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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 321

several points, interesting to those
concerned in agriculture, are from time to time discussed by some
able hands. In looking over one of the volumes of this work a few
days ago, I found a little piece written by one of our countrymen,
and which our vigilant neighbours had taken from the London Chronicle
in 1766. The author is a gentleman well known to every man of letters
in Europe, and perhaps there is none, in this age, to whom mankind in
general are more indebted.

"That this piece may not be lost to our own country, I beg you will
give it a place in your Repository: it was written in favour of the
farmers, when they suffered so much abuse in our public papers, and
were also plundered by the mob in many places."

The principles on which this piece is grounded are given more at
large in the Political Fragments, art. 2. B. V.

[87] It is not necessary to repeat in what degree Dr. Franklin
respected the ministers, to whom he alludes.--The embargo upon corn
was but a single measure, which, it is enough to say, an host of
politicians thought well advised, but ill defended. Of the great
and honourable services of the earl of Chatham to his country, Dr.
Franklin has borne the amplest testimony. B. V.

[88] The late Mr. Owen Ruffhead, being some time ago employed in
preparing _a digest of our poor laws_, communicated a copy of it to
Dr. Franklin for his advice. Dr. Franklin recommended, that provision
should be made therein, for the printing on a sheet of paper and
dispersing, in each parish in the kingdom, annual accounts of every
disbursement and receipt of its officers. It is obvious to remark,
how greatly this must tend to check both the officers and the poor,
and to inform and interest the parishioners with respect to parish
concerns.--Some of the American colonies actually practise this
measure with a success which might justify its adoption here. B. V.




TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN, ESQ[89].

_On Luxury, Idleness, and Industry._

Written in 1784.


It is wonderful how preposterously the affairs of this world are
managed. Naturally one would imagine, that the interest of a few
individuals should give way to general interest; but individuals
manage their affairs with so much more application, industry, and
address, than the public do theirs, that, general interest most
commonly gives way to particular. We assemble parliaments and
councils, to have the benefit of their collected wisdom; but we
necessarily have, at the same time, the inconvenience of their
collected passions, prejudices, and private interests. By

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 4
Natives of Britain were always treated with particular regard; to be an "Old England man" was, of itself, a character of some respect, and gave a kind of rank among us.
Page 29
Then I made myself as tidy as I could, and went to Andrew Bradford the printer's.
Page 62
George Webb, who had found a female friend that lent him wherewith to purchase his time of Keimer, now came to offer himself as a journeyman to us.
Page 68
Whether this was a real change of sentiment, or only artifice, on a supposition of our being too far engaged in affection to retract, and therefore that we should steal a marriage, which would leave them at liberty to give or withhold what they pleased, I know not; but I suspected the latter, resented it, and went no more.
Page 70
It is become a great thing itself, and continually increasing.
Page 76
"Were the finest young princess with millions in purse, To be had in exchange for my Joan, I could not get better wife, might get a worse, So I'll stick to my dearest old Joan.
Page 81
16, 17.
Page 111
An ironmonger in London, however, assuming a good deal of my pamphlet, and working it up into his own, and making some small changes in the machine, which rather hurt its operation, got a patent for it there, and made, as I was told, a little fortune by it.
Page 115
The House named the speaker (Mr.
Page 117
Unwilling to make myself disagreeable to my fellow-citizens by too frequently soliciting their contributions, I absolutely refused.
Page 118
He did so, for he asked of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum than he expected, with which he erected the capacious and very elegant meetinghouse that stands in Arch Street.
Page 132
If you are really, as I believe you are, good and loyal subjects to his Majesty, you may now do a most acceptable service, and make it easy to yourselves; for three or four of such as cannot separately spare from the business of their plantations a wagon and four horses and a driver, may do it together, one furnishing the wagon, another, one or two horses, and another, the driver, .
Page 135
But he had too much self-confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians.
Page 138
I looked grave, and said it would, I thought, be time enough to prepare for the rejoicing when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice.
Page 140
It seems they were either deceived in themselves or deceived the Parliament; but common sense, aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.
Page 142
This kind of fire, so managed, could not discover them, either by its light, flame, sparks, or even smoke.
Page 147
] [Footnote 176: Fifty-five miles north of Philadelphia.
Page 160
I recollected that about twenty years before, a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the ministry had proposed to make the king's instructions laws in the colonies, but the clause was thrown out by the Commons, for which we adored them as our friends and friends of liberty, till by their conduct toward us in 1765 it seemed that they had refused that point of sovereignty to the king only that they might reserve it for themselves.
Page 166
However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says.
Page 175
= The great scholar and historian, Gibbon, agreed with Franklin concerning the languages.