of the saints in heaven; and
he who does a foolish, indecent, or wicked thing, merely because it is
contrary to his inclination (like some mad enthusiasts I have read of,
who ran about naked, under the notion of taking up the cross), is not
practising the reasonable science of virtue, but is a lunatic.
* * * * *
ON THE USEFULNESS OF THE MATHEMATICS.
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. That part of the mathematics
which relates to numbers only, is called _arithmetic_; and that which
is concerned about measure in general, whether length, breadth, motion,
force, &c., is called _geometry_.
As to the usefulness of arithmetic, it is well known that no business,
commerce, trade, or employment whatsoever, even from the merchant to the
shopkeeper, &c., can be managed and carried on without the assistance of
numbers; for by these the trader computes the value of all sorts of
goods that he dealeth in, does his business with ease and certainty, and
informs himself how matters stand at any time with respect to men,
money, and merchandise, to profit and loss, whether he goes forward or
backward, grows richer or poorer. Neither is this science only useful to
the merchant, but is reckoned the _primum mobile_ (or first mover) of
all mundane affairs in general, and is useful for all sorts and degrees
of men, from the highest to the lowest.
As to the usefulness of geometry, it is as certain that no curious art
or mechanic work can either be invented, improved, or performed without
its assisting principles.
It is owing to this that astronomers are put into a way of making their
observations, coming at the knowledge of the extent of the heavens, the
duration of time, the motions, magnitudes, and distances of the heavenly
bodies, their situations, positions, risings, settings, aspects, and
eclipses; also the measure of seasons, of years, and of ages.
It is by the assistance of this science that geographers present to our
view at once the magnitude and form of the whole earth, the vast extent
of the seas, the divisions of empires, kingdoms, and provinces.
It is by the help of geometry the ingenious mariner is instructed how to
guide a ship through the vast ocean, from one part of the
412 The Lord's Prayer (1779?), 414 The Levee (1779?), 417 Proposed New Version of the Bible (1779?), 419 To Joseph Priestley (February 8, 1780), 420 To George Washington (March 5, 1780), 421 To Miss Georgiana Shipley (October 8, 1780), 422 To Richard Price (October 9, 1780), 423 Dialogue between Franklin and the Gout (1780), 424 The Handsome and Deformed Leg (1780?), 430 To Miss Georgiana Shipley (undated), 432 To David Hartley (December 15, 1781), .Page 66
Considering the popular excesses in the colonies, Franklin's view was anything but illiberally radical.Page 72
Franklin was convinced that the permanence of the national view alone could prevent federal anarchy.Page 93
Without ent'ring into the Discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about the Manner of my Writing, observ'd that tho' I had the Advantage of my Antagonist in correct Spelling and pointing (which I ow'd to the Printing House) I fell far short in elegance of Expression, in Method and in Perspicuity, of which he convinc'd me by several Instances.Page 177
Tho' he was otherwise not an ill-natur'd Man: Perhaps I was too saucy and provoking.Page 299
After I have treated with a Dram, and presented a Pinch of my best Snuff, I expect all Company will retire, and leave me to pursue my Studies for the Good of the Publick.Page 308
He who sees an Action is right, that is, naturally tending to Good, and does it because of that Tendency, he only is a moral Man; and he alone is capable of that constant, durable, and invariable Good, which has been the Subject of this Conversation.Page 355
When you have had time to read and consider these papers, I will endeavour to make any new experiments you shall propose, that you think may afford farther light or satisfaction to either of us; and shall be much obliged to you for such remarks, objections, &c.Page 395
in that Year.Page 435
8 6 mor.Page 480
] 2 | 5 | | 12 | 19 | 1 | 14 | 4 | 10 | 11 | 0 | | 17 | 24 | .Page 531
They say so, as you used to do; and if I were to ask any favours of them, they would, perhaps, as readily refuse me; so that I find little real advantage in being beloved, but it pleases my humour.Page 672
I think we shall never be without a sufficient Number of wise and good Men to undertake, and execute well and faithfully, the Office in question.Page 740
The excesses some of our papers have been guilty of in this particular, have set this State in a bad light abroad, as appears by the following letter, which I wish you to publish, not merely to show your own disapprobation of the practice, but as a caution to others of the profession throughout the United States.Page 744
One would have thought, that this Appointment of Men, who had distinguish'd themselves in procuring the Liberty of their Nation, and had hazarded their Lives in openly opposing the Will of a powerful Monarch, who would have retain'd that Nation in Slavery, might have been an Appointment acceptable to a grateful People; and that a Constitution fram'd for them by the Deity himself might, on that Account, have been secure of a universal welcome Reception.Page 768
must speedily cause _the certain overthrow of our happy constitution_, and enslave us _all_.