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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 233

never reach the wish'd-for
excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavour, and
is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little
artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor ow'd the constant
felicity of his life, down to his 79th year in which this is written.
What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence;
but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to
help his bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he ascribes
his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good
constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his
circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge
that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some
degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the
confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon
him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even
in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of
temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company
still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance. I
hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and
reap the benefit.

It will be remark'd that, tho' my scheme was not wholly without
religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets of
any particular sect. I had purposely avoided them; for, being fully
persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it might
be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some time or
other to publish it, I would not have any thing in it that should
prejudice any one, of any sect, against it. I purposed writing a little
comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the advantages of
possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite vice; and I
should have called my book THE ART OF VIRTUE,[E] because it would have
shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would have
distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that does not
instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle's man of verbal
charity, who only, without showing to the naked and hungry how or where
they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and
clothed.--James ii. 15, 16.

[E] Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as virtue.
[_Franklin's note._]

But it

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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Smyth, the editor of the last and most complete edition of Franklin's Works,[1] who made careful search for the original documents.
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[3] [1] The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, collected and edited by Albert Henry Smyth, Volume IX, New York, 1906.
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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.
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to forward the Transactions, as well as to the Council for so readily ordering them on Application.
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) PASSY, Oct.
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This Paper was drawn up hastily, and may in some Places appear to you obscure; therefore I shall add a few explanatory Observations.
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There was a vast Concourse of Gentry in the Garden, who had great Pleasure in seeing the Adventurers go off so chearfully, & applauded them by clapping &c.
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It was well that in the hurry of so hazardous an Experiment, the Flame did not happen by any accidental Mismanagement to lay hold of this Straw; tho' each had a Bucket of Water by him, by Way of Precaution.
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It does not seem to me a good reason to decline prosecuting a new Experiment which apparently increases the Power of Man over Matter, till we can see to what Use that Power may be applied.
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With great and sincere Esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most obed^t & most humble Servant, B.
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The Persons embark'd were Mr.
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_ The hand-writing is in a more flowing style than the subsequent letters.
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The plate forming the frontispiece to this volume shows the balloon as seen from Mr.
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14, "Carr" corrected to "Car" in "on both Sides their Car,"; p.