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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 141

petition proceeds to say, "that where such disturbances
have happened, they have been _speedily quieted_." By whom were
they quieted? The _two first_, if they can be said to be quieted,
were quieted only by the rioters themselves going home quietly
(that is, without any interruption) and remaining there till their
next insurrection, without any pursuit, or attempt to apprehend
any of them. And the _third_, was it quieted, or was the mischief
they intended prevented, or could it have been prevented, without
the aid of the king's troops, marched into the province for that
purpose?--"The civil powers have been supported," in some sort.
We all know how they were supported; but have they been _fully_
supported? Has the government sufficient strength, even with all its
supports, to venture on the apprehending and punishment of those
notorious offenders? If it has not, why are you angry at those who
would strengthen its hands by a more immediate royal authority? If
it has, why is not the thing done? Why will the government, by its
conduct, strengthen the suspicions (groundless no doubt) that it
has come to a private understanding with those murderers, and that
impunity for their past crimes is to be the reward of their future
political services?--O! but says the petition, "there are perhaps
cases in all governments where it may _not be possible speedily
to discover offenders_." Probably; but is there any case in any
government where it is not possible to _endeavour_ such a discovery?
There may be cases where it is not safe to do it: and perhaps the
best thing our government can say for itself is, that that is our
case. The only objection to such an apology must be, that it would
justify that part of the assembly's petition to the crown, which
relates to the _weakness_ of our present government.[68]

Still, if there is any _fault_, it must be _in the assembly_; for,
says the petition, "if the executive part of our government should
seem in any case too weak, we conceive it is the duty of the
assembly, and in _their_ power, to strengthen it." This weakness,
however, you have just denied. "Disturbances you say _have_ been
speedily quieted, and the civil power supported," and thereby you
have deprived your insinuated charge against the assembly of its only
support. But is it not a fact known to you all, that the assembly
_did_ endeavour to strengthen the hands of the government? That, at
his honour's instance, they prepared and passed in a few hours a bill
for extending hither the act of parliament for dispersing rioters?
That they also

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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In general it may be said that, whereas Bigelow gives the text without paragraphs, capital letters or the old spelling,[2] Smyth follows the originals more closely.
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The Champ de Mars being surrounded by Multitudes, and vast Numbers on the opposite Side of the River.
Page 2
Since writing the above, I am favour'd with your kind Letter of the 25th.
Page 3
I just now learn, that some observers say, the Ball was 150 Seconds in rising, from the Cutting of the Cord till hid in the Clouds; that its height was then about 500 Toises, but, being moved out of the Perpendicular by the Wind, it had made a Slant so as to form a Triangle, whose Base on the Earth was about 200 Toises.
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Some of the larger Balloons that have been up are preparing to be sent up again in a few Days; but I do not hear of any material improvements yet made either in the mechanical or Chemical parts of the Operation.
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But by means of some Cords that were still attach'd to it, it was soon brought upright again, made to descend, & carried back to its place.
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There is room in this Car for a little Table to be placed between them, on which they can write and keep their Journal, that is take Notes of every thing they observe, the State of their Thermometer, Barometer, Hygrometer, &c which they will have more Leisure to do than the others, having no fire to take Care of.
Page 8
A few Months since the Idea of Witches riding thro' the Air upon a Broomstick, and that of Philosophers upon a Bag of Smoke, would have appeared equally impossible and ridiculous.
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I had a Pocket Glass, with which I follow'd it, till I lost Sight, first of the Men, then of the Car, and when I last saw the Balloon, it appear'd no bigger than a Walnut.
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" Part of the valedictory and the signature are omitted by Bigelow and Smyth, but the former gives an "Extract of the Proposals" for the balloon of which I have no copy.
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The signature is in pencil in this copy.
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There are two occurences of "&c" for "&c.