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tents taken out of my inventions by others, though not always with the same success; which I never contested, as baving no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes. The use of these fire places in very many houses, both here in Pennsylvania, and the neighboring States, bas been, and is, a great saving of wood to the inhabitants.
Peace being concluded, and the association business there. fore at an end, I turned my thoughts again to the affair of establishing an academy. The first step I took was to associate in the design a number of active friends, of whom the Junto furnished a good part: the next was to write and publish a pamphlet, entitled, “ Proposals relating to the Educa. tion of Youth in Pennsylvania.” This I distributed among the principal inbabitants gratis: and as soon as I could suppose their minds a little prepared by the perusal of it, I set on foot a subscription for opening and supporting an academy; it was to be paid in quotas yearly for five years; by so dividing it I judged the subscription might be larger; and I believe it was so, amounting to no less, if I remember right, than five thousand pounds.
In the introduction to these proposals, I stated their publication not as an act of mine, but of some public-spirited genilemen; avoiding as much as I could, according to my usual rule, the presenting myself to the public as the author of any scheme for their benefit.
The subscribers, to carry the project into immediate esecution, chose out of their number twenty-four trustees, and appointed Mr. Francis, then att rney-general, and myself, to draw up constitutions for the government of the academy; which being done and signed, a house was hired, masters engaged, and the schools opened; I think in the same year 1749.
The scholars increasing fast, the house was soon found too small, and we were looking out for a piece of ground, properly situated, with intent to build, when accident threw into our way a large house ready built, which with a few altera. tions might well serve our purpose: this was the building ca forementioned, erected by the hearers of Mr. Whitefield, and was obtained for us in the following manner.
It is to be noted, that the contributions to this building being made by people of different sects, care was taken in the nomination of trustees, in whom the building and ground were to be vested, that a predominancy should not be given to any sect, lest in time that predominancy might be a means of appropriating the whole to the use of such sect, contrary to the original intention; it was for this reason that one of each sect was appointed; viz. one Church of England man, one Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Moravian, &c., who in case of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election among the contributors. The Moravian happened not to please his colleagues, and on his death they resolved to have no other of that sect; the difficulty then was, how to avoid having two of some other sect, by means of the new choice. Several persons were named, and for that reason not agreed to: at length one mentioned me, with the observation, that I was merely an honest man, and of no sect at all, which prevailed with them to choose me. The enthusiasm which existed when the house was built, had long since abated, and its trustees had not been able to procure fresh contributions for paying the ground rent, and discharging some other debts the building had occasioned, which embarrassed them greatly. Being now a member of both boards of trustees, that for the building, and that for the academy, I had a good opportunity of nego.' tiating with both, and brought them finally to an agreement, by wbich the trustees for the building were to cede it to those of the academy; the latter undertaking to discharge the debt, to keep for ever open in the building a large hall for occasional preachers, according to the original intention, and maintain a free school for the instruction of poor children. Writings were accordingly drawn; and on paying the debts, the trustees of the academy were put in possession of the premises; and by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and different rooms above and below for the several schools, and purchasing some additional ground, the whole was soon
made fit for our purpose, and the scholars removed into the building. The whole care and trouble of agreeing with the workmen, purchasing materials, and superintending the work, fell upon me, and I went through it the more cheerfully, as it did not then interfere with my private business; having th:c year before taken a very able, industrious, and honest partner, Mr. David Hall, with whose character I was well acquainted, as he had worked for me four years; he took off my bands all care of the printing office, paying me punctually my share of the profits. This partnership continued eighteen years, successfully for us both.
The trustees of the academy after a while, were incorporated by a charter from the governor; their funds were increased by contributions in Britain, and grants of land from the proprietaries, to which the assembly has since made considerable addition; and thus was established the present university of Philadelphia. I have been continued one of its trustees from the beginning, (now near forty years,) and have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the youth who have received their education in it, distinguished by their improved abilities, serviceable in public stations, and ornaments to their country.
When I was disengaged myself, as abovementioned, from private business, I flattered myself that by the sufficient, though moderate fortune I had acquired, I had found leisure during the rest of my life for philosophical studies and amusements. I purchased all Dr. Spence's apparatus, who had come from England to lecture in Philadelpbia, and I procedled in my electrical experiments with great alacrity; but the public now considering me as a man of leisure, laid hold of me for their purposes; every part of our civil government, and almost at the same time, imposing some duty upon me. The governor put me into the commission of the peace; the corporation of the city chose me one of the common council, and soon after alderman; and the citizens at large elected me & burgess to represent them in assembly; this latter station was the more agreeable to me, as I grew at length tired with
sitting there to hear the debates, in which as clerk I could take no part; and which were often so uninteresting, that I was induced to amuse myself with making magic squares or circles,' or any thing to avoid weariness; and I conceived my becoming a member, would enlarge my power of doing good. I would not however insinuate that my ambition was not flattered by all these promotions: it certainly was; for considering my low beginning, they were great things to me: and they were still more pleasing, as being so many spontaneous testimonies of the public good opinion, and by me entirely unsolicited.
The office of justice of the peace I tried a little, by attending a few courts, and sitting on the bench to hear causes; but finding that more knowlege of the common law than I possessed was necessary to act in that station with credit, I gradually withdrew from it; excusing myself by my being obliged to attend the higher duties of a legislator in the assembly. My clection to this trust was repeated every year for ten years, without my ever asking any elector for his vote, or signifying either directly or indirectly any desire of being chosen. On taking my seat in the house, my son was appointed heir clerk.
The year following, a treaty being to be held with the Indians at Carlisle, the governor sent a message to the house, proposing that they should nominate some of their members, to be joined with some members of council, as commissioners for that purpose. The liouse named the speaker, (Mr. Norris) and myself; and being commissioned we went to Carlisle, and not the Indians accordingly. As those people are extremely apt to get drunk, and win so are very quarrelsome and disorderly, we strictly forbade the selling any liquor to them: and when they complained of this restriction We told them, that if they would continue sober during the treaty, we would give them plenty of rum when the business was over. They promised this, and they kept their promise,
+ See several of these, in “ Papers on Subjects of Philosophy, &c."
because they could get no rum; and the treaty was conducted very orderly, and concluded to mutual satisfaction. Tbey then claimed and received the rum; tbis was in the afternoon; they were near one lundred men, women, and children, and were lodged in temporary cabins, built in the form of a square just without the town. In the evening bearing a great nois: among them, the commissioners walked to see what was the matter; we toud they had made a great bonfire in the middle of the square: they were all drunk, men and wo. men, quarreling and fighting. Their dark-colored bodies, half-naked, seen only by the gloomy light of the bonfire, running after and beating one another with firebrands, accom. panied by their horrid yellings, formed a scene the most resembling our ideas of hell that could well be imagined; there was no appeasing the tumult, and we retired to our lodging. At midnight a number of them came thundering at our door, demanding more rum, of which we took no notice. The next day, sensible they had misbehaved in giving us that disturbance, they sent three of their old counsellors to make their apology. The orator acknowleged the fault, but laid it upon the rum; and then endeavored to excuse the rum, by saying, 66 The Great Spirit who made all things, made every thing for some use, and whatever use he designed any thing for, that use it should always be put to: now, when he made rum, he said, • LET THIS BE FOR THE INDIANS TO GET DRUNK WITH; and it must be so.” And indeed if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages, in order to make room for the cultivators of the earth, it seems not impossible that rum may be the appointed means. It has already annihilated all the tribes who formerly inhabited the sea coast.
In 1751, Dr. Thomas Bonil, a particular friend of mine, conceived the idea of establishing an hospital in Philadelphia, (a very beneficent design, wbich has been ascribed to me, but was originally and truly his) for the reception and curo of poor sick persons, whether inhabitants of the province or strangers. He was zealous and active in endeavoring to pro curc subscriptions for it; but the proposal being a novelty