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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 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; however, not knowing but that he might be in the right, I let him enjoy his opinion; which I take to be generally the best way in such cases. The officers, meeting, chose me to be colonel of the regiment, which I this time accepted. I forget how many companies we had, but we paraded about twelve hundred well-looking men, with a company of artillery, who had been furnished with six brass fieldpieces, which they had become so expert in the use of, as to fire twelve times in a minute. The first time I re
viewed my regiment, they accompanied me to my house, and would salute me with some rounds fired before my door, which shook down and broke several glasses of my electrical apparatus. And my new honor proved not much less brittle; for all our commissions were soon after broken, by a repeal of the law in England.*
During this short time of my colonelship, being about to set out on a journey to Virginia, the officers of my regiment took it into their heads, that it would be
The following account of these transactions was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, March 25th, 1756.
"On Thursday last the Philadelphia regiment, consisting of upwards of one thousand able-bodied, effective men, besides officers, was drawn up under arms, on Society Hill, and reviewed by the Colonel. Each company met in the morning at the houses of their respective captains, and marched down Second Street till they came near the New Market; where the first company halted, drew up in platoons, and waited till the second company came up; and then each platoon of the first company fired retreating, according to the manner of street-firing; and the second company at the same time advanced, and fired in like manner, till they got possession of the other's ground. The third company then advanced, disputed and took the ground from the second; and so on, each company advancing and retreating in their turns; the artillery company, consisting of upwards of one hundred men, with four neatly painted cannon, drawn by some of the largest and most stately horses in the Province, being the company that last took possession of the ground. The whole were then drawn up in battalion, according to seniority; and, after being reviewed, and performing the manual exercise, marched through the town in three grand divisions.
"When the regiment came opposite to the Colonel's door, they were again drawn up in battalion, and made one general discharge of small arms, and several discharges of cannon. Then the several companies marched off to their respective places of rendezvous, and saluted their captains, on being dismissed, with a discharge of their firearms. The whole was conducted with the greatest order and regularity, and, notwithstanding the vast concourse of people, not the least accident happened to any one. It is allowed, on all hands, that most of the platoon firings, the general fire of the regiment, and the discharge of the artillery, were nearly as well performed as they could be by any troops whatever. And it is likewise agreed, that so grand an appearance was never before seen in Pennsylvania.". EDITOR.
proper for them to escort me out of town, as far as the Lower Ferry. 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 honor had been paid to 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 rancor 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 of 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 Fawkener, the Postmaster-general, to deprive me of my office. But it had no other effect than to procure from Sir Everard a gentle admonition.
Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the
Governor and the House, in which I as a member had so large a share, there still subsisted a civil intercourse between that gentleman and myself, and we never had any personal difference. I have sometimes since thought, that his little or no resentment against me, for the answers it was known I drew up to his messages, might be the effect of professional habit, and that, being bred a lawyer, he might consider us both as merely advocates for contending clients in a suit; he for the Proprietaries, and I for the Assembly. He would therefore sometimes call in a friendly way to advise with me on difficult points; and sometimes, though not often, take my advice.
We acted in concert to supply Braddock's army with provisions; and, when the shocking news arrived of his defeat, the Governor sent in haste for me, to consult with him on measures for preventing the desertion of the back counties. I forget now the advice I gave; but I think it was, that Dunbar should be written to, and prevailed with, if possible, 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 provincial troops, for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise employed; and he proposed to commission 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 dropped; 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.
In 1746, being in 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. pleased me. Soon after my return to Philadelphia, our library company received from Mr. Peter Collinson, Fellow of the Royal Society 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 glasshouse, with which they furnished themselves, so that we had at length several performers. Among these the principal was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbour, who being out of business, I encouraged him 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 assist in comprehending the follow