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In 1728 Franklin and Hugh Meredith, a fellow-worker at of forts and watching the Indians. In February 1757 the Keimer's, set up in business for themselves; the capital being assembly, “finding the proprietary obstinately persisted in furnished by Meredith's father. In 1730 the partnership was manacling their deputies with instructions inconsistent not only dissolved, and Franklin, through the financial assistance of two with the privileges of the people, but with the service of the crown, friends, secured the sole management of the printing house. resolv'd to petition the king against them," and appointed In September 1729 be bought at a merely nominal price The Franklin as their agent to present the petition. He arrived in Pennsylvanio Gazette, a weekly newspaper which Keimer bad London on the 27th of July 1757, and shortly afterwards, when, started nine months before to defeat a similar project of at a conference with Earl Granville, president of the council, Franklin's, and which Franklin conducted until 1765. Franklin's the latter declared that "the King is the legislator of the colonies,” superior management of the paper, his new type, "some spirited Franklin in reply declared that the laws of the colonies were to be remarks” on the controversy between the Massachusetts made by their assemblies, to be passed upon by the king, and assembly and Governor Burnet, brought his paper into immediate when once approved were no longer subject to repeal or amendnotice, and his success both as a printer and as a journalist was ment by the crown. As the assemblies, said he, could not make assured and complete. In 1731 he established in Philadelphia permanent laws without the king's consent, “neither could he one of the earliest circulating libraries in America (often said to make a law for them without theirs." This opposition of views have been the earliest), and in 1732 he published the first of his distinctly raised the issue between the home government and the Almanacks, under the pseudonym of Richard Saunders. These colonies. As to the proprietors Franklin succeeded in 1760 in "Poor Richard's Almanacks" were issued for the next twenty-five securing an understanding that the assembly should pass an years with remarkable success, the annual sale averaging '10,000 act exempting from taxation the unsurveyed waste lands of the copies, and far exceeding the sale of any other publication in Penn estate, the surveyed waste lands being assessed at the usual the colonies.
rate for other property of that description. Thus the proprietors Beginning in 1733 Franklin taught himself enough French, finally acknowledged the right of the assembly to tax their Italian, Spanish and Latin to read these languages with some estates. ease. In 1736 he was chosen clerk of the General Assembly, The success of Franklin's first foreign mission was, therefore, and served in this capacity until 1751. In 1737 he had been substantial and satisfactory. During this sojourn of five years in appointed postmaster at Philadelphia, and about the same time England he had made many valuable friends outside of court he organized the first police force and fire company in the colonies; and political circles, among whom Hume, Robertson and Adam in 1749, after he had written Proposals Relating to the Education Smith were conspicuous. In 1759, for his literary and more of Youth in Pensilvania, he and twenty-three other citizens of particularly his scientific attainments, he received the freedom Philadelphia formed themselves into an association for the of the city of Edinburgh and the degree of doctor of laws from purpose of establishing an academy, which was opened in 1751, the university of St Andrews. He had been made a Master of was chartered in 1753, and eventually became the University Arts at Harvard and at Yale in 1753, and at the college of William of Pennsylvania; in 1727 he organized a debating club, the and Mary in 1756; and in 1762 he received the degree of D.C.L. " Junto,” in Philadelphia, and later he was one of the founders of at Oxford. While in England he had made active use of his the American Philosophical Society (1743; incorporated 1780); remarkable talent for pamphleteering. In the clamour for peace he took the lead in the organization of a militia force, and in the following the death of George II. (25th of October 1760), he was paving of the city streets, improved the method of street lighting, for a vigorous prosecution of the war with France; he had and assisted in the founding of a city hospital (1751); in brief, written what purported to be a chapter from an old book written he gave the impulse to nearly every measure or project for the by a Spanish Jesuit, On the Meanes of Disposing the Enemic lo welfare and prosperity of Philadelphia undertaken in his day. Peace, which had a great effect; and in the spring of 1700 there In 1751 he became a member of the General Assembly of Penn- had been published a more elaborate paper written by Franklin sylvania, in which he served for thirteen years. In 1753 he and with the assistance of Richard Jackson, agent of Massachusetts William Hunter were put in charge of the post service of the and Connecticut in London, entitled The Interest of Great Brilain colonies, which he brought in the next ten years to a high Considered with Regard to Her Colonies, and the Acquisilions of state of efficiency and made a financial success; this position Canada and Guadeloupe (1760). This pamphlet answered the be held until 1774. He visited nearly every post office in the argument that it would be unsafe to keep Canada because of the colonies and increased the mail service between New York added strength that would thus be given to any possible, moveand Philadelphia from once to three times a week in summer, ment for independence in the English colonies, by urging that and from twice a month to once a week in winter. When so long as Canada remained French there could be no safety war with France appeared imminent in 1754, Franklin was for the English colonies in North America, nor any permanent sent to the Albany Convention, where he submitted his plan for peace in Europe. Tradition reports that this pamphlet had colonial union (see ALBANY, N.Y.). When the home govern- considerable weight in determining the ministry to retain ment sent over General Edward Braddock with two regiments Canada. of British troops, Franklin undertook to secure the requisite Franklin sailed again for America in August 1762, hoping to be number of horses and waggons for the march against Ft. able to settle down in quiet and devote the remainder of his life Duquesne, and became personally responsible for payment to to experiments in physics. This quiet was interrupted, however, the Pennsylvanians who furnished them. Notwithstanding the by the" Paxton Massacre ” (Dec. 14, 1763)--the slaughter of a alarm occasioned by Braddock's defeat, the old quarrel between score of Indians (children, women and old men) at Lancaster, the proprietors of Pennsylvania and the assembly prevented Pennsylvania, by some young rowdies from the town of Paxton, any adequate preparations for defence; "with incredible who then marched upon Philadelphia to kill a few Christian meanness” the proprietors had instructed their governors to Indians there. Franklin, appealed to by the governor, raised approve no act for levying the necessary taxes, unless the vast a troop sufficient to frighten away the “Paxton boys," and for estates of the proprietors were by the same act exempted. So the moment there seemed a possibility of an understanding great was the confidence in Franklin in this emergency that early between Franklin and the proprietors. But the question of in 1756 the governor of Pennsylvania placed him in charge of the taxing the estates of the proprietors came up in a new form, north-western frontier of the province, with power to raise troops, and a petition from the assembly was drawn by Franklin, issue commissions and erect blockhouses; and Franklin remained requesting the king "to resume the government " of Pennin the wilderness for over a month, superintending the building sylvania. In the autumn election of 1764 the influence of the
· The meeting between Franklin, the type of the shrewd, cool proprietors was exerted against Franklin, and by an adverse provincial, and Braddock, a blustering, blundering, drinking British majority of 25 votes in 4000 he failed to be re-elected to the soldier, is dramatically portrayed by Thackeray in the 9th chapter assembly. The new assembly sent Franklin again to England as of The Virginians.
its special agent to take charge of another petition for a change
of government, which, however, came to nothing. Matters | secretary in 1772 and promptly recognized Franklin as the agent of much greater consequence soon demanded Franklin's of Massachusetts. attention.
In 1773 there appeared in the Public Advertiser one of Franklin's Early in 1764 Lord Grenville had informed the London agents cleverest hoaxes, “ An Edict of the King of Prussia," proclaiming of the American colonies that he proposed to lay a portion of the that the island of Britain was a colony of Prussia, having been burden left by the war with France upon the shoulders of the settled by Angles and Saxons, having been protected by Prussia, colonists by means of a stamp duty, unless some other tax having been defended by Prussia against France in the war just equally productive and less inconvenient were proposed. The past, and never having been definitely freed from Prussia's natural objection of the colonies, as voiced, for example, by the rule; and that, therefore, Great Britain should now submit to assembly of Pennsylvania, was that it was a cruel thing to tax certain taxes laid by Prussia-the taxes being identical with colonies already taxed beyond their strength, and surrounded those laid upon the American colonies by Great Britain. In by enemies and exposed to constant expenditures for defence, the same year occurred the famous episode of the Hutchinson and that it was an indignity that they should be taxed by a Letters. These were written by Thomas Hutchinson, Governor parliament in which they were not represented; at the same time of Massachusetts, Andrew Oliver (1706-1774), bis lieutenantthe Pennsylvania assembly recognized it as “their duty to governor, and others to William Whately, a member of Parliagrant aid to the crown, according to their abilities, whenever ment, and private secretary to George Grenville, suggesting an required of them in the usual manner.” To prevent the intro- increase of the power of the governor at the expense of the duction of the Stamp Act, which he characterized as “the mother assembly,“ an abridgement of what are called English liberties," of mischief," Franklin used every effort, but the bill was easily and other measures more extreme than those undertaken by the passed, and it was thought that the colonists would soon be government. The correspondence was shown to Franklin by reconciled to it. Because he, too, thought so, and because he a mysterious“ member of parliament” to back up the contention recommended John Hughes, a merchant of Philadelphia, for the that the quartering of troops in Boston was suggested, not by office of distributor of stamps, Franklin himself was denounced the British ministry, but by Americans and Bostonians. Upon - he was even accused of having planned the Stamp Act-and his promise not to publish the letters Franklin received permission his family in Philadelphia was in danger of being mobbed. Of to send them to Massachusetts, where they were much passed Franklin's examination, in February 1766, by the House in about and were printed, and they were soon republished in English Committee of the whole, as to the effects of the Stamp Act, newspapers. The Massachusetts assembly on receiving the Burke said that the scene reminded him of a master examined letters resolved to petition the crown for the removal of both by a parcel of schoolboys, and George Whitefield said: “Dr Hutchinson and Oliver. The petition was refused and was conFranklin has gained immortal honour by his behaviour at the demned as scandalous, and Franklin, who took upon himself bar of the House. His answer was always found equal to the the responsibility for the publication of the letters, in the hearing questioner. He stood unappalled, gave pleasure to his friends before the privy council at the Cockpit on the 29th of January and did honour to his country."1 Franklin compared the position 1774 was insulted and was called a thief by Alexander Wedder. of the colonies to that of Scotland in the days before the union, and burn (the solicitor-general, who appeared for Hutchinson and in the same year (1766) audaciously urged a similar union with Oliver), and was removed from his position as head of the post the colonies before it was too late. The knowledge of colonial office in the American colonies. affairs gained from Franklin's testimony, probably more than all Satisfied that his usefulness in England was at an end, Franklin other causes combined, determined the immediate repeal of the entrusted his agencies to the care of Arthur Lee, and on the Stamp Act. For Franklin this was a great triumph, and the news 21st of March 1775 again set sail for Philadelphia. During the of it filled the colonists with delight and restored him to their last years of his stay in England there had been repeated attempts confidence and affection. Another bill (the Declaratory Act), to win him (probably with an under-secretaryship) to the British however, was almost immediately passed by the king's party, service, and in these same years he had done a great work fot asserting absolute supremacy of parliament over the colonies, the colonies by gaining friends for them among the opposition, and in the succeeding parliament, by the Townshend Acts of and by impressing France with his ability and the excellence of 1767, duties were imposed on paper, paints and glass imported his case. Upon reaching America, he heard of the fighting at by the colonists; a tax was imposed on tea also. The imposition Lexington and Concord, and with the news of an actual outbreak of these taxes was bitterly resented in the colonies, where it of hostilities his feeling toward England seems to have changed quickly crystallized public opinion round the principle of “ No completely. He was no longer a peacemaker, but an ardent wartaxation without representation.” In spite of the opposition maker. On the 6th of May, the day after his arrival in Philain the colonies to the Declaratory Act, the Townshend Acts delphia, he was elected by the assembly of Pennsylvania a and the tea tax, Franklin continued to sure the British ministry delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. In October and the British public of the loyalty of the colonists. He tried he was elected a member of the Pennsylvania assembly, but, as to find some middle ground of reconciliation, and kept up his members of this body were still required to take an oath of quiet work of informing England as to the opinions and conditions allegiance to the crown, he refused to serve. In the Congress of the colonies, and of moderating the attitude of the colonies he served on as many as ten committees, and upon the organizatoward the home government; so that, as he said, he was accused tion of a continental postal system, he was made postmasterin America of being too much an Englishman, and in England general, a position he held for one year, when (in 1776) he was of being too much an American. He was agent now, not only of succeeded by his son-in-law, Richard Bache, who had been his Pennsylvania, but also of New Jersey, of Georgia and of Massa-deputy. With Benjamin Harrison, John Dickinson, Thomas chusetts. Hillsborough, who became secretary of state for the Johnson and John Jay he was appointed in November 1775 colonies in 1768, refused to recognize Franklin as agent of to a committee to carry on a secret correspondence with the Massachusetts, because the governor of Massachusetts had not friends of America“ in Great Britain, Ireland and other parts of approved the appointment, which was by resolution of the the world." He planned an appeal to the king of France for assembly. Franklin contended that the governor, as a mere aid, and wrote the instructions of Silas Deane who was to convey agent of the king, could have nothing to do with the assembly's it. In April 1776 he went to Montreal with Charles Carroll, appointment of its agent to the king; that “the King, and not Samuel Chase and John Carroll, as a member of the commission the King, Lords, and Commons collectively, is their sovereign; which conferred with General Arnold, and attempted without and that the King, with their respective Parliaments, is their only success to gain the co-operation of Canada. Immediately after legislator.” Franklin's influence helped to oust Hillsborough, his return from Montreal he was a member of the committee of and Dartmouth, whose name Franklin suggested, was made five appointed to draw up the Declaration of Independence,
Many questions (about 20 of the first 25) were put by his friends but he took no actual part himself in drafting that instruto draw out what he wished to be known.
ment, aside from suggesting the change or insertion of a few
words in Jefferson's draft. From July 16 to September 28 he done, and he ceased his harsher criticism. Even greater than acted as president of the Constitutional Convention of Penn- his diplomatic difficulties were Franklin's financial straits. sylvania.
Drafts were being drawn on him by all the American agents in With John Adams and Edward Rutledge he was selected Europe, and by the Continental Congress at home. Acting as by Congress to discuss with Admiral Howe (September 1776, American · naval agent for the many successful privateers at Staten Island) the terms of peace proposed by Howe, who had who' barried the English Channel, and for whom he skilfully arrived in New York harbour in July 1776, and who had been got every bit of assistance possible, open and covert, from the an intimate friend of Franklin; but the discussion was fruitless, French government, he was continually called upon for funds as the American commissioners refused to treat” back of this in these ventures. Of the vessels to be sent to Paris with step of independency." On the 26th of September in the same American cargoes which were to be sold for the liquidation of year Franklin was chosen as commissioner to France to join French loans to the colonies made through Beaumarchais, few Arthur Lee, who was in London, and Silas Deane, who had arrived; those that did come did not cover Beaumarchais's arrived in France in June 1776. He collected all the money he advances, and hardly a vessel came from America without could command, between £3000 and £4000, lent it to Congress word of fresh drafts on Franklin. After bold and repeated before he set sail, and arrived at Paris on the 22nd of December. overtures for an exchange of prisoners-an important matter, He found quarters at Passy,' then a suburb of Paris, in a house both because the American frigates had no place in which to belonging to Le Ray de Chaumont, an active friend of the stow away their prisoners, and because of the maltreatment American cause, who had influential relations with the court, of American captives in such prisons as Dartmoor-exchanges and through whom he was enabled to be in the fullest communica- began at the end of March 1779, although there were annoying tion with the French government without compromising it in the delays, and immediately after November 1781 there was a long eyes of Great Britain.
break in the agreement; and the Americans discharged from At the time of Franklin's arrival in Paris he was already one English prisons were constantly in need of money. Franklin, of the most talked about men in the world. He was a member besides, was constantly called upon to meet the indebtedness of every important learned society in Europe; he was a member, of Lee and of Ralph Izard (1742-1804), and of John Jay, who and one of the managers, of the Royal Society, and was one of in Madrid was being drawn on by the American Congress. In eight foreign members of the Royal Academy of Sciences in spite of the poor condition in Europe of the credit of the struggParis. Three editions of his scientific works had already appeared ling colonies, and of the fact that France was almost bankrupt in Paris, and a new edition had recently appeared in London. (and in the later years was at war), and although Necker strenuTo all these advantages he added a political purpose-the ously resisted the making of any loans to the colonies, France, dismemberment of the British empire-which was entirely largely because of Franklin's appeals, expended, by loan or gift congenial to every citizen of France. “Franklin's reputation, to the colonies, or in sustenance of the French arms in America, wrote John Adams with characteristic extravagance,“ was more a sum estimated at $60,000,000. universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or In 1781 Franklin, with John Adams, John Jay, Jefferson, Voltaire; and his character more esteemed and beloved than who remained in America, and Henry Laurens, then a prisoner all of them. ... If a collection could be made of all the gazettes in England, was appointed on a commission to make peace with of Europe, for the latter half of the 18th century, a greater Great Britain. In the spring of 1782 Franklin had been informnumber of panegyrical paragraphs upon le grand Franklin ally negotiating with Shelburne, secretary of state for the home would appear, it is believed, than upon any other man that ever department, through the medium of Richard Oswald, a Scotch lived." * Franklin's appearance in the French salons, even merchant, and had suggested that England should cede Canada before he began to negotiate," says Friedrich Christoph Schlosser, to the United States in return for the recognition of loyalist “ was an event of great importance to the whole of Europe. . . claims by the states. When the formal negotiations began His dress, the simplicity of his external appearance, the friendly Franklin held closely to the instructions of Congress to its meekness of the old man, and the apparent humility of the commissioners, that they should maintain confidential relations Quaker, procured for Freedom a mass of votaries among the with the French ministers and that they were "to undertake court circles who used to be alarmed at its coarseness and un- nothing in the negotiations for peace or truce without their sophisticated truths. Such was the number of portraits, busts knowledge and concurrence," and were ultimately to be governed and medallions of him in circulation before he left Paris that he by " their advice and opinion." Jay and Adams disagreed with would have been recognized from them by any adult citizen him on this point, believing that France intended to curtail in any part of the civilized world."
the territorial aspirations of the Americans for her own benefit Franklin's position in France was a difficult one from the and for that of her ally, Spain. At last, after the British governstart, because of the delicacy of the task of getting French aid ment had authorized its agents to treat with the commissioners at a time when France was unready openly to take sides against as representatives of an independent power, thus recognizing Great Britain. But on the 6th of February 1778, after the American independence before the treaty was made, Franklin news of the defeat and surrender of Burgoyne had reached acquiesced in the policy of Jay. The preliminary treaty was Europe, a treaty of alliance and a treaty of amity and commerce signed by the commissioners on the 30th of November 1782, between France and the United States were signed at Paris by the final treaty on the 3rd of September 1783. Franklin had Franklin, Deane and Lee. On the 28th of October this com- repeatedly petitioned Congress for his recall, but his letters mission was discharged and Franklin was appointed sole pleni- were unanswered or his appeals refused until the 7th of March potentiary to the French court. Lee, from the beginning of the 1785, when Congress resolved that he be allowed to return to mission to Paris, seems to have been possessed of a mania of America; on the roth of March Thomas Jefferson, who had jealousy toward Franklin, or of misunderstanding of his acts, joined him in August of the year before, was appointed to his and he tried to undermine his influence with the Continental place. Jefferson, when asked if he replaced Franklin, replied, Congress. John Adams, when he succeeded Deane (recalled “No one can replace him, sir; I am only his successor.” Before from Paris through Lee's machinations) joined in the chorus of Franklin left Paris on the 12th of July 1985 he had made fault-finding against Franklin, dilated upon his social habits, commercial treaties with Sweden (1783) and Prussia (1785; his personal slothfulness and his complete lack of business-like signed after Franklin's departure by Jefferson and John Adams). system; but Adams soon came to see that, although careless Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on the 13th of September, of details, Franklin was doing what no other man could have disembarking at the same wharf as when be had first entered the
city. He was immediately elected a member of the municipal 1 The house is familiar from the drawing of it by Victor Hugo. * Many of these portraits bore inscriptions, the most famous council of Philadelphia, becoming its chairman; and was chosen of which was Turgot's line, “ Eripuit fulmen coelo sceptrumque president of the Supreme Executive Council (the chief executive tyrannis."
Officer) of Pennsylvania, and was re-elected in 1786 and 1787.
serving from October 1785 to October 1788. In May 1787 he her dread of an ocean voyage kept her in Philadelphia during was elected a delegate to the Convention which drew up the Franklin's missions to England, and she died in 1774, while Federal Constitution, this body thus having a member upon Franklin was in London. She bore him two children, one a son, whom all could agree as chairman, should Washington be absent. Francis Folger, “whom I have seldom since seen equal'd in He opposed over-centralization of government and favoured the everything, and whom to this day (thirty-six years after the Connecticut Compromise, and after the work of the Convention child's death] I cannot think of without a sigh,” who died (1736) was done used his influence to secure the adoption of the Con- when four years old of small-pox, not having been inoculated; stitution. As president of the Pennsylvania Society for the other was Sarah (1744-1808), who married Richard Bache Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, Franklin signed a petition (1737-1811), Franklin's successor in 1776-1782 as postmasterto Congress (12th February 1790) for immediate abolition of general. Franklin's gallant relations with women after his wife's slavery, and six weeks later in his most brilliant manner parodied death were probably innocent enough. Best known of his French the attack on the petition made by James Jackson (1757-1806) amies were Mme Helvétius, widow of the philosopher, and the of Georgia, taking off Jackson's quotations of Scripture with young Mme Brillon, who corrected her " Papa's" French and pretended texts from the Koran cited by a member of the Divan tried to bring him safely into the Roman Catholic Church. of Algiers in opposition to a petition asking for the prohibition with him in France were his grandsons, William Temple of holding Christians in slavery. These were his last public | Franklin, William Franklin's natural son, who acted as private acts. His last days were marked by a fine serenity and calm; secretary to his grandfather, and Benjamin Franklin Bache he died in his own house in Philadelphia on the 17th of April (1769-1798), Sarah's son, whom he sent to Geneva to be educated, 1790, the immediate cause being an abscess in the lungs. He was for whom he later asked public office of Washington, and who buried with his wife in the graveyard (Fifth and Arch Streets) became editor of the Aurora, one of the leading journals in the of Christ Church, Philadelphia.
Republican attacks on Washington. Physically Franklin was large, about 5 ft. 10 in. tall, with a Franklin early rebelled against New England Puritanism and well-rounded, powerful figure; he inherited an excellent con- spent his Sundays in reading and in study instead of attending stitution from his parents-“I never knew," says he, “either church. His free-thinking ran its extreme course at the time of my father or mother to have any sickness but that of which his publication in London of A Dissertation on Liberty and they dy'd, he at 89, and she at 85 years of age”—but injured it Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725), which he recognized as one somewhat by excesses; in early life he had severe attacks of of the great errata of his life. He later called himself a deist, pleurisy, from one of which, in 1727, it was not expected that he or theist, not discriminating between the terms. To his favourite would recover, and in his later years he was the victim of stone sister he wrote: “ There are some things in your New England and gout. When he was sixteen he became a vegetarian for a doctrine and worship which I do not agree with; but I do not time, rather to save money for books than for any other reason, therefore condemn them, or desire to shake your belief or and he always preached moderation in eating, though he was practice of them.” Such was his general attitude. He did not less consistent in his practice in this particular than as regards believe in the divinity of Christ, but thought "his system of moderate drinking. He was always enthusiastically fond of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world swimming, and was a great believer in fresh air, taking a cold ever saw, or is like to see." His intense practical-mindedness air bath regularly in the morning, when he sat naked in his drew him away from religion, but drove him to a morality of his bedroom beguiling himself with a book or with writing for a own (the “ art of virtue,” he called it), based on thirteen virtues balf-hour or more. He insisted that fresh, cold air was not the each accompanied by a short precept; the virtues were Tempercause of colds, and preached zealously the “gospel of ventila- ance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, tion.” He was a charming talker, with a gay humour and a Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and quiet sarcasm and a telling use of anecdote for argument. Henri Humility, the precept accompanying the last-named virtue Martin, the French historian, speaks of him as “of a mind being “Imitate Jesus and Socrates.” He made a business-like altogether French in its grace and elasticity.” In 1730 he little notebook, ruled off spaces for the thirteen virtues and the married Deborah Read, in whose father's house he had lived seven days of the week, “ determined to give a week's strict when he had first come to Philadelphia, to whom he had been attention to each of the virtues successively ... (going) thro! engaged before his first departure from Philadelphia for London, a course compleate in thirteen weeks and four courses in a year," and who in his absence had married a ne'er-do-well, one Rogers, marking for each day a record of his adherence to each of the who had deserted her, The marriage to Franklin is presumed precepts. And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom," to have been a common law marriage, for there was no proof he“ thought it right and necessary to solicit His assistance for that Miss Read's former husband was dead, nor that, as was obtaining it," and drew up the following prayer for daily use: suspected, a former wise, alive when Rogers married Miss Read, “O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father ! merciful Guide! was still alive, and that therefore his marriage to Deborah was Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. void. His “ Debby," or his “ dear child," as Franklin usually Strengthen my resolution to perform what that wisdom dictates. addressed her in his letters, received into the family, soon after Accept my kind offices to Thy other children, as the only return her marriage, Franklin's illegitimate son, William Franklin in my power for Thy continual favours to me.” He was by no (1729-1813), with whom she afterwards quarrelled, and whose means prone to overmuch introspection, his great interest mother, tradition says, was Barbara, a servant in the Franklin in the conduct of others being shown in the wise maxims of Poor household. Another illegitimate child became the wife of John Richard, which were possibly too utilitarian but were wonderfully Foxcroft of Philadelphia. Deborah, who was “ as much dispos'd successful in instructing American morals. His Ant of Virtue to industry and frugality as ” her husband, was illiterate and on which he worked for years was never completed or published shared none of her husband's tastes for literature and science; in any form. Notably in a pamphlet comparing the Jews and the Anti
“ Benjamin Franklin, Printer," was Franklin's own favourite Federalists.
description of himself. He was an excellent compositor and * William Franklin served on the Canadian frontier with Pennsyl- pressman; his workmanship, clear impressions, black ink and vania troops, becoming captain in 5750; was in the post-office in comparative freedom from errata did much to get him the 1154-1756; went to England with his father in 1758; was admitted public printing in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the printing became governor of New Jersey; he left the Whig for the Tory of the paper money. and other public matters in Delaware. party; and in the War of Independence was a faithful loyalist. The first book with his imprint is The Psalms of David Imitated in much to the pain and regret of his father, who, however, was reconciled to him in part in 1784. He was held as a prisoner from 1776 * For the prevention of counterfeiting continental paper money until exchanged in 1778; and lived four years in New York, and Franklin long afterwards suggested the use on the different de during the remainder of his life in England with an annual pension of nominations of different leaves, having noted the infinite variety of £800 Irom the crown.
the Longuage of the New Testament and apply'd to the Christian or practical purpose and not in a purely scientific spirit, rank him State and Worship. By I. Walls ..., Philadelphia: Printed as the first American economist. He wrote in 1729 A Modest by B. F. and H. M. for Thomas Godfrey, and Sold at his Shop, Enquiry inlo the Nature and Necessily of a Paper Currency, which 1729. The first novel printed in America was Franklin's reprint argued that a plentiful currency will make rates of interest low in 1744 of Pamela; and the first American translation from and will promote immigration and home manufactures, and which the classics which was printed in America was a version by did much to secure the further issue of paper money in PennJames Logan (1674-1751) of Cato's Moral Distichs (1735). In sylvania. After the British Act of 1750 forbidding the erection 1744 he published another translation of Logan's, Cicero On Old or the operating of iron or steel mills in the colonies, Franklin Age, which Franklin thought typographically the finest book wrote Observations concerning the Increase of Mankird and the he had ever printed. In 1733 he had established a press in Peopling of Countries (1751); its thesis was that manufactures Charleston, South Carolina, and soon after did the same in come to be common only with a high degree of social development Lancaster, Pa., in New Haven, Conn., in New York, in Antigua, and with great density of population, and that Great Britain in Kingston, Jamaica, and in other places. Personally he had need not, therefore, fear the industrial competition of the little connexion with the Philadelphia printing office after 1748, colonies, but it is better known for the estimate (adopted by when David Hall became his partner and took charge of it. Adam Smith). that the population of the colonies would But in 1753 he was eagerly engaged in having several of his double every quarter-century; and for the likeness to Malthus's improvements incorporated in a new press, and more than "preventive check" of its statement: “ The greater the common twenty years after was actively interested in John Walter's fashionable expense of any rank of people the more cautious they scheme of " logography." In France he had a private press in are of marriage." His Positions to be examined concerning his house in Passy, on which he printed" bagatelles." Franklin's National Wealth (1769) shows that he was greatly influenced work as a publisher is for the most part closely connected with by the French physiocrats after his visit to France in 1767. his work in issuing the Gasctte and Poor Richard's Almanack His Wail of a Protected Manufacturer voices a protest against (a summary of the proverbs from which appeared in the number protection as raising the cost of living; and he held that free for 1758, and has often been reprinted-under such titles as trade was based on a natural right. He knew Kames, Hume Father Abraham's Speech, and The Way to Wealth).'
and Adam Smith, and corresponded with Mirabeau," the friend of much of Franklin's work as an author something has of Man.” Some of the more important of his economic theses; already been said. Judged as literature, the first place belongs as summarized by W. A. Wetzel, are: that money as coin may to his Autobiography, which unquestionably ranks among the have more than its bullion value; that natural interest is few great autobiographies ever written. His style in its sim- determined by the rent of land valued at the sum of money plicity, facility and clearness owed something to De Foe, loaned-an anticipation of Turgot; that high wages are not something to Cotton Mather, something to Plutarch, more to inconsistent with a large foreign trade; that the value of an Bunyan and to his early attempts to reproduce the manner of article is determined by the amount of labour necessary to the third volume of the Spectator; and not the least to his own produce the food consumed in making the article; that manycareful study of word usage. From Xenophon's Memorabilia factures are advantageous but agriculture only is truly prohe learned when a boy the Socratic method of argument. Swift ductive; and that when practicable (as he did not think it he resembled in the occasional broadness of his humour, in his practicable at the end of the War of Independence) state revenue brilliantly successful use of sarcasm and irony, and in his should be raised by direct tax. mastery of the hoax. Balzac said of him that he “invented Franklin as a scientists and as an inventor has been decried the lightning-rod, the hoax ('le canard ') and the republic." by experts as an amateur and a dabbler; but it should be Among his more famous hoaxes were the “ Edict of the King of remembered that it was always his hope to retire from public Prussia” (1773), already described; the fictitious supplement life and devote himself to science. In the American Philoto the Boston Chronicle, printed on his private press at Passy in sophical Society (founded 1743) scientific subjects were much 1782, and containing a letter with an invoice of eight packs of discussed. Franklin wrote a paper on the causes of earthquakes 954 cured, dried, hooped and painted scalps of rebels, men, for his Gasetle of the 15th of December 1737; and he eagerly women and children, taken by Indians in the British employ; collected material to uphold his theory that waterspouts and and another fictitious Leller from the Count de Schaumberg to the whirlwinds resulted from the same causes. In 1743, from the Baron Hohendorf commanding the Hessian Troops in America circumstance that an eclipse not visible in Philadelphia because (1777)-the count's only anxiety is that not enough men will of a storm had been observed in Boston, where the storm although be killed to bring him in moneys he needs, and he urges his ñorth-easterly did not occur until an hour after the eclipse, he officer in command in America" to prolong the war . . . for surmised that storms move against the wind along the Atlantic I have made arrangements for a grand Italian opera, and I coast. In the year before (1742) he had planned the “ Penndo not wish to be obliged to give it up.”:
sylvania fire-place," better known as the “ Franklin stove," Closely related to Franklin's political pamphlets are his writ- which saved fuel, heated all the room, and had the same principle ings on economics, which, though undertaken with a political as the hot-air furnace; the stove was never patented by Franklin,
- Seventy-five editions of it have been printed in English, fifty- but was described in his pamphlet dated 1744. He was much six in French, eleven in German and nine in Italian. It has been engaged at the same time in remedying smoking chimneys, and translated into Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Welsh, Polish, Gaelic, as late as 1785 wrote to Jan Ingenhousz, physician to the emperor Russian, Bohemian, Dutch, Catalan, Chinese, modern Greek and of Austria, on chimneys and draughts; smoking street lamps phonetic writing. It has been printed at least four hundred times, he remedied by a simple contrivance. The study of electricity and is to-day as popular as ever."—P. L. Ford, in The Many-Sided he took up in 1746 when he first saw a Leyden jar, in the maniFranklin (1899).
· Both Swift and Franklin made sport of the typical astrologer pulation of which he became expert and which he improved by almanack-maker.
the use of granulated lead in the place of water for the interior Another hoax was Franklin's parable against religious perse armatures; he recognized that condensation is due to the cution thrown into Scriptural form and quoted by him as the fifty- dielectric and not to the metal coatings. A note in his diary, first chapter of Genesis. In a paper on a " Proposed New Version of the Bible " he paraphrased a few verses of the first chapter of Job, dated the 7th of November 1749, shows that he had then making them a satiric attack on royal government; but the version • Malthus quoted Franklin in his first edition, but it was not until may well rank with these hoaxes, and even modern writers have the second that he introduced the theory of the preventive check." been taken
in by it, regarding it as a serious proposal for a “ modern- Franklin noted the phenomenon with disapproval in his advocacy ized " version and decrying it as poor taste. Matthew Arnold, for of increased population; Malthus with approval in his search for example, declared this an instance in which Franklin was lacking in means to decrease population. his " imperturbable common sense"; and J. B. McMaster, though : The title of philosopher as used in Franklin's lifetime referred devoting several pages to its discussion, very ingenuously declares it neither in England nor in France to him as author of moral maxims, beneath criticism.
but to him as a scientista “natural philosopher.