Temple's Diary Temple's Diary
Episode 8. 1776: Year of the Revolution?

The Electric Franklin

February 23, 1776

Ever since we landed in Philadelphia, Grandfather has been repeating that among the first things a new country needs is its own, new currency. This has been happening over the last months with various denominations of the dollar making their appearances, but this morning he came down brandishing a sheet on which he had been drawing sketches for half a dollar, one third, two thirds, and one sixth of a dollar. He even inserted some Latin words which I shall not attempt to translate. They have to do with the power of the wind, I think.

The drawing at left was found on a loose sheet among Franklin's papers. The Latin motto refers to the Proverb, "The Waves never rise but when the Winds blow," which he quoted in a letter to The London Chronicle, Jan. 5-7, 1768), in which he explained the causes of American discontent. The printed currency on the right is of Franklin's design. Every ring bears the name of a colony.