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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 213

that in the Autumn of the proceeding
Year I had formed most of my ingenious Acquaintance into a Club of
mutual Improvement, which we called the Junto. We met on Friday
Evenings. The Rules I drew up required that every Member in his Turn
should produce one or more Queries on any Point of Morals, Politics or
Natural Philosophy, to be discussed by the Company, and once in three
Months produce and read an Essay of his own Writing on any Subject he
pleased. Our Debates were to be under the Direction of a President and
to be conducted in the sincere Spirit of Enquiry after Truth, without
Fondness for Dispute, or Desire of Victory; and to prevent Warmth all
Expressions of Positiveness in Opinions or direct Contradiction, were
after some time made contraband and prohibited under small pecuniary
Penalties.--The first Members were Joseph Breintnal,[6] a Copyer of
Deeds for the Scriveners; a good-natur'd friendly middle-ag'd Man, a
great Lover of Poetry, reading all he could meet with, and writing some
that was tolerable; very ingenious in many little Nicknackeries, and of
sensible Conversation. Thomas Godfrey,[7] a self-taught Mathematician,
great in his Way, and afterwards Inventor of what is now call'd Hadley's
Quadrant. But he knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing
Companion, as like most Great Mathematicians I have met with, he
expected universal Precision in every thing said, or was forever denying
or distinguishing upon Trifles, to the Disturbance of all Conversation.
He soon left us. Nicholas Scull, a Surveyor, afterwards
Surveyor-General, who lov'd Books, and sometimes made a few Verses.
William Parsons,[8] bred a Shoemaker, but loving Reading, had acquir'd a
considerable Share of Mathematics, which he first studied with a View to
Astrology that he afterwards laught at. He also became Surveyor General.
William Maugridge, a Joiner, a most exquisite Mechanic and a solid
sensible Man. Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb, I have
Characteris'd before. Robert Grace, a young Gentleman of some Fortune,
generous, lively and witty, a Lover of Punning and of his Friends. And
William Coleman, then a Merchant's Clerk, about my Age, who had the
coolest clearest Head, the best Heart, and the exactest Morals, of
almost any Man I ever met with. He became afterwards a Merchant of great
Note, and one of our Provincial Judges. Our Friendship continued without
Interruption to his death upwards of 40 Years. And the club continu'd
almost as long[,] and was the best School of Philosophy, and Politics
that then existed in the Province; for our Queries which were read the
Week preceding their Discussion, put us on

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Smyth, the editor of the last and most complete edition of Franklin's Works,[1] who made careful search for the original documents.
Page 1
It is supposed that not less than 50,000 People were assembled to see the Experiment.
Page 2
It is suppos'd to have burst by the Elasticity of the contain'd Air when no longer compress'd by so heavy an Atmosphere.
Page 3
It is said the Country People who saw it fall were frightned, conceiv'd from its bounding a little, when it touched the Ground, that there was some living Animal in it, and attack'd it with Stones and Knives, so that it was much mangled; but it is now brought to Town and will be repaired.
Page 4
Sir, The Publick were promised a printed particular Account of the Rise & Progress of the Balloon Invention, to be published about the End of last month.
Page 5
Some of the larger Balloons that have been up are preparing to be sent up again in a few Days; but I do not hear of any material improvements yet made either in the mechanical or Chemical parts of the Operation.
Page 6
_ That is against the Trees of one of the Walks.
Page 7
The other Method of filling a Balloon with permanently elastic inflammable Air, and then closing it is a tedious Operation, and very expensive; Yet we are to have one of that kind sent up in a few Days.
Page 8
In this Country we are not so much afraid of being laught at.
Page 9
) PASSY, Nov.
Page 10
Several Bags of Sand were taken on board before the Cord that held it down was cut, and the whole Weight being then too much to be lifted, such a Quantity was discharg'd as to permit its Rising slowly.
Page 11
le Duc de Chartre et Fitz James, qui apres les avoir embrasses, ont signe le Proces verbal de lieu et d'heure.
Page 12
Bigelow omits paragraph ten beginning "It is said.
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les deux tiers de leur Approvisionement.