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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 107

is "partly" Franklin's "own composition" (Carey,
_op. cit._, 161).

[i-219] Philadelphia, Sept. 13, 1775: MS letter (unpublished) in W. S.
Mason Collection.

[i-220] London, Sept. 29, 1769: MS letter (unpublished) in W. S. Mason

[i-221] London, Feb. 20, 1768 (_Writings_, V, 102).

[i-222] Dated April 4, 1769 (_ibid._, V, 200-2).

[i-223] _Writings_, V, 202.

[i-224] Cited by F. W. Garrison in "Franklin and the Physiocrats,"
_Freeman_, VIII, 154-6 (Oct. 24, 1923).

[i-225] Dupont de Nemours's opinion of Franklin (_Writings_, V,

[i-226] _Writings_, V, 156. See W. Steell's entertaining "The First
Visit to Paris," in _Benjamin Franklin of Paris_, 3-21; also E. E.
Hale and E. E. Hale, Jr., _Franklin in France_, I, 7-13.

[i-227] C. Gide and C. Rist, _A History of Economic Doctrines_, 4

[i-228] _Writings_, V, 155.

[i-229] As an _experimental_ agriculturist Franklin has been given too
little honor. He performed many valuable services in introducing
Old-World plants, trees, and fruits to the New, and in encouraging
others to carry on practical botanical experiments. Particularly from
1747 to 1757 he experimented in agriculture and was in constant
communication with that pioneer scientific husbandman, Jared Eliot.
See E. D. Ross's "Benjamin Franklin as an Eighteenth-Century
Agriculture Leader," _Journal of Political Economy_, XXXVII, 52-72
(Feb., 1929).

[i-230] Although no scholarly substitute for the works of Quesnay,
Mirabeau, Mercier de la Riviere, Dupont de Nemours, Le Trosne, Abbe
Bandeau, Abbe Roubaud, and some pieces of the occasional physiocrat
Turgot, the following will enable the student to derive adequately for
general purposes the thought of the Economistes: H. Higgs, _The
Physiocrats_ (1897); Gide and Rist, op. cit.; L. H. Haney, _History of
Economic Thought_ (1911), 133-57; G. Weulersse, _Le mouvement
physiocratique en France (de 1756 a 1770)_; A. Smith, _Wealth of
Nations_, Bk. IV, chap. IX; J. Bonar, _Philosophy and Political
Science_ (1893); in addition see critical and interpretative writings
of Oncken, Stem, Kines, Hasbach, Schelle, Bauer, Feilbogen, De

[i-231] An integral idea of the French school was its advocacy of the
_impot unique_--a single tax on land. It is difficult to find evidence
to controvert Mr. Carey's assertion that Franklin seems never to have
advocated this tax (_op. cit._, 154). However, in marginalia on a
pamphlet by Allan Ramsay, Franklin held: "Taxes must be paid out of
the Produce of the Land. There is no other possible Fund" (cited by
Carey, 155). Another reference is found in a letter of 1787 to
Alexander Small: "Our Legislators are all Land-holders; and they are
not yet persuaded, that all taxes are finally paid by the Land"
(_Writings_, IX, 615). It is probable that he felt that a land tax
would be dubiously effective in view of the difficulties of

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

Page 7
469 On early marriages 475 Effect of early impressions on the mind 478 The whistle 480 A petition to those who have the superintendency of education 483 The handsome and deformed leg 485 Morals of chess 488 The art of procuring pleasant dreams 493 Dialogue between Franklin and the gout 499 On the death of relatives .
Page 15
of great trust and importance to the nation, it was thought better to be filled by the immediate appointment of the crown.
Page 39
The fort and armed vessels at the strait of Niagara would be a vast security to the frontiers of these new colonies against any attempts of the French from Canada.
Page 42
Page 80
If these nations, over whom we have no government, over whose consumption we can have no influence, but what arises from the cheapness and goodness of our wares, whose trade, manufactures, or commercial connections are not subject to the control of our laws, as those of our colonies certainly are in some degree; I say, if these nations purchase and consume such quantities of our goods, notwithstanding the remoteness of their situation from the sea; how much less likely is it, that the settlers in America, who must for ages be employed in agriculture chiefly, should make cheaper for themselves the goods our manufacturers at present supply them with: even if we suppose the carriage five, six, or seven hundred miles from the sea as difficult and expensive, as the like distance into Germany: whereas in the latter, the natural distances are frequently doubled by political obstructions; I mean the intermixed territories and clashing interests of princes[40].
Page 87
Those we now have are not only under different governors, but have different forms of government, different laws, different interests, and some of them different religious persuasions and different manners.
Page 91
The annual increment alone of our present colonies, without diminishing their numbers, or requiring a man from hence, is sufficient in ten years to fill Canada with double the number of English that it now has of French inhabitants[50].
Page 99
Franklin's positions in the page above, without going into farther particulars.
Page 117
FOOTNOTES: [57] See Secretary of State's Letters in the printed Votes.
Page 140
And his majesty, if he should take the trouble of looking over our disputes (to which the petitioners, to save themselves a little pains, modestly and decently refer him) where will he, for twenty years past, find any but _proprietary_ disputes concerning proprietary interests; or disputes that have been connected with and arose from them? The petition proceeds to assure his majesty, "that this province (except from the Indian ravages) enjoys the _most perfect internal tranquillity_!"--Amazing! what! the most perfect tranquillity! when there have been three atrocious riots within a few months! when in two of them, horrid murders were committed on twenty innocent persons; and in the third, no less than one hundred and forty like murders were meditated, and declared to be intended, with as many more as should be occasioned by any opposition! when we know that these rioters and murderers have none of them been punished, have never been prosecuted, have not even been apprehended! when we are frequently told, that they intend still to execute their purposes, as soon as the protection of the king's forces is withdrawn! Is our tranquillity more perfect now, than it was between the first riot and the second, or between the second and the third? And why "except the Indian ravages," is a _little intermission_ to be denominated "the most perfect tranquillity?" For the Indians too have been quiet lately.
Page 146
But you seem mistaken in the order of time: it was the uneasiness and distraction among the good people of the province that occasioned the measures; the province was in confusion before they were taken, and they were pursued in order to prevent such uneasiness and distraction for the future.
Page 164
That it being (as at present) a governor's interest to cultivate the good-will, by promoting the welfare of the people he governs, can be attended with no prejudice to the mother-country, since all the laws he may be prevailed on to give his assent to are subject to revision here, and if reported against by the board of trade, are immediately repealed by the crown; nor dare he pass any law contrary to his instructions; as he holds his office during the pleasure of the crown, and his securities are liable for the penalties of their bonds, if he contravenes those instructions.
Page 228
Page 287
It is very common with authors in their first performances, to talk to their readers thus, If this meets with a suitable reception, or, if this should meet with due encouragement, I shall hereafter publish, &c.
Page 292
If I can now and then overcome my reluctance, and prevail with myself to satirize a little, one of these gentlemen, the expectation of meeting with such a gratification will induce many to read me through, who would otherwise proceed immediately to the foreign news.
Page 369
Such an assembly cannot easily become dangerous to liberty.
Page 370
I remember three Greenlanders, who had travelled two years in Europe, under the care of some Moravian missionaries, and had visited Germany, Denmark, Holland and England, when I asked them at Philadelphia (when they were in their way home) whether, now they had seen how much more commodiously the white people lived by the help of the arts, they would not chuse to remain among us--their answer was, that they were pleased with having had an opportunity of seeing many fine things, _but they chose to live in their own country_: which country, by the way, consisted of rock only, for the Moravians were obliged to carry earth in their ship from New York, for the purpose of making there a cabbage garden! By Mr.
Page 387
_Cold_, why seemingly greater in metals than in wood, ii.
Page 402
261, _et seq.
Page 414
_Settlements_, new, in America, letter concerning, iii.