ITITY Historical Archivist
For the past several weeks, scholars have been following a series of cryptic clues left behind by one of our most enigmatic founding fathers. It all began when a dentist in Morristown NJ, while perusing a copy of Poor Richard’s Almanack in his private collection, came across a peculiar parchment concealed within its pages.
Dated 1787, the extraordinary document contains illustrations of Independence Hall and its bell tower, a diagram of an unusually large Leyden jar and the obscure details of an intricate clockwork mechanism all under the title: “When the wheels of bureaucracy slow to the point that a spark of sufficient strength is required to set them spinning again.”
For many years the subject of contention among historians of America’s colonial past, some of the more curious correspondences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson during the Constitutional impasse of that same year are now being seen as pieces of the same puzzle.
Adams initiated the exchange with this admonition: “What the devil was he thinking; his infernal lightning bolt has rendered the thing completely useless. It will now be necessary to procure another one from Mr.’s Pass and Stow.”
“In conjuring the assistance of the heavens, I agree that he has indeed proven himself to be a man with whom one’s association is to be accompanied by the most judicious caution,” Jefferson rejoined.
Adams continued, “I most strenuously object to being the unwitting subject of one of his perilous experiments. Were he ever again to embark on such a similar enterprise I would personally guarantee him a one way passage to Paris.”
The final words were Jefferson’s: “While one may certainly question his methods, it is arguable however that without Dr. Franklin’s unconventional intervention, we may never have reached a consensus.”
Researchers now believe the letters, together with the newly discovered drawing, have revealed a startling secret, hidden for over two hundred years, about the birth of our democracy.
In the course of his consternation with the Constitutional delegates and their unwillingness to come to a compromise, Franklin had a Philadelphia foundry cast a lightening rod of a special anodic alloy in the shape of a bell.
Installed in the tower of Independence Hall where the convention was being held, what would later be known as the Liberty Bell was stuck by lightening during a particularly violent thunder storm, forming its famous fissure.
The enormous electric charge was stored in a large capacitor until, at a time selected by him for an especially spectacular effect, Franklin switched on his clockwork distributor and sent a spark of high voltage current to each of the reluctant representatives.
At the close of the convention, as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation, a woman asked him, “Well Doctor, what have we got; a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin smugly responded “A Republic, if you can stand the static.”