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The foregoing little journal concludes thus:
"Tuesday, Sept. 13. The wind springing fair last evening after a calm, we found ourselves this morning at sun-rising, abreast of the light-house, and between Capes May and Henlopen. We sail into the bay very pleasantly; water smooth, air cool, day fair and fine.
We passed Newcastle about sunset, and went on near to Redbank before the tide and wind failed, then came to an anchor.
Wednesday, Sept. 14. With the flood in the morning came a light breeze, which brought us above Gloucester Point, in full view of dear Philadelphia! when we again cast anchor to wait for the health officer, who having made his visit, and finding no sickness, gave us leave to land. My son-in-law came with a boat for us, we landed at Market Street wharf, where we were received by a crowd of people with huzzas, and accompanied with acclamations quite to my door. Found my family well.
God be praised and thanked for all his mercies!"
END OF PART IV.
Vol. I. 3 B
The arrival of Dr. Franklin in Philadelphia, is thus accurately related by one of his historians: "He was received amidst the acclamations of an immense number of the inhabitants, who flocked from all parts in order to see him, and conducted him in triumph to his own house. In the mean time, the cannon and the bells of the city announced the glad tidings to the neighboring country; and he was waited upon by the congress, the university, and all the principal citizens, who were eager to testify their esteem and veneration for his character."
Another writer thus enthusiastically notices his return:
"His entry into Philadelphia resembled a triumph; and he traversed the streets of that capital amidst the benedictions of a free and grateful people, who had not forgotten his services.
"The warriors who had shed their blood for an independence, insured by means of his sagacity, were eager to exhibit to him their glorious wounds. He was surrounded by old men, who had petitioned Heaven to live long enough to behold his return; and by a new generation eager to survey the features of a great man, whose talents, whose services, and whose virtues, had excited in their hearts the first raptures of enthusiasm. Having advanced from a port, henceforth open to all nations, to a city, the model of all future capitals, he beheld the public school which he had founded,—in a state of splendor; and saw the hospital, the establishment of which had been one of his first services, and the increase of which was owing to his foresight,—now fully commensurate to all his wishes: the latter by solacing suffering humanity; the former by aiding the progress of reason. He then turned his eyes towards the neighboring country, embellished by liberty, in which, in the midst of public prosperity, were still to be seen some vestiges of the ravages of the English; but these only served by their contrast to endear still more the pleasures arising from peace—and victory!"
The following are some of the numerous congratulatory addresses presented to Dr. Franklin on his return:
To the Hon. Benjamin Franklin, Esq. LL. D. &C.
., The representatives of the freemen of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
in general assembly met; in the most affectionate manner congratulate you on your safe arrival in your country, after so long an absence on the most important business. We likewise congratulate you on the firm establishment of the independence of America, and the settlement of a general peace, after the interesting struggle in which we were so long engaged.
We are confident, Sir, that we speak the sentiments of this whole country, when we say, that your services, in the public councils and negotiations, have not only merited the thanks of the present generation, but will be recorded in the pages of history, to your immortal honor. And it is particularly pleasing to us, that, while we are sitting as members of the assembly of Pennsylvania, we have the happiness of welcoming into the state, a person who was so greatly instrumental in forming its free constitution.
May it please God to give you a serene and peaceful enjoyment of the evening of life, and a participation of that happiness you have been so instrumental in securing to others.
Signed, by order of the House,
Assembly Chambers, Sept. 15, 1785. John Bayard, Speaker.
Dr. Franklin's Reply.
Mr. Speaker And Gentlemen,
I am extremely happy to find by your friendly and affectionate address, that my endeavors to serve our country in the late important struggle, have met with the approbation of so respectable a body as the representatives of the freemen of Pennsylvania. I esteem that approbation as one of the greatest honors of my life. I hope the peace with which God has been graciously pleased to bless us may be lasting, and that the free constitution we now enjoy, may long contribute to promote our common felicity. The kind wishes of the general assembly for my particular happiness affect me very sensibly, and I beg they would accept my thankful acknowledgments.
To the Honorable Benjamin Franklin, Esq. LL. D. &C.
It is with peculiar pleasure that the American Philosophical Society address you on this occasion.
The high consideration and esteem in which we hold your character, so intimately combine with our regard for the public welfare, that we participate eminently in the general satisfaction which your return to America produces.
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.
The President'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 endeavors for the promoting of useful knowledge among us, to which I shall be happy if I can in any degree contribute.
To the Honorable Benjamin Franklin, Esq. LL. D. &c.
The Address of the Provost, V. Provost, and Professors of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Provost, V. 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 philo
sophy, 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 publicspirited 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
Philadelphia, Sept. 16, 1785. John Ewing, Provost.
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.
The constitutional society of Philadelphia, the justices of the city, the officers of the militia, and several other bodies, presented to Dr. Franklin on his arrival, addresses of congratulation nearly similar; and shortly after he received the following letter from that illustrious character, General Washington: