« ZurückWeiter »
more extended in the compass of its notes. His glasses were made in the shape of a hemisphere, with an open neck or socket in the middle, for the purpose of being fixed on an iron spindle. They were then arranged one after another, on this spindle, the largest at one end and gradually diminishing in size to the smallest at the other end. The tones depended on the size of the glasses. The spindle, with its series of glasses, was fixed horizontally in a case, and turned by a wheel attached to its larger end, upon the principle of a common spinning-wheel. The performer sat in front of the instrument, and the tones were brought out by applying a wet finger to the exterior surface of the glasses as they turned round. He called it the Armonica, in honor of the musical language of the Italians, as he says in a letter to Beccaria, in which it is minutely described.
For some time the Armonica was in much use. A
Miss Davies acquired great skill in playing upon it. She performed in public, and, accompanied by her sister, who was a singer, she exhibited her skill in the principal cities of Europe, where she attracted large audiences, and the notice of distinguished individuals. The instruments were manufactured in London, and sold at the price of forty guineas each.*
At the beginning of the year 1762, Dr. Franklin began to think seriously about returning to his native country, and to prepare for his departure. His friend, Mr. Strahan, had endeavoured to prevail on him to bring over his family and settle himself in London. Mr. Strahan wrote to Mrs. Franklin on the subject, using much persuasion to win her consent to this project.
Miss Davies performed in the presence of the Imperial court of Vienna, at the celebration of the nuptials of the Duke of Parma and the Archduchess of Austria. An ode was composed for the occasion by Met
She was no less opposed to it than her husband, whose opinion may be gathered from the following account of a conversation with Mr. Strahan, contained in a letter to his wife. "He was very urgent with me to stay in England, and prevail with you to remove hither with Sally. He proposed several advantageous schemes to me, which appeared reasonably founded. His family is a very agreeable one; Mrs. Strahan a sensible and good woman, the children of amiable characters, and particularly the young man, who is sober, ingenious, and industrious, and a desirable person. In point of circumstances there can be no objection; Mr. Strahan
astasio, expressly designed to be sung by her sister and accompanied by the Armonica. It was set to a new piece of music adapted to the instrument. The ode is here printed from a manuscript copy found among Dr. Franklin's papers.
"PER L'OCCASIONE DELLE NOZZE DEL REAL INFANTE DUCA DI PARMA CON L' ARCIDUCHESSA D' AUSTRIA, CANTATA IN VIENNA DALLA CECILIA DAVIES, DETTA L' INGLESINA, SORELLA DELL' ECCELLENTE SONATRICE DEL NUOVO ISTRUMENTO DI MUSICA, CHIAMATO L'ARMONICA, INVENTATO DAL CELEBRE DOTTORE FRANKLIN.
“Aн perchè col canto mio
Dolce all' alme ordir catena
S'oggi all' aure un labbro spande
"Ardir, germana; a tuoi sonori adatta
L'esperta mano; e ne risveglia il raro
Concento seduttor. Col canto anch' io
L'amoroso tenor. D' applausi e voti
Or che la Parma e l'Istro
D' Amalia e di Fernando
Agli augusti imenei tutto risuona,
being in such a way as to lay up a thousand pounds every year from the profits of his business, after maintaining his family and paying all charges. I gave him, however, two reasons why I could not think of removing hither; one, my affection to Pennsylvania, and long established friendships and other connexions there; the other, your invincible aversion to crossing the seas. And, without removing hither, I could not think of parting with my daughter to such a distance. I thanked him for the regard shown to us in the proposal, but gave him no expectation that I should forward the letters. So you are at liberty to answer or not, just as you think proper." As far as his pecuniary interests
Strepitosi oricalchi; una soave
Armonia, non di sdegni
Ma di teneri affetti eccitatrice,
Più conviene ad amor; meglio accompagna
Quel che dall' alma bella
Si trasfonde sul volto
Alla Sposa Real placido lume,
Il benigno costume,
La dolce maestà. Benchè sommesso
Lo stil de' nostri accenti
A Lei grato sarà; che l' umil suono
Non è colpa o difetto;
E sempre in suono umil parla il rispetto.
"Alla stagion de' fiori
E de' novelli amori
È grato il molle fiato
O lento increspi l'onde;
"Questa cantata fù scritta dal Abate Pietro Metastasio, e messa
in musica da Giovanni Adolfo Hasse. detto il Sassone."
were concerned, there is no doubt that they would have been essentially advanced by complying with Mr. Strahan's advice; but he had higher motives, and events proved that he judged wisely.
Before he left England he received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford.* Other friends, besides Mr. Strahan, regretted his departure. Mr. Hume wrote; "I am very sorry, that you intend soon to leave our hemisphere. America has sent us many good things, gold, silver, sugar, tobacco, indigo, &c.; but you are the first philosopher, and indeed the first great man of letters, for whom we are beholden to her. It is our own fault, that we have not kept him; whence it appears, that we do not agree with Solomon, that wisdom is above gold; for we take care never to send back an ounce of the latter, which we once lay our fingers upon." Franklin replied; "Your compliment of gold and wisdom is very obliging to me, but a little injurious to your country. The various value of every thing in every part of this world arises, you know, from the various proportions of the quantity to the demand. We are told, that gold and silver in Solomon's time were so plenty, as to be of no more value in his country than the stones in the street. have here at present just such a plenty of wisdom. Your people are, therefore, not to be censured for desiring no more among them than they have; and, if
The date of the Oxford degree is April 30th, 1762. The following extract from the University records is found among Dr. Franklin's papers.
"February, 22d, 1762. Agreed, nem. con. at a meeting of the Heads of Houses, that Mr. Franklin, whenever he shall please to visit the University, shall be offered the compliment of the degree of D. C. L. honoris causâ. "I. BROWN, Vice-Can." The degree of Master of Arts was likewise conferred on his son, William Franklin, at Oxford.
I have any, I should certainly carry it where, from its scarcity, it may probably come to a better market."
A few days before he sailed, his son was appointed governor of New Jersey, although the appointment was not publicly announced till some time afterwards. It is evident from this act of the ministry, that they had then conceived no prejudice against the father, on account of the part he had taken in the Pennsylvania controversy; for it could only have been through the influence of his character, and the interest made by his friends on this ground, that so high an office could have been obtained for the son, whose personal services had given him no adequate claims to such an elevation. This proof of confidence from the ministry was displeasing to the Proprietaries. They drew some consolation, however, even from so unpropitious a circumstance. Thomas Penn said, in a letter to Governor Hamilton, "I am told you will find Mr. Franklin more tractable, and I believe we shall, in matters of prerogative; as his son must obey instructions, and what he is ordered to do, the father cannot well oppose in Pennsylvania." This hope was of short duration. The father continued as untractable as ever, zealous in the people's cause, firm in its support, and active in every measure for establishing their rights on the basis of liberty and a just administration of the government.
The Proprietaries, suspicious of his designs, and dreading his influence, kept a watchful eye on him while he was in England; and they at least deserve the credit of candor for acquitting him of having been engaged in any practices, which they could censure. "I do not find," said Thomas Penn, in another letter to Governor Hamilton, "that he has done me any prejudice with any party, having had conversations with