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 32

less so.

The usefulness of some particular parts of the mathematics, in the
common affairs of human life, has rendered some knowledge of them very
necessary to a great part of mankind, and very convenient to all the
rest, that are any way conversant beyond the limits of their own
particular callings.

Those whom necessity has obliged to get their bread by manual industry,
where some degree of art is required to go along with it, and who have
had some insight into these studies, have very often found advantages
from them sufficient to reward the pains they were at in acquiring them.
And whatever may have been imputed to some other studies, under the
notion of insignificance and loss of time, yet these, I believe, never
caused repentance in any, except it was for their remissness in the
prosecution of them.

Philosophers do generally affirm that human knowledge to be most
excellent which is conversant among the most excellent things. What
science, then, can there be more noble, more excellent, more useful for
men, more admirably high and demonstrative, than this of the

I shall conclude with what Plato says, in the seventh book of his
_Republic_, with regard to the excellence and usefulness of geometry,
being to this purpose:

"Dear friend--You see, then, that mathematics are necessary, because, by
the exactness of the method, we get a habit of using our minds to the
best advantage. And it is remarkable that, all men being capable by
nature to reason and understand the sciences, the less acute, by
studying this, though useless to them in every other respect, will gain
this advantage, that their minds will be improved in reasoning aright;
for no study employs it more, nor makes it susceptible of attention so
much; and those who we find have a mind worth cultivating, ought to
apply themselves to this study."

* * * * *


_Inscribed to Miss * * * *, being written at her request_

As a great part of our life is spent in sleep, during which we have
sometimes pleasant and some times painful dreams, it becomes of some
consequence to obtain the one kind and avoid the other, for, whether
real or imaginary, pain is pain and pleasure is pleasure. If we can
sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If,
while we sleep, we can have any pleasing

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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The Parts were sewed together while wet with the Gum, and some of it was afterwards passed over the Seams, to render it as tight as possible.
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Montgolfier himself, at the Expence of the Academy, which is to go up in a few Days.
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It contains 50,000 cubic Feet, and is supposed to have Force of Levity equal to 1500 pounds weight.
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I am glad my Letters respecting the Aerostatic Experiment were not unacceptable.
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_La Machine poussee par le Vent s'est dirigee sur une des Allees du Jardin.
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I was happy to see him safe.
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I wish I could see the same Emulation between the two Nations as I see between the two Parties here.
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Balloon we now inhabit.
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The Wind was very little, so that the Object, tho' moving to the Northward, continued long in View; and it was a great while before the admiring People began to disperse.
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With great Esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most obedient & most humble servant, B.
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22, since the ascension of d'Arlandes and de Rozier which, according to the letter, took place the previous day is known to have been on the 21st.
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_Letter of November 30.
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2d" corrected to "Sept.