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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 105

later all the plantations were deeply
involved in the mazes of a fluctuating currency, for the burdens
attending the various wars of the eighteenth century were so great as
to induce even the most conservative colonies to resort to this easy
method of meeting public obligations" (_op. cit._, 33).

[i-201] _Writings_, II, 133-5.

[i-202] See Carey, _op. cit._, chap. I, for suggestive survey of this
pamphlet. Carey points out Franklin's indebtedness to writings of Sir
William Petty.

[i-203] Carey (chap. II, "Value and Interest") quotes Franklin:
"Riches of a Country are to be valued by the Quantity of Labour its
inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the Quantity of Silver
and Gold they possess" (_Writings_, II, 144).

[i-204] See, for example, _Plan for Saving One Hundred Thousand
Pounds_, 1755 (_Writings_, III, 293-5).

[i-205] Writings, IV, 420: _Examination of Benjamin Franklin_. He was
obliged to admit that Massachusetts colonists had taken a calmer view
of the 1751 act (IV, 428).

[i-206] G. L. Beer, _British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765_, 188.

[i-207] Although it is true that Pennsylvania suffered less from paper
money because of better security (Carey, _op. cit._, 23 note), it
seems curious that Franklin should have been blind to the evils of
inflation and the operations of Gresham's law.

[i-208] Paper in William Smith Mason Collection; cited in Carey, _op.
cit._, 20. See also _Writings_, V, 189, in which he repeats the
threat. British restraint must hence provoke colonial "industry and

[i-209] _Writings_, VII, 294. Cf. _ibid._, IX, 231-6.

[i-210] See _Writings_, VII, 275, 335, 341.

[i-211] To Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1783 (_Writings_, IX, 93-5).

[i-212] In 1779 (see _Writings_, VII, 294) Franklin explained that the
French knew little of paper currency. Mr. Carey offers convincing
evidence to show that Franklin helped to predispose the deputies of
the first National Assembly to use assignats (_op. cit._, 27-33). See
_Of the Paper Money of the United States of America_ (_Writings_, IX,

[i-213] J. F. Watson, _Annals of Philadelphia_ (1844 ed.), I, 533.

[i-214] Cited by J. Rae in his _Life of Adam Smith_ (London, 1895),

[i-215] _Ibid._, 266. See Carey's chapter, "Franklin's Influence on
Adam Smith," for an exhaustive survey of the _personalia_ linking Adam
Smith and Franklin. Both were in London in 1773-1776 and were
occasional companions, having in 1759 met in Edinburgh at the home of
Dr. Robertson. Probably they again met in Glasgow during the same
year. Smith could have received copies of Franklin's works through
Hume and Lord Kames; among Franklin's works in Smith's library was
_Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind_; when Smith in the
_Wealth of Nations_ observes that colonial population doubles in every
twenty to twenty-five

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