
Orders from Congress of the United States on this important 
Subject. We have now their commands to inform his Prussian 
Majesty s Ambassador here, that they propose to send a minister 
to your respected Court with all Commercial Expedition, prop 
erly empowered to treat upon Affairs of Importance; and that 
we are in the meantime instructed and authorized by Congress 
to solicit the Friendship of your Court, to request that it would 
afford no Aid to their Enemies, but use its good Offices to pre 
vent the landing of Troops by other Powers to be transported to 
America for their destruction, and to offer the free commerce 



27 Photographs of original letter. 



36 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

of the United States to the Subjects of Prussia. . . . We have 
taken the earliest Opportunity of obeying those commands. But 
considering the great importance of establishing a free Com 
merce, between the two Countries as soon as possible, and con 
fident that every Objection may be obviated and the wished for 
intercourse opened and established on the most certain & bene 
ficial Grounds to promote the Interest of both Countries. We 
propose that one of us should wait on your Excellency, as soon 
as conveniently may be done to explain reasonably the situation 
of America, the Nature, Extent & Importance of its Commerce, 
and the method by which it may be carried on with Prussia to 
mutual advantage. 

"In the proposed interview we are confident, the Difficulties 
mentioned by your Excellency may be surmounted and a very 
considerable Part of American Commerce be turned to Prussia 
by measures neither Dangerous nor Expensive. With great Re 
spect we have the honor to be 
"Your Excellency s 
Most obedient 
& most humble Servants, 
"B. FRANKLIN, 
"SILAS DEANE, 
"ARTHUR LEE. 

"Ministers Plenipotentiary from the Congress 
of the United States of America." 28 

In Professor Marion Dexter Learned s Guide to the Manu 
script Materials Relating to American History in the German 
State Archives, Washington, 1912, six important references to 
Franklin are found. 

I. Prussian Archives, Berlin (p. 30). 

1. Plein Pouvoir, given to Adams, Franklin and Jefferson, 
to effect the treaty, signed by Thomas Mifflin and Chas. Thom 
son, Sec., May 12, 1784 (p. 31). 

2. Thulemeier to the king, relating to declaring the port of 
Emden or Stettin free, with a copy of the communication of 

21 Library of Congress. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 37 

Adams, Franklin and Jefferson, requesting free ports, dated 
Passy, January, 1785 (2 pp.). Addressed to Thulemeier at the 
Hague. The Hague, February n, 1785 (p. 32). 

3. Thulemeier to the king on Franklin s signing of the treaty 
and on ratification by Congress, enclosing a copy of the English 
translation of the Plein Pouvoir, etc. 

4. Bavarian Archives, Munich, 5027. Reference made to 
Franklin s return from Paris to America, August i, 1783. 

5. Prussian Archives, Breslau, Rep. 199, C.-O. (Journal 
iiber engangene Cabinets Ordres), No. 4, 1778-1783. Fol. 366 
refers to Franklin in Paris and the commercial relations between 
Prussia and America. 

6. Kbniglich-Sachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, in Dresden, 
2750 Com. XXXVa, Bl. 47, gives Mirabeau s eulogy on Frank 
lin s death. 

"Koniglich-Sachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, No. 349, H. St. zu 

"Dresden, den 26. Marz, 1913. 

"Auf Ihr Schreiben vom 15. dieses Monats teilt Ihnen die 
unterzeichnete Direktion mit, dass an der von Ihnen bezeichneten 
Aktenstelle sich kein Bericht iiber den Tod Benjamin Franklins 
vorfindet. Auf Bl. 450 der von Ihnen angefiihrten Akten ist 
aber als Beilage zu einem Berichte des Gesandten Riviere die 
Rede wiedergegeben, durch die Mirabeau der franzosischen Na- 
tionalversammlung den Tod Franklins mitteilte. Abschrift da- 
von befindet sich umstehend. 

"Direktion des Koniglich-Sachsischen Hauptstaatsarchivs. 

"POSSE. 

"Fraulein Beatrice M. Victory, 
"cand. phil., Philadelphia." 

"ABSCHRIFT! 

"Discours de Monsieur le Comte de Mirabeau. 

"Francklin est mort ... II est restourne au sein de la 
Divinite, le Genie qui affranchit 1 Amerique et versa sur 1 Europe 
des torrens de Lumieres. 

"Le sage que deux mondes reclamant, Thomme que se dis- 



38 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

pntent 1 histoire des Sciences et 1 histoires des Empires, tenait 
sans doute un rang bien eleve dans 1 espece humaine. 

"Assez longtems les Cabinets politiques ont notifie la mort 
de ceux qui ne furent grands que dans leur eloge funebre assez 
longtems 1 etiquette des Cours a proclame des deuils hyprocrites : 
les Nations ne doivent porter que le Deuil de leur bienfaiteurs; 
les Representans des Nations ne doivent recommander a leurs 
hommages que les heros de Thumanite. 

"Le Congres a ordonne, dans les quartorze Etats de la Con 
federation un Deuil de deuz mois pour la mort de Francklin, et 
TAmerique acquitte en ce moment ce tribut de veneration et de 
reconnoissance pour 1 un des Peres de sa Constitution. 

"Ne seroit-il pas digne de vous, Messieurs, de nous unir a 
TAmerique dans cet acte religieux de participer a cet hommage 
rendu a la Face de 1 Univers, et aux Droits de rhomme, et au 
Philosophic qui a le plus contribue a en propager la conquete? 
1 Antiquite eut eleve des Autels au puissant Genie, qui, au profit 
des Mortels, embrassant dans sa pensee le Ciel et la terre, sut 
dompter la Foudre et les Tirans. 1 Europe eclairee et libre doit du 
moins un temoignage de souvenir et de regret a Tun des plus- 
grands hommes qui aient jamais servi la Philosophic et la 
Liberte. 

"Je propose qu il soit descrete que I Assemblee Nationale 
partera pendant trois jours le deuil de Benjamin Franklin." 

In the extracts from the commissioners letters to the Com 
mittee of Congress we read, Paris, April 28, 1777: "As the min 
ister from Prussia may not soon arrive and that court has shown 
a disposition to treat, by entering into a correspondence with us 
we have thought it might be well that one of us should visit it 
immediately, to improve its present good disposition, and obtain 
if possible, the privilege of their ports to trade and fit ships in, 
and to steal our prizes. Mr. Lee has readily undertaken this 
journey." 29 (Price) 

The following is the commissioners letter to the Prussian 
minister in regard to this appointment, dated Paris, April 19, 

29 Library of Congress. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 39 

1778, and signed by the three agents, B. Franklin, Silas Deane 
and Arthur Lee : 

"Sir: . . . We have their commands (the orders of 
Congress of the United States) to inform his Prussian Majesty s 
Ambassador here that they propose to send a minister to your 
respective court with all convenient expedition, properly empow 
ered to treat upon affairs of importance, and that we are in the 
meantime instructed and authorized by Congress to solicit the 
friendship of your court, to request that it would offer no aid to 
their enemies, but use its good offices to prevent the landing of 
troops by other powers to be transported to America for their 
destruction, and to offer the free commerce of the United States 
to the subject of Prussia. 

"We have taken the earliest opportunity of obeying these 
commands. But considering the great importance of establish 
ing a free commerce between the two countries as soon as 
possible, and confident that every objection may be obviated, and 
the wished-for intercourse opened and established on the most 
certain and beneficial grounds to promote the interests of both 
countries, we propose that one of us shall wait on your excellency 
as soon as conveniently may be done, to explain personally the 
situation of America, the nature, extent and importance of its 
commerce and the methods by which it may be carried on with 
Prussia to mutual advantage. In the proposed interview we are 
confident the difficulties mentioned by your excellency may be 
surmounted, and a very considerable of American commerce be 
turned to Prussia by measures neither dangerous or expensive." 

Arthur Lee, the successor of Carmichael, was selected as the 
suitable envoy to be sent to Berlin. "Sanguine in temperment, 
creduluous, hasty in action", he demonstrated his nervous spon 
taneity in persistent diplomatic aggressiveness. He informed 
Schulenburg of his intended trip as follows: "Sir: In conse 
quence of the letter, with in conjunction with my brother com 
missioners, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Deane, I have the honor of 
writing your excellency, I intend to depart from hence to Berlin 
before this time. But an accident having happened, which in 
evitably prevents me from setting out, I am under great anxiety 



4O Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

lest your excellency should impute my delay to a wont of that 
perfect respect which I ought to feel for your excellency s court 
and character." He continues by giving assurance that his delay 
will not be prolonged one moment longer than positively neces 
sary. Schulenburg replied to this on the 2Oth, acknowledging 
the receipt of his letter and also that on the part of the three 
American agents, Franklin, Deane and himself: "I still appre 
hend difficulties which may interfere in the present circumstances 
with the establishment of a direct commerce between his Majesty s 
subjects and the Colonies of North America, and that I consider 
our Correspondence on this subject rather as preliminary to what 
may come to pass than as negotiations from which any immediate 
advantage may be expected." 30 He consoles him in regard to his 
forced detention, by the fact that at the best, the matter will be 
one of uncertainty and will make the slowest strides of progress. 
Lee does not in any way read between the lines, but acting upon 
the responsibility of his mission, he proceeded to Berlin and 
informed the Prussian minister of his arrival on June 6th and 
asked for an interview. 

The arrogance of Arthur Lee s spirit must have revolted at 
the attitude of the foreign court of Prussia with its conservatism. 
On May 8, 1777, he wrote Baron Schulenburg in regard to his 
intended visit to Berlin. The reply from the Prussian minister 
gave no encouragement, as we read in the letter from him on 
May 2Oth, speaking of the forced delay of which Lee had writ 
ten, "this leads me to believe, sir, that you have no reason to 
distress yourself on account of this delay . . . when you 
defer for some time an affair the success of which can not most 
probably but be slow." Lee reached Vienna on leaving 
Munich, and informed the commissioners of the condition of 
the court in this city in a letter dated the 27th of May : "There 
is a cold tranquility here that bodes no good. It is not possible 
to quicken this German indifference." He reached Berlin on 



"Library of Congress, Wharton Diplomatic Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 
306; Sparks Diplomatic Correspondence, Vol. Ill, p. 418. 

See papers now first published from original MSS. by Philadelphia 
Seventy-Six Society, 1855. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 41 

June 4th and was received in conference by the minister, since the 
king was absent at this time from the Prussian capitol. In fact 
had he been in the vicinity, he would by no means have received 
this representative of the Colonies. He sent lists of commodities, 
which might be an incentive for infusing an enthusiasm in the 
venture of establishing a commerce, but the condition of the 
Prussian fleet at this period, as Frederic repeatedly asserts in his 
letters, was such as to warrant the utmost caution on the part of 
his country. The theft of Lee s papers in Berlin by an English 
emissary and their immediate return, is a story that has been 
repudiated and argued to the detriment of the American s diplo 
matic caution and defended again, as an accident entirely beyond 
his jurisdiction. The success of his mission he clearly states in a 
letter to the commissioners in Paris, dated the I5th of June, 
Berlin : "The letters you have received from hence will show 
you how the wind blows here; I have tried all in my power to 
make it change hitherto in vain. In ten days I shall set out on 
my return. There can not be a state of more quiescence than 
prevails in this place; what is merely commercial is planned, but 
whether it will be adopted remains to be determined." At last, 
thoroughly disgusted with his treatment by the Prussian court, 
he retired to Paris in July. The attitude of Lee, however, suf 
fered no whit in its aggressiveness, for we find him missing no 
opportunity to offer, by letters, to Schulenburg any inducement 
for the encouragement of trade. November I3th of the same 
year he wrote to this minister as follows : ... a com 

mission has been received appointing William Lee commissioner 
of Congress to the court of Berlin, with power to negotiate a 
treaty of amity and commerce with the King of Prussia. The 
great knowledge of this gentleman in commerce will enable him 
to throw far more light on that subject than I was able to com 
municate." This was received by the court in the most indifferent 
manner. "As to the commission of Mr. William Lee, the king 
having repeatedly declared his sentiments respecting the actual 
difficulties attending a commercial connection with America, not 
withstanding his constant good disposition towards the Colonies, 



42 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

can not possibly conjecture, as circumstances have not changed, 
what proposition Mr. Lee can make more acceptable to his 
majesty, nor consequently what can be the object of his mission." 
William Lee in Berlin had less influence than his brother, and had 
to remain in incognito in this city; that is, he enjoyed none of 
the public honors that attended his diplomatic dignity. Schulen- 
burg assured him of the king s interest in all things that pertained 
to the growth of his trade. The king, who always graciously 
receives the news you send me, and expresses his satisfaction 
when it is in your favor, had seen the passage of your brother s 
letter, and I can assure you, sir, that his majesty will not be the 
last power to acknowledge your independency ; but you must feel 
yourself that it is not natural that he should be the first, and that 
France, whose commercial and political interests are more im 
mediately connected with yours, should set the example." At the 
breaking out of the war between the emperor and Frederic, 
William Lee withdrew from Vienna and retired to Frankfort to 
await the final action of the various Powers. It was evident to 
the mind of Lee that it was inopportune for either the court of 
Berlin or Vienna to take an open part with the cause of the 
Colonies, for fear that Hanover would join the forces of the 
adversary. 

We can sum up these endeavors of the commissioners to 
these courts in a word, which embraces failure and yet a certain 
degree of success in the final move, which resulted in the estab 
lishment of a trade between the Powers and the independent 
thirteen American States. 

"Wednesday, June 6, 1781. 

"Resolved That the Minister Plenipotentiary be authorised 
and instructed to concern in behalf of these United States, with 
his most Christian Majesty in accepting the mediation proposed 
by the Empress of Russia and the Emperor of Germany. But to 
accede to no Treaty of Peace, which shall not be such as may 
effectually secure the Independence and sovereignity of the thir 
teen States according to the form and effect of the Treaties 
subsisting between the said States and his most Christian 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 43 

Majesty, and in which said Treaties shall not be left in their full 
force and vality." 31 

This is a proof of the reasons made by the ministers pleni 
potentiary on behalf of securing the desired treaty of peace. 
These ministers were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John 
Jay, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson. 

On May 7, 1 784, we find : 

"Resolved That it will be advantageous to the United States 
to conclude such treaties with Russia, the Court of Vienna, 
Prussia, Denmark, Saxony, Hamburg, Great Britain, Spain, 
Portugal, Genoa, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Venice, Sardinia, and 
the Ottoman ports." 32 

Benjamin Franklin authorized, thus made the final move on 
the chessboard of diplomacy with the following letter on May 26, 
1785, addressed to Baron Thulemeier, the Prussian minister: 

"Sir We received the letter you did us the Honor of Writ 
ing the 3rd inst. and are happy to find that all points of the pro 
posed Treaty being through the King s Goodness and Condescen 
sion now agreed, nothing remains but to transcribe it fairly and 
to sign & exchange the Copies according to our Powers, & the 
usual Forms. But the Signatures of at least two of our number 
being necessary, & Mr. Adams who has acted with us in the 
whole transaction being called away by his mission to the Court 
of G. Britain and another of us rendered unable by Age and a 
painful malady to perform a hard Journey, there is a Difficulty 
in Meeting with Your Excellency for the purpose either of any 
intermediate Place, or at that of your Residence which in respect 
to the King we might otherwise willing do. We therefore 
propose for your consideration, whether tho not usual the acts 
would be equally valid, if in case it should not suit you to come 
to Paris (where however we should be glad to see you) we were 
to sign separately the Instrument, dating our Signatures with 
Time and Place, & Exchanging by a Special Messenger who 
might deliver to you that which shall be signed by us, to be then 



31 Library of Congress. 

32 Secret Journals, Vol. Ill, p. 222 ff. 



44 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

signed and kept by you and received that signed by your Excel 
lency, we can afterwards sign here, he witnessing both. We 
request your Opinion & Determination and are with great 
respect. . . ." 

John Adams, as American agent at The Hague negotiated 
with Baron Thulemeier a treaty with Prussia. The new form 
sent by Congress had necessitated a revision of the Prussian 
treaty to so large an extent that almost new negotiations were 
found ultimately inevitable. The Prussian minister showed him 
self interested and active. The treaty was drawn up between the 
parties concerned. The negotiation was carried on by corre 
spondence between Paris and The Hague and was finally signed 
by Mr. Adams, Mr. Jefferson and Dr. Franklin in Paris, and by 
Baron Thulemeier at The Hague, a special understanding having 
been arranged that the agents might sign in different cities. The 
Prussian agent says on the 24th of January: "The English lan 
guage being familiar neither to the Prussian Chancery, nor to 
the King nor his ministers, it has become necessary that I should 
make a French translation, and to prove its exactness, I have 
caused it to be placed by the side of the annexed observations." 

Of this treaty with Prussia Franklin writes at St. Germain, 
twelve miles from Paris, July 18, 1785: "I did my last public 
act in this Country just before I set out which was signing a 
Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Prussia." 31 

To John Jay he writes from Philadelphia, September 19, 
1785: "I have the honor to acquaint you that I left Paris the 
1 2th of July, and, agreeable to the permission of Congress, am 
returned to my own country. . . . Our joint letters have 
already informed you of our late proceedings, to which I have 
nothing to add, except that the last act I did, as Minister Pleni 
potentiary for making treaties, was to sign with him two days 
before I came away, the treaty of friendship, and commerce 
that had been agreed on with Prussia and which was to be carried 
to the Hague by Mr. Short, there to be signed by Baron Thule- 



33 Library of Congress. Smyth, Benjamin Franklin, Vol. IX, p. 133. 

34 Letter in possession of Mrs. E. B. Holden. Printed in Smyth, Vol. IX, 
P 363- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 45 

meyer on the part of the King, who without the least hesitation 
had approved and conceded to the new humane articles proposed 
by Congress." 35 

Franklin writes to his old friend, Jan Ingen Housz, June 
27, 1786, from Philadelphia: "You will see in the Treaty we 
have made with Prussia some marks of my Endeavors to lessen 
the Calamities of future wars." 36 

Franklin had received offers from other ministers of Ger 
many, as he says : "The Elector of Saxony, as I understand from 
his Minister, here, has thoughts of sending one to Congress, and 
proposing a treaty of Commerce and Amity with us. Prussia has 
likewise an inclination to share in a Trade with America, and the 
Minister of that Court, tho he has not directly propos d a Treaty, 
his given me a Pacquet of Lists of several sorts of Merchandise 
they can furnish us with, which he requests me to send to Amer 
ica for the Information of our Merchants." 37 

(e) Attitude of Louis XVI Toward England and the American 

Colonies. 

The attitude of Louis XVI toward England in the year 
1776 was quite similar to that of Frederic of Prussia. Unlike 
him, France had been in direct conflict with her enemy in the 
New World. Europe had been the arena for the wild tigers and 
lions to tear each other to pieces for seven direful years. The 
wonderful strategy of the Prussian ruler against the enormous 
force of Russia and Austria combined, we have already seen. In 
the face of the glories of Frederic the Great, France found her 
self humbled and utterly defeated on all sides. Most especially 
she suffered under the lash of Britain in the North American 
Colonies; although France was necessarily but awaiting an op 
portunity to repay the foe in her own coin. Frederic hesitated 
and refused to give support to the revolutionists, although he felt 



3 * Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. II, p. 425. Smyth, 
Vol. IX, p. 463, Journals of Congress. 

36 Library of Congress. Printed in Smyth, Vol. IX, p. 520. 

"Library of Congress. Printed in Smyth, IX, p. 67. Printed in Sparks 
Diplomatic Correspondence, Vol. IV, pp. 84, 107, 109. 



46 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

their indomitable intent to win or die. Would the French mon 
arch venture in where others feared to tread? The French 
people were already at this early date stirred to their souls by 
the grand and glorious theme of social equality. The entire 
nation reached out its hand to the new strugglers for human 
rights. This was France when Franklin reached Bordeaux. She 
was a nation hostile to Great Britain by the long continued tradi 
tion of centuries, an humbled nation, smarting to reaver her lost 
prestige and to console her wounded pride, a nation whose heart 
was just beginning to throb with new ideas, but saw these new 
conceptions trampled on, in danger of being crushed by this 
hereditary and victorious foe. She was also a nation which saw 
in the American trade an object worth striving for. It was 
natural that the United States should turn to France first among 
the nations of Europe. America naturally could not feel as 
assured of the other nations, but to lose no opportunity of any 
possible assistance, she wisely sent her agents to the courts of 
Austria, Spain, Russia, Prussia and the United Netherlands. In 
the Seven Years War Spain had felt keenly the goad of England s 
enmity, but her possessions in America would not tend to induce 
her action in any support of the insurgents. Austria and Prussia 
were more closely affiliated in their relations to France than to 
the assumptions of Britain. Franklin s task, however, was not 
an easy one and although the main field of his action was France 
and, in the narrower term, Paris, still he was the most responsible 
agent of all those sent, and it was through him as the final author 
ity of the official jurisdiction of the home Congress that any 
treaties or alliances were formulated. 

"It would be difficult to describe the eagerness and delight 
with which the American envoys, the agents of a people in a 
state of insurrection against their monarch, were received in 
France, in the bosom of an ancient monarchy. Nothing could 
be more striking than the contrast between the luxury of our 
capitol, the elegance of our fashions, the magnificance of Ver 
sailles, the still brilliant remains of Monarchical pride of Louis 
XIV, and the polish and superb dignity of. our nobility on the 
one hand, and on the other hand, the almost rustic apparel, the 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 47 

plain but firm demeanor, the free and direct language of the 
enjoys, whose antique simplicity of dress and appearance seem to 
have introduced within our walls, in the midst of the effiminate 
and servile refinement of the eighteenth century, some sages 
contemporary with Plato or republicans of the age of Cato and 
Fabius. This unexpected apparition, produced upon us a greater 
effect in consequence of its novelty, and of its occurring precisely 
at a period when literature and philosophy had circulated amongst 
us an usual desire for reforms, a disposition to encourage innova 
tions and the seeds of an ardent attachment to liberty."" 

Franklin had readily won the hearts of all, being gifted to 
read and observe human nature with unfailing accuracy. "His 
calmness and prudence" were certainly grave faults in the eyes 
of such an impatient nature as Arthur Lee and several other 
members of the commission at Paris, but his was the most vital 
and potent force in the field of diplomacy. 



38 Par ton s Franklin, p. 211. 



CHAPTER III. 

FRANKLIN S VISIT TO GERMANY. 
(a) Evidences of His Visit. 

The year of 1766 was a very memorable one for Franklin. 
In February of that year he underwent his famous examination 
in the House of Commons, relative to the repeal of the American 
Stamp Act. There was no event in Franklin s life more credit 
able to his talents and character or which gave him so much 
celebrity as this examination before the House of Commons. In 
that year he was made a member of the Konigliche Gesellschaft 
der Wissenschaften at Gottingen. This fact is authenticated by 
the Gottingische Anzeigen von Gclehrtcn Sachen, 1766, Vol. I, 
Art. no, which reads, dated I3th of September, 1766: 

"Die Versammlung der Koniglichen Societat am 19. Juli war 
feierlich, als gewohnlich. Die beiden Englischen beriihmten 
Gelehrten, der Konigl. Leibmedicus Herr Pringle und Benjamin 
Franklin aus Pensilvanien, die damals auf einer Reise nach 
Deutschland, sich in Gottingen sich [sic] befanden, nehmen als 
Mitglieder ihre Stelle ein." 

In this same magazine, dated 8th and nth of September, 
1766, in articles 147 and 148, we find: 

"Hierauf erzahlte der Herr Sekretar die neuesten Verande- 
rungen die sich in der Konigl. Societat zugetragen haben. Sie 
hat gleich im Anfange dieses Jahres, drei beriihmte Englische 
Gelehrte, den Doct. Robert Lowth, jetzt Bischofen von Oxford, 
den Herrn Doctor Benjamin Rennicourt, Professor der Theologie 
zu Oxford, und Herrn Doct. John Pringle, Leibmedicum Ihrer 
Majestat des Konigs und nebst ihnen den Churfiirstl. Herrn C. 
L. von Hagedorn, zu auswartigen Mitgliedern aufgenommen; 
und ferner im Sommer den Herrn Aug. Ludwig Schlosser zu 
Petersburg, der schon seit einigen Jahren ihr Correspondent 
gewesen, hier bei seiner Auswesenheit und den Herrn Benjamin 
Franklin aus Pennsylvanien bei seiner Durchreise durch Got 
tingen dazu genannt." 

(48) 



K X PERI M E N T S 



O I) S E R V A T i O N S 

O N 

ELECTRICITY, 

M A !> L AT 
P i I I I, A P E L P H 1 A in A M li R I C A , 

H Y : "*^lk 

Ur.*j,\\nv FRANHLIN, L. L. IX ajU F. R. S. 



L j- i T E,R S and FAPJf R S 

O N 4 ;. * 

P H I L O S O #"H I C 4JU S U S ^R C T S , 

1 ) Whole corfcJlctl, uiethodi^cd, Improved, and Jiow firft co! 
kxUd into OIK Votunw;, 

A N J) 
Illuilratt .1 witli CO 1 1 F. R J [. A 1" 1- S. 



IS S iWSIRT, 



PKKSOXAL I^KDICATION OF FRANKLIN TO TIIK I^ 

ACADKMV OF SCIKNCK AT G( )TT1N(;EN, For.XD IX 

LIBRARY OF THF. UNIVERSITY OF GOTTINGEN. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 49 

Again from V c rsuch einer academischen Gclchrtcn- 
Geschichte von Ge or g- Augustus Universitat zu Gottingen, 1765- 
1788. Band II, S. 281, von Johann Stephan Putters; Professoren 
des Staatsrechts zu Gottingen, is this notice of this same matter : 
"Aus anderen Landern sind seit noch folgende neue Mitglieder 
aufgenommen (i) In der Physichen Classe (8) Sir John 
Pringle Med. D. Konigin von England Leibartzt 1766-1782: 
(9) Benjamin Franklin." 

Johann David Michaelis, Schreiben an Herrn Prof. Schlozer 
die Zeitrechnnng vom Siindflut bis auf Salomon betreffend 
writes thus: "Als Franklin vor einigen Jahren, mich diinkt 
1766, in Gottingen war, versicherte mir dieser grosse Kenner 
seines Vaterlandes und genaue Mathematiker, die Englischen 
Colonien in Nord Amerika verdoppelten sich alle 25 Jahre." 39 

Another proof of the high esteem in which Franklin held 
the institution of Gottingen is seen in the dedication in his own 
writing in a copy of his Experiments and Observations On Elec 
tricity Made at Philadelphia, London, 1769 : 
"To the Royal Academy of Sciences 

at Gottingen 
As a small Token 
of his Respect and Duty, 
This Book is humbly presented 
by the Author." 

The University of Gottingen contains two copies of this 
work of Dr. Franklin. 

In the Pyrmonter Brunnenarchiv, which contains a list of 
guests at Pyrmont from 1752, published in Berlin, 1782, we read 
this entry under the year 1766: "Leibmedicus Ritter Pringle aus 
London und Dr. Franklin aus Pennsylvanien kornmt aus 
London." 

The University of Gottingen was founded by George II in 
1734 and here Americans and Hanoverians found themselves 
under the same monarch. We owe to Franklin the awakening of 
interest in America for the German universities, for previous to 



39 Gottingischcs Magazin der Wissenschaften und Lltteratur. Herausge- 
geben von Georg Christoph Lichtenberg und Georg Forster. 5 Stuck, ers 
Jahrgang, S. 165. 



50 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

his personal knowledge of this institution, Americans were wont 
to cross the seas to study in Cambridge or Oxford or the Scotch 
universities. 

Franklin s visit excited the highest interest in Germany. 
But the importance of his visit for America was not this interest 
which he awakened in the German fatherland, but the seed which 
took root in Franklin s breast to establish an American Gottingen, 
which bore fruit in the establishment of the public college of the 
City of Philadelphia since 1779 the present University of Penn 
sylvania. With Franklin \ve have the human link of fellowship, 
which was born then and which has since so strongly tied Ger 
many and the United States in bonds of friendship and good 
feeling. 

Franklin s companion on this journey, as later on his visits 
to France, was Sir John Pringle, who advised Franklin to join 
him on his eight weeks tour, stopping first at Pyrmont for the 
waters. Dr. Franklin upon arriving there decided that air, 
exercise and a change of scene might be beneficial and filed with 
a desire to know more of the country which he was visiting for 
the first and last time, left his good friend and visited the prin 
cipal cities nearest Prymont. We have record only of his visits 
at Gottingen and Hanover. 

"His Philosophical discoveries and writings have given him 
a wider fame on the Continent than even in England or at home, 
for in Germany, he w^as not the subject of party enmity, probably 
little was yet known of his political importance, and the Germans 
content with the fact that he was the delegate of his countrymen 
abroad were satisfied with that evidence, that the great philoso 
pher w^as no less a statesman. The results of his examination 
before the House of Commons which did more than anything 
else to give him celebrity as a political economist had not then 
been published. 40 

The following letter from Lafayette shows the general in 
terest Franklin had aroused in Germany, and also the attitude of 
the Germans of the upper circle toward the revolution: 



Hale, Franklin in France, p. 7. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 51 

"Paris, Feb. icth, 1789. 
"My dear friend 

"With Unspeakable Satisfaction I have heard of your safe 
arrival in America, and Heartily wished I Had been Mingled in 
the Happy crowd of My fellow Citicens when they saw you set 
your foot on the Shore of Liberty. When your friends in Paris 
met together their first word was to talk of You. The wishes for 
your fortunate Voyage and pleasing sight of your family and 
friends Became a National Sentiment in my tour through Ger 
many I have Been Asked thousand questions about you, when I 
felt equally proud and Happy to Boast of our Affectionate in 
timacy. 

"Prussia and the Austria dominions with some parts of the 
German Empire the liberties of which are to much spoke of in 
treaties and to little felt by the people Have been the object of my 
Very Agreeable journey the fine class of the people I found 
misinformed with respect to American affairs What may be 
wrong they know perfectly, with an addition of thousand lies and 
I wish no ground was left for our enemies to Broach those lies 
upon and altho they Have a due respect and enthusiastic admira 
tion for the virtues displayed By Amerika during the War it is 
a matter of doubt with them if free Constitutions can support 
themselves (some sensible and sad feeling men excepted particu 
larly Prince Henry) the king of Prussia Himself is Blinded 
by Habit and prejudices. 

"That Monarch s health is very Bad The New Emperor s 
temper not very quiete But Great Britain s Affairs Being embar 
rassed and our politics very pacific I don t think any storm is to 
Be feared I have been very Happy to hear You Have Accepted 
the presidency of Pennsylvania. . . . 

"Yours, Lafayette." 41 

In the correspondence to Franklin we find but one letter 
which throws light upon his visit to Hanover. This is a letter 
from Johann Friedrich Hartmann, written in Latin, dated the 
Calendes of October, 1767, in which he says: "Often have I 
recalled the happy occasion, when I was permitted to see and talk 



41 The American Philosophical Society. Franklin Papers. 



52 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

with you privately. The Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt had 
sent to Gottingen a special emmissary to offer his salutations to 
Franklin, but unfortunately the latter left that very day; and the 
hope of seeing him was frustrated/ 42 The knowledge we have 
of this Hartmann is that he was noted among his contemporaries 
for his electrical investigations, and was head of the Royal 
Hospital and a prominent physician in Hanover. In the 
Gottingischen Anzcigen, bearing the date of September 27, 1766, 
we read that Pringle and Franklin visited Mr. Hartmann in 
Hanover, in order to see his apparatus for strong electrical ex 
periments. No doubt it was through Sir John Pringle that the 
interest between Hartmann and Franklin was mutually aroused. 

That Franklin knew himself at least the names of famous 
men, noted for their electrical experiments, is proved in a letter 
to his friend, Peter Collinson, in which he says, describing a 
dinner, to be given in Philadelphia: "A Turkey to be killed for 
our dinner by the electrical shock, and roasted by the electrical 
jack before a fire kindled by the electrified bottle, when the 
healths of all the famous electricians in England, Holland, France 
and Germany are to be drunk from electrified bumpers under the 
discharge of guns from the electrical battery." 43 

Franklin introduced into England the pulse-glass, by which 
water is made to boil in a vacuum by the heat of the hand. 
Nairne, the mathematical instrument maker, made a number of 
them from the one that Franklin brought from Germany. He 
speaks of this in a letter to John Winthrop, London, July 2, 
1768: "An ingenius artist here, Mr. Nairne, mathematical instru 
ment maker, has made a number of them from mine, and im 
proved them, for his are much more sensible than those I brought 
from Germany." 44 , 45 

It seems that he may have received these pulse-glasses from 
the physician Dr. Hartmann. He writes again of this same mat 
ter: "When I was last year in Germany, I met with a singular 



42 Amer. Philos. Society. 

43 Experiments and Observations on Electricity, p. 21. 

44 Experiments and Observations on Electricity, p. 486. 

45 Smyth, Vol. 5, p. 140. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany e? 

kind of glass being a tube about 8 inches long, half-inch in diam 
eter, with a hollow ball of near an inch diameter at one end, and 
one of an inch and half at the other, hermetically sealed, and 
half filled with water." 46 

In the Literarischer Briefwechsel of Johann David Michaelis, 
by Johann Gottlieb Buhle (pp. 214-218), we read letters written 
by Sir John Pringle to him dated London, the 6th of May, 1766, 
in which Pringle acknowledges the receipt of a diploma from the 
Royal Society at Gottingen and expressed at this late date, the 
delay being due to illness, his high sense of the dignity of the 
honor which he shall always reckon as one of the most fortunate 
circumstances of his life, but he mentions nothing in regard to 
his friend and companion Franklin, who no doubt made his own 
acknowledgment, although the letter has been lost, or else hidden 
away where the hands of research have not as yet reached it. 

Again, London, September 6, 1766, he writes: "I cannot 
conclude without giving You the strongest assurances of my 
grateful remembrance of all Your civilities, and the pleasure, 
which I enjoyed in your company during my stay in Gottingen. I 
have had the satisfaction, not only to acquaint Baron Miinch- 
hausen and Baron Behr with the good effects of their letters, 
in procuring to my companion Dr. Franklin and to myself the 
attentions and conversations of so many learned gentlemen, as 
we had the good fortune to be introduced to there, but likewise 
to add this circumstance to the account, which I had the honor to 
give His Majesty of the flourishing state of His University 
abroad." 

Pringle three years later from London, June 2, 1769, wrote: 
"When I had the pleasure of seeing you at Gottingen, Dr. Frank 
lin and I were among the first to inform you of the accounts, we 
had received of the great size of the Patagonians." The matter 
he finds has been exaggerated. In conclusion he wrote thus: 
"I beg, Dear Sir, to have my best respects presented to the Ladies 
and Gentlemen, I had the pleasure to see in Your House, and the 
other members of Your Learned Society. Dr. Franklin who is 



Smyth, Vol. 5, p. 139. 



54 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

still here and whom I see often, desires me to make you and 
them the same compliment." 47 

Franklin, when he arrived in Germany, had just made his 
presence and his influence felt in England by his statements be 
fore the House of Commons, and the fresh air of Germany may 
have appealed to him after the hot atmosphere of argumentation, 
which the storm of the repeal of the Stamp Act had not yet 
cooled. No letters of that period written by his hand can be 
found, although his visit lasted from June 15 to August 13, 1766. 
He seems to have kept no note of these travels. Perhaps these 
may have been mislaid, if made at all, as he says in his Autobiog 
raphy: "In truth I found myself incorrigible with respect to order 
and now I am grown old and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly 
the want of it." The journey was made in the midst of a very 
exciting period of his life and he must have enjoyed his visit 
because of his desire, keenly expressed to revisit Germany, as he 
writes later to Jan Ingen Housz, Passy, October 2, 1781 : "I 
last Year requested of Congress to release me from this Service 
that I might spend the evening of Life more agreeably in philo 
sophic Leisure; but I was refused. If I had succeeded it was my 
Intention to make the Tour of Italy, with my Grandson, pass 
into Germany and spend some time happily with you, Whom I 
have always loved, ever since I knew you with uninterrupted 
affection." 48 

Johann August Bauer, in his Franklin und Washington, 
page 99, speaks of this visit thus: "Im Verlauf des Jahres 1766 
machte Franklin eine Reise durch Holland und Deutschland und 
ward von alien Gelehrten in diesen Landern mit der grossten Ach- 
tung aufgenommen." 

Speaking of general conditions in Europe at the outbreak of 
the American Revolution, Julian Schmidt expresses his opinion 
thus, in his Geschichte des gestrigen Lebens in Deutschland von 
Leibnitz bis auf Lessing (1681-1781), Leipzig, 1864, Bd. II, S. 
209, thus: "Man weiss welches Aufsehen Franklin s Besuch in 



4T Literarischer Briefwechsel J. D. Michaelis, von Job. Gottlieb Buhle. 
Band II, S. 214-218. 

"American Philosophical Society. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 55 

Europa machte, auch in Gottingen, wo er sich im Herbst 1766 
aufhielt, betrachtete man diese originelle Figur mit Aufmerk- 
samkeit." 

(b) Franklins References to Absence. 

References to absence in Germany were made by Franklin 
in several letters. On September 27, 1766, in a letter addressed 
to his "dear friend and neighbor", Mr. Charles Thomson. From 
London he writes: "I received your very kind Letter of May 
2Oth, which came here while I was absent in Germany." 49 Again, 
Craven Street, London, October 4, 1766, he makes reference 
to his absence abroad in a letter to an unknown correspond 
ent. 49 * Again on October nth of that same year, he addresses a 
letter to Mrs. Deborah Franklin: "I received your kind little 
Letter of Aug. 26th by the Packet. I suppose they imagined I 
should not be returned from Germany. . . ." Again on De 
cember 1 3th, he writes to Mrs. Franklin: "Since my last I have 
received your kind letters of Sept. 28th and Oct. 9th. I won 
dered you had not heard of my return from Germany, as I wrote 
by the August Packet, and by a Ship from Holland, just as I 
was coming over." 50 

He had already sent a letter from London June I3th to Mrs. 
Franklin telling of this proposed trip to Germany : "I wrote you, 
that I had been ill lately. I am now nearly well again, but feeble. 
Tomorrow I set out with my friend Dr. Pringle (now Sir John) 
on a journey to Pyrmont where he goes to drink the waters ; but 
I hope more from the air and exercise, having been used as you 
know, to have a journey once a year, the want of which last year, 
has, I believe, hurt me so that, though I was not quite to say sick, 
I was often ailing last winter and through the spring. We must 
be back at fartherest in eight weeks, as my fellow-traveller 
is the Queen s physician, and has leave for no longer, ... I 
propose to leave him at Pyrmont and visit some of the principal 



49 Original MS. New York Historical Society. 
49a American Philosophical Society. 

50 American Philosophical Society. 



56 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

cities nearest to it, and call for him again when the time for our 
return draws nigh." 51 

Again in a letter to Robert R. Livingston from Passy June 
22, 1783, he writes, expressing a wish to know the status of 
affairs in the new arrangement of foreign affairs and refers to 
this visit. The Swedish ambassadors having offered his grand 
son the position of American ambassador, and the Danish min 
ister having been generous in a similar offer, Franklin says : "But 
it is not my Custom to solicit Employments for myself, or any 
of my Family, and I shall not do it in this case. I only hope that 
if he is not employed in your arrangement, I may be informed 
of it as soon as possible, that while I have Strength left for it, I 
may accompany him in a Tour to Italy, returning through Ger 
many, which I think he may make to more Advantage with me 
than alone, and which I have long promised him as a reward for 
his faithful Service and his tender filial Attachment to me." 52 

Of the letters written to Franklin referring to this visit, we 
may add one dated Alfreton, August 10, 1766, which reads as 
follows : "Dear Sir : By this I expect you are returned to London 
from your Germany tour, Which I hope has been pleasing to you, 
& useful to Sr. John Pringle. . . ." This is signed Ant (hony) 
Tissington. 53 



"American Philosophical Society. Printed in Sparks, Vol. VII, p. 320. 
52 Library of Congress. 
"American Philosophical Society. 



CHAPTER IV. 

FRANKLIN S KNOWLEDGE OF THINGS GERMAN. 
(a) At Home. 

We shall mention here but one instance which shows the 
clear insight that Franklin possessed of the character of the Penn 
sylvania Germans of his period. This we read in his letter to 
Peter Collinson dated Philadelphia, May 9, 1753: "I am per 
fectly of your mind, that measures of great temper are necessary 
with the Germans ; and am not without apprehensions that through 
their indiscretion or ours, or both, great disorders may one day 
arise among us. Those who come hither are generally the most 
stupid of their own nation and, as ignorance is often attended 
with credulity when knavery would mislead it and with suspicion 
when honesty would set it right; and as few of the English un 
derstood the German language, and so cannot address them 
either from the press or the pulpit, it is almost impossible to 
remove any prejudices they may entertain. Their clergy have 
very little influence on the people, who seem to take a pleasure 
in abusing and discharging the ministers on every trivial occa 
sion. Not being used to liberty, they know not how to make a 
modest use of it. And as Colben says of the young Hottentots, 
that they are not esteemed men until they have shown their man 
hood by beating their mothers, so these seems not to think them 
selves free, until they can feel their liberty in abusing and insult 
ing their teachers. Thus they are under no restraint from 
ecclesiastical government; they behave, however, submissively 
enough at present to the civil government which I wish they may 
continue to do; for I remember when they modestly declined 
intermeddling in our elections, but now they come in droves and 
carry all before them, except in one or two counties. Few of 
their children in the country know English. They import many 
books from Germany; and of the six printing-houses in the 
provinces two are entirely German, two half German half English, 
and but two entirely English. They have one German news- 

(57) 



58 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

paper and one half-German. Advertisements, intended to be 
general are now printed in Dutch and English. The signs in our 
streets have inscriptions in both languages, and in some places 
only in German. They begin of late to make all their bonds and 
other legal instruments in their own language, which (though 
I think it ought not to be) are allowed good in our courts, when 
the German business so increases, that there is continued need 
of interpreters; and I suppose in a few years they will also be 
necessary in the Assembly, to tell one half our legislators what 
the other half say. 

"In short unless the stream of their importation could be 
turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously pro 
pose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we 
have will in my opinion, be not able to preserve our language, 
and even our Government will become precarious. The French, 
who watch all advantages, are now themselves making a German 
settlement back of us, in the Illinois country, and by means of 
these Germans they may in time come to an understanding with 
ours; and indeed in the last war our Germans showed a general 
disposition that boded us no good. For, when the English who 
were not Quakers, alarmed by the danger arising from the de 
fenseless state of our country, entered unanimously into an asso 
ciation, and within this government and the lower countries 
raised, arms and disciplined near 10,000 men, the Germans, ex 
cept a very few in proportion to their number, refused to engage 
in it, giving out, one amongst another, and even in point, that if 
they were quiet, the French, should they take the country would 
not molest them. At the same time abusing the Philadelphians 
for fitting out privateers against the enemy and representing the 
trouble, hazard, an expense of defending the province, as a 
greater inconvenience than any that might be expected from the 
change of government. Yet I am not for refusing to admit them 
entirely into our colonies. All that seems to me necessary is to 
distribute them more equally, mix them with the English, estab 
lish English schools where they are now too thickly settled; and 
take some care to prevent the practice lately fallen into by some 
of the ship-owners of sweeping the German gaols to make up the 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 59 

number of their passengers. I say, I am not against the admis 
sion of Germans in general, for they have their virtues. Their 
industry and frugality are exemplary. They are excellent hus 
bandmen and contribute generally to the improvement of the 
country." 54 

Peter Collinson having received Franklin s account of the 
condition of German affairs in the Colonies, answers this on the 
1 2th of August, 1752, as follows: 

"Your impartial Account of the State of the Germans came 
very Seasonably to awake the Legislature to take some Measures 
to check the Increase of their Power. A Copy was Desir d by 
the Members for the German Affairs to show Mr. Pelham. . . . 
I have drawn up 7 proposals which you shall See. . . . 

"Hints Humbly proposed to Incorporate the Germans more 
with the English & check the Increase of their power. 

"i. To establish more English schools amongst the Germans. 

"2. To Encourage them to Learn English. To let an act of 
Parliament pass by Gr. Britain to disqualify every German from 
accepting a place of Trust or prominence Civil or military unless 
both He and His Children can speak English intelligibly. 

"3. To prohibit any Deeds, Bonds or Writings to be made 
in the German Language. 

"4. To suppress all German printing Houses that print only 
German. 

"5. To prohibit all importation of German books. 

"6. To encourage Marriages of Germans with English. 

"7. To Discourage the Sending More Germans to the Pro. 
of Pennsylvania." 55 . 

(b) Abroad. 

Franklin knew well conditions of American trade in Ger 
many. In his article entitled "The Interest of Great Britain Con 
sidered with regard to Her Colonies and the acquisitions of 
Canada and Guadaloupe to which are added Observations con 
cerning the increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries &c." 



64 Amer. Philos. Society. Franklin Papers. 
G5 Amer. Philos. Society. 



60 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

London. Printed for T. Becket, at Tullyhead near Surrey St. in 
the Strand. M D CC LX. . . ., speaking of the trade condi 
tions says, "The inland parts of the continent of Europe are 
farther from the Sea than the limits of settlement proposed for 
America. Germany is full of tradesmen and artificers of all kinds 
and the governments there are not all of them always favorable 
to commerce of Britain, yet it is a well known fact that our 
manufactures find their way even into the heart of Germany. 
Ask the great manufacturers and merchants of the Leeds, Shef 
field, Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich goods and they will 
tell you, that some of them send their riders frequently through 
France or Spain and Italy up to Vienna; and back through the 
middle and northern parts of Germany to show samples of their 
wares and collect orders, which they receive by almost every mail 
to a vast amount. Whatever charges arise on the carriage of the 
goods are added to the value, and all paid by the consumer. . . . 

"... I say if these nations purchase and consume such 
quantities of our goods, notwithstanding the remoteness of their 
situation from the sea ; how much less likely is it that the settlers 
in America, who must for ages be employ d in agriculture chiefly, 
should make cheaper for themselves the goods our manufacturers 
at present supply them with ; . . ," 56 

He writes to John Winthrop from Paris, May i, 1777, this 
account of the conduct of the German princes : "The Conduct of 
those Princes of Germany, who have sold the Blood of their 
People, has subjected them to the Contempt and Odium of all 
Europe. The Prince of Anspach, whose recruits mutinied and 
refus d to march, was obliged to disarm and fetter them and 
drive them to the sea side by the help of his Guards; himself 
attending in Person in his return he was publicly hooted by Mobs 
thro every Town he passed in Holland, with all sorts of re 
proachful Epithets. The King of Prussia s Humour of obliging 
those Princes to pay him the same Toll per Head for the Men 
they drive thro his Dominions, as used to be paid him for their 



66 Sparks, Franklin, Vol. 7, p. 71 ff. Philadelphia Historical Society. 
Presented to Rev. Dr. Mayhew, from his humble servant, the Author. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 61 

Cattle, because they were sold as such, is generally spoken of 
with Approbation, as containing a just reproof of those 
Tyrants." 57 

Franklin has treated again the sale of the Hessians in one 
of his Jeux d esprit, a "Letter written from the Count De Schaum- 
bergh to the Baron Hohendorf, Commanding the Hessian Troop 
in America". He also showed his keen wit in his "Edict of the 
King of Prussia", which stirred up so much excitement in England 
at the time of its appearance. So true was the delineation of the 
King of Prussia s character, that many felt confident of the au 
thenticity of this edict. 

(c) Franklin s Knowledge of the German Language. 

How much knowledge did Franklin have of the German 
language? We read in a letter to Cadwallader Colden, Philadel 
phia, September 14, 1752, the following: "Send me if you please, 
the translation of your piece into High Dutch. I understand a 
little of the German language and will peruse and return it." 58 

On June 21, 1782, he writes to Ingen Housz : "The Imperial 
Ambassador has had the Goodness two or three times to offer 
the conveyance of Letters to you; and I have so often promised to 
make use of that conveyance & fully intended it but something 
or other had always prevented it. I have a few days since re 
ceived your favor of April 24th, thro the hands of Mr. Fave, who 
is so kind as to promise taking care of an Answer & it is to his 
care that I propose committing this. He had also delivered to 
me the German Edition of your Opuscule. There are several 
places in it which I much desire to read ; but I will wait for the 
French, as that will be easier for me, having for these many years 
been but little accustomed to the German." 59 

Again : "I should be glad to see your Piece on the Electro- 
phore when it is published in English or French. I do not en 
tirely read the German." October 2, 1781. 60 

67 The Library of Congress. The American Philosophical Society. Hale, 
Franklin in France, Vol. I, p. 106. 

68 Smyth, Vol. 3, P- 9& 

69 Smyth, Vol. 8, p. 312. 

* American Philosophical Society. 



62 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

On the top of a German letter from Baron von Steuben to 
Franklin, January i, 1783, inquiring as to the welfare of his son, 
General Lieutenant von Steuben, the Doctor has written, "Mr. 
Franklin wishes to know the purport of this letter". This shows 
again his limited knowledge of German. 

Franklin, in a letter to David Hume in answer to a remon 
strance by that gentleman against the introduction of newly 
coined words in the Canada Pamphlet, gives us the impression 
that he was not entirely ignorant of German literary style when 
he says : "The introducing new words when we are already pos 
sessed of old ones sufficiently expressive I confess must be gen 
erally wrong, as it tends to change the language, yet at the same 
time, I cannot but wish the useage of our tongue permitted mak 
ing new words, when we want them, by composition of old ones, 
whose meanings are already well understood. The German allows 
of it, and it is a common practice with their writers." 61 



" Smyth, Vol. I, p. 41. 



CHAPTER V. 
FRANKLIN S FAME IN EUROPE GERMANY. 

Franklin s fame in Europe reached far beyond the boundaries 
of France, in fact stretched across the continent from Russia into 
Spain. He enjoyed the honor of being a member or associate 
member of the following foreign institutions: 

1. Fellow of the Royal Society of London, 1756. 

2. University of St. Andrew s, Scotland, 1759. 

3. Member of the Royal Society of Sciences, Gottingen, 
1766. 

4. Learned Society of Sciences, Rotterdam, 1771. 

5. Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris, 1772. 

(One of eight foreign members.) 

6. Royal Medical Society of Paris, 1777. 

7. Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts, Padua, 1781. 

8. Royal Society at Edinburgh, 1783. 

9. Royal Society of Physics, National History and Arts of 
Orleans, March 18, 1785. 

10. Academy of Sciences, Literature and Arts of Lyons, 
June 2, 1785. 

n. Society of Agriculture, Milan, 1786. 

12. Honorable Member of Medical Society in London, 1787. 

13. Imperial Academy of Sciences of Saint Petersburg, 1789. 

Europe was thrilled to its depth by the ans\ver which Frank 
lin had given to their eager curiosity of natural phenomena. The 
great epigram created by the good Turgot Eripuit Caelo Ful- 
men Sceptrumque Tyrannis explains the incredible almost fab 
ulous popularity, in which Franklin was held in Europe. He 
was the living presence of the new age, the incarnation of democ 
racy, the successful antagonist of tyrants, the builder of happy 
states founded upon justice and freedom. With whatsoever 
modesty he disclaimed the honor of Turgot s epigram the world 
persisted in imputing to him alone the creation of the Republic 
and the triumphant leadership of the dear insurgents . " e 



Smyth, Vol. 10, p. 361. 

(63) 



64 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Again we read a German appreciation of Franklin ("Der 
schlaue Franklin", as he is often called ) as follows: "Der Natur- 
mensch Rousseaus war ein Traumgebilde, die Helden Plutarchs 
lebten nur noch in der Phantasie, aber der schlaue Quaker Frank 
lin war handhafte Wirklichkeit. Der beriihmte Erfinder des Blitz- 
ableiters, der aus einem armen Setzerlehrling sich durch eigene 
Kraft zu einem der ersten Manner seines Volkes emporgearbeitet 
hatte, nahm sich von der Uberbildung kranken Frankreichs wirk- 
lich aus, wie der Sendling einer neuen Welt und einer besseren 
Zeit." 63 

(a) Franklin s Reputation in the Eighteenth Century in Germany. 

The first mention of Dr. Franklin in German literature of 
the eighteenth century we find in a book of travel, written by 
Peter Kalm, the Swedish investigator, sent to North America at 
the cost of the Swedish Academy of Sciences. This work was 
translated into German by Johann Andreas Murray, who was 
Professor of Botany at the University of Gottingen, when Frank 
lin visited there in i/66. 64 

Professor Murray tells us, speaking of the frequent refer 
ences made by Kalm to information gained from Franklin: "Der 
Verfasser beruft sich auch otters auf H. Franklin; aber hat ihn 
nicht allezeit genau genug verstanden." In Vol. II, we read: "Der 
Herr Benjamin Franklin dem Pennsylvania fiir so viele Ver- 
dienste um sein Wohlergeben und die gelehrte Welt, fiir die vielen 
neuen Entdeckungen in der Electricitat verpflichtet ist, war der 
erste, der mich bekannt machte. Er gab mir notigen Unterricht, 
und erwies mir seine Gewogenheit auf mannigfaltige Art." This 
is Kalm s acknowledgment of Franklin s letters of introduction 
to friends and institutions in America. Franklin always took a 
keen interest in all scientific investigations, and he frequently 



63 Das Zcitaltcr Fricdrich dcs Crosscn. Dr. Wilhelm. Oncken, Bd. II, 
S. 730. 

64 Sammlung neucr und merkmiirdiger Rciscn zn M asscr und zu Lande. 
X. Theil. Beschreibung der Reise, die er (Herr Peter Kalm) nach nordli- 
chem Amerika auf den Befehl gedachter Akademie und offentliche Kosten 
unternommen hat. Bd. 1, II, 111. Gottingen, 1754. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany, 65 

mentions this explorer in his correspondence, but "Herr Franklin 
hat das Kalmische Werk nicht eher, als in Hannover aus der 
deutschen Ubersetzung kennen lernen". Kalm s discussion of 
the growth in population in Pennsylvania, including the colonial 
laws and conditions with methods of district voting compared 
with statutes, la\vs and common law 7 of England, and the birth 
and growth of the University of Pennsylvania all these details, 
as he says, he owed to the generosity of Franklin. 

In the Vorredc des Ubersetzers in the book entitled, DCS 
Herrn Benjamin Franklins, Esq., Bricfe von der Elcktricifcit. 
Aus dem Englischen iibersetzt, nebst Anmerkungen von J. C. 
Wilcke, Leipzig, 1758, we read: 

"Herr Franklin, ein geschickter Buchhandler zu Philadel 
phia, in Nordamerika, ward durch die zur Elektricitat gehorigen 
Werkzeuge und die derselben beigefiigte Anweisung solche zu ge- 
brauchen, welche ihm aus London iibersandt worden, aufgemun- 
tert und in den Stand gesetzt, diese Versuche in diesem entfern- 
ten Welttheile bekannt zu machen, und sich auf cine vorziigliche 
Weise damit zu beschaftigen. Wie gross der Fortgang sei, wel- 
chen der arbeitsamme Fleiss dieses geschickten Mannes in dieser 
Sache gemachet habe, kann man aus gegenwartigen Briefen er- 
sehen, welche dieselben Gedanken und Erklarungen enthalten. 
Diese zeigen deutlich die grossen Vorteile welche denen Wissen- 
schaften dadurch gewachsen konnen wenn Leuten von Lust, 
Trieb und Fahigkeiten Gelegenheit gegeben wird, ihren Fleiss in 
Schwung und Ausiibung zu setzen. Man erhalt hier aus den 
Handen des Amerikaners eine Schrift, welche auch in dem Vater- 
lande der Elektricitat lehrreich bleibt. 

"Herr Franklin hat seine Erfindungen und Arbeiten seinen 
Freunden in London, besonders dem Herrn Collinson, in verschie- 
denen Briefen und kleinen Abhandlungen mitgetheilt. Dieselben 
sind in dreyen kleinen Theilen zusammengedruckt und unter dem 
Titel: 

"New experiments and observations on Electricity, made at 
Philadelphia in America, by Mr. Benjamin Franklin, and com 
municated in several letters to Mr. Collinson at London. F. R. S. 



66 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

London. Printed in fold by E. Cave, and at St. John s Gate, 
1751, in 4to. bekannt bemachet. 

"Die Seltenheit dieser Schrift in unseren Gegenden, die 
Wichtigkeit derselben, und der grosse Vortheil welchen ich sel- 
ber daraus gezogen habe, haben mich veranlasset, dieselbe in einer 
deutschen Ubersetzung bekannter zu machen. Ich kann mein Ur- 
theil zwar fiir keine Entscheidung und Bestimmung des Werthes 
eines Buches ansehen; so viel muss ich aber gestehen, dass ich 
diese Schrift werth halte, allgemeiner bekannt, und denen Vor- 
urtheilen entrissen zu werden, welche man haufig gegen dieselbige 
findet. . . . Ich zog aus dem System des Herrn Franklins eine 
Menge von Schliissen und Folgerungen heraus. Auf diese bauete 
ich den Entwurf von neuen Versuchen, welche diese Satze durch 
ihren Erfolg entweder bestatigen, oder umstossen mussten. So 
viel ich von diesen Versuchen ins Werk setzete, so viel neue 
Griinde und Beweise fand ich fiir die Richtigkeit des Systems 
und der Erklarung des Herrn Franklins. Die einigen Versuche 
desselben, habe ich sehr ofte und allezeit mit dem gliicklichsten 
Erfolge wiederholt, und kann daher mit Zuversicht behaupten, 
dass sie wahr und ohne Fehler sind ; und dass man den von Herrn 
Franklin vorgegebenen Erfolg niemals verfehlen werde, wenn 
man sich nur die Muhe gegeben hat, von dem Zusammenhange 
des ganzen Systems und denen besondern Fallen desselben, wel 
che hin und wieder einen Einfluss haben konnen, sich einen all- 
gemeinen und deutlichen Begriff zu machen. 

"Weil ich hievon gewiss bin, hat es mich um destomehr be- 
freundet, dass ein beriihmter und mit den elektrischen Versuchen 
sehr bekannter Naturforscher in Frankreich, der Herr Abt Nol- 
let, dieser Schrift des Herrn Franklin eine so scharfe Critik ent- 
gegengesetzet hat, als man in diesen Briefen von der Elektricitat 
findet. . . . Die Lehre des Herrn Franklins ist in Frankreich so 
wohl aufgenommen worden, dass sie der, nach des Herrn Nol- 
let s Meinung, von der franzosischen Academic der Wissenschaf- 
ten fiir Souverain erklarten Hypothese desselben, welche er in 
den Memoir es vom Jahre 1745 Conjectures sur les causes de 
VElectricite des corps, und in seinem Essai sur VElectricite des 
corps, vorgetragen hat. . . . Ich bin versichert, Herr Frank- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 67 

lin werde nichts verlieren, . . . Die Versuche des Herrn 
Franklin sind richtig; sie haben aber nicht die Kraft, welche 
Herr Nollet ihnen zutrauet ; weil sie als so viele Beweise fiir die 
Theorie Herrn Franklins konnen angesehen werden, als fiir Wie- 
derlegungen derselben. . . . Es kommt gewiss Vieles in seinen 
Briefen vor, wogegen ein jeder Physicus eben die billigen Zweifel 
vorbringen wiirde, welche der Herr Abt Nollet denselben entge- 
gen setzet. . . . 

"Die Ausbreitung der Theorie von der Electricitat ist ein 
vorziigliches Stiick derselben. Ich sage die Ausbreitung dieser 
Theorie. Das System selber und die Grundsatze davon, welche 
ich in aller Kiirze entwerfen will, sind keine Erfindungen des 
Herrn Franklins. . . ." He continues with a discussion of the 
various methods of electricity and numerous experiments from 
noted scientists, such as Watson, Ellicot, Waiz and others. 

"Die Verdienste des Herrn Franklins um diese Theorie sind 
dennoch gross. Er hat dieselbe nicht nur in ein helleres Licht ge- 
setzet; sondern hat sie auch auf die Ladungs- oder Erschiitte- 
rungsversuche, die unter den Namen der Leidnischen und Mu- 
schenbroeckischen allgemein bekannt sind, und von welchen man 
bisher keine naturliche und sinnreiche Art angewandt. Hat er 
hierbey ein wenig zu viel gekiinstelt, so bleibt dennoch hier alle 
Zeit mehr Natur, als in anderen unglaublichen Erklarungen. . . . 

"Man kann aber mit recht behaupten, dass keiner auf diese 
merkwiirdige Erscheinung ein so aufmerksames Auge gewandt 
hat, als unser Herr Franklin, und dass keiner eine der Natur so 
gemasse Erklarung derselben gegeben habe als eben er. . . . 

"Es ist allgemein bekannt, dass wir Herrn Franklin die 
Kenntniss der Gewitterselektrizitat zu danken haben. Man hat 
zwar vor ihm, allerley Gedanken von der Ahnlichkeit der Blitze 
mit der Elektricitat vorgetragen ; dieses sind aber bis dahin lauter 
Muthmassungen gewesen. Und obgleich Herr Franklin nicht 
der Erste geworden ist welcher diese Versuche ins Werk gerich- 
tet hat; so hat er dieselben dennoch schon so deutlich entworfen 
und vorgeschlagen, dass ihm der Ruhm dieser Erfindung gar 
nicht streitig gemachet werden kann. . . ." Thus we see from 
this early translation of Franklin s ideas a just appreciation of 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

the valuable discoveries which Franklin had made. His fame 
look firm root in German soil and added more splendor to his 
growing European glory. 

In the Plannoverisches Magazin, 17 Stuck, Friday, February 
27, 1767, appeared this article, Einigc Anmerkungcn ilber Nord- 
amcrika und fiber dasigc Grossbritannische Colonien. Aus miind- 
lichen Nachrichten des Herrn Dr. Franklins, von Herrn Hofrath 
Achenwall : "So weit gehen die Nachrichten des Herrn Dr. 
Franklin, die ich grossentheils als Antworten auf meine Anfra- 
gen erhalten habe, ob ich gleich nicht alle Worte und Ausdrikke 
auf seine Rechnung schreiben kann. Hie und da ist etwas zur 
Frlauterung von mir cingeschoben worden, und claher gehort 
was in Klamern eingeschlossen ist." 65 He continues with an 
appreciation of Professor Kalm s knowledge of America, since 
he had been granted the opportunity of discussing the matter for 
several months with Dr. Franklin, while his own questions were 
limited by the brevity of his interview with this celebrated man. 
These Anmcrkungcn by Dr. Gottfried Achenwall went through 
three editions. The second edition, published in Frankfurt 
(Stuttgart), 1769, was the same in content as the first edition of 
Gottingen, 1767. The third edition published in Helmstedt, 
1777, is composed of 94 pages, containing in addition to Achen- 
wall s Anmcrkungcn, the Schrift von den Streitigkciten mit den 
Colonien in Amerika, written by John Wesley. The matter 
stands undisputed, that this work was read with interest by the 
German public. Many discrepancies on American affairs crept 
into these pages, especially the treatment of the North American 
Indians, where the author, no doubt, allowed his imagination full 
swing, since it seems hardly credible, that Franklin would have 
misinformed him on a subject with which he himself was so per 
fectly familiar. Mr. Gallinger, on page 8 of his dissertation, says 
(his work was "die einzige Darstellung des Verfassungskampfes 
in deutscher Sprache, die vor clem Jahre 1776 erchien." Further 
mention of this same report on American colonial affairs, as 
treated by Achenwall, we find in Sammlung ncucr Reiscbeschrei- 



Achenwall, Anmerkungen (1/67), p. 506. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 69 

bungen aus fremden Sprachcn, by Johann Tobias Kohler, Got 
tingen und Gotha, 1769, who refers to its appearance in the Han 
nover is ch es Magazin. Q 6 

We find Franklin s name mentioned next thus: "Paine s 
Common Sense ein Werk das man damals gewohnlich Samuel 
Adams oder Franklin und Adams zuschrieb, in Schubarts Deut 
sche Chronik, Ulm, 1774-1777. 

August Ludwig Schlozer in his Erstes Heft des neuen Brief- 
wechsel, Gottingen, 1776, discussing the Aufruhr in Amerika, 
page 49, writes : 

"Herr Franklin, dieser warme, aufgeklarte und ehrliche 
Verteidiger der Nord-Amerikaner, wurde bekanntlich im Feb- 
ruar, 1766, im Parlament, als iiber die Widerrufung der Stem- 
pelakte gehandelt wurde, iiber verschiedene Dinge gerichtlich be- 
fragt. Das ganze Verhor ist bereits deutsch gedruckt, aber in 
einem Buche, wo es niemand such : In Olaf Torens Reise nach 
Snrate. Leipzig, 1772. S. 209-238. Ich zeichne hier einige 
Antworten aus, die verschiedenen Stellen dieses Briefes viel Licht 
geben." He quotes exactly Franklin s definition of the Tea Tax 
thus: 

"Eine ausserliche Taxe ist eine Angabe, die man auf die 
Waren gelegt hat, welche man zu tins bringt ; man schlagt sie auf 
den Wert der Sache und zu anderen Kosten die sie begleiten; 
sie und auch ein Theil des Preises. Gefallt die Ware dem Kau- 
fer nicht um den Preis, so nimmt er sie nicht, und er braucht 
Auflage nicht zu bezahlen." We must remember that Schlozer 
knew Franklin personally, having met him at Miihlhausen s 
table in Gottingen. 

In the Wochentliche Nachrichten, Berlin, 1776, for the i6th 
of December, Jacob Mauvillon asserts that the politician Pinto 
received from Lord North fifty guineas to disparage the colonies. 
Schlozer speaking of Franklin s examination before Parliament 
says: "Herr Franklin, dieser warme, aufgeklarte und ehrliche 
Verteidiger der Nord-Amerikaner, wurde bekanntlich im Feb- 



"Sawmlung ncucr Reiscbeschreibung aus fremden Sprachcn. Kohler, 
p. 329. (Franklins Nachricten von Nordamerika.) 



70 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

ruar, 1766, im Parlament, als iiber Widerrufung der Stempel- 
Acte gehandelt wurde, iiber verschiedene Dinge gerichtlich be- 
fragt. Das ganze Verhor ist bereits deutsch gedruckt, aber in 
cinem Buche wo es niemand sucht : In Olof Toren s Rcise nach 
Surat, 1772. S. 209-238. Ich zeichne hier einige Antworten 
aus, die verschiedenen Stellen dieses Briefes ungemein viel Licht 
geben; und zugleich beweisen wie sehr das jetzige Betragen der 
Kolonien bei Gelegenheit der Thee-Acte, ihren eigenen im Jahre 
1766 durch ihren Anwalt vor dem Parlament geausserten Grund- 
satzen wiederspreche." He here gives the general details of 
Franklin s interview before Parliament citing questions and 
answers. 

In Der Deutsche Merkur (April, 1777) Fortsetzung der neu- 
esten politischen Gerichte, page 74, we read: "Nie kann ein Mann 
ratselhafter und unerwarteter aus der Neuen in die Alte Welt 
iiberkommen, als im letzten December der beruhmte Franklin. 
Ein amerikanisches Schiff brachte ihn nach Frankreich, er wohnte 
bei Deane, und doch wollte man wissen, dass er auf die konig- 
liche Parthei getreten sei. Andere meinen, er sei nur gekommen 
um mit den Encyclopadisten zu philosophiren, andere lassen ihn 
mit den Franzosischen Ministerien negotiren. Der Konig von 
Preussen soil ihn zu sich berufen haben, doch hort man noch 
nicht, dass der Weise von Philadelphia auf dem Wege zu dcm 
Weisen von Sans Soucie sei." So we see that Wieland knew the 
conditions of American politics on foreign shores, and felt keen 
interest in the actions of such a celebrated colonist and American 
patriot as Dr. Franklin. 

There is in The Polyanthos of Boston, for January, 1807, 
page 99, an anecdote which describes the supposed meeting of 
Frederick the Great at Sans Souci and Franklin which runs as 
follows: "Frederick the Great was fully sensible of the con 
tagious nature of liberty. He knew the spirit of freedom was 
epidemical; and he did not choose to employ his subjects in any 
mode that could put them in the way of catching the disorder. 
When Dr. Franklin applied to him to lend his assistance to 
America, Pray, Dr. (says the veteran), what is the object they 
mean to attain? Liberty, Sire (replied the philosopher), lib- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 71 

erty that freedom which is the birthright of man! The king, 
after a short pause, made this memorable answer: I was born a 
prince ; I am become a king : and I will not use the power I pos 
sess to the ruin of my trade I was born to command and the 
people born to obey ." 

In the Deutsches Museum, Bd. II, July to December, 1782, 
we find on page 473 : "Ein Brief Rechtschreibung betreffend aus 
des beruhmten Benjamin Franklins Political, Miscellaneous and 
Philosophical Pieces (p. 473) iibersetzt." This reference is made 
with the following note on Franklin s ideas of corrected orthog 
raphy, which \vas particularly interesting to the Germans of this 
time: "Herr Franklin war namlich auf den Gedanken verfallen 
(den man fiir natiirlich halten sollte), dass, da die Buchstaben- 
Schrift eigentlich dazu bestimmt ist die Tonsprache dem Gesicht 
dazustellen, so miisse jeder besondere Schal sein eignes Zeichen 
haben." The author continues with the most minute details and 
examples taken from Franklin s own writings. 

Ludwig Meyer von Kronau expressed his personal interest 
in the North American heroes and affairs thus : 

"Das wichtigste historische Ereigniss wahrend meiner Kind- 
heit war die Losreissung der nordamerikanischen Kolonien (der 
Vereinigten Staaten) von dem Mutterlande Grossbritannien fur 
welche der Kaiser Joseph und der Kanton Schweiz meine Urnge- 
bungen so viele Zeit iibrig liessen, um ihre Aufmerksamkeit auf 
sie wenden zu lassen. Noch erinnere ich mich deutlich, dass die 
nordamerikanische Sache, Franklin, Washington und andere 
Manner . . . Teilnahme fiir sich erregten . . . das In- 
teresse welches Franklin, ebenso Lafayette und seine Mitstreiter 
erregten." 67 

J. E. Biester in an article entitled Etwas i tber Benjamin 
Franklin, appearing in the Bcrlinische Monatsschrift, 68 II. Band, 
Berlin, 1783, gives us as an introduction, the enthusiastic letter 
of his friend George Forster. This letter, dated April 24, 1783, 
contained a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, and reads thus : 



6T Lebenserinncrungen von Ludwig Meyer von Kronau, 1769-1841, Gerold 
Meyer von Kronan, S. 10 (1/83)- 
M S. 11-38. 



72 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

S. ii ff.): 

"(Franklin s Bildnis, das tinsere Leser, in einem sorgfalti- 
gen und treuen Nachstiche diesem Stiicke vorgesetzt finden), soil 
Ihnen, niein lieber Biester, fiir meine Bereitwilligkeit biirgen. Ich 
habe den ehrlichen, den grossen Franklin zu lieb dass ich ihn 
nicht in meiner Stube vor Augen zu haben wunschen sollte. Da- 
her liess ich mir einen Abdruck des schonen Kupfers, welches 
vor seinen Political, Miscellaneous and Philosophical Pieces 
steht, durch einen guten Freund (Herrn Vaughan, den Heraus- 
geber dieser Pieces) kommen und in Rahmen fassen. Hier ha 
ben Sie es, lassen Sie es kopieren, denn es ist sehr getreu, ohne 
alien Vergleich besser, als alle franzisirte Bildnisse des berimm- 
ten Mannes (man muss sich erinnern dass Herr Forster Frank- 
linen personlich kennt) und das ist der Miihe wert, das Bild eines 
solchen Menschen in einem solchen Zeitpunkt unter solchen Zeit- 
genossen zu vervielfaltigen! Wegen Nachrichten von Franklins 
Leben weiss ich Ihnen nichts zu lie fern." He already makes 
note that the date of Franklin s birth, January 17, 1706, at Bos 
ton, is marked upon the copper plate. . . . "Seine Lebensge- 
schichte recht nur von Meisterhand bearbeitet, wird in Ihrer Mo- 
natsschrift eine kostliche Perle sein. . . . Denn der selbst- 
denkende, erfinderische Kopf, helle Verstand, der richtige tiefe 
philosophische Blick in Natur und Wissenschaft in das All unse- 
rer Verhaltnisse und in das Gewebe von Guten und Bosen, wo- 
raus wie aus Aufzug und Einschlag das grosse Lebensgespenst 
besteht der ist gewiss ein Phanomen in unseren Zeiten ; auch 
ohne die Rolle die er mit so ganz unbegreiflichem Erfolge ge- 
spielt, und worin die Vorsehung ihr Recht, die Schicksale der 
Volker zu wagen und das Mene Mene, Tekel dariiber zu spre- 
chen so sicherlich behauptet hat." 

Biester felt confident that his readers would partake of the 
noble enthusiasm for Franklin, which his friend so deeply felt 
and regrets that his knowledge of the life of this American was 
so limited. The early strivings and endeavors of the poor 
printer, who attained at the age of 77 such a lofty position, as 
the representative of his native land at foreign courts afforded to 
the mind of the author an example that was worthy of emulation 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 73 

by his fellow-countrymen. He gives a list of Franklin s honors 
and official positions. "Franklin s ganzer Titel, woraus man 
seine Kenntnisse, Amter und Beschaftigungen einigermassen er- 
sehen kann ist folgender: Der Rechte Doktor, Mitglied der 
koniglichen Gesellschaften der Wissenschaften zu London, zu 
Paris, zu Gottingen und der batavischen Gesellschaft in Holland, 
u. s. w." He emphasizes the strong-minded and friendly soul, 
which the portrait seems to convey to the spectator. Then turn 
ing to his works, which give even a clearer impression of his 
intellect, heart and character, he regrets that the German trans 
lation of Franklin s works is so imperfect. "Auch seit einiger 
Zeit in einer deutschen Ubersetzung haben wir des Herrn D. B. 
Franklins samtliche Werke. Aus dem Englischen und Franzo- 
sischem iibersetzt. Von G. T. Wenzel, Dresden, 1780. In drei 
starken Grossoktav-Banden. Aber herzlich wiinschte ich, dass 
diese Uberstzung sich angenehmes fliessenderes Deutsch durch 
leichte Wendungen, und die ganze simple Grazie des Originals i 
empfohle. 

"Franklin s grosse Verdienste um die Naturlehre sind be- 
kannt; sein Kompendium der Physik wird geschrieben, worin 
seiner nicht gedacht wird. Der Leser kann hier die vornehmsten 
von ihm behandelten Gegenstande iibersehen. In sehr vielen der- 
selben hat er Entdeckungen gemacht, wodurch die Wissenschaft 
ungemein fortgefiihrt und erweitert ist; in alien aber neue Ideen 
geliefert, die von der grossten Fruchtbarkeit sind." . . . Turn 
ing to electricity he says : "Aber die Elektrizitat, diese merkwur- 
dige, und vielleicht noch immer nicht genug beobachtete, wenig- 
stens nicht genug angewandte Kraft der Natur, hat vorzuglich 
ihn beschaftigt und vorzuglich grosse Entdeckungen von ihm 
aufzuweisen. Wer kennt nicht, wenigstens litterarisch, seine The- 
orie, die auch fast allgemein angenommen wird, und nun noch 
sehr wenige Gegner an Nollets Anhangern findet? Ein Vorzug 
den sie durch das sehr Leichte, Einfache und Natiirliche ihrer 
Grundsatze verdient, und bei den grossten Elektrikern Europas 
erhalten hat." . . . He goes on to describe the electrical festi 
val that was given under Dr. Franklin s direction on the banks 
of the Schuylkill, which the Doctor himself described in his letter 



74 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

to Peter Collinson. "Doch was schon allein ihn unsterblich ma- 
chen miisste, 1st die vorziiglich so praktische Anwendung der 
Lehre der Elektrizitat auf die Theorie der Gewitter." Blester 
firmly asserts that Franklin was not the first who treated the 
subject of lightning, and that the electrical spark and storm ma 
terial were one and the same thing. "[Franklin kam zuerst auf 
diesen Gedanken, der aber schon von Winkler in Leipzig in einem 
Werke, das ein Jahr f riiher gedruckt ward, vorgetragen ist nam- 
lich: die Starke der elektrischen Kraft des Wassers in glaser- 
nen Gefasser, welche durch den Miisschenbrockschen Versuch 
bekannt geworden, Leipzig, 1746; wo das ganze Hauptstiick um- 
standlich davon handelt.] Aber das grosse Verdienst hat er ? 
dass er nun weiter schloss, man miisse den Blitz, wie die Elek 
trizitat, ableiten konnen ; und dass er die Werkzeuge erf and, wel 
che Schiffe, Hauser und die ganze Stadt sichern, welche die 
Herrschaft des menschlichen Geistes iiber die machtigsten Ele- 
mente und die furchtbarsten Symptome der Natur am deutlich- 
sten zeigen, und uns in den Stand setzen, mit Blitzen fast so 
sicher als mit gemalten Theater flammen zu spielen." He con 
tinues with a criticism of Franklin s hasty hypotheses, but grants 
him natural ability: "Franklin sagt eins von sich selbst: er hatte 
nicht Geduld genug um oft Versuche anzustellen, sein schneller 
feuriger Geist reisse ihn gleich zu Hypothesen hin. Allerdings 
ist es wohl wahr, dass seine anderweilige Thatigkeit und vielleicht 
sein ganzer Charakter ihn hindert, Experimente auf die Art an 
zustellen. . . . Aber er hat ein immer offenes Auge, einen 
immer wachen Beobachtungsgeist fur alle Gegenstande der Natur 
und Kunst, die ihn umringen; davon zeugen alle seine Briefe und 
all Erzahlungen seiner Theorien oder Hypothesen, die durch Be- 
merkungen auf seinen Reisen oder sonst bei ihm zur Reif e kamen ; 
und diese Gabe der Natur ist vielleicht so stark bei ihm weil kein 
eingesperrtes Gelehrtenleben sie friihe geschwacht hat. Uber die 
so bemerkten natiirlichen Phanomene, oder auch iiber Experi 
mente, die seine Freunde ihm mitteilen, sinnt der aufmerksame 
Naturmann nach, halt sie mit vorigen Bemerkungen zusammen, 
und er schafTt dann durch seinen scharfsinningen feinen Spiiren- 
geist so gliickliche Hypothesen, dass er uns die grosste Bewunde- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 75 

rung abzwingt. . . ." In regard to his style one of the best 
criticisms we have in the German language is this: "Sein Vor- 
trag ist, auch wohl eben darum, ungemein deutlich und vorziig- 
lich simpel; nie ein Anschein von Gelehrsamkeit, nirgends die 
Miene eines Kompendiums. Alles sind einzelne Bemerkungcn 
mit ihrer ganzen Veranlassung tins angenehm erzahlt, kurze 
Satze, kleine Abhandlungen, leichte Briefe an Freundc, an Frau- 
enzimmer, u. s. w. Man nimmt Theil daran, man ermiidet nie, 
man findet so viel Abwechselung in der Darstellungsart als in 
den Gegenstanden selbst. Dieser feine Geist des Weltmanns, dic- 
ser gesunde Natursinn des unpedantischen Wei sen lebt und webt 
iiberall in seinen Schriften; und Munterkeit und Feuer zeigt sich 
auch in den spatesten Aufsatzen des liebenswiirdigen Greises." 

The discussion of Franklin s Harmonica shows the keen ap 
preciation of this discovery. Franklin possessed musical knowl 
edge and theoretical plans for musical improvements. "Das feine 
Gefiihl des iiberall wirksamen Mannes und das Universelle seines 
Originalgenies dehnte sich auch auf schone Kiinste aus. In den 
mehrsten angesehenen Stadten Deutschlands hat man wohl die 
Harmonika gehort, ein Instrument das an Zartheit und Siissig- 
keit so sehr zum Herzen spricht, wie sonst nie ohne Gesang ein 
Toninstrument that; und das jede Abstufung der Starke des 
Tons auf das Vollkommenste ausdriickt, und vorziiglich das 
sanfteste Piano w r as die Kunst kennt, angiebt. Dies entziickende 
Instrument ist von Franklins Erfindung. Die Beschreibung, die 
er selbst in seines Brief an P. Bekkaria in Turin davongiebt. . . . 
Auch finden sich einige theoretische Betrachtungen iiber die Mu- 
sik, vortreffliche Anmerkungen iiber den Gesang und das schick- 
liche Versmass eines Volksliedes, iiber die unruhige Deklamation 
unserer bewunderesten Arien." 

Franklin s activity in the political field is his next subject of 
discussion : Teh komme zu den wichtigern Beschaftigungen des 
grossen Mannes, denn so glaube ich ist allerdings die Politik und 
Staatsokonomie zu nennen. Zwar hat mich der Brief des guten 
frommen Bekkaria an Franklin innig geriihrt, wo er seinen 
Freund beschwort, doch ja nicht die Physik fiir die Politik fahren 



76 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

zu lassen, doch ja die ewigen Gesetze dcr Natur und des Schop- 
fers zu studiren als die veranderlichen Einrichtungen schwacher 
Menschen. . . . Aber sein Freund sah, dass die Leidenschaften 
und Wiinsche der Menschen nach ebenso ewigen Gesetzen geord- 
net sind, als Aufgang und Niedergang der Gestirne. Auch hier, 
wie bei der Physik, kann man Franklin s Verdienst um die Theo- 
rie und um die Anwendung unterscheiden. Im Allgemeinen hat er 
die wichtigen Punkte in ein helles Licht gesetzt, als die Grund- 
satze von der Bevolkerung, von der wahrscheinlichen Vermehrung 
der Menschen, vom Handel, von Industrie, hauslichen Fleisse, 
vom Getreidepreise, von der Behandlung der Armen, von Religi- 
onsduldung, ein um so wichtigerer Punkt, da die Intoleranz eini- 
ger Gegenden von Nordamerika (der Bostonianismus) wenig- 
stens ehedem bekannt genug war. Die Hauptgrundsatze der 
franzosischen Okonomisten, die von den deutschen Physiokraten 
angenommen worden, hat er zusammen gedrangt und vielleicht 
deutlicher vorgetragen, als von einem Schriftsteller dieser Partei 
selbst mag geschehen sein." 

On page 35 we read : "Von Franklin ist der mit Recht so 
bewunderte Aufsatz, Der arme Jacob, der frei iibersetzt im zwei- 
ten Theile von Engels Der Philosoph filr die Welt steht. Von 
Franklin ist vortreffliche Parabel im Stil des alten Testaments, 
von dem Fremden der Abraham besuchte und nicht auf gleiche 
Weise zu Gott betete, die im dritten Theile von Nicholais Noth- 
anker steht. Von ihm ist auch eine scharfe Ironic von der Art, 
wie sie von mehreren Schriftstellern in England ofter ist ge- 
braucht worden." 69 

Johann Jakob Moser in his book entitled Nord-Amerika 
nach den Friedensschliissen vom Jahre 1783, Band I, Seite 752, 
writes: "Das Ministerium verfuhr zu hart gegen die Kolonien, 
und die Letzteren, trieben ihre Beschwerden zu hoch . . . und 
hatten noch keine geniigsame Ursachen, sich der Oberherrschaft 
von Grossbrittanien zu entziehen ; ihre Haupter aber sahen mehr 
auf ihren eintraglichen Schleichhandel als auf Recht und Billig- 
keit und werden nebst dem sonst viele Verdienste habenden D. 



Berlinische Monatsschrift, II. Bd., S. 11-38. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 77 

Franklin, bei der jetzigen und zukiinftigen ehrbaren Welt alle- 
mal als meineidige Untertanen passieren." 

Again, we read S. 837 : "Nur ein Mann hat iiber die Ge- 
schichte seines Landes geschrieben, Franklin, aber sein Beispiel 
hat keinen Nachfolger gefunden. Der Amerikaner, der nur 
Schatze sammeln, nur gemessen will, ist iiberzeugt, dass die 
Wissenschaften nicht der Weg sind, der ihn zu seinem Zwecke 
fuhren konnte. . . . Washington und Franklin wollen uns die 
alten Klassiker bekannt machen." 

The Gothaer Gelehrte Zeitschrift, 1783, S. 262, makes 
mention of this article from a report from New York, printed 
the 1 1 th of November, 1782, where Moser says that Professor 
Achenwall was informed of America s condition by Dr. Frank 
lin. (See Achenwall s Geschichte der englischcn Kolonien. I. 
Th. S. 19 ff.) 

In the Berlinische Monatschrift, Berlin, Oktober, 1783, 
Band II, S. 307-308, we find an article entitled : Erinnening 
gegen eine Stelle in Franklin s Leben. Von Herrn Aleissner : 

"Fur den Aufsatz des Herrn D. Biesters iiber Franklin wer- 
den dem Verfasser gewiss viele Leser der Berlinischen Monats- 
schrift verbunden gewesen sein. Nur darin irrt er sich zum Er- 
fmder der Geschichte von Abraham , die nachher dem Sebaldus 
Nothanker eingeschaltet worden. Franklin ist hier ein Wieder- 
erzahler dessen, w r as langst vor ihm der Perser Saadi erfunden 
oder auch vielleicht nur auf geschrieben hat. Bekannt ist dessel- 
ben Gelistan oder Rosenthal ; etwas minder sein Bustan oder 
Blumengarten. Doch verdiente auch dieser; denn er ist der er- 
habendsten Sentenzen, und der unterhaltendsten Geschichten voll. 
Da er schon seit vielen Jahren von mir gelesen und wiedergele- 
sen worden, so will ich Ihnen hier diese Geschichte abschreiben, 
wie sie im zweiten Abschnitte des zweiten Buches von Bustan 
steht." Here he includes the story entitled Schick Sadi, Persi- 
sches Rosenthal ncbst Locmans Fabeln. Wittenberg und Zerbst. 
Bei Samuel Gottfried Zimmermann, 1775." 

We find in the Historisch-Genealogischer Calendar fitr 
1784, by Spener of Berlin, a portrait of Franklin, with this 
note beneath: "Dr. Franklin erhalt als Gesandter des Amerika- 
nischen Frey Staats seine erste Audienze in Frankreich zu Ver- 



78 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

sallies am 2Oten Marz, 1788." It represents Franklin standing 
before the throne of Louis XVI, with eight councillors present 
in the background. No doubt Franklin had sent this portrait to 
Charles Spener, in answer to his request for material to be used 
in his almanac, which appeared under the title Historisch- 
Genealogischer Calender, odcr Jahrbuch der merkwurdigsten 
Neuen Wclt-Begcbenhciten filr 1784, Leipzig, bei Spener von 
Berlin. On page 63 of this magazine we read this praise of 
Franklin: "Dieser eifrige warme Vertheidiger seiner Lands- 
leute, dem Amerika beynahe einzig seine Freiheit zu verdanken 
hat." Page 172: "Mit welch ein mannlicher Entschlossenheit, 
mit welch unermiideter Thiitigkeit und mit welch seltner VVcis- 
heit" he performed all his political activities; and page 174: 
"Amerika wird ihm als seinem Schutzgott und Wohlthater Al- 
tare bauen, und auch den Namen des Mannes mit Achtung nen- 
nen, dem mit jedem Blitzableiter ein Monument errichtet ward." 

Johann Georg Zimmermann in Uber die Einsamkeit, Leip 
zig, 1784, Band II, S. 9, says: "Erne Zahl Spindelgeister erin- 
nert man sich vielleicht die vor einigen Jahren sich liber alle 
Bande des Universums hinwegsetzen . . . Sie hatten das 
Aussere versucht. Aber sie waren weder Rousseau noch Frank 
lin und in der menschlichen Gesellschaft was ein Rad ohne 
Zahne in einem Uhrwerk, welches nirgends ergreifen kann, und 
um es anstosst den ganzen Mechanismus verwirrte." On page 33 
Zimmermann praises Franklin s style of writing and repeats 
Biester s appreciation as already given. 

"Ein vortrefflicher deutscher Schriftsteller hat in einem mei- 
sterhaften Auf satze liber Franklin s Leben gesagt : Franklin s 
Vortrag habe nie einen Anschein von Gelehrsamkeit, nirgends 
die Miene eines Compendiums. ..." Zimmermann later, how 
ever, in reply to a letter from G. Sulzer on February 22, 1777, 
takes a different attitude toward this celebrated American, whom 
he sees so busied in the political meshes of diplomacy, lie says : 
"Den alten Franklin soil man nie fiir einen guten Mann gehalten 
haben." 70 



" Boddemann, /. G. Zimmermann, S. 261 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 79 

M. C. Sprengel discusses the population of Pennsylvania with 
reference to the article by Achenwall in the Gottinger Calendar 
Uber den jctxigen Nordamerikanischen Krieg, page 103, but in the 
more important of these discussions is his opinion expressed thus : 
"Man Hess sich mit einigen Colonien in Unterhandlung ein, und 
damals war es wie Herr Franklin, dieser ei frige warme Verthei- 
diger seiner Landsleute, dem Amerika beinahe einzig seine Frei- 
heit zu verdanken hat, und aus dessen Schriften der Congress 
grossentheils seine Griinde zur Behauptung der nordamerikani- 
schen Gerechtsame gegen England entlehnt hat." Here he gives 
also details of Franklin s birth in Boston and describes the grow 
ing spirit of freedom: "Diese Begriffe von biirgerlicher Frei- 
heit und Unabhangigkeit erhellen, durch Vergleichung und Prii- 
fung in Franklin s philosophischem Kopfe, eine nahere richtige 
Verstimmung, und mit welch einer mannlichen Entschlossenheit, 
mit welch unermudeter Thatigkeit und mit seltener Weisheit er sic 
nachdem zum Gliick seines Vaterlandes angewendet hat, davon 
sind wir seine Zeitgenossen Zeugen gewesen, und vermoge des 
offentlichen Charakters, den er sowohl am englischen als am fran- 
zosischen Hofe bekleidet, von dem Gauge und Erfolge seiner Be- 
muhungen geniigsam unterrichtet." 71 (A portrait of Franklin as 
envoy at the Court of Versailles is given.) He praises his politi 
cal qualifications and his discoveries and considers that he filled 
in the cabinet the same important position that Washington occu 
pied as head of the continental forces. 

Charles Spener, author of the Historisch-Genealogischer 
Calendar, 1784, writes to Franklin the following, showing us 
that Sprengel through him received direct information of Amer 
ican conditions from Franklin, although no draft of the answer 
which Franklin made to these inquiries can be found : 
"Monsieur: 

"Ayant desein de publier vers la fin de septembre, un almanac 
americain en allemand pour 1 Annee prochaine, & desirant le de- 
corer de plusieurs estamps y relatives, dont la composition ne doit 
point etre ideale; c est a vous Monsieur et a Votre portefeuille, 



71 Gcschichte der Revolution von Nord-Amerika, S. 162; von M. C. 
Sprengel, 1785. 



8o Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

qui doit etre tres riche en tout ce qui a rapport a 1 historie des 
Colonies anglo-americaines que j ose recourir, bien que je n aye 
point 1 honneur a Vous etre connu. 

"Permettez Monsieur, que je Vous expose brievement le plan 
de cet Almanac et qu ensuite je demande notre gracieuse assist 
ance, soit pour des renseignements, soit pour les articles memes 
dont j ai besoin et que certainement personne n est mieux en etat 
de me fournir que Vous Monsieur ! 

"L Almanac contiendra en premier lieu 1 historie de la Revo 
lution d apres les meilleurs Auteurs et les avis les plus veridiques 
que Ton ai pu je procurer, ce Sujet fera orner de graveures his- 
toriques, representant les evenemens les plus remarquables de 
cette guerre. En second lieu: Galerie des grands homines de 
I amerique avec un precis de leur carriere politique ou militaire 
decoree de leurs portraits copies sur ceux desines par Du Simitier 
a Philadelphia et sur d autres qui ont paru en Angleterre. Come 
Vous tenez Monsieur en si haut sway parmi les grands hommes 
d 1 Amerique je vous demande, si votre Portrait, tel qu il a 
etc grave en 1781 par Pelicier pour 1 essay sur les Anglo Ameri- 
cains est assez resemblant pour pouvoir me servir de modele ? 

"La partie historique de cet Almanac etant confiee a un de 
nos meilleurs historiens le Sr. Sprengel, Professeur d Historie a 
1 universite de Halle, qui possede fond 1 anglais et toutes les con 
naissances & qualites qui constituent le bon historien, j ose me 
flatter, que son Ouvrage meritera votre approbation. . . . 

"Enfin permettez moi d ajouter que le temps d ici a la fin de 
septembre terme fini pour la publication des Almanacs de votre 
pays, n etait gueres eloigne & 1 execution des differentes gravurcs 
exigeant un temps considerable, en me fournissant bientot pos 
sible les matereaux que me manquent vous ajouterez infiniment 
au prix du bienfait que je sollicite." He continues here with a 
plea for American portraits of such men as John Adams, Sr. 
Payne, Dr. Warren, who was killed at Bunker Hill, General 
Montgomery, and Sr. Paul Jones, Commodore in the service of 
the thirteen United States. He also asks for various coins of 
American money, for paper money, for the coat of arms of the 
colonies and for a minute description of the uniforms worn by 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 8r 

American troops and details of the lives of Washington and 
Gates with any other mementoes, that might be interesting and 
instructive to be embodied in his almanac. The above letter is 
signed by Charles Spener, librarian of the King, and written from 
Berlin the 26th of May, i^^. 1 2 

"C. A. Meyer writes to Kronau from Rothenburg, February 
8, 1874, the following in praise of Franklin s construction of the 
Harmonica: "Auf Deroselben Schreiben vom 19 Jan. Melde Fu. 
in schuldiger Antwort, dass meine Harmonica von der Franklin- 
schen weiter nichts an sich hat, als die aussere I^igur und Befesti- 
gung der Glocken. . . . Die Bewegung des Franklinschen ist 
am Schwingrade mit einer Schleife angebracht; man kann nicht 
damit zwar die Glocken bewegen, allein beim Aufsteigen dersel- 
ben kann man nicht helfen, und beim Crescendo und Forte muss 
die Maschine leicht gehemmt werden und still stehen ; da man bei 
der Art, wie ich eingerichtet habe, durch am Fusstritt angebrach- 
ten Riemen, sowohl beim Auf- als Absteigen der Glocken, zu 
jederzeit der Bewegung neue Kraft geben kann." 73 

In Georg Forster s Erinnerungen aus dcm Jahre 1*790, Band 
VI, III. Teil; Klcine Schriftcn, S. 204-208, is a treatment of 
Benjamin Franklin: "Eripuit Caelo Fulmen, mox sceptra tyran- 
nis." "Wer sich unter dem Manne der dem Himmel seine Blitze 
und den Tyrannen ihre Scepter entwendete : einen Titanischen, 
einen hundertarmigen Riesen, oder einen von Menschenblut trie- 
fenden Eroberer vorgestellt hatte, der wiirde kaum glauben und 
begreifen konnen, dass die ZiAge des hier beige fiigten Bildnisses 
jenem Wunderthate darstellen. So ratselhaft es aber klingen 
mag, so giebt es doch wirklich ein Mittel, womit man den Donner 
und seine irdischen Stellvertreter entwaffnen kann, ohne sich an 
die Spitze einer halben Million disciplinirter folgsamer Myrmi- 
donen zu stellen und einen unerschopflichen Schatz zu besitzen; 



72 A. P. S. 

^Journal von und fiir Deutschland 1/84. Herausgegeben von Frh. von 
Bibra und Goekingk. Julius (1784), S. 3. 

Mention of Franklin in a Hamburg publication 1788: Uber das Rauchen 
der Kaminc und der Schornstelnc in cincm Schreiben des Hcrrn^ Dr. Benja 
min Franklin an licrrn Dr. Ingenhousz in U icn. Aus dem Englischen iiber- 
setzt mit Anmerkungen vgn P. H. C. B. 



82 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

ja, was noch mehr ist, wenn man einen Menschen findet, der so 
aussieht wie clieser Benjamin Franklin, so darf man sich ziemlich 
sicher darauf verlassen, dass jenes Mittel bescheiden sei. Wir 
wollen uns zuvdrderst die Ziige dieses merkwardigen Mannes von 
einem Dichter deuten lassen. 

"Sein offner Blick ist aller Wesen Freund; 
Der innere Friede ruht auf seinen Augenbrau n, 
Und wie ein Fels, zu dem sich Wolken nie erheben, 
Scheint iiber n Erdenstand die reine Stirn zu schweben, 
Den Rost der Welt, der Leidenschaften Spur, 
Hat langst der Fluss der Zeit von ihr hinweggewaschen. 
Fiel eine Kroii ihm zu, und es bediirfte nur 
Sie mit der Hand im Fallen aufzuhaschen, 
Er streckte nicht die Hand. Verschlossen der Begier, 
Von keiner Furcht, von keinem Schmerz betroffen, 
Ist nur dem Wahren noch die heitere Seele offen, 
Nur offen der Natur, und rein gestimmt zu ihr. 

WlELAND. 



"So lange das Menschengeschlecht der Macht des Beispiels 
bedarf wird dieser Mann leben und wirken. Benjamin Franklin 
steht noch unter der kleinen Anzahl von Menschen, in denen die 
Wiirde der menschlichen Natur in vollem Glanz erschienen ist. 
Darf der Name des Weisen einem Sterblichen beigelegt werden, 
so gebiihrt er dem Manne, der in unserem Zeitalter sich selbst 
einen so grossen Wirkungskreis schuf, ohne sich die geringste 
Beeintrachtigung eines Anderen zu erlauben ; der sein gauzes Le 
ben der Belehrung seiner Landsleute widmete, ohne alle Anmas- 
sung ; der alles entbehren gelernt hatte und dennoch mit unermu- 
deter Thatigkeit arbeitete; der mit unbestechlicher Vernunft bis 
an sein Ende, Freiheit, Gerechtigkeit, Frieden, Brudertreue, 
Liebe und gegenseitige Duldung predigte; und in jeder dieser 
Tugenden mit grossem Beispiele verging. 

"Amerika ist gliicklich, dass es so bald nach der Gri mdung 
seiner gesitteten Staaten aus ihrem Schosse den Weisen hervor- 
gehen sah, dessen innere Harmonic, ihm gleichsam die Natur un- 
terwarf, ihn zur Entdeckung des Wahren in alien ihren Verhalt- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 83 

nissen fiihrte, und ihn zum Lehrer seiner Briidcr bcstimmte. Uie 
Unabhangigkeit vom brittischen Parlamcnte batten die Ameri- 
kaner ohne ihn errungen; die moralisehe Frciheit, die heilige 
Achtung fiir die Vernunft in jedem einzelnen JMcnschcn und die 
innige Anerkennung der Pflicht, eines Jeden Uberzeugung und 
Glauben zu ehren; dies alles, nebst manchen Anleitungen zur 
praktischen Lebensweisheit und so manchen einfachen, hiiuslicheii 
Einrichtungen, die in jenen angehenden Niederlassungen zur 
Bequemlichkeit gereichen, verdanken sie ihm. Das Licht welches 
er verbreitete, blieb nicht in einem Welttheil verschlossen ; sein 
Blick in dem innern Zusammenhang der Natur kani auch un~ 
serere Schwachheit zu Hiilfe, und indem er bewies, dass die Ma-- 
terie der Gewitter mit der zarten Fliissigkeit die wir im Harz, 
im Bernstein, im Glas kannten und bereits durch Metall zu leiten 
wussten, ganz von einerlei Beschaffenheit sei, ehrtc, er zugleich 
das Mittel uns und unsere Gebaude vor dem ziindenden Blitz- 
strahl zu sichern. Was er aber fiir die Rechte verniinftiger We- 
sen fiir die Freiheit des Menschengeschlechts gesprochen und mil 
unwiderlegbaren Griinden fiir seine Mitbiirger, ins besondere 
sonnenklar bewiesen hat, das steht auch diesseits des Ozeans fest, 
als ein ewiger Damm gegen die Tyrannei der willkiirlichen Ge- 
walt." He strongly praises Franklin s abhorrence of bloodshed 
and love of peace. "Vernunft und nur durch Vernunft mogliche 
Tugend, also wieder nur Vernunft und nichts als Vernunft ist 
der Zauber womit Benjamin Franklin den Himmel und die Erde 
bezwang, . . . der humanste Mensch und der gliicklichste von 
alien, die im achtzehnten Jahrhundert zu Mitarbeitern am grosscn 
Vollendungswerk menschlicher Gliickseligkeit auserkoren waren, 
hiess Benjamin Franklin." The picture accompanying this article 
represents Franklin s grandson kneeling before Voltaire, while 
Franklin, with hands folded as in prayer, awaits the French 
philosopher s benediction. "Gott, Freiheit, Friede. Mit diesen 
Segenswortern weihte der Hinscheidende Greis Voltaire den 
Jimgling William Temple Franklin zum Menschen Gott! Frei 
heit! Friede! betete der alte Franklin; und Gott, Freiheit und 
Friede waren in ihren Flerzen." 



84 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

NEKROLOG AUF DAS JAHR 1790. 

Friedrich Schlichtegroll. Gothe, 1791. Band I, S. 262-265. 
Den I7ten April. 

In a chapter entitled " Autobiography" Schlichtegroll gives 
the following account, which he has taken from "Memoires de la 
vie Privee de Benjamin Franklin", Paris, 1791 : "In dieser Riick- 
sicht hatte uns der unsterhliche Mann kein grosseres Geschick 
hinterlassen konnen, als die Geschichte seiner Jugend von ihm 
selbst geschrieben, deren Authenticitat, wenn gleich vor jetzt noch 
ohne weiteren Beweis aus innern Griinden mehr als wahrschein- 
lich ist" On page 266 of this same article we read: "Alles ist 
da rathsellos und begreiflich und in unserer Erfahrung begriindet 
und darum wird uns der Mensch, der da ist, wie unser einer, und 
doch ausserordentliche Dinge bewirkte, nur um desto lieber. . . . 
Jedes Gewitter, dem wir nun mit Ruhe als einem prachtigen nicht 
mehr als einem furchtbaren Schauspiele zusehen, jeder Ton der 
siissesten aller kiinstlichen Harmonien, jedes Schiff aus dem 
freien Amerika soil uns an ihn erinnern, und es bedarf nur der 
einfachsten Darstellung dessen, was er war und gethan hat, um 
diese of tern Erinnerungen mit ebenso oft widerholten Gefiihlen 
der Bewunderung und Verehrung zu begleiten." 

In the Deutsches Magasin, C. N. D. von Eggers, Band VI, 
Dezember, 1793, Seite 1443, tne author prints a letter of 
Dr. Franklin to the Abbe Soulaire in regard to the theory of 
Mines, not yet appearing in his collective works. We also read 
the following mention of two manuscripts of Dr. Franklin s 
which appear in none of his works. These are as follows: "i. 
Briefe an den Abt Soulaire in Anleihung einigcr mir zuge sand- 
ten Bemerkungen, die er aus meiner Unt err e dung mit ihm iiber 
die Theorie der Erde entlehnt hatte. 

"Passy, den 22. September, 1782. 
"Mein Herr : 

"Ich sende Ihnen das Manuscript mit einigen Berichtigungen 
zuriick. Ich fand keine Kohlenminen unter Kalkfelsen in Derby 
shire. Ich bemerke bios, dass an den niedrigsten Stellen dieses 
felsigen Gebirgs die zu Tage lagen Austerschalen mit dem Ge- 
stein vermengt waren. . . ." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 85 

2. The second manuscript is entitled Hingeworfene Gcdan- 
ken ilbcr ein allgemeines Fluid um. This letter containing the 
above speculation on general electrical fluid, its constituents and 
powers useful for discovery and experiment, was written from 
Passy the 25th of June, 1784. 

We read a reference to the following work of Franklin in 
Historischc Vergleichung dcr Sittcn und Vcrfassungen der Gc- 
setze und Gewerbe dcs Handels und der Religion der IVissen- 
schaften und Lehranstalten. Ill Bande, Hannover, 1794. "Alem- 
oires de la vie privee de Benjamin Franklin ecrit par lui-meme, 
scrvi d un precis historique de sa vie Politique, et de plusieurs 
pieces relatives a ce pere de la liber te, Paris, 1791." 

Dr. B. Franklins erweitertes Lehrgebdude der natiirlichen Elek- 
trizitdt. D. E. G. Wien, 1790. Vorcrinnerung. 

"Seitdem des verklarten verehrungswiirdigsten Vaters 
Franklins, der als Kiinstler die edle Buchdruckerei auch in Ame- 
rika fest griindete, als Naturforscher die wohlthatige Erfindung 
f iir Menschen machte, erweiterte ; als Staatsmann und obrigkeit- 
liche Person den Grund mitlegte worauf nach und nach die 
amerikanischen freyen vereinigten Provinzen unerschiitterliche 
Wurzeln gewinnen, griinden und bliihen werden." 

(The seventh chapter of this book is entitled Bruchstucke als 
Materialien des Franklinschen Lehrgebdudes der natiirlichen at- 
mospharischen Elektrizitat damit zu erweitern u. zu befestigen.) 

Franklins von Him selbst verfertigte Grabschrift. 

"Hier liegt der Korper Benjamin Franklins, eines Buch-- 
druckers, gleich dem Bande eines alten Buches, dessen Blatter 
abgenutzt sind, seiner Verzierungen und Vergoldungen beraubt, 
als Speise fiir die Wiirmer. Doch das Werk selbst wird nicht 
verloren gehen, sondern in einer neuen von dem Verfasser ver- 
besserten und vermehrten Ausgabe erscheinen." 

This Grabschrift is a translation made from Franklin s own 
inscription, as given to us in Handbibliothek fiir Freundc, by Jo- 
hann Kaspar Lavater, Band VI, Seite 41, 1793. 



86 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

In 1794 C. IVIilon published his Denkwilrdigkeiten zur Gc~ 
schichtc Benjamin Franklins, in which his appreciation is clearly 
expressed thus : 

"Allein ich habe ungeachtet der Schwierigkeit eines sol- 
chen Unternehmens, der Begierde nicht widerstehen konnen, 
einen Versuch iiber das Leben dieses beriihmten IMannes zu 
schreiben, in welchem man den scharfsichtigen Philosophen und 
den geschicksten Politiker erkennet. Da er das Innerste der 
menschlichen Natur genau kannte, so wusste er die Tugenden 
und die Twister, sowie die Thorheiten und Schwachheiten seiner 
Mitmenschen zu seinern eigenen Ansehen auf eine geschickte Art 
zu gebrauchen." 

Dr. David Ramsay this same year gave his German transla 
tion, Gesehichtc der amerikanischen Revolution a us den Aktcn 
des Congresses (aus dem Englischen). 

"In dieser Absicht (um einen biirgerlichen Krieg abzuwen- 
den) hielten Dr. Fothergill, Herr David Barclay und Dr. Frank 
lin zu London verschiedene Conferenzen iiber die amerikanischen 
Angelegenheiten. Der letztere war ein Amerikaner von Geburt, 
der alle gute Menschen liebte und von alien geliebt ward." (S. 

315.) 

"Franklin, Herr Adams und Herr Jefferson hatten den Auf- 
trag Handlungsbiindnisse mit auswartigen Machten zu schliessen. 
Es gelang ihnen bei dem Konig von Preussen und clem Kaiser 
von Morocco." (S. 346.) 

Benjamin Franklin. Klcine Schriften. Aus dem Englischen. 
Appeared in Weimar, 1794, from the pen of G. Schatz. On page 
2 he says : 

"Unter den grossen Mannern die unser Jahrhundert hervor- 
gebracht hat, ist Franklin nach dem allgemeinen Urteil aller, die 
hieriiber eine Stimme haben, einer der Ersten. . . . Sein 
Ruhm und seine Grosse als Erfinder, als Staatsmann, als griind- 
licher Kenner von mehr als einer Wissenschaft, als lehrreicher 
und geistvoller Schriftsteller sincl entschieden. Die kleine Schrif 
ten Der grosste Theil derselben betrifft Gegenstande der Politik 
und Philosophic des Lebens. Audi der kleinste und minder wich- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 87 

tigste tragt unverkennbar das Geprage cler Originalitat und 1st 
wenigstens von einem Funken des Geistes beseelt, dcr wohin er 
auch nur einen flitchtigen Blick war, iibcrall Licht und Warme 
verbreitete." 

Dr. Benjamin Franklins Leben. Tubingen, 1795. 

Seite 7 : 

"Dr. Benjamin Franklin ist einer von den wenigen Men- 
schen, die ganz allein durch eigene Anstrengung gross und be- 
riihmt geworden ist, ohne dass Reichtum, oder vornehme Geburt 
oder Verbindungen mit machtigen Menschen ihm zur Stiitze ge- 
dient hatten." 

b. Franklin in German Literature of the Nineteenth Century. 

Johann Christian August Bauer, in his book entitled Frank 
lin und Washington, Berlin, 1806, Volume VIII, page 53, writes 
as follows : 

"Im Jahre 1742 machten mehrere deutsche Gelehrte elek- 
trische Versuche, vorziiglich der Professor Bose, in Wittemberg, 
Winkler in Leipzig, Gordon in Erfurt und Ludolf in Berlin, und 
setzten durch ihre Entdeckungen ganz Europa in Erstaunen. . . . 
Um das Jahr 1745 sendete Collinson der Bibliothek-Gesellschaft 
von Philadelphia, eine genaue Beschreibung ihrer Entdeckungen, 
nebst eine Elektrisirmaschine, und die Anweisung sich ihrer zu 
bedienen. . . . Franklin und einige seiner Freunde machten 
sogleich eine Reihe Experimente. Er war bald im Stande, wich- 
tige Entdeckungen zu machen und gab den Grund verschiedener 
Erscheinungen an. Seine Ideen wurden gleich mit allgemeinem 
Beifall aufgenommen und haben seinen Namen verewigt." 

The construction of Franklin s "Harmonika" is treated in 
detail in this work : 

Ernst Ludwig Gerber, Neues historisch-biographisches Lexi- 
kon dcr Tonkilnste, Band IV, 1812-1814. 

Ludwig Christian Lichtenberg und Friedrich Kries pub 
lished Die vennischten Schriftcn, von Georg Christoph Lichten 
berg. 



88 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

We find in Part V of this volume, page 316, a letter directed 
to Lieutenant Rion, which runs thus: "Bei Lesung dieser Ge- 
schichte ficlen niir einige Gedanken des grossen Franklin wieder 
cin, die er in eineni Schreiben an Herrn Le Roy zu Paris aus- 
serte, und die von Commandierenden sowohl als Eigentiimern 
von Schiffen nie genug beherzigt werden konnen. Ich lese nun 
(schrieb der philosophische Greis im August 1785 und zwar auf 
der See an Bord des Londonschen Packetboots) fast siebzig ganze 
Jahre Zeitungen und wenige Jahre gingen vorbei, dass ich-nicht 
Nachrichten gelesen hatte von Schiffen, die man ohne einem 
Seile an Bord und mit Wasser im Raum herumschurend ange- 
troffen hatte, oder von anderen die in gleichem Zustand ans 
Land geworfen waren." 

On page 318 he writes: "Franklin ist iiberzeugt, dass man 
dies Kriegschiff, wo wegen der Grosse der Conservation die 
Zahl der leeren Wasserfasser sehr betrachtlich sein muss, in der 
Schlacht noch vom Sinken hatte gerettet werden konnen, wenn 
man es zur bestandigen Regel gemacht hatte, die ausgetrunkenen 
Fasser jedes Mai fest zuzuschlagen und an solche Orte der Ver- 
wahrung zu bringen, dass sie noch frei schwimmen konnen." 

In an earlier edition of this work, Gottingen, 1801, page 148, 
this reference is made : "Newton, Franklin, das waren Menschen 
die beneidenswerth sind." 

Heinrich Eisner in Bcfr clung skampf der nordamerikanl- 
schen Staatcn, mit den Lebensbeschreibungen der vier bcrilhmtcn 
Manner dcrsclben, Washington, Lafayette, Franklin und Kos- 
ciuzko, Stuttgart, 1835, pp. 658-691, discusses Franklin: 

"Franklin, dessen Name zwar nicht unter den Helden 
prangt, noch durch glanzende, in die Augen fallende Handlun- 
gen beruhmt geworden ist, der aber durch seine stille Verdienste 
um sein Vaterland cine Biirgerkrone, durch seine Erfindungen 
eine der ersten Stellen unter den Wohlthatern der Menschheit er- 
worben . . . mit seinem Leben darf man behaupten, ist eines 
der herrlichsten Weltlichter erloschen. . . . Vielleicht lebte 
nie ein Mann dessen Leben mit mehreren Rechten niitzlich ge- 
nannt werden kann. Nie ging etwas durch seine Hande, das er 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 89 

nicht vollkommen gemacht hatte. Sein ganzes Leben war cine 
Predigt gegen Eitelkeit, Uberschwenglichkeit und Stolz. Fs war 
ihm Hauptzvveck den Menschcn Liebe zum Fleiss, zur Massigkeit 
und Sparsamkeit einzuflossen und alle Pflichten einzuschiirfen, 
welche die wichtigen Interessen der Menschheit fordern." 

Reference to Franklin s visit to Germany we find again on 
page 129 of The Life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, written by him 
self, to which are added essays by the same author, Mit einem 
Worterbuch zum Schul- und Privatgebrauch, Carlsruhe, 1838: 

"In the year 1766 he made a visit to Holland and Germany 
and received greatest marks of attention from men of science." 

Dr. Bergk in Franklin s Goldnes Schatzk dstlein, Ouedlin- 
burg und Leipzig, 1839, in his Vorrede writes: "Was Franklin 
lehrt ist fast immer ausfiihrbar, was er sagt ist niitzlich und was 
er getan hat ist beinahe jeder Zeit der Nachahmung werth." 

G. B. Niebuhr in Geschichte des Zeitalters der Revolution, 
Bd. I, S. 93, Hamburg, 1845, discusses the American Revolution 
(Vorlesungen zu Bonn, 1829), and gives clearly his estimate of 
Franklin : 

"Die vornehmsten jungen Manner waren mit Enthusiasmus 
nach Amerika gegangen ; Leute die nur Sybarinismus und Regel- 
losigkeit des Orients wimschten, ergaben sich der Demokratie 
und huldigten der neuen Quakerrepublik und Franklin in seinem 
einfachen Quaker Kleide im Gegenstand der Bewegung der 
glanzendsten Damen von Paris. (Franklin ist keineswegs mein 
Held und es ist unbegreiflich wie man ihn in dem falschen Glanze 
stehen lassen kann, den man um ihn gebildet hat.)" 

In Leipzig, 1845, Julius Kell published his Lebensbeschrei- 
bung Benjamin Franklins. Clearly he approves of Franklin s 
life and activities : "Mochten doch recht Viele aus unserem Volke 
von dem Manne lernen, der so viel gelernt, ^o viel erlernt, so viel 
geredet, so viel gethan, der so viel gekampft hat. Mochte 

die Geschichte des in Franklins Leben tief ergreifenden Frei- 
heitskampfes gegen den Druck Englands vor allem unseren, unter 
wohlwollenden Regierungen stehenden Staaten Deutschlands, zei- 
gen, wie viel sie an ihren guten Regierungen bereits habe." (S. 
V-VI.) 



f)O Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Heinrich Bettzeich-Beta Benjamin Franklin, sein Leben, 
Dcnkcn und Wirken, Leipzig, 1853, says page 2: Franklin ist 
eine Personlichkeit der anglosachsischen Wirtschaft und Wissen- 
schaft in England, Amerika und Australia. . . . Franklin ist 
der wahre Goldmann. Er hat die Sparsamkeit erfunden und die 
Harmonika verbessert." "So ist er der grosste Wirtschaftslehrer 
aller Zeitcn und Volker geworden." (P. 91.) 

This same year Theodor Ruprecht published Benjamin 
Franklin, Leben und Schriften. On page 6, we read : "Franklin 
hat seit fast einem Jahrhundert unberechenbares Gut gestiftet. 
. . . Diese Schriften und diese Biographic lie fern im Verein das 
Gesammtbild eines nachahmenswerthen Lcbens und Strebens, das 
um so mehr Werth hat, weil es kein erfundenes, sondern ein 
wahres Lebensbild ist. . . . Franklin lehrt (nicht durch 
Worte, sondern durch sein Beispiel) dass die griindliche Bildung 
und die wahre Weisheit stets Theorie und Praxis engverbunden 
Hand in Hand gehen lasst. . . . Er empfiehlt durch sein Bei 
spiel fruchtbares Wissen und erspriessliche Kenntnisse. . . ." 

Page 8 : "Franklin verlangt Fleiss, Nuchternheit, Sparsam 
keit, ausdriicklich als Mittel zum Lebensgliick ; er zeugt, wie 
jene Tugenden zur Grundbedingungen des wahren Lebensgl ticks 
fiihren ; namlich zur Unabhangigkeit. . . ." 

F. C. Schlosser gives one of the best criticisms of Franklin 
that we find in German literature. This account we find in his 
Geschichte des achtzchnten Jahrhunderts und ncunxchntcn Jahr- 
hunderts, Heidelberg, 1853, Band III, Seite 346: "Er (Franklin) 
war um 1765 schon seit dreissig Jahren als Griinder von Druck- 
ereien, als Urheber einer verbreiteten Zeitungs- und Journal- 
schreiberei und Druckerei, als Volksschriftsteller und Moralist 
in Amerika, seit fimfzehn in Europa als Physiker, Beobachter 
und Entdecker wichtiger Erscheinungen beriihmt." 

Speaking of Franklin s examination before Parliament in 
1766, he says, page 557: "Dass Franklin zum Diplomaten ge- 
boren war, dass er die Tugend an den Nagel hangen konnte, 
wenn die Klugheit es forderte, und dass er wiederum den halben 
Quaker spielte wenn es forderte/ Schlosser felt the importance 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 91 

of Franklin s diplomatic ability, but he did not omit to accord 
to him his just praise in literary fields. "Er ist claher ein niitzli- 
cher, ein brauchbarer, ein kluger und verstiindiger, aber keines- 
wegs ein grosser Schriftsteller." His importance lies in his 
political activities : "Dass Franklin ein geborenes diplomatisches 
Genie war ; allein wir miissen hinzusetzen, class er mit dem richti- 
gen und praktischen Takt und mit der kalten und berechenenden 
Klugheit des Diplomaten cloch auch regen Eifer fiir das Wohl 
der Menschheit und eine milde, sanfte, verstandige Religiositat 
verband." Franklin s writings had influence upon all liberty- 
loving people (p. 560) : "Als Schriftsteller der Demokratie 
wirkte er ebenfalls vierzig Jahre hindurch mehr praktisch als 
theoretisch, mehr moralisch und industriell als eigentlich politisch ; 
als Diplomat versteckte er unter den Aussern eines Naturkindes, 
den schlausten und ganz kalt berechnenden Staatsmann. . . 
Sowohl die Sprichworter des alten Heinrichs als die Weisheit des 
guten Richard, hatten in einem grossen Kreise dieselbe Wirkun- 
gen, welche Pestalozzi erster Teil von Licnhard und Gertrud 
in einem engern in Deutschland und in der Schweiz hatte." 

We read in Benjamin Franklin Eine Biographic von F. A. 
Mignct (aus dem franzosischen), von Dr. Ed. Burckhardt, Leip 
zig, 1855, page 3, thus : "Wie aber Franklin ein Mann von Genie 
war, so war er auch ein Mann von klarem Verstand ; wie er ein 
tugendhafter Mann war, so war er auch ein ehrenhafter Mann; 
wie er ein ruhmgekronter Staatsmann, war, so war er auch ein 
hingebender Burger." 

Page 22 : "In der Weisheit des guten Richard, im Weg zum 
Gliick, fasste er die ganze Reihe dieser von dem feinsten Ver 
stand und der einsichtsvollsten Ehrbarkeit dictirten Grundsatze 
zusammen." 

Page 44: "Sein thatiger, feuriger, fruchtbarer, rechtlicher 
Geist, sein energischer und entschlossener Charakter, berufen ihn 
dazu, ein natiirliches Ubergewicht iiber anderen zu behaupten." 

"Auf die wahre Grundlegung - der Astronomic musste die 
Physik, die Chemie und die Naturwissenschaft folgen; auf Gali 
leo, Keppler, Huyghens, Newton, Leibnitz muss ein Franklin, 
Priestley, Lavoiseur, Berthollet u. s. w. folgen." 



92 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

In Benjamin Franklin s Gleichniss von der Glaubensduldung, 
Dessau, 1855, we find this passage: "Das beriihmte Gleichniss 
des amerikanischen Freiheitshelden Benjamin Franklin (a para 
ble against persecution, Der alte Abraham) erscheint hier zuerst 
in einer deutschen Ausgabe. J. Spark s Lcben Franklins, II. 
Theil, II. Kapitel, zeigt, dass die Parabel uralt ist und schon von 
dem persischen Dichter Saadi als eine alte hebraische Dichtung 
erwahnt, und Franklin gebiihrt daher nur das Verdienst, sie in 
die vorherschende, volksthiimliche Form gegossen zu haben." 

Heinrich Welker von Guntershausen, Neueroffnetes Maga- 
zin musikalischcr Tonwcrkzcugc, Band II, 1855, Frankfurt a. 
M., gives a very clear and comprehensive discussion of Franklin s 
"Harmonika". 

In the Programm und Jahresbericht des KaiserL Konigl. 
Ob er gymnasiums zu Laibach, fur das Schuljahr 1856, we read an 
article treating Abbe Nollet in his position toward Benjamin 
Franklin. The strong opposition which the French scientist took 
toward Franklin s experiments is well known and is treated in 
the above-mentioned Programm of twelve pages by Dr. Heinrich 
Mitteis in a most able manner. His ideas he expresses thus : 

"Diese Zeitperiode in der Entwicklungsgeschichte der Elek- 
tricitatslehre, die wohl in der Entwicklungsgeschichte eines jeden 
Theiles der Wissenschaft einen ahnlichen Zeitabschnitt findet, 
schliesst nun mit den grossartigen Entdeckungen Franklins, zu- 
gleich aber auch mit einem literarischen Streite, in welchem 
Franklin s Theorie mit der bis dahin von einem grossen Theile 
der Gelehrten angenommenen Theorie des franzosischen Physi- 
kers Nollet verwickelt wurde. Es war dies eigentlich eine Ver- 
theidigung Nollets gegen B. Franklin, ohne dass vom Letzteren 
ein directer Angriff gegen den franzosischen Physiker erfolgt 
ware. Die Stellung des Abbe Nollet, der sich durch seine eifri- 
gen Bemiihungen wesentliche Verdienste um die Electricitat er- 
worben hat, und in mancher geistreichen Vermuthung selbst dem 
genialen Franklin vorangeeilt war. ... In dem Streite 
zwischen Nollet und Franklin war wohl Nollet der Besiegte. . . . 

Die Gelehrten damaliger Zeit bildeten eine grosse Gesell- 
schaft, welche ohne Unterschied der Nationalitat und der Con- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany g^ 

fession (lurch das gemeinsame Band der Wissenschaft verbunden 
war und nach dem gemeinsamen Ziele der Ausbildung der Wis- 
senschaften und der Veredlung des Geistes unablassig hinstrebte. 
Was in den entfernsten Theilen der gelehrten Welt entdeckt 
wurde, kam so schnell als moglich zur Kenntniss der Mitglieder 
dieses grossen Vereins und wurde Gemeingut Aller." 

Nollet s great service to electricity has been considered his 
establishing the foundations of his direct theory. From his very 
first letters to his Italian friend, Signora Ardinghelli, in Naples, 
he shows that in Franklin he sees his literary opponent. (Lettres 
d Electricite I-i Lettre.) Nollet was reserved in his attitude to 
ward the ready acceptance which was accorded Franklin s new 
idea in France, as introduced by his two supporters, Buff on and 
D Alibard. The French scientist accused Franklin of making 
the statement of the electrical properties of lightning without 
verification by experiment, because he felt that the weather in 
Philadelphia was never so inclement as to offer to spectators the 
wonderful display of an electrical storm. He was, however, 
thankful to Franklin for the new statement that lightning and 
electricity are identical materials, but that a pointed iron rod can 
protect against lightning was to him unbelievable. Franklin s 
generous attitude finally won Nollet to his mode of thinking. 
"Die Streitigkeiten der Menschen vergehen mit ihnen zugleich, 
die Thatsachen bleiben und die Nachwelt, welche die Dinge mit 
kaltem Blute und ohne personliches Interesse erblickt, urtheilt 
mit Unparteilichkeit und befreit die \Vahrheit von alien Ranken, 
welche dieselbe hinderten, im vollen Glanze zu erscheinen." This 
is the German scientist s final version of the matter. 

In the Zeitschrift filr deutsche Kulturgeschichte, herausge- 
geben von Dr. Johannes Miiller; Johannes Falke, Niirnberg, 
1858, Seite 486, the following tribute is paid to the two leaders 
of the American war for freedom : "Die wiirdigsten Gestalten 
eines Washington und eines Franklin, wovon der Erstere durch 
seine Ritterlichkeit und seine uneigenniitzige Liebe zum Vater- 
land, der Letztere durch seine schlichte Biirgerlichkeit die Herzen 
gewonnen, konnten nicht anders als das lebhafteste Interesse aller 
edleren Geister erwecken." 



94 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Klinger, one of the great leaders of the Sturm und Drang 
Period c, sought to secure an opportunity to reach America. Of 
this detail of his life we read: "Da schaffte nun Schlosser den 
Rat dass Pfeffel ihm durch Franklin eine Stelle im Kriegsdienste 
der Vereinigten Staaten verschaffen sollte. Franklin war Ge- 
sandte am Hofe Ludwigs XVI., der vor kurzem, am 6. Februar, 
einen Allianzvertrag mit clem jungen Freistaate geschlossen hat 
und in den Krieg mit England eingetreten w r ar. Ob der blincle 
Pedagog und Dichter in Colmar eine unmittelbare Verbindung 
mit dem beriihmten amerikanischen Popularphilosophen, Physi- 
ker und Diplomaten besass, weiss ich nicht; wenn nicht, so war 
ihm derselbe doch durch seinen Bruder Christian Friedrich zu- 
ganglich, der als Juris Consulte du Roi mit Geschaften des aus- 
wartigen Departments betraut in franzosischem Dienste stand 
und am Sitze der Regierung lebte. 71 In Franklin s correspond 
ence, no letter from Klinger comes to view, but no doubt if his 
brother held such an imperial position, Franklin would have 
naturally known him. 



"Es ist das Verdienst eines deutschen Geschichtsschreibers, 
Schlossers in Heidelberg, Franklin in seiner geschichtlichen und 
personlichen Bedeutung besser als Amerikaner, Franzosen und 
Englander gewiirdigt und characterisirt zu haben. . . . Schlos 
ser characterisirt deshalb Franklin so gut, weil er eine ihm ganz 
verwandte Natur ist." 

Thus Friedrich Kapp, on page 46 of his Lebcn des ameri 
kanischen Generals Wilhelm von Steuben, Berlin, 1858, praises 
Schlosser s attitude toward Franklin. 



J. Venedey, in 1862, published in Freiburg in Breisgnu 
Benjamin Franklins Leben. On page 355, the chapter entitled 
Em Lebensb dd, he writes: "Nordamerika hat das grosste Gliick 
zwei Manner in dem Vordergrunde der Ereignisse seiner Rev 



( > 



74 Klinger, in der Sturm und Drang Pcriode. M. Rieger, p. 262. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 95 

lution zu sehen, die der Menschheit stets zu Vorbildern . . . 
Washington und Franklin . . . der ritterliche Edelmut 
herrscht in Jenem, die biirgerliche Klugheit in Diesem vor. . . . 
Franklin wurde zum kliigsten Mamie seiner Zeit ; der trotz seiner 
Klugheit jede unedle Neigung in seineni Wesen bekampfte und 
besiegte. . . . Franklin s Leben zeigt zugleich den Weg zur 
Tugend, und ist hierdurch ein Erziehungsbei spiel fur die 
Menschheit." 

In Friedrich Nosselt s Lchrbuch zur Kenntniss der vcrschie- 
denen Gattungen Poesie und Prosa, sechste Auflage, Stuttgart, 
1877, Band I, Seite 298, entitled "Die Anekdote und Lapidar- 
styl", he gives this picture for his young readers: "J ec k r er- 
zahlt eine kurze Begebenheit oder eine Ausserung einer Person ; 
doch muss die Fine und die Andere sich Witz oder Neuheit aus- 
zeichnen oder eine sonst merkwiirdige Person betreffen, damil 
die Zuhorer bei der Erzahlung Vergniigen empfinden." 

On page 299 he writes : "Unter Lapidarstyl versteht man 
wenige kraftige Worte, welche auf Grabsteine, auf Miinzen, auf 
Denksaulen gesetzt werden, um das Andenken an wichtige Bege- 
benheiten oder Personen zu erhalten. Z. B., die Grabschrift, 
welche der beriihmte Franklin, der Erfinder des Blitzableiters, 
erst Buchdrucker, dann Gesandte des nordamerikanischen Frei- 
staats, gestorben 1790 in Philadelphia, sich selbst setzte : 

" Der Leib Benjamin Franklins, Drucker, liegt hier als 
Speise fiir Wiirmer wie der Einband eines alten Buches, aus wel- 
chem das Werk gerissen, Aufschrift und Vergoldung abgegriffen 
ist. Aber das Werk wird nicht verloren gehen, denn es wird er- 
scheinen in einer neuen zierlichen Auflage, durchgesehen und ver- 
bessert vom Verfasser. 

Karl Biedermann in Deutschland im achtzehnten Jahrhun- 
dert, Leipzig, 1880, page 162, discussing Der Einfluss der ameri- 
kanischen und franzosischen Revolution auf Klopf stock writes; 

u Vor allem jedoch war es das praktische Beispiel der fiir 
ihre Unabhangigkeit kampfenden nordamerikanischen Colonien 
Englands, was bei alien civilisirten Volkern Europas den stark- 
sten Einfluss hervorbrachte und den Grundsatzen des Vernunft- 
rechts deren beredte Vertheidigung von dem englischen Parla- 



0,6 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

ment ein Mann von so acht biirgerlich-republikanischem Geprage 
wie Franklin f iihrte rasch die allgemeinste Zustimmung und Aner- 
kennung verschaffte. Diese letzteren Eindriicke zumal mogen in 
den durch einen lebhaften Handelsverkehr mit Nordamerika eng 
verbunden, ohnehin seiner eigenen Verfassung nach republikani- 
schem Hamburg, wo damals Klopstock lebte, sich wesentlich f iihl- 
bar gemacht haben." 

Benjamin Franklin, Sein Leben von Him selbst beschricben. Vor- 
wort von Berthold Auerbach, und historisch-politischc Ein- 
leituny von Friedrich Kapp. Berlin, 1882. 

"Das Leben Franklins tritt als Buch von dauernder pada- 
gogischer \Virkung in Parallele zur Geschichte Robinson Cru- 
soes." 

Seite 10: "Wie bei uns z. B. Goethe und Humboldt, so ist 
fiir die Vereinigten Staaten Benjamin Franklin ein soldier, seine 
Landsleute machtig fordernder und in seine Zeit gewaltig ergrei- 
fender Charakter, so verkniipft sich mit ihm nicht allein die 
geistliche sondern auch die politische Entwicklung seines Vater- 
landes, so verkorpert sich in ihm mehr wie irgend einem An- 
deren das gewaltige und erfolgreiche Ringen eines ganzen Jahr- 
hunderts. Die Welt war eine gliickliche und freiere als Frank 
lin sie verliess. Nicht allein sein Vaterland, auch die ganze 
Menschheit hatte durch seine Arbeit an geistlichen Gutern gewon- 
nen. Als ich das erste gute Bild Franklins sah, trat es mir wie 
ein alter Bekannter entgegen. Den kennst du ja seit deiner Ju- 
gend , rief ich unwillkiirlich aus, ist das nicht Schulze Westhof 
oder Kolon Nordmeier?" 

Seite 55 : "Justus Moser fand ich in ihm dieselbe Grund- 
anschauung, wie in jenem wieder, denselben festen historischen 
Sinn, denselben aus dem Boden seiner nachsten Umgebungen, 
hervorwachsenden Gemeingeist, denselben gutmiitigen Humor 
und dasselbe Flerz fiir sein Volk. . . . Der eine mac Jit Politik 
und Geschichte, der andere scJireibt sie vom Gesichtspunkte patri- 
otischer Phantasien aus. . . ." 

Seite 66 : "Denn der grosse Amerikaner ist durch seine ger- 
manische Abstammung und Auffassung der sittlichen Pfiichten 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 97 



des Lebens ebenso sehr der unsrige als Shakespeare bei uns 
schen gleich neben Goethe und Schiller steht." 

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Minister, 1882. 
In the Vorbemerkungen the author says of the Autobiography: 
"Benjamin Franklin s Autobiography ist ein Werk das sowohl 
wegen seiner klassischen, einfach edlen Sprache als noch mehr 
wegen seines Inhalts die grosste Bedeutung verdient." 

Dr. Richard Mayer in English Authors, Bielefeld and Leip 
zig, 1889, discusses Franklin s Autobiography and agrees with 
Herder s ideas of the renowned American: "Herder mit vielem 
Rechte Franklin den edelsten Volksschriftsteller des an popularer 
Literatur so iiberreichen Jahrhunderts nennt. 

In Bielefeld und Leipzig, 1889, appeared also Benjamin 
Franklin s Autobiography, mit Anmerkungen zum Schulgebraucli, 
page 4, with Pitt s appreciation of Franklin as "one whom all 
Europe held in high estimation for his knowledge and wisdom ; 
who was an honor not to the English nation only, but to human 
nature", is quoted. 

In 1769, St. Jacob s Church, in Hamburg, was protected 
with a lightning rod. Die Geschichte der PJiysik, by Dr. Frie- 
drich Rosenberger, Braunschweig, 1882, Vol. Ill, page 316, gives : 
"Nach der Wiener Zeitung (Neue freie Presse), befmden sich in 
der Bibliothek der Wiener elektrischen Ausstellung, 1882, die 
handschriftlichen Beilegung, dass der Pramonstratenser Ordens- 
priester Prokop Dievisch in Prenditz bei Znaim am 15. Juni, 
1754, eine 22 klafter hohe Wetterstange errichtet und diesen 
Blitzableiter unabhangig von Franklin erfunden hat. Da Frank 
lin seine Vorschlage iiber die Herableitung des Blitzes schon 1750 
machte und schon 1753 eine Theorie des Blitzableiters gab, 
scheint uns doch der Beweis fur die vollstandige Unabhangig- 
keit des Dievisch von Franklin recht schwer zu fuhren zu sein." 
W r e find mention of the following work of Franklin s, A 
Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Cur 
rency, Philadelphia, 1729. 

Karl Knortz, in his Geschichte der nordamerikanischen Lite- 
ratnr, Berlin, 1891, page 30 ff., writes: "Franklin s Einfluss 
wuchs von Tag zu Tag. . . . Er lehrte Ehrlichkeit, Massig- 



98 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

keit, Ausclauer und Vaterlandsliebe ; die Tugendregeln, die er in 
seinem armen Richard viel gab, hatte er alle an sich selber pro- 
biert. Er besass em gesundes Urteil, schnelle Auffassungsgabe 
und bewundernswerten Scharf sinn ; er war ohne Stolz und Sehn- 
sucht, iiberhaupt ein wahrcr Held des Friedens. . . . Er 
schrieb klar, verstandlich und einfach ; seinen Stil hatte er nach 
Bunyan, dessen Pilgrims Progress sein Lieblingsbuch war, 

gebildet." 

In a Geschichte dcr cnglischcn Literatur (Mit einem An- 
hang Die nordamcrikanische Literatur}, by Edward Engel, 
Leipzig, 1897, page 532 : "Das helle Licht des neuen Tages geht 
auf mit Benjamin Franklin. In ihm kommt nicht nur ein edlerer 
Gottesbegriff zur Geltung; er verbreitete auch mit der Deutlich- 
keit eines Musterbeispiels viele der edit amerikanischen Eigen- 
schaften; ein rightiger Yankee im guten Sinne." 



In Beitrage zur amerikanischen Litter atur- und Kulturge- 
schichte, E. P. Evans, Stuttgart, 1898, page 64, discussing 
Ralph Waldo Emerson says: u Er vereinigte in sich die Erleuch- 
tung des Jacob Bohme und die Lebensweisheit des Benjamin 
Franklin." 

c. Franklin as Treated in German Literature of the Twentieth 

Century. 

Das Literarische Echo J, pages 1696-1697 for 1905, gives a 
very able article by Max Kohn, entitled Amerika im Spiegel deut- 
scher Dichtung, which treats Franklin and the lofty appreciation, 
which Herder felt for the founder of the American Philosophical 
Society : 

"Der erste mit der ganzen Glut dichterischer Begeisterung 
der aufstrebenden Rcpublik zujauchzte war Klopf stock, ihm 
folgte Herder mit seiner Verehrung Benjamin Franklins, des 
Lehrers der Menschheit, des Ordners einer grossen Gesellschaft. 
Nach diesem Amerika Franklins wenden dann die Kraftgenies, 
denen das eingeschnurte und zivilisirte Europa, keinen Spielraum 
fur die freie Entfaltung der Krafte mehr lasst, gern ihren Blick." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 99 

Klinger, Schubart, Schiller, Platen, Lenau, Heine, Borne and 
Goethe, all these enthusiastic admirers of freedom were attracted 
to the uprising of the American children against their oppressive 
mother country. 

Professor Eduard Engel, in Geschichte der englischen Lite- 
ratur, Chapter VI Die nor dame rikanische Liter atur, 6. Auflage, 
Leipzig, pages 459-460, says : "Das helle Licht des neuen Tages 
geht auf mit Benjamin Franklin. In ihni kommt nicht mir ein ed- 
lerer Gottesberiff ztir Geltung; er vertritt auch mit der Deutlich- 
keit eines Musterbeispiels viele der echt amerikanischen Eigen- 
schaften; ein richtiger Yankee im guten Sinne. . . . Seine ein- 
zige literarisch-wertvolle, noch heute lesbare Hinterlassenschaft 
ist die in seinem 79. Lebensjahre verfasste Autobiography , 1785, 
zugleich eine ausgezeichnete Darstellung des amerikanischen Le- 
bens im achtzehnten Jahrhundert. Er zeigt sich darin als der 
Apostel der Niitzlichkeit, Sparsamkeit, Schlauheit, kurz der ver- 
einigten Lebensprosa. . . . Bei der Erwahnung Franklin s 
mag zugleich des auffallenden Umstands gedacht werden, dass 
kein Volk so viele langlebige beriihmte Manner der Literatur auf- 
weist wie die Nordamerikaner." Franklin is still worthy of a 
first place in the story of the colonial period, not only in the pol 
itical interest, which he necessarily inspires, but the fame of the 
"Autobiography" and "Poor Richard", hold for him this place 
among the pioneers of American literature. When we consider 
that Franklin did not have this aim, of stamping himself as a 
literary star in the broad sky of talent, and remember that even 
today his maxims are repeated in nearly every living language, 
and his name is synonymous with the lightning-rod and other of 
his well-known inventions, we must be proud to feel that foreign 
lands still include his name among the famous fathers of Amer 
ican freedom and American literature. 

The Zeitschrift filr Biicherfreundc, Bielefeld und Leip 
zig, 1905, mentions the work of Gottfried August Burger: "In 
seiner letzten Lebensjahren hat Burger durch seine finanzielle 
Notlage gedrangt noch wiederholt zur Feder des Ubersetzers ge- 
griffen. So erschien 1792 bei Rollmann in Berlin Benjamin 
Franklins Jugendjahre, von Him sclbst filr semen Sohn beschric- 



roo 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 



ben, und ilbcrsetzt von G. A. Burger, ein Buch welches in der 
l r olge in Dcutschland grosse Verbreitung gefunden hat." The 
author says of Franklin : "Durch Franklin wurden also die ersten 
Beziehungen zwischen amerikanischen und deutschen Denkern 
und Gelehrten angekntimpft." 

Abhandlnngcn fiber Elektr other apic, Heft 4; Die Franklin- 
sehe Elektrirjitdt in der mcdizinischcn IVissenschaft und Praxis, 
Dr. August von Luzenberger, Leipzig, 1901, speaking of 
Frapklin s abilities in electricity, writes: "Die spater sogenannte 
statische oder Franklinsche Elektricitat, ist die erste Form, in 
welcher dieser alldringende Agent und dessen Molikularbewe- 
gung sich unseren Sinnen dargeboten hat. . . . Eine andere 
Form von Kondensatoren verdanken wir Franklin, welche Frank- 
linometer genannt ist. . . ." 

In Gcschichtc der englischcn Eittcratur, von Geh. Hofrat 
Professor Dr. Richard Wiilker, II neu-bearbeite und vermehrte 
Auflage, Band II, Leipzig und Wien, 1907, Seite 422 ff., we read : 
"Dem ersten amerikanischen Autor, der weltberuhmt wurde, be- 
gegnen wir in Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). I r iir die europa- 
ische Welt war Franklin der erste typische Amerikaner, und we- 
nigstens zwei seiner Schriften waren die ersten eines Amerikaners, 
die in alle europaischen Sprachen iibersetzt wurden. Der arnic 
Richard, vom Jahre 1758, und seine Selbstbio graphic. Goethe, 
iiberall scharfsichtig und scharf formellirend, vergleicht Frank 
lin mit Justus Moser, in Absicht auf Wahlgcmeinniitziger Gegen- 
stande, auf tiefe Einsicht, freie Ubersicht, gliickliche Behand- 
lung, so gri mdlichen als frohen Humor. Auch das Ubrige was 
Goethe in Bczug auf Moser ausspricht, lasst sich auf Franklin 
tibertragen. 

"Immer ist er iiber seinen Gegenstand erhaben und weiss tins 
eine heitere Ansicht des Fernsten zu geben ; bald hinter dieser, 
bald hinter jener Alaske halb versteckt, bald in eigener Person 
sprechen immer vollstandig und erschopfend, dabei immer froh, 
mehr oder weniger ironisch, durchaus tiichtig, rechtschaffend, 
wohlmeinend, ja manchmal derb und hastig, und dieses alles so 
abgemessen, dass man zugleich den Geist, den V T erstand, die 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 101 

Leichtigkeit, Gewandheit, den Gcschmack und Character des 
Schriftstellers bewundern muss." 

Professor J. Wiese, in his book entitled Der Mann des Er- 
folgs, Benjamin Franklin, Stuttgart, 1909, gives a most detailed 
account of the life in all its phases of this American patriot. His 
poem dedicated to Franklin will be given later. 

"Ein Mann, der noch im hohen Greisenalter in treuer Pflicht- 
erfullung seinem Lande von gewaltigem Nutzen sein kann 
und durch selbstlose Arbeit die Entwicklung seines Vaterlandes 
in moralischer, geistiger, wissenschaftlicher und politischer Hin- 
sicht machtig zu fordern versteht, ist wahrhaft glucklich zu prei- 
sen und wird fortleben im Gedachtnis der dankbaren Mensch- 
heit. Ein soldier Mann war Benjamin Franklin." (S. i.) 

"Fine grosse historische Personlichkeit wie Franklin, der 
auf die Geschichte seines Vaterlandes und der ganzen Welt einen 
so machtigen Einfluss ausgeiibt hat, der unter den Staatsmannern 
und Gelehrten seiner Zeit in so hohem Ansehen stand und an den 
ersten Hofen Europas mit so ausserordentlichem Erfolg tatig 
war, verdient von alien Seiten betrachtet zu werden." (S. 60.) 

"In Zeitschriften, die Franklin zur Belehrung und Aufkla- 
rung des Volkes oder der Regierung schrieb, die Alle das Ge- 
prage der Einfachheit, Knappheit und Klugheit tragen und auf 
die Erfahrung des Praktikers gegriindet sind, hat er Lehren ent- 
wickelt, die heute noch Muster in ihrer Art bilden." (S. 62.) 

The following is the plan which the author followed in his 
treatment of Franklin: 

"i. Als Mensch iibte er die Tugenden der Massigkeit, der 
Geduld und des Fleisses und wttsste sie einztipragen. 

"2. Als Burger wusste er der Gewalt der Tyrannen zu wie- 
derstehen, und die Freiheit seiner Landsleute zu sichern. 

"3. Als Gesetzgeber war er ein glanzendes Beispiel eines 
iiber alle Bestechlichkeit erhabenen Charakters, der fortwahrend 
nur das Heil seiner Auftraggeber zu fordern strebte. 

"4. Als Politiker wusste er auf der einen Seite durch seine 
geschickten Unterhandlungen den Bei stand einer machtigen Na 
tion zu erlangen und auf der anderen die gemeinschaftlichen In- 
teressen eines Kongresses von Republiken ins Leben zu rufen und 



IO2 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

indem er einen Mittelpunkt festsetzte, auf den sie ihre Bleihe 
he f ten konnten, ihre Gesammtmacht fiir die Zwecke der Einheit, 
der Harmonic, der Gesetzgebung und der Verteidigung zu kon- 
zentrieren. 

"5. Als Philosoph waren seine Arbeiten und Entdeckungen 
darauf gerichtet, die Interessen der Menschheit zu fordern und 
er verdiente in Wahrheit der Freund der Menschen und der 
Wohlthater des Weltalls genannt zu werden." (S. 138.) 



CHAPTER VI. 
FRANKLIN IN GERMAN POETRY. 

It is interesting to know that the leaders of the cause of the 
American Revolution, especially two of these leaders were well 
known to Germany and were held in universal esteem. These 
two symbolized in themselves the great conception of the rise of 
a nation against the thraldom of tyranny these two, Washing 
ton and Franklin. 

In the Leipziger Musenalmanach aufs Jahr 1778, printed in 
Leipzig, on page 141 we read the following poem on Franklin in 
Paris, by Hase: 

"Die ersten Tag ersticken fast dich im Gedrange, 
Der dich umgebenden neugierigen Menge, 
Allein kaum bist du Wochen da gewesen, 
So hast du schon beriihmter Geist vergessen, 
Und musst in deinen grauen Jahren 
Des griinen Esels Schicksal noch erfahren." 

Voss in his Luise makes reference to these two leaders, 
Washington and Franklin: 

"Lies noch ein Weilchen im Bett, wie du pflegst: ein Kapitel der 

Bibel, 

Dort auf der kleinern Riole zur Seite dir: oder ein Leibebuch 
Besserer Zeit, als Menschen wie Washington lebten und Frank 
lin." 

In Vorbilder fur die Jug end, by Dr. Franz Otto and Dr. H. 
Schramm, Leipzig, 1873: 

"Es wirkt mit Macht der edle Mann 
Jahrhunderte auf Seinesgleichen, 
Die gute That, das schone Wort, 
Es strebt unsterblich, wie er sterblich fort." Goethe. 

We see this poem applied to Franklin, considering him as 
the personification of practical utility: one whose life must prove 
an example for youth and manhood. 

(103) 



104 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Theodor Ruprecht in his Benjamin Franklin, Lebeu und 
Schriften, has a German translation of the verse, which appears 
in several of the English editions of his works. It runs as fol 
lows: 

"Er hat geraubt des Himmels Strahl 
Und Wissenschaft erbliih n Wusteneien geheissen ; 
Amerika nennt ihn den grossten seiner Weisen 
Hellas hatt ihn gesellt seiner Cotter Zahl." 

Lavater s Grabschrift yields its high place in the ranks of 
elegiac praise of this father of freedom, to the splendid Grab 
schrift of Schubart: 

"Hier liegt in Graberstille 
Franklins Hiille 
Geist, Weiser, Patriot, 
Voll Vaterland und Gott ; 
Er wusste den Strahl der Tyrannen 
Wie Blitze des Himmels zu bannen, 
Und aus glasernen Glocken 
Himmlische Tone zu locken. 
Wie einem Brautigam die Braut, 
Bot ihm Freiheit die Hand ; 
Dann fiihrt er sie liebevertraut 
In Columbus gliickliches Land. 
Seine Name frei und gross 
Flog uber den Okeanus, 
Columbia trauert um Ihn, 
Europa klagt um Ihn, 
Der kiihne Franke hiillt sich in Flor ; 
Doch Franklin s Seele flog empor 
Ins Urlicht, Geister drangen 
In Schaaren herbei, 
Wilkommten ihn und sangen ; 
Wen Gott frei macht, 
1st ewig frei." 74a 

In the Litterdrisches Leben des Koniglich-Baierischen Ge- 
heimenrates und Ritters Anton von Klein, Wiesbaden, 1818, S. 
36 ff., we have a poem which reads as follows: 

Empfindungen des Doktor Franklin bei einem Blick in die 

74a Gedichte. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 105 

Natur. This is a poem of twenty stanzas, interpolated with re 
marks and explanations of the author. We shall give the stanzas 
that refer directly to Dr. Franklin. The entire poem gives a 
vivid description of a severe storm, how nature and all animate 
creation cower before the turbulence and power of the storm 
king. The poem runs thus : 



Zum Mond hinauf ; 

Am Halmchen ruhen hier Gewiirme; 

Er wankt im Lauf . 

2. Flieh Miickchen! Nehm dein goldnes Leben 
Dein Gott wandelt : Wetter heben. 
Gott beugt er sich. 

3. Wer leiht, Uran, in jenen Fernen, 
Dass Licht kleid dir? 
Einst nehm ich clich mit hohern Sternen 
Zur Krone mir. 



"14. Wer trotzet Donner, deinem Grimme? 
Der Weise hier, 
Er lachet deiner Gotterstimme 
Und spielt mit dir ! 

"15. Sein Stabchen, das den Blitz verschlinget, 
Schiitzt stille mich ; 

Die Schopfung wankt ; ein Kettchen bringet 
Ihm machtlos dich !" 

Benjamin Franklin is treated very ably in a book entitled 
Manner des Erfolgs, von Dr. J. W r iese, Stuttgart, 1909. On page 
56 he gives a poem of twenty stanzas, written by Dr. Georg Bie- 
denkapp, Dcr in schoncn Vcrsen Franklins herrliclic Erfindung 
preist: 

"i. Dumpf lullert der Donner, es tiirmen zu Hauf 
Im Westen sich finstere Wolken herauf ; 
Jetzt hebt sich der Sturm und wirbelt den Staub, 
Schon netzen die Tropfen das diirstende Laub. 



jo6 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

"2. Hin ! Zuckt das Grell ! Wie knattert es laut 
Doch mutigen Knaben vor Blitzen nicht graut; 
Schlagt Menschen der Strahl auch noch manchmal ins Dach 
So halt ihn doch Franklin s Erfindung in Schach. 

3. Zwar uns ist der Blitz als natiirlich bekannt, 
Doch denkt euch die Zeit da niemand verstand, 
Wie Feuer den wassrichen Wolken entspringt, 
Weil Feuer gewohnlich ins Wasser entrinnt. 

"18. Im kleinen ist s Donner und Blitzen! So dacht 

Auch Franklin, und gleich ward die Probe gemacht. 
Sobald ein Gewitter im Himmel erschien, 
Flugs liess einen Drachen wolkenwarts ziehen. 

"19. Bald waren elektrische Drachen wie Schur 

Von Schlafen den Blitzen verriet sich die Spur 
In Funken, die Franklin zu locken verstand, 
Aus der Schnur, die Erde und Wolken verband. 

"20. So erfand er den Blitzableiter, erzwang 
Die Elektricitat in metallenen Gang, 
Wie tobender Wildbach und reissender Fluss 
In kiinstliches Sternlicht ergiessen sich muss." 

In Der Weg sum Rcichtum, by R. L. Stab, Berlin, 1891, we 
find these four introductory lines : 

"Der edle Mann lebt nie vergebens, 
Er geht einst, hemmt sich hier sein Lauf 
Nach Sonnenuntergang des Lebens. 
Als ein Gestirn der Nacht wallt aui."-Tiedge. 

Johann Jacob Meyen was the author of Franklin, der Philo- 
soph und Staatsmann (In fiinf Gesangen), Alt-Stettin, 1787: 
"Ein Mann, einer gab uns durch kliigliches zogern den Freistaat, 
Nie war lernender Ruf bei ihm mehr und friiher als Rettung, 
Darum jauchzet die Nachwelt dem Helden je langer, je heller." 

Der erste Gesang. 

"Den Philosophen besingt mein Lied, der dem neueren Welttheil 
Jenseits des Mar del Nord das Licht der VVissenschaft brachte, 
Und sein seufzendes Vaterland von Tyrannen befreite, 
Von der Natur gesandt, als Walder und Hiitten der Wilden. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 107 

In Provinzen verwandelt, eines Fiihrers bedurften 
Der den Geist der Freiheit durch Weisheit und Kiinste veredelt, 
Den Nationalgeist bildet, und mit sich holier emporhebt 
Die Grundfeste des Staats viel Leiden und Schrecken des Todes ; 
Ergriffen den heldenmiithigen Weisen, das Joch der Tyrannen 
Driickte das Volk, Britanniens Zepter zerschlug die Erdrikkten ; 
Da trat der Weise hervor und ward des Vaterlands Retter, 
Gab der Freiheit ihr Recht und griindete siegreich den Frei- 
staat." 

Meyen continues in his praise of Franklin : 

"Wir Kiistenbewohner der schiffreichen Ostsee wir horten 
Audi mit Wonne empfindend Franklin s weitschallende Thaten 
Auch uns reizte die Weisheit des Menschenretters aus Boston." 

His songs give a biographical sketch of Franklin, comparing 
him with Cadmus, Caesar, Theseus, Plato and others. Especially 
does he emphasize Franklin s scientific discoveries in electricity. 
Thus the first song closes : 

"O begliicktes Deutschland ! du Mutter des grossen Leibnitz, 
Sei gerecht ; Franklin war nicht von Winklern belehret, 
Winkler war nicht so stark, des Prometheus 1 Arbeit zu wagen. 
Fragt Franklinen, er wird f reimuthig die Wahrheit sage ; 
Er ist zu reich, zu gross, zu edel fiir fremde Lorbeeren. 
Sei gerecht, und schiitze dagegen des grossen Leibnitz." 

Der zwcitc Gesang praises again the achievements of Frank 
lin, particularly the founding of the Academy of Philadelphia. 

"Durch ihn ragst du hervor, Philadelphia, hier ist der Schauplatz 
Der Wissenschaften, die Akademie die er stiftete; er gab 
Ihr seinen Geist, den edlen Stolz, sich hoher zu schwingen, 
Und mit denkenden Mannern den wachsenden Staat zu beschen- 
ken." 

The Harmonika is not forgotten : 

"O Franklin! du neuer Kolumbus im Reiche der Tonkunst; 
Alle die nach dir kommen und deine Harmonika schmiicken, 
Sind nur wie Goldarbeiter, und keiner Kolumbus; der Gold 
fand." 



io8 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Nearly one hundred lines are devoted to his powers as a 
statesman : 

Jetzt betritt der weise Franklin einen neuen Schauplatz, 
Er der Wissenschaft Licht, wird nun ein Licht in der Staats- 
kunst. 



"Reich an Kenntnissen, stark und holde an stiirmender Rede. 

Ein Menschenfreund, der fur jeden gemacht, jeder dem sich 
einflosst. 

Reiner als nur Franklin war s, kein geringerer konnt es. 

Wahrheit und Gliickseligkeit sind die Grundfeste seines Sys 
tems." 

Der dritte Gesang. 

Here in verse we read of Franklin s political career in Lon 
don: 

". . . Franklin! Franklin ist der Name, 
Den sie verkimdigt, Franklin, Philosoph und Sprecher des 

Volkes, 
Ist des Landes Vater und fordert die Rechte der Freiheit." 

Der vierte Gesang, 

Here we have Franklin in France : 

"Heil dem Staate! Franklin ist des Gesetzbuches Stifter, 
Seine Kenntnisse sind der unerschopfliche Vorrath der Bauma- 
terien." 

Der fiinfte Gesang- 

"Zitternd sah der Neid und der Geiz den bidren Franklin an, 
Und die Verlaumdung mit ihnen, und die verstimmende Fama, 
Die sich nun ungern zum Ruhme der Wahrheit als Heraldin 

ausschickt, 
Und Thersitens Schatten mit lang ausholendem Seufzer. 1 

NOTE: Meyen s book of 120 pages (approximately 1300 
lines) found in the American Philosophical Society is incomplete. 
No other copy was found by the author. This copy was no doubt 
in Franklin s own possession and shows marks that the final pages 
were cut out or lost. 



CHAPTER VII. 
FRANKLIN AS KNOWN TO GOETHE. 

Franklin as a noble old man "reminds us of some of the 
glimpses we catch in contemporary letters of the aged Goethe, 
a man who had much in common with Franklin." 75 "A life like 
Franklin s solves the problem stated in the Faust of Goethe; 
which is, How shall a man become satisfied with life?" If we fol 
low a close comparison of the lives of these two men, we can con 
fidently say that their paths were at times divergent and at times 
they seemed to join in the broad highway of utility. It has been 
said, by critics of these two, that they lacked the good habit of 
regular church service. Franklin expresses his views very 
strongly on the matter thus : "Though I seldom attended any 
public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety and its 
utility, when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual 
subscriptions for the support of the only Presbyterian minister 
or meeting we had in Philadelphia. He used to visit me some 
times as a friend, and admonished me to attend his administra 
tions, and I was now and then prevailed on to do so; once for 
five Sundays. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, per 
haps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had 
for the Sunday s leisure in my course of study; but his discourses 
were chiefly polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar 
doctrines of our sect, and even all to me very dry, uninteresting 
and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated 
or enforced; their aim seeming to be to make us Presbyterians, 
rather than good citizens." 

Goethe had a similar feeling with regard to attending 
church, which he expresses: "If Protestants sought to define 
more clearly what ought to be done, lived and taught; if they 
imposed an inviolable reverential silence or the mysteries of re 
ligion, without compelling any man to assent to the dogmas . . . 
I should, mvself, be the first to visit the church of my brethren 



James Parton. Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. Vol. II, p. 581 

(,09) 



r ro Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

in religion, with sincere heart, and to submit myself with willing 
edification to the practical confession of a faith which connected 
itself so immediately with action." 76 

In the Goethe Jahrbuch, Band 25 (1904), Seite 4, in an 
article entitled Briefu echsel zivischcn Goethe und Amcrikanern 
. . von Leonard L. Mackall, we read : "Wenn der treffliche 
Goethe und Herder wohlbekannte Benjamin Franklin schon 1730 
ein deutsches Gesangbuch druckte und zwei Jahre darauf wahr 
schcinlich die Philadelphia Zeitung begriindete, 1766 Gottingen 
besuchte, und sonst viel dazu beitrug die deutsche Sprache in 
Amerika einzufiihren und andere ihm beistanden, so bleiben diese 
Versuche noch meistens sporadisch." 

Goethe as the President of the Frcitagsgcscllschaft, of 
which, as we know, Herder was the original instigator, must 
have received, through his friend and fellow-worker a strong im 
pression of the worth of Dr. Franklin, as the founder of the 
Junto. Professor O. Harnack, in the Goethe Jahrbuch, XVII 
(1896), pages 23-24, says: "Wenn Goethe in den Wanderjahren 
den Zustand der neuen Zeit greifbar bezeichnen will, so weist er 
auf Amerika hin; Amerika mit seiner eigenartigen Kulturform 
war aber auch schon 1797 als ein neues, auf eine Zukunfts- 
Fpoche hinweisendes Gebilde in den Gesichtskreis der weiter- 
blickenden Beobachter getreten. Der Befreiungskricg der Ver- 
einigten Staaten, die Erscheinung des practisch-niichternen, ein- 
fach selbstbeweissten Franklin war von empfindsamen Gemu- 
thern, nur als ein neuer Anlass zu begeisterter Schwarmerei fur 
Freiheit und Gleichheit aufgefasst worden." 

Turning to Goethe s Tagcbiicher, we find under the date 
April 27, 1817, the following notice, which gives insight into the 
books, which were interesting Goethe at this time : "John Hun- 
tersleben von Adams Entwiirfe und Abschriften von natur- 
wissenschaftlichem Hefte Abends zu Knebels Franklin s Lc- 
bcn." Again, two days later, we read: "Zu Knebel, woselbst 
Hofrath Luclen mit Franklins Leben und Character." 

Goethe was in Strassburg in 1770. In April of that year: 



76 Sarah Austin. Characteristics of Goethe. I, 77. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 



1 1 1 



"Erhohte Anatomic bei Lobstein, Chemie bci Spielmann, besuchte 
die Klinik des alteren Ehrmann und die Vorlesungen des jiinge- 
ren Ehrmann iiber Entbindungskunst. 

"Auch die Elektricitat, in dcr kurz vorher Franklin seine 
grosse Entdeckung gemacht hatte, beschaftige ihn, und nicht we- 
niger als neun Schriften iiber diesen Gegenstand finden sich in 
dem Tagebuche zur Lektiire angemerkt." 77 

The French Revolution had a marked effect upon Goethe : 
"Die Republik hatte ihn mit einer besondern Auszeichnung ge- 
ehrt; zugleich mit Washington, Franklin, Tom Paine, Pesta- 
lozzi, Campe, Klopstock, dem beriichtigten Anacharsis Klotz und 
einigen Andern wurde ihm das franzosische Biirgerrecht er- 
theilt." 78 

Turning to the year 1828, we find Goethe the last two days 
of the year busy once more interestedly reading Franklin s life in 
its French translation. "December 30, 1828. Mittage allein. 
Franklin s Lebcn neu ins Franzosische iibersetzt." "December 
31. Las ich Franklins Lcbcn weiter." The edition of Frank 
lins Life, which he used was La Vie de Benjamin Franclin, Tra- 
duction Nouvelle, Paris, 1828. 

He writes to C. F. Zelter from Weimar, April 2, 1829, after 
a careful study of his theory of colors, the following: "Ware 
meine Farbenlehre nicht ein verbotenes Buch und deshalb schwer 
aufzufinden, so wiirde ich sagen: die unter dem Datum 2. Januar, 
1766, von dem wackern Franklin als problematische hinterlassene 
Erscheinungen und in obgedachtem meinem Biichlein, und zwar 
gleich zu Anf ang die der ersten Abtheilung uberschrieben : Physi- 
ologische Farben mit alien ihren Seitenverwandten auf s deut- 
lichste und vollstandigste, wie mir scheinen darf, abgeleitet, aus- 
gelegt und erklart wie man sagen mochte. Diese meine Arbeit ist 
nun bald z\vanzig Jahre ofrentlich ; das Niitzliche davon hat aber 
noch nicht in die Masse verbreitet." 79 

In a copy in the possession of the Geh. Archivrath Dr. Ernst 
Friedlander in Berlin, there is a letter dated January 2, 1762, in 



77 Goethe s Leben und Werke, von G. H. Lewes, i Band (autorisierte 
tJbersetzung von Dr. Julius Frese), 16 Auflage ; S. 70. 
Ibid., S. 155- 
T9 Goethe s Brief e, 45 Band, S. 231-232. 



f u Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

which reference is made to Franklin s ideas of music. Briefe, 
Band 45, Lcseartcn, Seite 412-413. 

Already as early as 1798 from Weimar we read the follow 
ing letter to Schiller, dated January 26, in which he speaks of 
Darwin s Theories of Botanical Gardens, and also Dr. Frank 
lins Erfinduny, dan Geivitter seine Blitze zu nehmen. 80 

Again he addresses Zelter from Weimar, February 28, 1811, 
in which there is mention made of Franklin : "Ja, Voltaire er- 
kiihnt sich irgendwo zu sagen : J ai toujours remarque que la 
Geometric laisse 1 esprit ou elle se trouve auch hat schon Frank 
lin cine besondere Aversion gegen die Mathematiker, in Absicht 
auf geselligen Umgang, klar und deutlich ausgedriickt, wo es 
ihren Kleinigkeits- und Wiederspruchsgeist unertraglich findet. 81 

"Schon als Kind begegnete mir Franklin s Lehre von der 
Flektricitat, welches Gesetz er damals soeben gefunden hatte. 
Und so folgte clurch mein ganzes Leben bis zu dieser Stunde, 
cine grosse Entdeckung der anderen; wodurch ich denn nicht 
allein frith auf die Natur hingeleitet, sondern auch spiiter immer- 
fort in der bedeutensten Anregung erhalten wurde." 82 So we 
see that Goethe even in childhood had his eyes opened to the 
teaching of the American scientist. 

Speaking of the American Revolution, for which Goethe had 
an absorbing, enthusiastic appreciation, he says : "Noch lebhafter 
iiber die Welt interessirt, als ein ganzes Volk sich zu befreien 
Miene niachte man wtinschte den Amerikaners alles Gliick und 
die Namen Franklin und Washington fingen an am politischen 
und kriegerischen Himmel zu glanzen und funkeln." 83 

In Goethe s Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften, Band IV, 
Zur Farbenlehre (Historischer Theil II), Weimar, 1894, pages 
199-200, he gives a portion from Benjamin Franklin s Kleine 
Schriften, herausgegeben von G. Schatz, 1794, zweiter Theil, 
Scite 234 ff. 



so Goethe s Brief c (1893), Band 13, S. 238. 

51 Goethe s Briefe (Weimar, 1901), Band 22, S. 40. 

52 Gesprdche mit Goethe. In den Icizlen Jahren seines Lebens. Von 
Johann Eckermann. Band I (1823-1827), S. 165. (Donnerstag Abend, den i. 
Februar, 1827.) 

8:1 Goethe s Wcrkc, Band 29, S. 68. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 113 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 

[Kleine Schriften, herausgegeben von G. Schatz, 1794, 
zweiter Theil, Seite 324 f.] 

"Der Eindruck, den ein leuchtender Gegenstand auf die 
Sehnerven macht, dauert zwanzig bis dreissig Sekunden. Sieht 
man an einem heitern Tage, wenn man im Zimmer sitzt, cine 
Zeit lang in die Mitte eines Fensters, und schliesst sodann die 
Augen, so bleibt die Gestalt des Fensters eine Zeit lang im Auge, 
und zwar so deutlich, dass man im Stande ist, die einzelnen Fa- 
chcr zu zahlen. Merkwiirdig ist bei dieser Erfahrung der Um- 
stand, dass der Eindruck der Form sich besscr erhalt, als der 
Eindruck der Farbe. Denn sobald man die Augen schliesst, 
scheinen die Glasfacher, wenn man das Bild des Fensters an- 
fangt wahrzunehmen, dunkel, die Ouerholzer der Kreuze aber, 
die Rahmen und die Wand umher weiss oder glanzend. Ver- 
mehrt man jedoch die Dunkelheit der Augen dadurch, dass man 
die Hande iiber sie halt, so erfolgt sogleich das Gegentheil. Die 
Facher erscheinen leuchtend und die Ouerholzer dunkel. Zieht 
man die Hand weg, so erfolgt eine neue Veranderung, die alles 
wieder in den ersten Stand setzt. Ein Phanomen, das ich so we- 
nig zu erklaren weiss, all folgendes. Hat man lange durch eine 
gemeine grime, oder sogenannte Conservationsbrille gesehn, und 
nimmt sie nun ab, so sieht das w r eisse Papier eines Buches rotlich 
aus, so wie es griinlich aussieht, wenn man lange durch rothe 
Brillen gesehen hat. .Dies scheint eine noch nicht erklarte Ver- 
wandschaft der griinen und rothen Farbe anzuzeigen." 

KOERNER, SCHILLER AND FRANKLIN. 

Schiller must have known the life of Franklin because his 
friends possessed clear insight into the value of this North Ameo 
ican representative of all that the new world could offer a child 
of freedom and the embodiment of all that that word conveys to 
the minds of men, chafing under restraint. 

Korner writes to Schiller from Dresden, 28th of May, 
1790, as follows: "Mir ist dabei tiberhaupt eingef alien, ob Du 
nicht ganz neue Memoires mit in Deinen Plan aufnehmen soil- 



H4 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

test, so dass sie neben den altern zugleich erschienen, z. B., die 
Memoires von Richelieu, Choiseul. Bei diesen Beiden sind Dir 
nun wohl Andere zuvorkommen. A her jetzt kommen gewiss in 
Frankreich und England mehrere heraus, die sehr brauchbar 
waren. Du bist der Mann nicht so etwas zu erlauern, aber Ber- 
tuch, der wohl eigentlich Dein Verleger ist (da Manke nur den 
Namen hergiebt) ware zu seinen eigenen Journalen und Zeitun- 
gen aufzupassen. So weiss ich z. B. nicht, ob Franklins Leben 
von ihm selbst beschrieben schon einen Ubersetzer hat." 84 

LENZ AND FRANKLIN. 

Lenz writes to Zimmermann the 27th of May, 1776, the 
following: "Hier ist Lindaus Schwanengesang, den er sehr gern 
an Washington oder D. Franklin mochte gelangen lassen. Wie 
ist mir selber unbegreiflich. Vielleicht wissen Sie Auswege. 
Den Colonisten kann ein solch Produkt nicht anders als lieb sein. 
Und Sie, mein Freund, sind Freund der Freiheit, nur dass er 
(Der Schwanengesang) nicht in unrechte Hande fallt." 85 

FRANKLIN AND JUSTUS MOSER. 

"Ich kann nicht schliessen, ohne meinen freudigen und stol- 
zen Vaterlandsliebe den Attsbruch zu gonnen, hier zu sagen und 
zugleich mehrere zu erinnern, dass in Deutschland ein Mann 
lebt, der an Staatskenntnis, an Forschung des Geistes der Ge- 
setze, an Wahrheitsliebe, an Originalitat, an feinem Sinn fiir 
schone Kiinste, an Gelehrsamkeit, an Eifer zur Verbreitung heil- 
samer gemeinniitzer Wahrheiten, an Witz und Laune, an man- 
nigfachem Stil, an Kenntnis der Welt, und Menschenliebe, an 
reinem Gefiihl fiir Natur und endlich selbst an Bekanntmach- 
ungsart seiner Aufsatze, Franklin ausserordentlich gleicht: Jus 
tus Moser." 86 



M Schiller s Briefwechsel mit Korner, von 1784 bis zum Todc SchUlers. 
Karl Goedeke. i. Theil, S. 372. 

85 Goethe Jahrbuch, Band 32 (1911), S. 24. Ungcdrucktcs aus dcm Gocthc- 
Kreise. Mitgeteilt von Hermann Brauming Oktavio. 

86 Berlinischc Monatsschrift (Berlin, 1/83), Julius, S. 38. J. E. Biester. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 1 1 5 

For a true appreciation of Moser, let us turn to an Inaugural 
Dissertation, von Ludwig Posadzy, Posen, 1906, entitled Dcr 
entwicklungsgeschichtliche Gedanke bei Herder, pages 22-23 : 
"Moser s Osnabriickische Geschichte bedeutet eine Epoche fiir 
den entwicklungsgeschichtlichen Gedanken. Die Stetigkeit der 
agrarischen Verhaltnisse, denen sich seine ganze Vorliebe zu- 
wendet, brachte ihm ohne alle Vermittelung die Idee bei, dass es 
sich hier um eine einheitliche entwicklungsreihe handle, deren 
organisches Wachstum nun vor allein zu verfolgen sei. 

"Es ist auch interessant zu beobachten, wie in Moser mit 
dem Aufkommen des wahren geschichtlichen Sinnes die Aufkla- 
rung wird. Jede Zeit tragt fiir Moser den eignen Massstab in 
sich." 

Again he says: "Winckelmanns Geschichte der Kunst ist 
nicht weniger bahnbrechend fiir den Entwicklungsgedanken, wie 
Moser s osnabriickische Geschichte." 

In the Patriotische Phantasien, von Justus Moser, herausg. 
von seiner Tochter J. W. J. v. Voigts, Berlin, 1842 Second 
Edition, 1858 (Verlag der Nicolai schen Buchhandlung), in the 
Einleitung von B. R. Abeken, we read: 

"Mit welcher Lebhaftigkeit der jugendliche Goethe diesen 
altern Geistesverwandten, mit Ehrfurcht zu ihm emporblickend, 
begriisste, das erzahlt er uns in seiner Selbstbiographie ; dabei 
characterisirt er uns die Patriotischen Phantasien in einer Weise, 
die demjenigen, der nach ihm iiber denselben Gegenstand reden 
mochte, Bedenken erwecken muss. Er bemerkt, wie die grosse 
Zahl der staatsbiirgerlichen, geschichtlichen, moralischen Auf- 
satze ein wahrhaftes Ganzes ausmachen, welche Universalitat 
sich in ihnen offenbart, wie des Verfassers Vorschlag und Rath, 
obgleich auch oft nicht ausfiihrbar, noch nie aus der Luft ge- 
griffen worden, und vergleicht am Ende Mosern in Hinsicht auf 
Wahl gemeinniitziger Gegenstande, tiefe Einsicht, freie t)ber- 
sicht, gliickliche Behandlung, griindlichen und frohen Humor 
mit Benjamin Franklin. 

"Diese Vergleichung hatte schon Nicolai in seiner Biogra 
phic Mosers gemacht, dabei aber auch Sturz in dieselbe hineinge- 
zogen." 



i 1 6 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Dr. Karl Biedermann, in his book entitled Deutschland im 
achtzchntcn Jahrhundert, Leipzig, 1880, zweiter Theil, Seite 663, 
discusses Franklin s invention of the lightning-rod and com 
pares Moser as "Der Erste, der hier eine neue und bessere Bahn 
einschlug, war der grosse Kenner und warnie Freund deutschen 
Volkslebens, Justus Moser." (S. 706. ) 

Nicholai, in Moser s Sdmmtliche Wcrke, Berlin, 1842-1843, 
compares in the strongest terms Moser and the American Frank 
lin. In the lives of the two men there is little in common, except 
that they both worked and labored for the betterment of man 
kind. Moser showed his tolerance in public opinions and in his 
narrow Osnabriick worked as assiduously as Franklin did in the 
wider court circles. 

In the Sammlung von Vortrdgen filr das deutsche Volk, 
Band 14, von Wilhelm Frommel und Dr. Friedrich Pfaff, Hei 
delberg, 1885, No. 10 : "Justus Moser, der deutsche Patriot als 
Apologet des Christenthums", von Franz Blanckmeister, page 
402, here we read "Selbst der grosste aller damaligen deut 
schen Schriftsteller, Goethe, der fiir wahrhafte Geistesgrosse 
einen offenen, scharfen und richtigen Blick hatte, hat ihm in 
Wahrheit und Dichtung seine warnie und begeisterte Huldi- 
gung dargebracht. Er sagt von Mosers patriotischen Phanta- 
sien; seine Vorschlage, sein Rat, nichts ist aus der Luft gegriffen 
und doch so nicht ausfuhrbar; deswegen er auch die Sammlun- 
gen patriotischen Phantasien genannt, obgleich alles dann sich 
an das Wirkliche und Mogliche halt. Man wiisste alles, was in 
der biigerlichen Welt vorgeht, rubrizieren, wenn man die Ge- 
genstande erschopfen wollte, die er behandelt, und diese Be- 
handlung ist bewunderungswiirdig. ... In Absicht auf 
Wahl gemeinniitzige Gegenstande, auf tiefe Einsicht, freie Uber- 
sicht, gliickliche Behandlung, so griindlichen und frohen Humor 
wusste ich ihm mit niemand als Franklin zu vergleichen." 

Friedrich Nicolai in his Leben Justus Mosers, Berlin und 
Stettin, 1797, page 92, says: "Moser als Schriftsteller ist schon 
sehr richtig mit Franklin verglichen worden." (Berlinischc Mo- 
natsschrift, Jul. 1783, Seite 37-38.) 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 117 

HERDER AND FRANKLIN. 

Herder visited Paris in 1/69, and no doubt came into close 
touch with those who sang Franklin s praises, for France was 
at this time cognizant of this North American, since Franklin 
visited Paris, as we have seen, for the second time, in 1769. 
Herder in his Briefc zur Beforderung der Humanitcit, Riga, 
1793 (Band 17 Bernhard Suphan, Berlin, 1887), says, page 7: 
"Endlich ist mir die Lebensbeschreibung eines meiner Lieblinge 
in unserem Jahrhundert, B. Franklin s, von ihm selbst fiir einen 
Freund geschrieben, zu Handen gekommen ; aber bedauern Sie s, 
nur in der franzosischen Ubersetzung und nur ein kleines Stuck 
derselben, die fruheren Lebensjahre des Mannes, ehe er vollig in 
seine politische Laufbahn trat. . . . Sie wissen, was ich von 
Franklin immer gehalten, wie hoch ich seinen gesunden Ver- 
stand, seinen hellen und schonen Geist, seine sokratische Me- 
thode vorziiglich aber den Sinn der Humanitat in ihm geschatzt 
habe, der seine kleinsten Aufsatze bezeichnet. Auf wie wenige 
und klare Begriffe wiss er die verwogensten Materien zur uck - 
zufiihren! Und. wie sehr halt er sich allenthalben an die einfa- 
chen, ewigen Gesetze der Natur, an die unfehlbarsten praktischen 
Regeln, aus Bediirfniss und Interesse der Menschheit. Oft 
denkt man, wenn man ihn liest : Wusste ich das nicht auch ? aber 
so klar sah ich s nicht, und meist gefehlt, dass es bei mir schlichte 
Maxime des Lebens wurden. Zu dem sind seine Einkleidungen 
so leicht und naturlich, sein Witz und Scherz so gefallig und 
fein, sein Gemiith so unbefangen und frohlich, dass ich ihn den 
edelsten Volksschriftsteller unseres Jahrhunderts nennen moch- 
te, wenn ich ihn clurch diesen missbrauchten Namen nicht zu 
entehren glaubte. Unter uns wird er dadurch nicht entehrt! 
Wollte Gott wir hatten in ganz Europa ein Volk, das ihn lase, 
das seine Grundsatze anerkennte, zu seinem eignen Besten da- 
nach handelte und lebte; wo waren wir sodann! 

"Franklin s Grundsatze gehen allenthalben darauf, gesunde 
Vernunft, Uberlegung, Rechnung, allgemeine Billigkeit und 
wechselseitige Ordnung ins kleinste und grosseste Geschaft der 
Menschen einzufiihren, den Geist der Unduldsamkeit, Harte, 
Tragheit von ihnen zu verbannen, sie aufmerksam auf ihren Be- 



n8 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

ruf, sic in ciner Milde fortgehenden, unangestrengten Art ge- 
schaftigt, fleissig, vorsichtig, und thatig zu machen, indem er 
zeigt, dass jede dieser Ubungen sich selbst belohnet, jede Yer- 
nachlassigung derselben im Grossen und Kleinen sich selbst 
strafe. Er nimmt sich der Armen an, nicht anders aber als 
dass er ihnen Wege des Fleisses mit iiberwiegender Vernunft 
eroffnet. Mehrmals hat er es erwiesen wie hell nnd bestimmt 
er in die Zukunft sah." . . . (S. 8. ) 

Thus we see that Herder held the highest esteem of Frank 
lin, not only in the humanitarian field, but in the literary world 
as well. Further he says: "Horen Sie nun den . guten Alten, und 
Sie finden in seiner Lebensbeschreibung durchaus ein Gegenbild 
zu Rousseau s Confessionen. Wie dieser die Phantasie fast 
immer irre fiihrte, so verlasst jenem nie sein guter Verstand, 
sein unermudlicher Fleiss, seine Gefiilligkeit, seine erfindende 
Thatigkeit, ich mochte sagen, seine Vielverschlagenheit und ru- 
hige Beherztheit." 

Haym, in his edition of Herder, makes the following asser 
tion in regard to Herder s close knowledge of Franklin: "Als 
einen ersten Stellvertreter der Gesinnungen, die ausschliesslich 
im eignen Namen vorzutragen Herder, jetzt scheu und vorsichtig 
verzichtete, lasst er einen Mann auftreten, den er sich in Vielen 
verwandt fiihlte, den er als Volksschriftsteller schon in dem 
Aufsatz Uber Spruch und Bild , gepriesen hatte den Mitbe- 
grimder der Unabhangigkeit der Vereinigten Staaten, Benjamin 
Franklin. Er hatte in Aachen die ganz kitrzlich erschienen Me- 
moires de la Vie de B. Franklin kennen gelernt. . . . Er cha- 
rakterisirt den merkwiirdigen Mann, in dem so vorzugsweise der 
Sinn der Humanitat gelebt habe, den werkthatigen Geist, den Len- 
rer derMenscheit, denOrdner einer grossenMenschengesellschaft. 
Langst schon hatte er von den kleinen und grosseren Aufsatzen 
seines Lieblings gesammelt was er auftreiben konnte, Gedrucktes 
und Ungedrucktes, und wiirde, ware ihm nicht der betritbsame 
Bertuch zuvorgekommen eine Ubersetzung veranlasst haben." We 
have already seen that he knew the French translation of Frank 
lin s works, and he had for a long time possessed "Political, 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 119 

Miscellaneous and Philosophical Pieces", by Benjamin Frank 
lin, London, 1779. 

For the Freitag Gesellschaft, organized July 5, 1791, Frank 
lin s Rules for a Club, 1728, were read. These rules were origi 
nated by Franklin for the "Junto", which afterward grew into 
the American Philosophical Society. Herder explained the aims 
of his Club thus: "Der Zweck dieser Academie ist reine und 
parteiische Wahrheit, das Band ihrer Mitglieder ist National- 
Interesse, gegenseitige Achtung und Schonung." (These same 
ideas we can read in Franklin s expression, "truth for truth s 
sake".) These statutes of the Friday Club were known to its 
members, Goethe, C. G. Voigt, Wieland, Herder, Bode, Knebel, 
J. F. Bertuch, O. Buchholtz. 87 

Herder translated Franklin s questions, which were to be 
applied to members of the Club, under the following title, Ben 
jamin Franklin s Rules for a Club established in Philadelphia, 
iibertragen und ausgelegt als Statut fur eine Gesellschaft von 
Freunden der Hwmanitat, von Johann Gottfried Herder, 1792. 
Aus dem Nachlass veroffentlicht und Eduard Simson, zum 22. 
Mai, 1883, zugeeinigt. Berlin, Weidmannische Buchhandlung. 
The first translation of the above made by Herder was annexed 
to a lecture entitled Uber die wahre Unsterblichkeit fur die Nach- 
welt. (Suplian Herder s Wevke, 16, 43; note 3.) 

Herder in his Spruch und Bild in Sonderheit bei den Mor- 
genlandern, einige rhapsodische Gedanken } writes: "In alien gu- 
ten Volksschriften, im Landpriester, von Wakefield, z. B. und 
in einer der lehrreichsten Schriften, die unsere Sprache besitzt, 
Lienhard und Gertrud, ist dieser natiirliche Kunstbegriff sehr 
wohl gebraucht. Benjamin Franklin, ein hochachtungswiirdiger 
Name, hat ihn in seinen periodischen Lettern und Kalendern 
fur Nord Amerika vortrefflich anzuwenden gewusst und sein ein- 
ziger Auf satz, Die Wissenschaft des guten Richard, enthalt einen 
solchen Schatz von Lebensregeln, dass man in mancher Riick- 
sicht fast auf s ganze Leben nichts mehr bedurfte." 8 



87 Suphan Herder s Werke, 17, 10 ff; 18, 503 ff, 538 ff. 

88 Americana Germanica, Herder In Amerika. Marion D. Learned, Sep 
tember, 1904. Vol. II, No. 9, p. 565, in the following. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
FRANKLIN IN THE GERMAN NOVEL. 

I. Pugaccw, geschlchtllcher Roman, F. Isidor Prosch- 
kow, Band i und 2 (in one volume), Prague, 1860; (Kober und 
Markgraf) Viertes Kapitel, S. 106 ff, gives a description of 
Franklin as he sat with a gathering of friends in Portugal in 
the spring of 1775. We feel that the old printer sat back with 
keen satisfaction and listened in silence to the various political 
views, that were aired by his companions. We read: "Der Eine 
dieser Manner, welcher an der rechten Ecke des Tisches lehnte 
und in die reine, blaue Feme hinaufstarrte, von massiger Grosse, 
in der einfachen Tracht eines amerikanischen Gutsbesitzers, mit 
einem offenen, geistreichen Gesicht, schien weder an dem Ge- 
sprache der Anderen, noch an ihrem kleinen Zechgelage Theil 
zu nehmen. Vor ihm stand ein Kristallglas mit reinem Wasser, 
von welchem er zuweilen suppte, wahrend sein ausdrucksvolles 
Auge von Zeit zu Zeit in die fernen Regionen des Himmels 
schweifte; denn ungeachtet schien er mit seinen Gedanken dem 
Gesprache der heitern Zecher zu folgen, dies verrieth das wech- 
selnde Muskelspiel seines Antlitzes und das zeitweilige Nicken 
seines Kopfes. 

"Dieser Mann, an der aussersten Rechte am Tische und von 
so geistreichem Aussehn, war seines eigentlichen Bewerbes ein 
Buchdrucker und ein erfindungsreicher Kopf, denn eben hat er 
lachelnd vernommen, wie eine seiner letzten Erfindungen, ein 
Sparofen, von seinem Freunde, Meredith, welcher dicht an seiner 
Seite recht wacker der Punschbowle zusprach, den Anderen mit 
vielem Ruhme auseinander gesetzt worden war. Aber der Nach- 
bar zur aussersten Linken, am Tische ganz unten, trug nicht die 
ruhigen Ziige der Besonnenheit und Geistesstarke des erwahnten 
Buchdruckers." (Pp. 120-121.) 

The bombastic speeches of the hero himself do not concern 
us here. His views are entirely revolutionary, but Franklin can 
not refrain from interposing the following remarks (p. 130): 
* Das Zwerge mit der Donnerheule des Zeus spielten/ fiel la- 

(120) 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 121 

chelnd der Buchdrucker ein ; dass das Werk des Lichtes, das 
Werk Gottes nicht mit Feuer und Schwert, nicht mit Blut und 
Brand gefordert wird ! O Menschheit und Wahnsinn, setzte 
er hinzu ; Ihr meint Berge zu versetzen und einen Welttheil aus 
seinen Fugen zu heben und wisst nicht, ob Eure uniiberwind- 
liche Armada vom Hauche des Weltgeistes verweht, im nachsten 
Sturme zu Boden Sinken wird! Meint Ihr denn, Ihr hochtra- 
benden Titanen, dass die Volker Europas mit all ihren uralten 
Traditionen, ihren Sitten und Gewohnheiten mit ihrer ganzen 
Geschichte, ein Federball eurer Launen seien, welche Ihr mit 
einem einzigen Gluthauche Eurer falschen Begeisterung in an- 
dere Bahnen wehen konnt ; glaubt Ihr, dass Eurer ersten Anker- 
werfen auf dem Boden Europas, dass die ersten Tone Eurer so- 
genannten Weltposatme die Mauern von Jericho in Trummern 
zerschmettern werden? Wisst: wie ein Alexander der Eroberer 
werdet Ihr mitten in Eurem Siegeslaufe verschwinden, wie Attila 
im eigenen Blute ersticken, wie Bajazet zuletzt im Kafig enden, 
dessen Eisenstangen die falschen Grundlehren Eurer Freiheit 
sein werden. Wer Sturme saet, wird Stiirme ernten, und von 
Euch wird man sagen was Brittanien auf seine Denkmiinze 
schrieb, Deus afflavit et dissipati suntV 

S. 131: "Aber noch hatte der Buchdrucker, dessen edlen 
Antlitz bei dieser Rede wie das eines gottbegeisterten Sehers der 
Zukunft leuchtete, seine Worte nicht geendet, als der Italiener 
gliihenden Antlitzes wieder aufsprang und auf eine Marmor- 
saule zurannte, welche unweit des Tisches stand und eine schone 
symbolische Statute des geharnischten Kriegesgottes und der 
gefliigelten Gottin der Freiheit trug, zu deren Fiissen eben eine 
Schale mit Purpurfarbe stand, welche der kunstsinnige Gartner 
des weissen Flauses zur Verschonung der beiden Statuen und 
die symbolisch umschlingenden Blumen-Guirlanden bereit gestellt 
hatte. 

"Der Italiener riss den Pinsel aus dieser Schale . 
schrieb jetzt mit blutrothen Lapidarzeichen seinen Namen an die 
Statute des Krieges und der fessellosen Freiheit Mazzarini. 

"Aber ernst und ruhrig nahm ihm jetzt der Buchdrucker den 



122 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

blutroth gefarbten Pinsel und tauchte ihn in die nebenstehende 
Schale mit klarer weisser Farbe. 

" Audi ich! rief er, will meinen Namen zu den Fiissen 
dieser Statute aufschreiben, und nach einem Jahrzehend soil er 
auch an dieser Stelle zu lesen sein und Zeugenschaft geben, dass 
sich mein Wort bewahrte: Freiheit, ohne Gesetz ist ein Unding, 
auf Blut und Triimmern fusst keine stattliche Ordnung, und 
Menschenplane ohne Gottes Hilfe sind Spinngewebe, welche der 
Flug einer kleinen Wespe zerreissen kann. 

Und der schlichte Buchdrucker schrieb jetzt mit schnee- 
weisser Farbe und fester Hand auf die Piedestale der Statue der 
Freiheit in grossen Ziigen seinen Namen : Benjamin Franklin." 

II. In Berthold Auerbaclrs Das Landhaus am Rhein, 2. 
Band, 2. Kapitel, Seite 7. Roland s father speaks thus of Frank 
lin: "Seht IKF! Hier ist ein echter Mensch, das Genie des ge- 
sunden Verstandes und des festen Willen. Electricitat ist stets 
in der Luft, aber nicht immer sammelt sie sich und wird zum 
Blitz, der die Atmosphare liiutert. Das Genie ist die in der Luft 
des Geistes angesammelte und freigewordene Electricitat." 

Seite 8: "Kein Philosoph, kein Dichter, kein Staatsmann 
kein Handwerker, kein Gelehrter von Profession, und doch 
alles das zugleich; ein Sohn der Mutter Natur und der Amme 
Er fanning, der ohne wissenschaftliche Fuhrung im Walcle die 
Heilkriiuter selbst findet. 

"Wenn ich eincn Jiingling zu erziehen hatte, nicht zu einem 
bestimmten Beruf, sondern nur, dass er ein wahrer Mensch und 
guter Biirger wiirde, ich wiirde zu ihni sprechen; mein Sohn, 
hier sieh, wie ein Mensch sich selbst bilden kann; ahme ihm 
nach, werde du in dir wie Benjamin Franklin in sich geworden. 
Verstehe mich wohl. Ich sage es gibt in der neuen Geschichte 
keinen zweiten Menschen, an dessen Leben und Denken sich ein 
Mensch unsrer Tage so heranbilden Hess, wie an Benjamin 
Franklin. Warum nicht Washington, der so gross und rein ist? 

"Washington war Soldat und Staatsmann, aber er hat die 
Welt nicht in sich entstehen lassen und nicht aus sich gefunden. 
Er hat durch Beherrschung und Lenkung anderer bewirkt, 
franklin durch Lenkung und Beherrschung seiner selbst. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 123 

"Wenn die Zeit kommt, wo man von Schlachtcn sprcchcn 
wird, wie wir heute von Menschenf ressen ; worm die ehrliche, 
fleissige, menschenfreundliche Arbeit die Geschichte der Mensch- 
heit bildet, dann wird ein Mann wie Franklin neu erstehcn. Mo 
ses, Jesus, Mohammed erschien Gott in der Einsamkeit, der 
Wiiste, Spinoza erkannte ihn in der Einsamkeit der Studirstube, 
Franklin in der Einsamkeit auf dem Meere und im Ringen mit 
der Arbeit. 

"Die Welt wiircle nicht besonders viele Schonheit haben, 
wenn alle Menschen waren wie Franklin, seinem Wesen fehlt jeg- 
licher romantische Duft; aber die Welt wiirde in Rechtscharfen- 
heit, Wahrhaftigkeit, Arbeit und Hilfeleistung leben. Jetzt sa- 
gen sie Liebe und freuen sich ihrer schonen Gefiihle, aber ihr 
diirft nur von Liebe reden, wenn ihr sie nie bethatigt habt. 

"In Franklin ist das von Sokrates und besonders wohlthu- 
end wirkt sein Humor ; er lasst uns auch herzlich lachen. Frank 
lin ist gute Prosa, verstandig, durchsichtig, haltbar. Das ist das 
Giinstige und Auszeichnende im Leben Franklins, dass er der 
erste self -made man war. 

"Wollten wir dem Alterthum gleich eine mythische Gestalt 
bilden fur jene Welt, die sich Amerika nennt, von Europa die 
Cotter ich meine, die geistlichen Ideen mitbrachte und desto 
frei ein eigen Leben aufbaute wollt ihr eine Menschengestalt 
fur diesen Gedanken, da steht Benjamin Franklin. Er war voll 
Wissens und niemand hatte ihn gelehrt, er war voll Religion und 
hatte keine Kirche, er war ein Menschenfreund und doch ein 
kluger Kenner ihrer Bosheit. 

"Er hat den Blitz zu leiten verstanden, nicht nur den aus 
den Wolken, sondern auch den aus den Gewittersleidenschaften 
des Menschengemuts ; er hat jene Klugheitsregeln gefasst, die 
gegen Zerfahrenheit sichern, unsere Selbstfuhrung reif machen. 
Warum ich ihn aber zum Fiihrer in der Erziehung eines Men 
schen nehmen mochte, ist das: er stellt den einfachen, gesunden 
Menschenverstand dar, den festen und sichern, nicht den genial 
uberraschenden, aber den burgerlich, politisch, wissenschaftlich 
und sittlich, ruhig und stetig wohlfiihrend. Luther war der Be 
sieger des Mittelalters ; Franklin ist der erste moderne, sich 
selbst aufbauende Mensch. 



124 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

"Franklin hat keine neue Grundsatze in die Welt gebracht, 
aber er hat was ein ehrlicher Mensch in sich finden kann, rein 
ausgestaltet. 

"Was Franklin ist und gibt, hat nichts Besonders, nichts 
Aufregendes, Vorraussehendes, Geheimnisvolles, nichts farbig* 
Glanzendes, Blendendes, es ist das Wasser des Lebens, dessen 
alle Kreatur bedarf. Der Mensch des vergangenen achtzehnten 
Jahrhunderts hatte keinen Sinn fur das Volkstum, konnte ihn 
nicht haben, das war ein Drangen und Treiben aus dem f reien 
Gedanken heraus, bis zur Spitze und Schlusse des Jahrhunderts, 
bis zur Revolution. 

"Franklin ist der Sohn dieses Jahrhunderts, er kennt riur 
die dem Menschen eingeborenen Krafte, nicht die ererbten." 

Roland says, Volume 4, page 193: "Ich habe Lilian hier 
getroffen. Sagen Sie nicht, dass wir noch zu Jung seien ; wir 
sind alter durch Ereignisse. Benjamin Franklin wollte ja Miss 
Read auch heirathen, als er achtzehn Jahre alt war. Wir haben 
uns gelobt, erst wenn der Krieg zu Ende, einander anzugehoren." 

III. Charles Sealsfield. Das Kajiitenbuch oder nationale 
Charakteristiken. Friedrich M. Eels, Leipzig, Seite 193: 

" Sollte das meinen, unterbrach hier den heftig auffahren- 
den Oberst Cracker ein anderer unserer zahllosen Obersten; 
sollte das meinen, denn wer erinnert sich nicht, wie so todlich 
lang und langsam fur unsere Vater und Vorvater sich damals 
in den achtzigen Jahren die Friedensunterhandlungen zu. Paris 
hinzogen? 

Die doch von einem Franklin geleitet wurden ! machte 
sich hier Oberst Cracker Luft. 

" Der sich aber bei dieser Gelegenheit ganz und gar nicht 
als Staatsmann bew r ies ! fiel wieder der General ein. Es unter- 
liegt gar keinem Zweifel, dass er, iiberlistet vom schlauen Ver- 
gennes, bereits auf die Basis eines zwanzigjahrigen Waffenstill- 
standes zwischen uns und England, zu Unterhandeln angefan- 
gen, als Jay noch zu rechter Zeit sich durch an die englischen 
Minister wandte, und statt des Waffenstillstandes den Frieden, 
und soinit die Unabhangigkeitsanerkennung erhielt. Das war 
dem Franzosen ein Donnerschlag, und er zeigte sich ausseror- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 125 

duitlich ungebardig, denn nach seinem perfiden Planchen sollten 
wir die englische Botmassigkeit nur abgeschiittelt haben, urn in 
die f ranzosische iiberzugehen ; aber Jay blieb fest, und Franklin, 
obwohl von den Lockungen des franzosischen Hofes umsponnen, 
gewahrte endlich doch seinen Fehler. 

Seite 194: "Diese friihe, gesunde republikanische, uns so 
eigentiimliche Erziehung die uns ebensowohl zum Regieren 
als Gehorchen eignet lernen wir erst gehorig schatzen, wenn 
wir unter die unerzogenen oder verzogenen Yolker und Nationen 
sowohl unseres Amerikas als Europas gew r orfen, ihre Kindheit, 
Hilflosigkeit und Unerfahrenheit gleichsam mit Handen zu grei- 
fen Gelegenheit erhalten." 

IV. Elise Polko, in her book entitled Musikalische Marchen, 
P/iantasien und Skizzen, Leipzig, 1877 (Band I, S. 145-163, Die 
Erfindung dcr Hannonika), tells in a most delightful manner, in 
her style so dear to the hearts of children, of the visits of the re 
nowned Dr. Franklin to the family Davis in London. Mary 
Davis, the elder of the two charming daughters of the widow 
Davis, felt the deepest veneration for the philosopher, and even 
in spite of his years the fibers of her heart were aften touched 
by a tinge of love that seemed to grow because of the absolute 
impossibility of such a union. One afternoon, Dr. Franklin was 
suddenly overcome, in their presence, by an attack of severe ill 
ness and Mary thinking that the aged man was about to die, ran 
madly out into the cold wintry evening and after a long search 
returned with a physician. Dr. Franklin s illness was of short 
duration, but Mary by the exposure had caught a cold, that left 
so disastrous an effect that her beautiful voice whose tones had 
so often delighted Franklin in wonderful songs, was no more. 
The story relates the circumstances in a most realistic manner, 
and we are told that to alleviate the terrible affliction that had 
befallen Miss Davis, he invented for her the flute-toned har 
monica. 



CHAPTER IX. 
LETTERS FROM AUSTRIA AND GERMANY TO FRANKLIN. 

The letters here quoted have all been taken from the original 
manuscripts in the American Philosophical Society of Philadel 
phia. With few exceptions, this is the first time that they have 
appeared in print. There are eighty-nine letters in the German 
language directed to Franklin, in the above mentioned collection; 
many of them in the best legible form, many unfortunately prac 
tically illegible. The letters from Germans to Franklin were 
usually addressed in the French language, or in English, strongly 
marked with foreign properties. On many of the German let 
ters we find somewhere a note in red ink, in Franklin s own 
hand, asking for a resume or translation of the letter in question. 

The arrangement of the following letters is a chronological 
one, and includes but a meagre proportion of manuscripts, worthy 
of careful consideration. The correspondence with the Austrian 
physician, Ingen Housz, would form a large chapter in itself. 
In the Library of Congress, there can be found a number 
of this doctor s letters addressed to Jefferson, after the return 
of Franklin to America. In the book entitled Jan Ingen Housz, 
sein Leben und seine Wcrkc als Naturforscher nnd Arzi; unter 
Mitwirkung von Professor Th. Eschcrich, Professor E. Mach, 
Professor R. von Topley nnd Wcgschcider, by Professor Julius 
Wiesner (Festausgabe zum I. Internationalen botanischen Kon- 
gress in Wien, 1905), there is mention that the K. K. Hofbib- 
liothek contains Ein im Nachlassc ge fund cues Manuscript, 
welches die lateinische Ubcrsetzung zahlrcichcr Briefc enthult, 
die an Franklin in Betreff dcr Elektricitdt von verschicdenen 
Gelehrtcn gerichtet ivurden. One letter from Franklin to Ingen 
Housz was sold in an auction in Munich, 1882, but the purchaser 
cannot be found. A collection treating the correspondence of 
Franklin with this Austrian court physician, can be found in the 
Autographen Katalog von Gilhofer und Rauchburg in Wien 
(Auktion III, 2 Marz, 1901), here the contents of the letters are 
given in brief. Among these there is a reference to a letter from 
(126) 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 127 

Franklin, dated September 19, 1786, which discusses medical 
methods. Unfortunately, from Professor Wiesner s careful 
search in the "Wiener Universitatsbibliothek", we are assured 
that there are absolutely no letters of Franklin to be had. (From 
a letter to the author, April 3, 1913.) 

"Wien, 3. April 1913. 
"Sehr geehrtes Fraulein ! 

"Ihr Schreiben mit dcm Poststempel Philadelphia, 10. 
Marz, habe ich erhalten und durch dassclbe lernte ich Ihre Wiin- 
sche die Correspondenz Ingen Housz, Franklin betreffend, zu 
kennen. 

"Leider kann ich diese Wunsche nicht erfiillen und zwar 
aus folgenden Griinden. 

"Aus der mir zuganglich gewesenen Korrespondenz des 
Ingen Housz und aus anderen vertraulichen Documenten geht 
mit Bestimmtheit hervor, dass Ingen Housz mit Franklin in inni- 
gem Verkehr gestanden. Eine Arbeit iiber Warmeleitung ist von 
beiden gemeinschaftlich ausgefiihrt worden, aber schliesslich 
von Ingen Housz allein veroffentlicht. Aber trotz vieler Bemii- 
hungen ist es mir nicht die regen Briefe ihrer zweifellos sehr rei- 
chen Korrespondenz aufzutreiben. Die Wiener Universitats 
bibliothek besitzt gar keine Briefe dieser Korrespondenz, wo ich 
besonders anfiihre, da Sie hofften, von dort Briefe zu bekom- 
men oder Adressen zu erhalten. 

"Es tut mir sehr leid, dass ich Ihnen sehr geehrtes Fraulein 

nicht dienen kann. 

"Hochachtungsvoll, 

"Ihr ergb. 

"J. WlESNER." 

(a) Correspondence from Austria. 

Franklin s correspondence from Austria centers around his 
intercourse with the physician and scientist, Jan Ingen Housz, 
and is a most interesting one, since he discussed with his friend a 
varied series of subjects ranging from science to politics and 
from personal matters to those of imperial courts. From Passy, 
October 2, 1781, he gives Ingen Housz the following description 



128 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

of Arnold s treatment as depicted in the Philadelphia German 
Almanac: "You will see by a German Almanac which I send 
you, how his Effigies was treated at Philadelphia. And since you 
ask for American Newspapers, I will send you some German 
Ones. We have there in that language published weekly at 
Philadelphia and Germantown, by which you may judge that the 
People with us who speak it are very numerous and now that 
England can no longer monopolize our commerce the aged 
Connection of that people with their Mother Country will be a 
means of opening a considerable American Trade with Germany 
by the North Seas and the Mediterranean. ... I last year 
requested of Congress to release me from the Service, that I 
might spend the Evening of Life more agreeably in philosophic 
Leisure. But I was refused." 89 

Previous to the above Ingen Housz had written from Brus 
sels on May 3, 1780 "I hope you are not so entirely involved in 
the troubles and business of the world Politics, as to have 
abandoned entirely the world Nature whose laws made by the 
supreme wisdom and is constant and unalterable as its legislature 
himself. It would indeed, be bad to me to conceive that a man a 
Philosopher so often and so successfully employed in researches 
of the most intricate and the most mysterious operations of 
Nature, should have so far lost all feeling for those truly delight 
ful occupations of mind, as to be given over without reserve to 
the pursuit of systems formed by man and build upon founda 
tions of so little solidity, as to be often overturned by men, and 
accidental circumstances." 90 

"To his excellency Benj. Franklin 
minister plenipot. from the Congress 

to the French Court. 
"Dear Sir 

"I hope you have received in du time my last dated April 
24 together with the copy of a book in the German language, 
Mr. le Begue has the original first Manuscript in hands, but does 



* American Philosophical Society. 
90 American Philosophical Society. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 129 

not go on with printing of it . . . [Here is inserted a refer 
ence to his friend Wharton s honesty and two letters are intrusted 
in this letter to Franklin to be handed over to this same friend.] 

"The Emperor does not give all hope of seeing you here as 
minister on the entering general Congress ; but nobody wishes 
more sincerely for such a meeting as i. Let me hear from you 
weather our hopes are grounded, and weather Lord Shelburn 
and Mr. Fox will declare you a free people. I hope that you are 
content with your countrymen. 

"Mr. Le Begue informs me he has a letter you wrote to me 
but not finished. But, pray, send it to me as it is, if you should 
not have time to finish it. Let me have something to tell from 
you to my Imperial Master, who often asks me news about you. 
letters delivered to Count Mercy will surely come to hand. 

"i expect the new English ministers will soon become as 
haughty as the former if succes attend the national armies, as 
this caracter is that of the whole nation. 

"Give my best compliments to your son, and do not entirely 

forget 

"your old and faithfull 
"friend J. Ingen Housz. 
"Vienna Austria, Juin I2th, 1782." 

"To his excellency B Franklin, Minister Plenip. of the United 
States at Passy. 

"Dear Friend 

[After an incidental mention of the lightning experiment 
demonstrated in Cremona and the request that Franklin may sub 
mit to him an explanation for the same, the next letter reads as 
follows] : "... I do not give up hopes of a general Con 
gress being held at Vienna, as, besides the affaires to be adjusted 
between Gr. Britain and the United States of America, the other 
European Powers have direct or indirect relation with America, 
as a New power starting up all at once, old treaty between Gr. 
Brittain & Holland will be annihilated and new ones made and 
many new regulations must take place between all the European 
Powers, after the tremendous power of that proud insulary na 
tion will be reduced to a mere moderate condition. All those 



130 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

things cannot be adjusted so soon and require some time to be 
settled, which I imagine can t be conveniently done but by con 
voking a congress. 

"i am very glad to see that your wighty political occupa 
tions have not yet been able to make you laid aside those pur 
suits which were formerly your favorite studies. I hope that 
for the sake of Philosophy, that you will fulfill your desire to 
pass the evening of life in the pursuit of nature s laws. I wish 
I was at Liberty to follow you on the Spot, where you will 
finish you glorious carreer, and where i myself have had the 
strongest inclination to finish mine : and indeed this thought 
had a great wight with me in resolving to employe a part of my 
fortune in a way, by which there was a faire prospect of aug 
menting my Stock so as to make me independent of Europe: 
and indeed if I could write to you, what I think upon the times 
to be expected in this country, you would certainly think it 
much better for me to live in a country of freedom whose laws 
are framed by those who submit to them, and where no frowns 
of a monarch will ever inspire terror and apprehension to any 
man. . . . [Here follows a discussion of the lightning 
and the expression of the writer s appreciation of Franklin s 
knowledge in such matters.] . . . they believe you have 
rightly understood the meaning of the author, as I remember 
having run over the performance when I was with you at Passy. 
i made an extract of what you wrote about the American 
Affairs in the letter accompaning the reflections on pere Bart- 
lett s book and at what you say that it is the interest of whole 
Europe to prevent a federal connexion between Gr. Britain & 
the American free states; join some reflections about the danger 
to be apprehended for the tranquility of Europe if so proud 
and rmarlsome a nation should be again united with North 
America to also have its full support in time of warr and be at 
an expense to keep it in time of peace. I did make use of those 
reflexions you communicated to me by reasoning about this 
affair. I gave the paper to the first lord of the bedchamber, who 
gave it to the Emperor. He kept it. But I made no extract of 
Your letter of July 4th, as you write me the contents are for 
my private information. I am much obliged to you for those 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 131 

informations and will be very glad of knowing from time to 
time who your countrie affaires go on. But it is a pity that 
letters remain such long while behind. . . . [Here he writes 
his intention of forwarding his mail by the hands of Count 
Mercy and tells Franklin of Le Begue s impression of his own 
books.] 

"i am very respectfully 
"Dear Sir 

"Your obedient humble serv. 

"and affectionate friend 

"J. Ingen Housz." 

"to Bej. Franklin 
"Passy. 
"Dear Friend, 

"This is only to accompany the adjoined letter to Mr. Wein- 
brenner, who as you see, does not lose time to make use of your 
kind proposition of giving some introductory letters to his agent, 
who is Mr. Donath. This gentleman will set out in a few weeks 
for Philadelphia, New York & Boston, where he will spend 
two years. He will carry with him various productions of this 
country. I hope you will as soon, as convenient for you, grant 
the request of Mr. Weinbrenner. 

"Your original letter with the medal inclosed is not yet come 
to hand, neither the Philadelphia Almanac, you was so good 
as to send me a year ago . . . [describes his enclosed 
profile] . 

"Your advice about the statuary was thankfully received 
and approved of. I received at last from le Bague the first sheets 
of my book under the press at Paris I did not find a single 
typographical error in them. 

"I hope still to see you here with your grandson before you 
set out for your beloved America. 

"i am with greatest estime 

"Your most obedient serv. 
"and affectionate friend 

"J. Ingen Housz. 
"Vienna juin 23, 1783." 



132 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

"Dear Friend 

"Mr. Grand acquainted me with your save arrival, your 
continuation in good health and with your being appointed gov 
ernor of Pennsylvania. This happy news has filled me with so 
much pleasure that I cannot but wish you joye on it. ... 

"I publish from time to time some new books either in Ger 
man or in French and should wish to send you a copy of them 
if I knew an opportunity to send it over without expense. 

"I hope the two volumes of my German books, Vermischte 
Schriften, are come to hand. They are delivered in hands of 
Mr. Grand. The Emperor and other great fox ask me often 
whether I have got no letters from you. 

"I hope you have found your country in the enjoyment 
of Freedom, which they owe to you, and that you enjoy your 
self the happiness you deserve for your services from a grate- 
full Nation, and strength enough of mind and body to consoli 
date their union, without which they can t remain free nor re 
spectable. 

"Yours 

"J. Ingen Housz 
"Vienne in Autriche March 8, 1786." 

The following letter from Valltravers and from J. M. Bir- 
ckenstoch serves to show the high esteem in which another mem 
ber of the court circle of Vienna held Franklin : 

"Vienna in Germany June i, 1785. 
"Sir! 

"Our worthy mutual Friend, Dr. Ingenhousz, has imparted 
to me, your long wished for Release from yr., alltho honor 
able, yet too laborious public Station, most gloriously filled 
these 50 years; not only to the salvation of yr. own native 
Country from wicked abuse of yr. faithfull Loyalty & Attach 
ment to yr. mother Country, from its selfish & tyrannical oppres 
sion & intended bondage but to the Benefit of all Mankind, by 
establishing & maintaining a sacred Asylum to distressed In- 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 133 

dustry to persecuted Merit & to rational legal Liberty all the 
World over. Give me Leave, dear Sir, as an old Friend 
admirer of yours to congratulate with You, on the approaching 
Returne of Yr. peaceable domestic Felicity and the well deserved 
Applause of yr. forever obliged constituents & their remotest 
Posterity. 

"The friendly Invitation you have given to Dr. Ingenhousz, 
to come over to Philadelphia, and to join you and yr. Labors 
& those of yr. Academy, to promote use full Knowledge, Arts 
and Sciences, has been a very tempting one. Had it pleased 
Heaven to prolong the Life of the late Empress-Queen, he might 
have obtained her Leave, to absent himself for some years 
and still to hold the Pension of L5oo per annum bestowed upon 
him. . . 

"I have translated yr. Instructions to those who think of 
settling in N. America into the German Language & apply d 
for Leave to print it But the Censure would not permit its 
Publication. There being an excellent Printing Office at Phila 
delphia in the german Language, directed by Mr. Heiner, I sh. 
most willingly furnish him, not only with this, but also many 
other interesting translations for the Benefit, both of the Ameri 
can States & for the Inhabitants of Europe, which might obtain 
a ready sale at Hamburg, for all Germany and Switzerland. 
Such as Mr. Adams Letters of an American Farmer; and what 
Performances of yours and of yr. Academicians, might be in 
trusted to my Translation into german, french, and italian I 
would also translate some excellent french Publications into 
English, for the Use of the Americans; such as Mr. Polieu 
Treatise du Gouvernement des Moeurs; or what other works you 
would be pleased to point out to me. Thus would the Remainder 
of my Days not be lost, as was my whole Life, in profitable, 
useful Action and Instruction. Happy, if guided by yr. Knowl 
edge and Experiences, and actuated by my Love of mankind, 
I can be made instrumental, in any Degree in promoting and 
diffusing of Truth, Vertue and Happiness ! 

"With this my fixed Resolution founded on such Principles, 



134 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

I humbly beg leave to crave the Continuance of yr. Kindness 
& Friendship to 
"Sir! 

"Yr. Excellcy s 

"Most sincerely devoted hble. Serv. 
"Rodh. Valltravers." 

"Monsieur, 

"L accueil flatteur, dont Mr. Ingenhousz, les gens de lettres 
en general et, j ose le dire, le Corps diplomatique d ici ont 
honore (-Monsieur) cy- jointe m enhardit, Monsieur, d en pre 
senter a Votre Excellence quelques exemplaires en Vous sup 
pliant de les agreer comme un hommage de ma part, et de vouloir 
bien en distribuer aux heros et hommes d etat chez vous, qui 
prendront quelqu interet au sujet a une production dans ce genre 
parceque je sais que vous 1 avez aime. Ne Soyez pas surpris 
Monsieur de vous paroitre au milieu de Vienne un monument 
du Roi Frederic. . . . 

"... j ai essaye de concentrer dans co tableau sa vie 
sa caractere, ses actions memorables, 1 histoire et 1 esprit de son 
reigne la marche et la profondeur de sa politique de peindre ce 
Prince unique d apres la verite sans adulation, sans la defier. 
. . . Votre Excellence sera a tous egards le juge le plus com 
petent, le plus impartial du merite de 1 ouvrage. . . . 

"Je prie Dieu, qu il Vous conserve a la gloire de Votre 
patrie, a la consolation de toutes les gens de bien, une longue 
suite d annees, et qu il Vous comble des benedictions reserves 
aux plus dignes mortels. Agreez ces Voeux Mansieur aussi 
vraies et sinceres, qui seront tou jours les sentiments plenis de 
respect et de veneration, avec lesquels j ai 1 honneur d etre 
"De Votre Excellence 

"Le tres humble et tres obeissant 
"Serviteur 
"J. M. Birckenstock 

"Consoiller antique actuel de sa Majeste le Empereur 

"a Vienne 
"a Vienne 

"en Autriche 

"ce 29 Decembre 1786." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 



135 



(b) Correspondence from Germany 

The following list has been made from actual letters to 
Franklin. Their contents varies. In some we find mere inquiries 
as to the whereabouts of relatives or friends. In others expres 
sions of praise or veneration for Dr. Franklin s achievements 
or petitions to him for his intercession and interest in a personal 
or commercial enterprise : 



1. Anspach 

2. Augsburg 

4. Berlin 

3. Bahlingen (Wurtemburg) 

5. Bonn 

6. Bremen 

7. Butzow 

(Mecklinburg-Schwerin ) 

8. Cassell 

9. Carlsruhe 
10. Colmar 
n. Cologne 

12. Ciistrin 

13. Dessau 

14. Dresden 

15. Durlach (Schwaben) 

1 6. Dusseldorf 
T 7. Ebingen 

1 8. Einsenach 

19. Erfurt 

20. Erlangen 



21. Felsberg 

22. Frankfurt a/M. 

23. Giessen 

24. Gotha 

25. Hamburg 

26. Hannover 

27. Heidelberg 

28. Hildeheim 

29. Homburg 

30. Jena 

31. Kiel 

32. Landeshutt (Silesia) 

33. Leipzig 

34. Ludwigsburg 

35. Mainz 

36. Mannheim 

37. Metz 

38. Mimchen 

39. Nordhausen 

40. Niirnberg 

41. Strassburg 

42. Stuttgart 



A LETTER OF THANKS. 
"Monsieur 

"La compliance que vous avez cue a me procurer une autre 
joli Perspective me fait prendre la Liberte a vous prier derechef 
de m envoyer le plutot possible encore un pareil. 

"Je serrai par centre toujours pret a vos ordres dans ces 
quartiers ci et ne demand que 1 occasion a vous prouver le sin- 



136 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

cere attachment et la parfaite Consideration avec laquelle j ai 
rhonneur d etre. 

"Monsieur 

"Votre tres humble et tres 
"obeissant serviteur 

"L. M. Leither 

"Conseller de S. A. S. Electorate Palatine 
"francfort 
"le 1 6 Mars 1767- 
"Mes assurance de Respect 
"a Mr. John Pringle." 

"Cassell March 17, 1770 
"Sir; 

"I sympathize so much with Your publick spirit and your 
Genius You have happily devoted to your countries service and 
improvement of natural Philosophy, that the keeping me in Your 
good remembrance is the least liberty I can indulge me with. I 
cannot therefore neglect to trouble You with these lines and to 
recommend You, Mr. Lichtenberg, Professor of Mathematics and 
natural Philosophy in the University of Giessen. He is very 
desirous to be nearer acquainted with a Man he values so high 
in so many respects; and besides he himself will plead the liberty 
I take and easily gain a part in the friendship you have bestowed 
on me. 

"The compliments for me, which last Summer You ordered 
to Mr. Merk, who had the honour to see You in Switzerland, 
have been delivered to me. They were very welcome to me, as 
shall be too the dearer proof of Your continuing my worthy 
friend the new Edition of Your electrical letters, which I hope 
will now be finished. 

"I recommend me to Your and to Mr. Pringle s further 

favour and have the honour to be with the highest and warmest 

regard ^ 

"Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant 

"R. E. Raspe" 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany \ 37 

Rudolf Erich Raspe, the German antiquarian and miner 
alogist and author of Baron Munchhausens Erzahlungen seiner 
wunderbarcn Rcise mid Kreigsabenteucr in Riissland from which 
he had drawn on Swift. We see thus that literary men in Ger 
many had personal acquaintance with Franklin and Sir John 
Pringle. 

"Miinchen, April 10, 1773. 
"Sir: 

"The fame of your knowledge and of your Humanity is 
spread abroad in all the nations of Europe so that i take the 
Liberty to write you and to inquire you about the possibility of 
the Merchandising which a company of Bavarie will undertake 
in the American Republic. We do hope for much supporting 
to the accomplishing of this our design in the Maritime Towns 
of Germany, Holland, France and Spain. But we have not 
accounts enough from the American coast; you shall oblige in 
finitely our Company, if you did order, that any man give us 
Notice of the Merchandises, which we could put off upon the 
American coast, likewise of the American products, which we 
could sell in Europe. But your command can procure us that 
information. We are reminded to send a factor to Philadelphia 
in this yet. W r e desire your counsel and your orders and tell 
you with all the Liberty republican, that we are your worship 
ers, i am with very much esteem 
"Sir 

"your very humble servant 

"jos. Utschneider bailiff 

"to Anger in Bavarie 
"You will pardon my dry 
"stile to a learning." 

"Bonn, sur le Rin le 18 Jan. 1778 
"Wollgebohrner Herr 
"Hochzuverehrender Herr. 

"Schon vom Am fang des jezigen Americanischen Krieges 
hatte ich das grosseste Verlangen dem Hochpreisslichen General 
Congress brave zu dienen; aber unzulangliche Mittel zur Reise 



138 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

hinderten diesen Vorsatz ; Nun wo ich seit einiger Zeit alles dazn 
ersparrt habe, urn entweder iiber Paris oder Rotterdam abzuge- 
hen, da fincle ich in denen hiesigen Zeitungen das gehorsamst 
beigelegte unterstrichen Avertisemeiit, zu immer grosser Ver- 
wunderung. Ich glaube zwar dass es von einem miissigen Kopf 
frei inscrirt worden; jedoch und um meine Reise nach America 
mit Gewisheit und niitzlich unternehmen zu konnen. So will ich 
mich mit Eur. Wohlgeborn. hochgeneigter Erlaubniss hier durch 
um den Grund oder Ungrund dieses Advertisements ganz treu 
gehorsamst erkundingen und wiinsche dass es ganz falsch seye 
und Gott der Allemachtige denen Waff en des hochpreiss. Con 
gresses einen unaufhaltlichen Sieg in Gnaden geben moge. . . . 
"Eur. Wohlgeb. 

"treu gehorsamer Diener, 

"August Wilhelm Weyl." 



Enclosed we find a copy of the "Gnadigst privilegirtes 
Bonnisches Intelligenz-Blatt, Dienstag, den 13 ten Januar 
1778." Under the "Politische Nachrichten" we read "Auszug 
eines Schreibens von einem OfBzier zu Philadelphia, vom 27sten 
Oktober," the following: 

"Vor einiger Zeit ist grosse Anzahl Offiziers, welche mit 
Rekommendations Briefe von den Herrn Franklin und Deane 
versehen waren, von hier nach Amerika abgereiset, und theils 
zu Boston, theils zu Charles-Town angekommen. Von da haben 
sie an den Herrn Washington und den Kongress geschrieben, 
um bei der amerikanischen Armee placirt zu werden; sie 
haben aber zur Antwort erhalten dass keine Platze vakant 
waren. . . . 

"Man spricht wiederum stark vom Kriege, und einige halten 
solchen fur unvermeidlich. . . . 

"Der Herr Eranklin hat dieser Tage eine lange Konferenz 
mit dem Ministerium gehabt, und ist von demselben mit vieler 
Achtung begegnet worden." 

This letter is accompanied by an English translation of the 
newspaper clipping and a short resume of Weyl s German letter 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 



139 



This shows that Franklin s knowledge of the German language 
is most limited. 

The gist of this is as follows: 

A. W. Weyl, the author of it, says that he had always 
entertained a great deal of good will for the Congress and has 
a mind to prove instrumental to them in the present war, but 
he has read in the newspaper of Bonn (whose there is an ex 
emplary enclosed) that a great deal of officers being gone to 
America with recommendation from D. Franklin and M. Deane 
has been refused by Congress. 

He asks whether this news be true or false. 

Jacob Hemmer, in a Latin letter written from Mannheim, 
October 8, 1778, sends a very comprehensive list of books for 
America. Among these are the following (whether Franklin 
had knowledge of the authors is doubtful, but he must have 
heard indirectly of such as Lessing, Wieland, Gottsched and 
Klopstock) : 

Gottsched grammatica germanica Testamen artes 

poetica germ. 

Reichard doctrina de praepositionibus germ. 

Hemmer grammatica germ. 

Fulda Derivates vocabulorum germ. 2 vol. 

Gellert Opera omnia prosica et poet. 

Rabner Satyr a. 6 vol. 

Gesner Opera poeta et prosa. 

Lessing Opera varia 

comedia 
tragedia 
dramaturgic 
bibliotheca theatralis 
Wieland Opera poetica 

Opera prosaica 
Armadis 
Sternheim 
Diogenes 
Speculum aureum 



140 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Don Sylzrio 

Agathon 

Uz Opera poetica 

Hagedorn Opera poetica 

Klopstock Messias 

Oda 

Opera poetica et prosaica 
Zacharia Poemata universa 

List without works Jacobi, Miiller, Haller, Kaniz, Kleist, 

Nicholai, Ramler. 

"Heidelberg, Oct. 10, 1778. 
"Hond. Sir 

According to your request I have taken the liberty in 
writing to you having enclosed five letters directed to the care 
of Mr. Parr a particular friend of mine in Philadelphia, as my 
business obliges me to tarry longer here than I first expected 
& anxious that my friends should hear from me, I have taken 
this liberty of enclosing them to your care & if opportunity 
offers, I should be under many obligations you will take the 
trouble of transmitting them to America. I was sorry I had 
not the happiness of seeing you before my departure from Paris. 
I waited on you to take my leave but you had gone to Ver 
sailles. In regard of my objection coming to this country 
which I informed you I am so far happy in hearing it is at 
interest and under the care of a wealthy Uncle. . . . I am 
likewise happy to inform you that I am in this country amongst 
the midst of friends of our cause from the Lord to the Peasant 
I have been examined through every garrison I passd but found 
no interruption in my rout. I daily carry my uniform acknowl 
edge my rank & support the character of an AmericanO^ker 
in general the Germans have had a feint Idea of the Strength 
of our country & for what our glorious opposition was for 
many have visited me and are anxious for going to America 
the Elector left this last week for Bavaria when he succeeds 
the last dececyd Elector their appears to be a general discontent 
among the people here of Protestant societies, about their 
rulers who are chiefly of the Catholic Religion which has made 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 141 

great partys & seem to bear a great antipathy to each other- 
particularly in the present war between the Emperor & the 
King of Prussia the former secretly praying for Prussian suc 
cess ... as I now have given you a knowledge of my safe 
arrival . . & the disposition of the people in this part of 
the globe toward us. 

"I shall conclude not forgetting to return you many thanks 
for your friendly consul. I have the Honour to remaine with 
much respect your Honour s most 

"Obt. Hbl. Servant Jacob Rieger." 

"Frankfort-on the Maine Oct. 2ist 1778. 
The author asks Franklin for a letter directed to him from 
Mr. Dumas and continues thus ; . . . 

" . . . Mr. Dumas also writes, that a ship arrived at 
Bordeaux, it is said, Rhode-Island is taken and the B. troops are 
made prisoners I pray God you very speedily receive an authen 
tic confirmation of this important news. . . . 

"Private letters from Paris received by a banker in this city 
also say that the court of Spain had resolved on taking an imme 
diate & open part in favor of Am as you best know if there is 
any foundatin for it, 

"In the English papers of the 6 & 10 inst. which perhaps 
you have not yet seen, there are ministerial paragraphs declaring 
the great discontent that prevail in France on account of the late 
captures, against Monsieur Saree and yourself, who they say- 
are looked upon as the chief causes of the war and they give out 
that you were obliged to refuge at Ver . . . to avoid the 
resentment of the mob. Your popularity in France to suffer such 
fabrications to meet with the least credit or cause uneasiness to 
any of your friends. 

"I have the honor to be with the highest respect and esteem 
"Sir 

"Your most obligd 

"and 
"most obedient 

"Servant 
"Sam. W. Stockton" 



142 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

The father of our famed Baron von Steuben petitioned 
Franklin in several letters to give him information concerning 
the welfare of his son. These letters with one exception are in 
German and in passages very difficult to read. The dates of four 
not given here are (i) February n, 1780; (2) December i, 
1781 ; (3) January i, 1783; (4) March 29, 1783. 

This letter is written in German as well as French. 

"Monsieur 1 ambassadeur, 

"Ayant vu dans la Gazette franchise que mon fils etait verit- 
ablement en service ameriquain, en qualite de General Inspecteur 
je prends de vous la liberte d impartuner. Votre Excellence en la 
priant tres humblement d avoir la bonte de Tay faire remettre la 
Lettre incluse. Les qualites eminentes de votre amiable caractere 
sont trop connues pour que je 1 aye pas tout lieu dis pour que vous 
voudres bien avoir la bonte de ne pas me refuser cette grace. 

"Je suis et demeurai jusqu au tombeau avec la reconaissance 
la plus grande de la consideration la plus distinguee. 
"De Votre Excellence. 

"Le tres humbler et tres obeirs. serv. 
"Signe W. A. von Steuben 
"Major & Chevalier de Tordre pour le 

"merite. 
"Custrin le 6 Nov. 1779." 

"Hochwohlgeborener Herr, 

"Hochstzuehrender Herr Ambassadeur 
"Eur Excellenz miissen die Freyheit Eur (fiir) aber man- 
ches Schreiben an meinen Sohn den General Leutnant zu iibersen- 
den mit gantz gehorsamstem Bitte die Giinstigkeit zu haben und 
es mit sehr gutem Begriffe mit Worten zu befordern die ich mit 
vollem Respect beharre. 

"Eur. Excellenz, 

"Gehorsamster Diener, 

"W. A. von Steuben. 
"Ciistrin 

"d. 1 8. October 
"1780." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 143 

A letter from von Steuben Ciistrin, April 10, 1780, expresses 
his joy that his son has written to him, and requests the forward 
ing of the enclosed letter This shows that Franklin, no doubt, 
urged Lieutenant von Steuben to write to his aged father. 

"Reverend Father 

"As a child of Science & a person who owes to you a pro 
tection & numberless attentions during my stay at Paris which 
will do me profit and honor all my life, I feel toward you more 
than duty and veneration which would be due to a natural parent 
for such obligations. . . . 

"The coolness with which science is courted at Leipsig & a 
general disposition to a contentment in such discoveries as the 
sons of Science in France or great Britain may throw into the 
world, tends to continue old usages and theories, such parts of 
the School of Leipsic, as I have at present acquaintance with 
appear much inferior to that of Paris & no way superior to that 
young seminary which owes its birth to you & which has already 
reflected infinite honor to its Patrons reputation & utility to that 
Country which can only boast of producing Doct. Franklin. 

"There is a school at Leipsic where the unhappy mutes of 
both sexes & all ages are taught to write, speak & read similar to 
those of Paris and Edinburgh, I was shown there by a friend- 
when a young pupil of fifteen enquired what countrymen I was, 
perceiving me to be a stranger The Master told I was from 
North America & asked him if he knew what country that was, 
the pupil answered yes, it was Doct. Franklin s country & that it 
lay there, pointing to the West. 

"For the character, station & person of him by whose name 
the dumb are even capable of distinguishing a vast powerfull 
Western country permit me to submit to the honor of his ac 
ceptance the profoundest sentiments of gratitude, duty & most 
humble regard & allow me to wish that gracious heaven may, 
bv his life & health continue to his country a fond & affectionate 
Father, and honorable Patron to Science an ornament & usefull 



144 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

citizen to the Universe & Parent to whom no one among the 
children of America can owe greater obligation than 
"Yours most sincere friend 
"& truly humble sert. 
"John Foulke 

"Passy. 
"Leipsic, Oct. I2th, 1781. 

"His Excellency Doct. Franklin." 

"Sir, 

"Permit me to introduce to Your acquaintance the Bearer 
Mr. Loder, first physician to the Duke of Saxe Weimar a Man 
remarkable for his natural & acquired talents & one of the first 
Anatomists of our Germany. The happy moments which my 
Son has passed in Yr. company & the civilities You honoured him 
with as well as the condescendence & kindness You are used to 
treat with, all Men of talents & Science let me hope a favorable 
reception of my Friend Loder & will serve as an Apology for the 
Liberty I presume to take on this occasion. 

"Give me leave at the same time to congratulate You, on 
the happy prospect of seeing your Country at last acknowledged 
as independent by all Europe & Great Britain itself. The Satis 
faction of seeing this great work so near a Conclusion at a gen 
eral Pacification, must naturally contribute to Yr. happiness, who 
have had so great a Share in the Delivering Your Country from 
the oppressions of a Set of despotick Men, then at the head of ye 
British Administration. May providence shower down on You 
the choicest of her Blessings, is the sincere wish, together with 
the most respectuous regard of 

"Sir 
"Your 
"most obedt. humble Servant 

"Forster (Joh. Reinhold) 
"Halle in the Dutchy of Magdeburg 

"April ye 27th 1782. 

"His Excellency Benj. Franklin Esq." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 145 

"Dear Friend 

"I send you Dr. Forster s Observations made during a 
voyage around the world & I have marked the page wherein lie 
explains the formation of those places I spoke to you of and that 
are hardly higher than high water mark. . . . [The writer 
here discusses the theory of electricity on wood.] 

"But your superior Genius my dear friend well may be able 
to conquer these objections & dispell the cloud which duly seems 
to spread upon your explanation. 

"Thursday morning." 

The above letter, although unsigned, is in Johann Reinhold 
Forster s handwriting. 

Jean Guillaume Backhatis addressed Franklin in a letter 
from Hanover, 7th of February, 1783, written in French. In 
this he speaks of establishing a standing army in America and 
makes the proposition that the regular soldiers in Europe, now 
benefited by the peace established there, might make arrangements 
to help establish this army in the United States. Franklin, on the 
top of this letter has made a note in red ink, which reads as 
follows : 

"That It is probable that the United States will not keep up 
a Standing Army, having everywhere a well disciplined Militia. 
That many of the Germans have already deserted the English 
colonies, and settled in the Country, and it is probable most of 
them will do the same rather than return to Europe. That I am 
not authorized to set on foot any such Negotiations, am however 
obliged to him for his good Will to our Service, & request he 
would accept my Thanks" . . . 

"Monsieur 

"Le Ministre de Saxe m a remis une lettre pour Vous. 
J aurai a conferer avec Vous, Monsieur, sur le differents objects 
de Commerce entre les Etats unis de 1 Amerique et la Saxe. 



146 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Indiques moi, je Vous prie, Monsieur, le jour et 1 heure auquel je 
pourai avoir 1 honneur de Vous voir. 
"Je suis avec tout Respet 
"Monsieur 

"Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur 
"Ehrenhold Frederic Biederman 

"Conseiller de Cour de Dresde. 
"a Paris 
"cellme Mars 

"1783. 

"Rue Plattrieze 
"Hotel." 

"May it please Your Excellence 
"Sir, 

"You remember perhaps that in the year 1773 in the time 
You lodged in the Strand not many miles from Mr. Weddeburne 
a poor German Scholar recommended to you by the late Mr. 
Achenwall at Gottingen, willing to go to Philadelphia with an 
intention of Selling books payed to You his respects and that 
afterwards in the time of his miserys was relieved very gener 
ously by your humanity. 

"It is therefore with the full acknowledgment of Your good 
will You have shewn me at a time I wanted it most, that a Son 
of freedom congratulates You most sincerely to the late con 
clusion of a peace honorable both to You and Your Countrie, 
adding that not yet being married, notwithstanding i since one 
Year and a half have got a small livelihood at this place I still am 
of the same opinion, provided I can go there with Your recom- 
nuendation, or can be certain of finding a lasting emploimenV 
connected with the proper Salary in the University of Phila 
delphia in the quality of Professor or Lector of the German and 
Dutch languages. Likewise might I in the quality of M. of A. 
give instructions and read lessons in the historical and political 
Sciences as I have done here already, and in this case I humbly 
expect to be favored with a Speedy answer, for the month of 
May advances, and I cannot go very well before the following 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 147 

1784th year. But even if You should not be pleased to give me 
Such an emploiment, I recommending myself, to your Benev 
olence, wish You well, and shall be always with the greatest 
respect 

"Your Excellencies 
"most humble Servant 
"Joachim Heinrich Ludewig 
"Lector. Publicus of this University. 
"at Butzow in the 
"Duchy of Meklenburg 
"Schwerin the 23 of 
"March 1783." 

The following is but one example of the numerous appeals 
made to Dr. Franklin from commission merchants, manufac 
turers and the like: 

"I hope your Excellency will allow us to represent to you, 
that during the war-time, we, in an indirect manner loaded sev 
eral Ships, and which probably reached there several ports now 
the Peace is wholly concluded, we do not doubt but there will be 
Military Magazines or Arsenals settled in the different Provinces 
of America, which may require at the same time a provision of 
proper new arms, and as the iron of our country is of an excel 
lent quality, and very fit for casting of arms, as likewise our 
Manufactury of this kind is one of the best, and most renowned 
in the World ; this enables us to make your Excellency the follow 
ing proposals: 

"In case that the United States of America should deter 
mine sooner or later to provide themselvez with proper new 
arms either for their Arsenals or their Troops; we do humbly 
offer our service to fit you with such from, it were requested that 
Excellency wou d be pleased to send us the name, the Character 
and habitation of the party we shou d have to deal with concern 
ing the exportation of what may be ordered besides we will point 
out middling port to facilitate this Intercourse in order to this we 
would propose to your Excellency John Frederich Droop of 
Hamborough there might be also sent from America thither a 



148 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Model of arms moulded In the manner the United States shou d 
desire to have em. . . . However we warrant the goodness 
and solidity of the arms we may hereafter provide you with we 
beg your Excellency will honour with your Protection our 
Manufactnry of Arms, we likewise recommend ourselves to your 
favour, and will incessantly offer up to heaven our prayers and 
good wishes for the continuance of your previous health, and 
remain with the most profound submission and most inviolate 
respect 

"Your Excellency s 

"Most Humble and 

"Most Obedient Servants 

"William Spangenberg and 

"John Spangenberg. 
"i4th March 1783." 

A letter from the undersigned, offering to pay for certain 
books sent to Spener, reads thus: 

"Monsieur 

"A la priere, que mon ami a Berlin auquel je suis attache 
prend la liberte cle vous adresser, je n ajoute que, s l y a cles 
frais, consertire le Sr. Durand Neveu Libraire rue Gallands a 
Paris pour y satisfaire & au meme temps pour recevior & 
m expedier tout a qu il plaisait a Votre Excellence d envoyer a 
M. Spener. 

"Monsieur 

"De Votre Excellence 

"Le tres humble & 
"tres obeissant Serviteur 
"Treuttel 

"Librarie 

"Ci devant Bauer & Treuttel 
"Strassburg le I Juin 

-1783." 

Spener was the author of the "Historisch-genealogischer 
Calendar". Berlin, 1784. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 149 

In 1782 we have another Steuben letter. 
"Hochwohlgebohrner Herr, 

"Hochstzuehrender Herr Minister. 

"Eur. Excellenz Gratulieren gantz gehorsamst zu den herr- 
lichen Aussichten vor den Amerikanischen vereinigten Provin- 
zien so durch deine riihmliche und weise Bemuhungen solchen 
Anschein genommen, welches alle Welt billig in Verwunderung 
gesetzt. Aber nehme mir die Freiheit abermal ein Schreiben an 
meinen Sohn den General zu iibersenden. Mit gantz gehorsam- 
ster Bitte es dass mit ersterer Gelegenheit zu bekommen. Indem 
nicht weiss was von meinem Sohn denken soil, da nur nach alle 
meine Briefe in Zeit vor einem Jahr keine Antwort erhallen und 
dass vor meinem Ende miisste von Ihnen nun sein Wohlsein ver- 
sichert zu sein. Eur. Excellenz vergeben einem bald immer acht- 
zigjahrigen Alten dass er mit einem Schreiben so oft incommo- 
diren. Da ich aber keinen anderen Weg weiss so sage das Wort 
wenn nur zu der Welt bekannten Menschen und Liebe dass Sie 
meine Bitte giitig auch nehmeii werden, und mir durch ein paar 
Zeilen bekannt machen, ob meine Briefe richtig angekommen. 
Denn ich mit aller erhimmlichsten Hochachtung bis an meiri 
Ende beharren. 

"Eur. Excellenz, 

"Gantz gehorsamster Diener, 
"W. A. von Steuben, 
"Insigneur Major und Ritter des Ordens Pour 

le Merite. 
"Ciistrin, 8. Juni, 1782." 

We will give but one example of the innumerable applica 
tions made from Germans of all ranks and stations, for posi 
tions in the American Colonies, either in military or scholastic 
pursuits or in professions of medicine, chemistry or the like or 
in the more humble positions of trade. When we examine the 
hundreds of letters in the correspondence, that has been pre 
served for more than two generations, we are astounded that so 
many letters from all sections reached Franklin s hands. As a 
benefactor of humanity, as a man of tact, as a man of political 



150 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

influence at home and abroad, he was besieged by a veritable 
avalanche, which would in its very size have terrified a more 
capable and calm correspondent at facing the task of answering 
in person or through his grandson each one of these epistles. 
We can presume that he was not lax in fulfilling his duties, for 
numerous letters acknowledge his personal reply to all sorts of 
trivial and important matters. Let us examine one of these ap 
plications. 

"I presume to trouble you with an application for a Letter 
of Recommendation in favour of Mr. Biedermann Dr. of law 
in the University of Leipzig who in the course of last year set 
out for America in the capacity of Agent, & Manager of the 
Concerns & Interest of many of our principal Manufacturers & 
Merchants. . . . It is with singular pleasure I embrace this 
opportunity to assure you of the high Esteem and great respect 
with which I have the honor to subscribe myself. 
"Sir 

"Your Most Obedient & most humble Servant 

"Ct. de Bruhl 
"Dover St. 

"March 2Qth 
"1784." 

Another letter of interest is this. 

"Kiel in Holstein in the 
"neighborhood of Hamburgh, 

"May 3, 1786. 
"Sir 

"I should be very vain if I did hope that my satisfying my 
desire to give You any mark of the high veneration with which 
i have oftentimes dwelled with my heart on Your high abilities 
and on the force of Your genius, i could add something to the 
happiness of Your most illustrious life and if for that reason i 
did take the liberty of sending to You some of my writings by 
a brother who goes in this moment in affairs of the Westindia 
Company at St. Thomas. No, sir, i shall take none of such 
vanity. Tho i am sure that Your heart is not indifferent to the 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 151 

veneration a good man has for You, wherever and whatever he 
may be, the esteem of a single man who is unknown to you 
can t be of much importance for a man who is admired and 
adored by whole nations. But what encourages me to write to 
You, is the hope that the books i take the liberty to join to this 
letter, could be of any service to serve men who have much 
influence into the modifications which are given to the evil and 
religious cultivations of the United States of America. I should 
not permit me to indulge to this delighting hope if Germany hat 
not judged very favorably of my writings and of their usefull- 
ness. In the book published just now i have endeavored to estab 
lish universal principles with respect to all kinds of usefull 
notions particularly on account of religious matters. There 
cann t be put an end of all those Calamities and evils which 
result from the different opinions, which exist among man in 
point of religious precepts, if the government in every state takes 
not care, that principles, founded on the common sense of man 
kind, be generally adopted and professed, by which every one 
is naturally exorted to be just and equitable and to abhor every 
religious perfedation. I am sure that all polite nations if they 
return to barbarousness and blindness, must come to such prin 
ciples as a basis of human felicity. But the established religious 
constitutions, which are adopted not only in all countries where 
the Roman Catholic religion is domineering but also in every 
Protestant State of Europe, shall create for a long while many 
hindrances to wise amandments of religious doctrines. There 
is at present no people in the world, which can sooner be brought 
to a high degree of perfection in usefull services and religious 
doctrines than the inhabitants of the United States of America. 
Your Americans adhere not to so many articles of faith as the 
Roman Catholic et protestant inhabitants of Europe do. Prin 
ciples of toleration are domineering in all the United States. The 
utmost exertions of wise men and especially of one of the most 
learned and most wise men the world ever saw, the utmost exer 
tions of a Franklin are employed to give to those States excellent 
Constitutions and laws. Universities and schools are rising and 
institutions of the Students of Divinity can be regulated on a 



152 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

liberal and enlarged plan comprehending all those who are good 
artisans, whatever they may think upon meerely theoretical 
articles of faith. Tho i have not had, Sir, the idea oi: sending 
You my Winke fur gute Fursten [Winks for good Princes] and 
tho the idea is just now excited by the opportunity my brother 
gives me of sending you this book with some other writings 
those considerations have nevertheless had the effect that i have 
perhaps writen but few pages, when i have not had in view the 
United American States and where i have not thought on the 
use, the Americans would make with surveys of my Winks. 
These ideas are the more nurished by the reflection that a very 
great number of the habitants of the united states are Germans. 
. . I have but little reason to hope that You understand 
the German language so much that you can read with any 
facility german books. . . ." 

[The author, Ehlers, speaks here of sending the French 
translation of the treatise he has written on human liberty and 
apologizes deeply for his imperfect knowledge of English, writ 
ing: "But fearing that you could not read a german letter i 
would rather write you a bad englisch one."] 

"Thinking on You, Sir, which i do more often than You 
can conceive it, i wish most ardently that before You exit out 
of the Stage of this world all that belongs to government and 
to the laws of the united States of America, may be entirely 
settled; and with respect to the accomplishment of this my vow 
i wish with an ardor i am not able to express sufficiently, that 
it may please the divine providence to conserve a life which is 
superior for millions and the forces of You now for many 
years and that You may yet augment in a high Degree the 
benefits and obligations which the vast republican empire of the 
American states owe to Your wisdom, to the force of your 
genius, to Your learning and to all the great talents which provi 
dence has been leased to unite in Your Person. 

"With these Overflowings of my wishes of my feelings i am 
"Sir 

"Your most obedient servant 
"M. Ehlers." 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 153 

In this letter he gives us a list of eight works, which he 
desires to send to America, for the use of those who may take 
interest in the subjects, which have been the fruits of his pen. 

"Landeshutten in Silesia, the 25 Octob. 1786. 
"Sir. 

" . . . i take the Liberty to beg your Excellency to 
use Your Interest and Authority & show that there are men in 
North America who Possess Honour and Justice & will not 
suffer that Rascals plunder Strangers of their property. I have 
been an American Patriot since by my means above 500 sols 
Have been brought over from Germany, and a very consider 
able sum of ready money for my friends accounts have been 
spent in America, and I should still be and enjoie the Happiness 
of an American patriot and I not had the misfortune that some 
of my coloniernds had been the most perjured & most wicked 
villains, who by their interest at court and Perjury robbed me 
of my property. . . . Vexed at such an injustice I quited 
England and Retired to my Native Country where god be thank 
I enjoie that Happiness and ease as much as any reasonable man 
can wish for. I have the Honeur to be known Personally to 
my King and several of His Ministers and am favored by their 
friendship and Protection. 

"Two months ago we lost our King one of the greatest men 
which-ever Existed, no monarch ever supported more his sub 
jects so than what he had done. He repaired Decayed Towns 
& those who were dstroyed in wartimes by his enemies or burned 
accidentally he rebuild at his Expence & he drained Swamps, 
drew Channals, and after the land was cultivable he devided 
it amongst new Settlers and made them a present of it; when 
his Subjects suffered in Winter times by the overflowing of 
Rivers he paid them the Damage Sufferd, and when they 
wa[n]ted seeds to sow their fields, his magazins were opened 
for them. Some years there happened to be a famine in the 
Northern part of Europe, many thousand of People died in 
Saxony & Bohemia, but in Brandenburg and Silesia was Plenty 
or at Least no want, since the king opened his magazins and 



154 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

assisted Saxony & Bohemia in such a manner that a great many 
thousand were saved by his Bounty, his yearly expences for 
the Charitable Support of his subjects amounted to about Ten 
Million and a half Rextollars & the Treasure which he has left 
above 120,000. . . . His successor Present King Frederic 
William the 2d. endeavors to imitate his Predecessors, he said 
he would endeavor rather to merit, the Name of a Good King, 
than of a Great king. . 

"Your Excellency s 

"Most obedient Humble Servant 

"Peter Hasencleber." 

In the above letter there are very careful details given 
of court events, showing that the writer must have felt that 
Franklin would take interest in such German affairs. 

Johann Jacob Meyen, who published Franklin der Philosoph 
und Staatsmann, In fiinf Gesange, 1787, dedicated to Franklin, 
wrote the following letter from Altstettin on der Oder in Pom- 
mern the 28th of June, 1788 : 

"My Lord 

"Diesen Tribut bringe ich, ein gebohrner Pommer dem 
grossen Marine, der das Licht der Wissenschaften in Amerika 
aufstellete, und sein Vaterland zu der grossen Entschliessung be- 
geisterte, die Freiheit zu fiihlen, zu schaetzen, und wenn die Re- 
gierung nicht aufhoren will, Tyrrannei zu sein durch Waffen zu 
erringen, Sie Sind, My Lord, der grosse Mann, der americani- 
sche Orpheus, der diesen Umfang der Verdienste hat, welcher 
Europa in erstaunen setzt. Lange schon hatte unsere unfrucht- 
bare See-Kiiste der Ost-See, Sie, grosser Mann, in Ihren Schrif- 
ten genannt; denn wir suchen Licht und das Atlantische Meer, 
ist nicht breit genug, unsere Wisbegierde zuriick zu weihen. 
Lange schon sahen wir die Natur durch Sie enthiillt, durch Sie 
den Schleier von der Electricitaet zuriick gezogen, und den Ge- 
witter Leiter, Franklinens Coloss auch bei uns aufgestellt. Nun 
sehen wir Sie auch den blutigen Krieg durchdringen, von der 
neuen Welt zur alten iiber das Meer fahren, um Freiheit und 
Friede zu befestigen ; wir sehen Sie, den ehrwurdigen Greis und 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 155 

Patriarchen der Philosopher! und Staatsmaenner in den ver- 
dienten Lorbeeren nm Ihren silberfarbigen Scheitel prangen. 
Man brachte sonst die Lobreden nur der Asche des Marines von 
Verdiensten; dem Trajan brachte man sie, als er noch lebte; ich 
thue das was Plinius that, denn Sie, my Lord, verdienen es so 
sehr wie Trajan. Welch ein eingeschraenktes Loblied ist es, 
welches ich dem grossen Umfange Ihrer Verdienste widme, so 
eingeschraenkt als der entfernte Hall des Rufs an unsre See- 
Kiiste die dunklen Tone von den grossen Thaten horen liess; 
aber doch nicht eingeschraenkt fiir mein Gefiihl des grossen und 
edlen welches ich in Ihnen sehe und fiihle. Mein Lied sagt zu 
wenig, kiinftige Lobredner konnen, wollen und werden mehr 
sagen: alles sollen sie sagen, wir wollen den gantzen Philosophen 
sehen und haben. Ich bin bis zum Entziicken vergnugt, wenn 
Sie, Grosser Mann, obwohl mein Gedicht zu wenig vom Umfang 
und Zeichnung des Werthes Ihrer Thaten doch mein Hertz nicht 
zu wenig gefuhlvoll und ehrfurchtsvoll fiir das wahre, edle und 
erhabne finden. Ich bin gantz fiir Sie, Gott gebe zu Ihren ruhm- 
vollen Alter noch eine milde Zulage vieler vergniigter und segen- 
voller Jahre. Ich bin 

"My Lord, 

"Ganz der Ihrige, 

"Johann Jacob Meyen. 

"Der Philosophic Doktor und des academischen Gymnasi 
ums offentlicher professor der Mathematic und Physic, wie auch 
Koniglicher professor der Hydrographie und Schiffskunst." 

"Sir! 

"In the latter end last year, I recevid by the hands of 
Mons. de Butre, a book entitled, Constitutions des Treize Estats 
Unis de 1 Amerique, together with a beautiful Medal struck upon 
the independency or sepperation of the American Colonies from 
their Mother Country ; the device on the reverse of this medal is 
as strong & flattering to the arms of France as it is humiliating 
& disgraceful to those of England ; how far the allusion may bear 
a resemblance to truth, the annals of time are left to unfold, 
confirm & record. 



156 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

"If These articles were meant as presents from your Excel 
lency to me, I then beg you will be persuaded to believe that I 
have employed the very first favorable opportunity of returning 
you Sir my most grateful thanks & of assuring you that they 
could not have been bestowed upon a person whose Zealous good 
wishes for the common cause of extending happiness (& con 
sequently the civil rights & liberty of Mankind) are more 
ardently poured forth and those of your Excellency s most re 
spectful & much obliged old friend & very Humble 
"Servant 

"P. P. Burdett. 

"Ingenier en chef & capitaine des Cards 
"de S. A. Sme. Le Prince cle Baden 
"Carlsruhe 17 January, 1786." 

(c) Three Letters of Franklin to Germans. 

Franklin must have sent hundreds of letters of recommenda 
tion at the appeal of men of high and low social position in the 
social scale. This is an example of his own reply from which 
fifteen copies were made by his orders: 

"Passy April 22, 1783. 
"Sir 

"M. Martin, Professor of Natural History in the Service of 
the Emperor, being appointed to make a collection of Plants and 
Animals from the four Quarters of the World, for his Imperial 
Majesty s Botanical Gardens and Menagerie, proposes to begin 
his Operations by a Journey thro the Countries under the Gov 
ernment of the United States of America. He is strongly 
recommended to me by his Excellency the Ambassador from the 
Court; and I take leave to recommend him not only to the 
bounties you are pleased in bestowing on Strangers of Merit, 
but to all the Assistances and Facilities your Station and the 
Influence attending it, may enable you to afford him in the 
Excellence of his Commission, being persuaded about your Zeal 
for the Increase of Useful Science, as well as the Respect due to 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 157 

his August Employer, will induce you to render M. Martin with 
Services with Pleasure I have the honor to he very respectfully 

"Sir Your (Excellency s)" 

The Prince cles Deuxpontes addressed Franklin on the i4th 
of June, 1783, in regard to establishing trade between Palitinate, 
Bavaria and the United States of America. This letter is pub 
lished in Jared Sparks Franklin, Volume IX, page 526. Frank 
lin s answer, however, which can be found on the blank pages of 
this letter, has as yet not found its way to the printed page. It 
reads as follows: 

Franklin s Response. 

"Without information what are the Productions and Manu 
factures of the Palatinate & of Bavaria and their Prices of which 
Mr. Franklin is totally ignorant, it is impossible for him to say 
what of them will be proper for a Commerce with the United 
States of America. He can only answer in general, that Amer 
ica purchases from Europe all kinds of Woolens & Linnens 
coarse & fine proper for Clothing for Men & Women ; a Variety 
of Iron & Steele Manufacturers ; and she pays in Tobacco, Rice, 
Indigo, Bills of Exchange or Money. If the Electorates above 
mentioned can furnish any of these Manufactures cheaper than 
or as cheap as France, Holland or England they may thereby 
obtaine a Share of the American Commerce. But it will be 
prudent for the Merchants to send first a discreat intelligent man 
with a small cargo of Samples of all their kinds of Goods in 
order to obtain a thorough knowledge of the nature of the Com 
merce in that Country, and of all Kinds of Goods & Proportions 
of their Quantities, that are most in demand there, before they 
hazard the making of large Adventures. There is no doubt but 
that the Commerce of the German States will be favorably re 
ceived in America, where a great many People of that Nation 
are established. Mr. F. will give it all the Encouragement that 
can be expected of him ; but he cannot take upon him to point out 
and name as he has been desired the most Solid Houses of 
Commerce there, having long been absent from that Country and 
the War having probably made a Change in the Circumstances 
of many." 



158 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

To illustrate the attitude of Franklin toward Prussian 
trade, here is a draft of a letter written by him from Passy, 
September 9, 1777: 

"Meyers, Melone & Co. 

"I received your Favor of the igth . . . our Clothing 
of the manufacture of Prussia. We have already contracted for 
as much as our Funds here will enable us to pay for in time, a 
considerable of the Remittance made to us from America having 
been intercepted ; but a much greater Quantity is wanted, & will 
undoubtedly come to a good Market there, we advise you to send 
a Cargo thither on your own Account, which we hope and believe 
you will find greatly to your Advantage; and if the Goods are 
approved, it may open a Trade & Demand there for Prussian 
Commodities that will be very beneficial to that Kingdom. I 
have the Honor to be 



(Printed 1882.) 

The author adds here two original letters of Franklin. One 
to Johann David Halm, the other to George Washington, recom 
mending Baron de Steuben: 

"Aug. 20, 1774. 
"Mr. Halm, 

"I am much obliged by your valuable Present of several 
Tracts which I received through the Hands of our common 
Friend Sir John Pringle; particularly for that on Fused Air, a 
Subject which of late engages much Attention from Philosophers 
here and in which no one has more distinguished himself than 
Dr. Priestley, who puts this letter into your Hands. His Char 
acter in the Republick of Letters you must be well acquainted 
with, and I am sure that you will be pleased with the Opportunity 
of conversing with him. I beg your Acceptance of the enclosed 
Pamphlets, and am with the greatest Esteem, Sir, 

"Your most obed. 

"& most hum. Servt. 

"B. F- 
"From Franklin to 

"(Johann David Halm)" 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

Recommendation from Franklin for the Baron von Steuben. 

(Draft copy.) 

"Passy near Paris Sept. 4, 1777. 
"Sir 

"The Gentleman who will have the Honour of waiting upon 
you with this Letter is Baron de Steuben, lately a Lieutenant 
General in the King of Prussia s Service whom he attended in 
all his campaigns, being his Aide Campe, Quartermaster Gen 
eral etc. He goes to America with the true Zeal for our cause 
in View of engaging in it & rendering it all Service in his Power. 
He is recommended to us by the two best Judges of military 
Merit in this country, M. de Vergennes & M. de St. Germain who 
have long been personally acquainted with him, and interest 
themselves in promoting his voyage. I have therefore great 
Hopes that the Knowledge from a full Prussian Experience he 
has acquired by 20 years Study & Practice in the Prussian School 
may be of great Use in our Armies. I therefore cannot but wish 
that our service may be made agreeable to him. I have the 
Honour to be 

"His Excell. 

"Geo. Washington." 

(Printed 1882.) 



CHAPTER X. 
BIBLIOGRAPHY. 

Franklin s Works in German Editions by Germans. 
(Chronological.) 

We are including under this title merely the works, that are 
limited to the German field and not the German American pub 
lications. 

I. Des Herrn Benjamin Franklin, Esq., Brief e von der Elec- 
tricitat aus dem Englischen ubersetzt nebst Anmerkungen, von 
J. C. Wilcke. Leipzig, 1758. Verlag Gottfried Kiese wetter 
Buchhandlung in Stockholm. 

II. Samnitl. Werke aus d. Engl. libers, von G. T. Wcnzel, 
3 Bde., mit Kupfer. (Des Herrn D. Ben. Franklin sammtliche 
Werke. Aus dem Englischen und Franzosischen ubersetzt. Nebst 
dem franzosischen Ubersetzen des Herrn Barbey Dubourg. Zu- 
satze und mit einigen Anmerkungen versehen von G. T. Wenzel. 
Erster Band mit Kupfer.) Dresden, 1780. In der Walthen- 
sche Hofbuchhandlung; 3 Bde.; portrait 5 plates. 

III. Bericht filr diejenigen, so sick nach Nordamerika le- 
ben "wollen. Aus d. Engl. Hamburg (Herold, 1786). 

IV. Freier Wille, ein Werk filr denkende Menschen ilber d. 
Mach d. Zufalls. Leipzig, 1787 (Mosle in Wien). 

V. Schreiben an Ingenhous fiber d. Rauchen d. Kamins u. 
Schomsteins. Aus d. Engl. (von Pt. H. G. Brodhagen. Mit I 
Kpf. Hamburg, 1788). 

VI. Schreiben an Ingchauscn ilber d. Rauchen d. Gamine. 
Aus d. Engl. Hamburg, 1788 (Bohn). 

VII. Enveiteres Lehrgeb dude d. Electricit dt. Wien, 1790. 

VIII. Jugendjahre, von ihm selbst bescrieben. Aus d. Engl. 
ubersetzt von G. A. Burger. Berlin, 1792 (Rottmann). 

IX. Kleine Schriften, meist in der Manicr des Zuschauers, 
nebst seinem Leben. Aus dem Englischen von G. Schatz. Erster 
Theil. Weimar, 1794. Verlag des Industrie Comptoirs. 2 
Bde. 

(160) 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 161 

X. Der Benjamin Franklin s Leben. Tubingen, 1795. 
(Anom. ) 

XL Lebensbeschreibung B. Franklins. Job. C. Seller. Ber 
lin, 1897 (Oettingers Bibliogr.). 

XII. Biographien filr die Jug cud. Vol. I. C. J. Wagenseil. 

XIII. Lebensbeschreibung B. Franklins. Berlin, 1797. 

XIV. Lebensbeschreibung Benjamin Franklins. Johann 
Christian. Berlin, 1897-1898. 

XV. Kleine Schriften. Aus d. Engl. Zweiter Theil mit 
Franklin s Portrat Weimar, 1802. Industr. Comptr. G. Schatz, 
zweite Auflage. 

XVI. Beschreib. eincs rauchverzehrend. Sparofens. Ver- 
bessert von Boreux. Leipzig, 1802 (Hinrichs). 

XVII. Beschreib. eincs rauchverzehrend. Sparofens. Ver- 
bessert von Boreux. Leipzig, 1803 (Hinrichs). 

XVIII. Franklinsche Ofen d. vervollkommet v. Darnot u. 
Schmidt. Aus dem Franzosischen. Von Eschenbach, mit Kpf. 
Leipzig, 1806. 

XIX. Sammtl. Werke. London, 1793; 2 Bande; 3. Band, 
Enkel W. T. Franklin (1818-1819). 

XX. Sicherer Weg zu einer moral. Gesundheit zu gelangen 
und sich darin lebenslang zu erhalten. Wien, 1812 (Wimmer ). 

XXI. Spriichwdrter des alien Heinrichs und Engcls der Le- 
benswcisheit des alien Witt. Berlin, 1812 (Mittler). 

XXII. Franklin s IVerkc. Niirnberg, 1816 (Campe). 

XXIII. Dr. Franklin s nachgelassene Schriften und Corre 
spondent, nebst seinem Leben. Aus dem Englischen iibersetzt. 
Von G. H. A. Wagner. Weimar, 1817. Im Verlag des Landes- 
industrie Comptoirs. (Bd. I-II, Correspondenz ; Bd. III-IV, 
Leben; Bd. V, Werke.) 

XXIV. Freier Willc, ein Wcrk filr denkende Menschen. 
Leipzig, 1817. Zweite Auflage Wien (Mossle). (Erste Auf 
lage, 1811.) 

XXV. Leben und Schriften. Aus dem Englischen iiber 
setzt. Weimar, 1818. 2 Bde. (Bd. 3-4 of Franklin s Nachge 
lassene Schriften. ) 



1 62 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

XXVI. Tugendubungen, guter Rath an Plandwerker, Mittel 
reich zu werden. Wien, 1819 (Mayer). 

XXVII. Franklins Leben. Ebd. 2 Bde. 1819. 

XXVIII. Sprilchworter dcs alt en Heinrich it. Engels Le- 
bensweisheit des alien Witt, oder d. Kunst reich u. gliicklich zu 
werden; ein Taschenbuch fiir Jedermann. Berlin, 1819 (Mittler). 

XXIX. Sprilchworter des alien Heinrich u. Engels Lebens- 
weisheit des alien Witt, oder d. Kunst reich u. gliicklich zu wer 
den; ein Taschenbuch filr Jedermann. Rotweil, 1822 (Herder). 

XXX. Goldnes Schatzkastlein, oder Anzvcis wie man th dtig, 
verstdndig, beliebt, etc., werden kann. Herausg. von Dr. Bergk. 
Leipzig, 1827-1833. 

XXXI. Leben und Schriftcn, nach der von seinem Enkel 
W . T. Franklin voranstalt. neuen Londoner Ausg., mit Benutz- 
ung des bei derselben bekannt gemachten Nachlasses u. friiherer 
Qucllen zeitgem dss bearbeitct. Von A. Burger ; 4 Theile. Kiel, 
1829. (Vergl. Biographien f. d. Jugend. ) 

XXXII. Deutsche Bcarbcitung. Kid, 1829; 4 Bde. A. von 
Binzer (4 Vol. in 2) Universitats-Buchhandlung. (Leben und 
Schriften nach der von seinem Enkel W. T. Franklin, voranstal- 
ten neuen Londoner Original Ausgabe.} 

XXXIII. Franklin s Tagebuch, ein sicheres Mittel durch 
moral. Vollkommenheit, thdtig, verstdndig, beliebt, tugendhaft 
u. gliicklich zu werden. Entworfen im Jahre 1730 u. nach 100 
Jahren als ein Denkmal fiir die Nachwelt an d. Licht gestellt. 
Eschwege, 1830 (Hoffmann). 

XXXIV. Franklins Tagebuch, ein sicheres Mittel durch 
moral. Vollkommenheit th dtig, verstdndig, beliebt, tugendhaft 
u. gliicklich zu werden. Entworfen im Jahre 1730 u. nach 100 
Jahren als ein Denkmal fiir die Nachwelt an d. Licht gestellt. 
Eschwege, 1830 (Wohlfeilen Ausgabe Cassel). Kriegersbuch- 
handlung. 

XXXV. Altc Goldbriefe. Neu herausgegeben zum Nutzen 
und Erommen der Tugend. Coburg, 1833 (Riemann). 

XXXVI. Goldnes Schatzkastlein, oder Anweisung wie man 
th dtig, tugendhaft, religios und gliicklich werden kann. Her 
ausgegeben von Dr. Bergk. Auflage 8, Leipzig, 1834. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 163 

XXXVII. Goldnes Schatzkastlein, oder Anweisung ivie 
man thatig, tugendhaft, religios und gliicklich werden kann. 
Herausgegeben von Dr. Bergk. Zweite Auflage, Leipzig, 1834- 
1838. Dritte Auflage, Leipzig, 1839. Dntten durchge. Auflage 
Quedlinburg. Ernst, 1843, 1844-1850. 

XXXVIII. Franklin s Werke. (Campe Edition.) Niirn- 
berg and New York, 1835. 

XXXIX. Ein Lesebuch fur Volks- und Gewerbeschulen, 
enthalt Der arme Richard, oder der Weg zum Wohlstand, von 
Benjamin Franklin; sodann Auszuge ans Theophron, von J. H. 
Campe. Carlsruhe, 1836 (Wagner). 

XL. The Life of Benjamin Franklin, written by Himself; 
to which are added Essays by the same Author. Mit einem Wor- 
terbuch. Zum Schul- und Privatgebrauch. (Mit feinen Bildnis- 
sen in Stahlstich. ) Carlsruhe, 1838 (Creuzbauer). 

XLI. Leben und ausgewahlte Schriften. (In einem Bande.) 
Leipzig, 1838 (G. Wigand). 

(Probably the third volume of Geschichts-Bibliothek filr 
Folk.) 

XLII. Leben von Ihm selbst (Geschichts-Bibliothek fur 
Folk, third volume). Ebd. 1839. 

XLIII. Leben Benjamin Franklins, ein Lebenbild fur Jung 
und Alt. Von Ferdinand Schmidt. Berlin und Leipzig, 1840 
(HugoKaftner). 

XLIV. Leben Benjamin Franklins. Berlin und Leipzig, 
1840 (Carl Schmalz). 

XLV. Der Weg zum Reichthum. Erfurt, 1841 (Hennings 
und Hopf). 

XLVI. Goldnes Schatzk dstlein, u. s. w. Von Dr. Bergk. 
Auflage 12. Quedlinburg, 1843, 1844, ^S (Ernst). 

XLVII. Franklin s Sdmmtliche Werke, nebst dessen Le- 
bensbeschreibung. Hamburg, 1845 (Schuberth & Co.). 

XLVIII. Lebensbeschreibung Benjamin Franklins. Von 
Julius Kell. Leipzig, 1845. 

XLIX. Leben, beschrieben filr das Folk. Eigenthum des 
wiirttembergischen Volksschriften-Vereins. Ulm, 1845 (Heer- 
brandt und Th.). 



164 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

L. Leben des Benjamin Franklins, von Him selbst geschrie- 
bcn. Leipzig, 1848 (Geschichts-Bibliothek fur das Folk, 
Band 2). 

LI. Lcbcnsbeschreibung Benjamin Franklins, des thatkr df- 
tigcn Manncs und frcisinnigen Volksfreundes. Eine Volks- 
schrift. Leipzig, 1848 (Klinkhardt). 

LII. Dcr arme Richard, die Kunst reich zu vvcrden. Erlan- 
gen, 1852 (Georg Gelf reich). 

LIII. Leben und Schriften Benjamin Franklins. Theodor 
Ruprecht. Leipzig, 1853 (Otto Wigand). 

LIV. Bildungs-Halle im Sinnc und Geiste unserer Zeit. 
Fur alle Stande. 5. Band. Benjamin Franklin s Leben und 
Schriften. Leipzig, 1853. Verlag von Otto Wagner. 

LV. Benjamin Franklin, scin Leben, Denken und Werke. 
Leipzig, 1853. Von Heinrich Bettzeich-Beta. (Untcrhaltende 
Belehrungen zur Forderung allgemeiner Bildung. Band 18.) 
F. A. Brockhaus. 

LVI. Benjamin Franklin s Autobiography. Vols. 2 and 3. 
A. Durrs. Collection of American Authors. Leipzig, 1854- 

1858 (K. Elze). 

LVII. The Life of Benjamin Franklin. Vol. I. Benjamin 
Franklin s Autobiography, with Appendix. Authorized Edition. 
Dessau, 1854 (Katz Br.). 

LVIII. Benjamin Franklin, eine Biographic. Aus dem 
Franzosischen. Leipzig, 1855. F. A. M. Mignet. 

LIX. Gleichniss von der Glaubensbildung. Dessau, 1855 
(Neuburger). 

LX. Bibliothek der englischen Litter atur fiir Schul- und 
Hausgebrauch. Herausgegeben von H. Robolsky. Leipzig, 

1859 (Gerhard). 

LXI. Benjamin Franklin, ein Lebensbild. Freiburg im 
Breisgau, 1862 (J. Venedey). 

LXII. Dcr Weg zum Reichtum. Neubearbeitet, nebst einer 
Biographic des beriihmten Verfassers. G. A. B. Berlin, 1864 
(Grothe). Zweites Heft. The Life of Benjamin Franklin. 
Continuation to Benjamin Franklin s Autobiography, by Jarcd 
Sparks. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 165 

LXIII. Benjamin Franklin s Der antic Richard, Weg zum 
Reichtum. Aus clem Englischen von C. F. Liebetreu. Berlin, 
1866 (A. Jonas). 

LXIV. Life of Benjamin Franklin, Written by Himself, 
to which are added essays, some anecdotes of or by the same 
author. Worterbuch. Zum chul- und Privatgebrauch. Zweite 
Auflage durchgeschaut, vermehrt und mit Anmerkungen, von D. 
Jungking. Carlsruhe, 1871 (Wilhelm Kreuzbauer). 

LXV. Benjamin Franklin, sein Leben von Him selbst be- 
schrieben. Mit einer Vorbemerkung von Berthold Auerbach, und 
eine historische Einleitung von Friedrich Kapp. Nebst dem 
Bildnisse Franklins. (Holzschnitt-Tafel.) Stuttgart, 1876 (Au 
erbach). Universal- Auflage 8. 1877. Ebend. 1882. 

LXVL Bibliothek gediegencr und Ichrreicher Werke der 
englischen Littcratur. Zum Gebrauch der studirenden Jugend 
ausgewahlt und ausgestattet, von Ant. Goebel. Minister, 1881 
( Aschendorff). 

LXVII. John Biglow. Correspondence et Autobiographic. 
Philadelphia, 1868; New York, 1900. Deutsch von Friedrich 
Kapp. 4. Auflage. Berlin, 1882. 

LXVIII. Benjamin Franklins Autobiography. Mit An 
merkungen zum Schulgebrauch. Herausg. von K. Mayer. Biele 
feld, 1885-1890 (Velhagen Klasing). 

LXIX. (i) Autobiography. Cressner und Schramm. Leip 
zig, 1887. (2) Autobiography. Students Tauchnitz Edition. 
Mit deutschen Anmerkungen, von K. Feyerabend. Leipzig. B. 
Tauchnite. i. und 2. Th. (i) Jugend jahrc. 1706-1730. (2) 
Mannesjahre. 1731-1754. (The Way to Wealth.) 

LXX. Benjamin Franklin s Leben, von ihm selbst beschrie- 
ben. Deutsch von Karl Miiller. 1887. (Universal-Bibliothek.) 

LXXI. Benjamin Franklins Jugcndjahre. Jonas. Berlin, 

1888. 

LXXII. Benjamin Franklin s Jugendschrift. 4- Auflage, 

Leipzig, 1888 (Geibel & Br.). 

LXXIII. Der Weg zum Reichtum. Berlin, 1891 (F 

Stab). 



1 66 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

LXXIV. Benjamin Franklins Autobiography. English 
Authors. Bielefeld, 1891. 

LXXV. Benjamin Franklin s Jugendschrift. Wilhelm J. 
Briischweiler. Stuttgart, 1893 (J. F. Steinkopf). 

LXXVI. Leben und Grundsatzc Benjamin Franklins. Aus 
dem Englischen von Theodor Roth. Stuttgart, 1893. 

LXXVII. Benjamin Franklin s Autobiography. Herausg. 
C. Mayer (9. Abdruck), 1894. 

LXXVIII. Dcr IV eg sum Reichtum. Ansbach, 1894 (M. 
Eichinger). 

LXXIX. Luftelektricitdt (B. Eranklin, T. F. Dalibard, 
L. G. Le Monner iiber Luftelektricitat). Neudrucke v. Schriften 
it. Karten iiber Metereologei u. Erdmagnetismus. Nr. II. Ber 
lin, 1898 (A. Asher & Co.). Herausg. von G. Hellmann. (J. 
H. Winkler.) 

LXXX. The Life of Benjamin Franklin, with the Contin 
uation, by Jared Sparks. Herausg. von F. Wiillenweber. Leip 
zig, 1899 (Otto E. A. Deckman). Renger Band 52. 

LXXXI. Benjamin Franklin. English Authors. Herausg. 
C.Mayer. Bielefeld, 1905 (Velhagen & Klasing). Band 48. 

LXXXII. Benjamin Franklin. F. Schmidt. Berlin, 1905 
( Neufeld & Henius). 

LXXXIII. Benjamin Franklin s Lebensbild. Konstanz, 
1906 (C. Hirsch). 



CHAPTER XL 

ALPHABETICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY. 

A. 

1. Achenwall, Gottfried. Hannoverisches Magazin, 17 
Stuck. 1767. Erne Anmerkung iibcr Nordamerika u. ilbcr 
dasige Grossbritannische Colonicn. Aus miindlichen Nachrichten 
des Herrn Dr. Franklins. 2. Aufl., Frankfurt, Stuttgart, 1769; 
3. Aufl., Helmstedt, 1777. 

2. Adams, John Quincy. Letters on Silesia. 1800-1801. 

3. Adams, George. Anweisung zur Erhaltung dcs Gesichts. 
Gotha, 1794. 

4. Almanack fiir Dichter u. schone Geister auf das Jahr 
1785. (Gedruckt am Fuss des Parnassus.) 

5. Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothck. Band 32; Band 25. 

6. Allgemeine Litteraturzeitung. Jena, 1785. 

7. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia (Franklin 
Manuscripts). 

B. 

8. Bauer, Th. Chr. Aug. Franklin u. Washington, unter- 
haltende Anecdotcn aus dem achtzehnten Jahrhundert. Band 8. 
Berlin, 1803-1806. 

9. Bancroft, George. History of the United States. Bos 
ton, 1874. 

10. Beaumarchais et son Temps. Paris, 1858. (Louis de 

Lomenie. ) 

n. Bebra, Freyherr von. Journal v. u. fiir Deutschland. 

Jahrgang 1784. 

12. Berlinsche Monatsschrift. (Nicholai, Fried.) Juh, 

1783- 

13. Berlinsche Zeitschrift. Juli, 1783. 

14. Bernhardt. Sammlung klinischer Vortrdge. No. 41. 

1891-1894. 

15. Bettziech-Beta, H. Unterhaltungen, Belehrungen zur 
Fdrderung allgemeiner Bildung. Leipzig, 1851-1853. 

1 6. Biedermann, Karl. Deutschland im achtzehnten Jahr 
hundert. 2. Aufl. Leipzig, 1880. 

(167) 



i 68 Benjamin Franklin and Germany 

17. Bierbaum, J. Litteraturgeschichte. 1891-1894. 

1 8. Bigelow, John. Benjamin Franklins Life and Writ- 
Ings. Philadelphia, 1868; 1875. 

19. Blankmeister,. Franz. Justus Moser, der dcutschc 
Patriot. 

20. Bleibtreu, Karl. Magazin fiir die Lit. des In- und Aus- 
landes. Band 109. 1909. 

21. Bluntschle, J. K. Geschichte der neuen Staatsivissen- 
schaft. Leipzig, 1881. 

22. Boclemann. /. G. Zimmermann. Hannover, 1878. 

23. Brooks, E. S. Benjamin Franklin. 1898. 

24. Briischweiler, Wilhelm J. Benjamin Franklins Ju- 
gendschrift. No. 12. Stuttgart, 1893. 

25. Biichner. Litierarische Zeitung. Berlin, 1834. 

26. Buhle, J. G. Johann David Michaelis, Litter arischcr 
Briefwechsel. 3 Bde. Leipzig, 1794-1796. 

27. Biilow, E. von. L. Schroder, dramatischc Werke. 
Band i. Berlin, 1831. 

28. Burckhardt, EduarcL Conversations- u. Rcisebiblio- 
thck } von F. A. Mignet. 7-9. Aus dem Franzos. Leipzig, 1855. 

29. Burke, Edmund. The Annual Register or View of the 
History, Politics and Literature for the Year 1766. London, 
1767. 

30. Biischung, Anton Fred. Magazin fiir ncue Historic 
und Geographic. 1767. 

C. 

31. Canzler u. Meissner. Fiir alter e Zeit und neuere Lek- 
tilrc. Quartalschrift. Leipzig, 1783. 

32. Centralblatt fiir Litteraturgeschichte. 1870. 

33. Christian, Johann. Lebensbeschreibung Benjamin 
Franklins. Berlin, 1797-1798. 

34. Crell, Johann. Lautere Wahrheit, odcr ernstliche Be- 
irachtung des gegenw drtigcn Zustandcs der Stadt Philadelphia 
und der Proving Pennsylvanien. (Armbriister. ) 1747. 

35. Cutler, W. W. Selections from the Writings of Ben 
jamin Franklin. London, 1906. 



Benjamin Franklin and Germany 169 

D. 

36. Der deutsche Mcrkur. 1766, 1774, 1775, *776, 1777, 
1782. 

37. Dcutschcs Museum. Leipzig, 1776. 

38. Deutsche Rundschau. Berlin, 1875, 1876, 1901. 

39. Duller, Edward. Vatcrldndische Geschichtc 5 Bande 
1853-1858. 

40. Diintzer. Christian Kaufmann, der Apostel dcr Genie- 
zcit. Leipzig, 1882. 

41. Diirr, A. Collection of Standard American Authors- 
Benjamin Franklin. Leipzig, 1854-1858. 

E. 

42. Ebeling, Fried. W. W. L. Wekkerlin. Berlin, 1869. 

43. Ebstein, E. Zcitschrift filr Bilcherfreunde. (Gedichte 
Burgers in altester Fassung.) 1905-1906. 

44. Eggers, C. W. D. von. Das deutsche Magazin. Dezem- 
ber, 1793. 

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63. Gerber, Ernst Ludwig. Neues historisch-biographisches 
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64. Gersdorf, E. G. Repertorium der deutschen Litteratur. 
Leipzig, 1440. 

65. Gervinus, G. G. Georg Forster s sdmmtliche Schriften. 
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66. Gildemeister, C. H. Johann Georg Hamann. Band i 
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67. Gothein, Eberhard. Die Aufgaben der Kulturge- 
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69. Green, S. A. Career of Benjamin Franklin. Philadel 
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74. Haertel, Martin H. German Literature in American 
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75. Hale, Edward E., Sr., and Jr. Franklin in France. 
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76. Haller, Albrecht von. Tagebucher seiner Reisen nach 
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77. Halm. Abhandlungen der schwedischen Academic der 
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78. Hamberger, Georg C. Das gelehrte Deutschland, oder 
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79. Hannoverische Zeitung. Juni und August, 1766. 

80. Haym, Rudolph. Johann G. Herder. 

81. Henneberger, A. Zeitschrift fur deutsche Kulturge- 
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83. Hildebrand, Richard. Jahrbuch fur Nationalokonomie 
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91. Kapp, Friedrich. Friedrich der Grosse und die Verei- 
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93. Kaufmann, Georg. Die Auffassung der attest en deut- 
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94. Kippis, Andrew. Sir John Pringle. Six Discourses. 
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95. Knortz, K. Geschichte der Nord-Amerikanischen Lit. 
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96. Knortz, K. Der Pessimissmus in der amerikanischen 
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97. Koch, Max. Uber die Beziehung der engl. Lit. zur deut- 
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98. Kohler, J. T. Franklin s Nachrichten von Nord- 
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115. Lichtenberg, Ludwig C. Vermischte Schriften. Wien, 
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123. Michaelis, Johann David. Abhandlungen von den 
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125. Meusel, Johann Geor. Historische Littcratur. 10 
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127. Milberg, Ernst. Die morallschen IVochcnschriftcn des 
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128. Mollenhauer, Karl. Anteil an der Wiedcrbclcbimg des 
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129. Moritz, K. Ph. Anton Reiser. Berlin, 1786. Bd. III. 

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131. Moser, Justus. Wcrke. Berlin, 1842-1843. 

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147. Nicolai, Fried. Allgemeine Dent. Bibliothek. Band 
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148. Nicolai, Fried. Sebaldus Notdanker. Berlin, 1774- 
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149. Nicolai, Fried. Justus Moser s Vermischte Schriften. 
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150. Nicolai, Fride. Berliner Monatssschrift. Juli, 1783. 

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163. Polko, Elize. Musikalische M drchen, Phantasien und 
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164. Potter, Israel. Fifty Years in Exile. London, 1855. 

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171. Revue des deux Mondes. Juin, 1841. N. II. Phila- 
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Chicago, 1894. 



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