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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 237

might shock the professors of any religion. It is express'd in these
words, viz.:

"That there is one God, who made all things.

"That he governs the world by his providence.

"That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, and

"But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to

"That the soul is immortal.

"And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice,
either here or hereafter."

My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun and spread at
first among young and single men only; that each person to be initiated
should not only declare his assent to such creed, but should have
exercised himself with the thirteen weeks' examination and practice of
the virtues, as in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of
such a society should be kept a secret, till it was become considerable,
to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper persons, but that
the members should each of them search among his acquaintance for
ingenuous, well-disposed youths, to whom, with prudent caution, the
scheme should be gradually communicated; that the members should engage
to afford their advice, assistance, and support to each other in
promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement in life;
that, for distinction, we should be call'd _The Society of the Free and
Easy_: free, as being, by the general practice and habit of the virtues,
free from the dominion of vice; and particularly by the practice of
industry and frugality, free from debt, which exposes a man to
confinement, and a species of slavery to his creditors.

This is as much as I can now recollect of the project, except that I
communicated it in part to two young men, who adopted it with some
enthusiasm; but my then narrow circumstances, and the necessity I was
under of sticking close to my business, occasion'd my postponing the
further prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious occupations,
public and private, induc'd me to continue postponing, so that it has
been omitted till I have no longer strength or activity left sufficient
for such an enterprise; tho' I am still of opinion that it was a
practicable scheme, and might have been very useful, by forming a great
number of good citizens; and I was not discourag'd by the seeming
magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought that one man

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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

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All these, and many more useful arts, too many to be enumerated here, wholly depend upon the aforesaid sciences, namely, arithmetic and geometry.
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What science, then, can there be more noble, more excellent, more useful for men, more admirably high and demonstrative, than this of the mathematics? I shall conclude with what Plato says, in the seventh book of his _Republic_, with regard to the excellence and usefulness of geometry, being to this purpose: "Dear friend--You see, then, that mathematics are necessary, because, by the exactness of the method, we get a habit of using our minds to the best advantage.
Page 56
And neither of them seemed to think dealing with smugglers a practice that an _honest_ man (provided he got his goods cheap) had the least reason to be ashamed of.
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And when a duty is laid for a particular public and necessary purpose, if, through smuggling, that duty falls short of raising the sum required, and other duties must therefore be laid to make up the deficiency, all the additional sum laid by the new duties and paid by other people, though it should amount to no more than a halfpenny or a farthing.
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_Jonathan Swift_, to whom _Sir William Temple_ had intrusted the publication of his works.
Page 73
In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and, of course, became poorer.
Page 90
I read a great deal, ride a little, do a little business for myself (now and then for others), retire when I can, and go into company when I please so; the years roll round, and the last will come, when I would rather have it said _he lived usefully_ than _he died rich_.
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You may thereby be the happy instrument of great good to the nation, and of preventing much mischief and bloodshed.
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_ "_Passy_, July 1, 1778.
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Priestley] "I have considered the situation of that person very attentively; I think that, with a little help from the _Moral Algebra_, he.
Page 138
The constant attendance at home, which is necessary for receiving and accepting your bills of exchange (a matter foreign to my _ministerial functions_), to answer letters, and perform other parts of my employment, prevents my taking the air and exercise which my annual journeys formerly used to afford me, and which contributed much to the preservation of my health.
Page 140
in the evening of a long life of business; but it was refused me, and I have been obliged to drudge on a little longer.
Page 157
"I have much regretted our having so little opportunity for conversation when we last met.
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"'That the said commissioner and clerks respectively take an oath, before some person duly authorized to administer an oath, faithfully to execute the trust reposed in them respectively.
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_--Read in the American Philosophical Society, November 20, 1788.
Page 195
can drive into it? Is it not thus that the surface of this globe is continually heated by such repeated vibrations in the day, and cooled by the escape of the heat when those vibrations are discontinued in the night, or intercepted and reflected by clouds? Is it not thus that fire is amassed, and makes the greatest part of the substance of combustible bodies? Perhaps, when this globe was first formed, and its original particles took their place at certain distances from the centre, in proportion to their greater or less gravity, the fluid fire, attracted towards that centre, might in great part be obliged, as lightest, to take place above the rest, and thus form the sphere of fire above supposed, which would afterward be continually diminishing by the substance it afforded to organized bodies, and the quantity restored to it again by the burning or other separating of the parts of those bodies? Is not the natural heat of animals thus produced, by separating in digestion the parts of food, and setting their fire at liberty? Is it not this sphere of fire which kindles the wandering globes that sometimes pass through it in our course round the sun, have their surface kindled by it, and burst when their included air is greatly rarefied by the heat on their burning surfaces? May it not have been from such considerations that the ancient philosophers supposed a sphere of fire to exist above the air of our atmosphere? B.
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, and, by its spiral motion, raises the fragments so high, till the pressure of the surrounding and approaching currents diminishing, can no longer confine them to the circle, or their own centrifugal force increasing, grows too strong for such pressure, when they fly off in tangent lines, as stones out of a sling, and fall on all sides and at great distances.
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Perhaps keeping their clothes constantly wet might have an almost equal effect; and this without danger of catching cold.
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or boat of burden, six inches long, two inches and a quarter wide, and one inch and a quarter deep.