The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

VI. Franklin

§ 6. His Public Activities

By the time he was thirty Franklin gave promise of becoming, by a gradual expansion of his useful activities, the leading Pennsylvanian. In 1736 he was chosen clerk of the General Assembly, and in the following year was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia. He made both these offices useful to his printing business and to his newspaper and his business influence to support his measures for municipal improvements, among the objects of which may be mentioned street-sweeping, paving, a regular police force, a fire company, a hospital, and a public library. As his business prospered, he expanded it by forming partnerships with his promising workmen and sending them with printing-presses into other colonies. In 1741 he experimented with a monthly publication, The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the British Colonies in America; this monthly, notable as the second issued in America, expired with the sixth number. In 1742 he invented the stove of which he published a description in 1744 as An Account of the New Invented Pennsylvanian Fire Places. In 1743 he drew up proposals for an academy which eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1744 he founded the American Philosophical Society.