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gallantries which so frequently marred the character of the men of that age. He was above the common size, remarkably handsome, strong and athletic, though subject to gout toward the close of his life.
He had only one child, William Temple Franklin, who resided in France, became the biographer of his grandfather, and died at Paris, May, 25th, 1823.
Such, imperfectly sketched, was the career of the last of our colonial governors. More of interest might have been imparted to the narrative, bad it been prepared with reference to its being read before the Society; but the materials for a full and satisfactory biography of William Franklin are yet wanting. It is much to be regretted that his papers, which were carried to France by his son cannot be regained.
It is remarkable how imperfectly known are all those who, during the provincia! existence of New Jersey, wielded the chief executive authority. Of a few, from their ruling over New York and other colonies, some information may be gleaned, but of them as Governors of New Jersey we bave very little that can be relied upon respecting their characters, babits, attainments or adventures. Doubts rest even upon the identity of some of them, and Governor Franklin himself is frequently confounded with his son William Temple Franklin. With the brevity almost of the Scripture annunciation—“So Tibni died and Omri reigned,” our historians Smith and Gordon present and withdraw their local potentates like the passing figures of a magic lantern, leaving it to the imagination in many cases to determine whence they came or whither went, and enveloping in dim uncertainty the brief exhibition afforded of their respective careers.
As members of this Society, therefore, no slight responsibility rests upon us. We owe it to the state--to the whole countryto search out “the hidden things of old”--to rescue from the merciless tooth of time and the obliterating mould of neglect the forgotten annals of New Jersey. All may be assured, that the task, however attended it may be with toil and liscouragement, is not without its pleasures, and biographical researches, particularly, will be found full of interest and usefulness.
“A kingdom is a nest of families,” and the constituent parts of the history of every community are the acts of the individuals who compose it. In that fact lies the value--the charm-of all private history:--not only the private history of public men, but also of those whom their fellows may term humble individ
uals ;-for it is not always in the power of cotemporaries to discern the bearing, or the historical value of many an event that occurs—of, so-called, trifling circumstances
“But trifles, lighter than straws, are levers in the building up of character" -developing traits and qualities which make the possessor known and felt in the community. The most prominent actors are not always the best judges of the merit which attaches to their own performance, and in the great drama of Life, as in the mimic representations of the stage, much may depend upon him who plays a humble part. Each has his duties, --cach must share the responsibility.
In one of the legislative halls at Washington is a Time-piece whose device ever struck me as impressing forcibly upon all their obligations to the age in which they live. In the car of Time, on the periphery of whose wheels the hours are marked, stands the Muse of History, recording in a book the events which transpire before her as the wheels of her chariot tell the revolving hours :-by her attitude and expression reminding the assembled representatives of the nation, that the history of each passing moment receives from them its impress, is stamped indelibly, by their proceedings, with characteristics which must redound to the welfare or the dishonor of the republic.
We may all, in our respective spheres, heed the lesson. As citizens of the state-as portions of the several communities in which we reside-as members of this Society, let us ponder the responsibilities and duties which rest upon us, and in proportion to our faithfulness shall be our reward.
TRENTON, January 18th, 1849. THE FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING OF TIIE SOCIETY was held at this place at 12 o'clock-the President in the chair
After the minutes of the last meeting were read and approved, the Corresponding Secretary made his report on the correspond. ence since September, and laid before the Society letters from Hon. Wm. A. Duer-referring to the Stirling MSS. ; Isaac S. Mulford, M. D.-acknowledging his election as a member; Co). Robert G. Johnson-with extracts from the Salem Records; Jo. seph Henry, L.L. D., Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution ; President Carnahan; Hon. Joseph F. Randolph, and others, upon matters connected with the operations of the Society. Commu. nications had been exchanged with the Historical Societies of New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Georgia; and the usual distribution of the Society's publications made to them and other corresponding institutions.
The letter of Col. Johnson was accompanied with a complete list—so far as the records would permit-of the Judges, Clerks, Sheriffs, Surrogates, &c., of the County of Salem from its first settlement to the present time.
Judge Duer transmitted copies of over two hundred letters and documents selected from the Stirling MSS. discovered since the publication of the Volume II. of the Society's Collections ; and also a MS. volume of Correspondence, intended to form a supplement to the Life of Lord Stirling.
This last was, on motion of the Secretary, referred to the Committtee on Publications.
Rev. Dr. MURRAY presented the Report of the Executive Committee, reviewing the operations of the Society from its com
mencement, and commenting upon the prospects of greater success and usefulness which were opening before it. On this head the Committee say :
“We have surmounted the difficulties always surrounding the establishment of a new enterprise-we have made a noble commencement as to a Library—we have arrested the attention of the historically thoughtful by our publications—we have received the approbation of our legislature, which has shewn itself willing to favor our judicions projects—we have collected around us the intelligence of New Jersey, and excited many minds to the investigation of the past, and to the preservation of the present, for the benefit of the future. We are in the full tide of successfiul experiment; and all that is needful to make this Society a Mental Exchange for New Jersey, avhere its wealthy intellects can meet, deliberate, discuss, for the purpose of enlightening the dark, and settling the disputed points, in our history,—and then to separate when our duties are ended feeling the bond of bro. therhood strengthened by cach meeting : is, to forget that an imaginary line was ever drawn from Little Egg Harbor to Wal. pack, and to remember that from the Hudson to the Delaware, and from Carpenter's Point to Cape May we are all Jerseyinen, equally interested in the past and prospective history of the state. We must not count him a Jerseyman who withholds a sentence he can contribute to its true history, or to that of its distinguished sons, because upon any given subject his historical brethren may not be able, consistently, to gratify his wishes. This would be like a son visiting the constructive injuries of his brethren upon his venerable mother."
The report concluded with proper allusions to the death of Capt. Wm. C. DeHart, U. S. A., and of the Recording Secretary, Dr. Condit, since the last annual meeting. The number of resi. dent members was said to be 404, of Corresponding members 51, and of Honorary members 29.
The Treasurer's Report was then read, showing a balance in the Treasury of $609 93, and the sum of $1,147 68 due from members for initiation fees and annual dues.
The account was referred to Messrs. Duryce and Rodgers, who subsequently reported it to the meeting duly audited.
The Librarian reported the donations received, and presented a list of fifty volumes of valuable and rare works which had been added to the library by purchase since the last meeting.