Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 94

character of
integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much
weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or
alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when
I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent,
subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in
language, and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard
to subdue as _pride_. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down,
stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and
will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it,
perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I
had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.]

[_"I am now about to write at home, August, 1788, but cannot have the
help expected from my papers, many of them being lost in the war. I
have, however, found the following."_][73]

[73] This is a marginal memorandum.--B.

Having mentioned _a great and extensive project_ which I had
conceiv'd, it seems proper that some account should be here given of
that project and its object. Its first rise in my mind appears in the
following little paper, accidentally preserv'd, viz.:

_Observations_ on my reading history, in Library, May 19th, 1731.

"That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions, etc., are
carried on and effected by parties.

"That the view of these parties is their present general interest, or
what they take to be such.

"That the different views of these different parties occasion all

"That while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has his
particular private interest in view.

"That as soon as a party has gain'd its general point, each member
becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others,
breaks that party into divisions, and occasions more confusion.

"That few in public affairs act from a mere view of the good of their
country, whatever they may pretend; and, tho' their actings bring real
good to their country, yet men primarily considered that their own and
their country's interest was united, and did not act from a principle
of benevolence.

"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of

"There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a
United Party for Virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of all
nations into a regular body,

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 7
377 St.
Page 20
My brother had returned from England in 1717, with a press and types, in order to establish a printing-house at Boston.
Page 48
When we arrived in the river, the captain was as good as his word, and allowed me to search in the bag for the governor's letters.
Page 52
They were surprised to see, by this and many other examples, that the _American Aquatic_, as they used to call me, was stronger than those who drank porter.
Page 59
I put the office in order, which was in the utmost confusion, and brought his people by degrees, to pay attention to their work, and to execute it in a more masterly style.
Page 64
But in the sequel, when I recollected that they had both used me extremely ill, without the smallest remorse; when I considered the behaviour of Keith, another free-thinker, and my own conduct towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me great uneasiness, I was led to suspect that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not very useful.
Page 97
Even should they receive his assent, the approbation of the king was to be necessary; who would indubitably, in every instance, prefer the advantage of his home dominions to that of his colonies.
Page 132
_Farther Experiments confirming the preceding Observations.
Page 156
farther from C, than any other part of the atmosphere over the lines C, B, or B, A: and, besides the distance arising from the nature of the figure, where the attraction is less, the particles will naturally expand to a greater distance by their mutual repulsion.
Page 196
And with regard to conducting, though a certain thickness of metal be required to conduct a great quantity of electricity, and, at the same time, keep its own substance firm and unseparated; and a less quantity, as a very small wire for instance, will be destroyed by the explosion; yet such small wire will have answered the end of conducting that stroke, though it become incapable of conducting another.
Page 197
Pointed rods erected on edifices may likewise often prevent a stroke, in the following manner: An eye so situated as to view horizontally the under side of a thunder-cloud, will see it very ragged, with a number of separate fragments, or petty clouds, one under another, the lowest sometimes not far from the earth.
Page 220
I take notice that in the printed copies of your letters several things are wanting which.
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page 336.
Page 249
--But in all countries there are particular situations of buildings more exposed than others to such accidents, and there are minds so strongly impressed with the apprehension of them, as to be very unhappy every time a little thunder is within their hearing;--it may therefore be well to render this little piece of new knowledge as general and as well understood as possible, since to make us _safe_ is not all its advantage, it is some to make us _easy_.
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foundation, which being near the earth are generally moist, and, in exploding that moisture, shattered them.
Page 271
Then charging the prime conductor by a turn or two of the globe, the balls of each pair will separate; those of the box, whence the point projects most, _considerably_; the others _less_.
Page 300
The Abbé, in making experiments to find the difference between the two surfaces of a charged glass, will not have the phial placed on wax: for, says he, don't you know that being placed on a body originally electric, it quickly loses its virtue? I cannot imagine what should have made the Abbé think so; it certainly is contradictory to the notions commonly received of electrics _per se_; and by experiment I find it entirely otherwise: for having several times left a charged phial, for that purpose, standing on wax for hours, I found it to retain as much of its charge as another that stood at the same time on a table.
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will leave other substances, to pass through metals, 312.
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