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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 322

that my invention
was known to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of
the old books in proof of it. I will not dispute with these people,
that the ancients knew not the sun would rise at certain hours; they
possibly had, as we have, almanacks that predicted it: but it does
not follow from thence, that they knew _he gave light as soon as he
rose_. This is what I claim as my discovery. If the antients knew
it, it might have been long since forgotten, for it certainly was
unknown to the moderns, at least to the Parisians, which to prove, I
need use but one plain simple argument. They are as well-instructed,
judicious and prudent a people as exist any where in the world, all
professing, like myself, to be lovers of economy; and, from the many
heavy taxes required from them by the necessities of the state, have
surely an abundant reason to be economical. I say it is impossible,
that so sensible a people, under such circumstances, should have
lived so long by the smoaky, unwholesome and enormously expensive
light of candles, if they had really known, that they might have had
as much pure light of the sun for nothing.

I am, &c.



[179] "A translation of this letter appeared in one of the daily
papers of Paris about the year 1784. The following is the original
piece, with some additions and corrections made in it by the author."
Note by the editor of the Repository, from which we extract the
letter. _Editor._


_On early Marriages._

_Craven Street, Aug. 9, 1768_.


You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early
marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections, that have
been made by numberless persons, to your own. You may remember, when
you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides
to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under
my observation, I am rather inclined to think, that early ones stand
the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are
not yet become so stiff and uncomplying, as when more advanced in
life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions
of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence, which
is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of
young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice,
which amply supplies that defect; and

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 28
Exclusively of his passionate treatment of me, my brother was by no means a man of an ill temper, and perhaps my manners had too much impertinence not to afford it a very natural pretext.
Page 45
Watson's performance was the first that was read; it had some beauties, but many faults.
Page 54
Hers was so amusing to me, that I was glad to pass the evening with her as often as she desired it.
Page 62
His father, who was then in town, approved of it.
Page 100
Enraged at the obstinacy, and what they conceived to be unjust proceedings of their opponents, the assembly at length determined to apply to the mother-country for relief.
Page 118
off most of the rain, and prevent its soaking into the earth, and renewing and purifying the springs, whence the water of the wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use, as I find has happened in all old cities; I recommend, that, at the end of the first hundred years, if not done before, the corporation of the city employ a part of the hundred thousand pounds in bringing by pipes the water of Wissahickon-creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants, which I apprehend may be done without great difficulty, the level of that creek being much above that of the city, and may be made higher by a dam.
Page 119
them accepts the money with the conditions, and the other refuses, my will then is, that both sums be given to the inhabitants of the city accepting; the whole to be applied to the same purposes, and under the same regulations directed for the separate parts; and, if both refuse, the money remains of course in the mass of my estate, and it is to be disposed of therewith, according to my will made the seventeenth day of July, 1788.
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--Glass, a body extremely elastic, (and perhaps its elasticity may be owing in some degree to the subsisting of so great a quantity of this repelling fluid in its pores) must, when rubbed, have its rubbed surface somewhat stretched, or its solid parts drawn a little farther asunder, so that the vacancies in which the electrical fluid resides, become larger, affording room for more of that fluid, which is immediately attracted into it from the cushion or hand rubbing, they being supplied from the common stock.
Page 178
Through another part of the cork passed one leg of a small glass syphon, the other leg on the outside came down almost to the bottom of the phial.
Page 221
Page 240
You found the heat of boiling water, which is but 210, sufficient to render the extreme thin glass in a Florence flask permeable even to a shock.
Page 243
law of the electric fluid, "That quantities of different densities mutually attract each other, in order to restore the equilibrium," is, I think, not well founded, or else not well expressed.
Page 244
arm upwards into the air, with a needle between his fingers, on the point of which light may be seen in the night, is, indeed, a curious one.
Page 249
It is true the mischiefs done by lightning are not so frequent here as with us, and those who calculate chances may perhaps find that not one death (or the destruction of one house) in a hundred thousand happens from that cause, and that therefore it is scarce worth while to be at any expence to guard against it.
Page 271
Those connected with the _point_ will at the same time approach each other, _till_.
Page 322
_Jamaica_, its vacant lands not easily made sugar lands, iii.