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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 312

bushel of wheat, A and B meeting at half
distance with their commodities to make the exchange. The advantage
of this fair commerce is, that each party increases the number of his
enjoyments, having, instead of wheat alone, or wine alone, the use of
both wheat and wine.

9. Where the labour and expence of producing both commodities are
known to both parties, bargains will generally be fair and equal.
Where they are known to one party only, bargains will often be
unequal, knowledge taking its advantage of ignorance.

10. Thus he, that carries one thousand bushels of wheat abroad to
sell, may not probably obtain so great a profit thereon, as if he had
first turned the wheat into manufactures, by subsisting therewith
the workmen while producing those manufactures: since there are many
expediting and facilitating methods of working, not generally known;
and strangers to the manufactures, though they know pretty well the
expence of raising wheat, are unacquainted with those short methods
of working, and thence, being apt to suppose more labour employed
in the manufactures than there really is, are more easily imposed
on in their value, and induced to allow more for them than they are
honestly worth.

11. Thus the advantage of having manufactures in a country does not
consist, as is commonly supposed, in their highly advancing the
value of rough materials, of which they are formed; since, though
six-pennyworth of flax may be worth twenty shillings when worked into
lace, yet the very cause of its being worth twenty shillings, is,
that, besides the flax, it has cost nineteen shillings and sixpence
in subsistence to the manufacturer. But the advantage of manufactures
is, that under their shape provisions may be more easily carried to a
foreign market; and by their means our traders may more easily cheat
strangers. Few, where it is not made, are judges of the value of
lace. The importer may demand forty, and perhaps get thirty shillings
for that, which cost him but twenty.

12. Finally, there seem to be but three ways for a nation to
acquire wealth. The first is by _war_, as the Romans did, in
plundering their conquered neighbours. This is _robbery_.--The
second by _commerce_, which is generally _cheating_.--The third by
_agriculture_, the only _honest way_, wherein man receives a real
increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual
miracle wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his
innocent life, and his virtuous industry.


_April 4, 1769._


[84] This article has been inserted in The Repository for select
Papers on Agriculture,

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 37
This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly after, my mother spoke to him of a reconciliation, and a desire to see us upon good terms, he told her that I had so insulted him before his men, that he would never forget or forgive it: in this, however, he was mistaken.
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As Dr.
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Provisional articles of peace were agreed to, and signed at Paris on the 30th of November, 1782, by Dr.
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with his family, and a few friends who visited him, but was often employed in doing business of a public as well as private nature, with various persons who waited on him for that purpose; and in every instance displayed, not only that readiness and disposition of doing good, which was the distinguishing characteristic of his life, but the fullest and clearest possession of his uncommon mental abilities; and not unfrequently indulged himself in those _jeux d'esprit_ and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard him.
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But if the phials were charged, the one through the hook, and the other[34] through the coating, the ball, when it is repelled from one hook, will be as strongly attracted by the other, and play vigorously between them, fetching the electric fluid from the one, and delivering it to the other, till both phials are nearly discharged.
Page 145
more speedily and easily deposite their water, having but little electrical fire to repel and keep the particles separate.
Page 159
from the stroke of lightning, by directing us to fix on the highest parts of those edifices, upright rods of iron made sharp as a needle, and gilt to prevent rusting, and from the foot of those rods a wire down the outside of the building into the ground, or down round one of the shrouds of a ship, and down her side till it reaches the water? Would not these pointed rods probably draw the electrical fire silently out of a cloud before it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us from that most sudden and terrible mischief? 21.
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The action of fire only _separates_ the particles of matter, it does not _annihilate_ them.
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I observe, that when I hold my knuckle before the sulphur globe, while turning, the stream of fire between my knuckle and the globe seems to spread on its surface,.
Page 215
Near the bell was fixed an iron hammer to strike the hours; and from the tail of the hammer a wire went down through a small gimlet-hole in the floor that the bell stood upon, and through a second floor in like manner; then horizontally under and near the plaistered cieling of that second floor, till it came near a plaistered wall; then down by the side of that wall to a clock, which stood about twenty feet below the bell.
Page 219
That some clouds are highly charged with electrical fire, and that their communicating it to those that have less, to mountains and other eminencies, makes it visible and audible, when it is denominated lightning and thunder, is highly probable: but that the sea, which you suppose the grand source of it, can collect it, I think admits of a doubt: for though the sea be composed of salt and water, an electric _per se_ and non-electric, and though the friction of electrics _per se_ and non-electrics, will collect that fire, yet it is only under certain circumstances, which water will not admit.
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I am very much pleased that the explication I sent you, of the crooked direction of lightning, meets with your approbation.
Page 246
When a man lights an hundred candles from the flame of one, without diminishing that flame, can it be properly said to have _communicated_ all that fire? When a single spark from a flint, applied to a magazine of gunpowder, is immediately attended with this consequence, that the whole is in flame, exploding with immense violence, could all this fire exist first in the spark? We cannot conceive it.
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The discharging knob does by a screw approach the conductor to the distance intended, but there remains fixed.
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If the shock be communicated by the latter body, and not by the others, it is probably not the mechanical effect, as has been supposed, of some muscular action in the fish, but of a subtile fluid, in this respect analogous at least to the electric fluid.
Page 289
Pour les affermir toutes ensemble, l'on à cloué sur chacune des entretoises à vingt pieds de hauteur; & comme le grand vent agitoit encore cette espéce d'édifice, l'on a attaché au haut de chaque perche de longs cordages, qui tenant lieu d'aubans, répondent par le bas à de bons piquets fortement enfoncés en terre à plus de 20 pieds des perches.
Page 291
Aujourd'hui à deux heures 20 minutes après midi, le tonnerre a grondé directement sur Marly; le coup a été assez fort.
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