The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 24

which are the fruit of temperance in eating
and drinking.

It was about this period, that having one day been put to the blush
for my ignorance in the art of calculation, which I had twice failed
to learn while at school, I took Cocker's Treatise of Arithmetic, and
went through it by myself with the utmost ease. I also read a book of
navigation by Seller and Sturmy, and made myself master of the little
geometry it contains, but I never proceeded far in this science.
Nearly at the same time I read Locke on the Human Understanding, and
the Art of Thinking, by Messrs. du Port Royal.

While labouring to form and improve my style, I met with an English
Grammar, which I believe was Greenwood's, having at the end of it
two little essays on rhetoric and logic. In the latter I found a
model of disputation, after the manner of Socrates. Shortly after I
procured Xenophon's work, entitled Memorable Things of Socrates, in
which are various examples of the same method. Charmed to a degree of
enthusiasm with this mode of disputing, I adopted it, and renouncing
blunt contradiction, and direct and positive argument, I assumed
the character of an humble questioner. The perusal of Shaftsbury
and Collins had made me a sceptic; and being previously so as to
many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socrates's method to be
both safest for myself, as well as the most embarrassing to those
against whom I employed it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I
incessantly practised it; and became very adroit in obtaining, even
from persons of superior understanding, concessions of which they did
not foresee the consequence. Thus I involved them in difficulties
from which they were unable to extricate themselves, and sometimes
obtained victories, which neither my cause nor my arguments merited.

This method I continued to employ for some years; but I afterwards
abandoned it by degrees, retaining only the habit of expressing
myself with modest diffidence, and never making use, when I
advanced any proposition which might be controverted, of the words
_certainly_, _undoubtedly_, or any others that might give the
appearance of being obstinately attached to my opinion. I rather
said, I imagine, I suppose, or it appears to me, that such a thing
is so or so, for such and such reasons; or it is so, if I am not
mistaken. This habit has, I think, been of considerable advantage
to me, when I have had occasion to impress my opinion on the minds
of others, and persuade them to the adoption of the measures I have
suggested. And since

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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 1
To Madame Brillon, of Passy 40 The Whistle.
Page 11
--On the Northeast Storms in North America 254 To Dr.
Page 18
"But what madness must it be to _run in debt_ for these superfluities? We are offered, by the terms of this sale, six months' credit; and that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it.
Page 32
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.
Page 35
This is the order of nature, to prevent animals being infected by their own perspiration.
Page 55
The busy race of beings attached to these fleeting enjoyments are indeed all of them engaged in the pursuit of happiness, and it is owing to their imperfect notions of it that they stop so far short in their pursuit.
Page 63
The best of men could not escape the censure and envy of the times they lived in.
Page 95
Page 97
" * * * * * _To the same.
Page 114
* * * In what light we are viewed by superior beings, may be gathered from a piece of late West India news, which, possibly, has not yet reached you.
Page 121
Do not invite me in earnest, however, to come and live with you, for, being posted here, I ought not to comply, and I am not sure I should be able to refuse.
Page 136
"You do well to avoid being.
Page 165
' If the treaty cannot be made as much to your advantage as ours, don't make it.
Page 169
"I hope the Congress will soon be able to attend to this business for the satisfaction of the public, as well as in condescension to my request.
Page 179
Such an operation as this possibly occasioned much of Europe, and, among the rest, this mountain of Passy on which I live, and which is composed of limestone, rock, and seashells, to be abandoned by the sea, and to change its ancient climate, which seems to have been a hot one.
Page 189
To twenty pounds of iron filings add as many of sulphur; mix, work, and temper the whole together with a little water, so as to form a mass half wet and half dry.
Page 203
The earth turning on its axis in about twenty-four hours, the equatorial parts must move about fifteen miles in each minute; in northern and southern latitudes this motion is gradually less to the poles, and there nothing.
Page 212
The condensation of the moisture contained in so great a quantity of warm air as may be supposed to rise in a short time in this prodigiously rapid whirl, is perhaps sufficient to form a great extent of cloud, though the spout should be over land, as those at Hatfield; and if the land happens not to be very dusty, perhaps the lower part of the spout will scarce become visible at all; though the upper, or what is commonly called the descending part, be very distinctly seen.
Page 219
the same degree of heat or cold.
Page 229
The black will be quite hot to the touch, the white still cool.