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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 304

Rome were at any period calculated
to promote the happiness of individuals, it is not my design to
examine; but that their manners, and the effects of those manners
on their government and public conduct, founded, enlarged, and
supported, and afterwards overthrew their empire, is beyond all
doubt. One of the effects of their conquest furnishes us with a
strong proof, how prevalent manners are even beyond quantity of
subsistence; for, when the custom of bestowing on the citizens of
Rome corn enough to support themselves and families was become
established, and Egypt and Sicily produced the grain, that fed the
inhabitants of Italy, this became less populous every day, and the
_jus trium liberorum_ was but an expedient, that could not balance
the want of industry and frugality.

But corruption of manners did not only thin the inhabitants of the
Roman empire, it rendered the remainder incapable of defence, long
before its fall, perhaps before the dissolution of the republic; so
that without standing disciplined armies, composed of men, whose
moral habits principally, and mechanical habits secondarily, made
them different from the body of the people, the Roman empire had been
a prey to the barbarians many ages before it was.

By the mechanical habits of the soldiery, I mean their discipline,
and the art of war; and that this is but a secondary quality appears
from the inequality that has in all ages been between raw, though
well disciplined armies, and veterans, and more from the irresistible
force a single moral habit, religion, has conferred on troops,
frequently neither disciplined nor experienced.

The military manners of the noblesse in France, compose the chief
force of that kingdom, and the enterprising manners and restless
dispositions of the inhabitants of Canada have enabled a handful of
men to harass our populous, and, generally, less martial colonies;
yet neither are of the value they seem at first sight, because
overbalanced by the defect they occasion of other habits, that would
produce more eligible political good: and military manners in a
people are not necessary in an age and country where such manners may
be occasionally formed and preserved among men enough to defend the
state; and such a country is Great Britain, where, though the lower
class of people are by no means of a military cast, yet they make
better soldiers than even the noblesse of France.

The inhabitants of this country, a few ages back, were to the
populous and rich provinces of France, what Canada is now to the
British colonies. It is true, there was less disproportion between
their natural strength; but I mean, that the riches of

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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

Page 32
Philosophers do generally affirm that human knowledge to be most excellent which is conversant among the most excellent things.
Page 38
a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but if he sees you at a billiard-table, or hears your voice at a tavern when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day; demands it, before he can receive it, in a lump.
Page 42
_ When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind or of his fortune to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, _Mistaken man_, said I, _you are providing pain for yourself instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.
Page 47
How, then, is it possible, said my friend, that you can keep on your business? Indeed, sir, answered she, I must of necessity shut my doors, had I not a very great trade.
Page 50
Two simple rules, well observed, will do the business.
Page 73
In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.
Page 78
The housemaid, who had been long looking out for such an opportunity, immediately entered with the usual implements, and with great alacrity fell to cleaning the room and putting things to _rights_.
Page 88
The fine clock I have transformed into an hourglass, by which I have gained a good round sum; and one of the pieces of the old looking-glass, squared and framed, supplies the place of the great one, which I have conveyed into a closet, where it may possibly remain some years.
Page 101
This may at first seem troublesome and interrupting; but it is a trouble that will daily diminish, as you will daily find less and less occasion for your dictionary, as you become more acquainted with the terms; and in the mean time you will read with more satisfaction, because with more understanding.
Page 103
"MY DEAR LORD, I received your obliging favour of January the 19th.
Page 116
If I find a reason _pro_ equal to some _two_ reasons _con_ I strike out the _three_.
Page 127
"I write this letter to you, notwithstanding (which I think I can convey in a less mysterious manner; and guess it may come to your hands); I write it because I would let you know our sense of your procedure, which appears as insidious as that of your conciliatory bills.
Page 131
But, since my opinion seems to be desired, I give it for continuing to the end of the term, under all the present disagreeable circumstances: the connexion will then die a natural death.
Page 135
At present I do not know of more than two such enemies that I enjoy, viz.
Page 148
Hence the public has the right of regulating descents, and all other conveyances of property, and even of limiting the quantity and the uses of it.
Page 161
' I have no copy of these remarks at hand, and forget how the saying was introduced, that it is better a thousand guilty persons should escape than one innocent suffer.
Page 197
And, in passing through the house, it follows the direction of these conductors, taking as many in its way as can assist it in its passage, whether in a straight or crooked line, leaping from one to the other, if not far distant from each other, only rending the wall in the spaces where these partial good conductors are too distant from each other.
Page 213
As the whirl weakens, the tube may (in appearance) separate in the middle; the column of water subsiding, and the superior condensed part drawing up to the cloud.
Page 227
The common supply of rivers is from springs, which draw their origin from rain that has soaked into the earth.
Page 239