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COMMITMENT TO OPINIONS.

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the Governor was urged in Council to refuse the grant, as not pursuant to his call; but he well understood the equivocal term, and as it was no time for trifling, he drew the money; and though the grain he bought with it, was not a kernel of it wheat, but the “other grain” exclusively, no complaint was made by the Assembly.

Another anecdote will serve further to illustrate this mode of enabling the patriotism of the Quakers to get the advantage of their passive resistance, and will give also a taste of Franklin's humor and ingenuity. When his proposition was pending, in the fire-company, to apply its surplus funds to the arming of the battery for the defence of the city, he was prepared, in order to quiet, if needful, any non-combatant scruples about voting to buy cannon, to amend his motion so as to apply the funds to the purchase of fire-engines, in which category every sort of fire-arms might unquestionably be classed.

In some remarks on these embarrassments of the Quakers, Franklin intimates that they might and probably would have avoided them, had they not been so fully committed, in print before the world, to their doctrine of the unlawfulness of force in all cases ; and he takes the occasion to question the wisdom of such absolute commitment to particular opinions, as constituting a needless impediment to the admission of new convictions of truth and duty, even when clearly presented to the understanding, by further reflection, in the light derived from fuller experience, and more comprehensive views of the various obligations of civil society. To furnish an example of what he deemed “a more prudent course of conduct," he relates an interesting conversation he once had with one of the founders of the sect of Dunkers.

The man referred to, Michael Weffare by name, having complained of slanderous representations of the principles and practices of the sect, Franklin remarked that such was the usual fate of new sects, and suggested that, to put down the calumnies, they should publish their articles of faith and rules of discipline. Weffare replied, that they had once thought of doing so, but had concluded otherwise, for the reason given by him substantially as follows. When they first formed their society, God had been pleased, as they believed, to give them light enough to see that some doctrines, which they had deemed truths, were errors, and that others, once deemed errors, were truths; that further light had been, by degrees, imparted to them; and that, as they were not now sure that their spiritual knowledge was perfect, they feared to put their faith in print, lest their brethren, and still more their successors, should feel so bound and restricted thereby, as to reject new lights, and thus perhaps arrest their advancement in truth.

Franklin commends the modesty of the Dunkers, and adds the remark, made in the latter part of his life, that the Quakers, to escape annoyances of the kind mentioned, were withdrawing from public employments, “choosing rather to quit their power, than their principles ;" certainly an honorable choice.

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The war spoken of in the last chapter, having been terminated, in 1748, by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the military association, which Franklin had taken so leading and efficient a part in organizing, dissolved with the return of peace; and he was enabled to turn to more congenial pursuits. About the same period he gave himself a still freer control of his own time and occupations, by forming a partnership, with a very competent and prudent man, who had worked for him several years, by the name of David Hall, who took the entire charge of the business of both the printing-office and the bookstore.

Being thus released from the immediate and constant care of his business Franklin now again bent his efforts, with renewed zeal, to promote the cause of sound education, by the establishment of an academy. Associating with himself some of the most earnest and efficient favorers of the cause, of whom the Junto supplied its full share, he then drew up his plan, which he entitled “ Proposals relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania,” and placed it in the hands of the leading men of the community. When time had been allowed for the consideration of the subject, he started a subscription; and by judiciously making the sums subscribed, payable in five annual instalments, the amount obtained, as stated by Peters, the secretary of the Proprietaries, was “upward of £800 a year.” In doing this, Franklin, though his principal associates well understood the extent of his agency, yet kept himself, in accordance with a rule he had adopted, as much as he could in the back-ground; and when the “ Proposals,” which were first distributed in manuscript, were printed, he spoke of them in some prefatory remarks, as emanating from several publicspirited gentlemen, at whose instance they were printed, for more convenient and general distribution.

The subscription being closed, and twenty-four trustees elected, two of the number, Franklin and the pro-. vincial attorney-general, Francis, being appointed a committee for the purpose, prepared a plan for the organization and management of the academy, which was adopted, and the school was put in operation. The pupils soon became so numerous, that the house first occupied was found too small for their accommodation. It will be recollected that some years previous, under the excitement produced by Whitefield's preaching, a large building had been erected for public worship, irrespective of sectarian distinctions; and that the property and care of the house and ground, had been vested in a legally constituted board of trustees. The feeling which led to that step having passed away, and the trustees being embarrassed and annoyed by the debt it had created, Franklin, who was one of those trustees, as well as a member of the academy board, suggested the expedienсу of ceding the whole of that property, to the trustees of the academy, for the use of the new school. After some negotiation this measure was effected, on the conditions that the trustees of the academy, should pay the debt for the house and ground; keep open a large hall

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for occasional preaching without distinction of sect; and maintain therein a free school for the instruction of poor children in reading, writing, and arithmetic. This arrangement being consummated in legal form, the trustees of the academy discharged the outstanding meetinghouse debt, and being put in full possession of the properly, forthwith converted the building into a structure of two stories, with suitable apartments for the respective schools; and a little additional ground being purchased to complete the requisite accommodations thither the academy was transferred.

The immediate superintendence of this whole affair, including the alterations made in the building, the purchase of materials, the hiring of workmen, and all other details, devolved on Franklin. Some years after, the academy board was regularly incorporated by a charter from the provincial government; their funds were largely augmented by contributions from England, as well as by donations of land from the Proprietaries and from the provincial assembly; and this academy subsequently expanded into the university of Pennsylvania.

Having acquired “a sufficient though moderate fortune,” as he termed it, Franklin, in arranging his private affairs, as already mentioned, intended and expected thus to enable himself to devote his life mainly to those literary pursuits, and especially to those philosophical researches, to which he was so strongly drawn by his predominant tastes and the bent of his genius, and in which he had already made no unimportant advances. To say nothing here of his numerous pieces on the economy of private life and the prudent conduct of private affairs, which had ranked him, while yet in middle age, among the most sagacious observers of his own time or any other; and to pass over various well-considered tracts, filled with: enlightened views on the rightful foundation and objects

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