The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 109

principles have been improving, and our errors diminishing. Now we are
not sure that we are arrived at the end of this progression, and at the
perfection of spiritual or theological knowledge; and we fear that, if
we should once print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves
as if bound and confin'd by it, and perhaps be unwilling to receive
farther improvement, and our successors still more so, as conceiving
what we their elders and founders had done, to be something sacred,
never to be departed from."

This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in the history of
mankind, every other sect supposing itself in possession of all truth,
and that those who differ are so far in the wrong; like a man traveling
in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees
wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people
in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, tho' in
truth he is as much in the fog as any of them. To avoid this kind of
embarrassment, the Quakers have of late years been gradually declining
the public service in the Assembly and in the magistracy, choosing
rather to quit their power than their principle.

In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that having, in 1742,
invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms, and at the same
time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in entering, I
made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my early
friends, who, having an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates
for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in demand.
To promote that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet, entitled "An
Account of the new-invented Pennsylvania Fireplaces; wherein their
Construction and Manner of Operation is particularly explained; their
Advantages above every other Method of warming Rooms demonstrated; and
all Objections that have been raised against the Use of them answered
and obviated," etc. This pamphlet had a good effect. Gov'r. Thomas
was so pleas'd with the construction of this stove, as described in it,
that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a
term of years; but I declin'd it from a principle which has ever
weighed with me on such occasions, viz., That, as we enjoy great
advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an
opportunity to serve others by any invention of

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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

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130 To Governor Franklin 132 To Dr.
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Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders.
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"And now, to conclude, _Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other_, as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that; for it is true, _We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct_.
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Unless our actions will bear the test of our sober judgments and reflections upon them, they are not the actions, and, consequently, not the happiness, of a rational being.
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But now, when you find yourself incapable of aiding a private man, how can you think of behaving yourself so as to be useful to a whole people? Ought a man, who has not strength enought to carry a hundred pound weight, to undertake to carry a heavier burden?' "'I would have done good service to my uncle,' said Glaucon, 'if he would have taken my advice.
Page 29
If one servant is more valuable than another, has he not more merit than the other? and yet this is not on account of superior self-denial.
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We are, however, not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it; and, to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make _men_ of them.
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the cheaper, stick to that principle, and go thorough stitch with it.
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"What the devil!" says another, "have we then _thieves_ among us? It must not be suffered.
Page 159
me from my birth to the present hour.
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"Your medallion is in good company; it is placed with those of Lord Chatham, Lord Camden.
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And hence a sure advantage results; for he either confirms a truth before too slightly supported, or discovers an error, and receives instruction from the objector.
Page 210
in the plate_, forming a long and sharp cone.
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and by the swelling and rising of the water in the beginning vacuum, which is at first a small, low, broad cone, whose top gradually rises and sharpens, as the force of the whirl increases.
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I suppose a whirlwind or spout may be stationary when the concurring winds are equal; but if unequal, the whirl acquires a progressive motion in the direction of the strongest pressure.
Page 228
Cast your eye on the map of North America, and observe the Bay of Chesapeake, in Virginia, mentioned above; you will see, communicating with it by their mouths, the great rivers Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannoc, York, and James, besides a number of smaller streams, each as big as the Thames.
Page 242
Perhaps, however, if it were buried in quicksilver, it might preserve, for a considerable space of time, its vegetable life, its smell, and colour.
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