The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 127

sustain her.
Many bodies which compose a ship's cargo may be specifically lighter
than water, all these when out of water are an additional weight to
that of the ship, and she is in proportion pressed deeper into the
water; but as soon as these bodies are immersed, they weigh no longer
on the ship, but on the contrary, if fixed, they help to support her,
in proportion as they are specifically lighter than the water. And
it should be remembered, that the largest body of a ship may be so
balanced in the water, that an ounce less or more of weight may leave
her at the surface or sink her to the bottom. There are also certain
heavy cargoes, that, when the water gets at them, are continually
dissolving, and thereby lightening the vessel, such as salt and
sugar. And as to water-casks mentioned above, since the quantity of
them must be great in ships of war where the number of men consume a
great deal of water every day, if it had been made a constant rule to
bung them up as fast as they were emptied, and to dispose the empty
casks in proper situations, I am persuaded that many ships which
have been sunk in engagements, or have gone down afterwards, might
with the unhappy people have been saved; as well as many of those
which in the last war foundered, and were never heard of. While on
this topic of sinking, one cannot help recollecting the well known
practice of the Chinese, to divide the hold of a great ship into a
number of separate chambers by partitions tight caulked (of which you
gave a model in your boat upon the Seine) so that if a leak should
spring in one of them the others are not affected by it; and though
that chamber should fill to a level with the sea, it would not be
sufficient to sink the vessel. We have not imitated this practice.
Some little disadvantage it might occasion in the stowage is perhaps
one reason, though that I think might be more than compensated by an
abatement in the insurance that would be reasonable, and by a higher
price taken of passengers, who would rather prefer going in such
a vessel. But our seafaring people are brave, despise danger, and
reject such precautions of safety, being cowards only in one sense,
that of _fearing_ to be _thought afraid_.

I promised to finish my letter with the last observation, but the
garrulity of the old man has got hold of me, and as I may

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 4
Page 23
So I escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose writing has been of great use to me in the course of my life, and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, in such a situation, I acquired what little ability I have in that way.
Page 28
From a copy in the Library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Page 32
Page 35
I sat down among them, and, after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro' labour and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continu'd so till the meeting broke up, when one was kind enough to rouse me.
Page 36
Keimer made verses too, but very indifferently.
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His drinking continu'd, about which we sometimes quarrel'd; for, when a little intoxicated, he was very fractious.
Page 50
But what shall we think of a governor's playing such pitiful tricks, and imposing so grossly on a poor ignorant boy! It was a habit he had acquired.
Page 51
but they were poor, and unable to assist him.
Page 52
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Having mentioned _a great and extensive project_ which I had conceiv'd, it seems proper that some account should be here given of that project and its object.
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, and without informing them of the connection with the Junto.
Page 126
no liquor, and the treaty was conducted very orderly, and concluded to mutual satisfaction.
Page 133
To do this, a variety of improvements were necessary; some of these were inevitably at first expensive, so that in the first four years the office became above nine hundred pounds in debt to us.
Page 148
However, when the news of this disaster reached England, our friends there whom we had taken care to furnish with all the Assembly's answers to the governor's messages, rais'd a clamor against the proprietaries for their meanness and injustice in giving their governor such instructions; some going so far as to say that, by obstructing the defense of their province, they forfeited their right to it.
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" This observation of the messenger was, it seems, well founded; for, when in England, I understood that Mr.
Page 184