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bly of Pennsylvania. twenty-five members. They were authorized to call the militia into actual service, whenever they should judge it necessary, to pay and furnish them with supplies, and to provide for the defence of the province. Bills of credit, to the amount of thirty-five thousand pounds, were issued and put into their hands, to pay the expenses incurred for these objects. This was a highly responsible and important trust. Franklin labored in it incessantly during eight months, till he was called away upon another service. "My time," says he, "was never more fully employed; in the morning at six, I am at the Committee of Safety, which committee holds til near nine, when I am at Congress, and that sits till after four in the afternoon. Both these bodies proceed with the greatest unanimity." The attention of the committee was especially directed to the protection of the city, by sinking chevauxde-frise in the Delaware, constructing and manning armed boats, and erecting fortifications. These works were executed with surprising despatch, and so effectually, that, when the enemy's fleet entered the river, after the battle of the Brandywine, it was retarded by them nearly two months.

This committee consisted of

While thus actively engaged, Dr. Franklin drew up and presented to Congress, on the 21st of July, a plan of confederation. It was not acted upon at that time, but it served as a basis for a more extended plan, when Congress were better prepared to consider the subject. In some of its articles it differed essentially from the one that was finally adopted, and approached more nearly to the present constitution. Taxes for national purposes were to be levied, and members of Congress were to be chosen, in proportion to the number of male inhabitants between the



ages of sixteen and sixty; and each member was to have one vote in Congress. Taken in all its parts, this plan was little else than a virtual declaration of independence. It was to be perpetual, unless the British government should agree to such terms of reconciliation, as had been claimed by the colonies.*

The postoffice establishment, which had existed under the British government, was broken up by the disorders of the times. Congress made provision for a new one, and appointed Dr. Franklin postmastergeneral, with a salary of one thousand dollars a year. The entire management of the business was put under his control, with power to establish such post routes, and appoint as many deputies, as he should think proper.

For several months the proceedings of Congress turned mostly on military affairs. An army was to be raised, organized, and provided for. The wisdom, experience, and mental resources of every member were in as much demand, as diligence, resolution, zeal, and public spirit. We find Franklin, notwithstanding his advanced age, taking a part in almost every important measure with all the ardor and activity of youth. He was placed at the head of the Commissioners for Indian affairs in the middle department; and few of the younger members served on so many committees requiring energy, industry, and close application. Among these were the committees for devising ways and means to protect the commerce of the colonies, for

This plan of confederation was published, and it was soon after reprinted in England, as an appendix to the seventh edition of a popular pamphlet, entitled "The Rights of Great Britain asserted against the Claims of America." The author speaks of it as an additional proof of the "real designs of the Americans." He had been industrious in searching for such proofs, which constitute the principal burden of his pamphlet.

reporting on the state of trade in America and on Lord North's motion in Parliament, for employing packet ships and disposing of captured vessels, for establishing a war-office, for drawing up a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers, for preparing the device of a national seal, and many others.

A Secret Committee was appointed, of which he was a member. At first, it was the province of this committee to import ammunition, cannon, and muskets; but its powers and duties were enlarged, so as to include the procuring of all kinds of military supplies, and the distributing of them to the troops, the Continental armed vessels, and privateers, and also the manufacturing of saltpetre and gunpowder. The country was alarmingly deficient in all these articles; and it was necessary to procure them from abroad by contracts with foreign merchants, and to have them shipped as secretly as possible, that they might not be intercepted and captured by the enemy. Remittances were made in tobacco and other produce, either directly or through such channels as would render them available for the payments.

As soon as Congress had determined to raise an army, and had appointed a commander-in-chief and the other principal officers, they applied themselves to the business of finance, and emitted two millions of dollars in bills of credit. This was the beginning of the Continental paper-money system. Dr. Franklin entered deeply into the subject, but he did not altogether approve the principle upon which the bills were emitted. He proposed that they should bear interest, but this was rejected. After the first emission, he recommended that the bills already in circulation should be borrowed on interest, instead of issuing a larger quantity. This plan was not followed at the

time, but, when the bills began to sink in value, it was resorted to, and he then proposed to pay the interest in hard dollars, which would be likely to fix the value of the principal. This was deemed impracticable, although Congress came into the proposal afterwards; but not till it was too late to check the rapid progress of depreciation.

The army at Cambridge, employed in besieging the British forces in Boston, was adopted by Congress as a Continental army before General Washington took the command. This army would cease to exist at the end of the year, by the expiration of the periods for which the soldiers were enlisted. Thus the arduous task of organizing and recruiting a new army devolved on the Commander-in-chief. To assist him in this work, Congress deputed three of their body, Dr. Franklin, Thomas Lynch, and Benjamin Harrison, to proceed to the camp, and confer with him on the most efficient mode of continuing and supporting a Continental army. They met at head-quarters, on the 18th of October, where they were joined by delegates from each of the New England governments. The conference lasted several days, and such a system was matured, as was satisfactory to General Washington, and as proved effectual in attaining the object.*

See an account of these proceedings in Sparks's edition of Washington's Writings, Vol. III. p. 133.

It was probably about this time, that Dr. Franklin drew up the following resolves, which have been found in his handwriting. It is uncertain whether they were adopted in Congress, but they were published, except the last paragraph, with considerable modifications, and were reprinted in England.

"Resolved, that, from and after the 20th of July, 1776, being one full year after the day appointed by a late act of the Parliament of Great Britain for restraining the trade of the confederate colonies, all the custom-houses in the said colonies shall be shut up, and all the officers of the same be discharged from the exercise of their sev

Some time before, Dr. Franklin had received the sum of one hundred pounds sterling, sent to him by benevolent persons in England, as a donation for the relief of those, who had been wounded in the encounters with the British troops on the day of their march to Lexington and Concord, and of the widows and children of such as had been slain. While he was in the camp at Cambridge, he paid this money over to a committee of the Massachusetts Assembly.

During his absence, the Assembly of Pennsylvania met, and by the returns of the election it appeared that he had been chosen a representative for the city of Philadelphia. He was now a member of three public bodies, which convened daily for business, that is, Congress, the Assembly, and the Committee of Safety; but he usually attended in Congress whenever the times of meeting interfered with each other.

eral functions; and all the ports of the said colonies are hereby declared to be thenceforth open to the ships of every State in Europe, that will admit our commerce and protect it, who may bring in and expose to sale, free of all duties, their respective produce and manufactures, and every kind of merchandise, excepting teas and the merchandise of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British West India Islands.

"Resolved, that we will, to the utmost of our power, maintain and support the freedom of commerce for two years certain, after its commencement, and as much longer as the late acts of Parliament for restraining the commerce and fishery, and altering the laws and charters of any of the colonies, shall continue unrepealed.

"And whereas, whenever kings, instead of protecting the lives and properties of their subjects, as is their bounden duty, do endeavour to perpetrate the destruction of either, they thereby cease to be kings, become tyrants, and dissolve all ties of allegiance between themselves and their people; we hereby further solemnly declare, that, whenever it shall appear clearly to us, that the King's troops and ships now in America, or hereafter to be brought there, do, by his Majesty's orders, destroy any town or the inhabitants of any town or place in America, or that the savages have been by the same orders hired to assassinate our poor out-settlers and their families, we will from that time renounce all allegiance to Great Britain, so long as that kingdom shall submit to him, or any of his descendants, as its sovereign."




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