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Ben Franklin

Life of Benjamin Franklin by Jared Sparks


Franklin advises the Conquest of Canada. — His Scheme adopted by the Ministry. — Journey to Scotland. — Lord Kames, Robertson, Hume. — "Parable against Persecution." — First published by Lord Kames. — How far Franklin claimed to be its Author. — His Mission brought to a favorable Termination. — Lord Mansfield's Agency in the Affair. — Franklin's Sentiments in Regard to Canada. — Writes a Pamphlet to show that it ought to be retained at the Peace. — Tour to the North of England. — Receives Public Money for Pennsylvania. — Tour in Holland. — Experiments to prove the Electrical Properties of the Tourmalin. — Cold produced by Evaporation. — Ingenious Theory for explaining the Causes of Northeast Storms. — Invents a Musical Instrument called the Armonica. — His Son appointed Governor of New Jersey. — Returns to America.

ALTHOUGH Franklin devoted himself mainly to the affairs of his agency, yet a mind like his could not be inattentive to the great events that were taking place around him, and he entered warmly into the general politics of the nation. Just before his arrival in England, Mr. Pitt had become prime minister. In the hope of drawing the attention of this sagacious statesman to the concerns of Pennsylvania, he made several attempts to gain an introduction to him, but without success. Alluding to this circumstance at a subsequent date, he said of Mr. Pitt; "He was then too great a man, or too much occupied in affairs of greater moment. I was therefore obliged to content myself with a kind of nonapparent and unacknowledged communication through Mr. Potter and Mr. Wood, his secretaries, who seemed to cultivate an acquaintance with me by their civilities, and drew from me what information I could give relative to the American war, with my sentiments occasionally on measures that were proposed or advised by others, which gave me the opportunity of recommending and enforcing the utility of conquering Canada. I afterwards considered Mr. Pitt as an inaccessible. I admired him at a distance, and made no more attempts for a nearer acquaintance." It will be seen hereafter, when Mr. Pitt was no longer minister, that his reserve had softened, and that he not only sought the acquaintance of Franklin, but consulted him confidentially on important national affairs.

It is known, moreover, that his advice at this time was both received and followed. It has been said on good authority; that the expedition against Canada, and its consequences in the victory of Wolfe at Quebec and the conquest of that country, may be chiefly ascribed to Franklin. He disapproved the policy, by which the ministry had hitherto been guided, of carrying on the war against the French in the heart of Germany, where, if successful, it would end in no real gain to the British nation, and no essential loss to the enemy. In all companies, and on all occasions, he urged the reduction of Canada as an object of the utmost importance. It would inflict a blow upon the French power in America, from which it could never recover, and which would have a lasting influence in advancing the prosperity of the British Colonies. These sentiments he conveyed to the minister's friends, with such remarks on the practicability of the enterprise, and the manner of conducting it, as his intimate knowledge of the state of things in America enabled him to communicate. They made the impression he desired, and the result verified his prediction.

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During the year 1759, little progress, if any, was made in the Pennsylvania affair. The Historical Review was silently operating on public opinion, and preparing the minds of men in office to act with a better understanding of the subject, than they had heretofore possessed. The Proprietaries sent out a new governor to take the place of Mr. Denny, with whom they became dissatisfied as having been too compliant to the Assembly. His successor was Mr. Hamilton, who had formerly held the office. In their instructions to him, they still refused to have their estates taxed, though they consented, that, in case the exigency of the times demanded it, a tax might be laid on their rents and quitrents only, provided their "tenants should be obliged to pay the same," the amount being deducted when payments were made by the tenants to their receiver in Pennsylvania. Mr. Hamilton endeavoured to procure better terms, and told them plainly before he left England, that, in his opinion, " the proprietary estates ought to be taxed in common with all the other estates in the province." His efforts to carry this Point, however, were unavailing.

In the summer of this year Franklin made a journey to Scotland, accompanied by his son. His reputation as a philosopher was well established there, and be was received and entertained in a manner that evinced the highest respect for his character. The University of St. Andrews had some time before honored him with the degree of Doctor of Laws. He formed an acquaintance with nearly all the distinguished men, who then adorned Scotland by their talents and learning, particularly Lord Kames, Dr. Robertson, and Mr. Hume, with whom he kept up long afterwards a friendly correspondence. The pleasure he derived from his visit is forcibly expressed in a letter to Lord Kames. "On the whole, I must say, I think the time we spent there was six weeks of the densest happiness I have met with in any part of my life; and the agreeable and instructive society we found there in such plenty has left so pleasing an impression on my memory, that, did not strong connexions draw me elsewhere, I believe Scotland would be the country I should choose, to spend the remainder of my days in." Similar sentiments are repeated at a later date, and he often resolved to renew his visit; but this be was not able to do, till several years afterwards, being prevented by his numerous occupations, and by the increasing pressure of public business.×

He passed several days with Lord Kames at his mansion in the country. While there, he read or recited from memory the celebrated Parable against Persecution, which, on account of the notoriety it has gained, deserves a notice in this place, especially as some writers have inconsiderately, and without a knowledge of the facts, charged him with plagiarism for allowing it to be published as his own. The particulars are these. Some time after this visit, Lord Kames wrote to him for a copy of this Parable, which lie accordingly forwarded. No more was heard of it for fourteen years, when Lord Kames published the first edition of his "Sketches of the History of Man." In that work the Parable was inserted, with the following declaration by the author. "It was communicated to me by Dr. Franklin of Philadelphia, a man who makes a great figure in the learned world, and who would still make a greater figure for benevolence and candor, were virtue as much regarded in this declining age as knowledge."

Lord Kames does not say, that Dr. Franklin wrote the Parable, yet such an inference is fairly deducible from his language, and in this light it was understood by the public. At length some one lit upon a similar story in Jeremy Taylor's "Liberty of Prophesying," where Taylor says, that it was taken from the "Jews' books." So vague a reference afforded no clue to its origin, but a Latin version of it was found in the dedication of a work by George Gentius, who ascribes it to Saadi the Persian poet; and Saadi relates it as coming from another person, so that its source still remains a matter for curious research.

The Parable was imperfectly printed from Lord Kames's copy. The last four verses were omitted, and these are essential to its completeness and beauty as it came from the hands of Franklin. Nor are there any grounds for the charge of plagiarism, since it was published without his knowledge, and without any pretence of authorship on his part. In a letter to Mr. Vaughan, written a short time before his death, he says; "The truth is, that I never published the Parable, and never claimed more credit from it, than what related to the style, and the addition of the concluding threatening and promise. The publishing of it by Lord Kames, without my consent, deprived me of a good deal of amusement, which I used to take in reading it by heart out of any Bible, and obtaining the remarks of the scripturians upon it, which were sometimes very diverting; not but that it is in itself, on account of the importance of its moral, well worth being made known to all mankind."

A principal charm of this apologue is the felicity with which the Scripture style is imitated, both as to the thoughts and the manner of expressing them. For this charm, as well as for the closing verses, which give additional force to the moral, it is wholly indebted to Franklin; and it should moreover be observed, that the popular favor it has received, and the curiosity it has excited, are to be ascribed to the dress in which he clothed it. Till it appeared in this dress, it never attracted notice, although made public, long before, in so remarkable a work as the one into which it was incorporated by Jeremy Taylor.×

After a delay of nearly three years, Franklin finally succeeded in bringing his public business to a termination. The case was decided in June, 1760. Governor Denny had given his assent to several acts of the Assembly, which displeased the Proprietaries, and on account of which they removed him from office. Among them was an act for raising one hundred thousand pounds by a tax, in which the proprietary estates were put on the same footing as the estates of other land-holders in the province. These laws were sent over to England, as usual, to be approved by the King; but the Proprietaries opposed them, and exerted their endeavours to procure their rejection.

Able lawyers were employed on both sides to argue the points at issue before the, Board of Trade, and in the end all the laws were repealed except the one for raising, money. This was strenuously resisted by the counsel for the Proprietaries, on the ground that it was an invasion of the prerogative, and an encroachment upon the proprietary rights ; but the equity of the case was too plain to be misunderstood or eluded. The law was confirmed, under certain conditions, requiring that the Governor should have a voice in the disposal of the money, that the waste lands of the Proprietaries should not be taxed, and that their unimproved lands should be rated as low as those of any of the inhabitants. The agent engaged, on the part of the Assembly, that these conditions should be compiled with. In fact, they did not materially affect the original claim of the Assembly, as the great principle, so long contended for, of taxing, the proprietary estates; was established.

Thus, after much embarrassment and vexatious delay, Franklin succeeded in accomplishing the main object of his mission, and his services met with the entire approbation of his constituents. It was obvious, however, from the spirit which had been shown in the course of these proceedings, that the administration were not disposed to favor popular rights in the colonies; and it was deemed inexpedient at that time to press further upon their notice the grievances, of which the people of Pennsylvania complained. The Proprietaries submitted to their defeat with as good a grace as they could, after holding out so long; but, in writing to the Governor, they expressed themselves not well pleased that the Board of Trade did not "privately confer with them in drawing up their report," which they say had formerly been the usage.

Lord Mansfield was chiefly concerned in that part of the report which recommended the approval of the act for taxing the proprietary lands. This circumstance was mentioned in one of Franklin's letters to the Assembly, and he seemed to infer from it a good intention In his Lordship towards the Pennsylvanians. When this was told to the Proprietaries, they expressed surprise, that he should be so much deceived, and added; "My Lord had no design to favor the Assembly, but to do us justice, and at the same time to extend the King's prerogative at both ours and the people's cost by and by." This may be true, and yet, by granting to the Assembly all they asked, it settled the controversy in their favor; and so far it indicated good will to the Pennsylvanians, whatever may have been the ultimate design, if indeed there were any such.

As the war was now drawing to a close, there began to be much speculation among politicians respecting the terms of peace. Canada, Guadaloupe, and other possessions in the West Indies, East Indies, and Africa, had been taken from the French during the war. Which of these possessions did a sound policy and the interests of the nation require to be retained? The discussion of this question was entered into with warmth by two parties. One was for holding Canada, the other Guadaloupe. The Earl of Bath wrote an able pamphlet to prove that Canada, as the most important acquisition, should by all means be retained at the peace. Another writer, supposed to be Mr. Burke, replied to the Earl of Bath, and vigorously urged the retention of Guadaloupe in preference to Canada. The arguments were drawn out at much length on both sides, and public opinion was divided.

Strongly impressed with the importance of the subject in its relation to the American colonies, Franklin now engaged in the controversy, and published anonymously a tract, entitled The Interest of Great Britain Considered, in which be advanced reasons for keeping Canada. His views are briefly stated in a letter to Lord Kames, written a short time before. "No one can more sincerely rejoice than I do, on the reduction of Canada; and this is not merely as I am a colonist, but as I am a Briton. I have long been of opinion, that the foundations of the future grandeur and stability of the British empire lie in America; and though, like other foundations, they are low and little now, they are, nevertheless, broad and strong enough to support the greatest political structure that human wisdom ever yet erected. I am, therefore, by no means for restoring Canada. If we keep it, all the country from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi will in another century be filled with British people. Britain itself will become vastly. more populous, by the immense increase of its commerce; the Atlantic sea will be covered with your trading ships; and your naval power, thence continually increasing, will extend your influence round the whole globe, and awe the world! If the French remain in Canada, they will continually harass our colonies by the Indians, and impede if not prevent their growth; your progress to greatness will at best be slow, and give room for many accidents that may for ever prevent it. But I refrain, for I see you begin to think' my notions extravagant, and, look upon them as the ravings of a mad prophet." The same sentiments were more fully explained and defended in the Canada Pamphlet, as the above mentioned tract has usually been called.

He argued, that the possession of Canada was essential to the security of the British colonies against the Indians on the frontiers, whom the French had always continued to keep in their interest, and who were instigated by them to commit depredations and outrages upon the inhabitants; and, moreover, that, politically considered, this security was a justifiable ground for retaining a territory, which had been acquired in open war by the blood and treasure of the nation. It would, likewise, defeat for ever the ambitious designs of France for extending her power in America by seizing a large part of the continent and confining the British settlements to a narrow line along the coast, which design had long been manifest, and was indeed the principal cause of the war. Forts and military posts would afford but a feeble barrier, as experience had proved. He repudiated the idea advanced by some, that this was an affair of the colonies alone and he showed, that the whole British empire was as much concerned in it as any of its remote parts; that the wealth, strength, and political power of Great Britain would be immensely increased by the growing prosperity of the colonies, if they were encouraged and protected by a wise policy and a due regard to the ties by which they were united to the mother country.

These points were illustrated by a mass of facts, indicating a profound knowledge of the history and condition of the colonies, and of the commerce and political interests of Great Britain. It had been said, that Canada ought to be left to the French as a check to the growth of the colonies, which might in process of time become too formidable to be controlled by a distant master. To which he replied, "A modest word, this check, for massacring men, women, and children;" and suggested the easier method adopted by Pharaoh for preventing the increase of the Israelites.

The success of this pamphlet was as great as the author could desire. By the advocates of the measure, which he supported, it was held up as irrefutable; and by the opposite party, who attempted an answer, it was praised as spirited, able, and ingenious, and as containing every thing that could be said on that side of the question. It was believed to have produced an influence on the minds of the ministry, which was felt at the negotiation for peace. At any rate, Canada was retained. The author afterwards acknowledged his obligation to his friend, Mr. Richard Jackson, for assistance in preparing the pamphlet for the press; but it is not known to what extent or in what manner this assistance was rendered.

It is a curious fact, that Franklin was thus instrument in annexing Canada to the British dominions, which was in reality the first step in the train of events, that led in a few years to the independence of the, colonies; a result, which be afterwards contributed so much to accomplish, but which at this time was as little anticipated by him, as by any member of the British cabinet.

Whilst he resided in England, it was his custom to spend several weeks of each summer in travelling. This year he made a tour to the north, returning through Cheshire and Wales to Bristol and Bath. He at first proposed going over to Ireland, and thence to Scotland, but he relinquished this part of his design.

When he came back to London, be found a letter from Mr. Norris, Speaker of the Assembly in Pennsylvania, informing him, that he had been appointed by that body to receive the proportion of the Parliamentary grant, which had been assigned to that province. During the latter years of the war, the annual sum of two hundred thousand pounds sterling was allowed by Parliament to the colonies, in consideration of the heavy charges to which they were subjected in providing an array, and the losses they sustained from the inroads of the enemy on the frontiers. This sum was apportioned to each colony according to the number of effective men employed in the field under the British generals. The share of Pennsylvania and the Delaware Counties for the first year was about thirty thousand pounds. This amount was paid into the bands of, Franklin, by whom it was invested in the stocks, and otherwise disposed of, as directed by his constituents. The trust, though involving a high responsibility, and attended with embarrassments, was executed to the entire satisfaction of the Assembly.

The Governor endeavoured at the outset to prevent his appointment and then he insisted that he had a right to nominate other commissioners to act with the Assembly's agent in receiving the money. The Proprietaries. used their influence, also, to thwart his proceedings, alleging, that their deputy ought to have a voice in the disposal of this money. after it reached Pennsylvania. This pretence was not tolerated by the Assembly. The grant was meant as a relief to the people, a just remuneration for the services they had rendered; and it was maintained, that the only proper authority for disposing of it rested with the people's representatives. The ministry seemed to view the matter in the same light, for the money was paid to the agent of the Assembly.

Having now finished the most important parts of his public business, he had leisure for other employments. In the summer of 1761, he went over to the continent, and travelled through Holland and Flanders, visiting the large cities, and returning in time to be present at the coronation of George the Third. There is no record of the incidents of this tour, except a short letter to his wife written at Utrecht, in which he says, he "had seen almost all the principal places, and the things worthy of notice, in those two countries, and received a good deal of information, that would be useful when be returned to America."

His philosophical studies had been in a measure suspended for some time; yet he had recurred to them occasionally, and performed experiments, which were attended with novel or useful results. There was a dispute among the philosophers about the properties tourmaline a stone which AEpinus bad discovered to possess the singular quality of being at the same time positively electrified on one side, and negatively on the opposite side, by heat alone, without the aid of friction. Others denied this fact. Franklin made a series of experiments with two specimens of tourmaline given to him by Dr. Heberden, which confirmed AEpinus's account. He found, that the heat of boiling water was sufficient to excite these opposite electrical properties, and he supposed that others had failed in the experiment by using imperfect stones, or such as had not their faces properly cut.

Before he left America, Professor Simson, of Glasgow, had communicated to him some curious experiments made by Dr. Cullen, showing that cold could be produced by evaporation. This fact, so well established since, was then little known. He repeated the experiment, by applying spirits of wine to the bulb of a thermometer, and thereby caused the mercury to fall five or six degrees. On his first visit to the University of Cambridge, at the suggestion of Dr. Hadley, professor of chemistry there, he performed the same process with Tether, when the mercury fell to twenty-five degrees below the freezing point, and ice was formed on the bulb to the thickness of a quarter of an inch. "From this experiment," he observes, "one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer's day, if he were to stand in a passage through which the wind blew briskly, and to be wet frequently with ether, a spirit more inflammable than brandy or common spirits of wine."

This principle of evaporation he applied to an ingenious solution of several phenomena, hitherto unconsidered or unexplained. Among others, it furnished him with a reason why the beat of the human body is not increased above its natural temperature, or ninety-six degrees, by hot air, while inanimate substances will receive an accumulation of heat. He had himself known the thermometer to stand at one hundred degrees in the shade at Philadelphia, while the heat of his body was not above its usual temperature of ninety six. Being at the same time in a profuse perspiration, he inferred, that the heat was carried off by evaporation, as fast as it came in contact with his body from the surrounding air. Hence, laborers in the harvest field, under a burning sun, will endure excessive heat, whilst they perspire freely, and drink a sufficient quantity of water, or other liquid, to supply the moisture that is exhausted by evaporation.

His mind was ever busy in searching for the causes not only of remarkable phenomena, but of the common operations of nature. A visit to the salt-mines in England led him to reflect on the formation of those mines and on the saltness of the sea. "It has been the opinion of some great naturalists," he observes, "that the sea is salt only from the dissolution of mineral or rock salt , which its waters happened to meet with. But this opinion takes it for granted, that all water was originally fresh, of which we can have no proof. I own I am inclined to a different opinion, and rather think all the water on this globe was originally salt, and that the fresh water we find in springs and rivers, is the produce of distillation. The sun raises the vapors from the sea, which form clouds, and fall in rain upon the land, and springs and rivers are formed of that rain. As to the rock salt found in mines, I conceive, that, instead of communicating its saltness to the sea, it is itself drawn from the sea, and that of course the sea is now fresher than it was originally. This is only another effect of nature's distillery, and might be performed various ways. " One of these ways he thus describes. "As we know from their effects, that there are deep fiery caverns under the earth, and even under the sea, if at any time the sea leaks into any of them, the fluid parts of the water must evaporate from. that heat, and pass off through some volcano, while the salt remains, and by degrees, and continual accretion, becomes a great mass. Thus the cavern may at length be filled, and the volcano connected with it cease burning, as many, it is said, have done; and future miners, penetrating such cavern, find what we call a salt-mine." This may be no more than a theory, but perhaps it, is as good a theory as any other that has been advanced on the subject.

To Mr. Alexander Small, a gentleman in London fond of scientific inquiries, he communicated his reason for thinking that the northeast storms, so common along the Atlantic coast of North America, extending from Newfoundland to Florida, begin at the southeast. In October, 1743, there was to be an eclipse of the moon at nine o'clock in the evening, which he prepared to observe at Philadelphia. But when the time came, the heavens were overcast, and a northeast storm had set in. He was surprised to learn, therefore, by the Boston newspapers, that the eclipse was visible in a' clear sky at that place, as he supposed a storm, attended by a strong wind from that quarter, would naturally begin there first. He ascertained, however, that it actually began in Boston nearly four hours later than in Philadelphia, and that along the southern coast it began earlier in proportion as any given place was less distant from the Gulf of Mexico. This put him upon observing these storms whenever they occurred; and he found in each instance, that they began at the southeast, and moved northwestward, against the current of the wind, at the rate of about one hundred miles an hour.

The fact being established, he next set himself to assign a reason. Experience shows, that cool air will flow in and occupy the place of warmer and more rarefied air. A fire in a chimney is made to burn, and the smoke and warm air to ascend, by a current of air flowing into it from the room. The motion begins at the chimney, where a portion of air is first displaced, and thus a current is produced from parts of the room towards the chimney, For several days previously to one of these storms, he supposes the air to become heated and rarefied by the rays of the sun about the regions of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. The cooler and moister air from the northeast flows in and causes the rarefied air to ascend; clouds and rain are formed by the action of heat upon this cooler and moister air; and thus the storm begins, with a current of wind setting from the northeast. The denser air presses upon the lighter, till the current extends itself, in a retrograde direction, along the whole coast.×

From early life he had a passion for music, and he both studied it as a science, and practised it as an art. His remarks on the harmony and melody of the old Scotch songs have been much commended. Mr. Tytler says, "This notion of Dr. Franklin's, respecting what may be called the ideal harmony of the Scottish melodies, is extremely acute, and is marked by that ingenious simplicity of thought, which is the characteristic of a truly philosophical mind."× In a letter to his brother he explains the defects of modern music, with the same simplicity and acuteness, illustrating his idea by a criticism on one of Handel's admired compositions.×

In London he saw for the first time an instrument, consisting of musical glasses, upon which tunes were played by passing a wet finger round their brims. He was charmed with the, sweetness of' its tones; but the instrument itself seemed to him an imperfect contrivance, occupying much space and limited in the number of its tones. The glasses were arranged on a table, and tuned by putting water into them till they gave the notes required.

After many trials he succeeded in constructing an instrument of a different form, more commodious, and more extended in the compass of its notes. His glasses were made in the shape of a hemisphere, with an open neck or socket in the middle, for the purpose of being fixed on an iron spindle. They were then arranged one after another, on this spindle, the largest at one end and gradually diminishing in size to the smallest at the other end. The tones depended on the size of the glasses. The spindle, with its series of glasses, was fixed horizontally in a case, and turned by a wheel attached to its larger end, upon the principle of a common spinning-wheel. The performer sat in front of the instrument, and the tones were brought out by applying a wet finger to the exterior surface of the glasses as they turned round. He called it the Armonica, in honor of the musical language of the Italians, as he says in a letter to Beccaria, in which it is minutely described.

For some time the Armonica was in much use. A Miss Davies acquired great skill in playing upon it. She performed in public, and, accompanied by her sister, who was a singer, she exhibited her skill in the principal cities of Europe, where she attracted large audiences, and the notice of distinguished individuals. The instruments were manufactured in London, and sold at the price of forty guineas each.×

At the beginning of the year 1762, Dr. Franklin began to think seriously about returning to his native country, and to prepare for his departure. His friend, Mr. Strahan, had endeavoured to prevail on him to bring over his family and settle himself in London. Mr. Strahan wrote to Mrs. Franklin on the subject, using much persuasion to win her consent to this project. She was no less opposed to it than her husband, whose opinion may be gathered from the following account of a conversation with Mr. Strahan, contained in a letter to his wife. "He was very urgent with me to stay in England, and prevail with you to remove hither with Sally. He proposed several, advantageous schemes to me, which appeared reasonably founded. His family is a very agreeable one; Mrs. Strahan a sensible and good woman, the children of amiable characters, and particularly the young man, who is sober, ingenious, and industrious, and a desirable person. In point of circumstances there can be no objection; Mr. Strahan being in such a way as to lay up a thousand pounds every year from the profits of his business, after maintaining his family and paying all charges. I gave him, however, two reasons why I could not think of removing hither; one, my affection to Pennsylvania, and long established friendships and other connexions there; the other, your invincible aversion to crossing the seas. And, without removing hither, I could not think of parting with my daughter to such a distance. I thanked him for the regard shown to us in the proposal, but gave him no expectation that I should forward the letters. So you are at liberty to answer or not, just as you think proper." As far as his pecuniary interests were concerned, there is no doubt that they would have been essentially advanced by complying with Mr. Strahan's advice; but he had higher motives, and events proved that he judged wisely.

Before he left England he received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford.× Other friends, besides Mr. Strahan, regretted his departure. Mr. Hume wrote; " I am very sorry, that you intend soon to leave our hemisphere. America has sent us many good things, gold, silver, sugar, tobacco, indigo, &c.; but you are the first philosopher, and indeed the first great man of letters, for whom we are beholden to her. It is our own fault, that we have not kept him; whence it appears, that we do not agree with Solomon, that wisdom is above gold; for we take care never to send back an ounce of the latter, which we once lay our fingers upon." Franklin replied; "Your compliment of gold and wisdom is very obliging to me, but a little injurious to your country. The various value of every thing in every part of this world arises, you know, from the various proportions of the quantity to the demand. We are told, that gold and silver in Solomon's time were so plenty, as to be of no more value in his country than the stones in the street. You have here at present just such a plenty of wisdom. Your people are, therefore, not to be censured for desiring no more among them than they have; and, if I have any, I should certainly carry it where, from its scarcity, it may probably come to a better market."

A few days before he sailed, his son was appointed governor of New Jersey, although the appointment was not publicly announced till some time afterwards. It is evident from this act of the ministry, that they bad then conceived no prejudice against the father, on account of the part he had taken in the Pennsylvania controversy; for it could only have been through the influence of his character, and the interest made by his friends on this ground, that so high an office could have been obtained for the son, whose personal services had given him no adequate, claims to such an elevation. This proof of confidence from the ministry was displeasing to the Proprietaries. They drew some consolation, however, even from so unpropitious a circumstance. Thomas Penn said, in a letter to Governor Hamilton, "I am told you will find Mr. Franklin more tractable, and I believe we shall, in matters of prerogative; as his son must obey instructions, and what he is ordered to do, the father cannot well oppose in Pennsylvania." This hope was of short duration. The, father continued as untractable as ever, zealous in the people's cause, firm in its support, and active in every measure for establishing their rights on the basis of liberty and a just administration of the government.

The Proprietaries, suspicious of his designs, and dreading his influence, kept a watchful eye on him while he was in England; and they at least deserve the credit of candor for acquitting him of having been engaged in any practices, which they could censure. "I do not find," said Thomas Penn, in another letter to Governor Hamilton, "that he has done me any prejudice with any party, having had conversations with all, in which I have studied to talk of these affairs; and I believe he has spent most of his time in philosophical, and especially in electrical matters, having generally company in a morning to see those experiments, and musical performances on glasses, where any one that knows him carries his friends." This declaration is honorable to both parties; and it shows that the agent, while performing his duty to his constituents, was not unmindful of a proper respect for the character and interests of his opponents.

Dr. Franklin sailed from England about the end of August, having resided there more than five years. In a letter, dated at Portsmouth on the 17th of that month, bidding farewell to Lord Kames, he said; "I am now waiting here only for a wind to waft me to America, but cannot leave this happy island and my friends in it without extreme regret, though I am going to a country and a people that I love. I am going from the old world to the new ; and I fancy I feel like those, who are leaving this world for the next; grief at the parting; fear of the passage; hope of the future." He arrived at Philadelphia on the 1st of November. The fleet, in which he took passage, under the convoy of, a man-of-war, touched at Madeira, and was detained there a few days. They were kindly received and entertained by the inhabitants, on account of the protection afforded them by the English fleet against the united invasion of France and Spain. Not long after his return to Philadelphia, he wrote to Mr. Richard Jackson a full account of the island of Madeira, its population, soil, climate, and productions: but the letter has never been published, and it is supposed to be lost.

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