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No. IV.] AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. 577
of the country, as he supposed would be inclined to favor the undertaking.
The plan was in some sort successful. A society was formed a few months afterwards, as appears by a letter from Franklin to Cadwallader Colden, dated April 5th, 1744. Thomas Hopkinson was president, and Benjamin Franklin secretary. The other original members, as mentioned in that letter, were Thomas Bond, John Bartram, Thomas Godfrey, Samuel Rhoads, William Parsons, Phineas Bond, William Coleman, all of Philadelphia. A few members were likewise chosen from some of the neighbouring colonies. This society had no connexion with the JUNTO, which is often mentioned in Franklin's autobiography, and which had been established by him many years before.*
Mr. Colden suggested to Franklin, that he should print by subscription a selection from the papers, that might be furnished by the members. It is probable, that this project was not encouraged; for, nearly a year afterwards, November 28th, 1745, Franklin writes to him as follows. "I am now determined to publish an American Philosophical Miscellany, monthly or quarterly. I shall begin with next January, and proceed as I find encouragement and assistance. As I purpose to take the compiling wholly upon myself, the reputation of no gentleman or society will be affected by what I insert of another's; and that, perhaps, will make them more free to communicate. Their names shall be published or concealed, as they think proper, and care taken to do exact justice to matters of invention, &c. I shall be glad of your advice in any particulars, that occurred to you in thinking of this scheme." His design was not executed; perhaps for the want of encourageNor indeed is there any evidence, that the society was ever in a flourishing state. Nothing is known of its transactions. The records of its proceedings are lost, and, if any papers were contributed by the members, they were not published. Soon after the society was formed, Franklin himself became deeply engaged in his electrical experiments, which for some time absorbed his whole attention. The society seems to have languished, till, in a few years, the regular meetings were discontinued.
In the mean time, another society sprang up in Philadelphia, which was called The Junto, or Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge. The date of the origin of this association is
* See the paper above mentioned, and the letter to Colden, Vol. VI. pp. 14, 28.
not known. That portion of the records, which has been preserved, begins September 22d, 1758; but it had an earlier origin. If we may judge from the records, it seems to have been a society rather for the mutual improvement of the members, by discussing a great variety of subjects, than for enlarged philosophical inquiries, designed for public as well as private benefit. In 1762 this society apparently began to decline. No records have been found from October, of that year, to April 25th, 1766, when the society met, and took the name of The American Society for Promoting and Propagating Useful Knowledge. Thirty members then signed the constitution and rules. It was evidently intended now to embrace a larger compass of objects than formerly, and to have more of a public character. Franklin was elected into this society on the 19th of February, 1768, and chosen president of it on the 4th of November following. He was then absent in England.
In November, 1767, the old Philosophical Society of 1744 was revived by a few of the original members, then residing in Philadelphia. They elected many new members. A union was proposed by the other society, which was accepted on the 2d of February, 1768, by choosing all the members of that association into this society. But they refused to unite on these terms, or on any other, which did not imply a perfect equality between the two associations. There seems to have been a jealousy between them, or rather between some of the prominent members of each. On the 23d of September, 1768, the American Society was again organized, new rules were adopted, and its title was changed to The American Society held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge; and, on the 4th of November, the Medical Society of Philadelphia was incorporated with it.
After much negotiation it was finally agreed, that the two societies should unite on equal terms, each electing all the members of the other. This union was effected on the 2d of January, 1769. A new name was formed by uniting those of the two societies, which thus became The American Philosophical Society held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge.
Five months after the union, Dr. Thomas Bond said in a letter to Dr. Franklin, "I long meditated a revival of our American Philosophical Society, and at length I thought I saw my way clear in doing it, but the old party leaven split us for a time. We are now united, and, with your presence, may make a figure; but, till that happy event, I fear much will not be done. The Assembly have countenanced and encouraged us very generously and kindly;
and we are much obliged for your care in procuring the telescope, which was used in the late observations of the transit of Venus; but the micrometer did not move so well as it ought, from whence I fear there may be some defect in the calculations. The observations were made with four glasses here, three at Norriton, and one at the Cape; all of which I hope to have the pleasure of transmitting to you in a fortnight."-MS. Letter, Philadelphia, June 7th, 1769.
At the time of the union, Dr. Franklin was chosen president of the Society, to which office he was annually elected till his death.
No. V. p. 505.
EXTRACTS FROM A PRIVATE JOURNAL.*
Passy, June 26th, 1784.-Mr. Walterstrof called on me, and acquainted me with a duel that had been fought yesterday morning, between a French officert and a Swedish gentleman of that king's suite, in which the latter was killed on the spot, and the other dangerously wounded; that the king does not resent it, as he thinks his subject was in the wrong.
He asked me if I had seen the king of Sweden? I had not yet had that honor. He said his behaviour here was not liked; that he took little notice of his own ambassador, who, being acquainted with the usages of this court, was capable of advising him, but was not consulted. That he was always talking of himself, and vainly boasting of his revolution, though it was known to have been the work of M. de Vergennes. That they began to be tired of him here, and wished him gone; but he proposed staying till the 12th of July. That he had now laid aside his project of invading Norway, as he found Denmark had made preparations to receive him. That he pretended the Danes had designed to
* These extracts, and those in the article next following, were first published by William Temple Franklin. He observes, that the above Journal" does not appear to have been continued further at this period." Though Franklin was sometimes in the habit of keeping a private diary, as may be inferred also from some of his letters, the whole of it, except the small portions in this Appendix, is doubtless lost. EDITOR.
t The Count de la Marck.
invade Sweden, though it was a known fact, that the Danes had made no military preparations, even for defence, till six months after his began. I asked if it was clear, that he had had an intention to invade Norway. He said that the marching and disposition of his troops, and the fortifications he had erected, indicated it very plainly. He added, that Sweden was at present greatly distressed for provisions; that many people had actually died of hunger! That it was reported, that the king came here to borrow money, and to offer to sell Gottenburg to France; a thing not very probable.
M. Dussaulx called, and said, it is reported there is an alliance treating between the Emperor of Austria, Russia, and England; the purpose not known; and that a counter-alliance is proposed between France, Prussia, and Holland, in which it is supposed Spain will join. He added, that changes in the ministry are talked of; that there are cabals against M. de Vergennes; that M. de Calonne is to be Garde des Sceaux, with some other rumors, fabricated perhaps at the Palais Royal.
June 29th. Mr. Hammond, secretary to Mr. Hartley, called to tell me, that Mr. Hartley had not received any orders by the last courier, either to stay or return, which he had expected; and that he thought it occasioned by their uncertainty what terms of commerce to propose, till the report of the committee of Council was laid before Parliament, and its opinion known; and that he looked on the delay of writing to him as a sign of their intending to do something.
He told me it was reported, that the king of Sweden had granted the free use of Gottenburg as a port for France, which alarmed the neighbouring powers. That, in time of war, the northern coast of England might be much endangered by it.
June 30th.-M. Dupont, inspector of commerce, came to talk with me about the free port of L'Orient, and some difficulties respecting it; I referred him to Mr. Barclay, an American merchant and commissioner for accounts; and, as he said he did not well understand English when spoken, and Mr. Barclay did not speak French, I offered my grandson to accompany him as interpreter, which he accepted.
I asked him whether the Spaniards from the continent of America did not trade to the French sugar islands? He said not. The only commerce with the Spaniards was for cattle between them and the French at St. Domingo. I had been told the Spaniards brought flour to the French islands from the continent. He had
not heard of it. If we can find that such a trade is allowed (perhaps from the Mississippi), have not the United States a claim by treaty to the same privilege?
July 1st. The Pope's Nuncio called, and acquainted me that the Pope had, on my recommendation, appointed Mr. John Carroll, superior of the Catholic clergy in America, with many of the powers of a bishop; and that probably he would be made a bishop in partibus before the end of the year. He asked me which would be most convenient for him, to come to France, or go to St. Domingo, for ordination by another bishop, which was necessary. I mentioned Quebec as more convenient than either. He asked whether, as that was an English province, our government might not take offence at his going thither? I thought not, unless the ordination by that bishop should give him some authority over our bishop. He said, not in the least; that when our bishop was once ordained, he would be independent of the others, and even of the Pope; which I did not clearly understand. He said the Congregation de Propagandâ Fide had agreed to receive, and maintain and instruct, two young Americans in the languages and sciences at Rome; (he had formerly told me that more would be educated gratis in France.) He added, they had written from America that there are twenty priests, but that they are not sufficient; as the new settlements near the Mississippi have need of some.
The Nuncio said we should find, that the Catholics were not so intolerant as they had been represented; that the Inquisition in Rome had not now so much power as that in Spain; and that in Spain it was used chiefly as a prison of state. That the Congregation would have undertaken the education of more American youths, and may hereafter, but that at present they are overburdened, having some from all parts of the world. He spoke lightly of their New Bostonian convert Thayer's conversion; that he had advised him not to go to America, but settle in France. That he wanted to go to convert his countrymen; but he knew nothing yet of his new religion himself, &c.
Received a letter from Mr. Bridgen of London, dated the 22d past, acquainting me, that the Council of the Royal Society had voted me a gold medal, on account of my letter in favor of Captain Cook. Lord Howe had sent me his Journal, 3 vols. 4to, with a large volume of engravings, on the same account, and, as he writes, "with the King's approbation."
July 3d. Mr. Smeathman comes and brings two English or Scotch gentlemen; one a chevalier of some order, the other a phy