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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 262

think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.

Perhaps, if we could examine the manners of different nations with
impartiality, we should find no people so rude, as to be without any
rules of politeness; nor any so polite, as not to have some remains
of rudeness.

The Indian men, when young, are hunters and warriors; when old,
counsellors; for all their government is by the council or advice
of the sages; there is no force, there are no prisons, no officers
to compel obedience, or inflict punishment. Hence they generally
study oratory, the best speaker having the most influence. The
Indian women till the ground, dress the food, nurse and bring up
the children, and preserve and hand down to posterity the memory
of public transactions. These employments of men and women are
accounted natural and honourable. Having few artificial wants, they
have abundance of leisure for improvement by conversation. Our
laborious manner of life, compared with theirs, they esteem slavish
and base; and the learning on which we value ourselves, they regard
as frivolous and useless. An instance of this occurred at the treaty
of Lancaster, in Pensylvania, anno 1744, between the government
of Virginia and the six nations. After the principal business was
settled, the commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a
speech, that there was at Williamsburg a college, with a fund, for
educating Indian youth; and that if the chiefs of the Six Nations
would send down half a dozen of their sons to that college, the
government would take care that they should be well provided for,
and instructed in all the learning of the white people. It is one of
the Indian rules of politeness, not to answer a public proposition
the same day that it is made; they think it would be treating it
as a light matter, and that they show it respect by taking time
to consider it, as of a matter important. They therefore deferred
their answer till the day following; when their speaker began,
by expressing their deep sense of the kindness of the Virginia
government, in making them that offer; "for we know," says he, "that
you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those colleges, and
that the maintenance of our young men, while with you, would be very
expensive to you. We are convinced therefore, that you mean to do us
good by your proposal; and we thank you heartily. But you, who are
wise, must know, that different nations have different conceptions
of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our ideas of
this kind

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 0
The tone of familiarity, of good-will, and harmless jocularity; the plain and pointed illustrations; the short sentences, made.
Page 1
Page 14
But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual search for words of the same import, but of different lengths, to suit the measure, or of different sounds for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.
Page 21
Some people came down to the shore and hallooed to us, as we did to them, but the wind was so high and the surf so loud that we could not understand each other.
Page 39
Ralph and I were inseparable companions.
Page 41
I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon acquired considerable influence.
Page 59
The utility of this currency became by time and experience so evident, that the principles upon which it was founded were never afterward much disputed; so that it grew soon to fifty-five thousand pounds; and in 1739, to eighty thousand pounds, trade, building, and inhabitants all the while increasing: though I now think there are limits beyond which the quantity may be hurtful.
Page 71
Your attribution appears to have been applied to your _life_, and the passing moments of it have been enlivened with content and enjoyment, instead of being tormented with foolish impatience or regrets.
Page 83
And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once (which would exceed his reach and his strength), but works on one of the beds at a time, and having accomplished the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have (I hoped) the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till, in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen week's daily examination.
Page 101
The last time I saw Mr.
Page 112
I sent one of these papers to each house, and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe to an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously signed, and, for a time, well executed.
Page 113
The honour of this public benefit has also been ascribed to me, but it belongs truly to that gentleman.
Page 118
But he was so good-natured a man, that no personal difference between him and me was occasioned by the contest, and we often dined together.
Page 139
He gave me information that my old friend Ralph was still alive, that he was esteemed one of the best political writers in England; had been employed in the dispute between Prince Frederic and the king, and had obtained a pension of three hundred pounds a year; that his reputation was indeed small as a poet, but his prose was thought as good as any man's.
Page 173
His sagacity was so sharp and his science so various, that, whatever might be the profession or occupation of those with whom he conversed, he could meet every one upon his own ground.
Page 174
His manners were easy and accommodating, and his address winning and respectful.
Page 177
The above observation is made merely as some apology to my family for my making bequests that do not appear to have any immediate relation to their advantage.
Page 179
of the donation to the town of Boston then lay out, at their discretion, one hundred thousand pounds in public works, which may be judged of most general utility to the inhabitants, such as fortifications, bridges, aqueducts, public buildings, baths, pavements, or whatever may make living in the town more convenient to its people, and render it more agreeable to strangers resorting thither for health or a temporary residence.
Page 195
_ But suppose Great Britain should be engaged in a _war in Europe_, would North America contribute to the support of it? _A.
Page 205
Joy touched the hero's tender soul, to find So just reception from a heart so kind; And 'Oh, ye gods, with all your blessings grace' (He thus broke forth) 'this friend of human race!' The swain replied: 'It never was our guise To slight the poor, or aught humane despise.