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this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a dis· tance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of it ; and supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured, - nevertheless, in spite of all these difficulties, and I married her on the first of September 1730. None of the inconveniences we had feared happened to us. She proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We prospered together, and it was our mutual study to render each other happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.
Our club was not at that time established at a ta. vern. We held our meetings at the house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some members observed one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it would be convenient to have them collected in the room in which we assembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion ; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he possessed them himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to so many as we expected; and though we made considerable use of them, yet some inconveniences resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, to destroy the collection; and each took away such books as belonged to him.
It was now that I first started the idea of establishing by subscription, a public library. I drew up the proposals, had them ingrossed in form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be seen in the sequel *
[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has yet been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We understand that it was continued by him somewhat further and we hope that the remainder will, at some future period, be communicated to the public. We have no hesitation in supposing that every reader will find himself greatly interested by the frank simplicity and the philosophical discernment by which these pages are so eminently characterized. We have therefore thought proper, in order as much as possible to relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the cuctor's intimate friends. It is extracted from an American periodical publication, and was written by the late Dr. Stuber* of Phlladelphia.]
THE promotion of literature had been little attend
1 ed to in Pennsylvania. Most of the inhabitants were too much immerced in business to think of scien
* Dr. Stuber was born in Philadelphia, of German parents. He was sent, at an early age, to the university, where his • genius, diligence, and amiable temper soon acquired him the particular notice and favour of those under whose immediate direction he was placed. After passing through the common course of study, in a much shorter time than usual, he left the university, at the age of sixteen, with great reputation. Not long after, he entered on the study of physic; and the zeal with which he pursued it, and the advances he made, gave his friends reason to form the most fattering prospects of his future eminence and usefulness in the profession. As Dr. Stuber's circumstances were very moderate, he did not think his pursuit well calculated to answer them. He there. fore relinquished it, after he had obtained a degree in the profession, and qualified himself to practice with credit and success : and immediately entered on the study of Law In pursuit of the last-mentioned object, he was prematurely arrested, before he had an opportunity of reaping the fruits of those talents with which he was endowed, and of a youth spent in the ardent and successful pursuit of useful and elegant litera. ture.
tific pursuits ; and those few, whose inclinations led them to study, found it difficult to gratify them, from the want of sufficiently large libraries. In such circumstances, the establishment of a public library was an important event. This was first set on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. Fifty persons subscribed forty shillings each, and agreed to pay ten shilliogs annually. The number increased ; and in 1742, the company was incorporated by the name of 4 The Library Company of Philadelphia.” Several other companies were formed in this city in imitation of it. These were all at length united with the library company of Philadelphia, which thus received a con. siderable accession of books and property. - It now contains about eight thousand volumes on all subjects, a philosophical apparatus, and a good beginning towards a collection of natural and artificial curiosities, besides landed property of considerable value. The company have lately built an elegant house in Fifthstreet, in the front of which will be erected a marble statue of their founder, Benjamin Franklin.
This institution was greatly encouraged by the friends of Literature in America and in Great Britain. The Penn family distinguished themselves by their donations. Among the earliest friends of this institution must be mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the friend and correspondent of Dr. Franklin. He not only made considerable presents himself, and obtained others from his friends, but voluntarily undertook to manage the business of the company in London, recommending books, purchasing and shipping them. His extensive knowledge, and zcal for the promotion of science, enabled him to execute this important trust with the greatest advantage. He continued to perform these services for more than thirty years, and uniformly refused to accept of any compensation. · During this time, he communicated to the director's every in
formation relative to improvements and discoveries in the arts, agriculture, and philosophy.
The beneficial influence of this institution was soon evident. The cheapness of terms rendered it accessible to every one. Its advantages were not confined to the opulent. The citizens in the middle and lower walks of life were equally partakers of them. Hence a degree of information was extended amongst all classes of people, which is very unusual in other places. The example was soon followed. Libraries were established in various places, and they are now become very numerous in the United States, and par. ticularly in Pennsylvania. It is to be hoped that they will be still more widely extended, and that informa. tion will be every where increased. This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men, who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God had given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the regions of ignorance that tyranny reigns. It flies before the light of science. Let the citizens of America, then, encourage institu. tions calculated to diffuse knowledge amongst the people ; and amongst these, public libraries are not the least important.
In 1732, Franklin began to publish poor Richard's Almanack. This was remarkable for the numerous and valuable concise maxims which it contained, all tending to exhort to industry and frugality. It was continued for many years. In the almanack for the last year, ail the maxims were collected in an address to the readur, entitled, The Way to Wealth. This has been translated in various languages, and inserted in different publications. It has also been printed on a large sheet, and may be seen framed in many houses in this city. This address contains, perhaps the best practical system of economy that ever has appeared. It is written in a manner intelligible to every one, and which cannot fail of convincing every reader of the justice and propriety of the remarks and advice which it contains. The demand for this almanack was so great, that ten thousand have been sold in one year; which must be considered as a very large number, especially when we reflect, that this country was, at that time, but thinly peopled. It cannot be doubted that the salutary maxims contained in these almanacks must have made a favourable impression upon many of the readers of them.
It was not long before Franklin entered upon his political career. In the year 1736 he was appointed clerk to the general assembly of Pennsylvania ; and was, re-elected by succeeding assemblies for several years, until he was chosen a representative for the city of Philadelphia.
Bradford was possessed of some advantages over Franklin, by being post-master, thereby having an opportunity of circulating his paper more extensively, and thus rendering it a better vehicle for advertisements, &c. Franklin in his turn, enjoyed these advantages, by being appointed post-master of Philadelphia in 1737. Bradford, while in office, had acted ungenerously towards Franklin, preventing as much as possible the circulation of his paper. He had now an opportunity of retaliating ; but his nobleness of soul prevented him from making use of it.
The police of Philadelphia had early appointed watchmen, whose duty it was to guard the citizens against the midnight robber, and to give an immediate alarm in case of fire. This duty is, perhaps, one of the most important that can be committed to any set of men. The regulations, however, were not sufficiently strict. Franklin saw the dangers arising from this cause, and suggested an alteration, so as to oblige the guardians of the night to be more watchful over the lives and property of the citizens. The propriety of this was immediately perceived, and a reform was effected.