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leaf Whittier-says that in editing Woolman's pages (Boston cdition of 1871) he was awed and solemnized by the presence of a serene and beautiful spirit.
These are strong words—too strong, I fearabout this New Jersey clerk, school-teacher, tailor, itinerant Friend, preacher, early anti-slavery advocate, all of whose writings have faded from memory save this Journal. But if we open the record at random we see a good man, living for God in the world, and ranging in his tender sympathies from little things to great. Hear him in the last year of his life, sailing to England to die:
“Second of sixth month.—Some fowls yet remained of those the passengers took for their sea-store. I believe about fourteen perished in the storms at sea by the waves breaking over the quarter-deck, and a considerable number with sickness at different times. I observed the cocks crew as we came down the Delaware, and while we were near the land, but afterwards I think I did not hear one of them crow till we came near the English coast, when they again crowed a few times. In observing their dull appearance at sea, and the pining sickness of some of them, I often remembered the Fountain of goodness, who gave being to all creatures, and whose love extends to caring for the sparrows. I believe where the love of God is verily perfected, and the true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness towards all creatures made subject to us will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the great Creator intends for them under our government.
“Fourth of sixth month.-Wet weather, high winds, and so dark that e could see but a little way. I
ceived our seamen were apprehensive of the danger of missing the channel, which I understood was narrow. In a while it grew lighter, and they saw the land and knew where we were. Thus the Father of Mercies was pleased to try us with the sight of dangers, and then graciously, from time to time, deliver us from them; thus sparing our lives, that in humility and reverence we might walk before him and put our trust in him. About noon pilot came off from Dover, where my beloved friend Samuel Emlen went on shore and thence to London, about seventy-two miles by land; but I felt easy in staying in the ship.
“ Seventh of sixth month and first of the week.--A clear morning, we lay at anchor for the tide, and had a parting meeting with the ship's company, in which my heart was enlarged in a fervent concern for them, that they may come to experience salvation through Christ. Had a head-wind up the Thames; lay sometimes at anchor; saw many ships passing, and some at anchor near; and I had large opportunity of feeling the spirit in which the poor bewildered sailors too generally live. That lamentable degeneracy which so much prevails in the people employed on the seas so affected my heart that I can. not easily convey the feeling I had to another.
“The present state of the seafaring life in general appears so opposite to that of a pious education, so full of corruption and extreme alienation from God, so full of the most dangerous examples to young people, that in looking towards a young generation I feel a care for them, that they may have an education different from the present one of lads at sea, and that all of us who are acquainted with the pure gospel spirit may lay this case to heart, may remember the lamentable corruptions which attend the conveyance of merchandise across the seas, and so abide in the love of Christ that, being delivered from the entangling expenses of a curious, delicate, and luxurious life, we may learn contentment with a little, and pro
mote the seafaring life no further than that spirit which leads into all truth attends us in our proceedings."*
In the very year of Woolman's death was born he who sang, as it were in unconscious commemoration of this good Friend :
“He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small ;
He made and loveth all."
* Woolman's “Journal,” Whittier's edition, Boston, 1871 ; pp. 254-256
The service done by Benjamin Franklin to the Benjamin mind of America, in the eighteenth cenFranklin, 1706–1790. tury, was great and high. He followed the earnest theologians who, intent upon making New England the garden of the Lord, merged the idea of the commonwealth in that of the theocracy. He preceded, in a part of his important labors, the nation-makers of the period between 1760 and 1790, who attracted the attention of European thinkers, and deeply affected the future statecraft of the world. But when colonialism was developing into nationality, Franklin carried its personal message to Europe, and by his previously acquired reputation, by his learning and persistence, by his catholic ability, and most of all, perhaps, by his tact, impressed foreign diplomats and students with the idea that intellectual weight could be found in men and measures west of the Atlantic. If Franklin could have spent his life in the pursuits of science his reputation would hardly have been higher, in that general department, than it is at present. If, on the other hand, he had not spent time in scientific investigations—to him, in a sense, a recreation and avocation rather than a
vocation—his diplomatic labors, his work in aiding his strong-minded contemporaries in nation-building, and his practical creation of the United States postoffice, would have given him a firm reputation at a time when, in American politics, lived and worked such men as Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington. His personality was as strongly-marked as that of any of the five just named, and his breadth of achievement—though not of tastes—more conspicuous than that of the versatile Jefferson himself. If this seem high praise, it has been amply confirmed by a century of criticism. Franklin's faults were not few; he was personally culpable and intellectually limited, as we shall see in this study of his character; but when all deductions are made, the great and human figure of Franklin still arouses interest and enthusiasm in an unusual degree-largely because he was a product characteristically American.
Franklin was a Boston boy by birth, his natal day having been in the sixth year of the eigh
His youth. teenth century, the beginning of which seemed to mark the modern period of the world's history. His father had come from England twentyfour years before, the family being of the class which, in the somewhat aristocratic democracy of Massachusetts Bay, could be called no more than respectable. Most of the Boston notables in the eighteenth century were members of the higher families, and in due time went to Harvard College. Not such was Franklin's fortune ; he was taken from school when a little fellow of nine years and set to