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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 109

would have been at least a
lesser Adam Smith. Mr. Wetzel, in _Benjamin Franklin as an Economist_,
offers a convenient summary of Franklin as an economist, some items
suggesting aspects of his views which, had space permitted, we should
have included in this study: "1. Money as coin may have a value higher
than its bullion value. 2. Natural interest is determined by the rent
of so much land as the money loaned will buy. 3. High wages are not
inconsistent with a large foreign trade. 4. Population will increase
as the means of gaining a living increase. 5. A high standard of
living serves to prolong single life, and thus acts as a check upon
the increase of population. 6. People are adjusted among the different
countries according to the comparative well-being of mankind. 7. The
value of an article is determined by the amount of labor necessary to
produce the food consumed in making the article. 8. While manufactures
are advantageous, only agriculture is truly productive. 9.
Manufactures will naturally spring up in a country as the country
becomes ripe for them. 10. Free trade with the world will give the
greatest return at the least expense. 11. Wherever practicable, State
revenue should be raised by direct taxes."

[i-248] _Writings_, II, 110.

[i-249] _Ibid._, II, 295. In 1736 Franklin wrote: "Faction, if not
timely suppressed, may overturn the balance, the palladium of liberty,
and crush us under its ruins" (cited in R. G. Gettell, _History of
American Political Thought_, 149).

[i-250] W. R. Shepherd, _History of Proprietary Government in
Pennsylvania_ (New York, 1896), 5.

[i-251] _Writings_, II, 351.

[i-252] _Ibid._

[i-253] _Ibid._, II, 352.

[i-254] _Ibid._, II, 347.

[i-255] Shepherd, _op. cit._, 222. In 1764 Penn thought that Franklin
was one "who may lose the government of a post office by grasping at
that of a province" (_ibid._, 564). In turn one of the proprietors
wrote to him: "Franklin is certainly destined to be our plague"
(_ibid._, 566). Penn professed not to fear "your mighty Goliath." For
proof that Franklin's fear expressed in _Plain Truth_ was not idle see
_Extracts from Chief Justice William Allen's Letter Book_, 17, 22-3,
25, 31-2.

[i-256] _Plain Truth_ inspirited the colonists to defend themselves,
even if it failed in its larger purpose; see _Writings_, II, 354, 362.

[i-257] To James Parker, March 20, 1750/51 (_Writings_, III, 40-5). L.
C. Wroth, in _An American Bookshelf_, 1755 (Philadelphia, 1934), 12
ff., reviews A. Kennedy's _The Importance of Gaining the Friendship of
the Indians to the British Interest_ (1751), to which was appended a
letter, prefiguring the Albany Plan of Union. This letter, Mr. Wroth
observes, was by Franklin. C.

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