Page images
[ocr errors]

complaining of nothing, and wondering much why she fell, for that nothing of the sort had ever happened to her before.”

Nay, he also tells us. of himself, that by accident, he received a shock which in an instant brought him to the floor, without giving him time to see, hear, or feel any thing of the matter! Hence he concludes, and I think with good reason, that all who dread the idea of pain in dying, would do well to pray, if it be God's will, to die of coelataction, as the ancients called it, or a touch from heaven.

It is worthy of remark, that persons thus knocked down, do not stagger, or fall lengthwise, but as if deprived instantaneously of strength and firmness, they sink down at once, doubled or folded together, or as we say, "all in a heap.

Doctor Franklin seldom suffered any thing to escape him. From the power of lightning to dissolve the hardest metals, he caught an idea favorable to cooking and matrimony. First, an old dunghill cock killed in the morning by a shock from his electrical jar, by dinner was become so tender that both the doctor and several of his literary friends pronounced it equal to a young pheasant. Second, an old bachelor thought to be far gone in a consumption, had hardly received more than a couple of dozen smart shocks of electricity, before he turned into courting with great spirit, and presently got himself a wife,

If electrical jars could be had cheap, this discovery concerning the old dunghill cock might prove a good hint to those gentlemen in the tavern keeping line, who are so very frugal that they will not keep up a coop full of young poultry, fat and fine, and always ready for the traveller, but prefer giving him the pain, long after his arrival at their door, to hear the lean tenants of the dunghill flying and squalling from the pursuit of the barking dogs and noisy servants.

And as to the experiment on the other kind of old CAPOX, the grunting wheezing old bachelor, it clearly points to the wish often expressed by Dr. Franklin, viz. "that the legislature would order an electrical machine, large enough to kill a turkey cock at least, to be

placed in every parish, at the cost and for the benefit of all the old bachelors of the same."


I HAVE been told that Dr. Franklin on his death bed often returned thanks to God for having so kindly cast his lot of life in the very time when of all others he would have chosen to live for the great purposes of usefulness and pleasure. And so indeed it appears, for scarcely had he matured, as above, his most useful discoveries in electricity, before a new door was opened to bim for another noble charity to his country.

Some there are who for a good work begun by themselves will do every thing; but for the same work begun by others will do nothing; and yet will call themselves christians. Franklin lived to set the example of a better christianity. A notable instance of this occurred about this time, 1754.

A-Dr. Thomas Bond having noticed a number of fac milies so extremely poor, as to be in eminent danger not only of suffering grievously in case of sickness, but of actually perishing for want of wholesome food and medicine, generously undertook, by subscription, to build a hospital for these sufferers. Meeting with but little encouragement, and knowing Dr. Franklin's influence and public spirit, he applied to him for assistance. Perfectly indifferent who got the praise, provided he but shared the pleasure of founding so god-like an institution, Franklin entered very heartily into the plan with Dr. Bond; and inserted in his newspaper, a series of essays, "on the great duty of charity to the sick and miserable,” which made such an impression on the public mind, that the noble sum of twelve thousand dollars was quickly subscribed. With this the trustees bought a lot, and finished one wing of their hospital, for imme

On the foundation stone is to be seen the following inscription by Dr. Franklin:

[ocr errors]

diate use.

"In the


of Christ

MDCCLV, George the Second, happily reigning, (For he sought the HAPPINESS OF HIS PEOPLE,

Philadelphia flourishing,
(For its inhabitants were public spirited,)

This Building
By the bounty of the Government
And of many private persons

Was piously founded
For the relief of the sick and miserable.


Never did benevolence put up an ejaculation more fervent. And never was one more signally answered. Indeed the blessings of heaven have been so signally showered on this excellent charity, that it now forms one of the brightest ornaments of the fairest city in America, presenting to the delighted eye of humanity a noble front, of elevation and extent far beyond that of Solomon's temple, even a royal range of buildings, two and three stories high, two hundred and seventy-eight feet long, and forty wide, containing about one hundred and thirty spacious well aired rooms, for the accomodation of the sick, wounded, and lunatic of every description; affectionately waited on by skilful physicians and attentive nurses; comforted by refreshing baths both hot and cold; and abundantly supplied with the best loaf bread, nice vegetables, fresh meats, soups, wines and medicines.

And while other parts of the city have been very sickly; and especially in the summer of 1793, when no fewer than 4000 persons perished of the yellow fever, not a single case of disease occured in this hospital. The destroying angel as he passed aloog, smelt the odour of that precious grace (charity) which embalmed the building, and let fall his avenging sword.

Gentlemen travellers falling sick in Philadelphia, will please be informed of this famous hospital, that if they wish excellent physicians, experienced nurses, pleasant chambers, pure air, and sweet retirement, they may here

have all these of the first quality at half price; and even THAT a donation to the Institution.


DR. FRANKLIN, about this time, 1756, commenced his political career.

When we see some peerless CHILDERS, (whose figure almost proves the divinity of matter, and who in matchless speed leaves the stormy winds behind him,) bending under the weight of a miller's bag, or tugging at the hames of some drunken carman, how can we otherwise than mourn such a prostitution of excellencies; so, how can we but mourn, when we see such a man as Franklin, born for those divine arts which widen our empire over nature, and multiply a thousand-fold the comforts of life, wasting his precious time in combate ting the unreasonable claims of selfish and wicked man?

This for a portion of his eventful life was the sad destiny of Dr Franklin. Scarcely had he passed his first forty years in his favourite philosophical labours, equally useful to the world, and delightful to himself, when he was all at once stopped short-stopped by the voice of public gratitude. 'l'he wise and virtuous people of Pennsylvania, chiefly quakers, who estimate a man, not by the fineness of his coat, but the usefulness of his life, were not to overlook such a man as Franklin. His astonishing industry, and his many valuable inventions, had long made him the favourite theme of their talk. But it was not for approbation so general and hearty, to be satisfied with mere talk.

What shall be done for the man whom the people delighteth to honour? was the question in every circle. God, they said, has lighted up this candle for our use, it must not be hid under a bushel. Let it be placed on the great candlestick of the nation, the LEGISLATURE, So strong, indeed, was the public feeling in his favour, that from several of the wards, deputations were sppointed to wait upon him, to beg he would serve the city as their representative in the house of burgesses.

The sight of his name in the papers, as a candidate at the next election, to serve the city of Philadelphia, gave a general joy. Among his opponents were several of the wealthiest citizens, who had long served as representatives, and whose numerous friends could not bear the idea of their being turned out. Great exertions were made on both sides; and the poles were uncommonly crowded. But when the contest came to issue, it was found that the Philadelphia printer, and son of the good old psalm-singing Boston tallow-chandler, carried the day with great ease.

O ye simple ones, how long will you love simplicity! you, I mean, who can once a year look sweetly on your constituents, and once a year invite them to barbacues, and make them drunk with whiskey, thus ignobly bega ging those votes which you feel you have not the sense to deserve, O learn from this your great countryman, wherein consists the true art of electioneering; not in ignoble tricks like these, to court the little, but in high qualifications, like Dr. Franklin's, to be courted by the great.

The exalted expectations formed of him by the public were not disappointed. Heartily a lover of man and the friend of equal rights, he had scarcely taken his seat in the legislature before he had to turn the torrent of his honest indignation against the proprietaries and their creatures the Governors.

The reader will please here be reminded that in the year 1680, that great good man, William Penn, a quaker, was paid off a large claim against Charles II. of England, by a grant of lands in North America. To make the best of a bad bargain, honest William gathered together a caravan of his poor persecuted brethren, and taking ship came over to North America.

The good angel that guided the steps of pious Jacob as he sojourned from Pa-dan-aram to the land of Uzz, seeking a rest; guided Penn and his gentle followers to the mouth of the Delaware bay. He followed the stately flood in all its wanderings among the green marshes and forests of the new found world, until he reached the pleasant spot where now Philadelphia stands. The

« PreviousContinue »