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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 324

of the
world, and the rest of the twenty-four hours might be leisure and

What occasions then so much want and misery? It is the employment
of men and women in works, that produce neither the necessaries
nor conveniences of life, who, with those who do nothing, consume
necessaries raised by the laborious. To explain this.

The first elements of wealth are obtained by labour, from the earth
and waters. I have land, and raise corn. With this, if I feed a
family that does nothing, my corn will be consumed, and at the end of
the year I shall be no richer than I was at the beginning. But if,
while I feed them, I employ them, some in spinning, others in making
bricks, &c. for building, the value of my corn will be arrested and
remain with me, and at the end of the year we may all be better
clothed and better lodged. And if, instead of employing a man I feed
in making bricks, I employ him in fiddling for me, the corn he eats
is gone, and no part of his manufacture remains to augment the wealth
and convenience of the family: I shall therefore be the poorer for
this fiddling man, unless the rest of my family work more, or eat
less, to make up the deficiency he occasions.

Look round the world, and see the millions employed in doing nothing,
or in something that amounts to nothing, when the necessaries and
conveniences of life are in question. What is the bulk of commerce,
for which we fight and destroy each other, but the toil of millions
for superfluities, to the great hazard and loss of many lives, by the
constant dangers of the sea? How much labour is spent in building and
fitting great ships, to go to China and Arabia for tea and coffee,
to the West Indies for sugar, to America for tobacco? These things
cannot be called the necessaries of life, for our ancestors lived
very comfortably without them.

A question may be asked: could all these people now employed in
raising, making, or carrying superfluities, be subsisted by raising
necessaries? I think they might. The world is large, and a great part
of it still uncultivated. Many hundred millions of acres in Asia,
Africa, and America, are still in a forest, and a great deal even
in Europe. On a hundred acres of this forest a man might become a
substantial farmer, and a hundred thousand men, employed in clearing
each his hundred acres, would hardly brighten a spot big enough to be
visible from the

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

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Page 12
The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones, which were found in our wharf.
Page 21
I, too, was taken up and examined before the council; but, though I did not give them any satisfaction, they contented themselves with admonishing me, and dismissed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who was bound to keep his master's secrets.
Page 46
on those subjects, carried me to the Horns, a pale-ale house in ---- Lane, Cheapside, and introduced me to Dr.
Page 53
] [Footnote 77: A name given to a part of London.
Page 55
At length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas,[85] instead of discharging his debts he walked out of town, hid his gown in a furze bush, and footed it to London, where, having no friends to advise him, he fell into bad company, soon spent his guineas, found no means of being introduced among the players, grew necessitous, pawned his clothes, and wanted bread.
Page 58
Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it may be well to let you know the then state of my mind with regard to my principles and morals, that you may see how far those influenced the future events of my life.
Page 68
The answer to this, after some days, was that they did not approve the match; that, on inquiry of Bradford, they had been informed the printing business was not a profitable one; the types would soon be worn out and more wanted; that S.
Page 85
It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owed the constant felicity of his life, down to his seventy-ninth year, in which this is written.
Page 86
a good constitution; to industry and frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to sincerity and justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper and that cheerfulness in conversation which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance.
Page 97
By inoculation the smallpox poison was introduced into the arm, and produced a milder form of the disease.
Page 101
Page 112
] [Footnote 137: It is still used, and called the "Franklin stove.
Page 132
The service will be light and easy, for the army will scarce march above twelve miles per day, and the wagons and baggage horses, as they carry those things that are absolutely necessary to the welfare of the army, must march with the army, and no faster; and are, for the army's sake, always placed where they can be most secure, whether in a march or in a camp.
Page 133
The owners, however, alleging they did not know General Braddock, or what dependence might be had on his promise, insisted on my bond for the performance, which I accordingly gave them.
Page 135
" Having before revolved in my mind the long line his army must make in their march by a very narrow road, to be cut for them through the woods and bushes, and also what I had read of a former defeat of fifteen hundred French, who invaded the Iroquois country, I had conceived some doubts and some fears for the event of the campaign.
Page 143
punctually served out to them, half in the morning, and the other half in the evening, and I observed they were as punctual in attending to receive it; upon which I said to Mr.
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 163
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This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for, though I have been, if I may say it without vanity, an eminent author (of almanacs) annually, now a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way, for what reason I know not, have ever been very sparing in their applauses and no other author has taken the least notice of me; so that, did not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged me.