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

By Benjamin Franklin

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A Petition of the Left Hand (date unknown), 520
Some Good Whig Principles (date unknown), 521
The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams, 523

NOTES, 529




_INTRODUCTION_




I. FRANKLIN'S MILIEU: THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT

Benjamin Franklin's reputation, according to John Adams, "was more
universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or Voltaire, and
his character more beloved and esteemed than any or all of them."[i-1]
The historical critic recognizes increasingly that Adams was not
thinking idly when he doubted whether Franklin's panegyrical and
international reputation could ever be explained without doing "a
complete history of the philosophy and politics of the eighteenth
century." Adams conceived that an explication of Franklin's mind and
activities integrated with the thought patterns of the epoch which
fathered him "would be one of the most important that ever was written;
much more interesting to this and future ages than the 'Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire.'" And such a historical and critical colossus is
still among the works hoped for but yet unborn. Too often, even in the
scholarly mind, Franklin has become a symbol, and it may be confessed,
not a winged one, of the self-made man, of New-World practicality, of
the successful tradesman, of the Sage of _Poor Richard_ with his
penny-saving economy and frugality. In short, the Franklin legend fails
to transcend an allegory of the success of the _doer_ in an America
allegedly materialistic, uncreative, and unimaginative.

It is the purpose of this essay to show that Franklin, the American
Voltaire,--always reasonable if not intuitive, encyclopedic if not
sublimely profound, humane if not saintly,--is best explained with
reference to the Age of Enlightenment, of which he was the completest
colonial representative. Due attention will, however, be

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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

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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies.
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This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to _inform_ or to be _informed_, to _please_ or to _persuade_, I wish well-meaning and sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat most of those purposes for which speech was given to us.
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"Then," said he, "get yourself ready to go with the Annis;" which was the annual ship, and the only one at that time usually passing between London and Philadelphia.
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He came up immediately into the printing-house; continued the quarrel; high words passed on both sides; he gave me the quarter's warning we had stipulated, expressing a wish that he had not been obliged to so long a warning.
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made me often more ready than perhaps I otherwise should have been, to assist young beginners.
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It will be so far a sort of key to life, and explain many things that all men ought to have once explained to them, to give them a chance of becoming wise by foresight.
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Franklin will hold not only in point of character, but of private history) will show that you are ashamed of no origin; a thing the more important as you prove how little necessary all origin is to happiness, virtue, or greatness.
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"As I have not read any part of the life in question, but know only the character that lived it, I write somewhat at hazard.
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| | | | | | | | +------+------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Tran.
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Our club, the _Junto_, was found so useful, and afforded such satisfaction to the members, that some were desirous of introducing their friends, which could not well be done without exceeding what we had settled as a convenient number, viz.
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War being in a manner commenced with France, the government of Massachusetts Bay projected an attack upon Crown Point, and sent Mr.
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That I was much obliged to him (the governor) for his profession of regard to me, and that he might rely on everything in my power to render his administration as easy as possible, hoping, at the same time, that he had not brought the same unfortunate instructions his predecessors had been hampered with.
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Accordingly, he desired the governor and myself to meet him, that he might hear what was to be said on both sides.
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He delivered to me some letters from my friends there, which occasioned my inquiring when he was to return, and where he lodged, that I might send some letters by him.
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Some days after, when the wind was very fair and fresh, and the captain of the packet (Lutwidge) said he believed she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made the experiment, and owned his wager lost.
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D'Alibard at Mary-la-ville, and De Lor at his house in the _Estrapade_ at Paris, some of the highest ground in that capital.
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The Americans, from their earliest infancy, were taught to venerate a people from whom they were descended; whose language, laws, and manners were the same as their own.
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others.
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_ Yes, many of them, both in Europe and America.
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But when, distressed by a tempest, you come into our ports for the safety of your lives, we, though enemies, being men, are bound as such, by the laws of humanity, to afford relief to distressed men who ask it of us.