IN COLONIAL AMERICA printing was very much a public business. Nearly all those who succeeded at it were printers for some agency of government and many held a variety of public offices. Shortly after Franklin entered his first partnership, he printed without charge or commission an address of the Pennsylvania Assembly which had been done carelessly by William Bradford, the official printer. The members, Franklin tells us, "were sensible of the difference: it strengthened the Hands of our Friends in the House, and they voted us their Printers for the year ensuing [ 1730]." From then on Franklin printed the statutes and minutes of the Assembly. He became so intimately acquainted with its business and many of its members that in 1736 he was chosen its clerk and thereafter, of course, attended its meetings.
During the same years he began his career as a propagandist on public affairs. He wrote a treatise favoring paper currency at a time when trade in the province flourished but was threatened by a lack of a circulating medium. Franklin showed that an expansion of credit could provide an important stimulus to the economy, and that the real wealth of a country depended on the value of the improvements produced on its land and in its shops rather than on the amount of specie accumulated. He had in mind the general well-being of the colony, not the special