Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 124

and a grand
council was to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the
several colonies, met in their respective assemblies. The debates upon
it in congress went on daily, hand in hand with the Indian business.
Many objections and difficulties were started, but at length they were
all overcome, and the plan was unanimously agreed to, and copies
ordered to be transmitted to the Board of Trade and to the assemblies
of the several provinces. Its fate was singular; the assemblies did
not adopt it, as they all thought there was too much prerogative[154]
in it, and in England it was judged to have too much of the
democratic.[155] The Board of Trade, therefore, did not approve of it
nor recommend it for the approbation of his Majesty; but another
scheme was formed, supposed to answer the same purpose better, whereby
the governors of the provinces, with some members of their respective
councils, were to meet and order the raising of troops, building of
forts, etc., and to draw on the treasury of Great Britain for the
expense, which was afterward to be refunded by an act of Parliament
laying a tax on America. My plan, with my reasons in support of it, is
to be found among my political papers that are printed.

Being the winter following in Boston, I had much conversation with
Governor Shirley upon both the plans. Part of what passed between us
on the occasion may also be seen among those papers. The different and
contrary reasons of dislike to my plan make me suspect that it was
really the true medium, and I am still of opinion it would have been
happy for both sides the water if it had been adopted. The colonies,
so united, would have been sufficiently strong to defend themselves;
there would then have been no need of troops from England. Of course
the subsequent pretense for taxing America, and the bloody contest it
occasioned, would have been avoided. But such mistakes are not new;
history is full of the errors of states and princes.

"Look round the habitable world, how few
Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue!"

Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not
generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into
execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom
adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion.

The governor of Pennsylvania, in sending it down to the Assembly,
expressed his approbation of the plan, as appearing to him to be drawn
up with

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

Page 5
Franklin's answer to Lord Howe 367 Comparison of Great Britain and America as to credit, in 1777 372 PAPERS, DESCRIPTIVE OF AMERICA, OR RELATING TO THAT COUNTRY, WRITTEN SUBSEQUENT TO THE REVOLUTION.
Page 23
_ The treasurers here meant are only for the general funds, and not for the particular funds of each colony, which remain in the hands of their own treasurers at their own disposal.
Page 31
That a tax laid by the representatives of the colonies might be easily lessened as the occasions should lessen; but, being once laid by parliament under the influence of the representations made by governors, would probably be kept up, and continued for the benefit of governors; to the grievous burthen and discontentment of the colonies, and prevention of their growth and increase.
Page 33
Perhaps I am too apprehensive in this matter; but having freely given my opinion and reasons, your excellency can judge better than I, whether there be any weight in them, and the shortness of the time allowed me will I hope in some degree excuse the imperfections of this scrawl.
Page 48
You will smile, sir, perhaps, as you read the references of a provincial assembly to the rights and claims of parliament; but we humbly conceive, it will be without the least mixture of resentment; those assemblies having nothing more in view, than barely to establish their privileges on the most rational and solid basis they could find, for the security and service of their constituents.
Page 55
The old instruction, and an opinion of the attorney-general's, pleaded by the governor in bar of his assent, unless the money was raised in a five-years fund.
Page 78
--The human body and the political differ in this; that the first is limited by nature to a certain stature, which, when attained, it cannot ordinarily exceed: the other, by better government and more prudent police, as well as by change of manners and other circumstances, often takes fresh starts of growth, after being long at a stand; and may add tenfold to the dimensions it had for ages been confined to.
Page 104
Page 130
They showed the new governor every mark of respect and regard that was in their power.
Page 138
They came before.
Page 209
Page 219
--4 Geo.
Page 246
Our savings in the article of trade amount to near five million sterling per annum.
Page 289
The most trifling actions of a man, in my opinion, as well as the smallest features and lineaments of the face, give a nice observer some notion of his mind.
Page 332
Secondly, if it is agreed, not to observe the rules exactly, but one party demands indulgencies, he should then be as willing to allow them to the other.
Page 335
For every portion of cool air, that approaches the warm skin, in receiving its part of that vapour, receives therewith.
Page 343
We could not all conveniently start together: and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him? Adieu.
Page 371
He is generally a punctual correspondent, and I am surprised you have not heard from him.
Page 384
Page 420
_Wedderburn_, Mr.