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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 99

the relatively modern curriculum should be given more abundantly
to Smith than to Franklin.

[i-108] _Writings_, II, 388.

[i-109] Montgomery, _op. cit._, 254 note.

[i-110] _Writings_, II, 9-14.

[i-111] _Writings_, X, 29.

[i-112] _Ibid._, X, 31. Compare similar views in Benjamin Rush's
"Observations upon the Study of the Latin and Greek Languages," in
_Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical_ (Philadelphia, 1798), and
Francis Hopkinson's "An Address to the American Philosophical
Society," in _Miscellaneous Essays and Occasional Writings_
(Philadelphia, 1792), I.

[i-113] _Writings_, IV, 22.

[i-114] _Ibid._, VI, 153.

[i-115] Quoted in J. B. Bury's _The Idea of Progress_, 104. See also
Lois Whitney's _Primitivism and the Idea of Progress_, especially
chap. V.

[i-116] Bury, _op. cit._, 96.

[i-117] _Writings_, VIII, 451.

[i-118] For example see _ibid._, IX, 74, 557.

[i-119] See _Writings_, VIII, 454.

[i-120] See R. M. Gummere, "Socrates at the Printing Press. Benjamin
Franklin and the Classics," _Classical Weekly_, XXVI, 57-9 (Dec. 5,

[i-121] Several of the following arguments are included in C. E.
Jorgenson's "Sidelights on Benjamin Franklin's Principles of
Rhetoric," _Revue Anglo-Americaine_, Feb., 1934, 208-22.

[i-122] Hume wrote to Franklin: "You are the first philosopher, and
indeed the first great man of letters for whom we are beholden to her
[America]" (_Writings_, IV, 154). Cowper exclaimed that Franklin was
"one of the most important [men] in the literary world, that the
present age can boast of" (Parton, _op. cit._, II, 439); for other
engaging estimates of Franklin as a man of letters consult C. W.
Moulton, _Library of Literary Criticism ..._, IV, 79-106.

[i-123] Franklin found in an appendix to Greenwood's _English Grammar_
and in the _Memorabilia_ specimens of the Socratic method which
influenced him to adopt the manner of "the humble inquirer and
doubter," to write and harangue with a "modest diffidence." On several
occasions he approvingly quotes Pope's rule: "to speak, tho' sure,
with seeming Diffidence." Jefferson recognized Franklin's use of this
kind of Machiavellian diffidence, noting, "It was one of the rules
which, above all others, made Dr. Franklin the most amiable of men in
society, never to contradict anybody," and that "if he was urged to
announce an opinion, he did it rather by asking questions, as if for
information, or by suggesting doubts." In the _Autobiography_ Franklin
sees the Socratic method as a necessary ally to "doing good,"
observing that many who mean to be helpful "lessen their power of
doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to
disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those
purposes for which speech was given to us."

[i-124] Bunyan's dignified simplicity, his "sound and honest Gospel
strains," may have been one of Franklin's incentives to write lucidly
and compellingly.

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

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Page 46
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Page 47
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Page 54
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Page 55
At length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas,[85] instead of discharging his debts he walked out of town, hid his gown in a furze bush, and footed it to London, where, having no friends to advise him, he fell into bad company, soon spent his guineas, found no means of being introduced among the players, grew necessitous, pawned his clothes, and wanted bread.
Page 64
We gave bail, but saw that, if the money could not be raised in time, the suit must soon come to a judgment and execution, and our hopeful prospects must, with us, be ruined, as the press and letters must be sold for payment, perhaps at half price.
Page 67
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Page 71
I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary, and got a skillful conveyancer, Mr.
Page 77
Page 82
{12} Read, or overlook my accounts, { 1} and dine.
Page 90
In 1732 I first published my Almanac,[117] under the name of "Richard Saunders;" it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and commonly called "Poor Richard's Almanac.
Page 103
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Page 121
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Page 125
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Page 135
George Croghan, our Indian interpreter, joined him on his march with one hundred of those people, who might have been of great use to his army as guides, scouts, etc.
Page 138
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.
Page 161
I did so soon after, but they put the paper into the hands of their solicitor, Ferdinand John Paris, who managed for them all their law business in their great suit with the neighboring proprietary of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, which had subsisted seventy years, and who wrote for them all their papers and messages in their dispute with the Assembly.