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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 308

naturally tend to produce
real and unmixed Happiness; and these Actions, by way of Distinction, we
call Actions morally Good.

_Hor._ You speak very clearly, _Philocles_! but, that no Difficulty may
remain upon my Mind, pray tell me what is the real Difference between
natural Good and Ill, and moral Good and Ill? for I know several People
who use the Terms without Ideas.

_Phil._ That may be: The Difference lies only in this; that natural Good
and Ill is Pleasure and Pain: Moral Good and Ill is Pleasure or Pain
produced with Intention and Design; for 'tis the Intention only that
makes the Agent morally Good or Bad.

_Hor._ But may not a Man, with a very good Intention, do an ill Action?

_Phil._ Yes, but, then he errs in his Judgment, tho' his Design be good.
If his Error is inevitable, or such as, all Things considered, he could
not help, he is inculpable: But if it arose through want of Diligence in
forming his Judgment about the Nature of human Actions, he is immoral
and culpable.

_Hor._ I find, then, that in order to please ourselves rightly, or to do
good to others morally, we should take great Care of our Opinions.

_Phil._ Nothing concerns you more; for, as the Happiness or real Good of
Men consists in right Action, and right Action cannot be produced
without right Opinion, it behoves us, above all Things in this World, to
take Care that our Opinions of Things be according to the Nature of
Things. The Foundation of all Virtue and Happiness is Thinking rightly.
He who sees an Action is right, that is, naturally tending to Good, and
does it because of that Tendency, he only is a moral Man; and he alone
is capable of that constant, durable, and invariable Good, which has
been the Subject of this Conversation.

_Hor._ How, my dear philosophical Guide, shall I be able to know, and
determine certainly, what is Right and Wrong in Life?

_Phil._ As easily as you distinguish a Circle from a Square, or Light
from Darkness. Look, _Horatio_, into the sacred Book of Nature; read
your own Nature, and view the Relation which other Men stand in to you,
and you to them; and you'll immediately see what constitutes human
Happiness, and consequently what is Right.

_Hor._ We are just coming into Town, and can say no more at present. You
are my good Genius, _Philocles_. You have shewed me what is good. You
have redeemed me from the Slavery and Misery of Folly and Vice, and made
me a free and happy Being.

_Phil._ Then

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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 4
114 To the same 115 To the same 116 To Miss Stevenson 119 To Lord Kames 120 To the same 121 To the same 128 To John Alleyne .
Page 30
As to the usefulness of geometry, it is as certain that no curious art or mechanic work can either be invented, improved, or performed without its assisting principles.
Page 38
* * * * * RULES OF HEALTH.
Page 45
Those towns are not much regarded by the country; they are hardly considered as an essential part of the states; and the experience of the last war has shown, that their being in possession of the enemy did not necessarily draw on the subjection of the country, which bravely continued to maintain its freedom and independence notwithstanding.
Page 73
And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
Page 85
The humane and the just cannot but wish general success to the proposition.
Page 89
I have reserved the great glass, because I know her heart is set upon it; I will allow her, when she comes in, to be taken suddenly ill with _the headache_, _the stomach-ache_, _fainting-fits_, or whatever other disorder she may think more proper, and she may retire to bed as soon as she pleases.
Page 111
Thence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe.
Page 128
PEERAGES! Alas! sir, our long observation of the vast servile majority of your peers, voting constantly for every measure proposed by a minister, however weak or wicked, leaves us small respect for them, and we consider it a sort of tar-and-feathered honour, or a mixture of foulness and folly; which every man among us who should accept from your king, would be obliged to renounce or exchange for that conferred by the mobs of their own country, or wear it with everlasting shame.
Page 177
I therefore imagined that the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and of greater specific gravity than any of the solids we are acquainted with, which therefore might swim in or upon that fluid.
Page 181
I sent it, but never heard of its arriving.
Page 186
Thunder, which is the effect of the trembling of the air, caused by the same vapours dispersed through it, has force enough to shake our houses; and why there may not be thunder and lightning under ground, in some vast repositories there, I see no reason; especially if we reflect that the matter which composes the noisy vapour above us is in much larger quantities under ground.
Page 198
Long sharp points communicating with the earth, and presented to such parts of clouds, drawing silently from them the fluid they are charged with, they are then attracted to the cloud, and may leave the distance so great as to be beyond the reach of striking.
Page 202
Thus water is supported in an inverted open glass, while the equilibrium is maintained by the equal pressure upward of the air below; but the equilibrium by any means breaking, the water descends on the heavier side, and the air rises into its place.
Page 210
The consequence of this should be, as I conceive, that the heated lighter air, being pressed on all sides, must ascend, and the heavier descend; and as this rising cannot be in all parts, or the whole area of the tract at once, for that would leave too extensive a vacuum, the rising will begin precisely in that column that happens to be the lightest or most rarefied; and the warm air will flow horizontally from all points to this column, where the several currents meeting, and joining to rise, a whirl is naturally formed, in the same manner as a whirl is formed in the tub of water, by the descending fluid flowing from all sides of the tub to the hole in the centre.
Page 211
Now I suppose this whirl of air will at first be as invisible as the air itself, though reaching, in reality, from the water to the region of cool air, in which our low summer thunder-clouds commonly float: but presently it will become visible at its extremities.
Page 220
Take this fluid from melted lead or from water, the parts cohere again; the first grows solid, the latter becomes ice: and this is sooner done by the means of good conductors.
Page 228
In such cases the salt water comes up the river, and meets the fresh in that part where, if there were a wall or bank of earth across, from side to side, the river would form a lake, fuller indeed at sometimes than at others, according to the seasons, but whose evaporation would, one time with another, be equal to its supply.
Page 237
Possibly they may be of service in supporting the body while you are learning what is called the stroke, or that manner of drawing in and striking out the hands and feet that is necessary to produce progressive motion.
Page 246
179 passons --> (left as published) 8.