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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 118

Franklin suggests
(autobiographically?): "In Matters of Religion, he that alters his
Opinion on a _religious Account_, must certainly go thro' much
Reading, hear many Arguments on both Sides, and undergo many Struggles
in his Conscience, before he can come to a full Resolution"
(_Writings_, II, 46).

[i-415] He read Thomas Tryon's _The Way to Health, Long Life and
Happiness_, probably the second edition (London, 1691), a copy of
which is in the W. S. Mason Collection. Tryon holds that no "greater
Happiness" than Attic sobriety is "attainable upon Earth" (p. 1).
Divine Temperance is the "spring head of all Virtues" (p. 33). Inward
harmony "is both the Glory and the Happiness, the Joy and Solace of
created Beings, the celebrated Musick of the Spheres, the Eccho of
Heaven, the Business of Seraphims, and the Imployment of Eternity" (p.
500). From Xenophon he learned that "self-restraint" is "the very
corner-stone of virtue." The classic core of the _Memorabilia_ is the
love of the moderate contending with the love of the incontinent.
Franklin has impressed many as representing an American Socrates.
Emerson was certain that Socrates "had a Franklin-like wisdom"
(Centenary Ed., IV, 72). Franklin's fondness for Socratic centrality,
discipline, and knowledge of self is fragmentarily shown by the
aphorisms appropriated in _Poor Richard_. There are scores of the
quality of the following: "He that lives carnally won't live
eternally." "Who has deceived thee so oft as thyself?" "Caesar did not
merit the triumphal car more than he that conquers himself." "If
Passion drives, let Reason hold the Reins." "A man in a Passion rides
a mad Horse." "There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond
and to know one's self." Consult T. H. Russell's _The Sayings of Poor
Richard, 1733-1758_.

[i-416] See S. Bloore, "Samuel Keimer. A Footnote to the Life of
Franklin," _Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography_, LIV,
255-87 (July, 1930), and "Samuel Keimer," in _Dictionary of American
Biography_, X, 288-9. In 1724 Samuel Keimer (probably with Franklin's
aid) reprinted Gordon and Trenchard's _The Independent Whig_. (See W.
J. Campbell's _A Short-Title Check List of all the Books, Pamphlets,
Broadsides, known to have been printed by Benjamin Franklin_.)
Franklin also was acquainted with their _Cato's Letters_, having
helped to set up parts from it while working on the _New England
Courant_. _The Independent Whig_ emphasizes humanitarian morality
rather than theological dogma, morality which "prompts us to do good
to all Men, and to all Men alike" (London, 1721, xlviii). It is
fearful of metaphysical vagaries (p. 26). Warring against priests and
their "Monkey Tricks at Church" (p. 165)--"One Drop of Priestcraft is
enough to contaminate the Ocean" (p. 168)--it sets up

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 15
But I had another advantage in it.
Page 22
He had been, I imagine, an ambulatory quack doctor, for there was no town in England, or any country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account.
Page 23
be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got out of the creek, and arrived there about eight or nine o'clock, on the Sunday morning, and landed at Market-street wharf.
Page 33
Keimer and I lived on a pretty good, familiar footing, and agreed tolerably well; for he suspected nothing of my setting up.
Page 39
But what shall we think of a governor playing such pitiful tricks, and imposing so grossly upon a poor ignorant boy! It was a habit he had acquired; he wished to please everybody, and having little to give, he gave expectations.
Page 45
I now took leave of printing, as I thought, for ever, and was daily employed in my new business: going about with Mr.
Page 68
"All that has happened to you is also connected with the detail of the manners.
Page 80
9.
Page 98
This idea, being approved by the Junto, was communicated to the other clubs, but as originating in each of them; and though the plan was not immediately carried into execution, yet, by preparing the minds of the people for the change, it paved the way for the law, obtained a few years after, when the members of our clubs were grown into more influence.
Page 101
By hearing him often I came to distinguish easily between sermons newly composed and those which he had often preached in the course of his travels.
Page 109
" I inquired into the nature and probable utility of the scheme, and, receiving from him.
Page 112
This for some time gave an easy access to the market dry shod; but the rest of the street not being paved, whenever a carriage came out of the mud upon this pavement, it shook off and left its dirt upon it, and it was soon covered with mire, which was not removed, the city as yet having no scavengers.
Page 114
Human felicity is produced, not so much by great pieces of good fortune.
Page 118
In gay conversation after supper, he told us jokingly that he much admired the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give him a government, requested it might be a government of blacks; as then, if he could not agree with his people, he might sell them.
Page 129
In conversation with the bishop, Spangenberg, I mentioned my surprise; for, knowing that they had obtained an act of parliament exempting them from military duties in the colonies, I had supposed they were conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms.
Page 132
In the dormitories I observed loopholes at certain distances all along just under the ceiling, which I thought judiciously placed for change of air.
Page 156
Other societies of Europe were equally.
Page 168
"About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish indisposition, without any particular symptoms attending it, till the third or fourth day, when he complained of a pain in his left breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended with a cough and labourious breathing.
Page 187
_ They will think them unconstitutional and unjust.
Page 200
--_Journals of the.