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Historical Chronicle for all the British Provinces in America." "The American Magazine" lived three months, and was ridiculed by Franklin in doggerel verse. "The General Magazine" struggled on for six months, and then quietly expired. It was printed on the small type of which Franklin had boasted to Webbe. The title-page was adorned with the Prince of Wales' coronet and plumes. The contents were historical, political, religious. There were speeches of governors, replies of assemblies, pieces of poetry, extracts from books, long theological disputes, and a manual of arms. But neither the contents, nor the fine type, nor the place of postmaster, could make it popular. It perished miserably, was utterly forgotten by its founder, and is of no interest now save that, with the "American Magazine" of Bradford, it forms the first attempt to set up the monthly magazine in America.
THE failure of the magazine did not dishearten him, and he was soon casting about for something else to set agoing. He found it in the "Academy and Charitable School of the Province of Pennsylvania." There was in almost every large town in the province a school of some sort where the rudiments of education were taught. But nowhere did an academy, or anything approaching to a college, exist. That none existed was, to Franklin, a good and sufficient reason why he should seek to found one. It was not long, therefore, before he had a plan drawn and a rector chosen. The rector was to be the Reverend Richard Peters. But Mr. Peters had a better-paying place in view, would not think of such a position; and Franklin, knowing of no other fit for the trust, laid his scheme aside for six years.
Hard upon the abandonment of the plan for an academy came his "Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Planta
tions in America." The paper is dated May 14, 1743, goes over the difficulties scientific men found in communicating their discoveries to each other, and suggests as a remedy the founding of the "American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia. This was done. But beyond this fact and the roll of membership, nothing concerning it is known. The records are gone. The transactions are lost, and if any papers were communicated by the members, they too are wanting. Franklin did, indeed, propose to publish an American Philosophical Miscellany, to issue the first number in January, 1746, and to put in it selections from the papers written by the gentlemen of the society. But when 1746 came Franklin was deep in electrical researches, from which in 1747 he was suddenly turned aside by a series of events it is now necessary to narrate.
In 1739 trouble broke out between England and Spain as to the right to gather salt at Tortugas and cut logwood at Campeachy. As the next ship from London might bring news of open war, the governor begged the assembly to put the province in a state of defense. He reminded them in strong terms of the terrors of war, of sacked cities, of ravaged fields, of the slaughter of the young and feeble by merciless and pitiless invaders. But his eloquence could
not move them and they adjourned.
assembling, the governor again appealed for money with which to make ready for war. he was reminded by the assembly that in Pennsylvania all men enjoyed an equal right to the liberty of conscience; that the Quakers could not in conscience take up arms, and that to compel them so to do would be a violation of the fundamental doctrines of the constitution. To exempt the Quakers from military service would, on the other hand, be to make a partial law, and to make partial laws was unconstitutional and impolitic. In short, he was plainly told that the Quakers would neither fight themselves, nor openly furnish means for others to fight. Even when war was formally declared from the court-house steps, he could obtain nothing, and was forced to be content with drumming up volunteers for an expedition "to plunder Cuba."
The proclamation which the governor put forth on that occasion, and which Franklin printed, is a fine commentary on the warfare of that age. It reads like such a speech as might have been made to the braves who sacked Schenectady, or such an exhortation as Blackbeard might have made on the eve of battle to the wretches that constituted his pirate crew.
"The Spaniards," the humane governor an
nounced, "have no strength either of men or fortifications that can resist the king's forces on this expedition; they will be an easy conquest and you the gainers. They will fly before you and leave their houses, their negroes, their money, plate, jewels, and plantations to be possessed by you and your posterity forever.
"Consider the terms, too, on which you are invited to this undertaking. It is not at your or your country's expense. No! the king defrays the whole charge. He pays you. He clothes you. He arms you. He transports you to the places of victory, plunder, and riches, and then transports you hither again if you choose to return. Would you throw off your homespun, and shine in silver and gold lace and embroidery? Would you grow rich at once? Would you leave great estates to your posterity? Go volunteer in this expedition and take the island of Cuba."
So alluring did the prospect seem, that seven companies were soon enlisted and quartered in the towns near Philadelphia; and of these troops fully three hundred were redemptioners who had volunteered for the king's service without their masters' consent. Out of this grew a long dispute between the governor and the assembly, which neither the appearance of Spanish privateers off the coast, nor the declaration of