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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 58

the Quaker conscience which checks military activity,
Franklin could not, however, condone its virtually prohibiting others
from defending the province's border. And the proprietaries had shown
an inveterate unwillingness to arm Pennsylvania--a reluctance which did
not, however, prevent them from collecting taxes and quitrents. On other
questions the governor and his chiefs had to contend with the opposition
of the assembly. Without opposition, the proprietary government could
serenely kennel itself in its medieval privilege of remaining dumb to an
urgent need: one remembers that eighteenth-century proprietary colonies
were "essentially feudal principalities, upon the grantees of which were
bestowed all the inferior regalities and subordinate powers of
legislation which formerly belonged to the counts palatine, while
provision was also made for the maintenance of sovereignty in the king
[the king paid little attention to Pennsylvania], and for the
realization of the objects of the grant."[i-250] While the government
remained inert, Pennsylvania would be a pawn in the steeled hands of the
French and their rum-subsidized Indian mercenaries. Appealing to
Scripture and common sense, Franklin pleaded for "Order, Discipline, and
a few Cannon."[i-251] Not untruthfully he warned that "we are like the
separate Filaments of Flax before the Thread is form'd, without
Strength, because without Connection, but UNION would make us strong,
and even formidable."[i-252] Since war existed, there was no need to
consider him a militarist because he challenged, "The Way to secure
Peace is to be prepared for War."[i-253] In the midst of _Plain Truth_
Franklin uttered what only _before_ the time of Locke could be
interpreted in terms of feudal _comitatus_: he entreated his readers to
consider, "if not as Friends, at least as Legislators, that _Protection_
is as truly due from the Government to the People, as _Obedience_ from
the People to the Government."[i-254] Suggestive of the contract theory,
this is revolutionary only in a very elementary way. With the French
writhing under the Treaty of Paris, with appeals to natural rights and
the right of revolution, this once harmless principle took on Gargantuan
significance. But Thomas Penn anticipated wisely enough the ultimate
implication of Franklin's paper; Penn intuitively saw the march of time:
"Mr. Franklin's doctrine that obedience to governors is no more due them
than protection to the people, is not fit to be in the heads of the
unthinking multitude. He is a dangerous man and I should be glad if he
inhabited any other country, as I believe him of a very uneasy spirit.
However, as he is a sort of tribune of the people, he must be treated
with regard."[i-255] It is difficult to see how Franklin's passion for
order and provincial union,[i-256]

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 17
With this view, I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, tried to complete the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand.
Page 18
When about sixteen years of age I happened to meet with a book, written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet.
Page 39
better at this time from the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteen pence sterling each per week.
Page 46
Lyons, too, introduced me to Dr.
Page 48
I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon acquired considerable influence.
Page 52
' As you are noted to be a lover of curiosities, I have informed you of this; and if you have any inclination to purchase or see it, let me know your pleasure by a line for me at the Golden Fan, Little Britain, and I will wait upon you with it.
Page 63
[98] I perceive that I am apt to speak in the singular number, though our partnership still continued; the reason may be that, in fact, the whole management of the business lay upon me.
Page 74
] [Footnote 86: A crimp is one who brings recruits to the army or sailors to ships by false inducements.
Page 85
To temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of.
Page 90
" I endeavored to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand that I reaped considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand.
Page 104
[130] The paper I wrote for that purpose will be found among my writings when collected.
Page 119
It was by a private person, the late Mr.
Page 135
" I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military man in matters of.
Page 141
The next morning our fort was planned and marked out, the circumference measuring four hundred and fifty-five feet, which would require as many palisades to be made of trees, one with another, of a foot diameter each.
Page 150
The society, on this, resumed the consideration of the letters that had been read to them; and the celebrated Dr.
Page 151
etc.
Page 154
" "How so?" "I have called here by order every morning these two weeks past for his lordship's letter, and it is not yet ready.
Page 156
This was, however, put off from time to time; and, though I called often for it by appointment, I did not get it.
Page 169
He means that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or, the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good.
Page 170
But poverty often deprives a man of.