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composition, than bad ones of his own.” The man afterwards owned that none of his discourses were original, and left Philadelphia in disgrace. With him Franklin finally left off attendance on public worship.
To avoid perplexing applications for admittance, the institution of the Junto had hitherto been kept as much a secret as possible. But its members were now too conscious of its advantages, or too well disposed to exhibit them, to be restrained by Franklin's quieter policy of confining their number to twelve. He therefore proposed the following plan for the virtual extension of the club, without sacrificing its original principles. Every member of the old insti. tution was to endeavour separately to form a Junto under his own direction, subordinate to that institution. He was not to disclose to the new establishment the operation of the parent society, but to communicate to the latter whatever interesting information, and all the advantages of new connexions, which could be derived from the former. Here was therefore a system of concentric clubs, through which large portions of the Philadelphians might be influenced in political and private, as well as literary, matters. It promoted the direct interests of the members in their respective pursuits of life, while it increased their stores of knowledge and sources of amusement; and though not more than half the designed number of subordinate clubs was formed, Franklin constantly availed himself of their influence to feel the public pulse, and carried measures, by their assistance, which would otherwise have failed. Indeed, we cannot help tracing to these favourite social schemes of our author, much of his subsequent influence and consequence in America.
In 1736, the subject of our memoir was unanimously chosen clerk of the Pennsylvanian Assembly. This, though a subordinate political post (giving him no vote in the proceedings) introduced him to the public business of the colonies in its most important forms, as well as to the personal acquaintance of all
the members of the house; and, by securing him the public printing and other business, was every way conducive to his prosperity.
His re-election in 1737 being opposed by a new member of some consequence (though ultimately carried), he furnishes us with one of his characteristic recipes for conciliating an honest and powerful foe. The gentleman in question, like Franklin, collected books; and the latter, hearing that he possessed a scarce and curious volume, politely requested the loan of it for a few days. It was sent immediately, and Franklin returned it in a week, with another note, expressing his obligation to the owner; who, when they resumed their respective posts in the assembly, noticed Mr Franklin politely, which he had never before done; and ever afterwards acted as his friend. He that has once done you a kindness,' says our philosopher, • will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.'
Bradford, Franklin's competitor in the publication of a newspaper, being deprived of his office of deputy postmaster at Philadelphia in 1737, colonel Spottswood, the postmaster-general, gave the appointment to the latter, who readily availed himself of its advantages for facilitating the circulation of his paper, and improving his connexions throughout the province.
Shortly afterwards, his easy circumstances, combined with his influence in the Juntos, induced him to propose certain public improvements, the consequences of which will be felt in Philadelphia to remote ages.
The most important of his early measures of this kind, was the establishment of a fire-company. His plans were directed rather to the prevention of this awful calamity, than to any scheme of insurance against actual loss. He first drew up and circulated remarks on the carelessness both of principals and servants in respect to fire, accompanied with suggestions for the better preventing of accidents, and for rendering prompt assistance in
case of conflagration. Attention being excited to the şubject, he now suggested the formation of a company, each of the members of which should engage to keep a certain number of leathern buckets, and baskets and bags for packing goods, which were to be sent to any fire; the number of members not to be more than could conveniently meet once a month, and spend an evening in the discussion of those topics. When, therefore, more than thirty citizens were willing to unite, they were advised to form a distinct company; and thus arose a number of associations, which included nearly all the respectable inhabitants. Attendance upon the meetings of these useful conclaves was enforced by small fines, which devoted to the increase and repairs of the engines, ladders, &c. Philadelphia became, by means of these
stitutions, remarkable for its general security from fire; never losing, says Franklin, for a space of fifty years, more than one or two houses at a time by that calamity, and this but seldom.
Another of his early public efforts was the regulation of the night-police. This was also effected through the discussions of the Junto. The old plan was, for the constables of the day to summon a number of the householders indiscriminately, to act as a night-watch; those who chose to be exempted paying them a compliment of six shillings a year. Franklin objected to the irregularity with which this tax pressed upon the public, being levied upon all housekeepers, independent of the value of their property, and subject to the constant abuse of bad substitutes being provided. He therefore proposed the hiring of competent men, who should constantly serve, and be remunerated by an ad valorem tax impartially levied. The Assembly of the province afterwards embodied Franklin's original ideas into a law of this kind.
Our narrative now conducts us to a connexion between two of the most remarkable characters of the 19th century, the sceptical FRANKLIN, and the enthusiastic WHITFIELD. The latter was, in 1739,
returning to Georgia from England (where he had just obtained priest's orders) having previously made a considerable impression, in the Trans-Atlantic Continent, in favour of his orphan-house in that state. He had been, in England, too bold or too irregular to be fully allowed the use of their pulpits by the clergy; and the same objections to his peculiar strain of preaching followed him to Phila, delphia. Our philosopher however was not to be deterred by the example of the great or the interested; and though never himself a powerful speaker, he seems throughout life to have admired and duly appreciated good oratory. He decidedly ranks Whitfield among the most efficient of the public speakers with whom he ever came in contact; he regularly attended him to the fields, to which he was now driven, and amused himself with observing his progressive influence, and the number of his hearers. * It was matter of speculation to me,” he says, observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admired and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring them they were naturally half beasts and half devils ;" but he testifies that the revolution effected on the public mind at Philadelphia was as unquestionable as it was creditable to the talent which produced it. Sometimes he gathered a quiet and most extensive congregation in the streets of Philadelphia; and Mr Franklin, on one of these occasions, was at the pains of ascertaining the possible radius of a semicircle throughout which he could be distinctly heard. Whitfield took his station on the steps of the court-house in Market-street; and Franklin, retiring backward as far as he could plainly distinguish the preacher's voice, found it possible to do so to Front-street, which gave, as he calculated, an area that would accommodate more than thirty thousand hearers, allowing two square feet for each person. Franklin particularly admired the distinctness of his articulation and the energy of his manner ;
and exhibited in his own conduct a fair instance of Whitfield's success, as an advocate for works of charity. He had advised him to build his orphanhouse at Philadelphia, rather than in the state of Georgia, as it would be much easier to transfer the children to the former place, than materials and workmen to the latter; but Whitfield rejected his counsel, and therefore Franklin refused to contribute to his scheme. In this temper he attended one of his charity sermons for the funds of the orphanhouse ; and having in his pocket a handful of copper money, three or four dollars in silver, and five pistoles in gold, he resolved to give him no part of them. In the progress of the sermon, Whitfield so far shook his resolution, that our philosopher determined to afford him the copper; at another successful stroke of his oratory, the silver he thought must go; and so admirable was the final appeal, “ that I emptied my pockets wholly," he says," into the collector's dish, gold and all !" We do not remember to have met with a fairer proof of the triumph of clerical eloquence than this. Franklin was ordinarily of no enthusiastic temperament; he was, on this occasion, averse from the immediate object of the preacher, and indifferent, at least, to the religious basis of his arguments.
We must give our readers an instance of superior caution in this affair, on the part of one of Franklin's friends. This gentleman, being of the same opinion as Franklin about the Georgian orphan-house, emptied his pocket before he left home, lest he should be led into temptation. But being moved at the meeting equally with his friend, he applied to a Quaker who stood by, for a loan of money to contributé. . Any other time, friend Hopkinson,' he replied, I would lend to thee freely ; but not now, for thou séemest to me to be out of thy right senses. By frequently hearing him, Franklin asserts, he could accurately distinguish the sermons Mr Whitfield had delivered repeatedly, from those which were composed