Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIV Home Is the Sailor"

I

WHEN Franklin lands in Philadelphia it is at that Market Street wharf from which more than sixty years before he first surveyed the quaint little town. Throngs are waiting for a sight of him, for those persons who are adults now were children when he departed for France; they greet him with tumultuous hurrahs, cannonades and cheers that follow him to his door. The Pennsylvania Assembly and Gen. Washington send him congratulatory letters. He finds Sarah Bache and her seven children well, and writes in his diary: "God be praised and thanked for all his mercies!"

No sooner is he made comfortable than his fellow citizens resume their ancient habit of electing him to office. "They have eaten my flesh," he resignedly writes to a friend, "and seem resolved to pick my bones." He receives a seat on the Philadelphia Common Council and is promptly made its chairman. He is next elected president of the Supreme Executive Council of the State, or, as we would call it today, governor.

His political duties, however, are at first not exacting, and he finds time to add a wing to his house and to turn his garden into a lawn on which he can sit under the mulberry tree and play games with his grandchildren. He also invents a contrivance for reaching the books on the high shelves of his library and a chair which can be unfolded into

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