Financial History 140 Winter 2022 - Page 33

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin , age 20 .
Collection of the Museum of American Finance
Library of Congress their poor Parishioners and Tenants .” Franklin ’ s proverbs linked “ the Means of procuring Wealth ” with “ securing Virtue , it being more difficult for a Man in Want to always act honestly …. It is hard for an empty Sack to stand upright .”
Opening a stationery shop in the front of his house on Market Street , he sold paper , tea , coffee , cheese , slates , pencils
Benjamin Franklin ’ s Pennsylvania Gazette , May 9 , 1754 .
and lampblack , Crown soap that his siblings made in Boston , iron stoves of his own invention , lottery tickets and even slaves , whom he advertised in the Gazette . He imported books from London ; his 1744 catalog listed 600 titles . To cater to “ Friends here of Different Tastes ,” he ordered pamphlets about “ everything good or bad that makes a Noise and has a Run .”
On November 8 , 1739 , the Gazette noted the arrival in Philadelphia of a young evangelist . The Reverend George Whitefield , a 25-year-old Anglican priest , was preaching his way from Rhode Island to Georgia , everywhere drawing unprecedented crowds . His fire-and-brimstone sermons were igniting a religious revival movement that would shake the political and social foundations of the mainland British colonies while at the same time greatly enhancing Franklin ’ s fortune .
Eventually barred from most churches by envious clergy , Whitefield preached in the streets and in open fields in a voice so loud and so clear that he could be heard two blocks away by as many as 25,000 auditors , at least according to Franklin ’ s unverifiable estimate .
Whitefield had arrived in colonial America from Great Britain already so popular that few churches could safely accommodate his legion of listeners . At Old South Church in Boston , the Gazette reported , “ vast numbers of people crowded in there before the time of the service .” When “ some persons [ were ] breaking a board to make a seat ,” some “ imprudent person ” shouted that the gallery was collapsing , setting off a panic :
Some jumped out of the galleries into the seats below , others out of the windows , and those below pressing hastily to get out , several were thrown down and trod upon , whereby many were much bruised , and some had their bones broke .
According to the details provided the Gazette — probably by Franklin ’ s sister
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