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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 262

_Your Servant,_

_P.S._ I shall make no other Answer to _Hypercarpus's_ Criticism on my
last Letter than this, _Mater me genuit, peperit mox filia matrem_.


(From Monday September 3. to Monday September 10. 1722.)

_Quod est in corde sobrii, est in ore ebrii._

_To the Author of the_ New-England Courant.


It is no unprofitable tho' unpleasant Pursuit, diligently to inspect and
consider the Manners & Conversation of Men, who, insensible of the
greatest Enjoyments of humane Life, abandon themselves to Vice from a
false Notion of _Pleasure_ and _good Fellowship_. A true and natural
Representation of any Enormity, is often the best Argument against it
and Means of removing it, when the most severe Reprehensions alone, are
found ineffectual.

I would in this Letter improve the little Observation I have made on the
Vice of _Drunkeness_, the better to reclaim the _good Fellows_ who
usually pay the Devotions of the Evening to _Bacchus_.

I doubt not but _moderate Drinking_ has been improv'd for the Diffusion
of Knowledge among the ingenious Part of Mankind, who want the Talent of
a ready Utterance, in order to discover the Conceptions of their Minds
in an entertaining and intelligible Manner. 'Tis true, drinking does not
_improve_ our Faculties, but it enables us to use them; and therefore I
conclude, that much Study and Experience, and a little Liquor, are of
absolute Necessity for some Tempers, in order to make them accomplish'd
Orators. _Dic. Ponder_ discovers an excellent Judgment when he is
inspir'd with a Glass or two of _Claret_, but he passes for a Fool among
those of small Observation, who never saw him the better for Drink. And
here it will not be improper to observe, That the moderate Use of
Liquor, and a well plac'd and well regulated Anger, often produce this
same Effect; and some who cannot ordinarily talk but in broken Sentences
and false Grammar, do in the Heat of Passion express themselves with as
much Eloquence as Warmth. Hence it is that my own Sex are generally the
most eloquent, because the most passionate. "It

Last Page Next Page

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 8
Page 49
A man given to romance must be always on his guard, for fear of contradicting and exposing himself to derision; for the most _historical_ would avoid the odious character, though it is impossible, with the utmost circumspection, to travel long on this route without detection, and shame and confusion follow.
Page 57
, and paid into the public treasury, thence to be dispensed by government for those purposes, ought not every _honest man_ freely and willingly to pay his just proportion of this necessary expense? Can he possibly preserve a right to that character, if by fraud, stratagem, or contrivance, he avoids that payment in whole or in part? What should we think of a companion who, having supped with his friends at a tavern, and partaken equally of the joys of the evening with the rest of us, would nevertheless contrive by some artifice to shift his share of the reckoning upon others, in order to go off scot-free? If a man who practised this would, when detected, be deemed and called a scoundrel, what ought he to be called who can enjoy all the inestimable benefits of public society, and yet, by smuggling or dealing with smugglers, contrive to evade paying his just share of the expense, as settled by his own representatives in parliament, and wrongfully throw it upon his honest and, perhaps, much poorer neighbours? He will, perhaps, be ready to tell me that he does not wrong his neighbours; he scorns the imputation; he only cheats the king a little, who is very able to bear it.
Page 58
The king has as much right to justice as the meanest of his subjects; and as he is truly the common _father_ of his people, those that rob him fall under the Scripture we pronounced against the son _that robbeth his father and saith it is no sin_.
Page 61
"What you have told us," says he, "is all very good.
Page 85
Page 89
My leg, which you inquire after, is now quite well.
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_.
Page 109
--1 Kings iv.
Page 122
Now it happened that you were negligent in _all_ these points: for, first, you desired to have means procured for you of taking a voyage to America '_avec surete_,[19] which is not possible,.
Page 123
As it is impossible to know what your ideas are of the _maniere convenable_, how can one answer this? And then you demand whether I will support you by my authority in giving you letters of recommendation.
Page 125
The expense of our civil government we have always borne, and can easily bear, because it is small.
Page 133
which long fair weather and sunshine had enfeebled and discoloured, and which in that weak state, by a thunder-gust of violent wind, hail, and rain, seemed to be threatened with absolute destruction; yet the storm being past, it recovers fresh verdure, shoots up with double vigour, and delights the eye not of its owner only, but of every observing traveller.
Page 142
"The departure of my dearest friend,[28] which I learn from your last letter, greatly affects me.
Page 143
"At length we are in peace, God be praised; and long, very long may it continue.
Page 154
' "It is so natural to wish to be well spoken of, whether alive or dead, that I imagine he could not be quite exempt from that desire; and that at least he wished to be thought a wit, or he would not have given himself the trouble of writing so good an epitaph to leave behind him.
Page 181
I sent it, but never heard of its arriving.
Page 188
That where there happens to be such a structure and conformation of the interior part of the earth, as that the fire may pass freely, and without impediment, from the caverns wherein it assembles unto those spiracles, it then readily gets out, from time to time, without shaking or disturbing the earth; but where such communication is wanting, or passage not sufficiently large and open, so that it cannot come at the spiracles, it heaves up and shocks the earth with greater or lesser impetuosity, according to the quantity of fire thus assembled, till it has made its way to the mouth of the volcano.
Page 229
It is the same before a fire, the heat of which sooner penetrates black stockings than white ones, and so is apt sooner to burn a man's shins.
Page 237
And as your new employment requires your being often on the water, of which you have such a dread, I think you would do well to make the trial; nothing being so likely to remove those apprehensions as the consciousness of an ability to swim to the shore in case of an accident, or of supporting yourself in the water till a boat could come to take you up.