Abbildungen der Seite

of the money; sixty thousand pounds. I had It was the beginning of January when we been active in modelling the bill, and procur-set out upon this business of building forts; I ing its passage; and had at the same time sent one detachment towards the Minisink, drawn one for establishing and disciplining a with instructions to erect one for the security voluntary militia; which I carried through of that upper part of the country; and another the house without much difficulty, as care to the lower part with similar instructions: was taken in it to leave the quakers at liberty. and I concluded to go myself with the rest of To promote the association necessary to form my force to Gnadenhutten, where a fort was the militia, I wrote a dialogue stating and thought more immediately necessary. The answering all the objections I could think of Moravians procured me five wagons for our to such a militia; which was printed, and tools, stores, baggage, &c. Just before we had, as I thought, great effect. While the left Bethlehem, eleven farmers, who had been several companies in the city and country driven from their plantations by the Indians, were forming, and learning their exercise, came to me requesting a supply of fire-arms, the governor prevailed with me to take charge that they might go back and bring off their of our north-western frontier, which was in- cattle. I gave them each a gun with suitable fested by the enemy, and provide for the de- ammunition. We had not marched many fence of the inhabitants by raising troops, and miles before it began to rain, and it continued building a line of forts. I undertook this raining all day; there were no habitations on military business, though I did not conceive the road to shelter us, till we arrived near myself well qualified for it. He gave me a night at the house of a German, where, and commission with full powers, and a parcel of in his barn, we were all huddled together as blank commissions for officers, to be given to wet as water could make us. It was well we whom I thought fit. I had but little difficulty were not attacked in our march, for our arms in raising men, having soon five hundred and were of the most ordinary sort, and our men sixty under my command. My son, who had could not keep the locks of their guns dry. in the preceding war been an officer in the The Indians are dextrous in contrivances for army raised against Canada, was my aid-de- that purpose, which we had not. They met camp, and of great use to me. The Indians that day the eleven poor farmers abovemenhad burned Gnadenhutten, a village settled tioned, and killed ten of them; the one that by the Moravians, and massacred the inhabi- escaped, informed us, that his, and his comtants; but the place was thought a good situa- panions' guns would not go off, the priming tion for one of the forts. In order to march being wet with the rain. The next day bethither, I assembled the companies at Bethle- ing fair we continued our march, and arrived hem, the chief establishment of those people; at the desolate Gnadenhutten; there was a I was surprised to find it in so good a posture mill near, round which were left several pine of defence: the destruction of Gnadenhutten boards, with which we soon hutted ourselves; had made them apprehend danger. The an operation the more necessary at that incleprincipal buildings were defended by a stock- ment season, as we had no tents. Our first ade; they had purchased a quantity of arms work was to bury more effectually the dead and ammunition from New York, and had we found there, who had been half interred even placed quantities of small paving stones by the country people; the next morning our between the windows of their high stone fort was planned and marked out, the circumhouses, for their women to throw them down ference measuring four hundred and fifty-five upon the heads of any Indians that should at- feet, which would require as many palisades tempt to force into them. The armed bre- to be made, one with another of a foot diamethren too kept watch, and relieved each other ter each. Our axes, of which we had seventy, on guard as methodically as in any garrison were immediately set to work, to cut down town. In conversation with the bishop, trees; and our men being dextrous in the use Spangenberg, I mentioned my surprise; for of them, great despatch was made. Seeing knowing they had obtained an act of parlia- the trees fall so fast, I had the curiosity to ment exempting them from military duties look at my watch when two, men began to in the colonies, I had supposed they were cut at a pine: in six minutes they had it upon conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms. the ground, and I found it of fourteen inches He answered me, "That it was not one of diameter: each pine made three palisades of their established principles; but that at the eighteen feet long, pointed at one end. While time of their obtaining that act it was thought these were preparing, our other men dug a to be a principle with many of their people. trench all round of three feet deep, in which On this occasion, however, they to their sur- the palisades were to be planted; and the boprise, found it adopted by but a few." It dies being taken off our wagons, and the fore seems they were either deceived in them- and hind wheels separated by taking out the selves, or deceived the parliament: but com- pin which united the two parts of the perch, mon sense aided by present danger will some- we had ten carriages with two horses each, times be too strong for whimsical opinions. to bring the palisades from the woods to the

spot. When they were set up, our carpen- | punctually served out to them, half in the ters built a platform of boards all round with- morning, and half in the evening; and I obin, about six feet high, for the men to stand on when to fire through the loop-holes. We had one swivel gun, which we mounted on one of the angles, and fired it as soon as fixed, to let the Indians know if any were within hearing, that we had such pieces; and thus our fort (if that name may be given to so miserable a stockade) was finished in a week, though it rained so hard every other day that the men could not well work.

This gave me occasion to observe, that when men are employed they are best contented; for on the days they worked they were good-natured and cheerful: and with the consciousness of having done a good day's work, they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days, they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with the pork, the bread, &c., and were continually in bad humour; which put me in mind of a sea captain, whose rule it was to keep his men constantly at work; and when his mate once told him that they had done every thing, and there was nothing farther to employ them about; "O," said he, "make them scour the anchor."

served they were punctual in attending to receive it: upon which I said to Mr. Beatty, "it is, perhaps, below the dignity of your profession to act as steward of the rum; but if you were to distribute it out only just after prayers, you would have them all about you." He liked the thought, undertook the task, and with the help of a few hands to measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction; and never were prayers more generally and more punctually attended. So that I think this method preferable to the punishment inflicted by some military laws for non-attendance on divine service.

I had hardly finished this business, and got my fort well stored with provisions, when I received a letter from the governor, acquainting me that he had called the assembly, and wished my attendance there, if the posture of affairs on the frontiers was such that my remaining there was no longer necessary. My friends too of the assembly pressing me by their letters to be, if possible, at the meeting; and my three intended forts being now completed, and the inhabitants contented to remain on their farms under that protection, I resolved to return; the more willingly, as a New England officer, colonel Clapham, experienced in Indian war, being on a visit to our establishment, consented to accept the command. I gave him a commission, and parading the garrison, had it read before them; and introduced him to them as an officer, who from his skill in military affairs, was much more fit to command them than myself; and giving them a little exhortation, took my leave. I was escorted as far as Bethlehem, where I rested a few days to recover from the fatigue I had undergone. The first night lying in a good bed, I could hardly sleep, it was so different from my hard lodging on the floor of a hut at Gnadenhutten, with only a blanket or two. While at Bethlehem, I inquired a little into the practices of the Moravians; some of them had accompanied me, and all were very kind to me. I found they worked for a common stock, eat at common tables, and slept in common dormitories, great numbers together. In the dormitories I observed loop-holes at certain distances all along just under the ceiling, which I thought judiciously placed for change of air. I went to their church, where I was entertained with good music, the organ being accompanied with violins, hautboys, flutes, clarinets, &c. I understood their sermons were not usually preached to mixed congregations of men, woWe had for our chaplain a zealous Presby-men, and children, as is our common practice; terian minister, Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers and exhortations. When they enlisted, they were promised, besides pay and provisions, a gill of rum a day, which was

This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a sufficient defence against Indians who had no cannon. Finding ourselves now posted securely, and having a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventured out in parties to scour the adjacent country. We met with no Indians, but we found the places on the neighbouring hills where they had lain to watch our proceedings. There was an art in their contrivance of those places, that seems worth mentioning. It being winter, a fire was necessary for them: but a common fire on the surface of the ground, would, by its light, have discovered their position at a distance: they had therefore dug holes in the ground about three feet diameter, and somewhat deeper; we found where they had with their hatchets cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in the woods. With these coals they had made small fires in the bottom of the holes, and we observed among the weeds and grass the prints of their bodies, made by their lying all round with their legs hanging down in the holes to keep their feet warm; which, with them, is an essential point. This kind of fire, so managed, could not discover them either by its light, flame, sparks, or even smoke: it appeared that the number was not great, and it seems they saw we were too many to be attacked by them with prospect of advantage.

but that they assembled sometimes the married men, at other times their wives, then the young men, the young women, and the little children; each division by itself. The sermon I heard was to the latter, who came in

and were placed in rows on benches, the boys under the conduct of a young man their tutor; and the girls conducted by a young woman. The discourse seemed well adapted to their capacities, and was delivered in a pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them as it were to be good. They behaved very orderly, but looked pale and unhealthy, which made me suspect they were kept too much within doors, or not allowed sufficient exercise. I inquired concerning the Moravian marriages, whether the report was true that they were by lot; I was told that lots were used only in particular cases: that generally, when a young man found himself disposed to marry, he informed the elders of his class, who consulted the elder ladies that governed the young women. As these elders of the different sexes were well acquainted with the tempers and dispositions of their respective pupils, they could best judge what matches were suitable, and their judgments were generally acquiesced in. But if, for example, it should happen that two or three young women were found to be equally proper for the young man, the lot was then recurred to. I objected, if the matches are not made by the mutual choice of the parties, some of them may chance to be very unhappy. "And so they may," answered my informer, "if you let the parties choose for themselves." Which indeed I could not deny.

being about to set out on a journey to Virginia, the officers of my regiment, took it into their heads that it would be proper for them to escort me out of town, as far as the Lowerferry; just as I was getting on horseback they came to my door, between thirty and forty, mounted, and all in their uniforms. I had not been previously acquainted with their project, or I should have prevented it, being naturally averse to the assuming of state on any occasion; and I was a good deal chagrined at their appearance, as I could not avoid their accompanying me. What made it worse was, that as soon as we began to move, they drew their swords and rode with them naked all the way. Somebody wrote an account of this to the proprietor, and it gave him great offence. No such honour had been paid him, when in the province; nor to any of his governors; and he said it was only proper to princes of the blood royal; which may be true for aught I know, who was, and still am ignorant of the etiquette in such cases. This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancour against me, which was before considerable on account of my conduct in the assembly, respecting the exemption of his estate from taxation, which I had always opposed very warmly; and not without severe reflections on the meanness and injustice in contending for it. He accused me to the ministry, as being the great obstacle to the king's service: preventing by my influence in the house, the proper form of the bills for raising money; and he instanced the parade with my officers, as a proof of my having an intention to take the government of the province out of his hands by force. He also applied to sir Everard Faukener, the post-master-general, to deprive me of my office; but it had no other effect than to procure from sir Everard a gentle admonition.

Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the association went on with great success, the inhabitants that were not quakers, having pretty generally come into it, formed themselves into companies, and chose their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, according to the new law. Dr. Bond visited me and gave me an account of the pains he had taken to spread a general good liking to the law, and ascribed much to those endeavours. I had the vanity to ascribe all to my dialogue; how- Notwithstanding the continual wrangle ever, not knowing but that he might be in between the governor and the house, in which the right, I let him enjoy his opinion; which I as a member had so large a share, there still I take to be generally the best way in such subsisted a civil intercourse between that cases. The officers meeting, chose me to be gentleman and myself, and we never had any colonel of the regiment; which I this time personal difference. I have sometimes since accepted. I forget how many companies we thought, that his little or no resentment had, but we paraded about twelve hundred against me for the answers it was known I well-looking men, with a company of artille- drew up to his messages, might be the effect ry, who had been furnished with six brass of professional habit, and that being bred a field-pieces, which they had become so expert lawyer, he might consider us both as merely in the use of, as to fire twelve times in a advocates for contending clients in a suit; he minute. The first time I reviewed my regi- for the proprietaries, and I for the assembly: ment, they accompanied me to my house, and he would therefore sometimes call in a friendwould salute me with some rounds fired be- ly way to advise with me on difficult points; fore my door, which shook down and broke and sometimes, though not often, take my several glasses of my electrical apparatus. advice. We acted in concert to supply BradAnd my new honour proved not much less dock's army with provisions, and when the brittle; for all our commissions were soon shocking news arrived of his defeat, the after broken, by a repeal of the law in Eng-governor sent in haste for me, to consult with land. him on measures for preventing the desertion During this short time of my colonelship, of the back counties. I forget now the advice


the colonies exhibiting them in every capital town, and picked up some money. In the West India Islands indeed, it was with difficulty the experiments could be made, from the general moisture of the air.

I gave, but I think it was that Dunbar should | were well attended, and gave great satisfacbe written to and prevailed with, if possible, tion; and after some time he went through to post his troops on the frontiers for their protection, until by reinforcements from the colonies, he might be able to proceed in the expedition and after my return from the frontier, he would have had me undertake the conduct of such an expedition with pro- Obliged as we were to Mr. Collinson, for vincial troops, for the reduction of fort Du- the present of the tube, &c., I thought it quesne; (Dunbar and his men being other-right he should be informed of our success wise employed ;) and he proposed to commis- in using it, and wrote him several letters consion me as general. I had not so good an opinion of my military abilities as he professed to have, and I believe his professions must have exceeded his real sentiments: but probably he might think that my popularity would facilitate the business with the men, and influence in the assembly the grant of money to pay for it; and that perhaps without taxing the proprietary. Finding me not so forward to engage as he expected, the project was dropt; and he soon after left the government, being superseded by captain Denny.

Before I proceed in relating the part I had in public affairs under this new governor's administration, it may not be amiss to give here some account of the rise and progress of my philosophical reputation.

taining accounts of our experiments.* He got them read in the Royal Society, where they were not at first thought worth so much notice as to be printed in their transactions. One paper which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersly, on the sameness of lightning with electricity, I sent to Mr. Mitchel, an acquaintance of mine, and one of the members also of that society; who wrote me word that it had been read, but was laughed at by the connoisseurs. The papers however being shown to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too much value to be stifled, and advised the printing of them. Mr. Collinson then gave them to Cave for publication, in his Gentleman's Magazine; but he chose to print them separately in a pamphlet, and Dr. Fothergill wrote the preface. Cave, it seems, judged rightly for his profession, for by the additions that arrived afterwards, they swelled to a quarto volume; which has had five editions, and cost him nothing for


It was, however, some time before these papers were much taken notice of in England. A copy of them happening to fall into the hands of the count de Buffon, (a philosopher deservedly of great reputation in France, and indeed all over Europe,) he prevailed with monsieur Dubourg to translate them into French; and they were printed at Paris. The publication offended the Abbé Nollet, preceptor in Natural Philosophy to the royal family, and an able experimenter, who had formed and published a theory of electricity, which then had the general vogue. He could not at first believe that such a work came from America, and said it must have been fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to oppose his system. Afterwards, having been assured that there really existed such a person as Franklin, at Philadelphia, (which he had doubted,) he wrote and published a volume of letters, chiefly addressed to me, defending his theory, and denying the verity of my experiments, and of the positions deduced from them. I once purposed answering the Abbé, and actually began the answer; but on con

In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence, who was lately arrived from Scotland, and showed me some electric experiments. They were imperfectly performed, as he was not very expert; but being on a subject quite new to me, they equally surprised and pleased me. Soon after my return to Philadelphia, our library company received from Mr. Peter Collinson, F. R. S. of London, a present of a glass tube, with some account of the use of it in making such experiments. I eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating what I had seen at Boston; and by much practice acquired great readiness in performing those also which we had an account of from England, adding a number of new ones. I say much practice, for my house was continually full for some time, with persons who came to see these new wonders. To divide a little this incumbrance among my friends, I caused a number of similar tubes to be blown in our glass-house, with which they furnished themselves, so that we had at length several performers. Among these the principal was Mr. Kinnersly an ingenious neighbour, who being out of business, I encouraged to undertake showing the experiments for money, and drew up for him two lectures, in which the experiments were ranged in such order, and accompanied with explanations in such method, as that the foregoing should as-sideration that my writings contained a desist in comprehending the following. He procured an elegant apparatus for the purpose, in which all the little machines that I had roughly made for myself, were neatly formed by instrument makers. His lectures

scription of experiments, which any one might repeat and verify, and if not to be verified, could not be defended; or of observations

*See Letters and Papers on Philosophical Subjects. Vol II. of this edition.

any application for that honour, they chose me a member; and voted that I should be excused the customary payments, which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas; and ever since have given me their transactions gratis.* They also presented me with the gold medal of sir Godfrey Copley, for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by a very handsome speech of the president, lord Macclesfield, wherein I was highly honoured.

offered as conjectures, and not delivered dogmatically, therefore not laying me under any obligation to defend them; and reflecting that a dispute between two persons, written in different languages, might be lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and thence misconceptions of another's meaning, much of one of the Abbé's letters being founded on an error in the translation; I concluded to let my papers shift for themselves; believing it was better to spend what time I could spare from public business, in making new experiments, than in disputing about those already made. I therefore never answered monsieur Nollet; and the event gave me no cause to repent my silence; for my friend, monsieur Le Roy, of the royal academy of sciences, took up my cause and refuted him: my book was trans-been long acquainted with my character.— lated into the Italian, German, and Latin languages; and the doctrine it contained was by degrees generally adopted by the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of the Abbé; so that he lived to see himself the last of his sect; except monsieur B- of Paris, his eléve and immediate disciple.

Our new governor, captain Denny, brought over for me the beforementioned medal from the Royal Society, which he presented to me at an entertainment given him by the city He accompanied it with very polite expressions of his esteem for me, having, as he said,

After dinner, when the company, as was customary at that time, were engaged in drinking, he took me aside into another room, and acquainted me that he had been advised by his friends in England to cultivate a friendship with me, as one who was capable of giving him the best advice, and of contributing most effectually to the making his administration easy. That he therefore desired of all things to have a good understanding with me, and he begged me to be assured of his readiness on all occasions to render me every service that might be in his power. He said much to me also of the proprietors'

*Dr. Franklin gives a further account of his election,

"London, Dec. 19, 1767.

"We have had an ugly affair at the Royal Society lately. One Dacosta, a Jew, who, as our clerk, was entrusted with collecting our monies, has been so unfaithful as to embezzle near thirteen hundred pounds in four years. Being one of the council this year as well attending the inquiry into and unravelling his acas the last, I have been employed all the last week in counts, in order to come at a full knowledge of his

frauds. His securities are bound in one thousand

like to lose the rest. He had this year received twentysix admission payments of twenty-five guineas each, which he did not bring to account.

What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity, was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made by messieurs Dalibard and Delor, at Marly; for drawing lightning from the clouds. This engaged the public attention every where. Monsieur Delor, who had an apparatus for experimental philosophy, and lectured in that branch of science, undertook to repeat, what he called the Philadelphia experiments; and after in the following extract of a letter to his son, governor they were performed before the king and court, all the curious of Paris flocked to see them. I will not swell this narrative with an account of that capital experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure I received in the success of a similar one I made soon after with a kite at Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of electricity. Dr. Wright, an Eng-pounds to the society, which they will pay, but we are lish physician, when at Paris, wrote to a friend who was of the Royal Society, an account of the high esteem my experiments "While attending this affair, I had an opportunity of were in among the learned abroad, and of looking over the old council books and journals of the their wonder that my writings had been so society, and having a curiosity to see how I came in, (of which I had never been informed,) I looked back little noticed in England. The society on for the minutes relating to it. You must know it is this resumed the consideration of the letters not usual to admit persons that have not requested to that had been read to them; and the cele-vour of the candidate, signed by at least three of the be admitted; and a recommendatory certificate in fabrated Dr. Watson drew up a summary ac- members, is by our rule to be presented to the society, count of them, and of all I had afterwards expressing that he is desirous of that honour, and is so and so qualified. As 1 had never asked or expected the sent to England on the subject; which he honour, I was, as I said before, curious to see how the accompanied with some praise of the writer. business was managed. I found that the certificate, This summary was then printed in their lord Macclesfield, then president, lord Parker, and lordworded very advantageously for me, was signed by transactions: and some members of the so- Willoughby; that the election was by an unanimous ciety in London, particularly the very inge-vote; and the honour being voluntarily conferred by nious Mr. Canton, having verified the experiment of procuring lightning from the clouds by a pointed rod, and acquainted them with the success; they soon made me more than amends for the slight with which they had before treated me. Without my having made

the society unsolicited by me, it was thought wrong to

demand or receive the usual fees or composition; so that my name was entered on the list with a vote of council, nothing has ever been demanded of me. Those who are that I was not to pay any thing. And, accordingly, admitted in the common way, pay five guineas admission fees, and two guineas and a half yearly contribution, or twenty-five guineas down, in lieu of it. In my case a substantial favour accompanied the honour.

« ZurückWeiter »