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 152

his master
that he would break his leg. You believed rather the tales you heard of
our poltroonery and impotence of body and mind. Do you not remember the
story you told me of the Scotch sergeant who met with a party of forty
American soldiers, and, though alone, disarmed them all and brought them
in prisoners? a story almost as improbable as that of an Irishman, who
pretended to have alone taken and brought in five of the enemy by
_surrounding_ them. And yet, my friend, sensible and judicious as you
are, but partaking of the general infatuation, you seemed to believe it.
The word _general_ puts me in mind of a general, your General Clarke,
who had the folly to say in my hearing, at Sir John Pringle's, that with
a thousand British grenadiers he would undertake to go from one end of
America to the other, and geld all the males, partly by force and partly
by a little coaxing. It is plain he took us for a species of animals
very little superior to brutes. The Parliament, too, believed the
stories of another foolish general, I forget his name, that the Yankees
never _felt bold_. Yankee was understood to be a sort of Yahoo, and the
Parliament did not think the petitions of such creatures were fit to be
received and read in so wise an assembly. What was the consequence of
this monstrous pride and insolence? You first sent small armies to
subdue us, believing them more than sufficient, but soon found
yourselves obliged to send greater; these, whenever they ventured to
penetrate our country beyond the protection of their ships, were ether
repulsed and obliged to scamper out, or were surrounded, beaten, and
taken prisoners. An American planter, who had never seen Europe, was
chosen by us to command our troops, and continued during the whole war.
This man sent home to you, one after another, five of your best generals
baffled, their heads bare of laurels, disgraced even in the opinion of
their employers. 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. But, after all, my dear friend, do not imagine that I
am vain enough to ascribe our success to any superiority in any of those
points. I am too well

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Text Comparison with 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

Page 44
Laws cannot prevent this; and perhaps it is not always an evil to the public.
Page 46
If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.
Page 50
Then shalt thou be a man and not hide thy face at the approach of the rich nor suffer the pain of feeling little when the sons of fortune walk at thy right hand: for independence, whether with little or much, is good fortune and placeth thee on even ground with the proudest of the golden fleece.
Page 59
Having few artificial wants, they have abundance of leisure for improvement by conversation.
Page 100
What can I say between you but that I wish you were reconciled, and that I will love that side best that is most ready to forgive and oblige the other.
Page 101
And as many of the terms of science are such as you cannot have met with in your common reading, and may, therefore, be unacquainted with, I think it would be well for you to have a good dictionary at hand, to consult immediately when you meet with a word you do not comprehend the precise meaning of.
Page 126
But I thank you for letting me know a little of your mind, that even if the Parliament should acknowledge our independence, the act would not be binding to posterity, and that your nation would resume and prosecute the claim as soon as they found it convenient from the influence of your passions and your present malice against us.
Page 161
"The English have not yet delivered up the posts on our frontier agreeable to treaty; the pretence is, that our merchants here have not paid their debts.
Page 164
A mangled, painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off.
Page 165
If I were in his place and not otherwise instructed, I should be apt to say 'take your own time, gentlemen.
Page 166
Vaughan.
Page 180
John Pringle.
Page 192
The whole was attended with stenches and offensive smells, the noise of falling mountains at a distance, &c.
Page 195
FRANKLIN.
Page 208
The apparent dropping of a pipe from the clouds towards the earth or sea, I will endeavour to explain hereafter.
Page 219
The mercury sinks presently three or four degrees, and the quicker if, during the evaporation, you blow on the ball with bellows; a second wetting and blowing, when the mercury is down, carries it yet lower.
Page 220
There is a certain quantity of this fluid, called fire, in every living human body; which fluid being in due proportion, keeps the parts of the flesh and blood at such a just distance from each other, as that the flesh and nerves are supple, and the blood fit for circulation.
Page 223
FRANKLIN.
Page 231
The usefulness of the cantharides, or Spanish flies, in medicine, is known to all, and thousands owe their lives to that knowledge.
Page 241
There are few, though convinced, that know how to give up even an error they have been once engaged in maintaining; there is, therefore, the more merit in dropping a contest where one thinks one's self right; it is at least respectful to those we converse with.