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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 57

adoration of a Deity who is the creator and sustainer of immutable,
universal physical laws which together present the mind with the concept
of a vast, wonderfully harmonized physical machine) to conjecture to
what extent this matchless physical harmony tended to challenge him with
the possibility of discovering a parallel economic machine operating
according to immutable laws capable of proof and human adaptability.

O. H. Taylor has shown that "The evolution of the idea of 'laws' in
economics has closely paralleled its evolution in the natural
sciences."[i-245] In searching for these economic constants, "the
economic mechanism was regarded as a wise device of the Creator for
causing individuals, while pursuing only their own interests, to promote
the prosperity of society; and for causing the right adjustment to one
another of supplies, demand, prices, and incomes, to take place
automatically, in consequence of the free action of all
individuals."[i-246] After giving due weight to the fact that Franklin
saw in the doctrine of the physiocrats trenchant arguments to buttress
his attacks on British mercantilism, one has cogent evidence for at
least raising the question, To what extent may his apprehension of a
demonstrable physical harmony have suggested to his speculative mind an
economic analogy?[i-247]


Plague of the Pennsylvania proprietaries, propagandist of the American
Revolution, moderator of the Constitutional Convention, Franklin was all
through his life a politician and statesman in an age characterized
above all by political speculations and changes in the destiny of
states. Colonial patriot, "arch rebel of King George III," "idol of the
court of Versailles," Franklin was a cyclopedia of political strategy
and principles. Only through a genetic survey of Franklin the political
theorist can one hope to understand his mind as he changed from
imperialist, to revolutionist, to the patriarch of the Constitutional
Convention who, like a balance wheel, moderated the extreme party

In the early 1720's, Franklin had breathed a Boston air saturated with
discontent between the royal governor and the governed. By 1730 he was
printer to the Pennsylvania Assembly and in 1736 was appointed clerk to
that body. Yet one learns little of his political biases until 1747,
when he published _Plain Truth_. In 1729 he genially asserted that he
was "no Party-man,"[i-248] and in 1746 temperately stated,

Free from the bitter Rage of Party Zeal,
All those we love who seek the publick Weal.[i-249]

His _Plain Truth_ (November, 1747), directed against the proprietary
governor as well as against the Quaker assembly, showed Franklin a party
man only if one dedicated to "the publick weal" was a party man. With
all respect for

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

Page 22
Although scorning metaphysics, he desired to be considered philosophical.
Page 52
[i-216] Finally, each was, in varying degrees, an exponent of laissez faire.
Page 54
Hence there obviously could be no _produit net_ accruing from manufactures.
Page 111
Page 219
He was very proud, dress'd like a Gentleman, liv'd expensively, took much Diversion and Pleasure abroad, ran in debt, and neglected his Business, upon which all Business left him; and finding nothing to do, he follow'd Keimer to Barbadoes; taking the Printing-house with him[.
Page 287
Nay, 'tis probable I may displease a great Number of your Readers, who will not very well like to pay 10s.
Page 288
It is very common with Authors, in their first Performances, to talk to their Readers thus; "If this meets with a SUITABLE Reception; Or, If this should meet with DUE Encouragement, I shall hereafter publish, &c.
Page 320
Scribler_, _a Fool_, _and a Lyar_.
Page 325
to judge that this furious Bull is puffing, blowing and roaring.
Page 353
'Tis the Writing-Master's Business to take Care that the Boys make fair Characters, and place them straight and even in the Lines: But to _form their Stile_, and even to take Care that the Stops and Capitals are properly disposed, is the Part of the _English_ Master.
Page 419
5 6 | 4 52 | 7 8 | | 17 | 5 | _wind and_ | 4 51 | 7 9 | | 18 | 6 | _flying_ | 4 50 | 7 10 | | 19 | 7 | _clouds,_ | 4 49 | 7 11 | | 20 | G |4 past Easter.
Page 433
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Page 464
Page 488
| | 4 |[Pisces] 1 | _Man, but Praying_ | | 5 | 13 | _is thought_ | | 6 | 25 | [Venus] rise 4 2 _an_ | | 7 |[Aries] 7 | _easier Service,_ | | 8 | 19 | [Quartile] [Sun] [Jupiter] _and_ | | 9 |[Taurus] 2 | _therefore more_ | | 10 | 15 | Sirius ri.
Page 550
In one of them, dated Boston, July 4, 1723, he writes that your uncle Josiah has a daughter Jane, about twelve years old, a good-humoured child.
Page 585
On receiving this leave, and those charters, the adventurers voluntarily engaged to remain the King's subjects, though in a foreign country; a country which had not been conquered by either King or Parliament, but was possessed by a free people.
Page 594
In these payments the revenues of private estates are expended, for most people live up to their incomes.
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But it is my fault.
Page 737
All of us, who were engag'd in the Struggle, must have observed frequent Instances of a superintending Providence in our Favour.