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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 248

heating the brick
work in its passage, so that more fire must be made as the flue grows
fouler: but by burning the smoke they are kept always clean. The same
method may also be of great advantage to those businesses in which
large coppers or caldrons are to be heated.

_Written at Sea, 1785._

FOOTNOTE:

[60] From the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, in
which it was read January 28, 1786. _Editor._




TO MISS STEPHENSON.

_Method of Contracting Chimneys. Modesty in Disputation._


_Craven-Street, Saturday Evening, past 10._

The question you ask me is a very sensible one, and I shall be
glad if I can give you a satisfactory answer. There are two ways
of contracting a chimney; one, by contracting the opening _before_
the fire; the other, by contracting the funnel _above_ the fire.
If the funnel above the fire is left open in its full dimensions,
and the opening before the fire is contracted; then the coals, I
imagine, will burn faster, because more air is directed through the
fire, and in a stronger stream; that air which before passed over
it, and on each side of it, now passing _through_ it. This is seen
in narrow stove chimneys, when a sacheverell or blower is used,
which still more contracts the narrow opening.--But if the funnel
only _above_ the fire is contracted, then, as a less stream of air
is passing up the chimney, less must pass through the fire, and
consequently it should seem that the consuming of the coals would
rather be checked than augmented by such contraction. And this will
also be the case, when both the opening _before_ the fire, and the
funnel _above_ the fire are contracted, provided the funnel above
the fire is more contracted in proportion than the opening before
the fire.--So you see I think you had the best of the argument; and
as you notwithstanding gave it up in complaisance to the company, I
think you had also the best of the dispute. There are few, though
convinced, that know how to give up, even an error, they have been
once engaged in maintaining; there is therefore the more merit in
dropping a contest where one thinks one's self right; it is at least
respectful to those we converse with. And indeed all our knowledge
is so imperfect, and we are from a thousand causes so perpetually
subject to mistake and error, that positiveness can scarce ever
become even the most knowing; and modesty in advancing any opinion,
however plain and true we may suppose it, is always decent, and
generally more

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

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The one had not yet written "Gulliver's Travels," nor the other "Robinson Crusoe;" neither had Addison and Steele and other wits of Anne's reign begun the "Spectator.
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.
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[15] My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New England, of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton Mather, in his Church history of that country entitled "Magnalia Christi Americana," as "a goodly learned Englishman," if I remember the words rightly.
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] [Footnote 48: Boarded.
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As soon as he was gone, I recurred to my two friends; and because I would not give an unkind preference to either, I took half of what each had offered and I wanted of one, and half of the other, paid off the company's debts, and went on with the business in my own name, advertising that the partnership was dissolved.
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[n] We are told that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and, having acquired that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are derived from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek in order more easily to acquire the Latin.
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They were useful to themselves, and afforded us a good deal of amusement, information, and instruction, besides answering, in some considerable degree, our views of influencing the public opinion on particular occasions, of which I shall give some instances in course of time as they happened.
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" Some of Mr.
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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 placed in the gutter, which was in the middle; and the next rain washed it quite away, so that the pavement, and even the kennel,[146] were perfectly clean.
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You have an opportunity of receiving and dividing among you a very considerable sum; for, if the service of this expedition should continue, as it is more than probable it will, for one hundred and twenty days, the hire of these wagons and horses will amount to upward of thirty thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver and gold of the king's money.
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] [Footnote 172: Upon the site of this fort Pittsburg is built.
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My answers were to this purpose: that my circumstances, thanks to God, were such as to make proprietary favors unnecessary to me; and that, being a member of the Assembly, I could not possibly accept of any; that, however, I had no personal enmity to the proprietary, and that, whenever the public measures he proposed should appear to be for the good of the people, no one should espouse and forward them more zealously than myself, my past opposition having been founded on this, that the measures which had been urged were evidently intended to serve the proprietary interest, with great prejudice to that of the people; that I was much obliged to him (the governor) for his professions of regard to me, and that he might rely on everything in my power to make his administration as easy as possible, hoping at the same time that he had not brought with him the same unfortunate instructions his predecessor had been hampered with.
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Pitt[193] gave it as one reason for removing this general, and sending Generals Amherst and Wolfe, that the minister never heard from him, and could not know what he was doing.
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I apprehend that this may partly be occasioned by the different opinions of seamen respecting the modes of lading, rigging, and sailing of a ship.