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We bid you welcome to your native country, for which you have done the most essential services; and we welcome you to this chair, your occupying of which, as President, adds to our institution much lustre in the eyes of the world.
Sir, it reflects honor on philosophy, when one, distinguished by his deep investigations, and many valuable improvements in it, is known to be equally distinguished for his philanthropy, patriotism, and liberal attachment to the rights of human nature.
We know the favorable influence, that freedom has upon the growth of sciences and arts. We derive encouragement and extraordinary felicity from an assemblage of recent memorable events.
And, while we boast in a most pleasing equality permanently ascertained, and that independence which you had so great a share in establishing, we have reason to expect, that this Society will proceed, with an increasing success, to conduct the important business for which they originally associated.
DR. FRANKLIN'S ANSWER.
The great honor done me by this Society, in choosing me so many years successively their President, notwithstanding my absence in Europe, and the very kind welcome they are pleased to give me on my return, demand my most grateful acknowledgments; which I beg they would be pleased to accept, with my warmest wishes of success to their laudable endeavours for the promoting of useful knowledge among us, to which I shall be happy if I can in any degree contribute.
ADDRESS OF THE PROVOST, VICE-PROVOST, AND PRO-
The Provost, Vice-Provost, and Professors of the University of Pennsylvania beg leave to congratulate you on your safe arrival in your native country, after having accomplished the duties of your exalted character with dignity and success.
While we participate in the general happiness of America, to the establishment of which your political abilities and patriotic exertions have so signally contributed, we feel a particular pleasure in paying our acknowledgments to the gentleman, who first projected the liberal plan of the institution over which we have the honor to preside.
Not contented with enriching the world with the most important discoveries in natural philosophy, your benevolence and liberality of sentiment early engaged you to make provision for exciting a spirit of inquiry into the secret operations of nature; for exalting and refining the genius of America, by the propagation of useful learning; and for qualifying many of her sons to make that illustrious figure, which has commanded the esteem and admiration of the most polished nations of Europe.
Among the many benevolent projections, which have laid so ample a foundation for the esteem and gratitude of your native country, permit this seminary to reckon her first establishment, upon the solid principles of equal liberty, as one of the most considerable and important. And now, when restored, through the influence of our happy constitution, to her original broad and catholic bottom; when enriched by the protection and generous donations of a public-spirited and patriotic Assembly;
and when flourishing under the countenance of the best friends of religion, learning, and liberty in the state; she cannot but promise herself the continued patronage of the evening of that life, which divine Providence has so eminently distinguished.
May the same indulgent Providence yet continue your protracted life, enriched and crowned with the best of blessings, to nurse and cherish this favorite child of your youth; that the future sons of science in this western world may have additional reason to remember the name of FRANKLIN with gratitude and pleasure.
Signed, in the name and by order of the Faculty, by JOHN EWING, Provost. Philadelphia, September 16th, 1785.
DR. FRANKLIN'S ANSWER.
I am greatly obliged, Gentlemen, by your kind congratulations on my safe arrival.
It gives me extreme pleasure to find, that seminaries of learning are increasing in America, and particularly that the University over which you preside, continues to flourish. My best wishes will always attend it.
The instruction of youth is one of those employments, which to the public are most useful; it ought, therefore, to be esteemed among the most honorable. Its successful exercise does not, however, always meet with the reward it merits, except in the satisfaction of having contributed to the forming of virtuous and able men for the service of their country.
PROPOSALS FOR CONSIDERATION
IN THE CONVENTION FOR FORMING THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
June 26th, 1787.
THAT the legislatures of the several States shall choose and send an equal number of delegates, namely, who are to compose the second branch of the general legislature.
That, in all cases or questions wherein the sovereignties of the individual States may be affected, or whereby their authority over their own citizens may be diminished, or the authority of the general government within the several States augmented, each State shall have equal suffrage.
That, in the appointment of all civil officers of the general government, in the election of whom the second branch may, by the Constitution, have part, each State shall have equal suffrage.
That, in fixing the salaries of such officers, in all allowances for public services, and generally in all appropriations and dispositions of money, to be drawn out of the general treasury, and in all laws for supplying the treasury, the delegates of the several States shall have suffrage in proportion to the sums their respective States had actually contributed to that treasury from their taxes or internal excises.
That, in case general duties should be laid by impost on goods imported, a liberal estimation shall be made of the amount of such impost paid in the price of the
commodities by those States that import but little, and a proportionate addition shall be allowed of suffrage to such States, and an equal diminution of the suffrage of the States importing.
THE steady course of public measures is most probably to be expected from a number.
A single person's measures may be good. The successor often differs in opinion of those measures, and adopts others; often is ambitious of distinguishing himself by opposing them, and offering new projects. One is peaceably disposed; another may be fond of war, &c. Hence foreign States can never have that confidence in the treaties or friendship of such a government, as in that which is conducted by a number.
The single head may be sick; who is to conduct the public affairs in that case? When he dies, who are to conduct till a new election? If a council, why not continue them? Shall we not be harassed with factions for the election of successors; and become, like Poland, weak from our dissensions?
Consider the present distracted condition of Holland. They had at first a Stadtholder, the Prince of Orange, a man of undoubted and great merit. They found some inconveniences, however, in the extent of powers annexed to that office, and exercised by a single person. On his death, they resumed and divided those. powers among the states and cities; but there has been a constant struggle since between that family and the nation. In the last century, the then Prince of Orange found means to inflame the populace against their magistrates, excite a general insurrection, in which an excellent minister, Dewitt, was murdered, all the old