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office of clerk, to dispose of it to another, they shall take it from me. I will not, by giving it up, lose my right of some time or other making reprisal on my adversaries." I heard, however, ne more of this ; I was chosen again unanimously as clerk 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 them; but they did not care to displace me on account merely of my zeal for the association, and they could not well give another reason.
Indeed, I had some cause to believe that the defence of the country was not disagreeable to any of them, provided they were not required to assist in it. And I found that a much greater number of them than I could have imagined, though against offensive' war, were clearly for the defensive. Many pamphlets pro and con were published on the subject, and some by good Quakers in favor of defence; which, I believe, convinced most of their young people.
A transaction in our fire-company gave me some insight into their prevailing sentiments. It had been proposed that we should encourage the scheme for building a battery, by laying out the present stock, then about sixty pounds, in tickets of the lottery. By our rules no money could be disposed of till the next meeting after the proposal. The company consisted of thirty members, of whom twenty-two were Quakers, and eight only of other persuasions. We eight punctually attended the meeting; but, though we thought that some of the Quakers would join us, we were by no means sure of a majority. Only one Quaker, Mr. James Morris, appeared to oppose
the He expressed much sorrow that it had ever been proposed, as he said Friends were all against it, and it would create such discord as might break up the company.
We told him that we saw no reason for that ; we were the minority, and if Friends were against the measure, and out-voted us, we must and should, agreeably to the usage of all societies, submit. When the hour for business arrived, it was moved to put this to the vote; he allowed we might do it by the rules, but, as he could assure us that a number of members intended to be present for the purpose of opposing it, it would be but candid to allow a little time for their appearing.
While we were disputing this, a waiter came to tell me that two gentlemen below desired to speak with me. down, and found there two of our Quaker members.
me there were eight of them assembled at a tavern just by ; that they were determined to come and vote with us if there should be occasion, which they hoped would not be the case, and desired we would not call for their assistance if we could do without it, as their voting for such a measure might embroil them with their elders and friends. Being thus secure of a majority, I went up, and, after a little seeming hesitation, agreed to a delay or another hour. This Mr. Morris allowed to be extremely fair. Not one of his opposing friends appeared, at which he expressed great surprise ; and, at the expiration of the hour, we carrie'l the resolution eight to one; and as, of the twenty-two Quakers, eight were ready to vote with us, and thir. teen by their absence manifested that they were not inclined to oppose the measure, I afterwards estimated the proportion of Quakers sincerely against defence as one to twenty-one only. For these were all regular members of the society, and in good reputation among them, and who had notice of what was proposed at that meeting.
The honorable and learned Mr. Logan, who had always been of that sect, wrote an address to them, declaring his approbation of defensive war, and supported his opinion by many strong arguments. He put into my hands sixty pounds to be laid out in lottery-tickets for the battery, with directions to apply what prizes might be drawn wholly to that service. He told me the following anecdote of his old master, William Pern, respecting defence. He came over from England, when a young man, with that Proprietary, and as his secretary. It was war-time, and their ship was chased by an armed vessel, supposed to be an enemy. Their captain prepared for defence; but told William Penn, and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect their assistance, and they might retire into the cabin ; which they did, except James Logan, who chose to stay upon deok, and was quartered to a gun. The supposed enemy proved a friend, sc there was no fighting; but when the secretary went down to communicate the intelligence, William Penn rebuked him se. verely for staying upon deck, and undertaking to assist in defending the vessel, contrary to the principles of Friends ; especially as it had not been required by the captain. This reprimand, being before all the company, piqued the secretary, who answered, “ I being thy servant, why did thee not order me to come down ? But thee was willing enough that I should stay and help to fight the ship, when thee thought there was danger.”
My being many years in the Assembly, a majority of which
were constantly Quakers, gave me frequent opportunities of seeing the embarrassment given them by their principle against war, whenever application was made to them, by order of the crown, to grant aids for military purposes. They were unwilling to offend government, on the one hand, by a direct refusal; and their friends, the hody of the Quakers, on the other, by a compliance contrary to their principles; using a variety of evasions to avoid complying, and modes of disgusing the compliance when it became unavoidable. The common mode at last was, to grant money under the phrase of its being " for the king's use," and never to inquire how it was applied.
But, if the demand was not directly from the crown, that phrase was found not so proper, and some other was to be invented. Thus, when powder was wanting (I think it was for the garrison at Louisburg), and the government of New England solicited a grant of some from Pennsylvania, which was much urged on the House by Governor Thongas, they would not grant money to buy powder, because that was an ingredient of war; but they voted an aid to New England of three thousand pounds, to be put into the hands of the governor, and appropriated it for the purchase of bread, flour, wheat, or other grain. Some of the Council, desirous of giving the House still further embarrassment, advised the governor not to accept provision, as not being the thing he had demanded; but he replied, “I shall take the money, for I understand very well their meaning; other grain is gunpowder;" which he accordingly bought, and they never objected to it.
It was in allusion to this fact that, when in our fire-company we feared the success of our proposal in favor of the lottery, and I had said to a friend of mine, one of our members, “ If we fail, let us move the purchase of a fire-engine with the money; the Quakers can have no objection to that; and then, if you nominate me and I you as a committee for that purpose, we will buy a great gun, which is certainly a fire-engine;” “I see,” said he, " you have improved by being so long in the Assembly; your equivocal project would be just a match for their wheat or other grain."
Those embarrassments that the Quakers suffered, from having established and published it as one of their principles that no kind of war was lawful, and which, being once published, they could not afterwards, however they might change their minds, easily get rid of, reminds me of what I think a more prudent conduct in another sect among us, — that of the Dunkers. I was acquainted with one of its founders, Michael Weffare, soon after
it appeared. He complained to me that they were grievously calumniated by the zealots of cther persuasions, and charged with abominable principles and practices, to which they were utter strangers. I told him this bad always been the case with new sects, and that, to put a stop to such abuse, I imagined it might be well to publish the articles of their belief, and the rules of their discipline. He said that it had been proposed among them, but not agreed to, for this reason :
" When we were first drawn together as a society,” said he, it had pleased God to enlighten our minds so far as to see that some doctrines, which were esteemed truths, were errors; and that others, which we had esteemed errors, were real truths. From time to time, He has been pleased to afford us further light, and our princiciples have been improving, and our errors diminishing. Now we are not sure that we are arrived at the end of this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual or theological knowledge ; and we fear that, if we should once print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves as if bound and confined by it, and perhaps be unwilling to receive further improvement; and our successors still more so, as conceiving what their elders and founders had done to be something sacred, never to be departed from."
This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in the history of mankind, every other sect supposing itself in possession of all truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong; like a man travelling in foggy weather ;
- those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side; but near him all appear clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them. To avoid this kind of embarrassment, the Quakers have of late years been gradually declining the public service in the Assembly and in the magistracy, choosing rather to quit their power than their principles.
In order of time, I should have mentioned before that, having, in 1742, invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms, and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in entering, I made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my early friends, who, having an iron furnace, found the casting of the plates for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in demand. To promote that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet, entitled, “An Account of the New-invented Pennsylvanian Fireplaces; wherein their Construction and Manner of Operation are particularly explained; their Advantages above every other Method of
Warming Rooms demonstrated ; and all Objections that have. been raised against the Use of them answered and obviated,” &c. This pamphlet had a good effect. Governor Thomas was so pleased with the construction of this stove, as described in it, that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a term of years; but I declined it from a principle which has ever weighed with me on such occasions, namely, That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.
An ironmonger in London, however, assuming a good deal of my pamphlet and working it up into his own, and making some small changes in the machine, which rather hurt its operation, got a patent for it there, and made, as I was told, a little fortune by it. And this is not the only instance of patents taken out of my inventions by others, though not always with the same success, - which I never contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes. The use of these fireplaces in very many houses, both here in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states, has been, and is, a great saving of wood to the inhabitants.
Moves in the Cause cf Education – An Academy - A Trustee — New Part
nership - Electrical Experiments – Public Employments A Member of the Assembly - Commissioner to treat with Indians The Pennsylvania Hospital — Advice in procuring Subscriptions — Street Paving, Cleaning and Lighting — Project for Cleaning Streets in London - Postmaster-general of America — Honorary Degrees.
Peace being concluded, and the association business therefore at an end, I turned my thoughts again to the affair of establishing an academy. The first step I took was to associate in the design a number of active friends, of whom the Junto furnished a good part; the next was to write and publish a pamphlet, entitled Proposals relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania. This I distributed among the principal inhabitants gratis ; and as soon as I could suppose their minds a little prepared by the perusal of it, I set on fcot a subscription for "pening and supporting an academy. It was to be paid in quotas yearly for five years; by so dividing it, I judged the subscription