« 이전계속 »
dred and ninety-three pounds which had been due for three years.
He procured for his natural son, William, the royal governorship of New Jersey, and he was diligent all his life in getting government places for relatives. This practice does not appear to have been much disapproved of in his time; he was not subjected to abuse on account of it; and, indeed, nepotism is far preferable to some of the more modern methods.
When Governor of Pennsylvania, after the Revolution, he declined, we are told, to receive any salary for his three years' service, accepting only his expenses for postage, which was high in those times, and amounted in this case to seventy-seven pounds for the three years.
This is one of the innumerable statements about him in which the truth is distorted for the sake of eulogy. He did not decline to receive his salary, but he spent it in charity, and we find bequests of it in his will.
As minister to France he had at first five hundred pounds a year and his expenses, and this was paid. He was also promised a secretary at a salary of one thousand pounds a year ; but, as the secretary was never sent, he did the work himself with the assistance of his grandson, William Temple Franklin, who was allowed only three hundred pounds a year.
He considered himself very much underpaid for his services in resisting the Stamp Act, for his mission to Canada in 1776 at the risk of his life, and for the long and laborious years which he spent in France. Certainly five hundred pounds a year and expenses
was very small pay for his diplomatic work in Paris, but during the last six years of his mission there he received two thousand five hundred pounds a year, which would seem to be sufficient compensation for acting as ambassador, as well as merchant to buy and ship supplies to the United States, and as financial agent to examine and accept innumerable bills of exchange drawn by the Continental Congress (Bigelow's Works of Franklin, vol. ix. p. 127). In 1788, two years before his death, he made a statement of these claims for extra service and sent it to Congress, accompanied by a letter to his friend, Charles Thomson, the secretary.
He thought that Congress should recognize these services by a grant of land, an office, or in some other way, as was the custom in Europe when an ambassador returned from a long foreign service; and he reminded Thomson that both Arthur Lee and John Jay had been rewarded handsomely for similar services. But the old Congress under the Articles of Confederation was then just expiring, and took no notice of his petition ; and when the new Congress came in under the Constitution, it does not appear that his claims were presented. It is a mistake to say, however, as some have done, that the United States never paid him for his services and still owes
These claims were for extra services which the government had never obligated itself to pay.
He died quite well off for those times, leaving an estate worth, it is supposed, considerably over one hundred thousand dollars. The rapid rise in the
value of houses and land in Philadelphia after the Revolution accounts for a part of this sum. He owned five or six large houses in Philadelphia, the printing-house which he built for his grandson, and several small houses. He had also a number of vacant lots in the town, a house and lot in Boston, a tract of land in Nova Scotia, another large tract in Georgia, and still another in Ohio. His personal property, consisting mostly of bonds and money, was worth from sixty to seventy thousand dollars.
The exact period at which Franklin began to turn his attention to original researches in science is difficult to determine. There are no traces of such efforts when he was a youth in Boston. He was not then interested in science, even in a boyish way. His instincts at that time led him almost exclusively in the direction of general reading and the training of himself in the literary art by verse-writing and by analyzing the essays of the Spectator.
The atmosphere of Boston was completely theological. There was no room, no opportunity, for science, and no inducement or even suggestion that would lead to it, still less to original research in it. We find Franklin in a state of rebellion against the prevailing tone of thought, writing against it in his brother's newspaper at the risk of imprisonment, and in a manner more bitter and violent than anything he afterwards composed. If he had remained in Boston it is not likely that he would ever have taken seriously to science, for all his energies would have been absorbed in fighting those intolerant conditions which smothered all scientific inquiries.
In Pennsylvania he found the conditions reversed. The Quakers and the German sects which made up the majority of the people of that province in colo
nial times had more advanced ideas of liberty and free thought than any of the other religious bodies in America, and in consequence science flourished in Pennsylvania long before it gained entrance into the other colonies. The first American medical college, the first hospital, and the first separate dispensary were established there. Several citizens of Philadelphia who were contemporaries of Franklin achieved sufficient reputation in science to make their names well known in Europe.
David Rittenhouse invented the metallic thermometer, developed the construction of the compensation pendulum, and made valuable experiments on the compressibility of water. He became a famous astronomer, constructed an orrery to show the movements of the stars which was an improvement on all its predecessors, and conducted the observations of the transit of Venus in 1769. Pennsylvania was the only one of the colonies that took these observations, which in that year were taken by all the European governments in various parts of the world. The Legislature and public institutions, together with a large number of individuals, assisted in the undertaking, showing what very favorable conditions for science prevailed in the province.*
These were the conditions which seem to have aroused Franklin. Without them his mind tended more naturally to literature, politics, and schemes of philanthropy and reform ; but when his strong
* Making of Pennsylvania, chap. ix.