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approached by a prominent Quaker, David Barclay, and by his old friend, Dr. Fothergill. There were numerous interviews, and Franklin prepared several papers containing conditions to which he thought the colonies would agree. Lord Howe promised him high rewards in case of success, and even offered, as an assurance of the good things to come, to pay him at once the arrears of his salary as agent of Massachusetts.

Whether this was a sincere attempt at accommodation on the part of some of the more moderate of the Tories, or a scheme of Lord Howe's private ambition, or a mere trap for Franklin, has never been made clear. Franklin, however, rejected all the bribes and stood on the safe ground of terms which he knew would be acceptable in America; so this attempt also came to naught.

After reading the long account Franklin has given of these negotiations, and the innumerable letters and proposals that were exchanged, one may see many causes of the break with the colonies,-ignorance, blindness, the infatuation of the king or of North or of Townsend, but the primary cause of all is the one given at the end by Franklin, --corruption. The whole British government of that time was penetrated through and through with a vast system of bribery. Statesmen and politicians cared for nothing and would do nothing that did not give them offices to distribute. That was one of the objects of Lord Howe's scheme. Dr. Fothergill was intimate with all the governing class, and he said to Franklin, “Whatever specious pretences are

offered, they are hollow; to get a larger field on which to fatten a herd of worthless parasites is all that is regarded.” England lost her colonies by corruption, and she could not have built up her present vast colonial empire unless corruption had been abolished.

At the end of April Franklin set out on his return to Philadelphia, and there was some question whether he would not be arrested before he could start. He used some precautions in getting away as quietly as possible, and sailed from Portsmouth unmolested.

He still believed that there would be no war, and fully expected to return in October with instructions from the Continental Congress that would end the controversy. His ground for this belief seems to have been the old one that the hostility in England towards America was purely a ministerial or party question, and would be overthrown by the refusal of the colonists to buy British goods. But on his arrival in Philadelphia on the 5th of May he heard of the battle of Lexington, and never after that entertained much hope of a peaceful accommodation.

VIII

AT HOME AGAIN

FRANKLIN's wife had died while he was in England, and his daughter, Mrs. Sarah Bache, was now mistress of his new house, which had been built during his absence. The day after his arrival the Assembly made him one of its deputies in the Continental Congress which was soon to meet in Philadelphia. For the next eighteen months (from his arrival on the 5th of May, 1775, until October 26, 1776, when he sailed for France) every hour of his time seems to have been occupied with labors which would have been enough for a man in his prime, but for one seventy years old were a heavy burden.

He was made Postmaster-General of the united colonies, and prepared a plan for a line of posts from Maine to Georgia. He dropped all his conservatism and became very earnest for the war, but was humorous and easy-going about everything. He had, of course, the privilege of franking his own letters; but instead of the usual form, “Free. B. Franklin," he would mark them “В free Franklin." He prepared a plan or constitution for the union of the colonies, which will be considered hereafter. Besides his work in Congress, he was soon made a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, and was on the Committee of Safety which was preparing

the defences of the province, and was, in effect, the executive government in place of the proprietary governor. From six to nine in the morning he was with this committee, and from nine till four in the afternoon he attended the session of Congress. He assisted in devising plans for obstructing the channel of the Delaware River, and the chevaux-de-frise, as they were called, which were placed in the water were largely of his design.

It was extremely difficult for the Congress to obtain gunpowder for the army. The colonists had always relied on Europe for their supply, and were unaccustomed to manufacturing it. gested that they should return to the use of bows and arrows :

Franklin sug

“ These were good weapons not wisely laid aside : ist. Because a man may shoot as truly with a bow as with a common musket. 2dly. He can discharge four arrows in the time of charging and discharging one bullet. 3dly. His object is not taken from his view by the smoke of his own side. 4thly. A flight of arrows seen coming upon them, terrifies and disturbs the enemies' attention to their business. Sthly. An arrow striking any part of a man puts him hors de combat till it is extracted. 6thly. Bows and arrows are more easily provided everywhere than muskets and ammunition."

This suggestion seems less strange when we remember that the musket of that time was a smoothbore and comparatively harmless at three hundred yards.

His letters to his old friends in England were full of resentment against the atrocities of the British fleet and army, especially the burning of the town of Portland, Maine. It was at this time that he

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