A Book of Gems Choice selections from the writings of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 207

his mouth by cutting off his support. He stood
independent, except upon God, who was with and prospered him. How could
he have founded a seminary first and then a magnificent college and
prosecuted his great work without means? How could he have supplied
his extension table, always extended in his long dining hall, along
which the vast numbers that visited him at all seasons, but specially
on commencement occasions, sat, were fed and satisfied, and went away
admiring their noble host, of whose munificence they had partaken,
had not the Lord prospered him? God enabled him to give examples in
generosity, hospitality, and to push on his great work. It was of the
highest importance that he should be free from all pecuniary pressure
and embarrassment, and the Lord kept him in that condition all the
time—made “all grace abound” to him. Growing _rich_ and _money making_
from the _love_ of money, or _money’s sake_, were ideas that occupied
no place in his great mind or heart. He made and used money, as God
intended it, as a _means_ for doing the work of God, and _means_ that
the work could not have been done without.

_Fourth._ But how did so large an estate accumulate if he did not love
money, or love “filthy lucre?” We answer that a large amount of his
estate came to him as he explained to us, when we visited him, in the
only conversation we ever had with him about his temporal affairs, and
that a very brief one. We can not remember the particulars, but we do
remember distinctly all that is of any interest here. Several large
items—items that would have changed the amount _largely_—came to
him without the most distant idea of ever making money. This occurred
in his listening to the importunities of friends to loan them money,
and securing it by mortgaging lands then cheap, and these lands thus
finally falling into his hands, by the failure of his friends, to whom
he had loaned the money, to pay. These lands remained in his hands
many years, and he was not necessitated to sell them. As the country
improved and railroads were constructed, these lands proved to be
in important places, where in many years they grew up in into heavy
amounts in value. In this there was no _far seeing_ nor _reaching_ for
“filthy lucre,” nor any thought of obtaining it. He simply listened to
the requests of his friends to _help them_, and in many long years it
turned out to yield him a heavy amount.

_Fifth._ His talents put forth in

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 5
Being at a distance from my papers, I will give you what account I can of them from memory: and if my papers are not lost in my absence, you will find among them many more particulars.
Page 16
I was charmed by it, adopted it, dropped my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer; and being then, from reading _Shaftesbury_ and _Collins_, made a doubter, as I already was in many points of our religious doctrines, I found this method the safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took delight in it, practised it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee; entangling them in difficulties, out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved.
Page 23
I was in my working dress, my best clothes coming round by sea.
Page 28
For when my mother some time after spoke to him of a reconciliation, and of her wish to see us on good terms together, and that we might live for the future as brothers, he said I had insulted him in such a manner before his people, that he could never forget or forgive it.
Page 45
Denham among the tradesmen, to purchase various articles and see them packed up, delivering messages, calling upon workmen to despatch, &c.
Page 76
The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's self as the proposer of any useful project that might be supposed to raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's neighbours, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project.
Page 79
It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at _moral perfection_; I wished to live without committing any fault at any time, and to conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into.
Page 91
In 1732 I first published my Almanac under the name of _Richard Saunders_; it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and commonly called _Poor Richard's Almanac_.
Page 100
I did not disapprove of the design, but as Georgia was then destitute of materials and workmen, and it was proposed to send them from Philadelphia at a great expense, I thought it would have been better to build the house at Philadelphia, and bring the children to it.
Page 107
When I was disengaged myself, as above mentioned, from private business, I flattered myself that, by the sufficient though moderate fortune I had acquired, I had found leisure during the rest of my life for philosophical studies and amusements.
Page 113
I did but follow his example, and have only some merit to claim respecting the form of our lamps, as differing from the globe lamps we were at first supplied with from London.
Page 121
That there shall be paid for each wagon, with four good horses and a driver, fifteen shillings per diem.
Page 150
He showed clearly that the bottle, when charged, contained no more electricity than before, but that as much was taken from one side as was thrown on the other; and that, to discharge it, nothing was necessary but to produce a communication between the two sides by which the equilibrium might be restored, and that then no signs of electricity would remain.
Page 153
When the truth of it could no longer be doubted, envy and vanity endeavoured to detract from its merit.
Page 183
_ How long are those taxes to continue? _A.
Page 192
Page 195
_ But suppose Great Britain should be engaged in a _war in Europe_, would North America contribute to the support of it? _A.
Page 200
Page 202
There they surrounded the small village of Indian huts, and just at break of day broke into them all at once.
Page 215
* * * _Introduction to Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania.