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

By Benjamin Franklin

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for either primitivism or a theory of progress."[i-10] In addition, his
social compact theory, augmenting seventeenth-century liberalism,
furnished the political theorists of the Enlightenment with "the
principle of Consent"[i-11] in their antipathy for monarchial
obscurantism. Locke has been described as the "originator of a
psychology which provided democratic government with a scientific
basis."[i-12] The full impact of Locke will be felt when philosophers
deduce that if sensations and reflections are the product of outward
stimuli--those of nature, society, and institutions--then to reform man
one needs only to reform society and institutions, or remove to some
tropical isle. We remember that the French Encyclopedists, for example,
were motivated by their faith in the "indefinite malleability of human
nature by education and institutions."[i-13]

"With the possible exception of John Locke," C. A. Moore observes,
"Shaftesbury was more generally known in the mid-century than any other
English philosopher."[i-14] Shaftesbury's a priori "virtuoso theory of
benevolence" may be viewed as complementary to Locke's psychology to the
extent that both have within them the implication that through education
and reform man may become perfectible. Both tend to undermine social,
political, and religious authoritarianism. Shaftesbury's insistence upon
man's innate altruism and compassion, coupled with the deistic and
rationalistic divorce between theology and morality, resulted in the
dogma that the most acceptable service to God is expressed in kindness
to God's other children and helped to motivate the rise of

The idea of progress[i-15] was popularized (if not born) in the
eighteenth century. It has been recently shown that not only the
results of scientific investigations but also Anglican defenses of
revealed religion served to accelerate a belief in progress. In answer
to the atheists and deists who indicted revealed religion because
revelation was given so late in the growth of the human family and hence
was not eternal, universal, and immutable, the Anglican apologists were
forced into the position of asserting that man enjoyed a progressive
ascent, that the religious education of mankind is like that of the
individual. If, as the deists charged, Christ appeared rather belatedly,
the apologists countered that he was sent only when the race was
prepared to profit by his coming. God's revelations thus were adjusted
to progressive needs and capacities.[i-16]

Carl Becker has suggestively dissected the Enlightenment in a series of
antitheses between its credulity and its skepticism. If the
eighteenth-century philosopher renounced Eden, he discovered Arcadia in
distant isles and America. Rejecting the authority of the Bible and
church, he accepted the authority of "nature," natural law, and reason.
Although scorning metaphysics, he desired to be considered
philosophical. If he denied miracles, he yet had a fond faith in the
perfectibility of the

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

Page 10
Profile of the Pensylvania Chimnie .
Page 12
Every particle of water assumes as many of salt as can adhere to it; when more is added, it precipitates, and will not remain suspended.
Page 33
_Description of a Water-Spout at Antigua.
Page 46
I have heard of vessels being overset when it was perfectly calm, the instant before the stream of wind struck them, and immediately after they were overset; which could not otherwise be but by such a stream of wind from a cloud.
Page 64
I suppose, with others, that.
Page 88
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_Effect of Vegetation on noxious Air.
Page 131
If it is not at present thought worth while to take that precaution, it will in time become of more consequence; since the number of ships at sea is continually augmenting.
Page 136
I will endeavour to describe them, that they may be submitted to your judgment, whether either would be serviceable; and if they would, to which we should give the preference.
Page 137
This machine seems more simple in its operation, and more easily manageable than the first, and perhaps may be as effectual[32].
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| | --| 4 P.
Page 175
--Please to favour me with the particulars of your purging method, to prevent the secondary fever.
Page 190
By this means it is, that the tobacco smoke does not descend among the heads of the company near the fire, as it must do before it can get into common chimneys.
Page 222
The lower plate A B rested with its edge in the angle made by the hearth with the back of the chimney.
Page 272
This method has, by the fancy of printers, of late years been entirely laid aside; from an idea, that suppressing the capitals shows the character to greater advantage; those letters prominent above the line, disturbing its even, regular appearance.
Page 274
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Thus one, who would scorn to over-reach you in a bargain, shall make no scruple of tricking you a little now and then at cards; another, that plays with the utmost fairness, shall with great freedom cheat you in the sale of a horse.
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_Hospital_, one founded by the exertions of Franklin, i.
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inserted in a treaty between America and Prussia, 449.