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 83

and probably its true and real motive and
encouragement. Justice is as strictly due between neighbour nations as
between neighbour citizens. A highwayman is as much a robber when he
plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war
is only a great gang. After employing your people in robbing the Dutch,
it is strange that, being put out of that employ by peace, they still
continue robbing, and rob one another? _Piraterie_, as the French call
it, or privateering, is the universal bent of the English nation, at
home and abroad, wherever settled. No less than seven hundred privateers
were, it is said, commissioned in the last war! These were fitted out by
merchants, to prey upon other merchants who had never done them any
injury. Is there probably any one of those privateering merchants of
London, who were so ready to rob the merchants of Amsterdam, that would
not as easily plunder another London merchant of the next street, if he
could do it with the same impunity? The avidity, the _alieni
appetens_[10] is the same; it is the fear of the gallows that makes the
difference. How, then, can a nation, which among the honestest of its
people has so many thieves by inclination, and whose government
encouraged and commissioned no less than seven hundred gangs of robbers;
how can such a nation have the face to condemn the crime in individuals,
and hang up twenty of them in a morning! It naturally puts one in mind
of a Newgate anecdote. One of the prisoners complained that in the night
somebody had taken his buckles out of his shoes. "What the devil!" says
another, "have we then _thieves_ among us? It must not be suffered. Let
us search out the rogue and pump him to death."

[10] Coveting what is the property of another.

There is, however, one late instance of an English merchant who will not
profit by such ill-gotten gain. He was, it seems, part owner of a ship,
which the other owners thought fit to employ as a letter of marque,
which took a number of French prizes. The booty being shared, he has now
an agent here inquiring, by an advertisement in the Gazette, for those
who have suffered the loss, in order to make them, as far as in him
lies, restitution. This conscientious man is a Quaker. The Scotch
Presbyterians were formerly as tender; for there is still extant an
ordinance of the town-council of Edinburgh, made soon after the
Reformation, "forbidding the purchase of

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Smyth, the editor of the last and most complete edition of Franklin's Works,[1] who made careful search for the original documents.
Page 1
and the Weight of the Air contain'd.
Page 2
No News was heard of it till the next Day, when Information was receiv'd, that it fell a little after 6 aClock, at Gonesse, a Place about 4 Leagues Distance, and that it was rent open, and some say had Ice in it.
Page 3
The great one of M.
Page 4
So vast a Bulk when it began to rise so majestically in the Air struck the spectators with surprise and Admiration.
Page 5
Fond acquainted me yesterday that a Book on the Subject which has been long expected, will be publish'd in a few Days, and I shall send you one of them.
Page 6
The Gallery hitched among the top Boughs of those Trees which had been cut and were stiff while the Body of the Balloon lean'd beyond and seemed likely to overset.
Page 7
A very handsome triumphal Car will be suspended to it, in which Mess^rs.
Page 8
A few Months since the Idea of Witches riding thro' the Air upon a Broomstick, and that of Philosophers upon a Bag of Smoke, would have appeared equally impossible and ridiculous.
Page 9
Charles's grand Balloon, which was to have gone up yesterday; but the filling it with inflammable Air having taken more time than had been calculated, it is deferr'd till to-morrow.
Page 10
The Persons embark'd were Mr.
Page 11
Charles hier a 10 heures 1/4 du Soir et a dit, Que les Voyageurs etoient descendus lentement et volontairement a trois heures 3/4 dans les Marais de Nesle et d'Hebouville, une lieue et demie apres l'Isle Adam.
Page 12
Elle perdoit legerement par une petite ouverture qui existoit deja quelques heures avant son Depart aupres de l'appendice, et dont le Morceau de Taffetas que l'on y avoit applique au moment de l'experience, s'etoit detache.
Page 13
Except for the following corrections, the original text and punctuation remain.
Page 14
Robert, two Brothers,"; p.