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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 215

* * *

_Introduction to Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of

To obtain an infinite variety of purposes by a few plain principles, is
the characteristic of nature. As the eye is affected, so is the
understanding; objects at a distance strike us according to their
dimensions, or the quantity of light thrown upon them; near, according
to their novelty or familiarity, as they are in motion or at rest. It
is the same with actions. A battle is all motion, a hero all glare:
while such images are before us, we can attend to nothing else. Solon
and Lycurgus would make no figure in the same scene with the king of
Prussia; and we are at present so lost in the military scramble on the
continent next us, in which, it must be confessed, we are deeply
interested, that we have scarce time to throw a glance towards America,
where we have also much at stake, and where, if anywhere, our account
must be made up at last.

We love to stare more than to reflect; and to be indolently amused at
our leisure rather than commit the smallest trespass on our patience by
winding a painful, tedious maze, which would pay us in nothing but

But then, as there are some eyes which can find nothing marvellous but
what is marvellously great, so there are others which are equally
disposed to marvel at what is marvellously little, and who can derive as
much entertainment from their microscope in examining a mite, as Dr.
---- in ascertaining the geography of the moon or measuring the tail of
a comet.

Let this serve as an excuse for the author of these sheets, if he needs
any, for bestowing them on the transactions of a colony till of late
hardly mentioned in our annals; in point of establishment one of the
last upon the British list, and in point of rank one of the most
subordinate; as being not only subject, in common with the rest, to the
crown, but also to the claims of a proprietary, who thinks he does them
honour enough in governing them by deputy; consequently so much farther
removed from the royal eye, and so much the more exposed to the pressure
of self-interested instructions.

Considerable, however, as most of them for happiness of situation,
fertility of soil, product of valuable commodities, number of
inhabitants, shipping amount of exportations, latitude of rights and
privileges, and every other requisite for the being and well-being of
society, and more considerable than

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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It is certainly remarkable that Franklin, in the midst of diplomatic and social duties, could have found time to investigate personally this new invention of which he at once appreciated the possibilities.
Page 1
There it was held down by a Cord till 5 in the afternoon, when it was to be let loose.
Page 2
No News was heard of it till the next Day, when Information was receiv'd, that it fell a little after 6 aClock, at Gonesse, a Place about 4 Leagues Distance, and that it was rent open, and some say had Ice in it.
Page 3
Montgolfier, is to go up, as is said, from Versailles, in about 8 or 10 Days; It is not a Globe but of a different Form, more convenient for penetrating the Air.
Page 4
as fast as that Wind, and over Hedges, Ditches & even Waters.
Page 5
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They say they had a charming View of Paris & its Environs, the Course of the River, &c but that they were once lost, not knowing what Part they were over, till they saw the Dome of the Invalids, which rectified their Ideas.
Page 7
I was happy to see him safe.
Page 8
When we have learnt to manage it, we may hope some time or other to find Uses for it, as Men have done for Magnetism and Electricity of which the first Experiments were mere Matters of Amusement.
Page 9
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The Persons embark'd were Mr.
Page 11
Charles voulant profiter du peu de Jour qui lui restoit, pour.
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* * * * * Le petit Ballon est tombe dans la Cour du Dongeon a Vincennes.
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_Letter of November 30.
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16, "Bart.