The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 115

they doubted whether the citizens themselves generally approv'd of it.
My allegation on the contrary, that it met with such approbation as to
leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand pounds by
voluntary donations, they considered as a most extravagant supposition,
and utterly impossible.

On this I form'd my plan; and asking leave to bring in a bill for
incorporating the contributors according to the prayer of their
petition, and granting them a blank sum of money, which leave was
obtained chiefly on the consideration that the House could throw the
bill out if they did not like it, I drew it so as to make the important
clause a conditional one, viz., "And be it enacted, by the authority
aforesaid, that when the said contributors shall have met and chosen
their managers and treasurer, and shall have raised by their
contributions a capital stock of ----- value (the yearly interest of
which is to be applied to the accommodating of the sick poor in the
said hospital, free of charge for diet, attendance, advice, and
medicines), and shall make the same appear to the satisfaction of the
speaker of the Assembly for the time being, that then it shall and may
be lawful for the said speaker, and he is hereby required, to sign an
order on the provincial treasurer for the payment of two thousand
pounds, in two yearly payments, to the treasurer of the said hospital,
to be applied to the founding, building, and finishing of the same."

This condition carried the bill through; for the members, who had
oppos'd the grant, and now conceiv'd they might have the credit of
being charitable without the expence, agreed to its passage; and then,
in soliciting subscriptions among the people, we urg'd the conditional
promise of the law as an additional motive to give, since every man's
donation would be doubled; thus the clause work'd both ways. The
subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded the requisite sum, and we
claim'd and receiv'd the public gift, which enabled us to carry the
design into execution. A convenient and handsome building was soon
erected; the institution has by constant experience been found useful,
and flourishes to this day; and I do not remember any of my political
manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more pleasure, or
wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily excus'd myself for having
made some use of cunning.

It was about this time that another projector, the Rev. Gilbert
Tennent, came to me with a request that I would assist him in procuring
a subscription for

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
The documents which I publish are copies of Franklin's letters, made on thin paper in a copying press (probably the rotary machine invented by Franklin), and all but one bear his signature in ink.
Page 1
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A Note secur'd from the Weather had been affix'd to the Globe, signifying the Time & Place of its Departure, and praying those who might happen to find it, to send an account of its State to certain Persons at Paris.
Page 3
They say the filling of it in M.
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Page 5
I say this in answer to your Question; for I did not indeed write them with a view of their being inserted.
Page 6
They say they had a charming View of Paris & its Environs, the Course of the River, &c but that they were once lost, not knowing what Part they were over, till they saw the Dome of the Invalids, which rectified their Ideas.
Page 7
Montgolfier the very ingenious Inventor.
Page 8
Perhaps Mechanic Art may find easy means to give them progressive Motion in a Calm, and to slant them a little in the Wind.
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) PASSY, Dec.
Page 10
The Wind was very little, so that the Object, tho' moving to the Northward, continued long in View; and it was a great while before the admiring People began to disperse.
Page 11
When the Tickets were engraved, the Car was to have been hung to the Neck of the Globe, as represented by a little Drawing I have made in the Corner A.
Page 12
Il a ete ramasse par des Enfans et vendu 6_d.
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27th instead of 27^th).
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16, "Bart.