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vailed. It is only by degrees that the great body of mankind can be led into new practices, however salutary their tendency. It is now nearly eighty years since innoculation was introduced into Europe and America ; and it is so far from being general at present, that it will, perhaps, require one or two centuries to render it so.
In the year 1745, Franklin published an account of his new invented Pennsylvania fire places, in which he minutely and accurately states the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of fire-placés; and endeavors to shew that the one which he describes is to be preferred to any other. This contrivance has given rise to the open stoves now. in general use ; which however differ from it in construction, particularly in not having an air-box at the back, through which a constant supply of air, warmed in its passage, is thrown into the room. The advantages of this are, that as a stream of warm air is continually flowing into the room, less fuel is necessary to preserve a proper temperature, and the room may be so tightened as that no air may enter through cracks; the consequen: ces of which are colds, tooch-aches, &c.
Although philosophy was a principal object of Franklin's pursuit for several years, he confined himself not to this. In the year 1747, he became a member of the general assembly of Pennsylvania, as a burgess for the city of Philadelphia. Warm disputes at this time subsisted between the assembly and the proprietaries ; each contending for what they conceiva ed to be their just rights. Franklin, a friend to the rights of man from his infancy, soon distinguished himself as a steady opponent of the unjust schemes of the proprietaries. He was soon looked up to as the head of the opposition ; and to him have been attributed many of the spirited replies of the assembly, to the messages of the governors. His influence in the body was very great. This arose not from any super tior powers of eloquence ; he spoke but seldom, and he never was known to make any thing like an elaborate harangue. His speeches often consisted of a single sentence, or of a well told story, the moral of which was always obviously to the point. He never attempted the flowery fields of oratory. His manner was plain and mild. His style in speaking was, like that of his writings, remarkably concise. With this plain manner, and his penetrating and solid judgment, he was able to confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced who had opposed him. With a single observation, he has pendered of no avail an elegant and lengthy discourse, and determined the fate of a question of importance.
But he was not contented with thus supporting the rights of the people. He wished to render them permanently secure, which can only be done by making their value properly known ; and this must depend upon encreasing and extending information to every class of men. We have already seen that he was the founder of the public library, which contributed greatly towards improving the minds of the citizens. But this was not sufficient. The schools then subsisting were in general of little utility. The teachers were men ill qualified for the important duty which they had undertaken ; and, after all, nothing more could be obtained than the rudiments of a common English education. Franklin drew up a plan of an Academy to be erected in the city of Philadelphia, suited to 6 the state of an infant country ;” but in this, as in all his plans, he confined not his views to the present uime only. He looked forward to the period when an institution on an enlarged plan would become necessary. With this view he considered his Academy as “ foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning more extensive, and suitable to future circumstances.” In pursuance of this plan, the constitutions were drawn
up and signed on the 13th of November 1749. In these twenty-four of the most respectable citizens of Philadelphia was named as trustees. In the choice of these, and in the formation of his plan, Franklin is said to have consulted chiefly with Thomas Hopkinson, Esq. Rev. Richard Peters, then secretary of the province, Tench Francis, Esq. attorney-general, and Dr. Phineas Bond.
The following article shews a spirit of benevolence worthy of imitation ; and, for the honor of our city, we hope that it continues to be in force.
“ In case of the inability of the rector, or any master, (established on the foundation by receiving a certain salary) through sickness, or any other natural infirmity, whereby he may be reduced to poverty, the trustees shall have power to contribute to his support, in proportion to his distress and merit, and the stock in their hands."
The last clause of the fundamental rules is expressed in language so tender and benevolent, so truly parental that it will do everlasting honor to the hearts and heads of the founders.
" It is hoped and expected, that the trustees will make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the academy often ; to encourage and countenance the youth, countenance and assist the masters, and by all means in their
advance the usefulness and reputation of the design ; that they will look on the students as, in some measure, their own children, treat them with familiarity and affection ; and when they have behaved well, gone through their studies, and are to enter the world, they shall zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made, to promote and establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for their advantage, preferable to all other persons whatsoever, ever of equal merit."
The constitutions being signed and made public, with the names of the gentlemen proposing themselves as trustees and founders, the design was so well approved of by the public spirited citizens of Philadelphia, that t'ie sum of eight hundred pounds per annum, for five years, was in the course of a few weeks subscribed for carrying the plan into execution ; and in the beginning of January following, (viz. 1750) three of the schools were opened, namely, the Latin and Greek schools, the Mathematical, and the English schools. In pursuance of an article in the original plan, a school for educating sixty boys and thirty girls (in the charter since called the Charitable School) was opened, and amidst all the dificulties with which the trustees have struggled in respect to their funds, has still been continued full for the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for each boy and giri admitied into it, which is the general rule, at least twelve hundred children have received in it the chief part of their education, who might otherwise, in a great measure, have been left without the means of instruction. And many of those who have been thus educated, are now to be found : nong the most useful and reputable citizens of this state.
The institution, thus successfully begun, continued daily to flourish, to the great satisfaction of Dr. franklin ; who, notwithstanding the multiplicity of his other engagements and pursuits, at that busy stage of his life, was a constant attendant at the monthly visitations and examinations of the schools, and made it his particular study, by means of his extensive corresporrdence abroad, to advance the reputation of the seininary, and to draw students and scholars to it from different parts of America and the West-Indies. Through the interposition of his benevolent and learned friend, Peter Collinson, of London, upon the application of the trustees, a charter of incorporation, dateci July 13, 1763, was obtained from the honorable proprietors of
Pennsylvania, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs. accompanied with a liberal benefaction of five hundred pounds sterling; and Dr. Franklin now began in good earnest to please himself with the hopes of a speedy accomplishment of his original design, viz. the establishment of a perfect institution, upon the plan of the European colleges and universities ; for which his academy was intended as a nursery or foundation, To elucidate this fact, is a matter of considerable importance in respect to the niemory and character of Dr. Franklin, as a philosopher, and as the friend and patron of learning and science ; for notwithstanding what is expressly declared by him in the preamble to the constitutions, viz. that the academy was begun tor s teaching the Latin - and Greek languages, with all useful branches of the arts and sciences, suitable to the state of an infant country, and laying a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning more extensive, and suitable to their future circumstances," yet it has been suggested of late, as upon Dr. Franklin's authority, that the Latin and Greek, or the dead languages, are an incumbrance upon a scheme of liberal education, and that the engrafting or founding a college, or more extensive seminary, upon his academy, was without his approbation or agency, and gave him discontent. If the reverse of this does not already appear, from what has been quoted above, the following letters will put the matter beyond dispute. They were written by him to a gentleman, who had at that time published the idea of a college, suited to the circumstances of a young country, (meaning NewYork) a copy of which having been sent to Dr. Franklin for his opinion, gave rise to that correspondence which terminated, about a year afterwards, in erecting the college upon the foundation of the academy, and establishing that gentleman at the head of both, where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six years, to preside with distinguished reputation.