implements for each company; so that I question whether there is a city in the world better provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning conflagrations, and, in fact, since these institutions the city has never lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time, and the flames have often been extinguished before the house in which they began has been half consumed.
IN 1739, arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr. Whitefield,° who had made himself remarkable there as an itinerant preacher. He was at first permitted to preach in some of our churches ; but the clergy taking a dislike to him, soon refused him their pulpits, and he was obliged to preach in the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admired and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring them they were naturally half beasts and half devils. It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.
And it being found inconvenient to assemble in the open air, subject to its inclemencies, the building of a house to meet in was no sooner proposed, and persons appointed to receive contributions, than sufficient sums were soon received to procure the ground and erect the building, which was one hundred feet long
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Publication information: Book title: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Contributors: Benjamin Franklin - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1914. Page number: 103.
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