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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 303

affrighted you; so that
you decline the Trial of what is Good, by reason: And had rather make a
bold Attack upon Providence; the usual Way of you Gentlemen of Fashion,
who, when by living in Defiance of the eternal Rules of Reason, you have
plunged yourselves into a thousand Difficulties, endeavour to make
yourselves easy by throwing the Burden upon Nature. You are, _Horatio_,
in a very miserable Condition indeed; for you say you can't be happy if
you controul your Passions; and you feel yourself miserable by an
unrestrained Gratification of 'em; so that here's Evil, irremediable
Evil, either way.

_Hor._ That is very true, at least it appears so to me: Pray, what have
you to say, _Philocles_! in Honour of Nature or Providence; methinks I'm
in Pain for her: How do you rescue her? poor Lady!

_Phil._ This, my dear _Horatio_, I have to say; that what you find Fault
with and clamour against, as the most terrible Evil in the World,
Self-denial; is really the greatest Good, and the highest
Self-gratification: If indeed, you use the Word in the Sense of some
weak sour Moralists, and much weaker Divines, you'll have just Reason to
laugh at it; but if you take it, as understood by Philosophers and Men
of Sense, you will presently see her Charms, and fly to her Embraces,
notwithstanding her demure Looks, as absolutely necessary to produce
even your own darling sole Good, Pleasure: For, Self-denial is never a
Duty, or a reasonable Action, but as 'tis a natural Means of procuring
more Pleasure than you can taste without it so that this grave,
Saint-like Guide to Happiness, as rough and dreadful as she has been
made to appear, is in truth the kindest and most beautiful Mistress in
the World.

_Hor._ Prithee, _Philocles_! do not wrap yourself in Allegory and
Metaphor. Why do you teaze me thus? I long to be satisfied, what this
Philosophical Self-denial is, the Necessity and Reason of it; I'm
impatient, and all on Fire; explain, therefore, in your beautiful,
natural easy Way of Reasoning, what I'm to understand by this grave Lady
of yours, with so forbidding, downcast Looks, and yet so absolutely
necessary to my Pleasures. I stand ready to embrace her; for you know,
Pleasure I court under all Shapes and Forms.

_Phil._ Attend then, and you'll see the Reason of this Philosophical
Self-denial. There can be no absolute Perfection in any Creature;
because every Creature is derived, and dependent: No created Being can
be All-wise, All-good, and All-powerful, because his Powers and
Capacities are finite and limited; consequently whatever is created
must, in

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 4
Page 19
By this means he turned our attention to what was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was bro't up in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and so unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can scarce tell a few hours after dinner what I dined upon.
Page 25
He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me.
Page 37
IV FIRST VISIT TO BOSTON Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was then at Newcastle, and Captain Holmes, happening to be in company with him when my letter came to hand, spoke to him of me, and show'd him the letter.
Page 41
While I liv'd in Boston, most of.
Page 43
So he swore he would make me row, or throw me overboard; and coming along, stepping on the thwarts, toward me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapped my hand under his crutch, and, rising, pitched him head-foremost into the river.
Page 45
We had our victuals dress'd, and brought to us regularly by a woman in the neighborhood, who had from me a list of forty dishes, to be prepar'd for us at different times, in all which there was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, and the whim suited me the better at this time from the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteenpence sterling each per week.
Page 75
There this apprentice employ'd his former master as a journeyman; they quarrell'd often; Harry went continually behindhand, and at length was forc'd to sell his types and return to his country work in Pennsylvania.
Page 77
These libraries have improved the general conversation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers.
Page 89
_Order_, too, with regard to places for things, papers, etc.
Page 119
He told me the following anecdote of his old master, William Penn, respecting defense.
Page 121
and charg'd with abominable principles and practices to which they were utter strangers.
Page 141
The people of these back counties have lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency was wanting; you have an opportunity of receiving and dividing among you a very considerable sum; for, if the service of this expedition should continue, as it is more than probable it will, for one hundred and twenty days, the hire of these waggons and horses will amount to upward of thirty thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver and gold of the king's money.
Page 146
near seven hundred miles, occasioned not the smallest complaint for the loss of a pig, a chicken, or even an apple.
Page 149
He answer'd me that it was not one of their established principles, but that, at the time of their obtaining that act, it was thought to be a principle with many of their people.
Page 169
I then waited on my old friend and correspondent, Mr.
Page 174
) It would be thought a hard Government that should tax its People one-tenth Part of their _Time_, to be employed in its Service.
Page 177
When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, _Mistaken man_, said I, _you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle_.
Page 179
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This Letter is said (in _Page_ 1.