« ZurückWeiter »
Rules for a Club established in Philadelphia.
Previous question, to be answered at every meeting.
Have you read over these queries this morning, in order to consider what you might have to offer the Junto touching any one of them ? viz.
'1. Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physic, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge.
'2. What new story have you lately heard, agreeable for telling in conversation?
'3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately, and what have you heard of the cause?
'4. Have you lately heard of any citizen's thriving well, and by what means?
'5. Have you lately heard how any present rich man, here or elsewhere, got his estate?
'6. Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation? or who has committed an error proper for us to be warned against and avoid?
* 7. What unhappy effects of intemperance have you lately observed or heard? of impru■ dence? of passion? or of any other vice or folly?
'8. What happy effects of temperance? of prudence? of moderation? or of any other virtue •
'9. Have you, or any of your acquaintance, been lately sick or wounded? if so, what remedies were used, and what were their effects?'
'10. Who do you know that are shortly going voyages or journies, if one should have occasion to send by them?
'11. Do you think of any thing at present, in which the Junto may be serviceable to mankind f to their country, to their friends, or to themselves f
'12. Hath any deserving stranger arrived in town since our last meeting that you heard of? and what have you heard or observed of his character or merits: and whether you think it lies in the power of the Junto to oblige him, or encourage him as he deserves?
'13. Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?
'14. Have you lately observed any defect in the laws of your country, of which it would be proper to move the legislature for an amendment i or do you know of any beneficial law that is wanting?
'15. Have you lately observed any encroachment on the just liberties of the people?
'16. Hath any body attacked your reputation lately r and what can the Junto do towards securing it?
'17. Is there any man whose friendship you want, and which the Junto or any of them can procure for you?
'18. Have you lately heard any member's character attacked, and how have you defended it?
'19. Hath any man injured you, from whom it is in the power of the Junto to procure you redress?
'20. In what manner can the Junto, or any of them, assist you in any of your honourable designs?
,'21. Have you any weighty affair in hand, in which you think the advice of the Junto may be of service?
'22. What benefits have you lately received from any man not present?
'23. Is there any difficulty in matters of opinion, of justice, and injustice, which you would gladly have discussed at this time?
'24. Do you see any thing amiss in the present customs or proceedings of the Junto, which might be amended?
Any person to be qualified, (as a Member of the Junto) to stand up, and lay his hand on his breast, and be asked these questions; viz.
* 1. Have you any particular disrespect to any present members ?—Answer. I have not.
'2. Do you sincerely declare that you love mankind in general; of what profession or religion soever? Answer. I do.
'3. Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his body, name or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship ?—Answer. No.
'4. Do you love truth for truth's sake, and will you endeavour impartially to find and re*. ceive it yourself and communicate it to others ?—Answer. Yes.
Questions discussed by the JuNto forming the preceding Club.
Is sound an entity or body?
How may the phenomena of vapours be explained?
Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind, the universal monarch to whom all are tributaries?
Which is the best form of government, and what was that form which first prevailed among mankind?
Can any one particular form of government suit all mankind?
What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the Bay of Fundy than the Bay of Delaware?
Is the emission of paper money safe?
What is the reason that men of the greatest knowledge are not the most happy?
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 smoaky chimneys be best cured?
Why does the flame of a candle tend upwards 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?
Nos. 3 & 4.
[When the references at pages 50 and 78 were made to these Tracts, it was intended to reprint them in this place: as, however, the select Miscellaneous Works of Dr. Franklin (many of which have never appeared) are preparing for publication, and will succeed these Memoirs, the Editor has preferred to insert them in that collection, and they are therefore omitted in the present volume.]
[Referred to p. 166 of Memoirs.]
REMARKS on a late PROTEST against the Appointment of Mr. Franklin, an Agent for the Province of Pennsylvania.
I Have generally passed over, with a silent disregard, the nameless abusive pieces that have been written against me; and though the paper, called a Protest, is signed by some respectable names, I was, nevertheless, inclined to treat it with the same indifference; but as the Assembly is therein reflected on upon my account, it is thought more my duty to make some remarks upon it.
I would first observe then, that this mode of protesting by the minority, with a string of reasons against the proceedings of the majority of the House of Assembly, is quite new among us; the present is the second we have had of the kind, and both within a few months. It is unknown to the practice of the House of Commons, or of any House of Representatives in America, that I have heard of; and seems an affected imitation of the Lords in Parliament, which can by no means become Assembly-men of America. Hence appears the absurdity of the complaint, that the House refused the protest an entry on their minutes. The protesters know that they are not, by any custom or usage, entitled to such an entry, and that the practice here is not only useless in itself, but would be highly inconvenient to the House, since it would probably be thought necessary for the majority also to enter their reasons, to justify themselves to their constituents, whereby the minutes would be encumbered, and the public business obstructed. More especially would it be found inconvenient, if such protests are made use of as a new form of libelling, as the vehicles of personal malice, and as means of giving to private abuse the appearance of a sanction, as public acts. Your protest, Gentlemen, was therefore properly refused; and since it is no part of the proceedings of Assembly, one may with the more freedom exar mine it.
Your first reason against my appointment is, that you " believe me to be the chief author of the measures pursued by the last Assembly, which have occasioned such uneasiness and distraction among the good people of this province." I shall not dispute my share in those measures; I hope they are such as will in time do honor to all that were concerned in them. But you seem
* Erroneously numbered 6, in Mcmoib;.
mistaken in the order of time: it was the uneasiness and distraction among the good people of the province that occasioned the measures; the province was in confusion before they were taken, and they were pursued in order to prevent such uneasiness and distraction for the future. Make one step farther back, and you will find proprietary injustice supported by proprietary minions and creatures, the original cause of all our uneasiness and distractions.
Another of your reasons is," that I am, as you are informed, very unfavourably thought of by several of his Majesty's Ministers." I apprehend, Gentlemen, that your informer is mistaken. He indeed has taken great pains to give unfavourable impressions of me, and perhaps may flatter himself, that it is impossible so much true industry should be totally without effect. His long success in maiming or murdering all the reputations that stand in his way, which has been the dear delight and constant employment of his life, may likewise have given him some just ground for confidence that he has, as they call it, done for me, amongst the rest. But, as I said before, I believe he is mistaken. For what have I done that they should think unfavourably of me? It cannot be my constantly and uniformly promoting the measures of the Crown, ever since I had any influence in the province. It cannot, surely, be my promoting the change from a proprietary to a royal government. If indeed I had, by speeches and writings, endeavoured to make his Majesty's Government universally odious in the province;—if I had harangued by the week, to all comers and goers, on the pretended injustice and oppressions of royal government, and the slavery of the people under it;—if I had written traitorous papers to this purpose, and got them translated into other languages, to give his Majesty's foreign subjects here those horrible ideas of it;—if I had declared, written and printed, that " the King's little finger we should find heavier than the proprietor's whole loins," with regard to our liberties;—then indeed might the Ministers be supposed to think unfavourably of me. But these are not exploits for a man who holds a profitable office under the Crown, and can expect to hold it no longer than he behaves with the fidelity and duty that becomes every good subject. They are only for officers of proprietary appointment, who hold their commissions during his, and not the King's, pleasure; and who, by dividing among themselves, and their relations, offices of many thousands a year, enjoyed by proprietary favour, feel where to place their loyalty. I wish they were as good sub jects to his Majesty;—and perhaps they may be so, when the proprietary interferes no longer.
Another of your reasons is, "that the proposal of me for an agent is extremely disagreeable to a very great number of the most serious and reputable inhabitants of the province; and the proof is, my having been rejected at the last election, though I had represented the city in Assembly for 14 years."
And do those of you, Gentlemen, reproach me with this, who, among four thousand voters, had scarcely a Score more than I had? It seems then, that your elections were very near being rejections, and thereby furnishing the same proof in your case that you produce in mine, of your being likewise extremely disagreeable to a very great number of the most serious and reputable people. Do you, honourable Sir, reproach me with this, who for almost twice 14 years have been rejected (if not being chosen is to be rejected) by the same people, and unable, with all your wealth and connections, and the influence they give you, to obtain an election in the