Page images

"III. Freedom to live in friendship with all nations; and

“IV. Freedom to trade with all." On the 4th of July, the Independence of the United States was declared. Immediately on the finishing of this great work, doctor Franklin, with a committee of the first talents in Congress, prepared a number of very masterly addresses to the courts of Europe, informing what the United States had done; assigning their reasons for so doing; and tendering in the most affectionate terms the friendship and trade of the young nation. The potentates of Europe were, generally, well pleased to hear that a new star had risen in the west, and talked freely of opening their treasures and presenting their gifts of friendship, &c.

But the European power that seemed most to rejoice in this event was the French. In August, doctor Franke lin, was appointed by Congress to visit the French court, for the purpose of forming an alliance with that powerful people. It was his friend, Doctor B. Rush, who first announced to him the choice which Congress had made, adding, at the same time, his hearty congratulations on that account.

“Why, doctor," replied he with a smile, “I am now, like an old broon worn down to the stump in my coun: try's service-near seventy years old. But such as I am, she must, I suppose, have the last of me.” Like the brave Dutch republicans,each with his wallet of herrings on his back, when they went forth to negociate with the proud Dons, so did doctor Franklin set out to court the great French nation, with no provisions for his journey, but a few hogsheads of tobacco. He was received in France, however, with a most hearty welcome, not only as an envoy from a brave people fighting for their rights, but also as the famed American philosopher, who by his paratonerres (lightning rods) had disarined the clouds of their lightnings, and who, it was hoped, would reduce the colossal power of Great Britain.

He had not been long in Paris, before the attention of all the courts of Europe was attached to him, by a publication, wherein he demonstrated, that, the young, healthy, and sturdy republic of America, with her simple manners, laborious habits, and millions of fresh land

[ocr errors]

and produce, would be a much safer borrower of money, than the old, profligate, and lebt-burthenel government of Britain. The Dutch and French courts, in particular, read his arguments with such attention, that they soon began to make him loans. To the French cabinet, he pointed out, “THE INEVITABLE DESTRUCTION THEIR FLEETS, COLONIES, AND COMMERCE, IN CASE OF A RE-UNION OF BRITAIN AND AMERICA.". There wanted but a grain to turn the trembling balance in favour of America.

But it was the will of Heaven to withhold that grain a good long while. And Franklin had the mortification to find, that although the French were an exceedingly polite people; constantly eulogiziny GENERAL WASHINGton and the Brave BosTONIANS, on every little victory; and also for their tobacco, very thriftily smug. gling all the fire arms and ammunition they could into the United States, yet they had no notion of coming out manfully at once upon the British lion, until they should first see the American Eagle lay the monster on his back. Dr. Franklin, of course was permitted to rest on his oars, at Passy, in the neighbourhood of Paris. His characteristic philanthropy, however, could not allow hiin to be idle at a court, whose pride and extravagance were so horribly irreconcileable with his ideas of the trúe use of riches, i. e. INDEPENDENCE for ourselves, and BENEFICENCE to others. And he presently came out in the Paris Gazette with the following master piece of Wit and ECONOMICS.

To the Editors of the Paris Journal.


I was the other evening in a grand company, where the new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, and much admired for its splendour; but a general inquiry was made, whether the oil it consumed, was not in proportion to the light it afforded; in which case there would be no saving in the use of it. present could satisfy us on that point; which all agreed ought to be known, it being a very desirable thing to lessen, if possible, the expense of lightning our apart

No one

ments, when every other article of family expense was so much augmented.

I was pleased to see this general concern for economy; for I love economy exceedingly.

I went home, and to bed, three or four hours after midnight, with my head full of the subject. An accidental sudden noise awaked me about six in the morning, when I was surprised to find my room filled with light; and I imagined, at first, that a number of these lamps had been brought into it; but rubbing my eyes, I perceived the light came in at my windows. I got up, and looked out to see what might be the occasion of it; when I saw the sun just rising above the horizon, whence he poured his rays plentifully into my chamber, my domestic having negligently omitted, the preceding evening, to close the shutters.

I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o'clock; and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so early, I looked into the almanack; where I found it to be the hour given for its rising on that day.

Your readers, who, with me, have never seen any signs of sunshine before noon, and seldom regard the astronomical part of the almanac, will be as much astonished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and especially when I assure them that he gives light as soon as he rises. I am certain of the fact. I saw it with my own eyes. And having repeated this observation the three following mornings, I found always precisely the saine result.

Yet so it happens, that when I speak of this discovery to others, I can easily perceive by their countenances, though they forbear expressing it in words, that they do not quite believe me. 'One, indeed, who is a learned natural philosopher, has assured me, that I must certainly be mistaken as to the circumstance of the light coming into my room; for it being well known, as he says, that there could be no light abroad at that hour, it follows that none could enter from without; and that of consequence, my windows being accidentally left open, instead of letting in the light, had only served to let out the darkness.

This event has given rise, in my mind, to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the sun, and in exchange have I ved six hours the following night by candle light; and the latter being a much more expensive light than the foriner, my love of economy induced me to inuster up what little arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I shall give you, after observing, that utility is, in my opinion, the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, is good for nothing.

I took for the basis of my calculation, the supposition that there are 100,000 families in Paris; and that these families consume in the night half a pound of candles, per hour. I think this a moderate allowance, taking one family with another; for though I believe some consume less, I know that many consume a great deal more. Then, estimating seven hours per day, as the medium quantity between the time of the sun's rising and ours, and there being seven hours, of course, per night, in which we burn candles, the account will stand thus:

In 12 months there are nights 365; hours of each night in which we burn candles 7; multiplication gives for the total number of hours 2555. These multiplied by 100,000, the number of families in Paris, give 255,500,000 hours spent at Paris by candle light, which, at half a pound of wax and tallow per hour, gi 127,750,000 pounds, worth, at 30 livres the pound, 383,250,000 livres; upwards of THIRTY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

An immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles!!

If it should be said, that the people are very apt to be obstinately attached to old customs, and that it will be difficult to induce them to rise before noon, consequently my discovery can be of little use, I answer, we must not despair. I believe all, who have common sense, as soon as they have learnt, from this paper, that it is day light when the sun rises, will contrive to rise with him; and to compel the rest, I would propose the following regulations:

First. Let a tax be laid of a louis, a guinea, per window, on every window that is provided with shutters to keep out the light of the sun.

Second. Let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and tallow chandlers; and no family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candles per week.

Third. Let guards be posted, to stop all the coaches, &c. that would pass the streets after sunset, except those of physicians, surgeons, and midwives. Fourth. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises,

let all the bells in the city be set ringing; and if that be not sufficient let cannon be fired in every street, to awake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.

All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity. Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and, it is more than probable, he shall go willingly to bed at eight in the evening; and having had eight hours sleep, he will rise more willingly at four, in the morning following.

For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely communicated and bestowed by me, on the good city of 'Paris, I demand neither place, pension, exclusive privi. lege, nor any other reward whatever. I expect only to have the honour of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds, who will, as usual, deny me this, and say that my invention was known to the ancients. I will not dispute that the ancients knew, that the sun would rise at certain hours. They possibly had almanacs that predicted it: but it does not follow, thence, that they knew that he gave light as soon as he rose. This is what I claim as my discovery. If the ancients knew it, it must long since have been forgotten; for it certainly was unknown to the moderns, at least to the Parisians; which to prove, I need use but one plain simple argument. They are as well instructed and prudent a people as exist, any where in the world; all professing, like myself, to be lovers of economy; and, from the many heavy taxes required from them by the necessities of the state, have surely reason to be economical. I say it is impossible that so sensible a people, under such cir

« PreviousContinue »