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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 44

of the machine and printed off
several sheets. Then the American ambassador smiled at the gaping
printers and said, "Do not be astonished, Sirs, it is my former
business."[i-163]

Even in his boyhood, it was a pleasure to Franklin "to see good workmen
handle their tools," and he tells in his autobiography how much this
feeling for tools meant to him throughout his life.[i-164] His flair for
invention, though founded on this same "handiness," was not always
directed toward the production of tools; but in the two fields of
"philosophical" experimentation and the printing trade, his dexterity
and cleverness in making needful instruments and devices were
invaluable.

Partly because of the fact that printers' supplies must be imported from
England, and partly because of his natural tool-mindedness, Franklin
manufactured more of his own supplies than any other American commercial
printer before or since. He cast type, made paper molds, mixed inks,
made contributions to press building, did engraving, forwarded
experiments in stereotyping, and worked at logotypy. Long after he had
retired from the printing business. Franklin continued to influence
developments in that field. It is a common saying among printers that
one never forgets the smell of printer's ink. Franklin kept touch with
his former business through various partnerships, through correspondence
with printer friends, through the establishment of a private press in
his home at Passy during his ambassadorship to France, and through his
personal supervision of the education of his grandson in "the art
preservative of arts." "I am too old to follow printing again myself,"
he wrote to a friend, "but, loving the business, I have brought up my
grandson Benjamin to it, and have built and furnished a printing-house
for him, which he now manages under my eye."[i-165]

As to just how adept Franklin was on the distinctively aesthetic side of
printing, critics must differ. It has been customary to assume that the
output of his shop was far superior to that of the several other
printing houses in the colonies.[i-166] Such broad generalizations are
misleading, however; and it is certainly possible to find Parks and
even Bradford imprints which compare favorably enough with some of
Franklin's. In typography, the phase of printing which affords the
widest aesthetic scope, Franklin was by no means a genius. William
Parks, of Annapolis and later of Williamsburg, was at least Franklin's
peer during the seventeen-thirties and 'forties in the artistic
arrangement of type; and William Goddard, who practiced the art a little
later in several of the colonies, was his superior. Yet Franklin was an
outstanding printer in a region blessed with few good presses. The
difference between him and most of

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 18
_That after the first three years, when the proportion of money arising out of each colony to the general treasury can be known, the number of members to be chosen for each colony shall from time to time, in all ensuing elections, be regulated by that proportion (yet so as that the number to be chosen by any one province be not more than seven, nor less than two.
Page 25
The service here meant, is not the stated settled service in standing troops; but any sudden and short service, either for defence of our own colonies, or invading the enemies country; (such as, the expedition to Cape Breton in the last war; in which many substantial farmers and tradesmen engaged as common soldiers under officers of their own country, for whom they had an esteem and affection; who would not have engaged in a standing army, or under officers from England.
Page 37
5.
Page 45
--The _inlistment of servants,.
Page 116
' It is observable here, that by the common course of justice, a man is to be tried by a jury of his neighbours and fellows; impannelled by a sheriff, in whose appointment the people have a choice: the prisoner too has a right to challenge twenty of the pannel, without giving a reason, and as many more as he can give reasons for challenging; and before he can be convicted, the jury are to be unanimous; they are all to agree that he is guilty, and are therefore all accountable for their verdict.
Page 121
" Time has shown, that those hopes were vain; they have been obliged to go to that market ever since, directly or indirectly, or go without their laws.
Page 178
_ Did you ever hear the authority of parliament to make laws for America questioned till lately? _A.
Page 205
"And if this method were actually allowed, do you not think it would encourage the violent and factious part of the colonists, to aim at still farther concessions from the mother-country?" _A.
Page 217
"And whereas there hath been from time to time discovered in the said island of Great Britain, by our colonists there, many mines or beds of _iron_-stone; and sundry subjects of our ancient dominion, skilful in converting the said stone into metal, have in time past transported themselves thither, carrying with them and communicating that art; and the inhabitants of the said island, presuming that they had a natural right to make the best use they could of the natural productions of their country, for their own benefit, have not only built furnaces for smelting the said stone into iron, but have.
Page 226
_ _The Examination of Dr.
Page 275
If they are poor, they begin first as servants or journeymen; and if they are sober, industrious, and frugal, they soon become masters, establish themselves in business, marry, raise families, and become respectable citizens.
Page 288
of large capacities) is hereby discouraged from attempting to make any figure in life: his apprehensions of being outlaughed, will force him to continue in a restless obscurity, without having an opportunity of knowing his own merit himself, or discovering it to the world, rather than venture to expose himself in a place, where a pun or a sneer shall pass for wit, noise for reason, and the strength of the argument be judged by that of the lungs.
Page 298
But so it is, that I am possessed largely of it, and design, if you encourage the proposal, to take this opportunity of doing good with it, which I question not will be accepted of in a grateful way by many of your honest readers, though the discovery of my extraction bodes me no deference from your great scholars and modern philosophers.
Page 315
This is sometimes of great use.
Page 317
FOOTNOTE: [177] From the American Museum, vol.
Page 320
If it should be said, that people are apt to be obstinately attached to old customs, and that it will be difficult to induce them to rise.
Page 332
For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness.
Page 348
Accustomed to move like a mere machine, by the will of a master, reflection is suspended; he has not the power of choice; and reason and conscience have but little influence over his conduct, because he is chiefly governed by the passion of fear.
Page 361
Thus unfortunately are we circumstanced at this time, my dear countrymen and fellow-citizens; we, I mean, the middling people; the farmers, shopkeepers, and tradesmen of this city and country.
Page 391
_Duties_, moral, the knowledge of, more important than the knowledge of nature, ii.