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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 120

Wollaston_ (Boston,

[i-421] Wollaston, _op. cit._, 15.

[i-422] _Ibid._, 23.

[i-423] _Ibid._, 78-9.

[i-424] _Ibid._, 80.

[i-425] _Ibid._

[i-426] _Ibid._, 83.

[i-427] It would be interesting to know whether Franklin's much
discussed prudential virtues (listed in _Autobiography_) were not in
part motivated by Wollaston's pages 173-80.

[i-428] _Ibid._, 7.

[i-429] _Ibid._, 26.

[i-430] _Ibid._, 63 ff.

[i-431] _Writings_, VII, 412.

[i-432] _A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity_, _Pleasure and Pain_
(London, 1725), 4.

[i-433] _Ibid._, 5.

[i-434] For an incisive exposition of the earlier and contemporary
controversy regarding freedom of the will, see C. H. Faust and T. H.
Johnson's Introduction to _Jonathan Edwards_ (American Writers Series,
New York, 1935), xliii-lxiv.

[i-435] _A Dissertation ..._, 10-1.

[i-436] In Franklin's liturgy of the '30's (in the _Autobiography_) he
quotes from Thomson's _Winter_ (lines 217 ff.). While the references
to Thomson are few in the complete works, his later influence on
Franklin need not be underestimated. See Franklin's letter to W.
Strahan (_Writings_, II, 242-3) in which he confesses that "That
charming Poet has brought more Tears of Pleasure into my Eyes than all
I ever read before." It is not inconceivable that in Thomson Franklin
found additional sanction for his humanitarian bias. One remembers the
wide differences between the humanitarianism of Thomson and Franklin.
Franklin's practical and masculine-humanitarianism keyed to the saving
of time and energy was unlike the sentimental warmheartedness often
displayed by Thomson. Franklin was never moved to tears at beholding
the worm's "convulsive twist in agonizing folds."

[i-437] Phillips Russell has suggested _Spectator_, No. 183, as
Franklin's probable source in Part II of the _Dissertation_. There,
pleasure and pain are "such constant yoke-fellows." This intuitive
assertion can hardly be conceived as the elaborate metaphysical
rationale upon which this idea rests in Franklin's work.

[i-438] Robertson, _op. cit._, 239-40.

[i-439] London (4th ed.), 1724. A despiser of authoritarianism in
religion, intrigued by the physico-deistic thought of his day, Lyons
(with a vituperative force akin to Thomas Paine's) damns those who
damn men for revolting against divine and absolute revelation (p. 25).
"Men have _Reason_ sufficient to find out proper and regular ways for
improving and perfecting their laws." Faith he calls "an
unintelligible Chymaera of the Phantasie" (p. 92). The doctrine of the
Trinity "is one of the most nice Inventions that ever the subtlest
Virtuoso constru'd to puzzle the Wit of Man with" (p. 112). Through
faith people make of God "only a confus'd unintelligible Description
of a _Heterogeneous Monster_ of their own Making" (p. 117).
Deistically he opines that "we shall soon see that the Object of _True
Religion_, and all Rational Mens Speculations, is an Eternal,
Unchangeable, Omnipotent Being, infinitely Good, Just and Wise" (p.
123). Like Toland he urges, "To

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 11
Were this, however, denied me, still would I not decline the offer.
Page 19
But we do not dress for a private company as for a formal ball.
Page 26
I now supposed myself fortunate in my judges, and began to suspect that they were not such excellent writers as I had hitherto supposed them.
Page 48
I rejoined my friend Denham, and related the whole affair to him.
Page 72
It was a lucrative employment, and proved a very seasonable help to me; another advantage which I derived from having habituated myself to write.
Page 80
He first used the terms _conductors_ and _electrics per.
Page 81
They killed small birds, and set spirits on fire.
Page 102
Franklin makes a number of observations, tending to show that, in North America, north-east storms begin in the south-west parts.
Page 139
It will go half an hour, and make one minute with another twenty turns in a minute, which is six hundred turns in the whole; the bullet of the upper surface giving in each turn twelve sparks to the thimbles, which makes seven thousand two hundred sparks: and the bullet of the under surface receiving as many from the thimbles; those bullets moving in the time near two thousand five hundred feet.
Page 150
Page 180
But I must own I am much in the _dark_ about _light_.
Page 191
Those who are versed in electric experiments, will easily conceive, that the effects and appearances must be nearly the same in either case; the same explosion, and the same flash between one cloud and another, and between the clouds and mountains, &c.
Page 255
--It is for want of considering this difference, that people suppose there is a kind of lightning not attended with thunder.
Page 268
[Illustration: (of these experiments) _Plate IV.
Page 311
particulars relating to, 377.
Page 318
conjectures as to its cause, _ibid.
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_Washington_, early military talents of, i.