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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 132

request; they were signed by a very
great[67] number of the most substantial inhabitants; and not the
least intimation was received by the assembly from any other of their
constituents, that the method was _disapproved_; except in a petition
from an obscure town-ship in Lancaster county, to which there were
about forty names indeed, but all evidently signed by three hands
only. What could the assembly infer from the expressed willingness of
a part, and silence of the rest; but that the measure was universally
agreeable! They accordingly resumed the consideration of it; and
though a small, very small opposition then appeared to it in the
house; yet as even that was founded not on the impropriety of the
thing; but on supposed unsuitableness of the time or the manner, and
a majority of nine tenths being still for it; a petition was drawn
agreeable to the former resolve, and ordered to be transmitted to his

But the preface tells us, that these _petitioners_ for a change were
a "number of rash, ignorant, and inconsiderate people," and generally
of a _low rank_. To be sure they were not of the proprietary
officers, dependents, or expectants; and those are chiefly the people
of high rank among us; but they were otherwise generally men of the
best estates in the province, and men of reputation. The assembly,
who come from all parts of the country, and therefore may be supposed
to know them, at least as well as the prefacer, have given that
testimony of them. But what is the testimony of the assembly; who
in his opinion are equally rash, ignorant, and inconsiderate with
the petitioners? And if his judgment is right, how imprudently and
contrary to their charter, have his _three hundred thousand souls_
acted in their elections of assembly-men these twenty years past; for
the charter requires them to choose men of _most note_ for _virtue_,
_wisdom_ and _ability_!

But these are qualities engrossed, it seems, by the _proprietary_
party. For they say, "the _wiser_ and _better_ part of the province
had far different notions of this measure: they considered, that
the moment they put their hands to these petitions they might be
surrendering up their birthright." I felicitate them on the _honour_
they have thus bestowed upon themselves; on the _sincere_ compliments
thus given and accepted; and on their having with such noble freedom
discarded the snivelling pretence to modesty, couched in that
threadbare form of words, "though we say it, that should not say
it." But is it not surprising, that, during the seven weeks recess
of the assembly, expressly to consult their constituents on the

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
By R.
Page 1
coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
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of 32 Biographical Sketches of Eminent British Characters 1 6 Ditto, containing a Description of the most distinguished Places in England 1 6 *** Just published, The Mice & their Pic Nic; a good Moral Tale, price with neat coloured plates 1 0 THE WAY TO WEALTH.
Page 3
[Illustration: The Sun shone yesterday, and I would not work, to-day it rains and I cannot work.
Page 4
" 'And again, "The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands:" and again, "Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge;" and again, "Not to oversee workmen, is to leave them your purse open.
Page 5
" And farther, "What maintains one vice, would bring up two children.
Page 6
" But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice.
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" And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.
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And when you have got the Philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
Page 9
[Illustration: FINIS.