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 13


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_As dearly shown in the practice of an old Pennsylvania Almanac,
entitled, "Poor Richard Improved."_


I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find
his works respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must
have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I
stopped my horse lately where a great number of people were collected at
an auction of merchants' goods. The hour of the sale not being come,
they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company
called to a plain, clean old man, with white locks, "Pray, Father
Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not these heavy taxes quite
ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you
advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up and replied, "If you would have
my advice, I will give it you in short; for _A word to the wise is
enough_, as Poor Richard says." They joined in desiring him to speak his
mind; and, gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:

"Friends," said he, "the taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid
on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more
easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous
to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times
as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from
these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an
abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be
done for us: _God helps them that help themselves_, as Poor Richard

"I. It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one
tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service; but idleness
taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely
shortens life. _Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears;
while the used key is always bright_, as Poor Richard says. _But dost
thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is
made of_, as Poor Richard says. How much more than is necessary do we
spend in sleep? forgetting that _The

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
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
Montgolfier, of Annonay, was repeated by M.
Page 2
A little Rain had wet it, so that it shone, and made an agreeable Appearance.
Page 3
I just now learn, that some observers say, the Ball was 150 Seconds in rising, from the Cutting of the Cord till hid in the Clouds; that its height was then about 500 Toises, but, being moved out of the Perpendicular by the Wind, it had made a Slant so as to form a Triangle, whose Base on the Earth was about 200 Toises.
Page 4
That of the Balloon raised at Versailles is said to be an exact representation.
Page 5
a tree, and was torn in getting it down; so that it cannot be ascertained whether it burst when above, or not, tho' that is supposed.
Page 6
I was then in great Pain for the Men, thinking them in danger of being thrown out, or burnt for I expected that the Balloon being no longer upright the Flame would have laid hold of the inside that leaned over it.
Page 7
It is a Globe of 26 feet diameter.
Page 8
Thus the great Bulk of one of these Machines, with the short duration of its Power, & the great Expence of filling the other will prevent the Inventions being of so much Use, as some may expect, till Chemistry can invent a cheaper light Air producible with more Expedition.
Page 9
The Morning was foggy, but about one aClock, the Air became tolerably clear, to the great Satisfaction of the Spectators, who were infinite, Notice having been given of the intended Experiment several Days before in the Papers, so that all Paris was out, either about the Tuilleries, on the Quays & Bridges, in the Fields, the Streets, at the Windows, or on the Tops of Houses, besides the Inhabitants of all the Towns & Villages of the Environs.
Page 10
I shall inclose one of the Tickets of Admission, on which the Globe was represented, as originally intended, but.
Page 11
With great Esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most obedient & most humble servant, B.
Page 12
Smyth says that these additions are not in the University of Pennsylvania draft but that they occur in this press-copy, which is obviously a mistake.
Page 13
_Letter of November 30.
Page 14