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society also commenced a "Biographical Dictionary," on a magnificent scale and of great value; but this was unfortunately discontinued after the publication of teven volumes, containing letter A. The circulation of the preliminary discourse to this series of publications, reached 100,000 copies; that of the weekly “Penny Magazine," over 200,000; of those of its books of a more popular character, sometimes 40,000; and of many of the scientific ones, 25,000.

FRANKLIN'S CLUB FOR MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT. Franklin formed a Lyceum, in effect though not in name, in Philadelphia, in 1727, of which he gives the following account in his “Autobiography.

In the autumn of the preceding year, (1727,) I had formed most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club for mutual improvement, which we called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of morals, politics, or natural philosophy, to be discussed by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay, of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradictions, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.*

The club was the best school of philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the province; for our queries (which were read the week preceding their discussion) put us upon reading with attention on the several subjects, that we might speak more to the purpose; and here too we acquired better habits of conversation, every thing being studied in our rules which might prevent our disgusting each other; hence the long continuance of the club.

At the time I established myself in Pennsylvania, there was not a good bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston. In New-York and Philadelphia, the printers were indeed stationers, but they sold only paper, &c., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those who loved reading were obliged to send for their books from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had left the alehouse, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in. I proposed that we should all of us bring our books to that room; where they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wished to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time contented us. Finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to render the benefit from the books more common, by commencing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary. So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to find more than fifty persons (mostly young tradesmen) willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum; with this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was open one day in the week for lending them to subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books; and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed, and more intelligent, than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.

* Dr. Franklin's account of the members of this club is amusing. “The first members were Joseph Brientnal, a copyer of deeds for the scriveners; a good natured, friendly, middle-aged man; a great lover of poetry, reading all he could meet with, and writing some that was tolerable ; very ingenious in making little nicknackeries ; and of sensible conversation. Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, great in his way, and afterward inventor of what is now called Hadley's Quadrant. But he knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing companion; as, like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal precision in every thing said, or was forever denying or distinguishing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation; he soon left us. Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterward surveyor-general, who loved books, and sometimes made a few verses. William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but loving reading, had acquired a considerable share of mathematics, which he first studied with a view to astrology, and afterward laughed at it; he also became surveyor-general. William Mangridge, joiner; but a most exquisite mechanic, and a solid, sensible man. Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb, I have characterized before. Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune ; generous, lively, and witty; a lover of punning, and of his friends. Lastly, William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, about my age, who had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals of almost any man I ever met with. He became, afterward, a merchant of great pote, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship continued, without interruption, to bio death, upward of forty yean."

This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study; for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repaired in some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended for me. Reading was the only amusement I allowed myself. I spent no time in taverns, games, or frolic of any kind, and my industry in my business continued as indefatigable as it was necessary. My original habits continuing, and my father having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently repeated a proverb of Solomon, “Seest thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men," I thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encouraged me; though I did not think that I should ever literally stand before kings, which however has since happened, for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one (the King of Denmark) to dinner.*

The late Dr. Smith, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, in his discourse upon the death of Dr. Franklin, alludes to the Junto in the manner following. The questions, which he has selected from those discussed in that club, are curious as a sample of the diversity of their inquiries, and may still be interesting topics of discussion in our Lyceums.

“This society, after having subsisted forty years, and having contributed to the formation of some very great men, besides Dr. Franklin himself, became at last the foundation of the American Philosophical Society, now assembled to pay the debt of gratitude to his memory. A book, containing many of the questions discussed by the Junto, was, on the formation of the American Philosophical Society, delivered into my hands, for the purpose of being digested, and in due time published among the transactions of that body. Many of the questions are curious and cautiously handled ; such as the following:

How may the phenomena of vapors be explained ! Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind; the universal monarch, to whom all are tributaries 1

Which is the best form of government, and what was that form which first prevailed among mankind ?

Can any one particular form suit all mankind ?

What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the bay of Fundy than in the bay of Delaware?

How may the possession of the lakes be improved to our advantage ?
Why are tumultuous, uneasy sensations united with our desires ?
Whether it ought to be the aim of philosophy to eradicate the passions !
How may smoky chimneys be best cured?
Why does the flame of a candle tend upward in a spire !

Which is least criminal, a bad action joined with a good intention, or a good action with a bad intention ?

Is it consistent with the principles of liberty, in a free government, to punish a man as a libeller when he speaks the truth?

These, and similar questions of a very mixed nature, being proposed in one evening, were generally discussed the

succeeding evening, and the substance of the arguments entered in their books."

* Franklin's Memoirs and Works, Vol. I. pp. 82, 83, &c.

PROPOSALS RELATING TO THE EDUCATION OF YOUTH—1749. Having acquired some little reputation among my fellow-citizens by projecting the public library in 1732, and obtaining the subscriptions by which it was established; and by proposing and promoting, with success, sundry other schemes of utility in 1749; I was encouraged to hazard another project, that of a public education for our youth. As in the scheme of the library I had pro vided only for English books, so in this new scheme my ideas went no further than to procure the means of a good English education. A number of my friends, to whom I communicated the proposal, concurred with me in these ideas; but Mr. Allen, Mr. Francis, Mr. Peters, and some other persons of wealth and learning, whose subscriptions and countenance we should need, being of opinion that it ought to include the learned languages, I submitted my judgment to theirs, retaining however a strong prepossession in favor of my first plan, and resolving to preserve as much of it as I could, and to nourish the English school by every means in my power.

Before I went about to procuro subscriptions, I thought it proper to prepare the minds of the people by a pamphlet, which I wrote, and printed, and distributed with my newspapers gratis. The title was, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania. I happen to have preserved one of them; and, by reading a few passages, it will appear how much the English learning was insisted upon in it; and I had good reasons to know that this was a prevailing part of the motives for subscribing with most of the original benefactors. I met with but few refusals in soliciting the subscriptions; and the sum was more the considerable, as I bad put the contribution on this footing, that it was not to be immediate, and the whole paid at once, but in parts, a fifth annually during five years. To put the machine in motion, twenty-four of the principal subscribers agreed to take upon themselves the trust; and a set of constitutions for their government, and for the regulation of the schools, were drawn up by Mr. Francis and mysef, which were signed by us all, and printed, that the

public might know what was to be expected. I wrote also a paper, entitled, Ideas of an English School, which was printed, and afterwards annexed to Mr. Peters' sermon, preached at the opening of the Academy, This paper was said to be for the consideration of the trustees; and the expectation of the public that the idea might in a great measure be carried into execution, contributed to render the subscriptions more liberal as well as more general

Advertisement to the Reader. It has long been regretted as a misfortune to the youth of this province that we have no Academy in which they might receive the accomplishments of a regular education. The following paper of Hints towards forming a plan for that purpose, is so far approved by some public-spirited gentlemen, to whom it has been privately communicated, that they have directed a number of copies to be made by the press, and properly distributed, in order to obtain the sentiments and advice of men of learning, understanding, and experience in these matter; and have determined to use their interest and best endeavors to have the scheme, when completed, carried gradually into execution; in which they have reason to believe they shall have the hearty concurrence

and assist ance of many, who are well-wishers to their country. Those who incline to favor the design with their advice, either as to the parts of learning to be taught, the order of study, the method of teaching, the economy of the are desired to communicate their sentiments as soon as may be by letter, &school, or any other matter of importance to the success of the undertaking, rected to B. Franklin, Printer, in Philadelphia.


The good education of youth has been esteemed by wise men in all ages, as the surest foundation of the happiness both of private families and of commonwealths. Almost all governments have therefore made it a principal object of their attention to establish and endow with proper revenues such seminaries of learning, as might supply the succeeding age with men qualified to serve the public with honor to themselves and to their country.

Many of the first settlers of these provinces were men who had received a good education in Europe; and to their wisdom and good management we owe much of our present prosperity. But their hands were full, and they could not do all things. The present race are not thought to be generally of equal

ability; for, though the American youth are allowed not to want capacity, yet the best capacities require cultivation; it being truly with them, as with the best ground, which, unless well tilled and sowed with profitable seed, produces only ranker weeds.

That we may obtain the advantages arising from an increase of knowledge, and prevent, as much as may be, the mischievous consequences that would attend a general ignorance among us, the following hints are offered towards forming a plan for the education of the youth of Pennsylvania, viz:

A Charter. That some persons of leisure and public spirit apply for a charter, by which they may be incorporated, with power to erect an Academy for the education of youth, to govern the same, provide masters, make rules, receive donations, purchase lands, and to add to their number, from time to time, such other persons as they shall judge suitable.

Voluntary Action of Trustees. That the members of the corporation make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the Academy often, encourage and countenance the youth, countenance and assist the masters, and by all means in their power advance the usefulness and reputation of the design; that they look on the students as in some sort their children, treat them with familiarity and affection, and, when they have behaved well, and gone through their studies, and are to enter the world, zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made to establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for their advantage, preferably to all other persons even of equal merit.

Building-Location-Equipment. That a house be provided for the Academy, if not in the town, not many miles from it; the situation high and dry, and, if it may be, not far from a river, having a garden, orchard, meadow, and a field or two.

That the house be furnished with a library if in the country (if in the town, the town libraries may serve), with maps of all countries, globes, some mathematical instruments, an apparatus for experiments in natural philosophy, and for mechanics; prints of all kinds, prospects, buildings, and machines.

Rector-Physical Training of Pupils. That the Rector be a man of good understanding, good morals, diligent and patient, learned in the languages and sciences, and a correct, pure speaker and writer of the English tongue; to have such tutors under him as shall be necessary.

That the boarding scholars diet together, plainly, temperately, and frugally.

That to keep them in health, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, they be frequently exercised in running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming.

That they have peculiar habits to distinguish them from other youth, if the Academy be in or near the town; for this, among other reasons, that their bebavior may be the better observed.

Studies to be Selected and Adapted. As to their studies, it would be well if they could be taught everything that is useful, and everything that is ornamental. But art is long, and their time is short. It is therefore proposed that they learn those things that are likely to be most useful and most ornamental; regard being had to the several pro fessions for which they are intended.

Writing, Drawing, and Arithmetic. All should be taught to write a fair hand, and swift, as that is useful to all. And with it may be learned something of drawing, by imitation of prints, and some of the first principles of perspective. Arithmetic, accounts, and some of the first principles of geometry and astronomy.

English Language-Composition and Pronunciation. The English language might be taught by grammar, and reading some of our best authors (Tillotson, Addison, Pope, Algenon Sidney), having reference to clearness and conciseness of style, and distinct and emphatic pronunciation.

To form their style, they should be put on writing letters to each other, making abstracts of what they read, or writing the same things in their own words; telling or writing stories lately read, in their own expressions-all to be revised and corrected by the tutor, who should give his reasons, and explain the force and import of words.

To form their pronunciation, they may be put on making declamations, repeating speeches, and delivering orations; the tutor assisting at the rehearsals, teaching, advising, and correcting their accent.

Reading made Serviceable to all Useful Knowledge. If History (with Universal and National) be made a constant part of their reading, may not almost all kinds of useful knowledge be that way introduced to advantage, and with pleasure to the student ? As

Chronology, by the help of charts and tables, fixing the dates of important events, and the epochs of famous men.

Ancient Customs, civil and religious, their origin and distinctive features by prints of medals and monuments.

Morality, by timely observations on the causes of the rise and fall of individuals and States-the advantages of temperance, order, frugality, industry, and perseverance.

Religion, the necessity of its principles to the public, and advantages to individuals, and the superiority of the Christian above all others, ancient or modern.

Politics, or the advantages of civil order and constitutions; the encouragement of industry, the protection of property, the encouragement of inventions, the necessity of good laws, and due execution of justice.

The power of oratory and logic on great historical occasions-governing, turning, and leading great bodies of mankind, armies, cities, and nations.

Discussions-Oral and Written. On historical occasions, questions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, will naturally arise, and may be put to youth, which they may debate in conversation and in writing. When they ardently desire victory, for the sake of the praise attending it, they will begin to feel the want, and be sensible of the use of logic, or the art of reasoning to discover truth, and of arguing to defend it, and convince adversaries. This would be the time to acquaint them with the principles of that art. Grotius, Puffendorff, and some other writers of the same kind, may be used to decide their disputes. Public disputes warm the imagination, whet the industry, and strengthen the natural abilities.

Foreign Languages-Ancient and Modern. When youth are told that the great men whose lives and actions they read in history spoke two of the best languages that ever were, the most expressive, copious, beautiful; and that the finest writings, the most correct compositions, the most perfect productions of human wit and wisdom, are in those languages which have endured for ages, and will endure while there are men; that no translation can do them justice, or give the pleasure found in reading the originals; that those languages contain all science; that one of them is become almost universal, being the language of learned men in all countries; and that to understand them is a distinguishing ornament; they may be thereby made

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