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

By Benjamin Franklin

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syllogistic gymnastics offered in proof of Deity
since "much more may those greater motions we see in the world, and the
phenomena attending them" afford arguments for such a proof:

I mean the motions of the planets and the heavenly bodies.
For _these_ must be put into motion, either by one Common
mighty Mover, acting upon them immediately, or by causes and
laws of His Appointment; or by their respective movers, who,
for reasons to which you can by this time be no stranger,
must depend upon some _Superior_, that furnished them with
the power of doing this.[i-423]

With Newtonian rapture he marveled at "the grandness of this fabric of
the world,"[i-424] at "the chorus of planets moving periodically, by
uniform laws." Rapt in wonder, he gazed "up to the fixt stars, that
radiant numberless host of heaven." Like a Blackmore, Ray, Fontenelle,
or Newton, he felt that they were "probably all possest by proper
inhabitants."[i-425] He wondered at the "just and geometrical
arrangement of things."[i-426] These are all sentiments that Franklin
expressed in his philosophical juvenilia.[i-427] But then, Franklin
(after reading this sublimated geometry which reduced the parts of
creation to an equally sublime simplicity) noted in Wollaston that man
must be a free agent,[i-428] that good and evil are as black and white,
distinguishable,[i-429] that empirically the will is free, the author
urging with Johnsonian good sense, "The short way of knowing this
certainly is to try."[i-430] Franklin's _Dissertation_ was dedicated to
his friend James Ralph and prefaced by a misquotation from Dryden and
Lee's _Oedipus_. It purports, as Franklin wrote in 1779, "to prove the
doctrine of fate, from the supposed attributes of God ... that in
erecting and governing the world, as he was infinitely wise, he knew
what would be best; infinitely good, he must be disposed, and infinitely
powerful, he must be able to execute it: consequently all is
right."[i-431] With confidence lent him by his a priori method, he
proposed: "I. There is said to be a First Mover, who is called God,
Maker of the Universe. II. He is said to be all-wise, all-good,
all-powerful."[i-432] With the nonchalance of an abstractionist, he
concluded, "Evil doth not exist."[i-433] Transcending the sensational
necessitarianism[i-434] of Anthony Collins and John Locke, Franklin
observed (with an eye on Newton's law of gravitation) that man has
liberty, the "Liberty of the same Nature with the Fall of a heavy Body
to the Ground; it has Liberty to fall,

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
PAGE Portrait of Franklin vii Pages 1 and 4 of _The Pennsylvania Gazette_, Number XL, the first number after Franklin took control xxi First page of _The New England Courant_ of December 4-11, 1721 33 "I was employed to carry the papers thro' the streets to the customers" 36 "She, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance" 48 "I took to working at press" 88 "I see him still at work when I go home from club" 120 Two pages from _Poor Richard's Almanac_ for 1736 .
Page 5
He wanted to help them by the relation of his own rise from obscurity and poverty to.
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Here the comparison must end.
Page 85
Page 90
" "Yes," says the man, "_but I think I like a speckled ax best_.
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of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho' they never reach the wish'd-for excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavour, and is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.
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"But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.
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[74] The almanac at that time was a kind of periodical as well as a guide to natural phenomena and the weather.
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Of these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, whatever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could not properly be called a man of sense; and a discourse on self-denial, showing that virtue was not secure till its practice became a habitude, and was free from the opposition of contrary inclinations.
Page 117
Penn's agents sought recruits for the colony of Pennsylvania in the low countries of Germany, and there are still in eastern Pennsylvania many Germans, inaccurately called Pennsylvania Dutch.
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[88] See the votes to have this more correctly.
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[89] Gilbert Tennent (1703-1764) came to America with his father, Rev.
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William Hunter, to succeed him, by a commission from the postmaster-general in England.
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The orders were immediately printed, and I was one of the committee directed to sign and dispose of them.
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He being at Philadelphia, on his retreat, or rather flight, I apply'd to him for the discharge of the servants of three poor farmers of Lancaster county that he had enlisted, reminding him of the late general's orders on that head.
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I was at their church, where I was entertain'd with good musick, the organ being accompanied with violins, hautboys, flutes, clarinets, etc.
Page 165
He caus'd them to be regularly examined by the proper officer, who, after comparing every article with its voucher, certified them to be right; and the balance due for which his lordship promis'd to give me an order on the paymaster.
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was against an immediate complaint to government, and thought the proprietaries should first be personally appli'd to, who might possibly be induc'd by the interposition and persuasion of some private friends, to accommodate matters amicably.
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Stockings, several sorts, for Men, Women and Children.
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