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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 313

in't at all.
Thus, as Waller says,

Poets lose half the Praise they would have got
Were it but known what they discreetly blot;

Yet are censur'd for every bad Line found in their Works with the utmost

I come now to the Particular Case of the N. B. above mention'd, about
which there has been more Clamour against me, than ever before on any
other Account.--In the Hurry of other Business an Advertisement was
brought to me to be printed; it signified that such a Ship lying at such
a Wharff, would sail for Barbadoes in such a Time, and that Freighters
and Passengers might agree with the Captain at such a Place; so far is
what's common: But at the Bottom this odd Thing was added, "N. B. No Sea
Hens nor Black Gowns will be admitted on any Terms." I printed it, and
receiv'd my Money; and the Advertisement was stuck up round the Town as
usual. I had not so much Curiosity at that time as to enquire the
Meaning of it, nor did I in the least imagine it would give so much
Offence. Several good Men are very angry with me on this Occasion; they
are pleas'd to say I have too much Sense to do such things ignorantly;
that if they were Printers they would not have done such a thing on any
Consideration; that it could proceed from nothing but my abundant Malice
against Religion and the Clergy. They therefore declare they will not
take any more of my Papers, nor have any farther Dealings with me; but
will hinder me of all the Custom they can. All this is very hard!

I believe it had been better if I had refused to print the said
Advertisement. However, 'tis done, and cannot be revok'd. I have only
the following few Particulars to offer, some of them in my behalf, by
way of Mitigation, and some not much to the Purpose; but I desire none
of them may be read when the Reader is not in a very good Humour.

1. That I really did it without the least Malice, and imagin'd the N. B.
was plac'd there only to make the Advertisement star'd at, and more
generally read.

2. That I never saw the Word Sea-Hens before in my Life; nor have I yet
ask'd the meaning of it; and tho' I had certainly known that Black Gowns
in that place signified the Clergy of the Church of England, yet I have
that confidence in the generous good

Last Page Next Page

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 0
Page 12
--Modesty in Disputation 281 To M.
Page 13
I stopped my horse lately where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods.
Page 28
If it were said that he who cannot deny himself anything he inclines to, though he knows it will be to his hurt, has not the virtue of resolution or fortitude, it would be intelligible enough; but, as it stands, it seems obscure or erroneous.
Page 37
The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are to be regarded.
Page 38
It depends chiefly on two words, _industry_ and _frugality_; that is, waste neither _time_ nor _money_, but make the best use of both.
Page 39
I listened, through curiosity, to the discourse of these little creatures; but as they, in their national vivacity, spoke three or four together, I could make but little of their conversation.
Page 44
A vain, silly fellow builds a fine house, furnishes it richly, lives in it expensively, and in a few years ruins himself; but the masons, carpenters, smiths, and other honest tradesmen have been by his employ assisted in maintaining and raising their families; the farmer has been paid for his labour, and encouraged, and the estate is now in better hands.
Page 76
I have been told that an action at law was once brought against one of these water nymphs, by a person who had a new suit of clothes spoiled by this operation; but, after long argument, it was determined by the whole court that the action would not lie, inasmuch as the defendant was in the exercise of a legal right, and not answerable for the consequences: and so the poor gentleman was doubly nonsuited, for he lost not only his suit of clothes, but his suit at law.
Page 121
, that you are out of temper, which is the effect of full living and idleness.
Page 130
_ "Passy, February 8, 1780.
Page 174
I am now in my eighty-fourth year, and the last year has considerably enfeebled me, so that I hardly expect to remain another.
Page 177
I return the papers with some corrections.
Page 178
I will just mention, that your observations on the ferruginous nature of the lava which is thrown out from the depths of our volcanoes, gave me great pleasure.
Page 187
He adds, that though the abyss be liable to those commotions in all parts, yet the effects are nowhere very remarkable except in those countries which are mountainous, and, consequently, stony or cavernous underneath; and especially where the disposition of the strata is such that those caverns open the abyss, and so freely admit and entertain the fire which, assembling therein, is the cause of.
Page 191
Jamaica is remarkable for earthquakes.
Page 198
The lower end of the rod should enter the earth so deep as to come at the moist part, perhaps two or three feet; and if bent when under the surface so as to go in a horizontal line six or eight feet from the wall, and then bent again downward three or four feet, it will prevent damage to any of the stones of the foundation.
Page 201
* * * Air, suffering continual changes in the degrees of its heat, from various causes and circumstances, and, consequently, changes in its specific gravity, must therefore be in continual motion.
Page 235
Then placing the boat at one end of the trough, the weight would draw it through the water to the other.
Page 237
The practice I mean is this.