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Episode 4. Back to a Changed Philadelphia

The Electric Franklin

September 11, 1775

Another brainchild of Grandfather is making its appearance!!

join or die
Franklin's political cartoon

It is in the shape of a snake, this brainchild, and it saw the light of day twenty-one years ago at the time of the Albany Congress when Grandfather was trying — in vain — to convince the colonies to unite against the French and Indians. To make his point, he published in the Pennsylvania Gazette what we now call a political cartoon showing a snake cut into many parts, each representing a colony. The caption simply said: JOIN OR DIE.

Now this snake has been made the masthead of the Pennsylvania Journal and it reminded Grandfather of an amusing moment in his life. This one occurred even earlier, in 1751, when the colonies were protesting the habit the English government had fallen into of exporting its criminal prisoners to the New World. To the official explanation that England just needed to get rid of them, Grandfather retorted by asking how England would appreciate a massive shipment of America's extra rattlesnakes.