The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 90

If the reverse
of this does not already appear from what has been quoted above,
the following letters will put the matter beyond dispute. They were
written by him to a gentleman, who had at that time published the
idea of a college, suited to the circumstances of a young country
(meaning New-York) a copy of which having been sent to Dr. Franklin
for his opinion, gave rise to that correspondence which terminated
about a year afterwards, in erecting the college upon the foundation
of the academy, and establishing that gentleman at the head of both,
where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six years, to
preside with distinguished reputation.

From these letters also, the state of the academy, at that time, will
be, seen.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an
order or rank in England, see Judge Fortesque, _De laudibus legum
Angliæ_, written about the year 1412, in which is the following
passage, to shew that good juries might easily be formed in any part
of England:

"Regio etiam ilia, ita respersa refertaque est _posessoribus
terrarum_ et agrorum, quod in ea, villula tam parva reperiri non
poterit, in qua non est _miles_, _armiger_, vel pater-familias,
qualis ibidem _franklin_ vulgariter nuncupatur, magnis ditatus
possessionibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii _valecti_ plurimi,
suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum juratam, in forma
prænotata."

"Moreover, the same country is so filled and replenished with landed
menne, that therein so small a thorpe cannot be found wherein
dwelleth not a knight, an esquire, or such a householder as is there
commonly called a _franklin_, enriched with great possessions; and
also other freeholders and many yeomen, able for their livelihoods to
make a jury in form aforementioned."

OLD TRANSLATION.

Chaucer too, calls his country gentleman a _franklin_; and, after
describing his good housekeeping, thus characterizes him:

This worthy franklin bore a purse of silk
Fix'd to his girdle, white as morning milk;
Knight of the shire, first justice at th' assize,
To help the poor, the doubtful to advise.
In all employments, generous, just he prov'd,
Renown'd for courtesy, by all belov'd.


[2] Town in the island of Nantucket.

[3] Probably the Dunciad, where we find him thus immortalized by the
author:

Silence, ye wolves, while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
And makes night hideous--answer him, ye owls!

[4] Printing houses in general are thus denominated by the workmen:
the _spirit_ they call by

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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