Carpenters' Hall

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Blueprint for a Revolution: The Spies at Carpenters' Hall by Charles and Nancy Cook

Chapter One

Hide not your talents, they for use were made: What's a sun-dial in the shade?
Poor Richard's Almanack, by Benjamin Franklin
The window from which Francis Daymon looked out and saw Benjamin Franklin approaching the Hall.

Francis Daymon was a librarian. He liked books. He liked people. He had read many great stories about many great people, but he never imagined that one day Francis Daymon would play an essential part in one of the most important events in world history.

He could not imagine his own importance, because he thought great events were the results of brave and glorious acts. Great leaders made speeches, led armies, and were cheered by crowds. How was it possible he could ever do something important, something that would change the world forever?

Daymon, the librarian, was putting books back on the shelves. He was on the second floor of Carpenters' Hall, built between 1770 and 1773 by members of the Carpenters' Company, a trade guild operating in Philadelphia. The Hall was used for meetings by the Company and rented out for other gatherings. On the second floor, Daymon's employer, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, had arranged to begin a free library. Now Dr. Franklin, Daymon thought, was a great leader. He was someone who would be read about in books. Dr. Franklin was a great scientist, inventor, printer, and scholar. He had invented the lightning rod, the "Franklin" stove, and bifocal glasses. He was the first scientist to study the movement of the Gulf Stream. He favored daylight savings time in the summer. He improved the postal service and started the University of Pennsylvania and the first hospital in Philadelphia.

Also, Dr. Franklin had arranged with the Carpenters' Company to begin the first free library system in America. Books were very expensive. They could cost as much as a month's wages for the average worker so they just were not bought; but Dr. Franklin knew how important learning from books could be. In his free library all the books-the great works by all the great writers-were made available to all the people to borrow, read, and return. Dr. Franklin believed in what the English philosopher Francis Bacon had said-"Knowledge is Power!" He wanted the American people to be knowledgeable. Dr. Franklin knew the time was coming when this would be very important.

Daymon had one more book to return to the shelf when he happened to look out the north window of the library. There was Dr. Franklin, himself, walking up the alley to Carpenters' Hall.

There would be time to finish his restacking chores later.

The window from which Daymon looked out and saw Benjamin Franklin approaching the Hall.

Daymon had something important he wanted to tell Dr. Franklin, so he put the book back down on his table and rushed down stairs to await his employer at the front door.

The book that Daymon had not yet replaced was by the English poet, John Milton. It contained several works, including the epic poem, "Paradise Lost," about the triumph of good over evil. There were other works by Milton in the book, including one entitled, "On His Blindness." The book fell open to one well read passage that concluded-

"He also serves who only stands and waits."

Copyright by Charles and Nancy Cook. Used by kind permission


Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
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