Vie de Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome I Suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 113

de caution, avec les sommes qui leur seront
prêtées, les dates et tout ce qui y aura rapport. Comme ces prêts sont
destinés à faciliter l'établissement des jeunes ouvriers qui se
marieront, il faut que les administrateurs ne prêtent à une même
personne ni plus de soixante livres sterlings, ni moins de quinze.

Et si le nombre de ceux qui feront des demandes étoit si considérable,
que le legs ne suffît pas pour donner à tous ce qui leur seroit
nécessaire, on fera une diminution générale, pour que chacun reçoive
quelque secours.

Ces secours seront d'abord de peu de conséquence; mais à mesure que le
capital grossira par l'accumulation des intérêts, ils deviendront plus
considérables. Afin qu'on les multiplie, autant qu'il sera possible, et
qu'on en rende le remboursement plus aisé, il faut que chaque emprunteur
soit obligé de payer avec l'intérêt annuel, un dixième du principal; et
le montant de cet intérêt et de ce principal sera prêté à de nouveaux
emprunteurs.

Il est à croire qu'il y aura toujours à Boston des citoyens vertueux et
bienfaisans, qui s'empresseront de consacrer une partie de leur temps à
l'utilité publique, en administrant gratuitement cette institution. On
doit aussi espérer qu'aucune partie de la somme ne restera jamais
oisive, ni ne sera employée à d'autre objet que celui de sa destination
première; mais bien qu'elle augmentera continuellement. Ainsi, il
viendra un temps où elle sera plus considérable qu'il ne le faudra pour
Boston; et alors, on pourra en prêter aux autres villes de l'état de
Massachusett, pourvu qu'elles s'engagent à payer ponctuellement les
intérêts, et à rembourser, chaque année, un dixième du principal aux
habitans de Boston.

Si ce plan est exécuté et réussit, la somme s'élèvera, au bout de cent
ans, à cent trente-un mille livres sterlings. Je désire qu'alors les
administrateurs de la donation emploient cent mille livres sterlings à
faire construire les ouvrages publics qu'on croira les plus généralement
utiles, comme des fortifications, des ponts, des aqueducs, des bains
publics; à paver les rues, et à tout ce qui peut rendre le séjour de la
ville plus agréable aux habitans et aux étrangers qui viendront pour y
rétablir leur santé, ou y passer quelque temps.

Je désire que les autres trente-un mille livres sterlings, soient
prêtées à intérêt, de la manière ci-dessus prescrite, pendant cent ans
encore; et j'espère qu'alors cette institution aura heureusement influé
sur la conduite de la jeunesse, et aidé plusieurs estimables et utiles
citoyens.

À la fin de ce second terme, s'il n'est arrivé aucun accident, la somme
s'élèvera à quatre millions soixante-un mille livres sterlings, dont je
laisse un million soixante-un mille livres sterlings à

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