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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 170

appear to
have been original in conceiving _stamps_ as a proper subject for his
new tax. See ib. vol. I. B. V.

_Letter concerning the Gratitude of America, and the probability
and effects of an Union with Great Britain; and concerning the
Repeal or Suspension of the Stamp-Act._[80]

_Jan. 6, 1766._


I have attentively perused the paper you sent me, and am of opinion,
that the measure it proposes, of an _union_ with the colonies, is a
wise one: but I doubt it will hardly be thought so here, till it is
too late to attempt it. The time has been, when the colonies would
have esteemed it a great advantage, as well as honour to them, to be
permitted to send members to parliament; and would have asked for
that privilege, if they could have had the least hopes of obtaining
it. The time is now come, when they are indifferent about it, and
will probably not ask it, though they might accept it if offered
them; and the time will come, when they will certainly refuse it.
But if such an union were now established (which methinks it highly
imports this country to establish) it would probably subsist as long
as Britain shall continue a nation. This people, however, is too
proud, and too much despises the Americans, to bear the thought of
admitting them to such an equitable participation in the government
of the whole. Then the _next best_ thing seems to be, leaving them
in the quiet enjoyment of their respective constitutions; and when
money is wanted for any public service in which they ought to bear
a part, calling upon them by requisitorial letters from the crown
(according to the long established custom) to grant such aids as
their loyalty shall dictate, and their abilities permit. The very
sensible and benevolent author of that paper, seems not to have
known, that such a constitutional custom subsists, and has always
hitherto been practised in America; or he would not have expressed
himself in this manner: "It is evident beyond a doubt, to the
intelligent and impartial, that after the very extraordinary efforts,
which were effectually made by Great Britain in the late war to
save the colonists from destruction, and attended of necessity with
an enormous load of debts in consequence, that the same colonists,
now firmly secured from foreign enemies, should be somehow induced
to contribute some proportion towards the exigencies of state in
future." This looks as if he conceived the war had been carried on
at the sole expence of Great

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 34
He received me very affectionately, for he always loved me.
Page 39
Ralph was ingenious, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I never knew a prettier talker.
Page 43
I picked out six or seven, that, by the handwriting, I thought might be the promised letters, especially as one of them was directed to Basket, the king's printer, and another to some stationer.
Page 52
had given William Penn, were Penn's sons.
Page 53
of type.
Page 64
Hamilton, before mentioned, who was then returned from England, and had a seat in it.
Page 67
However, as he kept the post office, it was imagined he had better opportunities of obtaining news.
Page 68
Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it, which occasioned some resentment on my part; and I thought so meanly of him for it that, when I afterward came into his situation, I took care never to imitate it.
Page 74
At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things;" and I imagined, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality.
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 87
I even forbade myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as "certainly," "undoubtedly," etc.
Page 89
"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of mankind.
Page 94
[n] We are told that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and, having acquired that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are derived from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek in order more easily to acquire the Latin.
Page 102
" He replied that if I made that kind offer for Christ's sake I should not miss of a reward; and I returned: "Don't let me be mistaken; it was not for Christ's sake, but for your own sake.
Page 107
Many pamphlets pro and con were published on the subject, and some by good Quakers in favor of defense, which I believe convinced most of their younger people.
Page 112
By so dividing it I judged the subscription might be larger, and I believe it was so, amounting to no less, if I remember right, than five thousand pounds.
Page 117
A convenient and handsome building was soon erected; the institution has, by constant experience, been found useful, and flourishes to this day; and I do not remember any of my political maneuvers the success of which gave me at the time more pleasure, or wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily excused myself for having made some use of cunning.
Page 135
I consider this payment as good luck, having never been able to obtain that remainder, of which more hereafter.
Page 146
I had not so good an opinion of my military abilities as he professed to have, and I believe his professions must have exceeded his real sentiments; but probably he might think that my popularity would facilitate the raising of the men, and my influence in Assembly, the grant of money to pay them, and that, perhaps, without taxing the proprietary estate.
Page 168
The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes.