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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 141

method of planking ships, if, instead
of thick single planks laid horizontally, we were to use planks of
half the thickness, and lay them double and across each other as
in figure 23? To me it seems that the difference of expence would
not be considerable, and that the ship would be both tighter and

The securing of the ship is not the only necessary thing; securing
the health of the sailors, a brave and valuable order of men,
is likewise of great importance. With this view the methods so
successfully practised by Captain Cook in his long voyages cannot be
too closely studied or carefully imitated. A full account of those
methods is found in Sir John Pringle's speech, when the medal of the
Royal Society was given to that illustrious navigator. I am glad to
see in his last voyage that he found the means effectual which I had
proposed for preserving flour, bread, &c. from moisture and damage.
They were found dry and good after being at sea four years. The
method is described in my printed works, page 452, fifth edition[34].
In the same, page 469, 470[35], is proposed a means of allaying
thirst in case of want of fresh water. This has since been practised
in two instances with success. Happy if their hunger, when the other
provisions are consumed, could be relieved as commodiously; and
perhaps in time this may be found not impossible. An addition might
be made to their present vegetable provision, by drying various roots
in slices by the means of an oven. The sweet potatoe of America and
Spain is excellent for this purpose. Other potatoes, with carrots,
parsnips and turnips, might be prepared and preserved in the same

With regard to make-shifts in cases of necessity, seamen are
generally very ingenious themselves. They will excuse however the
mention of two or three. If they happen in any circumstance, such
as after shipwreck, taking to their boat, or the like, to want a
compass, a fine sewing-needle laid on clear water in a cup will
generally point to the north, most of them being a little magnetical,
or may be made so by being strongly rubbed or hammered, lying in a
north and south direction. If their needle is too heavy to float by
itself, it may be supported by little pieces of cork or wood. A man
who can swim, may be aided in a long traverse by his handkerchief
formed into a kite, by two cross sticks extending to the four
corners; which, being raised in the air when the wind is fair and

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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He himself had already begun his electrical researches, which, with other scientific inquiries, he called on in the intervals of money-making and politics to the end of his life.
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I remember him well, for when I was a boy he came over to my father in Boston, and lived in the house with us some years.
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[2] Here follow in the margin the words, in brackets, "here insert it," but the poetry is not given.
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Page 71
For the furtherance of human happiness, I have always maintained that it is necessary to prove that man is not even at present a vicious and detestable animal; and still more to prove that good management may greatly amend him; and it is for much the same reason, that I am anxious to see the opinion established, that there are fair characters existing among the individuals of the race; for the moment that all men, without exception, shall be conceived abandoned, good people will cease efforts deemed to be hopeless, and perhaps think of taking their share in the scramble of life, or at least of making it comfortable principally for themselves.
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, appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles.
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| T.
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The choice was made that year without opposition; but the year following, when I was again propos'd (the choice, like that of the members, being annual), a new member made a long speech against me, in order to favour some.
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The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admir'd and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring them that they were naturally half.
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From the slowness I saw at first in her working, I could scarce believe that the work was done so soon, and sent my servant to examine it, who reported that the whole street was swept perfectly clean, and all the dust plac'd in the gutter, which was in the middle; and the next rain wash'd it quite away, so that the pavement and even the kennel were perfectly clean.
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Hamilton, grew tir'd of the contest, and quitted the government.
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" I ask'd what terms were to be offer'd the owners of the waggons; and I was desir'd to put on paper the terms that appeared to me necessary.
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Governor Morris, who had continually worried the Assembly with message after message before the defeat of Braddock, to beat them into the making of acts to raise money for the defense of the province, without taxing, among others, the proprietary estates, and had rejected all their bills for not having such an exempting clause, now redoubled his attacks with more hope of success, the danger and necessity being greater.
Page 140
the office, and, with the help of a few hands to measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and never were prayers more generally and more punctually attended; so that I thought this method preferable to the punishment inflicted by some military laws for non-attendance on divine service.
Page 154
I am persuaded, therefore, that ere long some ingenious philosopher will undertake it, to whom I wish success.
Page 155
It was midnight, and our captain fast asleep; but Captain Kennedy, jumping upon deck, and seeing the danger, ordered the ship to wear round, all sails standing; an operation dangerous to the masts, but it carried us clear, and we escaped shipwreck, for we were running right upon the rocks on which the light-house was erected.
Page 160
" The Almanac, which continued for twenty-five years to contain his witty, worldly-wise sayings, played a very large part in bringing together and molding the American character which was at that time made up of so many diverse and scattered types.