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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 325

to
judge that this furious Bull is puffing, blowing and roaring. Distance
being consider'd and Time allow'd for all this to come down, there you
have Wind and Thunder. He spies perhaps VIRGO (or the Virgin;) she turns
her Head round as it were to see if any body observ'd her; then
crouching down gently, with her Hands on her Knees, she looks wistfully
for a while right forward. He judges rightly what she's about: And
having calculated the Distance and allow'd Time for its Falling, finds
that next Spring we shall have a fine _April_ shower. What can be more
natural and easy than this? I might instance the like in many other
particulars; but this may be sufficient to prevent our being taken for
Conjurors. O the wonderful Knowledge to be found in the Stars! Even the
smallest Things are written there, if you had but Skill to read: When my
Brother J-m-n erected a Scheme to know which was best for his sick
Horse, to sup a new-laid Egg, or a little Broth, he found that the Stars
plainly gave their Verdict for Broth, and the Horse having sup'd his
Broth;--Now, what do you think became of that Horse? You shall know in
my next.

Besides the usual Things expected in an Almanack, I hope the profess'd
Teachers of Mankind will excuse my scattering here and there some
instructive Hints in Matters of Morality and Religion. And be not thou
disturbed, O grave and sober Reader, if among the many serious Sentences
in my Book, thou findest me trifling now and then, and talking idly. In
all the Dishes I have hitherto cook'd for thee, there is solid Meat
enough for thy Money. There are Scraps from the Table of Wisdom, that
will if well digested, yield strong Nourishment to thy Mind. But
squeamish Stomachs cannot eat without Pickles; which, 'tis true are good
for nothing else, but they provoke an Appetite. The Vain Youth that
reads my Almanack for the sake of an idle Joke, will perhaps meet with a
serious Reflection, that he may ever after be the better for.

Some People observing the great Yearly Demand for my Almanack, imagine I
must by this Time have become rich, and consequently ought to call
myself _Poor Dick_ no longer. But, the Case is this,

When I first begun to publish, the Printer made a fair Agreement with me
for my Copies, by Virtue of which he runs away with the greatest Part of
the Profit.--However, much good may't do him; I do not grudge it him; he
is a Man I

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 37
B.
Page 47
As example works more than precept, and my sole view being the good and interest of my countrymen, whom I could wish to see without any vice or folly, I shall offer an example of the veneration bestowed on truth and abhorrence of falsehood among the ancients.
Page 53
Let us now suppose this venerable insect, this _Nestor_ of _Hypania_, should, a little before his death, and about sunset, send for all his descendants, his friends and his acquaintances, out of the desire he may have to impart his last thoughts to them, and to admonish them with his departing breath.
Page 55
as the views of this vainglorious insect were confined within the narrow circle of his own existence, as he only boasts the magnificent cells he has built and the length of happiness he has enjoyed, he is the proper emblem of all such insects of the human race, whose ambition does not extend beyond the like narrow limits; and notwithstanding the splendour they appear in at present, they will no more deserve the regard of posterity than the butterflies of the last spring.
Page 57
, and paid into the public treasury, thence to be dispensed by government for those purposes, ought not every _honest man_ freely and willingly to pay his just proportion of this necessary expense? Can he possibly preserve a right to that character, if by fraud, stratagem, or contrivance, he avoids that payment in whole or in part? What should we think of a companion who, having supped with his friends at a tavern, and partaken equally of the joys of the evening with the rest of us, would nevertheless contrive by some artifice to shift his share of the reckoning upon others, in order to go off scot-free? If a man who practised this would, when detected, be deemed and called a scoundrel, what ought he to be called who can enjoy all the inestimable benefits of public society, and yet, by smuggling or dealing with smugglers, contrive to evade paying his just share of the expense, as settled by his own representatives in parliament, and wrongfully throw it upon his honest and, perhaps, much poorer neighbours? He will, perhaps, be ready to tell me that he does not wrong his neighbours; he scorns the imputation; he only cheats the king a little, who is very able to bear it.
Page 58
And yet such is our insensibility to justice in this particular, that nothing is more common than to see, even in a reputable company, a _very honest_ gentleman or lady declare his or her intention to cheat the nation of threepence by a frank, and, without blushing, apply to one of the very legislators themselves, with a modest request that he would be pleased to become an accomplice in the crime and assist in the perpetration.
Page 86
MR.
Page 89
--I would be glad to know how you approve my conduct.
Page 113
"If our people should follow the Boston example in entering into resolutions of frugality and industry, full as necessary for us as for them, I hope they will, among other things, give this reason, that 'tis to enable them more speedily and effectually to discharge their debts to Great Britain; this will soften a little, and, at the same time, appear honourable,.
Page 123
"In your last, you also express yourself in vague terms when you desire to be informed whether you may expect '_d'etre recu d'une maniere cenvenable_'[21] in our troops.
Page 124
As to my future fame, I am content to rest it on my past and present conduct, without seeking an addition to it in the crooked, dark paths you propose to me, where I should most certainly lose it.
Page 142
Fishermen, for the same reason.
Page 172
_ "Philadelphia, June 3, 1789.
Page 174
For without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of, guards and guides, and may favour particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear its displeasure, or to pray for its protection.
Page 183
* * * * * _To M.
Page 193
This fluid may possibly be the same with that which, being attracted by, and entering into other more solid matter, dilutes the substance by separating the constituent particles, and so rendering some solids fluid, and maintaining the fluidity of others; of which fluid, when our bodies are totally deprived, they are said to be frozen; when they have a proper quantity, they are in health, and fit to perform all their functions; it is then called natural heat; when too much, it is called fever; and when forced into the body in too great a quantity from without, it gives pain, by separating and destroying the flesh, and is then called burning, and the fluid so entering and acting is called fire.
Page 203
It retains some degree of this motion, and descending in higher latitudes, where the earth's motion is less, will appear a westerly wind, yet tending towards the equatorial parts, to supply the vacancy occasioned.
Page 219
Thus, if a silver teapot had a handle of the same metal, it would conduct the heat from the water to the hand, and become too hot to be used; we therefore give to a metal teapot a handle of wood, which is not so good a conductor as metal.
Page 227
September 20, 1761.
Page 240
The question you ask me is a very sensible one, and I shall be glad if I can give you a satisfactory answer.