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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 119

a violent
antithesis between reason and authority (p. 212), declaring that "we
must judge from Scripture what is Orthodoxy" _but_ "we must judge from
Reason, what is Scripture" (p. 276). Tilting at a Deity "revengeful,
cruel, capricious, impotent, vain, fond of Commendation and Flattery,"
exalting an "All-powerful, All-wise, and All-merciful God" (p. 413),
_The Independent Whig_, like Franklin's _Articles_, suggests that "it
is absurd to suppose, that we can direct the All-wise Being in the
Dispensation of his Providence; or can flatter or persuade him out of
his eternal Decrees" (p. 436). In _Cato's Letters_ (3rd ed., 4 vols.,
London, 1733), which were tremendously popular in the American
colonies, Franklin could have read that "The People have no Biass to
be Knaves" (I, 178), that man "cannot enter into the Rationale of
God's punishing all Mankind for the Sin of their first Parents, which
they could not help" (IV, 38), "That we cannot provoke him, when we
intend to adore him; that the best Way to serve him, is to be
serviceable to one another" (IV, 103). Jesus instituted a natural
religion, a worship of One Immutable God, free from priests,
sacrifices, and ceremonies, in which one shows through "doing Good to
men" his adoration for God (IV, 265-6). Here are observations which
could easily have reinforced Franklin's deistic rationale. For
interesting evidence of further deistic and rationalistic works
available to Franklin, see L. C. Wroth's _An American Bookshelf_,

[i-417] One of the editors has examined the photostated _New England
Courant_ in the W. S. Mason Collection. For readable accounts of this
newspaper see: W. G. Bleyer, _Main Currents in the History of American
Journalism_, chaps. I-II; C. A. Duniway, _The Development of Freedom
of the Press in Massachusetts_, 97-103; W. C. Ford, "Franklin's New
England Courant," _Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical
Society_, LVII, 336-53 (April, 1924); H. F. Kane, "James Franklin
Senior, Printer of Boston and Newport," _American Collector_, III,
17-26 (Oct., 1926).

[i-418] See _Writings_, II, 52-3.

[i-419] One of the editors has used the Huth copy now possessed by W.
S. Mason. Not included in the Sparks, Bigelow, or Smyth editions of
his works, it was printed by Parton as an Appendix to his _Life_; by
I. W. Riley, _op. cit._, and recently edited by L. C. Wroth for The
Facsimile Text Society.

[i-420] Franklin must have been mistaken in his belief that he set up
the second edition. The work was privately printed in 1722, reprinted
in 1724 and a second time in 1725. Hence Franklin really set up the
_third_ edition. For an extensive analysis of this work, see C. G.
Thompson's dissertation, _The Ethics of William

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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) PASSY, Aug.
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_Planant sur l'Horizon.
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La Chute du Jour l'a determine a redescendre une lieue et 1/2 plus loin, aux environs de Fouroy.
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