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or elsewhere, as the United Society shall direct."" In consequence of this agreement, the Minutes of the two Societies were deposited in the Cabinet of the United Society, where they now are, and it appears from the Minutes of the American Society, that on the 2nd of September 1762, it was still called "The Junto." The Minutes from 1762 to 1766 are missing. In 1766, the Society changed its name, but was still in fact the Junto.
There was no other Association in Philadelphia, that bore that name. In the year 1736 (as Franklin relates in his autobiography) the Junto wanted to increase the number of its members, which was limited to twelve. Franklin dissuaded them from it, by persuading them that it would be better for each member to form a limited Club, unconnected with them, but pursuing the same objects. Five or six of those Clubs, he says, were completed. They were called the Vine, the Union, the Band, etc., but none of them assumed the name of the Junto." What became of them afterwards does not appear. It is probable that they had not a long existence.
There can be no doubt, therefore, that the Society, which in 1766 assumed the name of the "American," was Franklin's old Junto of 1727, and no other. It is hardly credible that while the old Junto existed,
7 See the minutes of the two societies.
8 See the minutes.
1. Sparks' "Franklin," 129.
another Society should have adopted the same name; It would have been contrary to all the rules of delicacy and mutual respect.
Dr. Smith in his Eulogium of Franklin says that the Junto "became at last the foundation of the American Philosophical Society, now assembled to pay the last tribute to his memory."
If there would still be any doubt upon this point, we have the testimony of Dr. William Smith, which is conclusive. Dr. Smith was a member of the "Philosophical" Society (not that which had before been the Junto) and was the Secretary at the time of the Union in the year 1768. He was very active in promoting the Union of the two associations, and must have known their respective origin. In 1792, he pronounced an Eulogium of Franklin before our Society, which was printed and is in our Library. In that Eulogium he says: "For the purpose of aiding and increasing the materials of information, one of the first Societies formed by Franklin was in the year 1728,10 about the 22nd [year] of his age, and was
9a I do not know whether in my quotation I have added the part underlined. It ought to be inserted. Nor do I remember whether I have said that Smith, at the time of the Union, was Secretary to the Society opposed to the Junto. That is material. [Note added by Mr. Du Ponceau.]
We are informed by Dr. Franklin, that the Junto was established in the autumn of 1727, but many writers date its establishment in the following year. Thus our Society is said to have begun in 1769, though the two Societies were united in December preceding.
called the Junto. It consisted of a select number of his younger friends, who met weekly, for the discussion of Questions in Morality, Politics, and Natural Philosophy. The number was limited to twelve members. After having existed forty years, and having contributed to the formation of some very great men, besides Franklin himself, this Society became at last, the foundation of the American Philosophical Society now assembled to pay the last tribute to his memory."
We shall see in the sequel that the Junto of 1727, and that of 1758 and 1766, of which alone the recorded proceedings have been preserved, were formed on the same model, pursued the same objects by the same means, and were governed by the same rules (as far as can be ascertained) and I am forced to conclude that the last was a continuation of the original Club, until it thought proper to change its name, with a view to the enlargement of its objects.
Having premised thus much, I shall now proceed historically. I shall draw my facts from the minutes of the two Societies that are deposited in our Archives, and from the information that I obtained from Cotemporaries. About twelve or fifteen years ago, I had formed the design, which I have since abandoned, of writing the History of this Society, at least to a certain period. With that view I made copious extracts from the Minutes above mentioned, which have aided me in preparing this humble sketch, which will, perhaps, facilitate the labours of our future historian.
I shall begin with the Junto.
The Records or Minutes of that institution during the first thirty years of its existence, are unfortunately lost. Those that we possess begin only with the 22nd of September 1758. This is not to be wondered at; it is more astonishing that so much should have been preserved. The Junto in its origin was an Association of young men for mutual improvement. It was, in fact, a Club, as Dr. Franklin properly called it. His spirit kept it alive, and raised it gradually to what it afterwards became. They had no common repository; they met at taverns, and their papers passed from hand to hand, and ultimately disappeared. This is no more than what might have been expected.
We are not in possession of their original rules, or Constitution. For all we know respecting it we are indebted to Dr. Franklin, who fortunately has supplied us in his autobiography with much information on this subject. To that and some other Documents found among his papers, we must, therefore, have recourse.
The great man informs us that in the autumn of 1727, he formed most of his ingenious acquaintances into a Club, for mutual improvement, which they called the Junto. They met on Friday evenings. The rules that he drew up required that every member in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of morals, politics, or natural philos
ophy, to be discussed by the Company; and once in three months, produce and read an essay of his own, on any subject he pleased. Their debates were to be under the direction of a President, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of enquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after sometime, made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties."
The number of the members was limited to twelve.12 The first members of the Society were himself, Joseph Breintnall, Thomas Godfrey, Nicholas Scull, Wm. Parsons, William Mangridge, Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, George Webb, Robert Grace, and William Coleman, who, with Franklin, were the only survivors at the time of the union of the two Societies.
This is all that is found in Franklin's autobiography respecting the Junto, except the character of its first members, which are too well known to need to be repeated here. But in some loose sheets found among his papers, and which have been preserved by Mr. Sparks, some further light is thrown upon the subject.
Among those scraps (if anything from Franklin may be so called) we find a paper entitled: "Rules for a Club established for mutual improvement,"