Vie de Benjamin Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome II suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 1

TRADUIT DE L'ANGLAIS, AVEC DES NOTES,
PAR J. CASTÉRA.

Eripuit coelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis.

TOME SECOND.


À PARIS,
Chez F. BUISSON, Imp.-Lib. rue Hautefeuille, Nº. 20.

AN VI DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE




OEUVRES MORALES, POLITIQUES ET LITTÉRAIRES DE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, DANS LE
GENRE DU SPECTATEUR.




LETTRE SUR LES INNOVATIONS DANS LA LANGUE ANGLAISE, ET DANS L'ART DE
L'IMPRIMERIE.


À NOÉ WEBSTER, À HARTFORD.

Philadelphie, le 26 décembre 1789.

J'ai reçu depuis quelque temps, monsieur, votre dissertation sur la
langue anglaise. C'est un excellent ouvrage, et qui sera très-utile à
nos compatriotes en leur fesant sentir la nécessité d'écrire
correctement. Je vous remercie de l'envoi de ce pamphlet et de
l'honneur, que vous m'avez fait, de me le dédier. J'aurois dû vous
offrir plutôt ces remerciemens: mais j'en ai été empêché par une forte
indisposition.

Je ne puis qu'applaudir à votre zèle, pour conserver la pureté de notre
langue, soit dans l'expression, soit dans la prononciation, et pour
corriger les fautes, qui ont rapport à l'une et à l'autre, et que
commettent sans cesse les habitans de plusieurs des États-Unis.
Permettez-moi de vous en citer quelques-unes, quoique vraisemblablement
vous les connoissiez déjà. Je voudrois que dans quelqu'un des écrits que
vous publierez par la suite, vous prissiez la peine de les improuver, de
manière à en faire abandonner l'usage.

Le premier dont je me rappelle est le mot _perfectionné_[1]. Quand je
quittai la Nouvelle-Angleterre, en 1723, je

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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

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Without entering into the subject in dispute, he took occasion to talk to me about my manner of writing; observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling and pointing (which he attributed to the printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method, and perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances.
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However, that did not quite please him, as he thought it tended to make me too vain.
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But during my absence he had acquired a habit of drinking brandy, and I found by his own account, as well as that of others, that he had been drunk every day since his arrival at New-York, and behaved himself in a very extravagant manner.
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Many pleasant walks we have had together on Sundays in the woods on the banks of the Schuylkill, where we read to one another, and conferred on what we had read.
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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 dependance on him; and he laughed at the idea of the governor's giving me a letter of credit, having, as he said, no credit to give.
Page 77
In this way my affairs went on more smoothly, and I ever after practised it on such occasions, and from my frequent successes can heartily recommend it.
Page 79
I proposed to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included, under thirteen names of virtues, all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully expressed the extent I gave to its meaning.
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] * * * * * MEMORANDUM.
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The paper I wrote for that purpose will be found among my writings, if not lost with many others.
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, who, in case of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election among the contributors.
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It was by a private person, the late Mr.
Page 126
Among these I saw some letters of the general to the ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had rendered the army, and recommending me to their notice.
Page 138
Wright, an English physician, when at Paris, wrote to a friend, who was of the Royal Society, an account of the high esteem my experiments were in among the learned abroad, and of their wonder that my writings had been so little noticed in England.
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This is an age of experiments, and I think a set accurately made and combined would be of great use.
Page 172
By his death one of the best lights of the world may be said to be extinguished.
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_Q.
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_ About three hundred thousand, from sixteen to sixty years of age? _Q.
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_ Do not you think the people of America would submit to pay the stamp duty if it was moderated? _A.
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They have made a surprising progress already; and I am of opinion that, before their old clothes are worn out, they will have new ones of their own making.
Page 194
The colonies raised, paid, and clothed near twenty-five thousand men during the last war; a number equal to those sent from Britain, and far beyond their proportion: they went deeply into debt in doing this, and all their taxes and estates are mortgaged, for many years to come, for discharging that debt.