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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 87

several years, he confined himself not to this. In the year 1747, he
became a member of the general assembly of Pennsylvania, as a burgess
for the city of Philadelphia. Warm disputes subsisted at this time
between the assembly and the proprietaries; each contending for
what they conceived to be their just rights. Franklin, a friend to
the rights of man from his infancy, soon distinguished himself as a
steady opponent of the unjust schemes of the proprietaries. He was
soon looked up to as the head of the opposition; and to him have
been attributed many of the spirited replies of the assembly, to the
messages of the governors. His influence in the body was very great.
This arose not from any superior powers of eloquence; he spoke but
seldom, and he never was known to make any thing like an elaborate
harangue. His speeches often consisted of a single sentence, or
of a well-told story, the moral of which was always obviously to
the point. He never attempted the flowery fields of oratory. His
manner was plain and mild. His style in speaking was, like that of
his writings, simple, unadorned, and remarkably concise. With this
plain manner, and his penetrating and solid judgment, he was able to
confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm
the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced
who had opposed him. With a single observation, he has rendered of no
avail an elegant and lengthy discourse, and determined the fate of a
question of importance.

But he was not contented with thus supporting the rights of the
people. He wished to render them permanently secure, which can
only be done by making their value properly known; and this must
depend upon increasing and extending information to every class of
men. We have already seen that he was the founder of the public
library, which contributed greatly towards improving the minds
of the citizens. But this was not sufficient. The schools then
subsisting were in general of little utility. The teachers were men
ill qualified for the important duty which they had undertaken; and,
after all, nothing more could be obtained than the rudiments of a
common English education. Franklin drew up a plan of an academy, to
be erected in the city of Philadelphia, suited to "the state of an
infant country;" but in this, as in all his plans, he confined not
his views to the present time only. He looked forward to the period
when an institution on an enlarged plan would become necessary. With
this view, he considered his

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 7
Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, etc.
Page 9
This has been a convenience to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, tastes and appetites.
Page 18
I too was taken up and examin'd before the council; but, tho' I did not give them any satisfaction, they content'd themselves with admonishing me, and dismissed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who was bound to keep his master's secrets.
Page 19
Some proposed to evade the order by changing the name of the paper; but my brother, seeing inconveniences in that, it was finally concluded on as a better way, to let it be printed for the future under the name of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall on him as still printing it by his apprentice, the contrivance was that my old indenture should be return'd to me, with a full discharge on the back of it, to be shown on occasion, but to secure to him the benefit of my service, I was to sign new indentures for the remainder of the term, which were to be kept private.
Page 34
"I doubt," said he, "my constitution will not bear that.
Page 39
He was otherwise an ingenious, sensible man, a pretty good writer, and a good governor for the people, tho' not for his constituents, the proprietaries, whose instructions he sometimes disregarded.
Page 88
I generally carried my points.
Page 94
This I accordingly perform'd, sending him a few years to school before I took him into the office.
Page 99
Page 107
Their captain prepar'd for defense; but told William Penn and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect their assistance, and they might retire into the cabin, which they did, except James Logan, who chose to stay upon deck, and was quarter'd to a gun.
Page 111
, one Church-of-England man, one Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Moravian, etc.
Page 114
The orator acknowledg'd the fault, but laid it upon the rum; and then endeavored to excuse the rum by saying, "The Great Spirit, who made all things, made every thing for some use, and whatever use he design'd any thing for, that use it should always be put to.
Page 118
The mention of these improvements puts me in mind of one I propos'd, when in London, to Dr.
Page 119
they will give me something.
Page 120
being cover'd with straw, will retain the mud thrown into them, and permit the water to drain from it, whereby it will become much lighter, water making the greatest part of its weight; these bodies of carts to be plac'd at convenient distances, and the mud brought to them in wheel-barrows; they remaining where plac'd till the mud is drain'd, and then horses brought to draw them away.
Page 132
This guard being disordered, the general hurried the troops up to their assistance, which was done in great confusion, thro' waggons, baggage, and cattle; and presently the fire came upon their flank: the officers, being on horseback, were more easily distinguish'd, pick'd out as marks, and fell very fast; and the soldiers were crowded together in a huddle, having or hearing no orders, and standing to be shot at till two-thirds of them were killed; and then, being seiz'd with a panick, the whole fled with precipitation.
Page 142
This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancour against me, which was before not a little, on account of my conduct in the Assembly respecting the exemption of his estate from taxation, which I had always oppos'd very warmly, and not without severe reflections on his meanness and injustice of contending for it.
Page 143
We acted in concert to supply Braddock's army with provisions; and, when the shocking news arrived of his defeat, the governor sent in haste for me, to consult with him on measures for preventing the desertion of the back counties.
Page 158
The want of formality or rudeness was, probably, my not having address'd the paper to them with their assum'd titles of True and Absolute Proprietaries of the Province of Pennsylvania, which I omitted as not thinking it necessary in a paper, the intention of which was only to reduce to a certainty by writing, what in conversation I had delivered viva voce.
Page 159
They gave me their thanks in form when I return'd.