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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 68

Ye who blindly seek more liberty,
Whether subjects, sons, squirrels or daughters,
That apparent restraint may be real protection
Yielding peace and plenty
With security.[i-320]

In 1771 he indicted Parliament in a letter to Joseph Galloway: "Its
Censures are no more regarded than Popes' Bulls. It is despis'd for its
Venality, and abominated for its Injustice." But he hastened to show
that he had no illusions that men are natively pure, that only
governments are wicked. With almost a Hamiltonian distrust of the public
ranks he wrote: "And yet it is not clear that the People deserve a
better Parliament, since they are themselves full as corrupt and venal:
witness the Sums they accept for their Votes at almost every

Back in the colonies, Franklin remained just long enough to help form a
constitution for Pennsylvania,[i-322] and to aid Jefferson in writing
the Declaration of Independence.[i-323] After the royal governors had
dissolved the assemblies and the Continental Congress urged the colonies
to form their own constitutions, Franklin assumed leadership in his
state and helped to compose a constitution less conservative than those
of most of the other colonies.[i-324] Created between July 15 and Sept.
28, 1776, essentially by one who had just worked on and signed the
Declaration of Independence, it is not strange that the dominant
ideology of this constitution--that of natural rights, the compact
theory, and consent of the governed--should be like that of the
Declaration. The new constitution has been called the "most democratic
constitution yet seen in America."[i-325] The unicameral legislature,
the assembly of representatives, the plan of judicial review of laws
every seven years, and other features have been looked upon as
demonstrating the dangerous ultra-democratic tendencies of Franklin. The
revolutionary Benjamin Rush, who had helped Paine with _Common Sense_,
was dismayed because, in his view, Pennsylvania "has substituted mob
government for one of the happiest governments in the world.... A single
legislature is big with tyranny. I had rather live under the government
of one man than of seventy-two."[i-326] One wonders to what extent
Franklin was responsible for the unicameral legislature when we know
that it "was the natural outcome of Penn's ideas of government as
embodied in his various charters."[i-327] The plural executive, the
right of freemen to form their militia and elect their own officers,
the extension of male suffrage, and other innovations in this
constitution were

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 3
DEAR SON,--I have ever had a pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors.
Page 6
There was always a particular affection between my father and him, and I was his godson.
Page 8
I continued, however, at the grammar-school rather less than a year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be at the head of the same class, and was removed into the next class, whence I was to be placed in the third at the end of the year.
Page 12
intention of making them was warm in my mind.
Page 28
I praised it much, and the happy life I led in it, expressing strongly my intention of returning to it; and one of them asking what kind of money we had there, I produced a handful of silver and spread it before them, which was a kind of _raree-show_ they had not been used to, paper being the money of Boston.
Page 34
Watson was a pious, sensible young man of great integrity: the others rather more lax in their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, as well as.
Page 83
" Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of wisdom or virtue: "Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour.
Page 104
After a few more bumpers he advanced to ten; and at length he very good-naturedly conceded eighteen.
Page 105
This pamphlet had a good effect.
Page 109
At midnight a number of them came thundering at our door, demanding more rum, of which we took no notice.
Page 148
I found that the certificate, worded very advantageously for me, was signed by Lord Macclesfield, then president, Lord Parker, and Lord Willoughby; that the election was by a unanimous vote; and the honour being voluntarily conferred by the society unsolicited by me, it was thought wrong to demand or receive the usual fees or composition; so that my name was entered on the list with a vote of council _that I was not to pay anything_.
Page 158
Small, of London, dated in May, 1760, Dr.
Page 161
These he transmitted to the legislature, by whom they were published.
Page 167
Jackson, of Georgia.
Page 175
I therefore give one hundred pounds sterling to my executors, to be by them, the survivers or surviver of them, paid over to the managers or directors of the freeschools in my native town of Boston, to be by them, or those persons or person who shall have the superintendance and management of the said schools, put out to interest, and so continued at interest for ever; which interest annually shall be laid out in silver medals, and given as honorary rewards annually by the directors of the said freeschools, for the encouragement of scholarship in the said schools, belonging to the said town, in such manner as to the discretion of the selectmen of the said town shall seem meet.
Page 186
_ They considered the Parliament as the great bulwark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneration.
Page 195
It began about the limits between Canada and Nova Scotia; about territories to which the _crown_ indeed laid claim, but which were not claimed by any British _colony_; none of the lands had been granted to any colonist; we had, therefore, no particular concern or interest in that dispute.
Page 208
You ought to suffer; but you have eaten with me, and I have given you my faith, which must not be broken.
Page 210
" "Nay," said Cudjoe, "the white men that carried away your brothers are bad men; kill them when you can catch them; but this white man is a good man, and you must not kill him.
Page 220
250 obejct --> object 9.