write at home (Philadelphia), August, 1788, but
cannot have the help expected from my papers, many of them being lost in
the war. I have, however, found the following_:
Having mentioned a _great and extensive project_ which I had conceived,
it seems proper that some account should be here given of that project
and its object. Its first rise in my mind appears in the above-mentioned
little paper, accidentally preserved, viz.:
OBSERVATIONS on my reading history, in library, May 9, 1731.
"That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions, &c., are
carried on and effected by parties.
"That the view of these parties is their present general interest; or
what they take to be such.
"That the different views of these different parties occasion all
"That while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has his
particular private interest in view.
"That, as soon as a party has gained its general point, each member
becomes intent upon his particular interest, which, thwarting others,
breaks that party into divisions and occasions more confusion.
"That few in public affairs act from a mere view of the good of their
country, whatever they may pretend; and though their actings bring real
good to their country, yet men primarily considered that their own and
their country's interest were united, and so did not act from a
principle of benevolence.
"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of
"There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a _United
Party for Virtue_, by forming the virtuous and good men of all nations
into a regular body, to be governed by suitable good and wise rules,
which good and wise men may probably be more unanimous in their
obedience to than common people are to common laws.
"I at present think, that whoever attempts this aright, and is well
qualified, cannot fail of pleasing God and of meeting with success. B.
Revolving this project in my mind as to be undertaken hereafter, when my
circumstances should afford me the necessary leisure, I put down from
time to time, on pieces of paper, such thoughts as occurred to me
respecting it. Most of these are lost, but I find one purporting to be
the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the
essentials of every known religion, and being free of everything that
might shock the professors of any religion. It is expressed in these
"That there is one God, who made all things.
"That he governs the world by his providence.
"That he ought to be worshipped by adoration,
Thompson .Page 14
"_If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be_, as Poor Richard says, the _greatest prodigality_; since, as he elsewhere tells us, _Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough, always proves little enough_.Page 30
Mathematics originally signified any kind of discipline or learning, but now it is taken for that science which teaches or contemplates whatever is capable of being numbered or measured.Page 40
I have lived seven of those hours, a great age, being no less than four hundred and twenty minutes of time.Page 47
The reason, said my friend (with a sneer), is admirable.Page 58
There are.Page 59
An instance of this occurred at the treaty of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, anno 1744, between the government of Virginia and the Six Nations.Page 61
No such matter.Page 64
The Romans were so terrified by this strange method of juridical and penal process, that, far from discovering their dreams, they durst not own that they slept.Page 89
herself to this new manner of living, we shall be the happiest couple, perhaps, in the province, and, by the blessing of God, may soon be in thriving circumstances.Page 92
We can only add, that if the young lady and her friends are willing, we give our consent heartily and our blessing.Page 116
If I judge some _two_ reasons _con_ equal to some _three_ reasons _pro_, I strike out the _five_; and, thus proceeding, I find at length where the _balance_ lies; and if, after a day or two of farther consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.Page 136
"You do well to avoid being.Page 152
Your contempt of our understandings, in comparison with your own, appeared to be much better founded than that of our courage, if we may judge by this circumstance, that in whatever court of Europe a Yankee negotiator appeared, the wise British minister was routed, put in a passion, picked a quarrel with your friends, and was sent home with a flea in his ear.Page 165
The dividend of eleven per cent.Page 179
While the iron continues soft and hot, it is only a temporary magnet; if it cools or grows hard in that situation, it becomes a permanent one, the magnetic fluid not easily resuming its equilibrium.Page 221
My desk on which I now write, and the lock of my desk, are both exposed to the same temperature of the air, and have, therefore, the same degree of heat or cold: yet if I lay my hand successively on the wood and on the metal, the latter feels much the coldest; not that it is really so, but, being a better conductor, it more readily than the wood takes away and draws into itself the fire that was in my skin.Page 232
_ EFFECT OF VEGETATION ON NOXIOUS AIR.Page 238
For though we value ourselves on being reasonable, knowing creatures, reason and knowledge seem, on such occasions, to be of little use to us; and the brutes, to whom we allow scarce a glimmering of either, appear to have the advantage of us.