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digested, and in due time published among transactions of that body."
Eulogium on Benjamin Franklin delivered March 1st 1791 before the American Philosophical Society, and, agreeably to their appointment, by William Smith, D.D. one of the Vice-Presidents of the said society, and Provost of the College and Academy of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: 1792, page 13.
DEFINITION OF DATE OF FOUNDING.
"By Date of Founding, is meant the year in which the institution was established out of which the present college or university has developed. Thus the year 1780 is the date of the foundation of an academy at Washington, Pennsylvania, from which Washington and Jefferson College grew."
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2d Annual Report of President and Treasurer, 1907, page 18.
J. FRANCIS FISHER, ESQ.1
READ JUNE 26TH, 1840.
At the stated Meeting of the Society on the 19th of June, heard for the first time that our learned and venerable President had prepared a History of our Society, or at least of its formation; and that he had been induced to undertake it at this moment by
1 This communication should have followed that of Mr. Du Ponceau, but it had been misplaced in the Archives of the Society and was not found until after the foregoing papers had been printed. It was transmitted to the Society with the following letter:
TO JOHN K. KANE, ESQU.
SECRETARY OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. Dear Sir,
I beg you to present the following sheets as soon as possible this Evening Either to be read immediately after Mr. DuPonceau's Paper on the History of the Society, or to be referred unread to the Committee appointed on it.
Had not Mr. DuPonceau's Paper already been presented to the Society, and an adjourned meeting called to hear it read, before I knew the subject of it, I should not trouble the Society with my Communication, but have spoken or written privately to the President, giving him my authorities on which Mr Sparks relied in preparing his sketch of the Society's History published in the Appendix to the first volume of Franklin's Works.
This would have been the most proper course, but it is now too late, and I have only to hope that my venerated friend will not think it ill done by me that I place in your hands a short recapitulation of my reasons for doubting that the old Junto Club was the foundation of the American Philosophical Society, & that he will appreciate
reading in the Appendix to the first Volume of Mr Sparks' Collection of Dr Franklin's Works an account of the two Societies by the union of which our Association was formed in 1769, and finding in it several errors of sufficient Importance to correct in a formal communication to our Fellow Members.
Every paper from our excellent & learned friend must be of great interest, and I am delighted to find that he is again induced to take his pen to give us the result of his research, the collections of tradition, and his own recollections of the early history of our Society, to which his learning has added so much lustre, and which I trust will long be honoured by his name as President.
I have not seen this manuscript which is to be read at an adjourned meeting of the Society; and it may appear unnecessary for me to add any thing to a Communication which may well be supposed to contain all the facts extant upon the subject—and even my motives in presenting them at once rather than give them the appearance of any contradiction or criticism of his account of our Early History.
As my communication embraces sketches of three Associations existing before 1769 when an union of two of them formed our present Society—and as I must necessarily run over the same ground described by our learned President, you may think it best and have my permission to omit any part of my paper in reading it to our fellow members.
With the highest Esteem
I am truly yr. friend
J. FRANCIS FISHER.
presumptuous in me, to differ on any point from our learned President before hearing all he has to say:But, it is precisely because I wish to avoid all collision with him, because I do not wish to appear to correct his statements or inferences that I now submit the following pages which contain my own notions as to the origin of our Society, not thinking that my view & inferences from the same facts ought for a moment to be considered with those of Mr DuPonceau, but expecting to adduce some authority new to him, which if the history of the American Philosophical Society is to be printed ought not to be disregarded.
I have however a still stronger reason for trespassing on your attention. It is to do justice to my friend M Sparks, and his very valuable publication -If there are errors in his account of our Society, I am answerable for them, as it is in great measure made up from extracts taken by myself from the old Minute Books. He requested me to examine them for him, send him such excerpts as I thought important, and give him my own view of the origin of our Society. I did so at large, and it is from my notes that he abridged his account of the two original Associations.
I have not a copy of my letter to him, but I will endeavour to recollect and as briefly as possible repeat the important facts in it. It is a matter of no moment to myself whether I be found right or in error-but it may be thought of some importance that
this Society should not have it's history handed down erroneously in a work of such authority.
I believe I am aware of the principal point in M2 Sparks' account which will be objected to by M DuPonceau having had some months ago a conversation with the latter as to the antiquity of our Society, and I shall be very brief upon all the others.
Mr. Sparks speaking of one of the original Societies, that instituted in 1743 under the name of the American Philosophical Society of which Thomas Hopkinson was first President, says "This Society had no connexion with the Junto which is often mentioned in Franklin's Autobiography, & which had been established many years before" and again "In the mean time" (after the establishment of the former) "another Society sprang up in Philadelphia which was called the Junto or Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge. The date of the origin of this Society is unknown that portion of the Records which has been preserved begins September 22, 1758" &c. &c.
The Junto was instituted in 1727. It was a Club at first entirely private, limited to twelve in number, meeting for philosophical & literary conversation and social enjoyment. It is probable they kept no regular Minutes, had no written communications, possessed no library or collections, and had few accounts but those settled weekly with the respectable