Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 134

began to repay us; and before I was displac'd by a
freak of the ministers, of which I shall speak hereafter, we had
brought it to yield _three times_ as much clear revenue to the crown
as the post-office of Ireland. Since that imprudent transaction, they
have receiv'd from it--not one farthing!

The business of the post-office occasion'd my taking a journey this
year to New England, where the College of Cambridge, of their own
motion, presented me with the degree of Master of Arts. Yale College,
in Connecticut, had before made me a similar compliment. Thus, without
studying in any college, I came to partake of their honours. They were
conferr'd in consideration of my improvements and discoveries in the
electric branch of natural philosophy.




XIV

ALBANY PLAN OF UNION


In 1754, war with France being again apprehended, a congress of
commissioners from the different colonies was, by an order of the
Lords of Trade, to be assembled at Albany, there to confer with the
chiefs of the Six Nations concerning the means of defending both their
country and ours. Governor Hamilton, having receiv'd this order,
acquainted the House with it, requesting they would furnish proper
presents for the Indians, to be given on this occasion; and naming the
speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself to join Mr. Thomas Penn and Mr.
Secretary Peters as commissioners to act for Pennsylvania. The House
approv'd the nomination, and provided the goods for the present, and
tho' they did not much like treating out of the provinces; and we met
the other commissioners at Albany about the middle of June.

In our way thither, I projected and drew a plan for the union of all
the colonies under one government, so far as might be necessary for
defense, and other important general purposes. As we pass'd thro' New
York, I had there shown my project to Mr. James Alexander and Mr.
Kennedy, two gentlemen of great knowledge in public affairs, and,
being fortified by their approbation, I ventur'd to lay it before the
Congress. It then appeared that several of the commissioners had
form'd plans of the same kind. A previous question was first taken,
whether a union should be established, which pass'd in the affirmative
unanimously. A committee was then appointed, one member from each
colony, to consider the several plans and report. Mine happen'd to be
preferr'd, and, with a few amendments, was accordingly reported.

[Illustration: JOIN, or DIE.]

By this plan the general government was to be administered by a
president-general, appointed and supported by the crown, and a grand
council was to be chosen by the representatives of the people

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
They have corrections in the author's hand-writing and, except for a few words, are quite legible.
Page 1
Care was taken before the Hour to replace what Portion had been lost, of the inflammable Air, or of its Force, by injecting more.
Page 2
S.
Page 3
Some think Progressive Motion on the Earth may be advanc'd by it, and that a Running Footman or a Horse slung and suspended under such a Globe so as to have no more of Weight pressing the Earth with their Feet, than Perhaps 8 or 10 Pounds, might with a fair Wind run in a straight Line across Countries.
Page 4
8, 1783.
Page 5
Its bottom was open, and in the middle of the Opening was fixed a kind of Basket Grate in which Faggots and Sheaves of Straw were burnt.
Page 6
If those in the Gallery see it likely to descend in an improper Place, they can by throwing on more Straw, & renewing the Flame, make it rise again, and the Wind carries it farther.
Page 7
Montgolfier the very ingenious Inventor.
Page 8
If we do a foolish thing, we are the first to laugh at it ourselves, and are almost as much pleased with a _Bon Mot_ or a good _Chanson_, that ridicules well the Disappointment of a Project, as we might have been with its Success.
Page 9
--I purpose being present to-morrow at the Experiment, and shall give you an Acc^t of it by the Wednesday's Post.
Page 10
Between One & Two aClock, all Eyes were gratified with seeing it rise majestically from among the Trees, and ascend gradually above the Buildings, a most beautiful Spectacle! When it was about 200 feet high, the brave Adventurers held out and wav'd a little white Pennant, on both Sides their Car, to salute the Spectators, who return'd loud Claps of Applause.
Page 11
is altered by the Pen to show its real State when it went off.
Page 12
" in my copy; also a note dated Sept.
Page 13
As this interesting document has never been published, to my knowledge, I have given it here _literatim_ from my press-copy.
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unchanged: p.