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MonkeyNotes-The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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A PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY and A DEFENSE SYSTEM

In 1744, Franklin starts the philosophical society, which provides a center for education in Pennsylvania. His next venture is to set up a system of defense for the security of the province. He publishes a pamphlet entitled 'Plain Truth', which immediately brings the people to action. A large meeting is called, and there are talks and articles on the issue. Nearly ten thousand people volunteered to defend the province. Men furnish themselves with arms; companies and regiments are formed; officers are chosen; and regular meetings are held for exercise and instruction. Women make the flags for the regiments, and Franklin supplies the mottoes. Franklin also proposes a lottery to raise funds for the town battery. Since they lack cannons, Franklin, along with three other men, go to New York to request a cannon from Governor Clinton. Though he refuses at first, by the time the dinner is over, he has agreed to furnish eighteen cannons.

Franklin knows that Quakers, prevalent in Pennsylvania, are reluctant to favor any proposal regarding issues of war. But the Quaker Assembly generally grants funds "for the King's use" and never inquires about what it is for. When New England needs money to buy gunpowder, it asks for money for " Flour, Wheat, or other Grain," with this other grain being gun powder. The Quakers approve such a proposal. Franklin learns to deal in a similar fashion. When he fears that the Quakers will oppose his proposal for a cannon, he asks for money for a fire engine and equipment, which can be the cannon.

Notes

In this section, Franklin continues to be concerned with the public good. He forms the philosophical society to provide a center of education in Pennsylvania. He also rallies the citizens to form regiments for the defense of the province. In order to gain the needed supplies, he organizes a lottery, gains a contribution of cannons from the Governor of New York, and cleverly avoids disclosing the purchase of armaments to the Quakers.

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