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not yet got them wholly over to my opinion, that a good professor or teacher of the higher branches of learning would draw so many scholars as to pay great part if not the whole of his salary. Thus, unless the proprietors (of the province) shall think fit to put the finishing hand to our institution, it must, I fear, wait some few years longer before it can arrive at that state of perfection, which to me it seems now capable of; and all the pleasure I promised to myself in seeing you settled among us, vanishes into smoke.
But good Mr. Collinson writes me word, that no endeavours of his shall be wanting; and he hopes, with the archbishop's assistance to be able to prevail with our proprietors.* I
grant them success. My son presents his affectionate regards, with, dear sir,
P.S. I have not been favoured with a line from you since your arrival in England.
Philadelphia, April 18th, 1754.
arrival in England, which was a short one, via Boston, dated October 18th, acquainting me that you had written largely by Capt. Davis-Davis was lost, and with him your letters, to my great disappointment.—Mesnard and Gibbon have since arrived here, and I hear nothing from you.—My comfort is, an imagination that you only omit writing because you are coming, and purpose to tell me every thing viva voce.
I have had but one letter from
* Upon the application of archbishop Herring and P. Collinson, esq. at Dr. Franklin's request, (aided by the letters of Mr. Allen and Mr. Peters) the hon. Thomas Penn, Esq. subscribed an annual sum, and afterwards gave at least, 50001. to the founding or engrafting the college upon the academy
So not knowing whether this letter will reach you, and hoping either to see or hear from you by the Myrtilla, cap. Buddon's ship, which is daily expected, I only add, that I am, with great esteem and affection,
B. FRANKLIN. Mr. Smith.
About a month after the date of this last letter, the gentleman to whom it was addressed arrived in Philadelphia, and was immediately placed at the head of the seminary: whereby Dr. Franklin, and the other trustees were enabled to prosecute their plan, for perfecting the institution, and opening the college upon the large and liberal foundation on which it now stands; for which purpose they obtained their additional charter, dated May 27th, 1755.
Thus far we thought it propor to exhibit in one view Dr. Franklin's services in the foundation and establishment of this seminary. He soon afterward embarked for England, in the public service of his country, and having been generally employed abroad in the like service, for the greatest part of the remainder of his life (as will appear in our subsequent account of the same) he had but few opportunities of taking any further active part in the affairs of the seminary, until his final return in the year 1785, when he found its charters violated, and his ancient colleagues the original founders, deprived of their trust, by an act of the legislature, and although his own name had been inserted among the new trustees, yet he declined to take his seat among them, or any concern in the management of their affairs, till the institution was restored by law to its original owners, He then assembled his old colleagues at his own house, and being chosen their president, all their future meetings were at his request, held there, till within a few months of his death, when with reluctance, and at their desire, lest he might be too much injured by his attention to their business, he suffered them to meet at the college.
Franklin not only gave birth to many useful institutions himself, but he was also instrumental in promoting those which had originated with other men. About the year 1752, an eminent physician of this city, Dr. Bond, considering the deplorable state of the poor, when visited with disease, conceived that idea of establishing an hospital. Notwithstanding very great exertions on his part, he was able to interest few people so far in the benevolent plan, as to obtain subscriptions from them. Unwilling that his scheme should prove abortive, he sought the aid of Franklin, who readily engaged in the business, both by using his influence with his friends, and by stating the advantageous influence of the proposed institution in his paper. These efforts were attended with success. Considerable sums were subscribed ; but they were still short of what was necessary. Franklin now made another exertion. He applied to the assembly; and, after some opposition obtained leave to bring in a bill, specifying that as soon as two thousand pounds were subscribed, the same sum should be drawn from the trasury by the speaker's warrant, to be applied to the purposes of the institution. The opposition, as the sum was granted upon a contingency which they supposed would never take place, were silent, and the bill passed. The friends of the plan now redoubled their efforts, to obtain subscriptions to the amount stated in the bill, and were soon successful. This was the foundation of the Pennsylvania Hospital, which, with the Bettering-house and
Dispensary, bear ample testimony of the humanity of the citizens of Philadelphia.
Dr. Franklin had conducted himself so well in the office of post-master, and had shown himself to be so well acquainted with the business of that department, that it was thought expedient to raise him to a more dignified station. In 1753 he was appointed deputy post-master-general for the British colonies. The profits arising from the postage of letters, formed no inconsiderable part of the revenue, which the crown of Great Britain derived from the colonies. In the hands of Franklin, it is said, that the post-office in America yielded annually thrice as much as that of Ireland.
The American colonies were much exposed to depredations on their frontiers, by the Indians; and more particularly whenever war took place between France and England. The colonies, individually, were either too weak to take efficient measures for their own defence, or they were unwilling to take upon themselves the whole burden of erecting forts and maintaining garrisons, whilst their neighbours, who partook equally with themselves of the advantages, contributed nothing to the expence. Sometimes also the disputes, which subsisted between the governors and assemblies, prevented the adoption of means of defence; as we have seen was the case in Pennsylvania in 1745. To devise a plan of union between the colonies, to regulate this and other matters, appeared a desirable object. To accomplish this; in the year 1754, commissioners from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, RhodeIsland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, met at Albany. Dr. Franklin attended here, as missioner from Pennsylvania, and produced a plan, which, from the place of meeting, has been usually termed “ The Albany Plan of Union.". This proposed, that application should be made for an act of parliament, to establish in the colonies a general government, to be administered by a president-general, appointed, by the crown, and by a grand council, consisting of members chosen by the representatives of the different colonies; their number to be in direct proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives. The whole executive authority was committed to the president-general. The power of legislation was lodged in the grand council and president-general jointly; his consent being made necessary to passing a bill into a law.
The power vested in the president and council were, to declare war and peace, and to conclude treaties with the Indian nations; to regulate trade with, and to make purchases of vacant lands from them, either in the name of the crown, or of the union : to settle new colonies, to make laws for governing these until they should be erected into separate governments, and to raise troops, build forts, fit out armed vessels, and use other means for the general defence: and, to effect these things, a power was given to make laws laying such duties, imposts, or taxes, as they should find necessary, and as would be least burdensome to the people. All laws were to be sent to England for the king's approbation; and unless disapproved of within three years, were to remain in force. All officers in the land or sea service where to be nominated by the president-general, and approved of by the general council ; civil officers were to be nominated by the council, and approved by the president. Such are the outlines of the plan proposed, for the consideration of the congress, by Dr. Franklin. After several days' discussion, it was unanimously agreed to by the commissioners, a copy transmitted to each assembly, and one to the king's council. The fate of it was singular. It was disapproved of by the ministry of Great Britain, because it gave too much power to the representatives of the people ; and it was rejected by every assembly, as giving to the president-general, the representative of the crown, an influence greater than appeared to them proper, in a plan of goverrment intended for freemen. Perhaps, this rejection, on both sides, is the strongest proof that could be adduced of the excellence of it, as