Electric ...
Ben Franklin

Life of Benjamin Franklin by Jared Sparks


Receives the Thanks of the Assembly. — Tour through the Middle and Eastern Colonies. — Engages again in Public Affairs. — Massacre of Indians in Lancaster. — Franklin's Pamphlet on the Subject, and his; Agency in pacifying the Insurgents. — Colonel Bouquet's Account of his Public Services. — Disputes revived between the Governor and the Assembly. — Militia Bill defeated. — The Governor rejects a Bill in which the Proprietary, Estates are taxed. — The Assembly resolve to petition the King for a Change of Government. — Petition drafted by Franklin. — Chosen Speaker of the Assembly. — Norris, Dickinson, Galloway. — Scheme for Stamp Duties opposed by the Assembly. — Franklin is not elected to the Assembly. — Appointed Agent to the Court of Great Britain. — Sails for England.

No sooner was his arrival known in Philadelphia, than his friends, both political and private, whose attachment had not abated during his long absence, flocked around him to offer their congratulations on the success of his mission, and his safe return to his family. At each election, while he was abroad, he bad been chosen a member of the Assembly, and he again took his seat in that body. The subject of his agency was brought before the House. A committee was appointed to examine his accounts, who reported that they were accurate and just; and a resolve was passed, granting him three thousand pounds sterling, as a remuneration for his services while engaged in the public employment. This resolve was followed by a vote of thanks all for his many services, not only to the province of Pennsylvania, but to America in general, during his late agency at the court of Great Britain."

As the contest was one, however, in which two parties were enlisted in opposition, with all the violence of zeal and acrimony of personal feeling, which usually attend controversies of this nature, he had the misfortune to draw down upon himself the enmity of one party, in proportion to the applause which his successful endeavours elicited from the other. And it may here be observed, that the part he took in these proprietary quarrels for the defence and protection of, popular rights, which he sustained by the full weight of his extraordinary abilities, was the foundation of the inveterate hostility against his political character, with which he was assailed in various ways to the end of his life, and the effects of which have scarcely disappeared at the present day. Yet no one, who now impartially surveys the history of the transactions in which he was engaged, can doubt the justice of the cause he espoused with so much warmth, and which he upheld to the last with unwavering constancy and firmness.

Circumstances raised him to a high position as a leader, his brilliant talents kept him there, and he thus became the object of a malevolence, which had been engendered by disappointment, and embittered by defeat. This he bore with a philosophical equanimity, and went manfully onward with the resolution of a stern and true patriot, forgiving his enemies, and never deserting his friends, faithful to every trust, and, above all, faithful to the liberties and best interests of his country.

Click for Ben Franklin Posters

In consequence of so long an absence from home, his private affairs required attention for some time after his return. Holding the office of postmaster general in America, he spent five months of the year 1763, in travelling through the northern colonies for the purpose of inspecting the post offices. He went eastward as far as New Hampshire, and the whole extent of his tour, in going and coming, was about sixteen hundred miles. In this journey he was accompanied by his daughter, and it was performed in a light carriage, driven by himself. A saddle horse made a part of the equipage, on which his daughter rode, as be informs us, nearly all the way from Rhode Island to Philadelphia. The meeting of his old friends in Boston, Rhode Island, and New York, afforded him much enjoyment, and he was detained many days in each Place by their hospitality. At New York he met General Amherst, commander-in-chief of the British army in America, who received him with flattering civilities.

He was also obliged to move slowly, on account of a weakness and pain in the breast, attended with unfavorable symptoms, which were increased by two accidental falls, in one of which his shoulder was dislocated. To relieve the anxiety of his sister, at whose house he had stayed in Boston, he wrote to her as follows, immediately after be reached home. "I find myself quite clear from pain, and so have at length left off the cold bath. There is, however, still some weakness in my shoulder, though much stronger than when I left Boston, and mending. I am otherwise very happy in being at home, where I am allowed to know when I have eat enough and drunk enough, am warm enough, and sit in a place that I like, and nobody pretends to know what I feel better than myself. Do not imagine, that I am a whit the less sensible of the kindness I experienced among my friends in New England. I am very thankful for it, and shall always retain a grateful remembrance of it."

His health and strength were gradually restored, and be entered again with his accustomed ardor and energy into the pursuits of active life. At this time, also, there was a demand for the service of every citizen, whose knowledge of business and experience in public affairs qualified him to execute important trusts. The peace, while it relieved the country from a foreign foe, had been the signal for disbanding the forces, which protected the frontiers. Hitherto, the thirst of the savages for blood and rapine, inflamed by the late war, had been satisfied in fighting the battles of their civilized neighbours, and in murdering and plundering under their sanction; but now, having had no share in making the peace, and deriving no benefit from it, they conceived the project of continuing the war on their own account. In pursuance of this plan, the western tribes formed themselves into a confederacy, and broke in upon the frontier settlements of the middle provinces, with a boldness and ferocity, that had seldom been shown on former occasions, murdering the inhabitants, burning their houses, and carrying off or destroying their effects.

To meet this exigency, it was necessary to raise troops, and to procure money for paying them and for purchasing military supplies. This was promptly done by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, and commissioners were appointed to expend the money appropriated for these objects. Franklin was one of the commissioners.

In the month of December, a tragical occurrence took place in Lancaster County, as revolting to humanity, as it was disgraceful to the country. At the Conestogo manor, resided the remnant of a tribe of Indians, which bad dwindled down to twenty persons, men, women, and children. Their chief, a venerable old man, who had assisted at the second treaty held with the Indian tribes by William Penn, more than sixty years before, bad from that day lived on terms of friendship with his white neighbours, and be and his people had ever been distinguished for their peaceable and inoffensive behaviour. The little village of buts, which the occupied, was surrounded in the night by fifty-seven armed men, who came on horse back from two of the frontier townships, and every individual then present was massacred in cold blood. The old chief was murdered in his bed. It happened, that six persons only were at home, the other fourteen being absent among the surrounding whites. These Indians were collected by the magistrates of Lancaster, brought to the town, and put into the workhouse as the place of greatest safety.

When the news of this atrocious act came to Philadelphia, the Governor issued a proclamation, calling on all justices, sheriffs, and other public officers civil and military, to make diligent search for the perpetrators of the crime, and cause them to be apprehended and confined in the jails, till they could be tried by the laws. In defiance of this proclamation, fifty of these barbarians, armed as before, marched into the town of Lancaster, broke open the door of the work house, and deliberately murdered every Indian it contained; and, strange as it may seem, the magistrates and other inhabitants were mute spectators of this scene of horror, without attempting to rescue the unhappy victims from their fate. Not one of the murderers was apprehended, the laws and the Governor's authority being alike disregarded.

Such an outrage upon humanity, and so daring a violation of all laws human and divine, could not but kindle the indignation of every benevolent mind, and fill with alarm every friend of social order. To exhibit the transaction in its proper colors before the public, Franklin wrote a Narrative of the late Massacres in Lancaster County; usually called the Paxton Murders, because many of the rioters belonged to a frontier town of that name. After a brief and impressive relation of the facts, he cites examples from history to show, that even heathens, in the rudest stages of civilization, had. never tolerated such crimes as had here been perpetrated in the heart of a Christian community.

Appealing to the inhabitants, he says; "Let us rouse ourselves, for shame, and redeem the honor of our province from the contempt of its neighbours; let all good men join heartily and unanimously in support of the laws, and in strengthening the hands of government; that justice may be done, the wicked punished, and the innocent protected; otherwise we can, as a people, expect no blessing from Heaven; there will be no security for our persons or properties; anarchy and confusion will prevail over all; and violence without judgment dispose of every thing." The style of this pamphlet is more vehement and rhetorical, than is common in the author's writings, but it is characterized by the peculiar clearness and vigor which mark all his compositions.

But neither the able exposure of the wickedness of the act, nor the eloquent and passionate appeal to the sensibilities of the people, contained in this performance, could stifle the spirit that was abroad, or check the fury with which it raged. The friendly Indians throughout the province, some of whom had been converted to Christianity by the Moravians, were alarmed at this war of extermination waged against their race. One hundred and forty of them fled for protection to Philadelphia. For a time they were kept in safety on Province Island, near the city. When the insurgents threatened to march down and put them all to death, the Assembly resolved to repel them by force. The fugitives were taken into the city, and secured in the barracks.

There being no regular militia, Franklin, at the request of the Governor, formed a military Association, as be had done on another occasion in a time of public danger. Nine companies were organized, and nearly a thousand citizens embodied themselves under arms. The insurgents advanced as far as Germantown, within six miles of Philadelphia, where, hearing of the preparation that had been made to protect the Indians, they thought it prudent to pause. Taking advantage of this crisis, the Governor and Council appointed Franklin and three other gentlemen to go out and meet them, and endeavour to turn them from their purpose. This mission was successful. Finding it impossible to carry their design into execution, they were at last prevailed upon to return peaceably to their homes.

Two persons were deputed by the rioters, before they separated, to be the bearers of their complaints to the Governor and the Assembly. This was done by a memorial to the Governor in behalf of the in habitants of the frontier settlements. Divers grievances were enumerated, particularly the distresses they suffered from the savages, who had murdered defenceless families, and been guilty in numerous instances of the most barbarous cruelties. Much sophistry was used to extenuate, or rather to defend, the conduct of those, who, driven to desperation, had determined to make an indiscriminate slaughter of the Indians. It was alleged, that the friendship of these Indians was only a pretence ; that they harboured traitors among them, which sent intelligence to the war parties and abetted their atrocities; that retaliation was justifiable, the war being against the Indians as a nation, of which every tribe and individual constituted a part.

With such reasoning as this the multitude was satisfied. Religious frenzy suggested another argument. Joshua had been commanded to destroy the heathen. The Indians were heathens; hence there, was a divine command to exterminate them. Another memorial with fifteen hundred signatures, was sent to the Assembly. They were both referred to a committee, but, the Governor declining to support the measures recommended, no further steps were taken.

The character and result of these extraordinary proceedings show, in the first place, that the criminal outrages were approved by a large party in the province; and next, that the government, either from want of intelligence and firmness in the head, or of union in the parts, was too feeble to execute justice and preserve public order. Great credit is due to the agency of Franklin, in stopping the tide of insurrection and quieting the commotions. By his personal exertions and influence, as well as by his pen, he labored to strengthen the arm of government, diffuse correct sentiments among the people, and maintain the supremacy of the laws.

His duties, as a member of the board of commissioners for the disposal of the public money, in carrying on the war against the Indians, were arduous and faithfully performed. Colonel Bouquet commanded the army in Pennsylvania, consisting of regular troops and provincial levies. He applied to the Governor and commissioners for liberty to enlist more men, his ranks having been thinned by desertions. On this subject he wrote a letter to Franklin, containing a recital of his public services, which justly claims the reader's notice. It is dated at Fort Loudoun, August 22d, 1764.

"My dependence was, as usual, upon you; and, in deed, had you not supported my request in the warmest manner, it must have miscarried, and left me exposed to many inconveniences. Your conduct on this occasion does not surprise me, as I have not alone experienced the favorable effects of your readiness to promote the service. I know that General Shirley owed to you the considerable supply of provisions this government voted for his troops, besides warm clothing ; that you alone could and did procure for General Braddock the carriages, without which he could not have proceeded on his expedition; that you had a road opened through this province to supply more easily his army with provisions, and spent a summer in those different services without any other reward, than the satisfaction of serving the public. And I am not unacquainted with the share you bad in carrying safely through the House, at a very difficult time, the bill for sixty thousand pounds during Lord Loudoun's command. But, without recapitulating instances in which I was not directly concerned, I remember gratefully, that as early as 1756, when I was sent by Lord Loudoun to obtain quarters in Philadelphia for the first battalion of the Royal American Regiment, I could not have surmounted the difficulties made by your people, who, at that time unacquainted with the quartering of troops, expressed the greatest reluctance, to comply with my request, till you were so good as to take the affair in hand, and obtain all that was desired.

"I have not been less obliged to you in the execution of the present act, having been an eyewitness of your forwardness to carry at the board, as a commissioner, every measure I proposed for the success of this expedition. This acknowledgment being the only return I can make, for the repeated services I have received from you in my public station, I beg you will excuse my prolixity upon a subject so agreeable to myself, as the expression of my gratitude."

In October, 1763, John Penn arrived in Pennsylvania, as successor to Governor Hamilton. Being connected by family ties with the Proprietaries, it was hoped that he was invested with larger discretionary powers, than had been intrusted to the late deputy governors, and that he would be both enabled and disposed to administer the government in a manner better adapted to the condition, wants, and privileges of the people.

He called the Assembly together by a special summons, and his first message abounded in good wishes and patriotic professions. It was received by the Assembly, as stated in their reply, "with the most cordial satisfaction." The session opened propitiously; six hundred pounds were granted to the Governor towards his support for the first year; and a vote was passed to raise, pay, and supply one thousand men, to be employed in the King's service during the approaching campaign against the western Indians. It was soon perceived, however, that the hope of a change in the temper and aims of the Proprietaries was not to be realized. The old controversies were revived, with as much warmth and pertinacity as ever, and with as little prospect of a reconciliation. Franklin, from the position he held, necessarily became a leader, on the side of the Assembly, in these new disputes.

The recent disorders in the province convinced the Governor, that the civil power required a stronger support, than any that could then be brought to its aid. He recommended a militia law, by which the citizens might be embodied for their own protection and the public defence, The proposal was well received by the Assembly, and a committee was instructed to frame a bill. Franklin was a member of this committee. A bill was reported, similar to the one which he had framed and carried through the House at the beginning of the late war. Each company was allowed to choose three persons for each of the offices of captain, lieutenant, and ensign. Out of these three the Governor was to select and commission then one be thought most proper. In like manner the officers of companies were to choose the officers of regiments, three for each office being recommended to the Governor, any one of whom be might select and commission. Fines were imposed for offences, and the offenders were to be tried by judges and juries in the courts of law.

In this shape the bill was passed, and presented to the Governor for his signature. He refused his assent, and returned it to the House with amendments, claiming to himself the sole appointment of officers, enhancing the amounts of the fines, requiring all trials to be by a court-martial, and making some offences punishable by death.

The Assembly would not for a moment listen to an assumption so dangerous to the liberties of the people. It was no less than putting the power of imposing exorbitant fines, and even of inflicting the punishment of death, into the hands of a set of officers depending on the Governor alone for their commissions, and responsible to him alone for the manner in which these were executed. The bill was accordingly lost. Dr. Franklin wrote and published an account of the proceedings, in relation to this militia bill, showing the causes of its failure, and the unjustifiable conduct and designs of the proprietary party in the course they had taken to defeat it.

This was only the prelude to a more important dispute, in which the Governor contrived to embroil himself with the Assembly. Money was to be provided for paying the expenses of the Indian war. It was proposed to raise fifty thousand pounds by emitting bills of credit; and, for the redemption of these bills, land tax, among other sources of revenue, was to be laid. Conformably to the decision of the King in Council, the proprietary lands were to be included in this tax. In one part of that decision the words were, "The located uncultivated lands of the Proprietaries shall not be assessed higher than the lowest rate, at which any located uncultivated lands belonging to the inhabitants shall be assessed. " The Assembly understood this clause to mean, that the proprietary lands should not be rated higher, than lands of a similar quality belonging to other persons. The Governor, availing himself of an ambiguity in the language, gave it a different sense, insisting that all the proprietary lands, however good their quality, were to be rated as low as the worst and least valuable lands belonging to the people.

The Assembly replied, that, if it were possible to torture the clause into this meaning, it was nevertheless a forced construction, unheard of before, contrary to justice, and discreditable to the Proprietaries, since it was bottomed on selfishness, and brought their interest in conflict with their honor. After much wrangling and delay, the Assembly were obliged to wave their rights, and consent to the passage of the act on the Governors terms. The savages were invading their borders, and the troops must be supported.

These vexations exhausted the patience of the Assembly. Convinced that they must continually fight the same battles over with the new Governor, and with every succeeding Governor appointed by the Proprietaries, they passed a series of resolves, just before their adjournment, stating the oppressions which the inhabitants of Pennsylvania suffered from their rulers, and expressing their belief, that peace and happiness could never be restored to the province, till the power of governing it should be lodged in the crown They then adjourned, for the avowed purpose of consulting their constituents on the subject of presenting a petition to the King, praying him to take the government into his own hands.

During the recess of the Assembly, Dr. Franklin wrote a tract, entitled Cool Thoughts on the Present Situation of Public affairs, in which he described the evils of the Proprietary government, explained their causes, and came to the conclusion, that most of these evils were inherent in the nature of the government itself, and that the only remedy was a change, by substituting a royal government in its stead, "without the intervention of proprietary powers, which, like unnecessary springs and movements in a machine, are apt to produce disorder." This pamphlet was written with the design of drawing public attention to the Assembly's resolves, and of preparing the way for prompt and efficient action when the members should again convene. They came together on the 14th of May, after an adjournment of seven weeks. Numerous petitions to the King for a change of government, signed by more than three thousand of the inhabitants and coming from all parts of the province, were laid before them.

Encouraged by this manifestation of public sentiment the House decided by a large majority to promote and sustain the prayer of the petitioners. A petition to the King from the Assembly, for the same object, was accordingly drafted by Dr. Franklin. The debates were animated, both parties exerting their whole strength in the conflicts. The majority in favor of the measure was so great, however, that the war of words produced no effect on the result. Yet some men wavered, who had hitherto stood firm. Among these was Mr. Norris, the Speaker, who had filled the chair many years, respected by all parties for his integrity, abilities, and public spirit. He had acted steadily with those, who opposed the proprietary encroachments; but he looked for redress and amendment, rather than for a radical chance; and he was unwilling to affix his signature to the petition. He resigned his seat, and Franklin was chosen in his place; the petition passed the House, and was signed by him as Speaker.

John Dickinson was another wavering member. He had disapproved the proprietary measures, but in this affair of the petition he was the champion of that party in the Assembly. His speech on the occasion, eloquent and spirited, though more declamatory than argumentative, was published, with a Preface by another hand. The writer of the Preface indulged himself in a strain of personal invective and harsh reflection, never called for by a good cause, and rarely serviceable to a bad one. As a counterbalance to this pamphlet, Galloway, an able and popular leader on the other side, wrote out and published the speech he had delivered in reply to Dickinson. A Preface was contributed by Dr. Franklin, which, for sarcastic humor and force of argument, is one of the best of his performances. Perfectly master of his subject, and confident in his strength, he meets his opponents on their own ground, using his weapons in defence and assault with equal adroitness and self command.

One of the objections against a change of government gave, some uneasiness even to those, who were bent upon that measure. The rights and privileges of the people, which they most valued, were secured by the charters, and, it was said, if the government should devolve on the King, he might take away the charters, or impose such restraints as would essentially abridge, if not annihilate, the freedom they then enjoyed.

To this it could only be replied, that such a thing was in the highest degree improbable; that nothing more was asked of the King than that he would, by fair purchase, obtain the jurisdiction of the province, thereby standing in the place of the Proprietaries; that William Penn had made some progress in negotiating such a sale to the crown before his death, and it could never have been his design to deprive the inhabitants of the charters, which had been granted to them in good faith, and which had afforded the chief inducement to the settlers for purchasing and cultivating the lands. As a proof, that this confidence in the royal honor and magnanimity was not misplaced, the example of other colonies was cited, where a similar change had been effected, without any injury to the charters or any abridgment of liberty.

These views were plausible, but they were not such as to remove all doubts, even from the majority in the Assembly; for, when they forwarded the petitions to Mr. Jackson, their agent in London, they enjoined him to proceed with the utmost caution, securing to the inhabitants all the privileges, civil and religious, which they had hitherto enjoyed by their charters and laws; and, in case he should apprehend any danger to these privileges, he was required to suspend further action, till he should receive additional directions from the Assembly.

At the next session, the most important business, which engaged the attention of the House, was the proposal of the British ministry to raise a revenue by stamp duties in the colonies. The Assembly of Pennsylvania, participating in the excitement, which this intelligence had caused throughout the country, sent instructions to their agent in England, remonstrating against any such scheme, as tending to "deprive the people of their most essential rights as British subjects." The signing of these instructions was the last act of Dr. Franklin as Speaker of the House.

The election in the autumn of this year, 1764, was sharply contested. It turned on the question of a change of government. The proprietary party, having much at stake, redoubled their efforts; and, in the city of Philadelphia and some of the counties, they were successful. Franklin, after having been chosen fourteen years successively, now lost his election, there being against him a majority of about twenty-five votes in four thousand. But, after all, it was an empty triumph. When the members convened, there were two to one in favor of the measures of the last Assembly, and they resolved to carry these measures into effect. Being determined to pursue their object with all the force they could bring to bear upon it, they appointed Dr. Franklin as a special agent to proceed to the court of Great Britain, and there to take charge of the petition for a change of government, and to manage the general affairs of the province.

This appointment was a surprise upon the proprietary party. They had imagined, that, by defeating his election, they had rid themselves of an active and troublesome opponent in the Assembly, and weakened his influence abroad. When it was proposed, therefore, to raise him to a situation, in which he could more effectually than ever serve the same cause, the agitation in the House, and the clamor out of doors, were extreme.

His adversaries testified their chagrin by the means they used to prevent his appointment. Even John Dickinson, while he could not refrain from eulogizing him as a man, inveighed strenuously against his political principles and conduct; at the same time exhibiting symptoms of alarm, that would seem almost ludicrous, if it were not known what power there is in the spirit of party to distort truth and pervert the judgment. "The gentleman proposed," he says, in a speech to the House, " has been called here today a great luminary of the learned world.' Far be it from me to detract from the merit I admire. Let him still shine, but without wrapping his country in flames. Let him, from a private station, from a smaller sphere, diffuse, as I think he may, a beneficial light but let him not be made to move and blaze like a comet to terrify and distress." Not satisfied with lavishing abuse upon him in debate, his enemies procured a remonstrance to be drawn up and signed by many of their adherents in the city, which was presented to the Assembly. Such an attempt to prejudice the representatives, or bias their proceedings, was not likely to have any other effect on his friends, than to excite their indignation, and unite them more firmly in his favor.

The remonstrants, failing in the Assembly, published their objections in the form of a Protest. As it was now too late to change what had been done, no practical end could be answered by this publication. Hence it may be ascribed to other motives, than solicitude for the public welfare. It was objected, that Dr. Franklin had been the chief author of the late measures for a change of government. Allowing this to be true, it was so far from, being an objection in the opinion of his friends, that it afforded one of the best reasons for intrusting to him the prosecution of those measures. It. was further objected, that he was not in favor with the ministers, that be stood on ill terms with the Proprietaries, and that he was extremely disagreeable to a large number of the inhabitants of the province; all of which, as declared by the protesters, disqualified him for the agency he was about to undertake.

He wrote remarks on these charges, just before his departure for England, examining them in detail, replying to each, and saying at the conclusion; " I am now to take leave, perhaps a last leave, of the country I love, and in which I have spent the greatest part of my life. Eslo perpetua, I wish every kind of prosperity to my friends; and I forgive my enemies." This forgiveness he could the more easily bestow, since his enemies, with all their industrious efforts to defame and injure him as a public man, had never insinuated a suspicion unfavorable to his private reputation or his character As a citizen.

There being no money in the treasury, that could be immediately appropriated to defray the agent's expenses, the Assembly voted, that these expenses should be provided for in the next bill that should be passed for raising money. Upon the strength of this pledge, the merchants, in two hours, subscribed eleven hundred pounds as a loan to the public for this object. On the 7th of November, only twelve days after his appointment, Franklin left Philadelphia, accompanied by a cavalcade of three hundred citizens, who attended him to Chester, where he was to go on board the vessel. "The affectionate leave taken of me by so many dear friends at Chester," said he, "was very endearing; God bless them and all Pennsylvania." He sailed the next day, but the vessel was detained over night at Reedy Island in the Delaware. At that place he wrote a letter to his daughter, from which the following is an extract.

"My dear child, the natural prudence and goodness of heart God has blessed you with, make it less necessary for me to be particular in giving you advice. I shall therefore only say, that the more attentively dutiful and tender you are towards your good mamma, the more you will recommend yourself to me. But why should I mention me, when you have so much higher a promise in the commandments, that such conduct will recommend you to the favor of God. You know I have many enemies, all indeed on the public account, (for I cannot recollect, that I have in a private capacity given just cause of offence to any one whatever,) yet the are enemies, and very bitter ones; and you must expect their enmity will extend in some degree to you, so that your, slightest indiscretions will be magnified into crimes, in order the more sensibly to wound and afflict me. It is, therefore, the more necessary for you to be extremely circumspect in all your behaviour, that no advantage may be given to their malevolence.

"Go constantly to church, whoever preaches. The act of devotion in the Common Prayer Book is your principal business there, and, if properly attended to, will do more towards amending the heart than sermons generally can do. For they were composed by men of much aerator piety and wisdom, than our common composers of sermons can pretend to be; and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer days; yet I do not mean you should despise sermons, even of the preachers you dislike; for the discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth. I am the more particular on this head, as you seemed to express, a little before I came away, some inclination to leave our church, which I would not have you do."

After a tempestuous voyage of thirty days, he landed at Portsmouth, and proceeded immediately to London, where he again took lodgings at Mrs. Stevenson's in Craven Street. When the news of his safe arrival came back to Philadelphia, his friends celebrated the event by the ringing of bells and other demonstrations of joy.

Click for Ben Franklin Posters