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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 266

or Honour, than the
Publick be made to know, that it is the utmost of their Ambition to
attend upon and do all imaginable good Offices to good old _Janus_ the
Couranteer, who is and always will be the Readers humble Servant.

P.S. Gentle Readers, we design never to let a Paper pass without a Latin
Motto if we can possibly pick one up, which carries a Charm in it to the
Vulgar, and the learned admire the pleasure of Construing. We should
have obliged the World with a Greek scrap or two, but the Printer has no
Types, and therefore we intreat the candid Reader not to impute the
defect to our Ignorance, for our Doctor can say all the _Greek_ Letters
by heart.


To Mr. J. R.

[London, 1725]


I have here, according to your Request, given you my _present_ Thoughts
of the _general State of Things_ in the Universe. Such as they are, you
have them, and are welcome to 'em; and if they yield you any Pleasure or
Satisfaction, I shall think my Trouble sufficiently compensated. I know
my Scheme will be liable to many Objections from a less discerning
Reader than your self; but it is not design'd for those who can't
understand it. I need not give you any Caution to distinguish the
hypothetical Parts of the Argument from the conclusive: You will easily
perceive what I design for Demonstration, and what for Probability only.
The whole I leave entirely to you, and shall value my self more or less
on this account, in proportion to your Esteem and Approbation.

* * * * *

Sect. I. _Of_ Liberty _and_ Necessity

I. _There is said to be a_ First Mover, _who is called_ GOD, _Maker of
the Universe._

II. _He is said to be all-wise, all-good, all powerful._

These two Propositions being allow'd and asserted by People of almost
every Sect and Opinion; I have here suppos'd them granted, and laid them
down as the Foundation of my Argument; What follows then, being a Chain
of Consequences truly drawn from them, will stand or fall as they are
true or false.

III. _If He is all-good, whatsoever He doth must be good._

IV. _If He is all-wise, whatsoever He doth must be wise._

The Truth of these Propositions, with relation to the two first, I think
may be justly call'd evident; since,

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 42
This was the annual vessel, and the only one, at that time, which made regular voyages between the ports of London and Philadelphia.
Page 46
We had seriously engaged, that whoever died first should return (if possible) and pay a friendly visit to the survivor, to give him an account of the other world--but he has never fulfilled his engagement.
Page 48
Reflecting, and putting circumstances together, I then began to doubt his sincerity.
Page 68
Bard, whom you and I had occasion to see, many years after, at his native town of St.
Page 84
These philosophers soon excited those of other parts of Europe to repeat the experiment; amongst whom, none signalised themselves more than Father Beccaria, of Turin, to whose observations science is much indebted.
Page 91
The mathematical school is pretty well furnished with instruments.
Page 106
Whately and Mr.
Page 146
For if an electrified cloud, coming from the sea, meets in the air a cloud raised from the land, and therefore not electrified; the first will flash its fire into the latter, and thereby both clouds shall be made suddenly to deposite water.
Page 150
If the source of lightning, assigned in this paper, be the true one, there should be little thunder heard at sea far from.
Page 173
In the fore crescent the fire is passing out of the cushion into the glass; in the other it is leaving the glass, and returning into the back part of the cushion.
Page 190
This was thus discovered: I had another concurring experiment, which I often repeated, to prove the negative state of the clouds, viz.
Page 200
If the tin tube be electrified by wax, or the wire of a charged phial, the balls will be affected in the same manner at the approach of excited wax, or the wire of the phial.
Page 202
Excite the glass tube, and draw it over one half of it; then, turning it a little about its axis, let the tube be excited again, and drawn over the same half; and let this operation be repeated several times: then will that half destroy the repelling power of balls electrified by glass, and the other half will increase it.
Page 203
And as Fahrenheit's thermometer was but seven degrees above freezing, it is supposed the winter will not entirely put a stop to observations of this sort.
Page 215
The quantity of lightning that passed through this steeple must have been very great, by its.
Page 230
is founded, may be well enough accounted for without it.
Page 240
Canton's, it appears, that though by a moderate heat, thin glass becomes, in some degree, a conductor of electricity, yet, when of the thickness of a common pane, it is not, though in a state near melting, so good a conductor as to pass the shock of a discharged bottle.
Page 269
Page 309
sensation of, how produced, 57.
Page 331
of quakers in New England, 454.