Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 59

compunction, and recollecting
Keith's conduct toward me (who was another freethinker), and my own
toward Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I
began to suspect that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not
very useful. My London pamphlet, which had for its motto these lines
of Dryden:

"Whatever is, is right. Though purblind man
Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link:
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam
That poises all above;"[92]

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness, and
power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world,
and that vice and virtue were empty distinctions, no such things
existing, appeared now not so clever a performance as I once thought
it; and I doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself
unperceived into my argument, so as to infect all that followed, as is
common in metaphysical reasonings.

I grew convinced that truth, sincerity, and integrity in dealings
between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of
life; and I formed written resolutions, which still remain in my
journal book, to practice them ever while I lived. Revelation had
indeed no weight with me as such; but I entertained an opinion that,
though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by
it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably those actions
might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because
they were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the
circumstances of things considered. And this persuasion, with the kind
hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favorable
circumstances and situations, or all together,--preserved me, through
this dangerous time of youth and the hazardous situations I was
sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my
father, without any willful gross immorality or injustice, that might
have been expected from my want of religion. I say willful, because
the instances I have mentioned had something of necessity in them,
from my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had,
therefore, a tolerable character to begin the world with; I valued it
properly, and determined to preserve it.

We had not been long returned to Philadelphia before the new types
arrived from London. We settled with Keimer, and left him by his
consent before he heard of it. We found a house to hire near the
market, and took it. To lessen the rent, which was then but
twenty-four pounds

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

Page 25
The civil officers will be chiefly treasurers and collectors of taxes; and the suitable persons are most likely to be known by the council.
Page 54
Declares in another paper he had _undoubted assurance_, that part of his majesty's dominions _within_ his government was at that time invaded, and demands supplies to arm the province, &c.
Page 83
There is, in short, scarce a single instance in history of the contrary, where manufactures have once taken firm root.
Page 98
Page 108
Gold and silver are not the produce of North America, which has no mines; and that which is brought thither cannot be kept there in sufficient quantity for a currency.
Page 122
In the mouth of an assembly-man, or true Pensylvanian, "contrary to his duty and to every tie of honour and justice" would mean, the governor's long refusal to pass laws, however just and necessary, for taxing the proprietary estate: a refusal, contrary to the trust reposed in the lieutenant-governor by the royal charter, to the rights of the people, whose welfare it was his duty to promote, and to the nature of the contract made between the governor and the governed, when the quit-rents and licence-fees were established, which confirmed what the proprietaries call our "undoubted right" to necessary laws.
Page 125
There were many of the former; and a number belonging even to members of the then assembly; and considering the value, the tax must be proportionably as grievous to them, as the proprietary's to him.
Page 135
then protect the sheep, if they can but persuade them to give up their dogs? Yes; the assembly would destroy all their own rights, and those of the people; and the proprietary partizans are become the champions for liberty! Let those who have faith now make use of it: for if it is rightly defined, the evidence of things not seen, certainly never was there more occasion for such evidence, the case being totally destitute of all other.
Page 146
But you seem mistaken in the order of time: it was the uneasiness and distraction among the good people of the province that occasioned the measures; the province was in confusion before they were taken, and they were pursued in order to prevent such uneasiness and distraction for the future.
Page 192
_ Are they acquainted with the declaration of rights? And do they know that, by that statute, money is not to be raised on the subject but by consent of parliament? _A.
Page 195
Page 204
If the subjects on the different.
Page 219
Page 221
The colonies, on this repeal, retracted their agreement, so far as related to all other goods, except that on which the duty was retained.
Page 222
It is supposed, that at least a million of Americans drink tea twice a day, which, at the first cost here, can scarce be reckoned at less than half-a-guinea a head per annum.
Page 249
et les colonies, &c.
Page 265
The same hospitality, esteemed among them as a principal virtue, is practised by private persons; of which _Conrad Weiser_, our interpreter, gave me the following instance.
Page 281
" Then they called in question the _reality of his conference_ with.
Page 321
For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely communicated and bestowed by me on the public, I demand neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, nor any other reward whatever.
Page 388