Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 144

hautboys, flutes, clarinets,
etc. I understood that their sermons were not usually preached to
mixed congregations of men, women, and children, as is our common
practice, but that they assembled sometimes the married men, at other
times their wives, then the young men, the young women, and the little
children, each division by itself. The sermon I heard was to the
latter, who came in and were placed in rows on benches; the boys under
the conduct of a young man, their tutor, and the girls conducted by a
young woman. The discourse seemed well adapted to their capacities,
and was delivered in a pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them, as it
were, to be good. They behaved very orderly, but looked pale and
unhealthy, which made me suspect they were kept too much within doors,
or not allowed sufficient exercise.

I inquired concerning the Moravian marriages, whether the report was
true that they were by lot. I was told that lots were used only in
particular cases; that generally, when a young man found himself
disposed to marry, he informed the elders of his class, who consulted
the elder ladies that governed the young women. As these elders of the
different sexes were well acquainted with the tempers and dispositions
of their respective pupils, they could best judge what matches were
suitable, and their judgments were generally acquiesced in; but if,
for example, it should happen that two or three young women were found
to be equally proper for the young man, the lot was then recurred to.
I objected, if the matches are not made by the mutual choice of the
parties, some of them may chance to be very unhappy. "And so they
may," answered my informer, "if you let the parties choose for
themselves;" which, indeed, I could not deny.

Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the association went on
swimmingly, the inhabitants that were not Quakers having pretty
generally come into it, formed themselves into companies, and chosen
their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, according to the new law.
Dr. B. visited me, and gave me an account of the pains he had taken to
spread a general good liking to the law, and ascribed much to those
endeavors. I had had the vanity to ascribe all to my "Dialogue;"
however, not knowing but that he might be in the right, I let him
enjoy his opinion, which I take to be generally the best way in such
cases. The officers, meeting, chose me to be colonel of the regiment,
which I this time accepted. I forget how many companies we had, but we
paraded

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Editor.