Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 119

vote with
us, and thirteen, by their absence, manifested that they were not
inclin'd to oppose the measure, I afterward estimated the proportion
of Quakers sincerely against defense as one to twenty-one only; for
these were all regular members of that society, and in good reputation
among them, and had due notice of what was propos'd at that meeting.

The honorable and learned Mr. Logan, who had always been of that sect,
was one who wrote an address to them, declaring his approbation of
defensive war, and supporting his opinion by many strong arguments. He
put into my hands sixty pounds to be laid out in lottery tickets for
the battery, with directions to apply what prizes might be drawn
wholly to that service. He told me the following anecdote of his old
master, William Penn, respecting defense. He came over from England,
when a young man, with that proprietary, and as his secretary. It was
war-time, and their ship was chas'd by an armed vessel, suppos'd to be
an enemy. Their captain prepar'd for defense; but told William Penn,
and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect their assistance,
and they might retire into the cabin, which they did, except James
Logan,[82] who chose to stay upon deck, and was quarter'd to a gun. The
suppos'd enemy prov'd a friend, so there was no fighting; but when the
secretary went down to communicate the intelligence, William Penn
rebuk'd him severely for staying upon deck, and undertaking to assist
in defending the vessel, contrary to the principles of _Friends_,
especially as it had not been required by the captain. This reproof,
being before all the company, piqu'd the secretary, who answer'd, _"I
being thy servant, why did thee not order me to come down? But thee
was willing enough that I should stay and help to fight the ship when
thee thought there was danger."_

[82] James Logan (1674-1751) came to America with William
Penn in 1699, and was the business agent for the Penn
family. He bequeathed his valuable library, preserved at
his country seat, "Senton", to the city of

My being many years in the Assembly, the majority of which were
constantly Quakers, gave me frequent opportunities of seeing the
embarrassment given them by their principle against war, whenever
application was made to them, by order of the crown, to grant aids for
military purposes. They were unwilling to offend government, on the
one hand, by a direct refusal; and their friends, the

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 15
_ "II.
Page 18
_It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.
Page 32
What science, then, can there be more noble, more excellent, more useful for men, more admirably high and demonstrative, than this of the mathematics? I shall conclude with what Plato says, in the seventh book of his _Republic_, with regard to the excellence and usefulness of geometry, being to this purpose: "Dear friend--You see, then, that mathematics are necessary, because, by the exactness of the method, we get a habit of using our minds to the best advantage.
Page 66
That Englishmen of all ranks might be effectually intimidated from publishing their thoughts on any subject, except on the side of the court, his majesty's ministers caused an information, for several libels, to be exhibited in the Star Chamber against Messrs.
Page 106
Thus all the colonies acknowledge the king as their sovereign; his governors there represent his person: laws are made by their assemblies or little parliaments, with the governor's assent, subject still to the king's pleasure to affirm or annul them.
Page 109
"I congratulate you on your election as president of your Edinburgh Society.
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Mather, Boston.
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Oh! that moral science were in as fair a way of improvement; that men would cease to be wolves to one another; and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity! "I am glad that my little paper on the Aurora Borealis pleased.
Page 137
concerned in the pieces of personal abuse, so scandalously common in our newspapers, that I am afraid to lend any of them here till I have examined and laid aside such as would disgrace us, and subject us among strangers to a reflection like that used by a gentleman in a coffee-house to two quarrellers, who, after a mutually free use of the words rogue, villain, rascal scoundrel, &c.
Page 138
Perhaps I shall be the last to discover that; but I am sensible of great diminution in my activity, a quality I think particularly necessary in your minister at this court.
Page 150
it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads too high.
Page 152
The Parliament, too, believed the stories of another foolish general, I forget his name, that the Yankees never _felt bold_.
Page 164
I thank you much for your notes on banks; they are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them.
Page 180
In the same manner, may we not suppose, that when we consume combustibles of all kinds, and produce heat or light, we do not create that heat or light, but decompose a substance which received it originally as a part of its composition? Heat may be thus considered as originally in a fluid state; but, attracted by organized bodies in their growth, becomes a part of the solid.
Page 190
It shook the whole island; and not only that, but Naples and Malta shared in the shock.
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Thus the sun, shining on a morning fog, dissipates it; clouds are seen to waste in a sunshiny day.
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183 vents --> events 9.