Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 101


[i-142] Quoted in Bruce, _op. cit._, II, 439. Also see his letters to
Noah Webster, _Writings_, I, 29; X, 75-6.

[i-143] S. A. Leonard, _The Doctrine of Correctness in English Usage,
1700-1800_, 14.

[i-144] See L. Richardson, _A History of Early American Magazines,
1741-1789_, index, for the vogue of Swift. In the library of the _New
England Courant_, as early as 1722, there was a copy of _The Tale of a
Tub_ (T. G. Wright, _Literary Culture in Early New England,
1620-1730_, 187-8). Franklin was probably indebted to the Dean for his
prophecies of the death of Titan Leeds (although he could have learned
the use of this device from Defoe). In _Idea of the English School_
Franklin recommends Swift for use in the sixth class (_Writings_, III,
28). His _Meditation on a Quart Mugg_ is undoubtedly derived from
Swift's _Meditation upon a Broomstick_, each forced to undergo the
indignities of a "dirty wench." In 1757 he made the acquaintance of
Dr. John Hawksworth, who in 1755 had edited Swift's works. It is
likely that this friendly union may have helped to produce Franklin's
1773 masterpieces of caustic irony and the disarmingly effective
hoaxes. Variously he quotes (acknowledged and otherwise) bits from
Swift's poetry and prose. See Herbert Davis's "Swift's View of
Poetry," in _Studies In English by Members of University College,
Toronto_ (1931), collected by M. W. Wallace.

[i-145] _Writings_, III, 26.

[i-146] To suggest that Franklin knew his Horace, see _ibid._, VI,
150; VIII, 148.

[i-147] It seems unnecessary to extend a discussion of the didacticism
inherent in Franklin's writing. Addison, and the ethical bent of
neoclassicism in general, impinging on a mind no small part of which
was motivated by its Puritan heritage, help to account for Franklin's
ethicism, a lifelong quality. References illustrating his assumed role
as _Censor Morum_ are: _Writings_, I, 37, 243; II, 4, 50, 101, 110-1,
117, 175. Franklin proposes not only to delight, but also, in the
Jonsonian and Meredithian sense, to instruct through a mild catharsis
brought about by holding up man's excesses and vagaries for ridicule.
He is firm in distinguishing good writing by its "tendency to benefit
the reader, by improving his virtue or his knowledge." Consonant with

"To teach--to please--comprise the poet's views, Or else at once to
profit and amuse,"

and with Sidney's "to teach delightfully," Franklin's literary purpose
included a basic ethical motivation.

[i-148] _Writings_, I, 226.

[i-149] _Ibid._, I, 42-3.

[i-150] Fully aware "that I am no _Poet born_" (Bruce, _op. cit._, II,
498), apparently agreeing with his father that poets "were generally
beggars" (_Writings_ I, 240), Franklin allowed only that writing
poetry may improve one's language. Yet _Dogood Paper_

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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 5
--Positive, and sometimes negative, electricity of the clouds discovered.
Page 34
At the same time taking old Bradford for an inhabitant of the town well-disposed towards him, he communicated his project to him, and the prospect he had of success.
Page 58
Denham's disorder; but it was a tedious one, and he at last sunk under it.
Page 79
This duty is, perhaps, one of the most important that can be committed to any set of men.
Page 87
With this plain manner, and his penetrating and solid judgment, he was able to confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced who had opposed him.
Page 101
The trade with the Indians, for which its situation was very convenient, was exceedingly lucrative.
Page 104
A number of the citizens armed in their defence.
Page 108
The momentous question of independence was shortly after brought into view, at a time when the fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedience, were truly formidable.
Page 143
Air is an electric _per se_, and when dry will not conduct the electrical fire; it will neither receive it, nor give it to other bodies: otherwise no body surrounded by air, could be electrified positively and negatively: for should it be attempted positively, the air would immediately take away the overplus; or negatively, the air would supply what was wanting.
Page 148
As the air between the tropics is rarefied by the sun, it rises, the denser northern and southern air pressing into its place.
Page 209
As to the difference of conductors, there is not only this, that some will conduct electricity in small quantities, and yet do not conduct it fast enough to produce the shock; but even among those that will conduct a shock, there are some that do it better than others.
Page 230
I can see no reason to conclude that the air has not its share of the common stock of electricity, as well as glass, and perhaps, all other electrics _per se_.
Page 233
rarefies the air very evidently; which shows, I think, that the electric fire must produce heat in itself, as well as in the air, by its rapid motion.
Page 251
The fire dogs, an iron logger-head, an Indian pot, an earthen cup, and a cat, were all in the chimney at the time unhurt, though a great part of the hearth was torn up (_s_).
Page 272
It has been urged too, that though points may have considerable effects on a _small_ prime conductor at _small distances_; yet on _great_ clouds and at _great distances_, nothing is to be expected from them.
Page 279
Let a common glass be warmed before the fire that it may continue very dry for some time; set it upon a table, and place upon it the small box made use of by Mr.
Page 290
Cet honnête ecclésiastique arrive près de la machine, & voyant qu'il n'y avoit point de danger, met lui-même la main â l'oeuvre & tire de fortes étincelles.
Page 294
Page 305
_Animalcules_, supposed to cause the luminous appearance of sea-water, ii.
Page 344
'be learned' replaced by 'he learned'.