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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 50

1728 and
was probably the most widely read work on paper currency that appeared
in colonial America."[i-197] That Franklin's interest in paper money was
not unique, one may gather from the fact that between 1714 and 1721
"nearly thirty pamphlets appeared" on this subject in Massachusetts
alone.[i-198] One of the 1728 theses at Harvard, answered in the
affirmative, was: "Does the issue of paper money contribute to the
public good?"[i-199] "Since there was a scarcity of circulating medium,
caused by the constant drain of specie for export," explains Mr. D. R.
Dewey, "it is not strange that projects for converting credit into
wealth should have sprung up in the colonies."[i-200] Franklin argued in
his _Modest Enquiry_[i-201] that (1) "A plentiful Currency will occasion
Interest to be low," (2) it "will occasion the Trading Produce to bear a
good Price," (3) it "will encourage great Numbers of labouring and
Handicrafts Men to come and settle in the Country," and (4) it "will
occasion a less consumption of European Goods, in proportion to the
Number of the People." Thus he saw paper money as a "Morrison's Pill,"
promising to cure all economic ills.[i-202] It has been suggested that
as a printer Franklin naturally would favor issues of paper money. In
view of his later apostasy one should note that in this essay Franklin
apparently accepted the current mercantilist notions, best expressed
here in his conviction that paper money will secure a favorable balance
of trade. Demands for emissions of paper money were inevitable in a
colony in the grip of such a restrictive commercial policy as British
mercantilism. It must be observed, however, that Franklin differed from
the proper mercantilists to the extent that simple valuable metals were
not to be measures of value. Deriving his idea from Sir William Petty,
Franklin took labor as the true measure of value,[i-203]--a position
later held by Karl Marx. In his preoccupation with the growth of
manufactures and favorable balances of trade, Franklin gave no
suggestions that at least by 1767 he was to become an exponent of
agrarianism and free trade. One wonders to what extent his warnings
against the purchase of "unnecessary Householdstuff, or any superfluous
thing," his inveterate emphasis on industry and frugality, were
conditioned by his view that such indulgence would essentially cause a
preponderance of imports, hence casting against them an unfavorable
trade balance.[i-204]

In 1751 Parliament passed an act regulating in the New England colonies
the issue of paper money and preventing them "from adding a legal tender
clause thereto"; in 1764 Parliament forbade issue of legal tender money
in any of the colonies. As a member of the

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

Page 24
Water-spouts have, also, a progressive motion; this is sometimes greater, and sometimes less; in some violent, in others barely perceivable.
Page 27
Now let us suppose a tract of land, or sea, of perhaps sixty miles square, unscreened by clouds, and unfanned by winds, during great part of a summer's day, or, it may be, for several days successively, till it is violently heated, together with the lower region of air in contact with it, so that the said lower air becomes specifically lighter than the superincumbent higher region of the atmosphere, in which the clouds commonly float: let us suppose, also, that the air surrounding this tract has not been so much heated during those days, and, therefore, remains heavier.
Page 34
Page 56
_Passy, May 1784.
Page 104
When I was in England, the last time, you also made for me a little achromatic pocket telescope, the body was brass, and it had a round case (I think of thin wood) covered with shagrin.
Page 108
I have since had the same accounts from others, but I suspect all of a little exaggeration.
Page 130
These instances happened many years ago, when the commerce between Europe and America was not a tenth part of what it is at present, ships of course thinner scattered, and the chance of meeting proportionably less.
Page 137
Vessels are sometimes retarded, and sometimes forwarded in their voyages, by currents at sea, which are often not perceived.
Page 193
A fire may be soon extinguished, by closing it with the shutter before, and turning the register behind, which will stifle it, and the brands will remain ready to rekindle.
Page 198
By this closing the chimney is made tight, that no air or smoke can pass up it, without going under the false back.
Page 239
The vase itself, and the box C will also be very hot, and the air surrounding them being heated, and rising, as it cannot get into the chimney, it spreads in the room, colder air succeeding is warmed in its turn, rises and spreads, till by the continual circulation.
Page 244
Take a small stick of deal or other wood the size of a goose quill, and hold it horizontally and steadily in the flame of the candle above the wick, without touching it, but in the body of the flame.
Page 261
Page 272
This method has, by the fancy of printers, of late years been entirely laid aside; from an idea, that suppressing the capitals shows the character to greater advantage; those letters prominent above the line, disturbing its even, regular appearance.
Page 330
Franklin's writing in pencil in the margin of Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the Impressing of Seamen (published in the folio edition of his works)[92].
Page 336
The Scotch presbyterians were formerly as tender; for there is still extant an ordinance of the town-council of Edinburgh, made soon after the reformation, "forbidding the purchase of prize goods, under pain of losing the freedom of the burgh.
Page 343
They do not, therefore, see the necessity of a bishop merely for ordination; and confirmation is among them deemed a ceremony of no very great importance, since few seek it in England, where bishops are in plenty.
Page 369
inventor of Hadley's quadrant, _ibid.
Page 372
Page 394
Pg 302.