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year 1785, when he found its charters violated, and his ancient colleagues, the original founders, deprived of their trust
, by an act of the legislature, and although his own name had been inserted among the new trustees, yet he declined to take his feat among them, or any concern in the management of their affairs, till the institution was restored by law to its original owners. He then afsembled his old colleagues at his own bouse, and being chosen their president, all their future meetings were, at his request, held there, till within a few montbs of his death, when with reluctance, and at their desire, lest he might be too much injured by his attention to their busiDess, he suffered them to meet at the college.
Franklin not only gave birth to many useful institutions himself, but he was also instrumental in promoting those which had originated with o
About the year 1752, an eminent physician of this city, Dr. Bond, considering the deplorable state of the poor, when visited with disease, conceived the idea of establishing an hospital. Notwithstanding very great exertions on his part, he was able to interest few people fo far in his benevolent plan, as to obtain subscriptions from them. Unwilling that his scheme 1hould prove abortive, he fought the aid of Franklin, who readily engaged in che business, both by uing his influence with his friends, and by stating he advantageous influence of the proposed instiution in his paper.
These efforts were attend. ed with succeis. Considerable fums were subscria ped; but they were still short of what was neceffa'y Franklin now made another exertion. 'pplied to the assembly; and, after some oppofiVOL. I.
tion, obtained leave to bring in a bill, specifying that as soon as two thousand pounds were subfcri. bed, the same sum should be drawn from the trea. sury by the speaker's warrant, to be applied to the purposes of the institution. The opposition, as the sum was granted upon a contingency which they supposed would never take place, were filent, and the bill passed. The friends of the plan now redoubled their efforts, to obtain subscriptions to the amount stated in the bill, and were scon successful. This was the foundation of the Pennfylvania Hospital, which, with the Bettering-house and Dispensary, bears ample tellimony of the humanity of the citizens of Philadelphia.
Dr. Franklin had conducted hiinself so well in the office of post-master, and had shown himself to be so well acquainted with the business of that department that it was thought expedient to raise him to a more dignified flation. In 1753 he was appointed deputy post-master-general for the British colonies. The prefits arising from the postage of the revenue, which the crown of Great Bricain derived from the .colonies. In the hands of Franklin, it is said, that the post-office in A. merica yielded annually thrice as much as that of Ireland.
The American colonies were much exposed to depredations on their frontiers, by the Indians ? and more particularly whenever a war took place between France and England. The colonies individually, were either too weak to take efficient measures for their own defence, or they were un willing to take upon themselves the whole burden of erecting forts and maintaining garrisons, whill their neighbours, who partook equally with the
felves, of the advantages, contributed nothing to the expence. Sometimes also the disputes, which subfisted between the governors and assemblies, prevented the adoption of means of defence ; as we have feen was the case in Pennsylvania in 1745. To devise a plan of union between the colonies, to regulate this and other matters, appeared a defirable object. To accomplish this, in the year 1754, commissioners from New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Ifland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, met at Albany. Dr. Franklin atfended here, as a commillioner from Pennsylvania, and produced a plan, which, from the place of meeting, has been usually fermed “ The Albany Plan of Union." This proposed, that application should be made for an act of parliament, to eitablish in the colonies a general government, to be administered by a prefident-general, appointed by the crown, and by a grand council, confifting of members chosen by the representatives of the different colonies ; their number to be in direct proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives. The whole executive authority was committed to the president-generali The power of legislation was lodged in the grand council and president-general jointly ; his consent being made necessary to passing a bill into a law. The power vested in the president and council were, to declare war and peace, and to conclude treaties with the Indian nations; to regulate trade with, and to make purcha ses of vacant lands from them, either in the name of the crown, or of the union; to settle new colonies, to make laws for governing these until they should be erected into separate governments, and to raise troops, build forts, fit out armed vessels and use other means for the general defence: and, to affect these things, a power was given to make laws, laying such duties, impoíts, or taxes, as they 1hould find necessary, and as would be least burdensome to the people. All laws were to be fent to England for the king's approbation ; and unless disapproved of within three years, were to remain in force. All officers in the land or sea fervice were to be nominated by the president-gene. ral, and approved of by the general council ; civil officers were to be nominated by the council, and approved by the prelident. Such are the outlines of the plan proposed, for the consideration of the congress, by Dr. Franklin.
After several days discussion, it was unanimously agreed to by the commiflioners, a copy transmitted to each alfembly, and one to the king's council. The fate of it was fingular. It was disapproved of by the ministry of Great Britain, because it gave tool much power to the representatives of the people; and it was rejected by every assembly, as giving to the president-general, the rep. esentative of the crown, an influence greater than appeared to them proper,
in a plan
government intended for freemen. Perhaps this rejection, on Loth fides, is the strongest proof that could be adduced of the excellence of it, as suited to the situation of America and Great Britain at that time.
It appears to have steered exactly in the middle, between the opposite interests of both.
Whether the adoption of this plan would have revented the separation of America from Great
Britain, is a question which might afford much room for fpeculation. It may be said, that, by enabling the colonies to defend themselves, it would have removed the pretext upon which the ftamp-act, tea-act, and other acts of the British parliament, were passed : which excited a spirit of opposition, and laid the foundation for the leparation of the two countries. But, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that the restriction laid by Great Britain-upon our commerce, obliging us to sell, our produce to her citizens only, and to take from theni various articles, of which, as our manufactures were discouraged, we stood in need, at a price greater than that for which they could have been obtained from other nations, must inea vitably produce diflatisfaction, even though no du. ties were imposed by the parliament: a circumAtance which might ftill have taken place. Be fides, as the president-general was to be appointed by the crown, he mult, of neceflity, be devoted to its views, and would, therefore, refuse his assent to any laws, however falutary to the community, which had the most remote tendency to injure the intereits of his sovereign. Even should they receive his assent, tlie approbation of the king was to be neceffary ; who would indubitably, in every instance, prefer the advantage of his home dominions to that of his colonies. Hence would ensue perpetual disagreements between the council and the president-general, and thus, between the people of America and the crown of Great Britain : While the colonies continued weak, they would be obliged to submit, and as soon as they acquired strength they would become more urgent in their.