Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 20, 1976 · Page 121
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version
June 20, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 121

Publication:
Location:
Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 20, 1976
Page:
Page 121
Cancel
Start Free Trial

Page 121 article text (OCR)

4L --June 20,1976 Sunday Gaxette-Mail -CharlMlon. West Virginia Ben Franklin:All-American Success Story America tuas approaching independence rapidly 200 yean ago (All week, with Renjamin Franklin often leading the tray. By Don McLeod The Aisociated Pren Benjamin Franklin was the complete American. He did just about everything the American dream is made of and he did it superbly. His was the all-American success story, the rise from rags to riches, the little boy who ran away from home to find fame and glory. He was as self-made as any American hero and perhaps the greatest self- taught intellect of his age. He was his country's first great man of science and the prototype of the American inventor. As a pioneer printer, reporter and author he developed a direct and unaffected style which still shapes American literature. Franklin's eminence in science and literature unsettled the world's view of a rustic America and brought recognition for the country's intellectual abilities. * * * AND YET Franklin was the cosmopolitan supreme who could electrify the courts of Europe or in middle age walk into the London print shop where he had worked as a boy and throw a beer bust for old times' sake. Franklin introduced the world to something called American humor with lines like "fish and visitors smell in three days," or "neither a fortress nor a maid will hold out long after they begin to parley." He was the most urban of the founding fathers, the first to anticipate the potential growth of America and the importance of her cities. And he was the quintessential public servant--statesman, political philosopher, legislator, administrator and diplomat. : * * * THE FRANKLIN family in America was founded in the 17th century by English Protestants fleeing the repression of the Restoration. The memory was still fresh a generation later when Ben was born in Boston on Jan. 17, 1706. · Ben was the 10th child of a candlemaker and mechanic, who could provide him no better than a second grade education. The boy worked for a while in his father's shop and then for a brother who was a printer. The printed word, in whatever form he could obtain it, became his school. Through reading he became a clever writer himself, and when his brother was jailed for printing seditious articles, he kept the shop going. But the youth with a hunger for life ran !away to Philadelphia at the age of 17 and a year later was in London, working as a printer and sowing his wild oats with "low women." · In 1726, however, the man who later would write about a penny saved, returned to America, worked assiduously and in time owned the Pennsylvania Gazette. As befitted the town's leadine orinter. 30% OFF BOYS' PANTS · Jack Tar · Billy The Kid GIRL'S SLACKS TOPS · Russ SHIRTS BLOUSES · Her Majesty WINTER PAJAMAS · Carter SWEATERS · Blue Bird /·* Open Friday 'til 8:30 P.M. Daily 9:30-5:00 3715 MacCorkle Ave., Kanawha City 925-1)34 he became Philadelphia's postmaster. He also operated a bookshop. And in 1732 he came out with the first edition of Poor Richard's Almanack, which became an international hit. ' * * * AS BUSINESS prospered, Franklin put together one of America's first commercial chains, a series of partnerships with printers in the other colonies. By 1748 he was able to leave the business to the management of a partner and at the age of 42 turn full-time to his civic and scientific interests. While only 21, Franklin had established a philosophical society and discussion group called the Junto, which became the model for today's service clubs. The Junto produced the first circulating library in America, Philadelphia's first fire company, the American Philosophical Society, and an academy which became the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin also overcame Quaker pacifism to form the first militias for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. In the French and Indian War he led a company of volunteers to secure the Pennsylvania frontier. Franklin's reputation as a scientist began in 1742 when he invented an iron stove which kept his parlor "twice as warm as it used to be with a quarter of the wood." * * * · BUT HIS GREATEST contribution was to make the study of electricity an orderly science. In 1752 he captivated the scientific world by drawing electricity from the sky. Franklin was elected to the Royal Society of England and the French Academy of Sciences, an unheard-of honor for an American. But destiny was calling him to a third career. He had been clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly since 1736, but in 1752 he was elected to the Assembly. Almost immediately, he was swept from local 'politics to leadership of the colony's fight against the proprietary rule of the Penn family. He was cast for the first time as defender of the right to government by elected representatives. His horizons were broadened further when in 1752 he became deputy postmaster general for North America and traveled throughout the colonies putting the postal service in order. In 1754 Franklin was named a commissioner to an intercolonial conference in Albany, N.Y., to consider Indian pacification and common defense in the war with France. There Franklin offered the first plan of union for the British colonies in America. Jealousies among the colonies and London's fear of "too much weight in the democratic part" doomed the plan. But he had planted the seed of national union. In 1757 Franklin wss sent to London as agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly. He spent most of the next 18 years in England and travelled widely through Britain and the continent. Preceded by his sscientific reputation, he was received warmly and made friends everywhere he went. * * * WITH PASSAGE by the British of the Stamp Act, Franklin's role took on new dimensions. He became the leading American spokesman in London and eventually was instrumental in repeal of the tax. In a personal appeal before the House of Commons, Franklin convinced a majority that Americans were good citizens who paid their taxes and supported the empire but feared this new kind of taxation. What Franklin could foresee was that if Parliament could raise money from America directly, there would be no further need of the colonial assemblies, and self-government would perish. Americans were determined not to let this happen, Franklin argued, and could not be forced to pay the tax. "Suppose a military force was sent into America," he suggested. "They will find nobody in arms; what are they then to do? They cannot force a man to take stamps who chooses to do without them. They will not find a rebellion; they may indeed make one." * + * IT WAS NOT rhetoric; it was the truth. And a decade later King and Parliament would make it happen just so. Franklin killed the Stamp Act, however, by the more interesting argument that persistence in this tax would mean "total loss of the respect and affection the people of America bear to this country, and of all the commerce that depends on that respect and affection." A week later the act was repealed, but a determined administration soon had a new tax to try on America. Franklin tried to warn the English about American reaction: *********** LEMON CRAPE CHERRY ORANCE; . BRING THIS AD IN BUY 1 } ICE BRR6RR GET 1 FREE * 1 per CUSTOMER-Off er good thru June Have if, «nr%44«'a v 1315 WASHINGTON ST. E. 2 Blocks East of Chas. Hi. HOURS MON. THWTHURS. 10 iM. TIL 11P.M. FRL4SAT.10HJ.T112 SUN. 11IJN. Til 1P.M. , The Complete American Was Benjamin Franklin Portrait by Charles Willson Peak "Every act of oppression will sour their tempers... and hasten their final revolt," he admonished. "For the seeds of liberty are universally found there, and nothing can eradicate them." In the face of American resistance, all but one of these Townshend Duties were repealed. But when the government granted English traders a monopoly on the still- taxed tea, Bostonians threw it in the sea, and Parliament reacted with fury. Franklin sailed home in despair and learned on docking that war had begun. The next day he was elected to the Continental Congress, determined on American independence. + * * THESE WERE the most difficult days of his life. He loathed war and had many friends in England. His son, William, who was governor of New Jersey, remained loyal to the crown, casting doubt on the father's loyalties. Franklin was in the minority in his own SINCE 1917 GARDNER'S Gentle-Care DRY CLEANING LAUNDRY PROCESS Now in Our New and Larger Plant To Better Serve You NO. 1 ELK SQUARE Washington St., West at Pennsylvania Avenue · SPECIALIZING IN - · Laundered Shirts · Expert Drycleaning · West Virginia's Leading Suede Leather Cleaners · The Ultimate in Carpet Cleaning the STEAM WAY OOQQOQlMQvQ 1 PLUS Scotchgard · «»» r . c**t* «v WIOUCTO* HOUSECLEANING SALE 10% off on all drycleanable household items: · Drapes · Slipcovers · Bedspreads · Afghans · Blankets Quilts · Upholstered Furniture and Carpet CUaning Sale Lasts thru July 31st. "When You're Ho. I-You're Already Tried Harder' 1 · No. 1 Elk Square · Washington Lee W. · IflflqBrideeRoad (footofEdgewood) · 1009BndgeRoad ^ 7thAvaat26thStreet · 726 Washington St,L · 1666 Washington StW Coin Laundries 7thAve.26thStNo.Chas.e 1666 Washington SL,W. ·'« ! state, which still was controlled by reconciliation men. And at 69 he seemed oddly out of place among the brash young men on both sides of the issue. But Ben Franklin had a vision, and if he could lead, he would guide. A full year before Congress would find the nerve, Franklin wrote a declaration advocating independence and union. He wasn't even allowed to enter it in the journal, but he had brought the issue into the open. He also broached the idea of opening American ports to other nations in renunciation of the Empire. * * * IN TIME he won them over or wore them down by his devotion and hard work. He served on a dozen committees of Congress and became the United States' first postmaster general. All the while he flooded English newspaper with propaganda, with wit so cutting and logic so sure it undermined the war party and helped keep the mother country divided. "Britian," he told her, "at the expense of three millions, has killed 150 Yankees this campaign which is 20,000 pounds a head. During the same time 60,000 children have been born in America." Then he dared England to calculate "the time and expense necessary to kill us all." It took another^ix years but this was the reasoning whicf finally stopped England. * * * FRANKLIN SERVED on the Secret Committee, the ancestor of the State Department. He was the only man in America with the overseas connections to conduct a foreign policy. Most of the aid America received during the war, Franklin secured. Finally Congress began taking his advice. In April of 1776 it opened America's ports to the world, and in May it asked the states to throw off all lingering traces of royal authority--although it meant prison for Franklin's son. When the independence issue came finally to a decision, Franklin maneuvered control of his delegation and delivered the crucial Pennsylvania vote. Franklin was named to the committee which would produce the Delcaration of Independence 200 years ago next month. He added his encouragement and counsel to Thomas Jefferson's vibrant genius. Then he sat beside the young man and consoled him as Congress rewrote them both. * * + FRANKLIN SPENT the rest of the war in Europe securing support for the new nation. And at the end he made the first se- cret contacts with the British negotiating? team. I- Adroitly, Franklin handled the conflict;' ing interests of English enemy and French: ally and got the best for America-corn-; plete independence and the boundaries she; wanted. JUNE )CKWELL '/ 4 " CORDLESS DRILL Reg. 19.99 * $ 17 Nickel cadmium batteries can be recharged 500 times. Safe low voltage. Ill listed. 4007 "Open Thursday Night" COR.DST.ANDSTHAVE. SO. CHARLESTON Sears AMERICA'S BICENTENNIAL: a time for re-dedication The 400.00(1 employes of Scurf, Roehuck and Co. join with all Americans in {he observance of the Bicenten- niui of our nation, Ir /.v u time /o rffieit -- u time to recall the courageous action of t/io^e /e\\ \\lio held out the promise of wen rights and esttihlishcd the principle thai government e\iw /r the conscnt'oj the governed. This -A also ,i tinit- to look f»n\iirJ to ///// l.ir the future and to .ct our standards at a level that \\ill ''('su'l in tin even greater -\inerica All of us Ciin he i ir 1 . 1 " tier ' ; / ' i \ c ,'/.'//;," //;, over Inc /'/;.

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page