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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 311

a certain N. B. at the End of it, I find an
Apology more particularly requisite at this Juncture, tho' it happens
when I have not yet Leisure to write such a Thing in the proper Form,
and can only in a loose manner throw those Considerations together which
should have been the Substance of it.

I request all who are angry with me on the Account of printing things
they don't like, calmly to consider these following Particulars.

1. That the Opinions of Men are almost as various as their Faces; an
Observation general enough to become a common Proverb, _So many Men so
many Minds._

2. That the Business of Printing has chiefly to do with Mens Opinions;
most things that are printed tending to promote some, or oppose others.

3. That hence arises the peculiar Unhappiness of that Business, which
other Callings are no way liable to; they who follow Printing being
scarce able to do any thing in their way of getting a Living, which
shall not probably give Offence to some, and perhaps to many; whereas
the Smith, the Shoemaker, the Carpenter, or the Man of any other Trade,
may work indifferently for People of all Persuasions, without offending
any of them: and the Merchant may buy and sell with Jews, Turks,
Hereticks and Infidels of all sorts, and get Money by every one of them,
without giving Offence to the most orthodox, of any sort; or suffering
the least Censure or Ill will on the Account from any Man whatever.

4. That it is as unreasonable in any one Man or Set of Men to expect to
be pleas'd with every thing that is printed, as to think that nobody
ought to be pleas'd but themselves.

5. Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men differ in Opinion,
both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the
Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is
always an overmatch for the latter: Hence they chearfully serve all
contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side
they are of the Question in Dispute.

6. Being thus continually employ'd in serving both Parties, Printers
naturally acquire a vast Unconcernedness as to the right or wrong
Opinions contain'd in what they print; regarding it only as the Matter
of their daily labour: They print things full of Spleen and Animosity,
with the utmost Calmness and Indifference, and without the least
Ill-will to the Persons reflected on; who nevertheless unjustly think
the Printer as much their Enemy as the Author, and join both

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

Page 51
Disorders which ensued during his absence.
Page 62
_ bills passed by the assembly, so far as it relates to the taxing the proprietary estate within that province.
Page 87
The case is greatly altered now.
Page 89
It is true, they did not call themselves sovereigns; they set no value on the title; they were contented with possessing the thing.
Page 99
_First term, from 1744 to 1748, inclusive.
Page 110
The 6th and last reason is, "_That in the middle colonies, where the paper-money has been best supported, the bills have_ never kept to their nominal value _in circulation; but have constantly depreciated to a certain degree, whenever the quantity has been increased_.
Page 164
As to _judges_, they alledge, that being appointed from hence, and holding their commissions not during good behaviour, as in Britain, but during pleasure: all the weight of interest or influence would be thrown into one of the scales (which ought to be held even) if the salaries are also to be paid out of duties raised upon the people without their consent, and independent of their assemblies approbation or disapprobation of the judges behaviour.
Page 172
But the _suspension_, though it might continue their fears and anxieties, would at the same time keep up their resolutions of industry and frugality; which in two or three years would grow into habits, to their lasting advantage.
Page 200
_ DEAR SIR, In the many conversations we have had together about our present disputes with North America, we perfectly agreed in wishing they may be brought to a speedy and happy conclusion.
Page 227
_[129] SIR, Finding that two gentlemen have been unfortunately engaged in a duel about a transaction and its circumstances, of which both of them are totally ignorant and innocent, I think it incumbent upon me to declare (for the prevention of farther mischief, as far as such a declaration may contribute to prevent it) that I alone am the person, who obtained and transmitted to Boston the letters in question.
Page 259
America, on the contrary, has, besides her lands already cultivated, a vast territory yet to be cultivated; which, being cultivated, continually increases in value with the increase of people; and the people, who double themselves by a _natural propagation_ every twenty-five years, will double yet faster, by the accession of _strangers_, as long as lands are to be had for new families; so that every twenty years there will be a double number of inhabitants obliged to discharge the public debts; and those inhabitants, being more opulent, may pay their shares with greater ease.
Page 288
Eugenius takes more delight in applying the wit of his friends, than in being admired himself: and if any one of the company is so unfortunate as to be touched a little too nearly, he will make use of some ingenious artifice to turn the edge of ridicule another way, chusing rather to make himself a public jest, than be at the pain of seeing his friend in confusion.
Page 303
This I mention only as a specimen of the taste of the gentleman; I am, forsooth, bound to please in my speculations, not that I suppose my impartiality will ever be called in question on that account.
Page 305
Many are the idle stories told of the private success of some people, by which others are encouraged to proceed; and the astrologers, with whom the country swarms at this time, are either in the belief of these things themselves, or find their advantage in persuading others to believe them; for they are often consulted about the critical times for digging, the methods of laying the spirit, and the like whimsies, which renders them very necessary to, and very much caressed by, the poor deluded money-hunters.
Page 353
But whatever security this might have been while both country and city were poor, and the advantage to be expected scarce worth the hazard of an attempt, it is now doubted, whether we can any longer safely depend upon it.
Page 357
For the same hazard or rate of insurance, that raises the price of what is imported, must be deducted out of, and lower the price of what is exported.
Page 362
It seems as if our greatest men, our _cives nobilissimi_[201] of both parties, had sworn the ruin of the country, and invited the French, our most inveterate enemy to destroy it.
Page 391
_Dreams_, art of procuring pleasant ones, iii.
Page 404
_Magical_ circle of circles, ii.
Page 418
_Vapour_, electrical experiment on, i.