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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 314

fail of procuring a sufficiency
for any of them. If indeed any government is so imprudent, as to lay
its hands on imported corn, forbid its exportation, or compel its
sale at limited prices, there the people may suffer some famine from
merchants avoiding their ports. But wherever commerce is known to be
always free, and the merchant absolute master of his commodity, as in
Holland, there will always be a reasonable supply.

When an exportation of corn takes place, occasioned by a higher price
in some foreign countries, it is common to raise a clamour, on the
supposition, that we shall thereby produce a domestic famine. Then
follows a prohibition, founded on the imaginary distress of the poor.
The poor, to be sure, if in distress, should be relieved; but if the
farmer could have a high price for his corn from the foreign demand,
must he, by a prohibition of exportation, be compelled to take a
low price, not of the poor only, but of every one that eats bread,
even the richest? the duty of relieving the poor is incumbent on the
rich; but by this operation the whole burden of it is laid on the
farmer, who is to relieve the rich at the same time. Of the poor too,
those, who are maintained by the parishes, have no right to claim
this sacrifice of the farmer; as, while they have their allowance,
it makes no difference to them, whether bread be cheap or dear.
Those working poor, who now mind business only _five_ or _four_
days in the week, if bread should be so dear, as to oblige them to
work the whole _six_ required by the commandment, do not seem to be
aggrieved, so as to have a right to public redress. There will then
remain, comparatively, only a few families in every district, who,
from sickness, or a great number of children, will be so distressed
by a high price of corn, as to need relief; and these should be taken
care of by particular benefactions, without restraining the farmer's

Those, who fear, that exportation may so far drain the country of
corn, as to starve ourselves, fear what never did, nor ever can
happen. They may as well, when they view the tide ebbing towards
the sea, fear, that all the water will leave the river. The price
of corn, like water, will find its own level. The more we export,
the dearer it becomes at home; the more is received abroad, the
cheaper it becomes there; and as soon as these prices are equal,
the exportation stops

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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 1
To Madame Brillon, of Passy 40 The Whistle.
Page 49
Again: he that sells upon credit, asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is to be kept out of it; therefore, he that buys upon credit pays interest for what he buys, and he that pays ready money might let that money out to use: so that he that possesses anything he bought, pays interest for the use of it.
Page 50
Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.
Page 59
If, passing through a room where public treasure is deposited, a man takes the opportunity of clandestinely pocketing and carrying off a guinea, is he not truly and properly a thief? And if another evades paying into the treasury a guinea he ought to pay in, and applies it to his own use, when he knows it belongs to the public as much as that which has been paid in, what difference is there in the nature of the crime or the baseness of committing it? * * * * * REMARKS CONCERNING THE SAVAGES OF NORTH AMERICA.
Page 70
Page 89
--I would be glad to know how you approve my conduct.
Page 108
Page 118
Look upon your hands! they are stained with the blood of your relations! You and I were long friends: you are now my enemy, and--I am yours, B.
Page 126
I had the curiosity to procure the book and read it.
Page 141
Do you possess it? If you do, and I were twenty years younger, I would give your father one thousand guineas for you.
Page 173
Had his counsels in those pieces been attended to by the ministers, how much bloodshed might have been prevented, and how much expense and disgrace to the nation avoided! "Your reflections on the constant calmness and composure attending his death are very sensible.
Page 187
That this effort being made in all directions indifferently, the fire, dilating and expanding on all hands, and endeavouring to get room and make its way through all obstacles, falls as foul on the waters of the abyss beneath as on the earth above, forcing it forth, which way soever it can find vent or passage, as well through its ordinary exits, wells, springs, and the outlets of rivers, as through the chasms then newly opened, through the _camini_ or spiracles of Aetna, or other neighbouring volcanoes, and those hiatuses at the bottom of the sea whereby the abyss below opens into it and communicates with it.
Page 189
But it is found by experiment that, the more air is compressed, the more does the same degree of heat increase its spring, and the more capable does it render it of a violent effect; and that, for instance, the degree of heat of boiling water increases the spring of the air above what it has in its natural state, in our climate, by a quantity equal to a third of the weight wherewith it is pressed.
Page 200
And when the rain has wetted the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle.
Page 225
into any of them, the fluid parts of the water must evaporate from that heat, and pass off through some volcano, while the salt remains, and, by degrees and continual accretion, becomes a great mass.
Page 234
But as it is often lost time to attempt accounting for uncertain facts, I determined to make an experiment of this when I should have convenient time and opportunity.
Page 235
And the following are the results: Water 1-1/2 inches deep.
Page 238
It must lie in water so deep as that you cannot reach it to take it up but by diving for it.
Page 241
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 likely to procure assent.
Page 244
To a lively fancy he joined a learned, a deep reflection; his original and inventive genius stooped to the convenient alliance of the most ordinary prudence in every-day affairs; the mind that soared above the clouds, and was conversant with the loftiest of human contemplations, disdained not to make.