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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 305

you remember, I told
you then, that some Misfortunes in my Pleasures had sent me to
Philosophy for Relief? But now I do assure you, I can, without a Sigh,
leave other Pleasures for those of Philosophy; I can hear the Word
_Reason_ mentioned, and Virtue praised, without Laughing. Don't I bid
fair for Conversion, think you?

_Phil._ Very fair, _Horatio_! for I remember the Time when Reason,
Virtue, and Pleasure, were the same Thing with you: When you counted
nothing Good but what pleas'd, nor any thing Reasonable but what you got
by; When you made a Jest of a Mind, and the Pleasures of Reflection, and
elegantly plac'd your sole Happiness, like the rest of the Animal
Creation, in the Gratifications of Sense.

_Hor._ I did so: But in our last Conversation, when walking upon the
Brow of this Hill, and looking down on that broad, rapid River, and yon
widely-extended beautifully-varied Plain, you taught me another
Doctrine: You shewed me, that Self-denial, which above all Things I
abhorred, was really the greatest Good, and the highest
Self-gratification, and absolutely necessary to produce even my own
darling sole Good, Pleasure.

_Phil._ True: I told you that Self-denial was never a Duty but when it
was a natural Means of procuring more Pleasure than we could taste
without it: That as we all strongly desire to live, and to live only to
enjoy, we should take as much Care about our future as our present
Happiness; and not build one upon the Ruins of 'tother: That we should
look to the End, and regard Consequences: and if, thro' want of
Attention we had err'd, and exceeded the Bounds which Nature had set us,
we were then obliged, for our own Sakes, to refrain or deny ourselves a
present momentary Pleasure for a future, constant, and durable Good.

_Hor._ You have shewn, _Philocles_, that Self-denial, which weak or
interested Men have rendred the most forbidding, is really the most
delightful and amiable, the most reasonable and pleasant Thing in the
World. In a Word, if I understand you aright, Self-denial is, in Truth,
Self-recognising, Self-acknowledging, or Self-owning. But now, my
Friend! you are to perform another Promise; and shew me the Path which
leads up to that constant, durable, and invariable Good, which I have
heard you so beautifully describe, and which you seem so fully to
possess: Is not this Good of yours a mere Chimera? Can any Thing be
constant in a World which is eternally changing! and which appears to
exist by an everlasting Revolution of one Thing into another, and where
every Thing without us,

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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

Page 5
130 To Governor Franklin 132 To Dr.
Page 18
The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the term, which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short.
Page 44
Some of those who grow rich will be prudent, live within bounds, and preserve what they have gained for their posterity; others, fond of showing their wealth, will be extravagant and ruin themselves.
Page 53
Everything he says will seem wonderful to their short lived generation.
Page 83
"What the devil!" says another, "have we then _thieves_ among us? It must not be suffered.
Page 88
I could see all along that this did not at all suit with my circumstances, but had not resolution enough to help it, till lately, receiving a very severe dun, which mentioned the next court, I began in earnest to project relief.
Page 118
From these _data_ his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense necessary to kill us all and conquer our whole territory.
Page 134
I have observed that our Europeans of different nations, who learn the same Indian language, form each his own orthography according to the usual sounds given to the letters in his own language.
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 145
[30] See the Proposition about Privateering, annexed to letter to R.
Page 147
" * * * * * "_Robert Morris, Esq.
Page 151
That this opinion is not chimerical, the country I now live in affords a proof; its whole civil and criminal law administration being done for nothing, or, in some sense, for less than nothing, since the members of its judiciary parliaments buy their places, and do not make more than three per cent.
Page 152
I am too well.
Page 170
My friends here are numerous, and I enjoy as much of their conversation as I can reasonably wish; and I have as much health and cheerfulness as can well be expected at my age, now eighty-two.
Page 187
obstruction in the pores or passages through which it used to ascend to the surface, becomes, by such means, preternaturally assembled in a greater quantity than usual into one place, and therefore causeth a great rarefaction and intumescence of the water of the abyss, putting it into great commotions and disorders, and at the same time making the like effort on the earth, which, being expanded upon the face of the abyss, occasions that agitation and concussion we call an earthquake.
Page 188
Besides, that those parts of the earth which abound with strata of stone or marble, making the strongest opposition to this effort, are the most furiously shattered, and suffer much more by it than those which consist of gravel, sand, and the like laxer matter, which more easily give way, and make not so great resistance.
Page 190
We shall only instance the fate of Catania, one of the most famous, ancient, and flourishing cities in the kingdom, the residence of several monarchs, and a university.
Page 218
Page 220
This fluid, entering bodies in great quantity, first expands them, by separating their parts a little; afterward, by farther separating their parts, it renders solids fluid, and at length dissipates their parts in air.
Page 236
Between the deepest and shallowest it appears to be somewhat more than one fifth.