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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 284

grow, the more apt I
am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment
of others. Most men, indeed, as well as most sects in religion, think
themselves in possession of all truth, and that whenever others
differ from them, it is so far error. Steel, a protestant, in a
dedication, tells the pope, that "the only difference between our two
churches, in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is,
the Romish church is infallible, and the church of England never in
the wrong." But, though many private persons think almost as highly
of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express
it so naturally as a certain French lady, who, in a little dispute
with her sister, said, I don't know how it happens, sister, but I
meet with nobody but myself that is always in the right. _Il n'y a
que moi qui a toujours raison._ In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to
this constitution, with all its faults, if they are such, because I
think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of
government but what may be a blessing, if well administered; and
I believe farther, that this is likely to be well administered for
a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms
have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted
as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. I
doubt too, whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able
to make a better constitution. For when you assemble a number of
men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably
assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions,
their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish
views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?
It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching
so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our
enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear, that our councils
are confounded, like those of the builders of Babylon, and that our
states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the
purpose of cutting each other's throats.

Thus I consent, sir, to this constitution, because I expect no
better, and because I am not sure, that this is not the best. The
opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good.
I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these
walls they were born, and here they shall die.

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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_Poor Richard's Almanac_ and Other Activities 169 XI.
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Franklin is also interesting to us because by his life and teachings he has done more than any other American to advance the material prosperity of his countrymen.
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He invented the Franklin stove, still widely used, and refused to patent it.
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Here was the country seat of the Bishop of St.
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into measures that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to _inform_ or to be _informed_, to _please_ or to _persuade_, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat everyone of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure.
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I was not a little surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig poison'd.
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He continued to write frequently, sending me large specimens of an epic poem which he was then composing, and desiring my remarks and corrections.
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John, the Irishman, soon ran away; with the rest I began to live very agreeably, for they all respected me the more, as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and that from me they learned something daily.
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In this way my affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after practis'd it on such occasions; and, from my frequent successes, can heartily recommend it.
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Those we found inconvenient in these respects: they admitted no air below; the smoke, therefore, did not readily go out above, but circulated in the globe, lodg'd on its inside, and soon obstructed the light they were intended to afford; giving, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and render it totally useless.
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Being the winter following in Boston, I had much conversation with Governor Shirley upon both the plans.
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some experience of a camp life, and of its wants, drew up a list for me, which I enclos'd in my letter.
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The Indians had burned Gnadenhut,[103].
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One man builds the hull, another rigs her, a third lades and sails her.
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What it was when they did receive it I never learnt, for they did not communicate it to me, but sent a long message to the Assembly drawn and signed by Paris, reciting my paper, complaining of its want of formality, as a rudeness on my part, and giving a flimsy justification of their conduct, adding that they should be willing to accommodate matters if the Assembly would send out _some person of candour_ to treat with them for that purpose, intimating thereby that I was not such.
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a Dozen they must not expect Titan Leeds's, or any so valuable.