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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 73

much obliged to them. Under the care
and management of man, the labours of the little silkworm afford
employment and subsistence to thousands of families, and become an
immense article of commerce. The bee, too, yields us its delicious
honey, and its wax useful to a multitude of purposes. Another insect,
it is said, produces the cochineal, from whence we have our rich
scarlet dye. The usefulness of the cantharides or Spanish flies, in
medicine, is known to all, and thousands owe their lives to that
knowledge. By human industry and observation, other properties of
other insects may possibly be hereafter discovered, and of equal
utility. A thorough acquaintance with the nature of these little
creatures may also enable mankind to prevent the increase of such
as are noxious, or secure us against the mischiefs they occasion.
These things doubtless your books make mention of: I can only add
a particular late instance which I had from a Swedish gentleman of
good credit. In the green timber, intended for ship-building at the
king's yards in that country, a kind of worms were found, which every
year became more numerous and more pernicious, so that the ships were
greatly damaged before they came into use. The king sent Linnæus, the
great naturalist, from Stockholm, to enquire into the affair, and see
if the mischief was capable of any remedy. He found, on examination,
that the worm was produced from a small egg, deposited in the little
roughnesses on the surface of the wood, by a particular kind of fly
or beetle; from whence the worm, as soon as it was hatched, began
to eat into the substance of the wood, and after some time came out
again a fly of the parent kind, and so the species increased. The
season in which the fly laid its eggs, Linnæus knew to be about a
fortnight (I think) in the month of May, and at no other time in the
year. He therefore advised, that some days before that season, all
the green timber should be thrown into the water, and kept under
water till the season was over. Which being done by the king's order,
the flies missing their usual nests, could not increase; and the
species was either destroyed or went elsewhere; and the wood was
effectually preserved, for after the first year, it became too dry
and hard for their purpose.

There is, however, a prudent moderation to be used in studies of
this kind. The knowledge of nature may be ornamental, and it may
be useful, but if to attain an eminence in that, we neglect

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 2
Happening once to put her king into prize, the Doctor took it.
Page 28
] He had some ingenious men among his friends, who amus'd themselves by writing little pieces for this paper, which gain'd it credit and made it more in demand, and these gentlemen often visited us.
Page 29
I too was taken up and examin'd before the council; but, tho' 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 62
Walking the street very hungry, and not knowing what to do with himself, a crimp's bill[51] was put into his hand, offering immediate entertainment and encouragement to such as would bind themselves to serve in America.
Page 63
I objected my want of money.
Page 67
Such a one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle.
Page 68
Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterwards surveyor-general, who lov'd books, and sometimes made a few verses.
Page 77
It was lik'd and agreed to, and we fill'd one end of the room with such books as we could best spare.
Page 84
_Resolution_, once become habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavours to obtain all the subsequent virtues; _Frugality_ and Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc.
Page 102
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Page 107
I was one of those who were against any addition to our number, but, instead of it, made in writing a proposal, that every member separately should endeavour to form a subordinate club, with the same rules respecting queries, etc.
Page 108
I was, however, chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, as, besides the pay for the immediate service as clerk, the place gave me a better opportunity of keeping up an interest among the members, which secur'd to me the business of printing the votes, laws, paper money, and other occasional jobbs for the public, that, on the whole, were very profitable.
Page 115
When the company separated, and the papers were collected, we found above twelve hundred hands; and, other copies being dispersed in the country, the subscribers amounted at length to upward of ten.
Page 121
I told him this had always been the case with new sects, and that, to put a stop to such abuse, I imagin'd it might be well to publish the articles of their belief, and the rules of their discipline.
Page 126
It has already annihilated all the tribes who formerly inhabited the sea-coast.
Page 131
Gardens were closed in 1859, but they will always be remembered because of Sir Roger de Coverley's visit to them in the _Spectator_ and from the descriptions in Smollett's _Humphry Clinker_ and Thackeray's _Vanity Fair_.
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_ They write from Italy, that the Plague is no longer observ'd at Marseilles, Aix, & several other Places; and that at Toulon it is very much decreas'd: But alas! how should it be otherwise, when the Distemper hath hardly any Objects left to work upon? At Arles it is likewise abated, we fear for the same Reason.