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

By Benjamin Franklin

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The writings of no man among the Christian Brotherhood have been so
universally popular as those of Benjamin Franklin, save the extended
writings of Alexander Campbell. Franklin’s volumes of Sermons, Debates
and Tracts, together with his miscellaneous writings, have for many
years been in general demand, and have met with ready sale.

No excuse is offered for this volume, save that of public demand. The
public demanded the volume, and it is, therefore, submitted.

None but the most choice selections, gathered from numerous valuable
writings, have been allowed space in this volume. The book is what
it purports to be, a collection of Gems that sparkle in the light of
Heaven’s Truth as diamonds in the sky.

The reader, by referring to the Index, can easily turn and get the
views of the Author on very many momentous subjects.

The volume will prove, as we trust, a monument to the memory of a great
and good man, and a treasure to every Christian household.

The volume is sent forth with the prayer that the truth it contains may
sanctify and make glad many, many hearts.

J. A. H.


Nation after nation rises, enters and occupies a place among the
nations of the earth, falls, and is only known in the faithful records
of history. Generation after generation comes forth, enters upon the
great theatre of life, throngs the world for a little while, falls
in death and passes into eternity. Upon an average, about once in
thirty-three years, the whole of the inhabitants of the earth, or
as many as are upon it at any one time, over one billion souls, are
carried beyond the reach of all missionary effort—beyond the reach of
all repentance—all gospel invitations, and so many as are not saved,
beyond all possibility of salvation. During the same short period,
the preachers, missionaries, writers and professors of religion of
one generation are all born where no mistakes can be corrected, and
no amendment for wrongs done, or time trifled away, can ever be made.
Taking off from this time, eighteen years for childhood, only leaves
about fifteen years for the vast work of personal preparation, for
a state of boundless duration in the pure and holy society of just
men made perfect, the angels of God, Jesus the mediator of the New

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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 21
There were some small boats near the shore, and we made signs, and called to them to fetch us; but they either did not comprehend us, or it was impracticable, so they went off.
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He received me very affectionately, for he always loved me.
Page 51
My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting way.
Page 65
Her father died worth fifteen hundred pounds, but what her circumstances are now I know not.
Page 69
In youth, therefore, the turn is given; in youth the education even of the next generation is given; in youth the private and public character is determined; and the term of life extending but from youth to age, life ought to begin well from youth; and more especially _before_ we take our party as to our principal objects.
Page 90
Most of these are lost, but I find one purporting to be the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the essentials of every known religion, and being free of everything that might shock the professors of any religion.
Page 104
I then proposed a lottery to defray the expense of building a battery below the town, and furnished with cannon: it filled expeditiously, and the battery was soon erected, the merlons being framed of logs and filled with earth.
Page 111
That I will do, said I; and, in the first place, I advise you to apply to all those who you know will give something; next, to those who you are uncertain whether they will give anything or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken.
Page 112
It was by a private person, the late Mr.
Page 114
For where all the rain that falls on a street runs from the sides and meets in the middle, it forms there a current strong enough to wash away all the mud it meets with: but when divided into two channels, it is often too weak to cleanse either, and only makes the mud it finds more fluid, so that the wheels of carriages and feet of horses throw and dash it upon the foot pavement (which is thereby rendered foul and slippery), and sometimes splash it upon those who are walking.
Page 126
David Hume, who was some years after secretary to Lord Hertford when minister in France, and afterward to General Conway when secretary of state, told me he had seen among the papers in that office letters from Braddock highly recommending me.
Page 130
Our first work was to bury more effectually the dead we found there, who had been half interred by the country people; the next morning our fort was planned and marked out, the circumference measuring four hundred and fifty-five feet, which would require as many palisades to be made, one with another, of a foot diameter each.
Page 142
The general replied, "If you can do it.
Page 144
" While I was, as before mentioned, detained at New-York, I received all the accounts of the provisions, &c.
Page 152
He now presented his knuckle to the key, and received a strong spark.
Page 162
Had this pretended right been suffered to remain dormant, the colonists would cheerfully have furnished their quota of supplies, in the mode to which they had been accustomed; that is, by acts of their own assemblies, in consequence of requisitions from the secretary of state.
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If one of them accepts the money with the conditions and the other refuses, my will then is that both sums be given to the inhabitants of the city accepting, the whole to be applied to the same purpose and under the same regulations directed for the separate parts; and if both refuse, the money remains, of course, in the mass of my estate, and it is to be disposed of therewith, according to my will made the seventeenth day of July, 1788.
Page 188
_ No, by no means absolutely necessary; with industry and good management, they may well supply themselves with all they want.
Page 195
It began about the limits between Canada and Nova Scotia; about territories to which the _crown_ indeed laid claim, but which were not claimed by any British _colony_; none of the lands had been granted to any colonist; we had, therefore, no particular concern or interest in that dispute.