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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 304

times; and was
in hopes, by my knowledge and industry, to gain enough to have
recompensed me for my money expended, and time lost in the pursuit
of this learning. You cannot be ignorant, sir, (for your intimate
second-sighted correspondent knows all things) that there are large
sums of money hidden under ground in divers places about this town,
and in many parts of the country: but alas, sir, notwithstanding I
have used all the means laid down in the immortal authors before
mentioned, and when they failed the ingenious Mr. P--d--l, with his
mercurial wand and magnet, I have still failed in my purpose. This,
therefore, I send, to propose and desire an acquaintance with you,
and I do not doubt, notwithstanding my repeated ill fortune, but we
may be exceedingly serviceable to each other in our discoveries; and
that if we use our united endeavours, the time will come, when the
Busy-Body, his second-sighted correspondent, and your very humble
servant, will be three of the richest men in the province: and then,
sir, what may we not do? A word to the wise is sufficient.

"I conclude with all demonstrable respect,

"Yours and Urania's Votary,


In the evening after I had received this letter, I made a visit to
my second-sighted friend, and communicated to him the proposal.
When he had read it, he assured me, that to his certain knowledge,
there is not at this time so much as one ounce of silver or gold
hid under ground in any part of this province; for that the late
and present scarcity of money had obliged those, who were living,
and knew where they had formerly hid any, to take it up, and use it
in their own necessary affairs: and as to all the rest, which was
buried by pirates and others in old times, who were never like to
come for it, he himself had long since dug it all up, and applied it
to charitable uses; and this he desired me to publish for the general
good. For, as he acquainted me, there are among us great numbers of
honest artificers and labouring people, who, fed with a vain hope
of growing suddenly rich, neglect their business, almost to the
ruining of themselves and families, and voluntarily endure abundance
of fatigue in a fruitless search after imaginary hidden treasure.
They wander through the woods and bushes by day, to discover the
marks and signs; at midnight they repair to the hopeful spots with
spades and pickaxes; full of expectation, they labour violently,
trembling at the same

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 6
By the same wife he had four children more born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, and married; I was the youngest son, and the youngest child but two, and was born in Boston, New England.
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generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.
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At this time he did not profess any particular religion, but something of all on occasion; was very ignorant of the world, and had, as I afterward found, a good deal of the knave in his composition.
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I approv'd the amusing one's self with poetry now and then, so far as to improve one's language, but no farther.
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He let me into Keith's character; told me there was not the least probability that he had written any letters for me; that no one, who knew him, had the smallest dependence on him; and he laught at the notion of the governor's giving me a letter of credit, having, as he said, no credit to give.
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I went on, nevertheless, with a good deal of patience, thinking that his encumber'd circumstances were partly the cause.
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were, in fact, among the things that would soon ruin us.
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" The foregoing letter and the minutes accompanying it being shown to a friend, I received from him the following: Letter from Mr.
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| | | | | | | | | S.
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These may be found in the papers about the beginning of 1735.
Page 99
Returning northward, he preach'd up this charity, and made large collections, for his eloquence had a wonderful power over the hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I myself was an instance.
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I then propos'd a lottery to defray the expense of building a battery below the town, and furnishing it with cannon.
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I had observ'd that the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried away; but it was suffer'd to accumulate till wet weather reduc'd it to mud, and then, after lying some days so deep on the pavement that there was no crossing but in paths kept clean by poor people with brooms, it was with great labour rak'd together and thrown up into carts open above, the sides of which suffer'd some of the slush at every jolt on the pavement to shake out and fall, sometimes to the annoyance of foot-passengers.
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Human felicity is produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.
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He had been brought up to it from a boy, his father, as I have heard, accustoming his children to dispute with one another for his diversion, while sitting at table after dinner; but I think the practice was not wise; for, in the course of my observation, these disputing,.
Page 129
The king's business must be done; so many brave troops, come so far for your defense, must not stand idle through your backwardness to do what may be reasonably expected from you; waggons and horses must be had; violent measures will probably be used, and you will be left to seek for a recompense where you can find it, and your case, perhaps, be little pitied or regarded.
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But he had too much self-confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians.
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I found they work'd for a common stock, eat at common tables, and slept in common dormitories, great numbers together.
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However, it was concluded that I should give them the heads of our complaints in writing, and they promis'd then to consider them.
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1749 Appointed a Commissioner to trade with the Indians.