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

By Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin's reputation in America has been singularly
distorted by the neglect of his works other than his _Autobiography_
and his most utilitarian aphorisms. If America has contented herself
with appraising him as "the earliest incarnation of 'David Harum,'" as
"the first high-priest of the religion of efficiency," as "the first
Rotarian," it may be that this aspect of Franklin is all that an
America plagued by growing pains, by peopling and mechanizing three
thousand miles of frontier, has been able to see. That facet of
Franklin's mind and mien which allowed Carlyle to describe him as "the
Father of all Yankees" was appreciated by Sinclair Lewis's George F.
Babbitt: "Once in a while I just naturally sit back and size up this
Solid American Citizen, with a whale of a lot of satisfaction." But
this is not the Franklin of "imperturbable common-sense" honored by
Matthew Arnold as "the very incarnation of sanity and clear-sense, a
man the most considerable ... whom America has yet produced." Nor is
this the Franklin who emerges from his collected works (and the
opinions of his notable contemporaries) as an economist, political
theorist, educator, journalist, scientific deist, and disinterested
scientist. If he wrote little that is narrowly belles-lettres, he need
not be ashamed of his voluminous correspondence, in an age which saw
the fruition of the epistolary art. The Franklin found in his
collected and uncollected writings is, as the following Introduction
may suggest, not the Franklin who too commonly is synchronized
exclusively with the wisdom and wit of _Poor Richard_.

Since the present interpretation of the growth of Franklin's mind, with
stress upon its essential unity in the light of scientific deism,
tempered by his debt to Puritanism, classicism, and neoclassicism, may
seem somewhat novel, the editors have felt it desirable to document
their interpretation with considerable fullness. It is hoped that the
reader will withhold judgment as to the validity of this interpretation
until the documentary evidence has been fully considered in its genetic
significance, and that he will feel able to incline to other
interpretations only in proportion as they can be equally supported by
other evidence. The present interpretation is also supported by the
Selections following--the fullest collection hitherto available in one
volume--which offer, the editors believe, the essential materials for a
reasonable acquaintance with the growth of

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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, in December, 1905, and previously had belonged to G.
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) PASSY, Aug.
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But possibly it may pave the Way to some Discoveries in Natural Philosophy of which at present we have no Conception.
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Among the Pleasanteries Conversation produces on this Subject, some suppose Flying to be now invented, and that since Men may be supported in the Air, nothing is wanted but some light handy Instruments to give and direct Motion.
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It fell the next Day on the other side of the same Wood near the Village Boulogne, about half after twelve, having been suspended in the Air eleven hours and a half.
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I say this in answer to your Question; for I did not indeed write them with a view of their being inserted.
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Probably while they were employed in keeping up the Fire, the Machine might turn, and by that means they were _desorientes_ as the French call it.
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It is a Globe of 26 feet diameter.
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But the Emulation between the two Parties running high, the Improvement in the Construction and Management of the Balloons has already made a rapid Progress; and one cannot say how far it may go.
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The Morning was foggy, but about one aClock, the Air became tolerably clear, to the great Satisfaction of the Spectators, who were infinite, Notice having been given of the intended Experiment several Days before in the Papers, so that all Paris was out, either about the Tuilleries, on the Quays & Bridges, in the Fields, the Streets, at the Windows, or on the Tops of Houses, besides the Inhabitants of all the Towns & Villages of the Environs.
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I hope they descended by Day-light, so as to see & avoid falling among Trees or on Houses, and that the Experiment was completed without any mischievous Accident which the Novelty of it & the want of Experience might well occasion.
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Les Voyageurs ont assure n'avoir eprouve que des Sensations agreables dans leur traversee.
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_ The hand-writing is in a more flowing style than the subsequent letters.
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Franklin's terrace at Passy.
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11, "Aiant encor dans leur Galerie le deux tiers de leur Approvissonement.