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all, in which I have studied to talk of these affairs; and I believe he has spent most of his time in philosophical, and especially in electrical matters, having generally company in a morning to see those experiments, and musical performances on glasses, where any one that knows him carries his friends." This declaration is honorable to both parties; and it shows that the agent, while performing his duty to his constituents, was not unmindful of a proper respect for the character and interests of his opponents.
Dr. Franklin sailed from England about the end of August, having resided there more than five years. In a letter, dated at Portsmouth on the 17th of that month, bidding farewell to Lord Kames, he said; “I am now waiting here only for a wind to waft me to America, but cannot leave this happy island and my friends in it without extreme regret, though I am going to a country and a people that I love. I am going from the old world to the new; and I fancy I feel like those, who are leaving this world for the next; grief at the parting; fear of the passage; hope of the future." He arrived at Philadelphia on the 1st of November. The fleet, in which he took passage, under the convoy of a man-of-war, touched at Madeira, and was detained there a few days. They were kindly received and entertained by the inhabitants, on account of the protection afforded them by the English fleet against the united invasion of France and Spain. Not long after his return to Philadelphia, he wrote to Mr. Richard Jackson a full account of the island of Madeira, its population, soil, climate, and productions; but the letter has never been published, and it is supposed to be lost.
Receives the Thanks of the Assembly. - Tour through the Middle and Eastern Colonies. - Engages again in Public Affairs. - Massacre of Indians in Lancaster. - Franklin's Pamphlet on the Subject, and his Agency in pacifying the Insurgents. Colonel Bouquet's Account of his Public Services. - Disputes revived between the Governor and the Assembly. Militia Bill defeated. The Governor rejects a Bill in which the Proprietary Estates are taxed. The Assembly resolve to petition the King for a Change of Government. - Petition drafted by Franklin.— Chosen Speaker of the Assembly. - Norris, Dickinson, Galloway. Scheme for Stamp Duties opposed by the Assembly. Franklin is not elected to the Assembly. - Appointed Agent to the Court of Great Britain.-Sails for England.
No sooner was his arrival known in Philadelphia, than his friends, both political and private, whose attachment had not abated during his long absence, flocked around him to offer their congratulations on the success of his mission, and his safe return to his family. At each election, while he was abroad, he had been chosen a member of the Assembly, and he again took his seat in that body. The subject of his agency was brought before the House. A committee was appointed to examine his accounts, who reported that they were accurate and just; and a resolve was passed, granting him three thousand pounds sterling, as a remuneration for his services while engaged in the public employment. This resolve was followed by a vote of thanks "for his many services, not only to the province of Pennsylvania, but to America in general, during his late agency at the court of Great Britain."
As the contest was one, however, in which two parties were enlisted in opposition, with all the violence of zeal and acrimony of personal feeling, which usually attend controversies of this nature, he had the
misfortune to draw down upon himself the enmity of one party, in proportion to the applause which his successful endeavours elicited from the other. And it may here be observed, that the part he took in these proprietary quarrels for the defence and protection of popular rights, which he sustained by the full weight of his extraordinary abilities, was the foundation of the inveterate hostility against his political character, with which he was assailed in various ways to the end of his life, and the effects of which have scarcely disappeared at the present day. Yet no one, who now impartially surveys the history of the transactions in which he was engaged, can doubt the justice of the cause he espoused with so much warmth, and which he upheld to the last with unwavering constancy and firmness.
Circumstances raised him to a high position as a leader, his brilliant talents kept him there, and he thus became the object of a malevolence, which had been engendered by disappointment, and embittered by defeat. This he bore with a philosophical equanimity, and went manfully onward with the resolution of a stern and true patriot, forgiving his enemies, and never deserting his friends, faithful to every trust, and, above all, faithful to the liberties and best interests of his country.
In consequence of so long an absence from home, his private affairs required attention for some time after his return. Holding the office of postmastergeneral in America, he spent five months of the year 1763, in travelling through the northern colonies for the purpose of inspecting the postoffices. He went eastward as far as New Hampshire, and the whole extent of his tour, in going and coming, was about sixteen hundred miles. In this journey he was ac
companied by his daughter, and it was performed in a light carriage, driven by himself. A saddle horse made a part of the equipage, on which his daughter rode, as he informs us, nearly all the way from Rhode Island to Philadelphia. The meeting of his old friends in Boston, Rhode Island, and New York, afforded him much enjoyment, and he was detained many days in each place by their hospitality. At New York he met General Amherst, commander-in-chief of the British army in America, who received him with flattering civilities.
He was also obliged to move slowly, on account of a weakness and pain in the breast, attended with unfavorable symptoms, which were increased by two accidental falls, in one of which his shoulder was dislocated. To relieve the anxiety of his sister, at whose house he had stayed in Boston, he wrote to her as follows, immediately after he reached home. "I find myself quite clear from pain, and so have at length left off the cold bath. There is, however, still some weakness in my shoulder, though much stronger than when I left Boston, and mending. I am otherwise very happy in being at home, where I am allowed to know when I have eat enough and drunk enough, am warm enough, and sit in a place that I like, and nobody pretends to know what I feel better than myself. Do not imagine, that I am a whit the less sensible of the kindness I experienced among my friends in New England. I am very thankful for it, and shall always retain a grateful remembrance of it."
His health and strength were gradually restored, and he entered again with his accustomed ardor and energy into the pursuits of active life. At this time, also, there was a demand for the service of every citizen, whose knowledge of business and experience in
public affairs qualified him to execute important trusts. The peace, while it relieved the country from a foreign foe, had been the signal for disbanding the forces, which protected the frontiers. Hitherto, the thirst of the savages for blood and rapine, inflamed by the late war, had been satisfied in fighting the battles of their civilized neighbours, and in murdering and plundering under their sanction; but now, having had no share in making the peace, and deriving no benefit from it, they conceived the project of continuing the war on their own account. In pursuance of this plan, the western tribes formed themselves into a confederacy, and broke in upon the frontier settlements of the middle provinces, with a boldness and ferocity, that had seldom been shown on former occasions, murdering the inhabitants, burning their houses, and carrying off or destroying their effects.
To meet this exigency, it was necessary to raise troops, and to procure money for paying them and for purchasing military supplies. This was promptly done by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, and commissioners were appointed to expend the money appropriated for these objects. Franklin was one of the commissioners.
In the month of December, a tragical occurrence took place in Lancaster County, as revolting to humanity, as it was disgraceful to the country. At the Conestogo manor, resided the remnant of a tribe of Indians, which had dwindled down to twenty persons, men, women, and children. Their chief, a venerable old man, who had assisted at the second treaty held with the Indian tribes by William Penn, more than sixty years before, had from that day lived on terms of friendship with his white neighbours, and he and his people had ever been distinguished for their peace