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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 34

délicats; car il existe encore une
ordonnance du conseil d'Édimbourg, publiée peu après la réformation, et
portant: «Qu'il est défendu d'acheter les marchandises qui proviennent
des prises, sous peine de perdre pour toujours le droit de cité, et de
subir d'autres punitions à la volonté des magistrats; parce que l'usage
de faire des prises est contraire à une bonne conscience et au précepte
de traiter nos frères chrétiens comme nous désirons d'être traités
nous-mêmes. Ainsi ces sortes de marchandises ne seront point vendues par
les hommes honnêtes de cette ville.»

La race de ces hommes honnêtes est probablement éteinte en Écosse, où
ils ont, du moins, renoncé à leurs principes, puisque cette nation a
contribué, autant qu'elle l'a pu, à faire la guerre aux colonies de
l'Amérique septentrionale, et que les prises et les confiscations en ont
été, dit-on, un de ses grands motifs.

Pendant quelque temps on a généralement cru qu'un militaire ne devoit
pas s'informer si la guerre, dans laquelle on l'employoit, étoit juste
ou non, mais exécuter aveuglément les ordres qu'il recevoit. Tous les
princes, qui ont du penchant à la tyrannie, doivent, sans doute,
approuver cette opinion, et désirer de la maintenir. Mais n'est-elle pas
très-dangereuse? D'après un tel principe, si le tyran commande à son
armée d'attaquer et de détruire, non-seulement une nation voisine, qui
ne l'a point offensé, mais même ses propres sujets, l'armée doit obéir.

Dans nos colonies, un nègre esclave à qui son maître ordonne de voler et
d'assassiner son voisin, ou de commettre quelqu'autre action criminelle,
peut le refuser; et le magistrat le protége en applaudissant à son
refus. L'esclavage d'un soldat est donc pire que celui d'un nègre!--Un
officier, qui a de la conscience, peut donner sa démission, plutôt que
d'être employé dans une guerre injuste, s'il n'est pas retenu par la
crainte de voir attribuer sa démarche à une toute autre cause: mais les
simples soldats restent dans l'esclavage toute la vie, et peut-être
aussi ne sont-ils pas en état de juger de ce qu'ils doivent faire. Nous
ne pouvons que déplorer leur sort, et plus encore celui d'un matelot,
qui est souvent forcé de quitter des occupations honnêtes, pour aller
tremper ses mains dans le sang innocent.

Mais il me semble qu'un marchand, étant plus éclairé par son éducation,
et absolument libre de faire ce qu'il veut, devroit bien considérer si
une guerre est juste, avant d'engager volontairement une bande de
mauvais sujets à attaquer les commerçans d'une nation voisine, pour
piller leurs propriétés et les ruiner avec leurs familles, s'ils se
rendent sans combattre, ou à les blesser, les estropier, les assassiner,
s'ils tentent de se défendre.

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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

Page 6
He was an ingenious man.
Page 8
But my father, burdened with a numerous family, was unable, without inconvenience, to support the expense of a college education; considering, moreover, as he said to one of his friends in my presence, the little encouragement that line of life afforded to those educated for it, he gave up his first intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr.
Page 21
Honest John was the first that I know of who mixed narration and dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who, in the most interesting parts, finds himself, as it were, admitted into the company and present at the conversation.
Page 24
This, therefore, was the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.
Page 27
We struck on a shoal in going down the bay, and sprung a leak; we had a blustering time at sea, and were obliged to pump almost continually, at which I took my turn.
Page 46
With him, however, she was never happy, and soon parted from him, refusing to cohabit with him or bear his name, it being now said he had another wife.
Page 52
distinctions, no such things existing--appeared now not so clever a performance as I once thought it; and I doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself unperceived into my argument, so as to infect all that followed, as is common in metaphysical reasonings.
Page 64
In Queen Mary's days, either his wife, or my grandmother by father's side, informed my father that they kept their Bible fastened under the top of a joint-stool that they might turn up the book and read in the Bible; that, when anybody came to the dore, .
Page 65
they turned up the stool for fear of the apparitor; for if it was discovered they would be in hazard of their lives.
Page 76
When we were about to sign the above-mentioned articles, which were to be binding on us, our heirs, &c.
Page 91
That the members should engage to afford their advice, assistance, and support to each other in promoting one another's interest, business, and advancement in life: that, for distinction, we should be called THE SOCIETY OF THE FREE AND EASY.
Page 109
In the evening, hearing a great noise among them, the commissioners walked to see what was the matter; we found they had made a great bonfire in the middle of the square: they were all drunk, men and women, quarrelling and fighting.
Page 113
I had observed that the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried away; but it was suffered to accumulate till wet weather reduced 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 raked together and thrown up into carts open above, the sides of which suffered some of the slush at every jolt on the pavement to shake out and fall; sometimes to the annoyance of foot-passengers.
Page 139
On this he did not then explain himself; but when he afterward came to do business with the Assembly, they appeared again; the disputes were renewed, and I was as active as ever in the opposition, being the penman, first of the request to have a communication of the instructions, and then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in the Votes of the Times, and in the HISTORICAL REVIEW I afterward published: but between us personally no enmity arose; we were often together; he was a man of letters, and had seen much of the world, and was entertaining and pleasing in conversation.
Page 150
Cuneus, or by Professor Muschenbroeck, of Leyden, which had much perplexed philosophers.
Page 157
At the treaty in 1762, France ceded Canada to Great Britain; and by her cession of Louisiana, at the same time, relinquished all her possessions on the continent of America.
Page 179
I also recommend making the Schuylkill completely navigable.
Page 185
_ Have you heard of any difficulties lately laid on the Spanish trade? _A.
Page 206
He heard, he saved, he placed me at his side; My state he pitied, and my tears he dried; Restrained the rage the vengeful foe expressed, And turned the deadly weapons from my breast.
Page 214
They have, by Christian missionaries, been brought over to a liking, at least, of our religion; some of them lately left their nation, which is now at war with us, because they did not choose to join in their depredations; and to show their confidence in us, and to give us an equal confidence in them, they have brought and put into our hands their wives and children.