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"DIALOGUE BETWEEN X, Y, AND Z.”
mangled bodies of a family the Indians had killed were carried about the city in an open cart, and laid out before the state-house door. The Quakers had long refused either to fight themselves, or furnish the means for others to fight. The governor would approve no tax levy from which the proprietary estates were not expressly exempt. The assembly would pass no tax-bill in which the lands of the proprietaries were not included. But, in the terrible days that followed the news of Braddock's defeat, all parties began to give way. The Penns bade their treasurer add five thousand pounds to any sum the assembly raised for purposes of defense. The assembly voted sixty thousand pounds, named Franklin one of seven commissioners for expending it, and hurried through a militia bill which Franklin prepared. The preamble exempted Quakers from bearing arms. Numbers of men would not in consequence enlist. They would not, they said, fight for men who would not fight for them. To shame them, Franklin again had recourse to his pen, and wrote "A Dialogue between X, Y and Z concerning the present State of Affairs in Pennsylvania," and published it in the "Gazette."
The effect of the "Dialogue" seems to have been considerable, and when, in the middle of
December, a call was made for troops to defend the frontier, five hundred and forty men responded. Franklin accepted the command, and, with his son William as aid-de-camp, set out for the ruins of Gnadenhutten. There he passed two months hunting Indians and building forts, till urgent letters came from his friends and from the governor begging him to return. The assembly was soon to meet. The old quarrel was to be renewed, and Franklin could not be spared.
But the assembly met, adjourned, and met again, and a new governor came out from England before the crisis was reached. It was in December, 1756, that the patience of the assembly, so long and sorely tried, gave way. The affairs of the colonies were desperate. The French had taken Oswego and Fort George and razed them to the ground. The expedition against Ticonderoga had come to naught. That up the Kennebec had done no better. Fort Duquesne had not surrendered, while the fort and settlement at Grenville had been sacked. The whole frontier of Pennsylvania, indeed, was unprotected. Meantime the treasury was empty, and the foe more bold and insolent than ever. To meet the needs of the hour, the assembly now laid a tax of £60,000, and to make it acceptable to the governor laid it, not on
the Penn estate, but on wine, rum, brandy, and liquors. But the governor would not consent. A conference followed, the bill came back to the house, and with it came the tart assurance that he would send his reasons to the king.
Then the assembly for the first time began to act and to speak boldly. They ordered such a money bill to be prepared as the governor would sign. They resolved to send home a remonstrance setting forth the evils that would come on Pennsylvania if governed, not by the laws and charters, but by the instructions of the Penns, and they chose two members to represent the province in England. Isaac Norris refused to serve. But Franklin accepted, and the next five years of his life were spent in England.
THESE five years were in many respects the most glorious and the most important in English history. At last the long series of disasters which had overwhelmed the royal armies had ended. Since the day the Great Commoner took the post of secretary, victory had followed victory with amazing rapidity. In July, 1758, Louisburg surrendered; then Cape Breton fell; and the great French fleet, the terror of the coast, was annihilated. Scarcely had the captured standards been hung in St. Paul's when 1759 opened, and the nation heard with delight of the conquest of Goree; of the fall of Guadaloupe, Ticonderoga, and Niagara; of the capture of Quebec. Before 1760 closed Montreal capitulated; the arms of England were triumphant in Canada, in India, on the sea, and the old king died.
With the accession of the new king arose a cry for peace. The Tories, with George III. at their head, were clamorous for peace on any
terms. The Whigs, with Pitt at their head, were for a vigorous prosecution of the war; and no Pittite believed more firmly in this policy than Franklin, and believing in it he wrote in its defense.
He pretended that, while ransacking the old book-stalls, he had found a book printed at London in 1629. The cover was gone; the titlepage was wanting. But he believed the work was written by a Jesuit, and addressed to some king of Spain. Reading it over, he was struck to see how aptly the remarks in one of the chapters applied to present affairs. It was the thirty-fourth, and bore the heading, "On the Meanes of disposing the Enemie to Peace." War, the Jesuit said, with whatsoever prudence carried on, did not always succeed. The best designs were often overthrown by famine, pestilence, and storm; so that enemies at first weak became by these helps strong, made conquests, and, puffed with success, refused to make peace but on their own harsh terms. Yet it was possible by dexterous management to get back all that had been lost by the cross accidents of war. If the minds of the enemy could only be changed, they would often give up, willingly and for nothing, more than could be obtained by force. Now this change of mind, particularly in England, might be se