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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 300

and powerful; or, rather, increase a nation tenfold
in numbers and strength.

* * * * *


[77] This paper and the answer to it are the last we have to extract
from Mr. Collinson's collection. The papers that follow, having notes
with the signature B. V., are from the collection referred to before,
Vol. I, p. 399. _Editor._

[78] In 1751.

[79] A water insect, well-known to naturalists.


_Remarks on some of the foregoing Observations, showing
particularly the Effect which manners have on Population._


It is now near three years since I received your excellent
_Observations on the Increase of Mankind_, &c. in which you have
with so much sagacity and accuracy shown in what manner, and by
what causes, that principal means of political grandeur is best
promoted; and have so well supported those just inferences you have
occasionally drawn, concerning the general state of our American
colonies, and the views and conduct of some of the inhabitants of
Great Britain.

You have abundantly proved, that natural fecundity is hardly to
be considered, because the _vis generandi_, as far as we know,
is unlimited, and because experience shows, that the numbers of
nations is altogether governed by collateral causes, and among these
none of so much force as quantity of subsistence, whether arising
from climate, soil, improvement of tillage, trade, fisheries,
secure property, conquest of new countries, or other favourable

As I perfectly concurred with you in your sentiments on these heads,
I have been very desirous of building somewhat on the foundation you
have there laid; and was induced, by your hints in the twenty-first
section, to trouble you with some thoughts on the influence manners
have always had, and are always likely to have, on the numbers of a
people, and their political prosperity in general.

The end of every individual is its own private good. The rules it
observes in the pursuit of this good are a system of propositions,
almost every one founded in authority, that is, derive their
weight from the credit given to one or more persons, and not from

And this, in the most important as well as the other affairs of
life, is the case even of the wisest and philosophical part of the
human species; and that it should be so is the less strange, when we
consider, that it

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

Page 3
Attention is also drawn to the photographically reproduced complete text of _Poor Richard Improved_ (1753), graciously furnished by Mr.
Page 6
2 (1728/9), 139 The Busy-Body, No.
Page 25
Page 69
It seems almost incredible that the patrician-minded Franklin, with his Puritan heritage, should have thus almost hurriedly cast himself at the feet of the people.
Page 96
, 1882, 452-9; J.
Page 131
Chosen associate member of Royal Medical Society of Paris.
Page 135
"Benjamin Franklin," in _Dictionary of American Biography_.
Page 241
, and without informing them of the connection with the Junto.
Page 318
And how, alas! can thy Service be rendered more tolerable to thee? If thou submittest thyself to a Scouring in the Kitchen, what must thou undergo from sharp Sand, hot Ashes, and a coarse Dishclout; besides the Danger of having thy Lips rudely torn, thy Countenance disfigured, thy Arms dismantled, and thy whole Frame shatter'd, with violent Concussions in an Iron Pot or Brass Kettle! And yet, O Mug! if these Dangers thou escapest, with little Injury, thou must at last untimely fall, be broken to Pieces, and cast away, never more to be recollected and form'd into a Quart Mug.
Page 323
I think opinions should be judged of by their influences and effects; and, if a man holds none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded he holds none that are dangerous; which I hope is the case with me.
Page 328
That, for defraying the expense of such experiments as the Society shall judge proper to cause to be made, and other contingent charges for the common good, every member send a piece of eight per annum to the treasurer, at Philadelphia, to form a common stock, to be disbursed by order of the President with the consent of the majority of the members that can conveniently be consulted thereupon, to such persons and places where and by whom the experiments are to be made, and otherwise as there shall be occasion; of which disbursements an exact account shall be kept, and communicated yearly to every member.
Page 432
| Aspects, &c.
Page 578
My son, when we parted, desired me to present his Affectionate respects to you, Lady Kames, and your amiable children: be so good with those, to accept mine, and believe me, with sincerest esteem, my dear Lord, &c.
Page 625
Lastly, invest the General of your army in the provinces, with great and unconstitutional powers, and free him from the controul of even your own Civil Governors.
Page 644
She has given us, by her numberless barbarities in the prosecution of the war, and in the treatment of prisoners, by her malice in bribing slaves to murder their masters, and savages to massacre the families of farmers, with her baseness in rewarding the unfaithfulness of servants, and debauching the virtue of honest seamen, intrusted with our property, so deep an impression of her depravity, that we never again can trust her in the management of our affairs and interests.
Page 664
much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the _whistle_ gave me pleasure.
Page 698
In this Faith let you & I, my dear Friend, comfort ourselves; it is the only Comfort, in the present dark Scene of Things, that is allow'd us.
Page 730
You could have given me Informations and Counsels that I wanted, but we were scarce a Minute together without being broke in upon.
Page 734
The Committee will judge of my Reasons when they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly change mine.
Page 766
There is no gap, but the gradation is complete.