NOT SO POOR RICHARD

A man who could invent the lightning rod and bifocal spectacles, establish a Philosophical Society and the first fire insurance company in America, win success as a diplomat and found the Saturday Evening Post two hundred years ago, would probably be broad minded enough not to be surprised at the most advanced developments of our scientific age. All these achievements are claimed for Benjamin Franklin by the descendant of his periodical in its 200th anniversary number. But it is probable that even he would have been incredulous if he had been told that in the twentieth century his immortality would depend not so much on his achievements as patriot and scientist but for the little weekly he founded for his neighbors in William Penn's colony. The vicissitudes of its early life and the near-extinctions that several times threatened it would not have encouraged anyone to entrust his chances of fame to it.

Yet there could have been few better choices. Even if the present publishers modestly assert that they bought a "forlorn hope" that had "no future whatsoever save what its new owners could make for it" it did survive all its misfortunes and is now a national byword when Franklin's inventions are superseded and his diplomacy almost forgotten. It is one of the few times that Fate has done really the appropriate thing. The man who was in some ways the most alive of all his great contemporaries is well fitted in such a living and dynamic memorial and the man who originated the saying "There is nothing sure but death and taxes" was certainly the best fitted to appreciate the form it took.