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MonkeyNotes-The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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AS A COMMISSIONER

In 1754, America is apprehensive about another war with France. As a result, several commissioners, including Franklin, are appointed to confer with the Indian chiefs since they side with France. Franklin proposes that the Indians defend their own territories.

Franklin also proposes a plan to unite all the colonies under one government. Several able men write out their suggestions for accomplishing the union, but Franklin's is found to be the best. With only a few amendments, Franklin's proposal is submitted to the Provincial Assemblies. Franklin's political draft instructs that a President General be appointed by the Crown; in addition, a grand Council is to be chosen by the representatives in their respective Assemblies. Franklin's plan is ultimately rejected by the Assemblies for giving too much power to the Crown, and England rejects it for being too democratic.

Franklin thinks that if his plan had been approved, there would have been no Revolution.

When the war is about to begin, Massachusetts asks for assistance from Pennsylvania. The Governor refuses to help unless the Proprietary Estates are exempted from taxes. Franklin contrives a method for the Assembly to raise money without imposing a tax and which requires no permission of the Governor. The bonds are to be sold under the guidance of the Loan Office in order to raise the needed money. The bonds will be paid off with the interest on paper money and with the revenue from excise tax.

Not agreeing on the union of the colonies, England sends troops for the defense of her territories. Franklin is sent to Maryland to cure General Braddock of his prejudice against the province. Franklin is able to clear all the prejudices and guarantees that the Assembly is willing to serve the General. Through his persuasive skills, Franklin procures 150 wagons for Braddock's use, and later the Pennsylvania Assembly sends him extra supplies and horses as gifts at Franklin's request. Franklin further helps the regiments with every need, advancing about one thousand pounds of his own money. When the General is defeated and killed by the Indians, Franklin stops his assistance.

While the militia organizes itself, Franklin is sent to defend the northwestern frontier by raising troops and building a line of forts. He assembles the troops at Bethlehem and marches to the proposed sites. Forts are built where needed. Franklin is called back by the Governor and his friends to attend the Assembly. His job is done since the forts have been completed. On his return journey, Franklin rests in Bethlehem, where he is introduced to Moravian customs. They work for common profits, sleep in common dormitories, and eat on common tables.

Notes

In this section, Franklin once again ably demonstrates his leadership qualities and negotiation skills. In preparing for the war effort, he makes soldiers out of farmers. Even in the face of an Indian ambush when he loses quite a few men, he rallies his troops and keeps up their morale. His practical mind always brings up solutions to the problems and gives his men a sense of peace. Through it all, his sense of humor never deserts him.

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