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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 270

by two other men at the other
vat; and one fire serves.


[65] Communicated by Dr. Franklin to the American Philosophical
Society, in which it was read, June 20, 1788. _Editor._


_On Modern Innovations in the English Language and in Printing._

_Philadelphia, Dec_.26, 1789.


I received, some time since, your _Dissertations on the English
Language_. It is an excellent work, and will be greatly useful in
turning the thoughts of our countrymen to correct writing. Please to
accept my thanks for it, as well as for the great honour you have
done me in its dedication. I ought to have made this acknowledgment
sooner, but much indisposition prevented me.

I cannot but applaud your zeal for preserving the purity of our
language both in its expression and pronunciation, and in correcting
the popular errors several of our states are continually falling
into with respect to both. Give me leave to mention some of them,
though possibly they may already have occurred to you. I wish,
however, that in some future publication of yours, you would set a
discountenancing mark upon them. The first I remember, is the word
_improved_. When I left New England in the year 1723, this word had
never been used among us, as far as I know, but in the sense of
_ameliorated_, or _made better_, except once in a very old book of
Dr. Mather's, entitled _Remarkable Providences_. As that man wrote a
very obscure hand, I remember that when I read that word in his book
used instead of the word _employed_, I conjectured that it was an
error of the printer, who had mistaken a short _l_ in the writing for
an _r_, and a _y_ with too short a tail for a _v_, whereby _employed_
was converted into _improved_: but when I returned to Boston in
1733, I found this change had obtained favour, and was then become
common; for I met with it often in perusing the newspapers, where it
frequently made an appearance rather ridiculous. Such, for instance,
as the advertisement of a country house to be sold, which had been
many years _improved_ as a tavern; and in the character of a deceased
country gentleman, that he had been, for more than thirty years,
_improved_ as a justice of the peace. This use of the word _improve_
is peculiar to New England, and not to be met with among any other
speakers of English, either on this or the other side of the water.

During my late absence in France, I find that

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

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The old gentleman said he would go with me to the new printer; and when we found him, "Neighbour," said Bradford,.
Page 35
Many pleasant walks we have had together on Sundays in the woods on the banks of the Schuylkill, where we read to one another, and conferred on what we had read.
Page 54
Our friendship continued without interruption to his death, upward of forty years; and the club continued almost as long, and was the best school of philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the province; for our queries (which were read the week preceding their discussion) put us upon reading with attention on the several subjects, that we might speak more to the purpose: and here, too, we acquired better habits of conversation, everything being studied in our rules which might prevent our disgusting each other; hence the long continuance of the club, which I shall have frequent occasion to speak farther of hereafter.
Page 61
The answer to this after some days was, that they did not approve the match; that, on inquiry of Bradford, they had been informed the printing business was not a profitable one; the types would soon be worn out, and more wanted; that Keimer and David Harry had failed one after the other, and I should probably soon follow them; and, therefore, I was forbidden the house, and the daughter shut up.
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often the characteristic.
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| | * | | | | * | | +------+------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Fru.
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Robert Grace, one of my early friends, who, having an iron furnace, found the casting of the plates for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in demand.
Page 106
The Moravian happened not to please his colleagues, and on his death they resolved to have no other of that sect; the difficulty then was, how to avoid having two of some other sect, by means of the new choice.
Page 107
The whole care and trouble of agreeing with the workmen, purchasing materials, and superintending the work, fell upon me, and I went through it the more cheerfully, as it did not then interfere with my private business, having the year before taken a very able, industrious, and honest partner, Mr.
Page 111
A strip.
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Norris) and myself, to join Mr.
Page 119
These public quarrels were all at bottom owing to the proprietaries our hereditary governors; who, when any expense was to be incurred for the defence of their province, with incredible meanness, instructed their deputies to pass no act for levying the necessary taxes, unless their vast estates were in the same act expressly exonerated; and they had even taken the bonds of these deputies to observe such instructions.
Page 130
The next day, being fair, we continued our march, and arrived at the desolate Gnadenhutten; there was a mill near, round which were left several pine boards, with which we soon hutted ourselves; an operation the more necessary at that inclement season, as we had no tents.
Page 134
Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the governor and the house, in which I, as a member, had so large a share, there still subsisted a civil intercourse between that gentleman and myself, and we never had any personal difference.
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he might consider us both as merely advocates for contending clients in a suit; he for the proprietaries, and I for the Assembly: he would, therefore, sometimes call in a friendly way to advise with me on difficult points; and sometimes, though not often, take my advice.
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Pitt (afterward Lord Chatham) gave it as one reason for removing this general and sending Generals Amherst and Wolf, _that the minister never heard from him, and could not know what he was doing_.
Page 153
D'Alibard, who made the first experiments in France, says that he only followed the tract which Franklin had pointed out.
Page 176
; and in that will I bequeathed two thousand pounds more to the state, for the purpose of making the Schuylkill navigable; but understanding since that such a sum will do but little towards accomplishing such a work, and that the project is not likely to be undertaken for many years to come; and having entertained another idea, that I hope may be more extensively useful, I do hereby revoke and annul that bequest, and direct that the certificates I have for what remains due to me of that salary be sold towards raising the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, to be disposed of as I am now about to order.
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