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who was out of employ, a fit person to superintend such an institution, I communicated the project to him; but he, having more profitable views in the service of the Proprietors, which succeeded, declined the undertaking; and, not knowing another at that time suitable for such a trust, I let the scheme lie awhile dormant. I succeeded better the next year, 1744, in proposing and establishing a Philosophical Society. The paper I wrote for that purpose will be found among my writings; if not lost with many others.*
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 long-continued 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 sub
See Vol. VI. p. 14; also APPENDIX to this volume, No. IV.、 The author has omitted to mention an enterprise, which he undertook in the year 1741, being the publication of a periodical work, called the General Magazine. The first notice of it is contained in his Gazette for November 13th, 1740.
"This Magazine," he says, "in imitation of those in England, was long since projected. A correspondence is settled with intelligent men in most parts of the colonies, and small types are procured for carrying it on in the best manner. It would not, indeed, have been published quite so soon, were it not that a person, to whom the scheme was communicated in confidence, has thought fit to advertise it in the last Mercury, without our participation, and probably with a view, by starting before us, to discourage us from prosecuting our first design, and reap the advantage of it wholly to himself. We shall endeavour, however, by executing our plan with care, diligence, and impartiality, and by printing the work neatly and correctly, to deserve a share of the public favor. "But we desire no subscriptions. We shall publish the books at our own expense, and risk the sale of them; which method, we suppose, will be most agreeable to our readers, as they will then be at liberty to buy only what they like, and we shall be under the constant necessity of endeavouring to make every particular pamphlet worth their money. Each Magazine shall contain four sheets, of common-sized paper, in a
scription 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;
small character. Price sixpence sterling, or ninepence Pennsylvania money; with considerable allowance to chapmen, who take quantities. To be printed and sold by B. Franklin, in Philadelphia.”
The work was accordingly begun, and entitled "The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, for all the British Plantations in America; January, 1741. Philadelphia; printed and sold by B. Franklin." It is in a duodecimo form, handsomely printed on a small type. The titlepage is ornamented with the Prince of Wales's coronet and three plumes, with the motto, Ich Dien. One number was published monthly till June, making six in the whole. It was then discontinued. The contents are miscellaneous, but mostly historical, political, and theological. Very few of the articles were original. A large part of each number was occupied with the proceedings of Parliament relating to the colonies, Governors' speeches, the Assemblies' replies, and extracts from books. There was a department for poetry, chiefly selected, but interspersed with original pieces both in English and Latin. Much space was allowed for theological controversy, in which articles were admitted on both sides. Two of the numbers contain a manual of military exercise. In short, although the work imparted much useful information, it seems not to have been well adapted to win popular favor.-EDITOR. See Vol. III. p. 1.
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 appointed. I then proposed a lottery to defray the expense of building a battery below the town, and furnished with cannon. It filled expeditiously, and the battery was soon
* The following are the devices and mottos, as published at the time. "1. A lion erect, a naked scimitar in one paw, the other holding the Pennsylvania scutcheon. Motto; Patria.
"2. Three arms, wearing different linen ruffled, plain, and checked, the hands joined by grasping each other's wrist, denoting the union of all ranks. Motto; Unita Virtus Valet.
"3. An eagle, the emblem of victory, descending from the skies. Motto; A Deo Victoria.
"4. The figure of liberty sitting on a cube, holding a spear with the cap of Freedom on its point. Motto; Inestimabilis.
"5. An armed man with a naked falchion in his hand. Motto; Deus adjuvat Fortes.
"6. An elephant, being the emblem of a warrior always on his guard, as that creature is said never to lie down, and hath his arms ever in readiness. Motto; Semper Paratus.
"7. A city walled round. Motto; Salus Patriæ Summa Lex.
"8. A soldier with his piece recovered, ready to present. Motto; Sic pacem quærimus.
"9. A coronet and plume of feathers. Motto; In God we trust. "10. A man with a sword drawn. Motto; Pro Aris et Focis.
"11. Three of the associators, marching with their muskets shouldered,
erected, the merlons being framed of logs, and filled with earth.* We bought some old cannon from Boston; but, these not being sufficient, we wrote to London for more; soliciting at the same time our Proprietaries for some assistance; though without much expectation of obtaining it.
Meanwhile Colonel Lawrence, Mr. Allen, Abraham Taylor, and myself were sent to New York by the associators, commissioned to borrow some cannon of Governor Clinton. He at first refused us peremptorily; but at a dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of Madeira wine, as the custom of that place then was, he softened by degrees, and said he would lend us six. After a few more bumpers he advanced to ten; and at length he very good na
and dressed in different clothes, intimating the unanimity of the different sorts of people in the Association. Motto; Vis Unita Fortior.
12. A musket and sword crossing each other. Motto; Pro Rege et Grege.
"13. Representation of a glory, in the middle of which is wrote, JEHOVAH-NISSI; in English, The Lord our Banner.
"14. A castle, at the gate of which a soldier stands sentinel. Motto; Cavendo Tutus.
"15. David, as he advanced against Goliath, and slung the stone. Motto; In Nomine Domini.
"16. A lion rampant, one paw holding up a scimitar, another a sheaf of wheat. Motto; Domine, Protege Alimentum.
"17. A sleeping lion. Motto; Rouse me, if you dare.
"18. Hope, represented by a woman standing clothed in blue, holding one hand on an anchor. Motto; Spero per Deum Vincere.
"19. Duke of Cumberland, as a general. Motto; Pro Deo et Georgio Rege.
"20. A soldier on horseback. Motto; Pro Libertate Patriæ.
"Most of the above colors, together with the officers' half-pikes and spontoons, and even the halberds and drums, have been given by the good ladies of this city, who raised money by subscription among themselves for that purpose.” — Pennsylvania Gazette, January 12th, and April 14th, 1748.- EDITOR.
* For a more particular account of these proceedings, see Vol. III. p. 1-3; also Vol. VII. pp. 28-32.
It appears, that the Proprietaries were not pleased with the scheme
turedly conceded eighteen. They were fine cannon, eighteen-pounders, with their carriages, which were soon transported and mounted on our batteries; where the associators kept a nightly guard, while the war lasted; and among the rest I regularly took my turn of duty there, as a common soldier.
My activity in these operations was agreeable to the Governor and Council; they took me into confidence, and I was consulted by them in every measure where their concurrence was thought useful to the Association. Calling in the aid of religion, I proposed to them the proclaiming a fast, to promote reformation, and implore the blessing of Heaven on our undertaking. They embraced the motion; but, as it was the first fast ever thought of in the province, the secretary had no prece
of associating for the defence of the province. They deemed it an illegal act, and an exercise of too much power, to unite in this manner without the previous sanction of the government; and they feared it would prove a dangerous precedent, by encouraging the people to form combinations for making new claims to civil privileges, and new encroachments on the prerogatives of the Proprietaries. In answer to their letters on this subject, Mr. Secretary Peters wrote as follows. After mentioning the cannon obtained from New York, he proceeds to say;
"And now the people are hastening to erect a battery, and, when it is done, their fears will subside for the city, though the trade will be absolutely destroyed. There are now eighty associated companies, who behave very orderly; signals and words of command are settled all over the country, and the alarms are, as far as I can judge, well contrived. I shall send you the general disposition, with lists of the officers and number of men in each company, by the London ship. I begin to see this affair in a different light from what I did at first, and think it may be exceedingly for the Proprietaries' interest, for the ease of government, and the preservation of the place, under Divine Providence; and that you may, by instructions to the new Governor, obviate every inconvenience.
"The Quaker principle of non-resistance would, I fear, endanger the Constitution of the province, if the war continues and any invasion happens to this province, the centre of America and its granary; but so general an association and batteries on the river may the better reconcile the province to his Majesty and his ministers, and save them the trouble, and the Quakers the shame, of an Act of Parliament to incapacitate them from sitting in the Assembly. The President and Council