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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 138

About
the year 1769 or 70, there was an application made by the board
of customs at Boston, to the lords of the treasury in London,
complaining that the packets between Falmouth and New-York, were
generally a fortnight longer in their passages, than merchant-ships
from London to Rhode-Island, and proposing that for the future
they should be ordered to Rhode-Island instead of New-York. Being
then concerned in the management of the American post-office, I
happened to be consulted on the occasion; and it appearing strange
to me that there should be such a difference between two places,
scarce a day's run asunder, especially when the merchant-ships are
generally deeper laden, and more weakly manned than the packets, and
had from London the whole length of the river and channel to run
before they left the land of England, while the packets had only to
go from Falmouth, I could not but think the fact misunderstood or
misrepresented. There happened then to be in London a Nantucket
sea-captain of my acquaintance, to whom I communicated the affair. He
told me he believed the fact might be true; but the difference was
owing to this, that the Rhode-Island captains were acquainted with
the gulf-stream, which those of the English packets were not. We are
well acquainted with that stream, says he, because in our pursuit
of whales, which keep near the sides of it, but are not to be met
with in it, we run down along the sides, and frequently cross it to
change our side: and in crossing it have sometimes met and spoke with
those packets, who were in the middle of it, and stemming it. We have
informed them that they were stemming a current, that was against
them to the value of three miles an hour; and advised them to cross
it and get out of it; but they were too wise to be counselled by
simple American fishermen. When the winds are but light, he added,
they are carried back by the current more than they are forwarded
by the wind: and if the wind be good, the subtraction of 70 miles
a day from their course is of some importance. I then observed it
was a pity no notice was taken of this current upon the charts,
and requested him to mark it out for me, which he readily complied
with, adding directions for avoiding it in sailing from Europe to
North-America. I procured it to be engraved by order from the general
post-office, on the old chart of the Atlantic, at Mount and Page's,
Tower-hill; and copies were sent down to

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Octr.
Page 1
coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
Page 2
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
Page 3
"Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hope will die fasting.
Page 4
is worth two to-morrows," as Poor Richard says, and farther, "Never leave that till to-morrow, which you can do to-day.
Page 5
A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost;" being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.
Page 6
" Again, "It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance;" and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanack.
Page 7
Octr.
Page 8
And when you have got the Philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
Page 9
Page 9, "grevious" changed to "grievous" (much more grievous) Page 11, "waisting" changed to "wasting" (wasting time must be) Page 12, "mak" changed to "make" (We may make).