Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 106

nightly guard while the war lasted, and among the rest I regularly
took my turn of duty there as a common soldier.

My activity in these operations was agreeable to the governor and
council; they took me into confidence, and I was consulted by them in
every measure wherein their concurrence was thought useful to the
association. Calling in the aid of religion, I proposed to them the
proclaiming a fast, to promote reformation and implore the blessing of
Heaven on our undertaking. They embraced the motion; but as it was the
first fast ever thought of in the province, the secretary had no
precedent from which to draw the proclamation. My education in New
England, where a fast is proclaimed every year, was here of some
advantage. I drew it in the accustomed style. It was translated into
German, printed in both languages, and divulged through the province.
This gave the clergy of the different sects an opportunity of
influencing their congregations to join in the association, and it
would probably have been general among all but Quakers if the peace
had not soon intervened.

It was thought by some of my friends that by my activity in these
affairs I should offend that sect, and thereby lose my interest in the
Assembly of the province, where they formed a great majority. A young
gentleman who had likewise some friends in the House, and wished to
succeed me as their clerk, acquainted me that it was decided to
displace me at the next election, and he therefore, in good will,
advised me to resign, as more consistent with my honor than being
turned out. My answer to him was, that I had read or heard of some
public man who made it a rule never to ask for an office and never to
refuse one when offered to him. "I approve," says I, "of his rule, and
will practice it with a small addition: I shall never ask, never
refuse, nor ever resign an office. If they will have my office of
clerk to dispose of to another, they shall take it from me. I will
not, by giving it up, lose my right of some time or other making
reprisals[134] on my adversaries." I heard, however, no more of this;
I was chosen again unanimously, as usual, at the next election.
Possibly, as they disliked my late intimacy with the members of
council, who had joined the governors in all the disputes about
military preparations with which the House had long been harassed,
they might have been pleased if I would voluntarily have left

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