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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 6

DE LA PRESSE.


POUVOIR DE CE TRIBUNAL.

Il peut recevoir et publier les accusations de toute espèce contre
toutes personnes, quelque rang qu'elles occupent, et même contre tous
les tribunaux inférieurs. Il peut juger et condamner à l'infamie,
non-seulement des particuliers, mais des corps entiers, après les avoir
entendus, ou sans les entendre, comme il le juge à propos.


EN FAVEUR ET AU PROFIT DE QUELLES PERSONNES CE TRIBUNAL EST ÉTABLI.

Il est établi en faveur d'environ un citoyen sur cinq cents, parce que
grace à son éducation, ou à l'habitude de griffonner, il a acquis un
style assez correct et le moyen de faire des phrases assez bien
tournées, pour supporter l'impression; ou bien parce qu'il possède une
presse et quelques caractères. Cette cinq centième partie des citoyens a
le privilège d'accuser et de calomnier à son gré les autres quatre cent
dix-neuf parties; ou elle peut vendre sa plume et sa presse à d'autres
pour le même objet.


USAGES DE CE TRIBUNAL.

Il ne suit aucun des règlemens des tribunaux ordinaires. Celui qui est
accusé devant lui n'obtient point un grand jury, pour juger s'il y a
lieu à accusation avant qu'elle soit rendue publique. On ne lui fait pas
même connoître le nom de son accusateur, ni on ne lui accorde l'avantage
d'être confronté avec les témoins qui ont déposé contre lui, car ils se
tiennent dans les ténèbres, comme ceux du tribunal de l'inquisition
d'Espagne.

Il n'a pas non plus un petit jury, formé de ses pairs, pour examiner les
crimes qu'on lui impute. L'instruction du procès est quelquefois si
rapide, qu'un bon et honnête citoyen peut tout-à-coup, et lorsqu'il s'y
attend le moins, se voir accuser, et dans la même matinée être jugé,
condamné, et entendre prononcer l'arrêt qui le déclare un coquin et un
scélérat.

Cependant, si un membre de ce tribunal reçoit la plus légère réprimande,
pour avoir abusé de sa place, il réclame aussitôt les droits que la
constitution accorde à tout citoyen libre, et il demande à connoître son
accusateur, à être confronté avec les témoins, et à être jugé loyalement
par un jury composé de ses pairs.


SUR QUOI EST FONDÉE L'AUTORITÉ DU TRIBUNAL.

Cette autorité est, dit-on, fondée sur un article de la constitution de
l'état, qui établit la liberté de la presse, liberté pour laquelle tous
les Pensylvaniens sont prêts à combattre et à mourir, quoique fort peu
d'entr'eux aient, je crois, une idée distincte de sa nature et de son
étendue. En vérité, elle ressemble tant soit peu à celle que les loix
anglaises accordent aux criminels avant leur conviction; c'est-à-dire, à
celle d'être forcés à mourir ou à

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 14
It is.
Page 16
You may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; but remember, _Many a little makes a mickle_.
Page 22
capable of it.
Page 23
"'It comes into my mind, too,' continued Socrates, 'that you have never been.
Page 52
Franklin, Meeting with the following curious little piece the other day, I send it to you to republish, as it is now in very few hands.
Page 60
The old men sit in the foremost ranks, the warriors in the next, and the women and children in the hindmost.
Page 69
Mr.
Page 92
Edwards's late book, entitled, 'Some Thoughts concerning the present Revival of Religion in New-England,' from 367 to 375; and when you judge of others, if you can perceive the fruit to be good, don't terrify yourself that the tree may be evil; but be assured it is not so, for you know who has said, 'Men do not gather grapes off thorns, and figs off thistles.
Page 109
But these discussions I leave to you, as being more able to manage them: only, I will send you a little scrap I wrote some time since on the laws prohibiting foreign commodities.
Page 123
I doubt not your being a man of merit, and, knowing it yourself, you may forget that it is not known to everybody; but reflect a moment, sir, and you will be convinced, that if I were to practise giving letters of recommendation to persons whose character I knew no more than I do of yours, my recommendations would soon be of no authority at all.
Page 143
"In looking forward, twenty five years seems a long period; but in looking back, how short! Could you imagine that 'tis now full a quarter of a century since we were first acquainted! it was in 1757.
Page 146
Blagden, and esteem myself much honoured by your friendly remembrance.
Page 159
How Eliza began to grow jolly, that is, fat and handsome, resembling Aunt Rooke, whom I used to call _my lovely_.
Page 167
"I regret the immense quantity of misery brought upon mankind by this Turkish war; and I am afraid the King of Sweden may burn his fingers by attacking Russia.
Page 186
Add that the pyrites alone, of all the known minerals, yields this inflammable vapour, is highly probable; for that no mineral or ore whatsoever is sulphurous, but as it is wholly or in part a pyrites, and that there is but one species of brimstone which the pyrites naturally and only yields.
Page 191
While the houses on the one side of the street were swallowed up, on the other they were thrown in heaps; and the sand in the street rose like waves in the sea, lifting up everybody that stood on it, and immediately dropping down into pits; and at the same instant, a flood of waters breaking in, rolled them over and over; some catching hold of beams and rafters, &c.
Page 212
The condensation of the moisture contained in so great a quantity of warm air as may be supposed to rise in a short time in this prodigiously rapid whirl, is perhaps sufficient to form a great extent of cloud, though the spout should be over land, as those at Hatfield; and if the land happens not to be very dusty, perhaps the lower part of the spout will scarce become visible at all; though the upper, or what is commonly called the descending part, be very distinctly seen.
Page 222
, contain a great deal of solid fire; and that, in short, what escapes and is dissipated in the burning of bodies, besides water and earth, is generally the air and fire that before made parts of the solid.
Page 228
Cast your eye on the map of North America, and observe the Bay of Chesapeake, in Virginia, mentioned above; you will see, communicating with it by their mouths, the great rivers Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannoc, York, and James, besides a number of smaller streams, each as big as the Thames.
Page 230
B.