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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 264

it becomes difficult to know their minds,
or what impression you make upon them. The missionaries who have
attempted to convert them to christianity, all complain of this as
one of the great difficulties of their mission. The Indians hear with
patience the truths of the gospel explained to them, and give their
usual tokens of assent and approbation: you would think they were
convinced. No such matter. It is mere civility.

A Swedish minister, having assembled the chiefs of the Sasquehannah
Indians, made a sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal
historical facts on which our religion is founded; such as the fall
of our first parents by eating an apple, the coming of Christ to
repair the mischief, his miracles and suffering, &c.--When he had
finished, an Indian orator stood up to thank him. "What you have told
us," says he, "is all very good. It is indeed bad to eat apples. It
is better to make them all into cyder. We are much obliged by your
kindness in coming so far, to tell us those things which you have
heard from your mothers. In return, I will tell you some of those we
have heard from ours.

"In the beginning, our fathers had only the flesh of animals to
subsist on, and if their hunting was unsuccessful, they were
starving. Two of our young hunters having killed a deer, made a fire
in the woods to broil some parts of it. When they were about to
satisfy their hunger, they beheld a beautiful young woman descend
from the clouds, and seat herself on that hill which you see yonder
among the Blue Mountains. They said to each other, it is a spirit
that perhaps has smelt our broiling venison, and wishes to eat of
it: let us offer some to her. They presented her with the tongue:
she was pleased with the taste of it, and said, Your kindness shall
be rewarded. Come to this place after thirteen moons, and you shall
find something that will be of great benefit in nourishing you and
your children to the latest generations. They did so, and to their
surprise, found plants they had never seen before; but which, from
that ancient time, have been constantly cultivated among us, to
our great advantage. Where her right hand had touched the ground,
they found maize; where her left hand had touched it, they found
kidney-beans; and where her backside had sat on it, they found
tobacco." The good missionary, disgusted with this idle tale, said,
"What I delivered to you were sacred truths, but what you tell

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

Page 0
Notwithstanding the stroke of humour in the concluding paragraph of this address, Poor Richard (Saunders) and Father Abraham have proved, in America, that they are no common preachers.
Page 1
Proprietors, W.
Page 2
' They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and, gathering round him, he proceeded as follows: 'Friends,' says he, 'the taxes are indeed very heavy; and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us.
Page 3
--If we are industrious, we shall never starve; for "at the working man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter.
Page 4
"Fly pleasures and they will follow you.
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Darton, Junr.
Page 6
For, in another place, he says, "Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.
Page 7
'But what madness it must be to run in debt for these superfluities? We are offered, by the terms of this sale, six months credit; and that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it.
Page 8
yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in gaol for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him.
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* * * * * Transcriber's Notes: Only the most obvious and clear punctuation errors repaired.