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ESSAYS AND TRACTS,

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL,

BEFORE

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

PLAIN TRUTH;

OR

SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS

ON

THE PRESENT STATE OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA AND PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA.

BY A TRADESMAN OF PHILADELPHIA.

Captâ urbe, nihil fit reliqui victis. Sed, per deos immortales, vos ego appello, qui semper domos, villas, signa, tabulas vestras, [tantæ æstimationis] fecistis; si ista, cujuscumque modi sint, quæ amplexamini, retinere, si voluptatibus vestris otium præbere vultis; expergiscimini aliquando, et capessite rempublicam. Non agitur [nunc] ..... de sociorum injuriis; libertas et anima nostra in dubio est. ..... Dux hostium cum exercitu supra caput est. Vos cunctamini etiam nunc, et dubitatis quid. . . . . faciatis? ..... Scilicet res ipsa aspera est, sed vos non timetis eam. Imo vero maxime; sed inertiâ et mollitiâ animi, alius alium exspectantes, cunctamini; videlicet diis immortalibus confisi, qui hanc rempublicam in maximis sæpe periculis servavere. Non rotis, neque suppliciis muliebribus, auxilia deorum parantur; vigilando, agendo, bene consulendo, prospere omnia cedunt. Ubi socordiæ te atque ignavia tradideris, nequicquam deos implores; irati infestique sunt.

M. POR. CATO, in SALLUST.

THE precise date of the publication of this tract is not known. Dr. Smith, in his Eulogium on Franklin, speaks of it as follows. "In 1744 a Spanish privateer, having entered the Bay of Delaware, ascended as high as Newcastle, to the great terror of the citizens of Philadelphia. On this occasion Franklin wrote his first political pamphlet, called PLAIN TRUTH, to exhort his fellow-citizens to the bearing of arms; which laid the foundation of those military associations, which followed at different times for the defence of the country." From this paragraph it has been inferred, that the pamphlet first appeared in the year 1744; but it probably was not published till a year or two afterwards. The first edition I have VOL. III. 1

A

never seen, but there are several copies of the second edition in the public libraries of Philadelphia, "printed in the year 1747." Considering the effect produced on the public mind by this pamphlet, it is not likely that so long a space as three years elapsed before a second edition was called for.

The following are Dr. Franklin's remarks upon this subject, contained in the part of his Memoirs written near the close of his life.

"With respect to defence, Spain having been several years at war against Great Britain, and being at length joined by France, which brought us into great danger; and the labored and longcontinued endeavour of our Governor, Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker Assembly to pass a militia law, and make other provisions for the security of the province, having proved abortive; I proposed to try what might be done by a voluntary subscription of the people. To promote this, I first wrote and published a pamphlet, entitled PLAIN TRUTH, in which I stated our helpless situation in strong lights, with the necessity of union and discipline for our defence, and promised to propose in a few days an association, to be generally signed for that purpose. The pamphlet had a sudden and surprising effect. I was called upon for the instrument of association; having settled the draft of it with a few friends, I appointed a meeting of the citizens in the large building before mentioned. The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of printed copies, and provided pens and ink dispersed all over the room. I harangued them a little on the subject, read the paper, explained it, and then distributed the copies, which were eagerly signed, not the least objection being made. When the company separated, and the papers were collected, we found above twelve hundred signatures; and, other copies being dispersed in the country, the subscribers amounted at length to upwards of ten thousand. These all furnished themselves as soon as they could with arms, formed themselves into companies and regiments, chose their own officers, and met every week to be instructed in the manual exercise, and other parts of military discipline. The women, by subscriptions among themselves, provided silk colors, which they presented to the companies, painted with different devices and mottos, which I supplied.

"The officers of the companies composing the Philadelphia regiment, being met, chose me for their colonel; but, conceiving myself unfit, I declined that station, and recommended Mr. Lawrence, a fine person, and a man of influence, who was accordingly

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