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The grand practical use which doctor Franklin made of his discovery of the sameness of electricity and lightning, was to prevent buildings from being damaged, by lightning. This he accomplished by fixing a metalline rod higher than any part of the building, and communicating with the ground, or rather the nearest water. The lightning was sure to seize upon the wire, preferably to any other part of the building, whereby that dan, gerous power is safely conducted to the earth, without doing any harm to the edifice.
Doctor Franklin, however, during the course of these discoveries, was not inattentive to the more essential duties of a good citizen. ' Besides many other useful regulations, he planned the poft-office in America, and was appointed post-master-general for the southern district, as the reward of his beneficial scheme.
During the late war with France, he was eminently serviceable to the British government, by encouraging his countrymen to repel with vigour the common enemy; and he even headed in person the militia, in several hazardous and successful enter. prizes. When Canada was reduced, he came over to England, and endeavoured to demonstrate to our ministry, both by writing and conversation, the superior importance of that province to all our acquisitions in the West-Indies ; and as the peace of Paris was concluded upon this principle, doctor Franklin's arguments and informations may be supposed to have influenced, in some degree, a measure so obnoxious at that time to a greater part of this nasion, and which experience has proved to be impolitic.
But whether doctor Franklin was swayed, in the active part which he took on this occasion, merely by a sincere desire of the security and prosperity of British America, as connected with the parent state, or whether he had not extended his views to that future independency which some of his countrymen then contemplated in idea, and which they have realized, it is impoflible to determine with any degree of certainty. All we know is, that the famp act was no sooner to be put in execution, than he was appointed deputy to the province of Pennsyla vania, and remonstrated strongly here against the measure. In chat character he remained in London for several years, and continued to oppose every violent step with regard to America, as well as to propose conciliatory terms, 'till he found it was re. folved on both sides that the sword only should determine the controveriy.
Many of the doctor's intimate friends affect at this time to re. collect circumstances which formerly passed without observation, but which now convince them that this idea was never out of his mind. Amongst many anecdotes of this kind, the following
3 P 2
is told with some degree of confidence : Commodore Johnftone, doctor Franklin, and others, paffed a day, many years fince, abous Maidenhead. In the course of the afternoon the company separated, and the doctor was found in a reverie, looking on the Thames. Being asked what was the objeä of his contemplation, " I am mofing (replied he) on the im. proper distribution of power, and lamenting that the noble ri. vers in America should be fubje&t to the paltry Atream I am now beholding,”
He now became obnoxious to government, and was corfdered as an American spy. A very disagreeable affair in HydePark, in which Mr. Whateley was defperately wounded, was, by his enemies, aforibed to his machinations; being occafioned, as they said, by letters sent to America by him, which were faid to be taken from letters in the poffeffion of that gentleman as executor to his brother, who had been secretary to the late Mr. Grenville.
When examined before the privy council, January 11 and 29, 2774, respecting the Hate of America, he was thought, by mo impartial men, to be treated very cavalierly by a certain law. officer, which perhaps induced him to take the steps he has since done. While the doctor was under examination, counsellor W, (now lord L.) treated him with the utmoft indignity, which the philosopher bore with the serenity of a man of good sense. Af. ter his examination, he passed by the counsellor, in his way out, and took occafion to-whisper the following truth-in his ear : I will make your master A'LITTUB KING for ibis. : Upon his return to America in 1775, he found that country exactly in the distracted fate he had represented it ; and bad his advice been taken, most probably all, or the greater part of the misfortunes that have since happened, might have been averted.
When the resolution of independency was taken, he was appointed plenipotentiary from the cor:gress to the coart of France where lie has continued ever since, proving himself on all occafions an inflexible friend to America, and a faithful servant to his employer's.
The following lines, written by one of the doctor's friends, we are sorry to fay have proved prophetically true. On feeing a small Mezzotinto Print of Deftor Franklin in the Cold
of a Watch, 1778. By an Englishman.
The fpring of state had still been strong and tight,
And fable nighc had not approach'd fo foon..
in a thoughtful mood, wrote as follows :
The foil is good, the tree has taken root, ..
His persevering toil hath dearly earnd
Where her late Vignerons are now employ'd, s • To pluck those apples which we once enjoy'd.
The SOLDIER: Å TALĖ. In a Letter to a Friend, from
an Officer in the War before laft.;.,.
. ? T Am now at Dover, and take this moment of leifure to write I to my friend.-Stopping to bait my horses on Baughton-hill yesterday, I met with an adventure, which, I flatter myself, will afford you not a little entertainment. ibi: • Before I had nigh risen the summit of the hill, I could not forbear turning round to observe the beauties of the prospect. Let this sketch suffice ; for I leave the colouring to your imagination. The stream entwining its serpentine folds around an island: here cattle were grazing in the shade of a ruined monaftery. The rising corn, in waving folds, mantled the hills, and carpeted the vales. The hanging woods bowed their heads to the Itream as it paffed through the meadows. The breeze-filled fail, feeming to glide along the land, gave the scene, in appearance, the air of enchantment.
After this general view, my fight, for ease, began to rest itself upon particular objects ; when I perceived a little hut at the bottom of the hill, which had, as I passed it, escaped my notice. The sign of invitation hung from the wall. I was ftruck with its fimplicity and humility of fituation. In a word, I alighted
from my horse, and gave the bridle to Tom, defiring he would follow me. While Tom led the horses behind the house in search of the stable, I went in to search for a breakfaft. Opening the door, I found my hostess employed in laying her teaequipage. She no sooner perceived her guest, than instantly she flew to a door which the unlatched, and desired I would walk into the parlour, with, “ Pray, Sir, have you breakfafted ?" I thought this rather familiar : but, considering her motives, that her water was boiling, her cups and faucers laid, and these, moft probably, her only set, I found she was only desirous of giving me the preference, instead of herself, and a poor foldier, who was fitting in the chimney-corner. Thus it was my dress, not my merit, was going to defer their meal. I know you will ex. claim with me,“ What is compliment, this outward respect, that we should so earnestly defire it? It is not the reward of me. rit, but the idolatry of appearance.” Thus I continued :" That poor soldier, who, perhaps, is just returned from fighting the cause of her, in the general cause of his country, muft be left starving for the want of that which my tinsel is going to deprive him of it shall not be." I then alked our landlady, if fhe knew where he was come from? « Yes, Sir," said the:“ As he tells me, he is come from Dover, and is going on a furlough to his friends; though, who knows, Sir, he may be a deserter for aught we know-however, that's no business of our's.”—“ Well," replied I, “ and who knows, good woman, that he is not come from the wars ? and, as I am going to them, will you tell him I should be glad of his company to breakfal with me?"-"La, Sir,” she returned, “ he'll breakfast mighty well after you have done."-"Perhaps he may,” said I ;“ bat, if he pay's you for his meal, why should he wait for me, or any other ?" " As you please, Sir," said she, and left the room. She delivered her message fo audibly, that I could hear the pas. riculars. “ Friend,” said Me, in a cone composed of contempt and disappointment, “ you are to breakfast in the parlour." On parlour The was particularly emphatical. “ You may well ftare," continued fhe,“ poor soul! I dare believe you never break. fasted before in all your born-days in a parlour ! But birds of a feather will flock together—though 'tis no business of mine." And, as she was stirring the fire, I heard her continue, “ He's never the gentleman he appears to be, or he would not be fond of such company.” As the soldier fat considering, the cried, “Why don't you go, man ?-the gentleman waits for you." “ What gertleman ?” asked he. " Why, the gentleman (the answered) that I shewed into the parlour defires to have your company to breakfast. How often muft I tell you?"" Does
* he krow me?" replied he. " I don't know whether he does or no,” said the ; “ that's no business of mine : I have delivered my message ; and, I affure you, if you don't go, I won't be shopping all day for you : so, if you have a mind to have any breakfast, go when and where it is to be had.”—The soldier came,
When he entered the room, his appearance greatly preporsessed me in his favour. There was something in his aspect, that told me these were not the sort of days he was used to see. Sorrow had fallowed his cheek before the autumn should have blown away the rose from it. According to his appearance, his years should have been those of summer, bat they were those of winter. Agreeable to my request, he sat down. I was certainly rude ; for I never shall forget the time I was contemplating his countenance. To describe it is impossible, although it is noiv before me. There was in it suci a manly sweetness, you scarce ever perceived. His eyes were neither the piercing black, nor the lively blue ; nor were they those which seem to start from their spheres to pry into another's concerns : on the contrary, they were rather depressed; they seemed to be retired to observe bimself. On his brow fat manhood and honesty, with every other virtue that could win the heart ; and yet the steps of care I saw too visible. I had taken so much involuntary notice of him, that he was alarmed. .“ Sir," said he,“ do you perceive any traces of former acquaintance in my countenance, that you observe it with fo fixed, so filent an attention ?" " No, really, Sir," answered I; “ I ask your pardon, for it is quite otherwise, I never saw your face before, nor do I remember to have seen the like : but pardon me, I beg. How goes the war in Flanders? I am going there to join my regiment."-" I wish you fuccefs, Sir, (replied he,) with all my heart, and that you may never de. part from the path of honour. Oh ! that I had began at your years, unembarrassed by any other affliction or distress; then I might have had my share of honour and happiness : but, as it is, I must be content, and bear my distresses as a man and a fol. dier, though a poor one !!!" Pray (faid I) excuse my curiosity. Which way are you travelling? Are you going my roads If you are, we will travel together : I' want a companion, to take a part of a chaise with me. Your story, might it be related, would. engage the time most agreeably, Sir." " I can scarcely suppose, Šir, (said he,) a tale of sorrow could be agreeable to one who appears to have fo much sensibility as yourself."“ Yoor pardon, Sir,? answered I;..“ to sympathise with difa. tress is more pleasing to me than to participate of enjoyment.'? . “ Your goodness (returned he) claims my confidence. As I