Mr. J. Henry Smythe, executive secretary of the Benjamin Franklin memorial committee of the New York Sons of the American Revolution, has asked the President and Fellows to investigate Benjamin Franklin's contribution to the science of electricity. The famous experiment of the key and kite, resulting in the only shock of Franklin's life, is even doubted by incredulous scientists. Such belitttling of the school-boys favorite picture of Franklin "defying the lightning like Ajax Telamen", should certainly be investigated, even though a disastrous precedent may be set.
All defenders of controversial hypotheses will look to the President and Fellows as the only truthful authority to settle their disputes. A committee on the truth of ancient and modern theories will have to be formed. There will spring up in all parts of the world societies for the prevention of slander on Isaac Newton, or Keppler. University Hall will be flooded by letters demanding the truth about the "apple hypothesis of the discovery of gravity" or research on the theory that each star has its little guardian angel pushing it through space. Others will ask for proof that Pythagoras first heard the music of the spheres.
The modern division of the committee will have somewhat different work. It will discuss the tale of the cherry tree as the essence of truth. At the end of each year they will publish a supplement to Bartlett's "Familiar Annotations" to set forth the statistics of the birth-rate, past, present, and future, in relation to P. T. Barnum's theory that "there's one born every minute." And it will provide, it is hoped, a directory of originators of Volstead jokes, that such hardened criminals may be stalked down and slaughtered by a too patient public.