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the tumult, and we retired to our lodging. At midnight a number of them came thundering at our door, demanding more rum, of which we took no notice.
The next day, sensible they had misbehaved, in giving us that disturbance, they sent three of their old counsellors to make their apology. The orator acknowledged the fault, but laid it upon the rum; and then endeavoured to excuse the rum, by saying, "The Great Spirit, who made all things, made every thing for some use, and whatever use he designed any thing for, that use it should always be put to. Now, when he made rum, he said, 'Let this be for the Indians to get drunk with;' and it must be so." And indeed, if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages in order to make room for the cultivators of the earth, it seems not impossible that rum may be the appointed means. It has already annihilated all the tribes who formerly inhabited the seacoast.
In 1751, Dr. Thomas Bond, a particular friend of mine, conceived the idea of establishing a hospital in Philadelphia, (a very beneficent design, which has been ascribed to me, but was originally and truly his,) for the reception and cure of poor sick persons, whether inhabitants of the province or strangers. He was zealous and active in endeavouring to procure subscriptions for it; but, the proposal being a novelty in America, and at first not well understood, he met but with little
At length he came to me with the compliment, that he found there was no such a thing as carrying a public-spirited project through without my being concerned in it. "For," said he, "I am often asked by those to whom I propose subscribing, Have you consulted Franklin on this business? And what does he think of it? And when I tell them, that I have not, sup
posing it rather out of your line, they do not subscribe, but say, they will consider it." I inquired into the nature and probable utility of this scheme, and, receiving from him a very satisfactory explanation, I not only subscribed to it myself, but engaged heartily in the design of procuring subscriptions from others. Previously, however, to the solicitation, I endeavoured to prepare the minds of the people, by writing on the subject in the newspapers, which was my usual custom in such cases, but which Dr. Bond had omitted.
The subscriptions afterwards were more free and generous; but, beginning to flag, I saw they would be insufficient without some assistance from the Assembly, and therefore proposed to petition for it; which was done. The country members did not at first relish the project; they objected that it could only be serviceable to the city, and therefore the citizens alone should be at the expense of it; and they doubted whether the citizens themselves generally approved of it. My allegation on the contrary, that it met with such approbation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand pounds by voluntary donations, they considered as a most extravagant supposition, and utterly impossible.
On this I formed my plan; and, asking leave to bring in a bill for incorporating the contributors according to the prayer of their petition, and granting them a blank sum of money; which leave was obtained chiefly on the consideration, that the House could throw the bill out if they did not like it; I drew it so as to make the important clause a conditional one; viz. "And be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that, when the said contributors shall have met and chosen their managers and treasurer, and shall have raised by their contributions a capital stock of
two thousand pounds' value, (the yearly interest of which is to be applied to the accommodation of the sick poor in the said hospital, and of charge for diet, attendance, advice, and medicines,) and shall make the same appear to the satisfaction of the Speaker of the Assembly for the time being; that then it shall and may be lawful for the said Speaker, and he is hereby required, to sign an order on the provincial treasurer, for the payment of two thousand pounds, in two yearly payments, to the treasurer of the said hospital, to be applied to the founding, building, and finishing of the
This condition carried the bill through; for the members, who had opposed the grant, and now conceived they might have the credit of being charitable without the expense, agreed to its passage; and then in soliciting subscriptions among the people, we urged the conditional promise of the law as an additional motive to give, since every man's donation would be doubled; thus the clause worked both ways. The subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded the requisite sum, and we claimed and received the public gift, which enabled us to carry the design into execution. A convenient and handsome building was soon erected; the institution has by constant experience been found useful, and flourishes to this day; and I do not remember any of my political manœuvres, the success of which at the time gave me more pleasure; or wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily excused myself for having made some use of cunning.*
The principal facts, respecting the origin and establishment of the Hospital, are contained in a quarto pamphlet, entitled "Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital, from its first Rise to the Beginning of the Fifth Month, called May, 1754, Philadelphia; printed by B. Franklin and D. Hall." The Bill, alluded to in the text, makes a part of this pam
It was about this time, that another projector, the Reverend Gilbert Tennent, came to me with a request, that I would assist him in procuring a subscription for erecting a new meetinghouse. It was to be for the use of a congregation he had gathered among the Presbyterians, who were originally disciples of Mr. Whitefield. Unwilling to make myself disagreeable to my fellow citizens, by too frequently soliciting their contributions, I absolutely refused. He then desired I would furnish him with a list of the names of persons I knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited. I thought it would be unbecoming in me, after their kind compliance with my solicitations, to mark them out to be worried by other beggars, and therefore refused to give such a list. He then desired I would at least give him my advice. "That I will
phlet; and also two papers previously published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, showing the benefits of such an institution, and urging contributions to the fund from motives of benevolence and charity. The names of the original contributors are likewise printed in this pamphlet, and among them is that of Franklin. The preliminary arrangements were completed, and the first managers were elected, on the 1st of July, 1751. The persons chosen were Joshua Crosby, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Bond, Samuel Hazard, Richard Peters, Israel Pemberton, junior, Samuel Rhoads, Hugh Roberts, Joseph Morris, John Smith, Evan Morgan, and Charles Norris. The elections were annual, and Franklin was chosen for three years successively, which is as far as the records in the pamphlet extend, and probably till he went to England as a commissioner from the Assembly in 1757. He also acted as secretary of the board. While in England, he corresponded with the friends of the institution, as an agent for aiding its objects, and he always took a lively interest in its affairs. In a letter to Hugh Roberts, dated London, February 26th, 1761, he says; "I was glad to hear that the Hospital is still well supported. I write to the managers by this ship. In my journeys through England and Scotland I have visited several of the same kind, which I think were all in a good way. I send you by this ship sundry of their accounts and rules, which were given me. Possibly you may find a useful hint or two in some of them. I believe we shall be able to make a small collection here; but I cannot promise it will be very considerable." - EDITOR.
readily do," said I; "and, in the first place, I advise you to apply to all those, who you know will give something; next to those who you are uncertain whether they will give any thing or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and lastly, do not neglect those, who you are sure will give nothing; for in some of them you may be mistaken." laughed and thanked me, and said he would take my advice. He did so, for he asked of everybody; and he obtained a much larger sum than he expected, with which he erected the capacious and elegant meetinghouse that stands in Arch Street.
Our city, though laid out with a beautiful regularity, the streets large, straight, and crossing each other at right angles, had the disgrace of suffering those streets to remain long unpaved, and in wet weather the wheels. of heavy carriages ploughed them into a quagmire, so that it was difficult to cross them; and in dry weather the dust was offensive. I had lived near what was called the Jersey Market, and saw with pain the inhabitants wading in mud, while purchasing their provisions. A strip of ground down the middle of that market was at length paved with brick, so that, being once in the market, they had firm footing; but were often over shoes in dirt to get there. By talking and writing on the subject, I was at length instrumental in getting the street paved with stone between the market and the brick foot pavement, that was on the side next the houses. This, for some time, gave an easy access to the market dry-shod; but, the rest of the street not being paved, whenever a carriage came out of the mud upon this pavement, it shook off and left its dirt upon it, and it was soon covered with mire, which was not removed, the city as yet having no scavengers.