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“This odd humor of digging for money, through a belief that much has been hid by pirates," the Busybody himself declared, was


mighty prevalent, insomuch that you can hardly walk half a mile out of town on any side without observing several pits dug with that design, and perhaps some lately opened."

After this essay Franklin contributed no more to the series. Of the thirty-two papers comprising "The Busybody," six are commonly ascribed to him, and the majority of the twentysix to Joseph Breintnal. When the latter stopped writing, the purpose for which they were begun had been accomplished. Keimer, overwhelmed by disaster, was on his way to the Barbadoes. His printing-house was in the hands of David Harry; his newspaper was the property of Franklin. The whole town was reading the "Mercury," and forgetting that the "Instructor existed. Much the same fate has overtaken "The Busybody." Franklin's six contributions are reprinted, and occasionally read. Breintnal's essays have never been collected, nor is there now living more than one man who has ever read them through.

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To liken the essays of Franklin at this period of his life to those of Addison would be absurd; yet it cannot be denied that they possess merits of a rare and high order. He makes no dis

play of ornamentation; he indulges in no silly flights of imagination; he assumes no air of learning; he uses no figures of speech save those the most ignorant of mankind are constantly using unconsciously; he is free from everything that commonly defaces the writings of young men. Dealing with nothing but the most homely matters, he says what he has to say easily, simply, and in a pure English idiom. No man ever read a sentence of Franklin's essays and doubted what it meant. It is this simplicity and homeliness, joined to hard common sense and wit, that gave his later writings a popularity and influence beyond those of any American author since his day. If he has a bad habit or a silly custom or a small vice to condemn, he begins by presenting us with a picture of it which we recognize at once. Then, with the picture full before us, he draws just the moral or passes the very censure we would do if left to ourselves. Not a tavern-keeper but had seen Ridentius and his followers round the fireplace many a time. Not a merchant but knew a Cato and a Cretico. Not a shopkeeper but had suffered just such annoyances as Patience.

With "Busybody" number eight, Franklin abandoned essay-writing to his friend, and all his time and ability were given to persuading the people on a serious question in which they and

he were deeply concerned. It was, indeed, the question of the hour, and on its decision hung the financial and commercial prosperity of the province.

Six years before, the people of Pennsylvania had, with much trepidation, ventured on the issue of a small bank of paper money: the day for its redemption was drawing near, the Lords of Trade had forbidden the issue of any more, and it seemed not unlikely that, in a little while, men would again be bartering hats for potatoes and flour for shoes because of the lack of a medium of exchange.

The earliest of the many issues of paper money in what is now the United States took place when the French and English were deeply engaged in their first struggle for the possession of Canada. James had just been driven from his throne. William and Mary had just succeeded, and the colonies, with every manifestation of delight, had taken up arms in defense of the authority of William, the Protestant religion, and the right to catch cod off the Grand Banks. For a while the war was waged with varying success. The English devastated the island of Montreal, and the French retreated from Frontenac. Then the tide turned: the French rallied, took Pemaquid, drove the English from every settlement east of Falmouth,

burned Salmon Falls, and laid Schenectady in ashes. Driven to extremity, the English rallied, and in a congress at New York in 1690 resolved on the conquest of Canada. New York and Connecticut were to send a land force against Montreal. Massachusetts and Plymouth sent a fleet against Quebec. Acadia fell, Port Royal surrendered, and New England ruled the coast to the eastern end of Nova Scotia. There success stopped. The commanders of the English troops fell to quarreling, and the land expedition failed miserably. Frontenac, having no foe to oppose him, hurried to Quebec, and entered the city just as the New England fleet came sounding its way up the St. Lawrence. The summons to surrender the city was received with jeers. The fleet, unable to take Quebec without the aid of the army, sailed for Boston, to be scattered by storms along the coast. To commemorate this signal deliverance the French put up the Church of our Lady of Victory. To pay the cost of the expedition Massachusetts issued the first colonial paper money. In 1703 South Carolina followed her example.

Scarcely had King William's war ended than Queen Anne's war broke out. Again the French and Indians came down from Canada, and, while Franklin was a child, laid waste the

towns of Massachusetts with fire and sword. Again the colonies sent ships and troops against Canada. Again they failed, and, to pay the cost, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey imitated Massachusetts and put out bills of credit.

These early issues of credit-bills are not to be confounded with the "banks of paper money" of a later time.

The amounts were

payment of some

small. The purpose was the pressing debt. But after the close of Queen Anne's war the belief sprang up in the minds of men that it was the duty of a government to provide a circulating medium, and that just as fast as that medium disappeared, the duty of the government was to make more. The colonists were heavy traders; the balance of trade was against them. Their specie went over to England, and, unable to practice that self-denial necessary to bring the specie back, they clamored for a currency. Then the colonies turned pawn-brokers and money-lenders, set up loan offices, and issued banks of paper money. Then whoever held a mortgage, or owned the deed of an acre of land, or was possessed of a silver tankard or a ring of gold, might, if he chose, carry it to the loan office, leave it there, and take away in exchange a number of paper bills.

In this folly Massachusetts led the way, in

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