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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 223

thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before kings,
he shall not stand before mean men," I from thence considered industry
as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd me,
tho' I did not think that I should ever literally _stand before kings_,
which, however, has since happened; for I have stood before _five_, and
even had the honour of sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to

We have an English proverb that says, "_He that would thrive, must ask
his wife_." It was lucky for me that I had one as much dispos'd to
industry and frugality as myself. She assisted me chearfully in my
business, folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing old
linen rags for the paper-makers, etc., etc. We kept no idle servants,
our table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest. For
instance, my breakfast was a long time bread and milk (no tea), and I
ate it out of a twopenny earthen porringer, with a pewter spoon. But
mark how luxury will enter families, and make a progress, in spite of
principle: being call'd one morning to breakfast, I found it in a China
bowl, with a spoon of silver! They had been bought for me without my
knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the enormous sum of
three-and-twenty shillings, for which she had no other excuse or apology
to make, but that she thought _her_ husband deserv'd a silver spoon and
China bowl as well as any of his neighbors. This was the first
appearance of plate and China in our house, which afterward, in a course
of years, as our wealth increas'd, augmented gradually to several
hundred pounds in value.

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and tho' some of the
dogmas of that persuasion, such as _the eternal decrees of God_,
_election_, _reprobation, etc._, appeared to me unintelligible, others
doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the
sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious
principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity;
that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the most
acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are
immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded,
either here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every
religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our
country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect,
as I found them more

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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

Page 7
159 To Samuel Huntingdon, President of Congress 160 To the Bishop of St.
Page 25
Be no longer, then, thus negligent in this matter; consider your abilities and your duty with more attention, and let not slip the occasions of serving the republic, and of rendering it, if possible, more flourishing than it is.
Page 36
This, repeated twenty times, will so clear them of the perspirable matter they have imbibed, as to permit your sleeping well for some time afterward.
Page 40
Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to whom I am so much indebted for the most pleasing of all amusements, her delicious company and heavenly harmony.
Page 44
It is, therefore, not lost.
Page 52
I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, that, if they wish to be respected and beloved by others and happy in themselves, they should _leave off looking at the ugly leg_.
Page 60
The old men sit in the foremost ranks, the warriors in the next, and the women and children in the hindmost.
Page 85
The humane and the just cannot but wish general success to the proposition.
Page 94
"MY DEAR CHILD, "This day week we arrived here; I wrote to you the same day, and once since.
Page 99
It is a business that, though ever so uprightly managed, is always liable to suspicion; and if a man is once detected in the smallest fraud it soon becomes public, and every one is put upon their guard against him; no one will venture to try his hands, or trust him to make up their plate; so at once he is ruined.
Page 113
Grenville's asking, 'Will the gentleman engage that I shall be safe there? Can I be assured that I shall be allowed to come back again to make the report?' As soon as the laugh was so far subsided as that Mr.
Page 117
There is no doubt but the claim of Parliament, of authority to make laws _binding on the colonies in all cases whatsoever_, includes an authority to change our religious constitution, and establish popery or Mohammedanism, if they please, in its stead; but, as you intimate, _power_ does not infer _right_; and as the _right_ is nothing and the _power_ (by our increase) continually diminishing, the one will soon be as insignificant as the _other_.
Page 118
_ a head; and at Bunker's Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed Hill.
Page 135
"As to the friends and enemies you just mention, I have hitherto, thanks to God, had plenty of the former kind; they have been my treasure; and it has, perhaps, been of no disadvantage to me that I have had a few of the latter.
Page 137
concerned in the pieces of personal abuse, so scandalously common in our newspapers, that I am afraid to lend any of them here till I have examined and laid aside such as would disgrace us, and subject us among strangers to a reflection like that used by a gentleman in a coffee-house to two quarrellers, who, after a mutually free use of the words rogue, villain, rascal scoundrel, &c.
Page 138
"At the same time, I beg they may be assured that it is not any the least doubt of their success in the glorious cause, nor any disgust received in their service, that induces me to decline it, but purely and simply the reasons above mentioned; and as I cannot at present undergo the fatigues of a sea voyage (the last having been almost too much for me), and would not again expose myself to the hazard of capture and imprisonment in this time of war, I purpose to remain here at least till the peace; perhaps it may be for the remainder of my life; and if any knowledge or experience I have acquired here may be thought of use to my successor, I shall freely communicate it, and assist him with any influence I may be supposed to have or counsel that may be desired of me.
Page 199
As frequent mention is made in public papers from Europe of the success of the Philadelphia experiment for drawing the electric fire from clouds by means of pointed rods of iron erected on high buildings, &c.
Page 204
Hence, after gusts, distant objects appear distinct, their figures sharply terminated.
Page 211
It is this whirling body of air between _a a a a_ and _b b b b_ that rises spirally; by its force it tears buildings to pieces, twists up great trees by the roots, &c.
Page 235
1st exp.