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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 258

Whereas in America,
men bred to close employment in their private affairs, attend with
ease to those of the public, when engaged in them, and nothing fails
through negligence.

3. Respecting _frugality_; the manner of living in America is more
simple and less expensive than that in England: plain tables, plain
clothing, and plain furniture in houses prevail, with few carriages
of pleasure; there, an expensive appearance hurts credit, and
is avoided: in England, it is often assumed to gain credit, and
continued to ruin. Respecting _public_ affairs, the difference is
still greater. In England, the salaries of officers, and emoluments
of office are enormous. The king has a million sterling per annum,
and yet cannot maintain his family free of debt: secretaries of
state, lords of treasury, admiralty, &c. have vast appointments: an
auditor of the exchequer has sixpence in the pound, or a fortieth
part of all the public money expended by the nation; so that when a
war costs forty millions one million is paid to him: an inspector
of the mint, in the last new coinage, received as his fee 65,000_l._
sterling per annum; to all which rewards no service these gentlemen
can render the public is by any means equivalent. All this is paid
by the people, who are oppressed by taxes so occasioned, and thereby
rendered less able to contribute to the payment of necessary national
debts. In America, salaries, where indispensible, are extremely
low; but much of the public business is done gratis. The honour of
serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient. _Public
spirit_ really exists there, and has great effects. In England it
is universally deemed a non-entity, and whoever pretends to it is
laughed at as a fool, or suspected as a knave. The committees of
congress which form the board of war, the board of treasury, the
board of foreign affairs, the naval board, that for accounts, &c. all
attend the business of their respective functions, without any salary
or emolument whatever, though they spend in it much more of their
time than any lord of treasury or admiralty in England can spare from
his amusements. A British minister lately computed, that the whole
expence of the Americans, in their _civil_ government over three
millions of people amounted to but 70,000_l._ sterling, and drew from
thence a conclusion, that they ought to be taxed, until their expence
was equal in proportion to that which it costs Britain to govern
eight millions. He had no idea of a contrary conclusion, that if
three millions may be well governed for 70,000_l._ eight millions may
be as well governed for

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
The five letters which I have the honor to present were written to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society of London, in 1783, when Franklin was Minister to the Court of France and, with the collateral documents, they give perhaps the most complete and accurate account of the beginning of aerial navigation, enlivened with the humor and speculation characteristic of the writer.
Page 1
The Champ de Mars being surrounded by Multitudes, and vast Numbers on the opposite Side of the River.
Page 2
It is said that for some Days after its being filled, the Ball was found to lose an eighth Part of its Force of Levity in 24 Hours; Whether this was from Imperfection in the Tightness of the Ball, or a Change in the Nature of the Air, Experiments may easily discover.
Page 3
It is said the Country People who saw it fall were frightned, conceiv'd from its bounding a little, when it touched the Ground, that there was some living Animal in it, and attack'd it with Stones and Knives, so that it was much mangled; but it is now brought to Town and will be repaired.
Page 4
We have only at present the enclosed Pamphlet, which does not answer the expectation given us.
Page 5
But as more perfect Accounts of the Construction and Management of that Machine have been and will be published before your Transactions, and from which Extracts may be made that will be more particular and therefore more satisfactory, I think it best not to print those Letters.
Page 6
_La Machine poussee par le Vent s'est dirigee sur une des Allees du Jardin.
Page 7
conveying Intelligence into, or out of a besieged Town, giving Signals to distant Places, or the like.
Page 8
It does not seem to me a good reason to decline prosecuting a new Experiment which apparently increases the Power of Man over Matter, till we can see to what Use that Power may be applied.
Page 9
Page 10
When it arrived at its height, which I suppose might be 3 or 400 Toises, it appeared to have only horizontal Motion.
Page 11
Tuesday Morning, Dec.
Page 12
_Letter of August 30.
Page 13
Faujas de Saint-Fond, Paris, 1783.
Page 14
17, "Sept.