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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 61

than the Declaration of Independence; and of it John
Adams remarked: "There is not an idea in it but what has been hackneyed
in Congress for two years before."[i-271] Carl Becker pointedly
observes: "Where Jefferson got his ideas is hardly so much a question as
where he could have got away from them."[i-272] A characteristic summary
of natural law may be found in Blackstone's _Commentaries_:[i-273]

This law of nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by
God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any
other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries and
at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary
to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force
and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this
original.[i-274]

Discoverable only by reason, natural laws are immutable and universal,
apprehensible by all men. As Hamilton wrote,

The origin of all civil government, justly established, must
be a voluntary compact between the rulers and the ruled, and
must be liable to such limitations as are necessary for the
security of the _absolute rights_ of the latter; for what
original title can any man, or set of men, have to govern
others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a
people in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive
power than they are willing to intrust, is to violate that
law of nature which gives every man a right to his personal
liberty, and can therefore confer no obligation to
obedience.[i-275]

In a pre-social state, real or hypothetical, men possess certain
natural rights, the crown of them, according to Locke,[i-276] being "the
mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call
by the general name, property." In entering the social state men through
free consent are willing to sacrifice fragments of their natural rights
in order to gain civil rights. This process would seem tyrannical were
one to forget that the surrender is sanctioned by the principle of
consent. Men in sacrificing their rights expect from society (i.e., the
governors) civil rights and, in addition, protection of their
unsurrendered natural rights. A voluntary compact is

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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bound_, THE PAGAN MYTHOLOGY of ancient Greece and Rome versified, accompanied with Philosophical Elucidations of the probable latent meaning of some of the Fables of the Ancients, on a theory entirely new.
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& T.
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The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, 'Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?'----Father Abraham stood up, and replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard says.
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There are no gains without pains; then help hands, for I have no lands;" or if I have, they are smartly taxed.
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" And again, "Three removes are as bad as a fire," and again, "Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee:" and again, "If you would have your business done, go; if not, send.
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] 'Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of many; for, "In the affairs of this world, men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it:" but a man's own care is profitable; for, "If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like,--serve yourself.
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got together to this sale of fineries and nick-nacks.
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"It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.
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Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
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and T.