Slike strani

institution. Franklin was glad when he secured the building for Whitefield; but he was more glad now because it could be used for the "University of Philadelphia," as his school was named afterwards.

Perhaps the Junto did not give attention to a more important measure in its whole history than that of establishing militia for public security. Franklin read a paper, having the caption, "Plain Truth," in which he expatiated upon the defenceless condition of Pennsylvania; that, while New England was all aglow with enthusiasm for armed defence against foreign invasion, and some of the southern colonies as well, Pennsylvania was utterly defenceless.

"There is not a battery, fort, or gun, on the banks of the Delaware," he said; "not a volunteer company in the whole Province; and what is still more alarming, not guns enough to arm one."

"Our people don't believe in resistance, you know," responded Coleman. "Quaker influence is decidedly against shot-guns and batteries."

"And that is the trouble," retorted Franklin. "The Legislatures of other Provinces have established public defences; but the Quaker influence in the Assembly of Pennsylvania has defeated every measure of the kind.”

"And will continue to do so until a French privateer seizes and sacks this town, as one could very easily," added Parsons.

"Or a tribe of savages, so easily set on by French politicians, shall plunder and burn us," added Franklin.

“But John Penn and Thomas Penn are not Quakers, like their father, I have been told," remarked Potts; "and certainly the Province has not had Quaker governors."

"That is very true; but so many of the people are Quakers that the Assembly is under their control," answered Franklin. "But I think the appearance of a privateer in the river, or an attack by a band of bloodthirsty savages would knock the non-resistance out of many of them."


"Nothing short of that will," responded Coleman ; Franklin's plan of raising a volunteer militia and all necessary funds by subscription, will not call out any opposition from them. I believe that many of them will be glad to have such defence if they are not expected to engage in it." "It is not true, even now, that all the Quakers oppose defensive war for some of them do not; they have told me so," continued Franklin. "They oppose aggressive warfare; but let a privateer come up the river, or savages attack our town, and they will fight for their homes as hard as any of us."

"But how do you propose to reach the public, and interest them in your plan?" inquired Maugridge.

“I shall publish the paper I have read, with some additions, suggested by our discussion, and distribute it freely throughout the town. At the same time, I shall discuss it in the Gazette, and appeal to Quakers themselves, on Bible grounds, to co-operate for the public defence. And when they have had time to read the pamphlet and weigh the proposition, I shall call a public meeting."

"Wise again, Franklin," answered Coleman, who was delighted with the plan. "Your scheme will work to a charm; I have no doubt of it. But just what will you do at your public meeting?"

[ocr errors]

Organize an 'Association for Defence,' after I have harangued the audience upon the perils of the hour. I shall urge every man present, as he values his home and life, to join the league, of whatever sect or party."

"Each man to arm himself at his own expense, I suppose?" inquired Grace.

"As far as possible," answered Franklin; "and to raise money for a battery I have thought of a lottery." Lotteries were generally resorted to, at that day, for raising money.

"That scheme for raising a battery will succeed too," said Coleman, with a smile. "I cannot see why the whole thing will not carry the public by storm."

The plan of Franklin succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations. His pamphlet and articles in the Gazette moved the public to great enthusiasm. When the public meeting was called, there was a general rush to it. It was held in the large building erected for the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, and it was filled to overflowing. Twelve hundred men joined the "Association for Public Defence" on that night, and the number was increased to ten thousand within a few days. Within a few weeks, eighty companies were organized in the Province, armed, and drilled, ready to march to any point of danger at a moment's warning. The companies in Philadelphia united to form a regiment, and Franklin was elected Colonel-an honour which he declined because he "considered himself unfit," and recommended a Mr. Lawrence, who was a prominent and influential citizen.

The lottery scheme succeeded, also, and eighteen cannon. were borrowed of the Governor of New York until the authorities could import the requisite number from England. Not a few Quakers approved of these measures for the public defence.

In the midst of the excitement Franklin intensified the feeling, by inducing the governor to appoint a day of fasting and prayer. Such a day had never been observed in Pennsylvania, and so the governor and his associates were too ignorant of the measure to undertake it alone. Hence, Franklin, who was familiar with fast days in Massachusetts, wrote the proclamation for the governor, and secured the co-operation of ministers in the observance of the day.

It is claimed that Quakers often lent their influence to defensive warfare in an indirect manner. As, for example, when the Assembly made appropriations for the army, "for the purchase of bread, flour, wheat and other grain," the latter phrase covered gunpowder. Perhaps this suggested to Franklin, when trying to get an appropriation through the Assembly, the following remark: "If we fail, let us move

the purchase of a fire-engine with the money; the Quakers can have no objection to that; and then, if you nominate me, and I you, as a committee for that purpose, we will buy a great gun, which is certainly a fire-engine.”

The fears of the colonists were allayed, and these warlike preparations discontinued, when the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was declared, and signed by the British Commissioners, October 7th, 1748.




HAVE a proposition to make to you, an important one," remarked Franklin to David Hall, who had worked for him four years. "Come into the office, and I

will tell you what it is."

Hall followed him into the office, wondering what the proposition could be. When they were seated, Franklin continued:

[ocr errors]

"I must have a partner in this business; and I think you are just the man I want, if we can agree upon the terms. I desire to be released from the care of the printing office, that I may pursue my scientific studies more thoroughly and satisfactorily."

"Your proposition is very unexpected to me, and I feel very much flattered by it," answered Hall; "but I hardly know what to say, for I have no capital to put into the business."

"And you need none," interrupted Franklin. "My plan is that you take the office just as it is, pay me one thousand pounds a year, for eighteen years, releasing me from all care of the business, and, at the close of eighteen years, the whole business shall be yours, without further consideration." "Well, I ought to be satisfied with that offer, if you are ; it is certainly a generous one, and I shall accept it.”

"And you will get out of it three or four times the amount of your present salary every year," suggested Franklin. "I mean it shall be a profitable enterprise for you; for your long service here has satisfied me that you are the partner I want."

This plan was carried into effect, and Franklin was no

« PrejšnjaNaprej »