Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 106

call for vengeance. The present ministry are
perplexed, and the measures they will finally take on the occasion are
yet unknown. But sure I am that if _force_ is used great mischief will
ensue, the affections of the people of America to this country will be
alienated, your commerce will be diminished, and a total separation of
interests be the final consequence.

"It is a common but mistaken notion here, that the colonies were planted
at the expense of Parliament, and that, therefore, the Parliament has a
right to tax them, &c. The truth is, they were planted at the expense of
private adventurers, who went over there to settle, with leave of the
king, given by charter. On receiving this leave and those charters, the
adventurers voluntarily engaged to remain the king's subjects, though in
a foreign country; a country which had not been conquered by either king
or parliament, but was possessed by a free people.

"When our planters arrived, they purchased the lands of the natives,
without putting king or parliament to any expense. Parliament had no
hand in their settlement, was never so much as consulted about their
constitution, and took no kind of notice of them till many years after
they were established. I except only the two modern colonies, or,
rather, attempts to make colonies (for they succeed but poorly, and, as
yet, hardly deserve the name of colonies), I mean Georgia and Nova
Scotia, which have hitherto been little better than parliamentary jobs.
Thus all the colonies acknowledge the king as their sovereign; his
governors there represent his person: laws are made by their assemblies
or little parliaments, with the governor's assent, subject still to the
king's pleasure to affirm or annul them. Suits arising in the colonies,
and between colony and colony, are determined by the king in council. In
this view they seem so many separate little states, subject to the same
prince. The sovereignty of the king is therefore easily understood. But
nothing is more common here than to talk of the _sovereignty_ of
PARLIAMENT, and the sovereignty of this nation over the colonies; a kind
of sovereignty, the idea of which is not so clear, nor does it clearly
appear on what foundation it is established. On the other hand, it seems
necessary, for the common good of the empire, that a power be lodged
somewhere to regulate its general commerce; this can be placed nowhere
so properly as in the Parliament of Great Britain; and, therefore,
though that power has in some instances been executed with great
partiality to Britain and prejudice to the colonies,

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
[Illustration: 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough.
Page 1
Virtue and Innocence, a Poem 1 0 The Economy of Human Life 1 0 Old Friends in a New Dress, or Selections from Esop's Fables, in Verse, 2 parts, plates 2 0 Little Jack Horner, in Verse, plain 1s.
Page 2
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
Page 3
[Illustration] "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 4
" And again, "He that by the plow would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.
Page 5
1, 1805.
Page 6
Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think "it is day, and will never be night:" that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding; but "Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom," as Poor Richard says; and then, "When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.
Page 7
" It is, however, a folly soon punished: for, as Poor Richard says, "Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt;--Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty and supped with Infamy.
Page 8
Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.
Page 9
Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.