| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
HOW BENJAMIN FRANKLIN CAME TO PHILADELPHIA
 AFTER Penn left his colony there was frequent trouble between the
Governors and the people. Some of the Governors were untrustworthy,
some were weak, none was truly great. But about ten years after
Penn's death a truly great man came to Philadelphia. This was
Benjamin Franklin. Of all the men of colonial times Franklin was
Benjamin was the fifteenth child of his father, a sturdy English
Nonconformist who some years before had emigrated from Banbury
in England to Boston in America. As the family was so large the
children had to begin early to earn their own living. So at the
age of ten Benjamin was apprenticed to his own father, who was a
tallow chandler, and the little chap spent his days helping to make
soap and "dips" and generally making himself useful.
But he did not like it at all. So after a time he was apprenticed
to his elder brother James, who had a printing press, and published
a little newspaper called the Courant. Benjamin liked that much
better. He soon became a good printer, he was able to get hold of
books easily, and he spent his spare time reading such books as the
"Pilgrim's Progress" and the "Spectator." Very soon too he took
to writing, and became anxious to have an article printed in his
But as he was only a boy he was afraid that if his brother knew he
had written the article he would never print it. So he disguised his
handwriting, and slipped
 his paper under the door of the printinghouse
at night. It was found next morning, and to Benjamin's
delight was thought good enough to be printed in the paper. After
that Benjamin wrote often for the little paper. In time however he
and his brother began to quarrel, and when he was seventeen Benjamin
decided to go to New York to seek his fortune there.
He took ship to New York and arrived there one October day
with very little money in his pocket and not a friend in the town.
He did not find work in New York, but an old printer advised him
to go to Philadelphia where he knew his son was in need of a printer.
Benjamin was already three hundred miles from home, and Philadelphia
was another hundred miles farther, but he resolved to go.
Fifty miles of the way he trudged on foot, the rest he went by
boat, and after nearly a week of most uncomfortable travelling he
arrived one Sunday morning at Philadelphia. He was soaked to the
skin, dirty and untidy, hungry and tired. His pockets bulged out
with shirts and stockings, but save for one Dutch dollar they were
empty of money.
Benjamin was tired and dirty, but before everything he was hungry;
so he went to a baker's shop and bought three big rolls. As his
pockets were full he tucked two of the rolls under his arm and
strolled down the street devouring the third, while the clean tidy
folk all ready to go to meeting stared at him in wonder.
Such was the first entry of one of America's greatest statesmen into
the town which was henceforth to be his home and where he was to
become famous; and as a clever Frenchman said "invent the Republic."
In Philadelphia Benjamin found work, and although after a year he
left his new home and sailed for England, he soon returned. In ten
years' time he was one of the
fore-  most men of Philadelphia and took
an interest in everything which concerned the life of the people.
He established a circulating library; he was chosen Clerk of the
General Assembly; he was appointed post-master; he established a
police force and fire brigade, and helped to found the University
of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Hospital.
In fact he took an interest in everything connected with the welfare
of his adopted city, and of Pennsylvania. And when troubles arose
with the British Government Franklin was chosen to go to England
to try to put matters right. Later on other colonies too asked
for his help, and he went to England as the agent, not only of
Pennsylvania but of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Georgia.
He was a philosopher and scientist as well as a diplomatist, and
he was the first American whose fame spread all over the world.
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