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God for the mercies we had received. Were I a Roman Catholic,” he adds, “perhaps I should on this occasion vow to build a chapel to some saint; but as I am not, if I were to vow at all, it should be to build a lighthouse.” Having his eldest son, William Franklin, with him at this time, he was induced to stop and explore Stonehenge, on Salisbury plain. He also visited lord Pembroke's house and gardens at Wilton, arriving in London, July the 27th, 1757.
In England Mr Franklin had to encounter many disheartening circumstances. The prejudices of the public mind were strong against the colonies, in consequence of the representations of interested individuals, who filled the public papers with intelligence from Philadelphia,' manufactured in London, which always described the houses of assembly as turbulent, illiberal, and unprincipled. The ministry were also too deeply occupied at this time with European politics, and the fluctuating warfare on the Continent, to afford much attention to the discussion of complex provincial affairs, and were very reluctant to interpose between the colonial governments and the proprietaries ; the agent for Philadelphia did not however pause long over his difficulties. By the means of that press which he found so remarkably busy with Pennsylvanian affairs, he was determined to make that appeal to public opinion, which he had never hitherto attempted in vain.
A paper which appeared about this time in the General Advertiser, gave him a proper opportunity of bringing those affairs before the public. The writer dwelt upon the dreadful ravages which the Indians were committing in the back-settlements of America, and stated, that while the enemy was advancing into the heart of the country, the disputes between the government and the Assembly were as violent as ever.
It forcibly described the litigious and obstinate spirit of the Quakers, and declared that the bills which the Assembly passed were so clogged with conditions, that the governor could not sign them.
Franklin soon saw through this fabrication, and that it was in fact a ruse de guerre of the proprietary to destroy the effect of his mission to the government: but as the object of that mission was to bring affairs to an amicable issue, he thought it would be premature to enter too formally into a refutation of these calumnies ; and therefore drew up a very, cautious paper in reply, bearing his son's name.
This was inserted in the same journal as the above-mentioned attack, from which it was copied into other papers. In this piece he contended that Pennsylvania suffered no more from the Indians than other colonies; that the people on the frontiers were not Quakers; that they were supplied with arms, and often repelled the enemy.
He shewed that the disputes were chiefly occasioned by instructions from England, forbidding the governor to sanction any acts of the Assembly for raising taxes, unless the proprietors; estates were either exempted from the burthen altogether, or nearly so. He then proved that the Quakers composed but a small part of the existing population, and that the inhabitants, with the exception of the proprietary officers and their dependants, were unanimous in asserting their civil rights, and resisting the impositions of the proprietary, which they could consider only as a species of oppression and fraud. He proceeded to shew that every thing had been done by Pennsylvania to secure the frontier of the province, and to protect the commerce of the neighbouring governments, without any contributions from either those colonies themselves, or the parent kingdom; and that the Quakers, so far from really being litigious, had even declined sitting in the Assembly, lest they should be thought so.
Notwithstanding the popularity of this letter, op• position continued, and the public journals abounded with papers, charging the Pennsylvanians with ingratitude, injustice, and disaffection, as well to the proprietary as the parent country. Franklin resolved upon drawing up a statistical account of the real state of the province, adapted for general informa
tion, and accompanied by suitable reflections and observations. The title of this volume, published in 1759, and containing five hundred closely printed pages, was “An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania from its Origin ; so far as regards the several points of controversy which have from time to time arisen between the several governors of Pennsylvania, and their several assemblies : founded on authentic Documents.” The motto prefixed to it was,
6 THOSE WHO GIVE UP ESSENTIAL LIBERTY, TO PURCHASE A LITTLE TEMPORARY SAFETY, DESERVE NEITHER LIBERTY NOR SAFETY.” This work being anonymous, was attributed to Ralph the historian, à circumstance supposed to have been concerted by Franklin, with a view to avert all jealousies from himself as the author. The style and spirit of the work however, and especially the dedication to Mr Speaker Onslow, clearly prove from whom this publication proceeded.
The effect of this publication was considerable, and removed in a great measure the prejudice that had been entertained against the colonies ; but the proprietaries still remaining inflexible in their opposition, the American delegate presented a petition to the Privy Council, for the final adjustment of all differences; and so confident were his constituents of his final success, that the Assembly, before the affairs was formally decided, passed a law for the levying a general tax, in which the proprietary estates were not exempted; and the bill received the sanction of governor Denny! It is true the proprietaries endeavoured to prevent the royal sanction being given to the bill, and were represented by able advocates before the Privy Council; but the facts of the case being fairly brought out, an accommodation was at last proposed, by which the Pennsylvanians agreed to submit their estates to all taxes and impositions, on condition that they should not be over-rated. Franklin's conduct throughout the business gave great satisfaction to all parties. He engaged his honour for the equitable and moderate imposition of the tax
in regard to the estates of the proprietaries, and appears never to have subjected himself to any complaint from them on account of this stipulation. Thus, while gaining from his opponents an unquestionable tribute to his integrity, he obtained from them, on behalf of his constituents, the concession of
every principle at issue ; jealousies, which had been existing for generations between the governors of Pennsylvania and the Assembly, were happily extinguished ; taxation bore equally on all property, which made every one more content to bear it; and to this period, at least, in the history of America, such taxation was imposed by those who had to pay it. Such a conclusion of the business was naturally regarded by the Pennsylvanians as a triumph of no small importance to them. The character and talents of Franklin marked him out as perhaps the most able man of public business which America had produced. He was therefore solicited to remain in London as an accredited agent for Pennsylvania, and Maryland, Georgia, and Massachusetts Bay, made application to him to become their agent likewise in England.
Franklin now indulged in the society of those friends whom his talents had procured him, and who rapidly increased. His company indeed was courted by persons of the first distinction both in the political and literary world.
The universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh, and Oxford, unsolicited, conferred upon him the degree of doctor of laws; and the last of these learned bodies gave the degree of master of arts to his son. The following is a copy of the entry of those honours at Oxford:
Benj. FRANKLIN, esq. Provinc. Pennsylvan. Deputat. ad Curiam Sereniss. Legat. Tabellariorum per Americam Septentrionalem Præfectus Generalis, et Veredariorum totius Novæ Angliæ, et R.S. S. er. D. C. L. Apr. 30, 1762.
FRANKLIN (WILL.) esq. Juris Municip. Consult. cr. M. A. Apr. 30, 1762.
Dr Franklin suggests improvements in the paving and lighting Philadelphia
and London.-Humourous epistle on early rising.--Experiment on the tourmalin-stone.-Invention of the armonica.-Dr Franklin advises the British Government to attack Canada.-Expedition under General Wolfe undertaken accordingly.-Battle of Quebec.-Advocates the retaining of Canada at the peace.-Returns home.- Observations made during the voyage on the effects of oil in calming water. Well received in Philadelphia. -The Pariton murder, and his conduct. Fresh disputes between the Goyernment and the Assembly.-Suggests a petition to the king to assume the government of the province.---Loses his election to the Assembly, but re-appointed agent to Great Britain.Sails thither.
DR FRANKLIN was born to unite the great and the minute; to shine in his sober way in courts, without disdaining to lend his aid to the most humble methods of being useful to mankind. While he was in England, at this time, a bill passed the Pennsylvanian Assembly for paying the city of Philadelphia. For the success of this measure, he had been obliged to adopt his old plan of circulating a few plain arguments respecting its necessity amongst the people ; while, by a private subscription, he effected the paying and regular cleaning of the Jersey market-place, where he lived. One addition was however made to the bill in his absence, that of a provision for light, ing as well as paving the streets, which he candidly disclaims, though it has been generally ascribed to him. Its author, he says, was a Mr John Clifton.
But the agitation of this measure turned his attention to the general subject of paving and lighting large cities; and while resident in London, he made several useful observations on the construction of street-lamps, and on cleansing the public streets; the principal of which suggestions have been ince carried into effect. The following fine ppology is