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Full text of "The writings of Benjamin Franklin;"

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B2. 

THE WRITINGS 



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 




BY 

ALBERT HENRY SMYTH 



VOLUME II 
1722-1750 




Wefo fforfe 
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

LONDON : MACMILLAN & CO., LTD. 
1905 

All rights reserved 



COPYRIGHT, 1905, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1905. 



NortoocU 

J. 8. Gushing & Co. Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



PREFATORY NOTE 

EVERYTHING of literary interest or historic value written 
by Franklin between 1722 and 1750 is included in this 
volume. I have omitted a few essays which have appeared 
in previous editions ; some because they were not written 
by Franklin, and others because they are quite worthless. 
Thus the two papers "On Government" (Bigelow, I: 425) 
were written by George Webbe, who acknowledged the 
authorship in the columns of The Pennsylvania Gazette. 
The essays on "Public Men," "Self Denial," "The Use- 
fulness of Mathematics," "True Happiness," "On Dis- 
coveries," "The Waste of Life," "The Causes of Earth- 
quakes," "The Drinker's Dictionary," "A Case of 
Casuistry," have been ascribed to Franklin on insufficient 
evidence, and are at any rate dull and trivial. 

Their place has been taken in this volume by certain 
highly characteristic contributions made by Franklin to 
The Pennsylvania Gazette "A Witch Trial at Mount 
Holly," "An Apology for Printers," "How to protect Towns 
from Fire," "Shavers and Trimmers," and "A Meditation 
on a Quart Mugg." I have reprinted "The Dialogues on 
Virtue and Pleasure" because Franklin refers to them with 
satisfaction in his Autobiography. I have omitted his 
letter to Cadwallader Golden containing his conjecture as 
to the cause why ships hi crossing the Atlantic have longer 



vi PREFATORY NOTE 

Passages in sailing westward than in sailing eastward, 
because Franklin desired that the letter should not be re- 
printed. He discovered that his theory, which related to 
the diurnal motion of the earth, was quite untenable, and 
he so informed Jonathan Williams hi a letter dated January 
19, 1786. 

The Prefaces to "Poor Richard's Almanac" are here for 
the first time reprinted in any collection of Franklin's works. 
All are included in this volume except those that relate to 
the making of wine, the appearance of the planets, and 
Middleton's account of life in the region of Hudson's Bay. 

I have omitted the "Dissertation on Liberty and Neces- 
sity" (1726). The work has no value, and it would be an 
injury and an offence to the memory of Franklin to republish 
it. "My printing this pamphlet," he declared, "was another 
erratum" Writing to his friend Vaughan he said, "There 
were only a hundred copies printed of which I gave a few to 
friends, and afterwards disliking the piece, as conceiving 
it might have an ill tendency, I burnt the rest except one 
copy." 

The "Dogood Papers" are now for the first time reprinted 
since the youthful author consigned them to The New Eng- 
land Courant. 

A. H. S. 



CONTENTS 

VOLUME II 

NO. PAGE 

3. The Dogood Papers. 1722. .-. . . . . . . 2 

4. Editorial Preface to The New England Courant. February 

n, 1723 . . .v . . . . . .49 

5. To Sir Hans Sloane. June 2, 1725 52 

6. Journal of a Voyage from London to Philadelphia. July 22- 

October 11, 1726 53 

7. To Miss Jane Franklin. January 6, 1727 .... 87 

8. Rules for a Club established for Mutual Improvement. 1728 88 

9. Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. 1728 . ... 91 

10. The Busy-body. February 4-March 27, 1729 . ... 100 

11. A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper 

Currency. April 3, 1729 133 

12. Preface to The Pennsylvania Gazette. October 2, 1729 . 155 

13. Dialogues concerning Virtue and Pleasure. June 23, and 

July 9, 1730 157 

14. A Witch Trial at Mount Holly. October 22, 1730 . . 170 

15. An Apology for Printers. June 10, 1731 . . . .172 

16. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. June 19, 1731 180 

17. Letter from Anthony Afterwit. July 10, 1732 . . . 182 

1 8. Letter from Celia Single. July 24, 1732 . . . . 186 

19. Letter from Alice Addertongue. September 12, 1732 . . 189 

20. Preface to Poor Richard, 1733. [October, 1732] . . . 196 

21. A Meditation on a Quart Mugg. July 19, 1733 . . . 198 

22. Preface to Poor Richard, 1 734. October 30, 1733 . . 200 

23. Preface to Poor Richard, 1735. October 30, 1734 . . 203 

24. Protection of Towns from Fire. February 4, 1 735 . . 205 

25. Preface to Poor Richard, 1736. [October, 1735] . . . 208 

26. Preface to Poor Richard, 1737. [October, 1736] . . . 210 

27. Hints for those that would be Rich. [October, 1736] . . 211 

28. Preface to Poor Richard, 1738. [October, 1737] . . . 213 

29. To Josiah Franklin. April 13, 1738 214 

30. Preface to Poor Richard, 1739. [October, 1738] . . 216 

31. A True Prognostication, for 1739. [October, 1738] . . 218 



viii CONTENTS 

NO. PAGE 

32. Preface to Poor Richard, 1740. October 7, 1739 .221 

33. Preface to Poor Richard, 1742. [October, 1741] . . . 224 

34. Rules of Health and Long Life. [October, 1741] . . 227 

35. A Proposal for promoting Useful Knowledge among the 

British Plantations in America. May 14, 1743 . . 228 

36. Shavers and Trimmers. June 23, and June 30, 1743 . . 232 

37. To William Strahan. July 10, 1743 237 

38. To Mrs. Jane Mecom. July 28, 1743 237 

39. Preface to Poor Richard, 1744. [October, 1743] . . . 239 

40. To Cad wallader Golden. November 4, 1743 . . . 240 

41. To William Strahan. February 12, 1744 .... 241 

42. Preface to Logan's Translation of "Cato Major." February 

29, 1744 244 

43. An Account of the New-invented Pennsylvanian Fire-places. 

November, 1744 246 

44. To Cadwallader Golden. April 5, 1744 .... 276 

45. To William Strahan. July 4, 1744 278 

46. To William Strahan. July 31, 1744 280 

47. To Josiah and Abiah Franklin. September 6, 1744 . .281 

48. To John Franklin. March 10, 1745 283 

49. To Cadwallader Golden. August 15, 1745 .... 284 

50. To James Read. August 17, 1745 289 

51. To Cadwallader Golden. November 28, 1745 . . . 290 

52. Preface to Poor Richard, 1746. [November, 1745] . . 294 

53. To William Strahan. December 1 1, 1745 .... 296 

54. To William Strahan. December 22, 1745 .... 296 

55. To William Strahan. May 22, 1746 297 

56. To William Strahan. September 25, 1746 .... 297 

57. Preface to Poor Richard, 1747. [October, 1746] . * '. . 299 

58. To William Strahan. January 4, 1747 301 

59. To Peter Collinson. March 28, 1747 302 

60. To Peter Collinson. July n, 1747 302 

61. To Jared Eliot. July 1 6, 1747 310 

62. To William Strahan. July 29, 1747 315 

63. To John Franklin. August 6, 1747 316 

64. To Cadwallader Golden. , 1747 . . . .317 

65. To Cadwallader Golden. August 6, 1747 .... 322 

66. To Peter Collinson. August 14, 1747 324 

67. To Peter Collinson. September i, 1747 .... 324 

68. To Cadwallader Golden. October i, 1747 .... 333 



CONTENTS ix 

NO. PAGE 

69. Preface to Poor Richard Improved, 1748. [October, 1747] 334 

70. Plain Truth : or, Serious Considerations on the Present State 

of the City of Philadelphia and Province of Pennsylvania. 

By a Tradesman of Philadelphia. November 14, 1747 . 336 

71. To Cad wallader Golden. November 27, 1747 . . . 354 

72. To William Strahan. November 28, 1747 . . . -355 

73. To James Logan. December 4, 1747 356 

74. To Cadwallader Colden. January 27, 1748 . . . 357 

75. To James Logan. January 27, 1748 359 

76. To James Logan. January 30, 1748 360 

77. To James Logan. April 6, 1748 ..... 361 

78. To Cadwallader Colden. September 29, 1748 . ... 362 

79. To Peter Collinson. October 18, 1748 . . . . 364 

80. To William Strahan. October 19, 1748 .... 365 

81. To James Logan. October 30, 1748 367 

82. To James Read. December 5, 1748 369 

83. Advice to a Young Tradesman. 1748 .... 370 

84. To William Strahan. April 29, 1749 372 

85. To William Strahan. July 3, 1749 376 

86. To George Whitefield. July 6, 1749 377 

87. To Mrs. Abiah Franklin. September 7, 1749 . . . 378 

88. To Mrs. Abiah Franklin. October 16, 1749 . . . 379 

89. To William Strahan. October 23, 1749 .... 380 

90. Preface to Poor Richard Improved, 1750. [October, 1749] 381 

91. To Jared Eliot. , 1749 383 

92. Proposals relating to the Education of Youth in Pensil- 

vania. , 1749 386 

93. To Peter Collinson. April 29, 1749 396 

94. To Peter Collinson. 1749 411 

95. To Peter Collinson. July27, 1750 423 

96. To Peter Collinson. July 29, 1750 426 

97. Opinions and Conjectures, concerning the Properties and 

Effects of the Electrical Matter. 1750 .... 427 

98. Additional Experiments. 1750 ....... 454 

99. To Peter Collinson. 1750 (?) . . . . . 456 
ico. To Peter Collinson. 1750 460 

101. Appendix: The Speech of Polly Baker .... 463 

102. A Conjecture as to the Cause of the Heat of the Blood in 

Health, and of the Cold and Hot Fits of some Fevers. . 468 



TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS 

A. P. S American Philosophical Society. 

B. M British Museum. 

B. N Bibliotheque Nationale. 

D. S. W Department of State, Washington. 

H Harvard University. 

L. C Library of Congress. 

L. L Lenox Library. 

Lans Lansdowne House. 

M.H.S Massachusetts Historical Society. 

P. C Private Collection. 

P. H. S Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

P. R. O Public Record Office. 

P. R. O. A. W. I Public Record Office : America and 

West Indies. 
P. A. E. E. U Paris Departement des Affaires 

Etrangeres, Etats-Unis. 

U. of P University of Pennsylvania. 

Y. . . . ^ Yale University. 

B Bigelow. 

F Benjamin Franklin. 

S Sparks. 

V Benjamin Vaughan. 

W. T. F . . W. T. Franklin. 

Franklin's Mss. exist in several forms. He made a rough draft of 
every letter that he wrote ; he then made a clean copy to send away, and 
often retained a letter-press copy. To indicate the state of the docu- 
ment, the following abbreviations are used : d. = draft, trans. = transcript^ 
1. p. = letter-press copy. 



THE DOGOOD PAPERS 

FRANKLIN has told in his Autobiography how he wrote 
an anonymous paper when he was but sixteen years of age 
and put it in at night under the door of his brother's print- 
ing house. The following morning it was commented on 
in his hearing, and he had "the exquisite pleasure" of find- 
ing that it met with the approbation of the contributors to 
Couranto, as the New England Courant was then called. 
In all probability this article was the first of the "Dogood 
Papers," and March, 1722 is therefore the time of Franklin's 
first adventure in literature. Editorial encouragement was 
promptly given to the unknown author. In the same issue 
of the newspaper that contained his communication appeared 
the notice, "As the Favour of Mrs. Dogood's Correspond- 
ence is acknowledged by the Publisher of this Paper, lest 
any of her Letters should miscarry, he desires they may be 
deliver'd at his Printing- House, or at the Blue Ball in Union 
street, and no questions shall be ask'd of the Bearer." Thus 
encouraged Franklin continued to write the letters of Mrs. 
Silence Dogood, at fortnightly intervals, until the series 
ended with the fourteenth paper, published October 8, 1722. 

They were first accredited to Franklin by J. T. Buck- 
ingham in 1850 ("Specimens of Newspaper Literature," 
I, 62), and further ascribed to him by James Parton in his 

VOL. II B I 



2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

"Life and Times of Franklin" (1864, Vol. I, p. 84). In 
the first sketch, or draft scheme, of his Autobiography 
Franklin claims "Mrs. Dogood's letters" as his own. They 
have never appeared in any collection of his writings. They 
are now reprinted from the file of the New England Cour- 
ant in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

The character of the young Franklin is interestingly re- 
vealed in these papers; and it will be seen that his sedulous 
attention to the language of the Spectator had already formed 
his literary style, and stamped it with those qualities that 
have given him a high and enduring place among Ameri- 
can writers. 



3. THE DOGOOD PAPERS 

The No 35 

New-England Courant. 

From Monday March 26. to Monday April 2. 1722 

To the Author of the New- England Courant. 

SIR, 

It may not be improper in the firft Place to inform your 
Readers, that I intend once a Fortnight to prefent them, by 
the Help of this Paper, with a fhort Epiftle, which I prefume 
will add fomewhat to their Entertainment. 

And fince it is obferved, that the Generality of People, 
now a days, are unwilling either to commend or difpraife 
what they read, until they are in fome meafure informed 
who or what the Author of it is, whether he be poor or rich, 
old or young, a S collar or a Leather Apron Man, &c. and 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 3 

give their Opinion of the Performance, according to the 
Knowledge which they have of the Author's Circumstances, 
it may not be amifs to begin with a fhort Account of my paft 
Life and prefent Condition, that the Reader may not be at 
a Lofs to judge whether or no my Lucubrations are worth 
his reading. 

At the time of my Birth, my Parents were on Ship-board 
in their Way from London to N. England. My Entrance 
into this troublefome World was attended with the Death 
of my Father, a Misfortune, which tho' I was not then capa- 
ble of knowing, I fhall never be able to forget; for as he, 
poor Man, ftood upon the Deck rejoycing at my Birth, a 
mercilefs Wave entred the Ship, and in one Moment carry'd 
him beyond Reprieve. Thus was the firji Day which I faw, 
the lajt that was feen by my Father; and thus was my dif- 
confolate Mother at once made both a Parent and a Widow. 

When we arrived at Boston (which was not long after) I 
was put to Nurfe in a Country Place, at a fmall Diftance 
from the Town, where I went to School, and paft my Infancy 
and Childhood in Vanity and Idlenefs, until I was bound 
out Apprentice, that I might no longer be a Charge to my 
Indigent Mother, who was put to hard Shifts for a Living. 

My Mafter was a Country Minifter, a pious good-natur'd 
young Man, & a Batchelor: He labour'd with all his 
Might to inftil vertuous and godly Principles into my tender 
Soul, well knowing that it was the moft fuitable Time to 
make deep and lafting Impreffions on the Mind, while it 
was yet untainted with Vice, free and unbiafs'd. He en- 
deavour'd that I might be inftructed in all that Knowledge 
and Learning which is neceffary for our Sex, and deny'd 
me no Accomplifhment that could poffibly be attained in a 



4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

Country Place, fuch as all Sorts of Needle- Work, Writing, 
Arithmetick, &c. and obferving that I took a more than or- 
dinary Delight in reading ingenious Books, he gave me the 
free Ufe of his Library, which tho* it was but fmall, yet it 
was well chofe, to inform the Underftanding rightly and 
enable the Mind to frame great and noble Ideas. 

Before I had liv'd quite two Years with this Reverend 
Gentleman, my indulgent Mother departed this Life, leaving 
me as it were by my felf, having no Relation on Earth 
within my Knowledge. 

I will not abufe your Patience with a tedious Recital of 
all the frivolous Accidents of my Life, that happened from 
this Time until I arrived to Years of Dif cretion, only inform 
you that I liv'd a chearful Country Life, fpending my leifure 
Time either in fome innocent Diverfion with the neighbour- 
ing Females, or in fome fhady Retirement, with the beft of 
Company, Books. Thus I paft away the Time with a Mix- 
ture of Profit and Pleafure, having no Affliction but what 
was imaginary, and created in my own Fancy; as nothing 
is more common with us Women, than to be grieving for 
nothing, when we have nothing elfe to grieve for. 

As I would not engrofs too much of your Paper at once, I 
will defer the Remainder of my Story until my next Letter ; 
in the mean time defiling your Readers to exercife their 
Patience, and bear with my Humours now and then, becaufe 
I fhall trouble them but feldom. I am not infensible of 
the Impofsibility of pleafing all, but I would not willingly 
difpleafe any; and for thofe who will take Offence where 
none is intended, they are beneath the Notice of 
Your Humble Servant, 

SILINC DOGOOD 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 5 

t5P As the Favour of Mrs. Do good's Correjpondence is 
acknowledged by the Publijher of this Paper, left any of her 
Letters jhould mifcarry, he dejires they may for the future be 
delivered at his Printing-Houfe, or at the Blue Ball in Union- 
Street, and no Queftions jhall be ask'd of the Bearer. 



The (pencilled above) 39 

New England Courant. [No 37] 

From Monday April 9. to Monday April 16. 1722 

To the Author of the New-England Courant 
Sir No 2 

Histories of Lives are feldom entertaining, unlefs they con- 
tain fomething either admirable or exemplar: And fince 
there is little or nothing of this Nature in my own Adven- 
tures, I will not tire your Readers with tedious Particulars 
of no Confequence, but will briefly, and in as few Words as 
pofsible relate, the moft material Occurrences of my Life, 
and according to my Promife, confine all to this Letter. 

MY Reverend Mafter who had hitherto remained a 
Batchelor, (after much Meditation on the Eighteenth verfe 
of the fecond Chapter of Genefis,) took up a Refolution to 
marry; and having made feveral unfuccefsful fruitlefs At- 
tempts on the more topping Sort of our Sex, and being tir'd 
with making troublefome Journeys and Vifits to no Purpofe, 
he began unexpectedly to caft a loving Eye upon Me, whom 
he had brought up cleverly to his Hand. 

THERE is certainly fcarce any Part of a Man's Life in 
which he appears more filly and ridiculous, than when he 
makes his first Onfet in Courtship. The aukward Manner 



6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

in which my Mafter firft difcover'd his Intentions, made me, 
in fpite of my Reverence to his Perfon, burst out into an un- 
mannerly Laughter: However, having ask'd his Pardon, 
and with much ado compos'd my Countenance, I promis'd 
him I would take his Propofal into ferious Confideration, 
and fpeedily give him an Anfwer. 

AS he had been a great Benefactor (and in a Manner a 
Father to me) I could not well deny his Requeft, when I 
once perceived he was in earneft. Whether it was Love, or 
Gratitude, or Pride, or all Three that made me content, I 
know not ; but it is certain, he found it no hard Matter, by 
the Help of his Rhetorick to conquer my Heart, and per- 
fwade me to marry him. 

THIS unexpected Match was very aftonifhing to all the 
Country round about and ferved to furnish them with Dif- 
courfe for a long Time after ; f ome approving it, others dif- 
liking it, as they were led by their various Fancies and 
Inclinations. 

WE lived happily together in the Heighth of conjugal Love 
and mutual Endearments, for near Seven Years in which 
Time we added Two likely Girls and a Boy to the Family 
of the Do goods: But alas! When my Sun was in its me- 
ridian Altitude, inexorable unrelenting Death, as if he had 
envy'd my Happinefs and Tranquility, and refolv'd to make 
me entirely miferable by the Lofs of fo good an Hufband, 
haftened his Flight to the Heavenly World, by a fudden un- 
expected Departure from this. 

I HAVE now remained in a State of Widowhood for 
feveral Years, but it is a State I never much admir'd, and 
I am apt to fancy that I could be eafily perfwaded to many 
again, provided I was fure of a good-humour'd, fober, agree- 



1 722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 7 

able Companion : But one, even with thefe few good Quali- 
ties, being hard to find, I have lately relinquifhed all 
Thoughts of that Nature. 

AT present I pafs away my leifure Hours in Converfation, 
either with my honeft Neighbour Rujticus and his Family, 
or with the ingenious Minifter of our Town, who now lodges 
at my Houfe, and by whofe Affiftance I intend now and 
then to beautify my Writings with a Sentence or two in the 
learned Languages, which will not only be fafhionable, and 
pleafing to thofe who do not underftand it, but will likewife 
be very ornamental. 

I SHALL conclude this with my own Character, which 
(one would think) I fhould be beft able to give. Know 
then, That I am an Enemy to Vice, and a Friend to Vertue. 
I am one of an extenfive Charity, and a great Forgiver of 
private Injuries : A hearty Lover of the Clergy and all good 
Men, and a mortal Enemy to arbitrary Government & un- 
limited Power. I am naturally very jealous for the Rights 
and Liberties of my Country: & the leaft appearance of 
an Incroachment on thofe invaluable Priviledges, is apt to 
make my Blood boil exceedingly. I have likewife a natural 
Inclination to obferve and reprove the Faults of others, at 
which I have an excellent Faculty. I fpeak this by Way of 
Warning to all fuch whofe offences fhall come under my 
Cognizance, for I never intend to wrap my Talent in a Nap- 
kin. To be brief; I am courteous and affable, good-hu- 
mour'd (unlefs I am firft provok'd,) and handfome, and 
fometimes witty, but always, 

SIR, Your Friend, and 

Humble Servant, 
SILENCE DOGOOD. 



8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

No 39 
From Monday April 23. to Monday April 30. 1722 

To the Author of the New- England Courant. 

Sir, No 3 

It is undoubtedly the Duty of all Perfons to ferve the 
Country they live in, according to their Abilities; yet I fin- 
cerely acknowledge, that I have hitherto been very deficient 
in this Particular ; whether it was for want of Will or Oppor- 
tunity, I will not at prefent ftand to determine: Let it fuf- 
fice, that I now take up a Refolution, to do for the future all 
that lies in my Way for the Service of my Countrymen. 

I HAVE from my Youth been indefatigably ftudious to 
gain and treafure up in my Mind all ufeful and defireable 
Knowledge, efpecially fuch as tends to improve the Mind, 
and enlarge the Underf tanding : And as I have found it very 
beneficial to me, I am not without Hopes, that communicat- 
ing my fmall Stock in this Manner, by Peace-meal to the 
Publick, may be at leaft in fome Meafure ufeful. 

I AM very fenfible that it is impofsible for me, or indeed 
any one Writer to pleafe all Readers at once. Various Per- 
fons have different Sentiments; and that which is pleafant 
and delightful to one, gives another a Difgust. He that 
would (in this Way of Writing) pleafe all, is under a Neceffity 
to make his Themes almoft as numerous as his Letters. He 
muft one while be merry and diverting, then more folid and 
ferious ; one while sharp and fatyrical, then (to mollify that) 
be fober and religious ; at one Time let the Subject be Poli- 
ticks, then let the next Theme be Love: Thus will every 
one, one Time or other find fome thing agreeable to his own 
Fancy, and in his Turn be delighted. 



1722] THE DO GOOD PAPERS 9 

ACCORDING to this Method I intend to proceed, be- 
stowing now and then a few gentle Reproofs on thofe who 
deferve them, not forgetting at the fame time to applaud 
thofe whofe Actions merit Commendation. And here I 
muft not forget to invite the ingenious Part of your Readers, 
particularly thofe of my own Sex to enter into a Correfpond- 
ence with me, affuring them, that their Condefcenfion in 
this Particular fhall be received as a Favour, and accordingly 
acknowledged. 

I THINK I have now finifh'd the Foundation, and I intend 
in my next to begin to raife the Building. Having nothing 
more to write at prefent, I must make the ufual excufe in 
fuch Cafes, of being in hajle, affuring you that I fpeak from 
my Heart when I call my felf, The most humble and obedient 
of all the Servants your Merits have acquir'd, 

SILENCE DOGOOD 

Thofe who incline to favour Mrs. Dogood with their Cor- 
respondence, are defir'd to jend their Letters (directed to her) 
to the Publishers of this Paper. 



The 
New- England Courant. [No. 41 

From Monday May 7. to Monday May 14. 1722. 

Anfum etiam nunc vel Greed loqui vel Latinfc docendus ? 

CICERO. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 
SIR, No. IV 

DISCOURSING the other Day at Dinner with my 
Reverend Boarder, formerly mention'd, (whom for Diftinction 



10 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

fake we will call by the Name of Clericus,) concerning the 
Education of Children, I ask'd his Advice about my young 
Son William, whether or no I had beft beftow upon him 
Academical Learning, or (as our Phrafe is) bring him up at 
our College: He perf waded me to do it by all Means, ufing 
many weighty Arguments with me, and anfwering all the 
Objections that I could form againft it; telling me withal, 
that he did not doubt but that the Lad would take his Learn- 
ing very well, and not idle away his Time as too many there 
now-a-days do. These words of Clericus gave me a Curi- 
ofity to inquire a little more ftrictly into the prefent Circum- 
ftances of that famous Seminary of Learning; but the 
Information which he gave me, was neither pleafant, nor 
fuch as I expected. 

AS foon as Dinner was over, I took a folitary Walk into 
my Orchard, ftill ruminating on Clericus's Difcourfe with 
much Confideration, until I came to my ufual Place of 
Retirement under the Great Apple-Tree; where having 
feated my felf, and carelefly laid my Head on a verdant 
Bank, I fell by Degrees into a foft and undifturbed Slumber. 
My waking Thoughts remained with me in my Sleep, and 
before I awak'd again, I dreamt the following DREAM. 

I FANCY' D I was travelling over pleafant and delightful 
Fields and Meadows, and thro' many fmall Country Towns 
and Villages; and as I pafs'd along, all Places refounded 
with the Fame of the Temple of LEARNING: Every 
Peafant, who had wherewithal, was preparing to fend one of 
his Children at leaf t to this famous Place ; and in this Cafe 
moft of them confulted their own Purfes instead of their 
Childrens Capacities: So that I obferved, a great many, 
yea, the moft part of thofe who were travelling thither, 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS n 

were little better than Dunces and Blockheads. Alas! 
Alas! 

AT length I entred upon a fpacious Plain, in the Midft of 
which was erected a large and ftately Edifice: It was to 
this that a great Company of Youths from all Parts of the 
Country were going; fo ftepping in among the Crowd, I 
paffed on with them, and prefently arrived at the Gate. 

THE Paffage was Kept by two fturdy Porters named 
Riches and Poverty, and the latter obftinately refufed to give 
Entrance to any who had not firft gain'd the Favour of the 
former ; fo that I obferved, many who came even to the very 
Gate, were obliged to travel back again as ignorant as they 
came, for want of this neceffary Qualification. However, 
as a Spectator I gain'd Admittance, and with the reft entred 
directly into the Temple. 

IN the Middle of the great Hall ftood a ftately and mag- 
nificent Throne, which was afcended to by two high and 
difficult Steps. On the Top of it fat LEARNING in awful 
State; fhe was apparelled wholly in Black, and furrounded 
almoft on every Side with innumerable Volumes in all 
Languages. She feem'd very bufily employed in writing 
fomething on half a Sheet of Paper, and upon Enquiry, I 
underftood fhe was preparing a Paper, call'd, The New- 
England Couranl. On her Right Hand fat Englijh, with a 
pleafant fmiling Countenance, and handfomely attir'd; and 
on her left were feated feveral Antique Figures with their 
Faces vail'd. I was confiderably puzzl'd to guefs who they 
were, until one informed me, (who ftood befide me,) that 
thofe Figures on her left Hand were Latin, Greek, Hebrew, 
&c. and that they were very much referv'd, and feldom or 
never unvail'd their Faces here, and then to few or none, 



12 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

tho' moft of thofe who have in this Place acquir'd fo much 
Learning as to distinguifh them from Englifh, pretended to 
an intimate Acquaintance with them. I then enquir'd of 
him, what could be the Reafon why they continued vail'd, 
in this Place efpecially: He pointed to the Foot of the 
Throne, where I faw Idlenefs, attended with Ignorance, and 
these (he informed me) were they, who firft vail'd them, and 
ftill kept them fo. 

NOW I obferved, that the whole Tribe who entred into 
the Temple with me, began to climb the Throne; but the 
Work proving troublefome and difficult to moft of them, they 
withdrew their Hands from the Plow, and contented them- 
felves to fit at the Foot, with Madam Idlenejs and her Maid 
Ignorance, until those who were affifted by Diligence and a 
docible Temper, had well nigh got up the firft Step: But 
the Time drawing nigh in which they could no way avoid 
af cending, they were fain to crave the Affistance of thofe who 
had got up before them, and who, for the Reward perhaps 
of a Pint of Milk, or a Piece of Plumb-Cake, lent the Lubbers 
a helping Hand, and fat them in the Eye of the World, upon 
a Level with themfelves. 

THE other Step being in the fame Manner afcended, and 
the ufual Ceremonies at an End, every Beetle-Scull feem'd 
well fatisfy'd with his own Portion of Learning, tho' perhaps 
he was e'en juft as ignorant as ever. And now the Time of 
their Departure being come, they march'd out of Doors to 
make Room for another Company, who waited for Entrance : 
And I, having feen all that was to be feen, quitted the Hall 
likewife, and went to make my Obfervations on thofe who 
were juft gone out before me. 

SOME I perceiv'd took to Merchandizing, others to 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 13 

Travelling, fome to one Thing, fome to another, and fome 
to Nothing ; and many of them from henceforth, for want of 
Patrimony, liv'd as poor as church Mice, being unable to dig, 
and afham'd to beg, and to live by their Wits it was impoffible. 
But the moft Part of the Crowd went along a large beaten 
Path, which led to a Temple at the further End of the Plain, 
call'd, The Temple of Theology. The Bufinefs of thofe 
who were employ'd in this Temple being laborious and pain- 
ful, I wonder'd exceedingly to fee fo many go towards it; 
but while I was pondering this Matter in my Mind, I fpy'd 
Pecunia behind a Curtain, beckoning to them with her Hand, 
which Sight immediately fatisfy'd me for whofe Sake it was, 
that a great Part of them (I will not fay all) travePd that Road. 
In this Temple I faw nothing worth mentioning, except the 
ambitious and fraudulent Contrivances of Plagius, who 
(notwithftanding he had been feverely reprehended for fuch 
Practices before) was diligently tranfcribing fome eloquent 
Paragraphs out of Tillotjon's Works, &c. to embellish his 
own. 

NOW I bethought my felf in my Sleep, that it was Tune to 
be at Home, and as I fancy'd I was travelling back thither, I 
reflected in my Mind on the extream Folly of those Parents, 
who, blind to their Childrens Dulnefs, and infenfible of the 
Solidity of their Skulls, because they think their Purfes can 
afford it, will needs fend them to the Temple of Learning, 
where, for want of a fuitable Genius, they learn little more 
than how to carry themfelves handfomely, and enter a Room 
genteely, (which might as well be acquir'd at a Dancing- 
School,) and from whence they return, after Abundance of 
Trouble and Charge, as great Blockheads as ever, only more 
proud and self-conceited. 



14 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

WHILE I was in the midft of thefe unpleafant Reflections, 
Clericus (who with a Book in his Hand was walking under the 
Trees) accidentally awak'd me ; to him I related my Dream 
with all its Particulars, and he, without much Study, pref- 
ently interpreted it, afsuring me, That it was a lively Repre- 
jentation of HARVARD COLLEGE, Etcetera. 

/ remain, Sir, 

Your Humble Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD. 



The 
New- England Courant. [N 43 

From Monday May 21. to Monday May 28. 1722. 
Mulier Muliere magis congruet. TER. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 
SIR, No V. 

I SHALL here prefent your Readers with a Letter from 
one, who informs me that I have begun at the wrong End of 
my Bufinefs, and that I ought to begin at Home, and cenfure 
the Vices and Follies of my own Sex, before I venture to 
meddle with your's : Neverthelefs, I am refolved to dedicate 
this Speculation to the Fair Tribe, and endeavour to fhow, 
that Mr. Ephraim charges Women with being particularly 
guilty of Pride, Idlenefs, &c. wrongfully, inafmuch as the 
Men have not only as great a Share in thofe Vices as the 
Women, but are likewife in a great Meafure the Caufe of 
that which the Women are guilty of. I think it will be beft 
to produce my Antagonift, before I encounter him. 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 15 

To Mrs. DOGOOD. 

Madam, 

'My Defign in troubling you with this Letter is, to defire you 
'would begin with your own Sex firft: Let the firft Volley 
'of your Refentments be directed against Female Vice; let 
'Female Idlenefs, Ignorance and Folly, (which are Vices 
'more peculiar to your Sex than to our's,) be the Subject of 
'your Satyrs, but more efpecially Female Pride, which I 
' think is intolerable. Here is a large Field that wants Cul- 
'tivation, and which I believe you are able (if willing) to 
'improve with Advantage; and when you have once re- 
' formed the Women, you will find it a much eaf ier Task to 
' reform the Men, becaufe Women are the prime Cauf es of a 
'great many Male Enormities. This is all at prefent from 

Your Friendly Welluvijher, 

Ephraim Cenforious. 

AFTER Thanks to my Correfpondent for his Kindnefs 
in cutting out Work for me, I muft affure him, that I find it 
a very difficult Matter to reprove Women feparate from the 
Men ; for what Vice is there in which the Men have not as 
great a Share as the Women ? and in f ome have they not a far 
greater, as in Drunkennefs, Swearing, &c. ? And if they 
have, then it follows, that when a Vice is to be reproved, 
Men, who are moft culpable, deferve the moft Reprehenfion, 
and certainly therefore, ought to have it. But we will wave 
this point at present, and proceed to a particular Confidera- 
tion of what my Correfpondent calls Female Vice. 

AS for Idlenefs, if I fhould Quare, Where are the greateft 
Number of its Votaries to be found, with us or the Men ? it 
might I believe be eafily and truly anfwer'd, With the latter. 



1 6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

For, notwithftanding the Men are commonly complaining 
how hard they are forc'd to labour, only to maintain their 
Wives in Pomp and Idlenefs, yet if you go among the Women, 
you will learn, that they have always more Work upon their 
Hands than they are able to do, and that a Woman's Work 
is never done, &c. But however, Suppose we fhould grant 
for once, that we are generally more idle than the Men, (with- 
out making any Allowance for the Weaknejs of the Sex,) I 
def ire to know whole Fault it is ? Are not the Men to blame 
for their Folly in maintaining us in Idlenefs ? Who is there 
that can be handfomely fupported in Affluence, Eafe and 
Pleafure by another, that will chufe rather to earn his Bread 
by the Sweat of his own Brows? And if a Man will be fo 
fond and fo foolifh, as to labour hard himfelf for a Liveli- 
hood, and fuffer his Wife in the mean Time to fit in Eafe and 
Idlenefs, let him not blame her if fhe does fo, for it is in a 
great Measure his own Fault. 

And now for the Ignorance and Folly which he reproaches 
us with, let us fee (if we are Fools and Ignoramus's) whofe 
is the Fault, the Men's or our's. An ingenious Writer, 
having this Subject in Hand, has the following Words, 
wherein he lays the Fault wholly on the Men, for not allowing 
Women the Advantages of Education. 

"I have (fays he) often thought of it as one of the moft 
"barbarous Customs in the World, confidering us as a civil- 
"iz'd and Chriftian Country, that we deny the Advantages 
"of Learning to Women. We reproach the Sex every Day 
"with Folly and Impertinence, while I am confident, had 
"they the Advantages of Education equal to us, they would 
"be guilty of lefs than our f elves. One would wonder 
"indeed how it fhould happen that Women are convertible 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 17 

"at all, fince they are only beholding to natural Parts for all 
"their Knowledge. Their Youth is fpent to teach them to 
"ftitch and fow, or make Baubles. They are taught to read 
"indeed, and perhaps to write their Names, or fo; and that 
"is the Heigth of a Womans Education. And I would but 
"ask any who flight the Sex for their Underftanding, What 
"is a Man (a Gentleman, I mean) good for that is taught no 
"more? If Knowledge and Understanding had been ufelefs 
"Additions to the Sex, God Almighty would never have 
"given them Capacities, for he made nothing Needlefs. 
"What has the Woman done to forfeit the Priviledge of being 
"taught? Does fhe plague us with her Pride and Imper- 
"tinence? Why did we not let her learn, that she might 
"have had more Wit? Shall we upraid Women with Folly, 
"when 'tis only the Error of this inhumane Cuftom that 
"hindred them being made wiser." 

SO much for Female Ignorance and Folly; and now let 
us a little confider the Pride which my Correfpondent thinks 
is intolerable. By this Exprefsion of his, one would think 
he is fome dejected Swain, tyranniz'd over by fome cruel 
haughty Nymph, who (perhaps he thinks) has no more 
Reafon to be proud than himfelf. Alas-a-day! What fhall 
we fay in this Cafe ! Why truly, if Women are proud, it is 
certainly owing to the Men ftill; for if they will be fuch 
Simpletons as to humble themfelves at their Feet, and fill 
their credulous Ears with extravagant Praifes of their Wit, 
Beauty, and other Accomplifhments (perhaps where there 
are none too,) and when Women are by this Means per- 
fwaded that they are Something more than humane, what 
Wonder is it, if they carry themfelves haughtily, and live 
extravagantly. Notwithftanding, I believe there are more 
VOL. n c 



1 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

Inftances of extravagant Pride to be found among Men 
than among Women, and this Fault is certainly more hainous 
in the former than in the latter. 

UPON the whole, I conclude, that it will be impoffible to 
lafh any Vice, of which the Men, are not equally guilty with 
the Women, and confequently deferve an equal (if not a 
greater, Share in the Cenfure. However, I exhort both to 
amend, where both are culpable, otherwife they may expect 
to be feverely handled by Sir, 

Your Humble Servant, 
SILENCE DOGOOD. 

N. B. Mrs. Dogood has lately left her Seat in the Country , 
and come to Bofton, where jhe intends to tarry for the Summer 
Seafon, in order to compleat her Obfervations of the prefent 
reigning Vices of the Town. 



(Paper) 
N45 
June 4. to Monday June n. 1722. 

Quern Dies videt veniens Superbum, 
Hunc Dies vidit fugiens jacentem. 

SENECA. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 

SIR, [No VI. 

AMONG the many reigning Vices of the Town which 
may at any Time come under my Confideration and Repre- 
henfion, there is none which I am more inclin'd to expofe 
than that of Pride. It is acknowledg'd by all to be a Vice 
the most hateful to God and Man. Even thofe who nourifh 
it in themfelves, hate to fee it in others. The proud Man 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 19 

afpires after Nothing lefs than an unlimited Superiority 
over his Fellow- Creatures. He has made himfelf a King 
in Soliloquy; fancies himfelf conquering the World, and 
the Inhabitants thereof confulting on proper Methods to 
acknowledge his Merit. I fpeak it to my Shame. I my felf 
was a Queen from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth Year 
of my Age, and govern'd the World all the Time of my being 
govern'd by my Mafter. But this fpeculative Pride may 
be the Subject of another Letter: I fhall at prefent confine 
my Thoughts to what we call Pride of Apparel. This Sort 
of Pride has been growing upon us ever fince we parted 
with our Homefpun Cloaths for Fourteen Penny Stuff, &c. 
And the Pride of Apparel has begot and nourifh'd in us a 
Pride of Heart, which portends the Ruin of Church and 
State. Pride goeth before Dejtruction, and a haughty Spirit 
before a Fall: And I remember my late Reverend Husband 
would often fay upon this Text, That a Fall was the natural 
Confequence, as well as Punifhment of Pride. Daily Ex- 
perience is fufficient to evince the Truth of this Obfervation. 
Perfons of fmall Fortune under the Dominion of this Vice, 
feldom confider their Inability to maintain themfelves in it, 
but ftrive to imitate their Superiors in eftate, or Equals in 
Folly, until one Misfortune comes upon the Neck of another, 
and every Step they take is a Step backwards. By ftriving 
to appear rich they become really poor, and deprive them- 
felves of that Pity and Charity, which is due to the humble 
poor Man, who is made fo more immediately by Providence. 
THIS Pride of Apparel will appear the more foolifh, if 
we confider, that thofe airy Mortals, who have no other Way 
of making themfelves confiderable but by gorgeous Apparel, 
draw after them Crowds of Imitators, who hate each other 



20 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

while they endeavour after a Similitude of Manners. They 
deftroy by Example, and envy one another's Deftruction. 

I CANNOT difmifs this Subject without fome Observa- 
tions on a particular Fafhion now reigning among my own 
Sex, the moft immodeft and inconvenient of any the Art of 
Woman has invented, namely, that of Hoop-Petticoats. By 
thefe they are incommoded in their General and Particular 
Calling ; and therefore they cannot anf wer the ends of either 
neceffary or ornamental Apparel. Thefe monftrous topfy- 
turvy Mortar-Pieces, are neither fit for the Church, the Hall, 
or the Kitchen ; and if a Number of them were well mounted 
on Noddles-Island, they would look more like Engines of 
War for bombarding the Town, than Ornaments of the Fair 
Sex. An honeft Neighbour of mine, happening to be in 
Town fome time fince on a publick Day, inform'd me, that 
he faw four Gentlewomen with their Hoops half mounted in 
a Balcony, as they withdrew to the Wall, to the great Terror 
of the Militia, who (he thinks) might attribute their irreg- 
ular Volleys to the formidable Appearance of the Ladies 
Petticoats. 

I ASSURE you, Sir, I have but little Hopes of perfwading 
my Sex, by this Letter, utterly to relinquifh the extravagant 
Foolery, and Indication of Immodefty, in this monftrous 
Garb of their's; but I would at leaft defire them to lefsen 
the Circumference of their Hoops, and leave it with them to 
confider, Whether they, who pay no Rates or Taxes, ought 
to take up more Room in the King's Highway, than the Men, 
who yearly contribute to the Support of the Government. 
/ am, Sir, 

Your Humble Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD. 



1722] THE DO GOOD PAPERS 21 

N 47 
June 1 8. to Monday June 25. 1722. 

Give nte the Mufe, whose generous Force, 

Impatient of the Reins, 
Purfues an unattentpted Courfe, 

Breaks all the Criticks Iron Chains. 

WATTS. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 

SIR, No VII. 

It has been the Complaint of many Ingenious Foreigners, 
who have travell'd amongft us, That good Poetry is not to be 
expected in New-England. I am apt to Fancy, the Reafon 
is, not becaufe our Countrymen are altogether void of a 
Poetical Genius, nor yet becaufe we have not thofe Advan- 
tages of Education which other Countries have, but purely 
becaufe we do not afford that Praife and Encouragement 
which is merited, when any thing extraordinary of this Kind 
is produc'd among us: Upon which Confideration I have 
determined, when I meet with a Good Piece of New-Eng- 
land Poetry, to give it a fuitable Encomium, and thereby 
endeavour to difcover to the World fome of its Beautys, in 
order to encourage the Author to go on, and blefs the World 
with more, and more Excellent Productions. 

THERE has lately appear'd among us a moft Excellent 
Piece of Poetry, entituled, An Elegy upon the much Lamented 
Death of Mrs. Mehitebell Kitel, Wife of Mr. John Kitel of 
Salem, Etc. It may justly be faid in its Praife, without 
Flattery to the Author, that it is the moft Extraordinary 
Piece that was ever wrote in New-England. The Lan- 
guage is fo foft and Eafy, the Expreffion fo moving and 



22 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

pathetick, but above all, the Verfe and Numbers fo Charming 
and Natural, that it is almoft beyond Companion. 

The Mufe difdains 1 

Thoje Links and Chains, 

Meajures and Rules of Vulgar Strains, 

And o'er the Laws of Harmony a Sovereign Queen she reigns. 

I FIND no English Author, Ancient or Modern, whofe 
Elegies may be compar'd with this, in refpect to the Ele- 
gance of Stile, or Smoothnefs of Rhime; and for the affect- 
ing Part, I will leave your Readers to judge, if ever they read 
any Lines, that would fooner make them draw their Breath 
and Sigh, if not fhed Tears, than thefe following. 

Come let us mourn, for we have lojt a 
Wife, a Daughter, and a Sifter, 

Who has lately taken Flight, and 
greatly we have mijt her. 

In another place, 

Some little Time before fhe yielded up her Breath, 
She faid, I ne'er fhall hear one Sermon more on Earth. 
She kift her Hufband fome little Time before fhe expired, 
Then lean'd her Head the Pillow on, juft out of Breath and 
tir'd. 

BUT the Threefold Appellation in the firft Line 
a Wife, a Daughter, and a Sifter, 

muft not pafs unobferved. That Line in the celebrated 
Watts, 

GUNSTON the Juft, the Generous, and the Young, 
is nothing Comparable to it. The latter only mentions 

i Watts. 



I 7 22] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 23 

three Qualifications of one Perfon who was deceafed, which 
therefore could raife Grief and Compaffion but for One. 
Whereas the former, (our mojt excellent Poet) gives his 
Reader a Sort of an Idea of the Death of Three Perjons, viz. 

a Wife, a Daughter, and a Sijter, 

which is Three Times as great a Lofs as the Death of One, 
and confequently muft raife Three Times as much Grief 
and Compaffion in the Reader. 

I SHOULD be very much ftraitened for Room, if I fhould 
attempt to difcover even half the Excellencies of this Elegy 
which are obvious to me. Yet I cannot omit one Obferva- 
tion, which is, that the Author has (to his Honour) invented 
a new Species of Poetry, which wants a Name, and was 
never before known. His mufe fcorns to be confin'd to the 
old Meafures and Limits, or to obferve the dull Rules of 
Criticks ; 

Nor Rapin gives her Rules to fly, nor Purcell Notes to Sing. 

Watts. 

NOW 'tis Pity that fuch an Excellent Piece fhould not be 
dignify'd with a particular Name; and feeing it cannot 
juftly be called, either Epic, Sapphic, Lyric, or Pindaric, 
nor any other Name yet invented, I prefume it may, (in 
Honour and Remembrance of the Dead) be called the 
KITELIC. Thus much in the Praife of Kitelic Poetry. 

IT is certain, that thofe Elegies which are of our own 
Growth, (and our Soil feldom produces any other fort of 
Poetry) are by far the greateft part, wretchedly Dull and 
Ridiculous. Now fince it is imagin'd by many, that our 
Poets are honeft, well-meaning Fellows, who do their beft, 
and that if they had but fome Infractions how to govern 



24 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

Fancy with Judgment, they would make indifferent good 
Elegies; I fhall here fubjoin a Receipt for that purpofe, 
which was left me as a Legacy, (among other valuable 
Rarities) by my Reverend Hufband. It is as follows, 

A RECEIPT to make a New-England 
Funeral ELEGY. 

For the Title of your Elegy. Of theje you may have 
enough ready made to your Hands; but if you should chuje 
to make it your jelf, you mujt be jure not to omit the words 
^Etatis Suae, which will Beautify it exceedingly. 

For the Subject of your Elegy. Take one of your Neigh- 
bours who has lately departed this Life; it is no great matter 
at what Age the Party dy'd, but it will be be ft if he went away 
juddenly, being KilPd, Drown'd, or Frose to Death. 

Having chose the Per Jon, take all his Virtues, Excellencies, 
&c. and if he have not enough, you may borrow fome to make 
up a fufficient Quantity: To thefe add his laft Words, dying 
Expreffions, Sac. if they are to be had; mix all thefe together, 
and be jure you ftrain them well. Then feafon all with a 
Handful or two of Melancholly Expreffions, fuch as, Dread- 
ful, Deadly, cruel cold Death, unhappy Fate, weeping Eyes, 
&c. Have mixed all thefe Ingredients well, put them into 
the empty Scull of fome young Harvard; (but in Cafe you 
have ne'er a One at Hand, you may ufe your own,) there let 
them Ferment for the Space of a Fortnight, and by that Time 
they will be incorporated into a Body, which take out, and 
having prepared a sufficient Quantity of double Rhimes, fuch 
as Power, Flower; Quiver, Shiver; Grieve us, Leave us; 
tell you, excel you; Expeditions, Physicians; Fatigue him, 
Intrigue him; &c. you muft fpread all upon Paper, and if 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 25 

you can procure a Scrap of Latin to put at the End, it will 
garni jh it mightily; then having affixed your Name at the 
Bottom, with a Moeftus Compofuit, you will have an Excellent 
Elegy. 

N. B. This Receipt will jerve when a Female is the Sub- 
ject of your Elegy, provided you borrow a greater Quantity of 
Virtues, Excellencies, &c. 

SIR, 

Your Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD 

P. S. I shall make no other Anfwer to Hyper car pus's 
Criticifm on my laf t Letter than this, Mater me genuit, peperit 
mox filia matrem. 

The N 49 

New-England Courant. 

From Monday July 2. to Monday July 9. 1722. 

To the Author of the New- England Courant. 
SIR, No VIII. 

I PREFER the Mowing Abftract from the London 
Journal to any Thing of my own, and therefore shall pref ent 
it to your Readers this week without any further Preface. 

'WITHOUT Freedom of Thought, there can be no fuch 
'Thing as Wifdom; and no fuch Thing as publick Liberty, 
'without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every 
' Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right 
'of another: And this is the only Check it ought to fuffer, and 
'the only Bounds it ought to Know. 

'This f acred Privilege is so effential to free Governments, 



26 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

'that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech 
'always go together; and in thofe wretched Countries where 
'a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can fcarce call 
'any Thing elfe his own. Whoever would overthrow the 
'Liberty of a Nation, must begin by fubduing the Freenefs 
' of Speech ; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors. 

'This Secret was fo well known to the Court of King 
'Charles the Firjt, that his wicked Miniftry procured a 
'Proclamation, to forbid the People to talk of Parliaments, 
'which thofe Traytors had laid afide. To affert the un- 
' doubted Right of the Subject, and defend his Majesty's 
'legal Prerogative, was called Dif affection, and punifhed as 
'Sedition. Nay, People were forbid to talk of Religion in 
'their Families: For the Priefts had combined with the 
'Minifters to cook up Tyranny, and fupprefs Truth and the 
'Law, while the late King James, when Duke of York, went 
'avowedly to Mafs, Men were fined, imprifoned and undone, 
' for faying he was a Papif t : And that King Charles the Second 
'might live more fecurely a Papift, there was an Act of Par- 
'liament made, declaring it Treafon to fay that he was one. 

' That Men ought to f peak well of their Governours is true, 
'while their Governours deferve to be well fpoken of; but to 
'do publick Mif chief without hearing of it, is only the Pre- 
'rogative and Felicity of Tyranny: A free People will be 
'fhewing that they are jo, by their Freedom of Speech. 

'The Adminiftration of Government is nothing elfe but 
'the Attendance of the Trujtees of the People upon the Intereft 
' and Affairs of the People : And as it is the Part and Bufiness 
' of the People, for whofe Sake alone all publick Matters are, 
'or ought to be tranfacted, to fee whether they be well or ill 
'tranf acted; fo it is the Interest, and ought to be the Ambi- 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 27 

'tion, of all honeft Magiftrates, to have their Deeds openly 
'examined, and publickly fcan'd: Only the wicked Govern- 
'ours of Men dread what is faid of them; Audivit Tiberius 
' proba queis lacerabitur, atque perculfus eft. The public 
' Cenf ure was true, elf e he had not felt it bitter. 

'Freedom of Speech is ever the Symptom, as well as the 
'Effect of a good Government. In old Rome, all was left to 
'the Judgment and Pleafure of the People, who examined 
'the publick Proceedings with fuch Difcretion, & cenfured 
'thofe who adminiftred them with fuch Equity and Mild- 
'nefs, that in the fpace of Three Hundred Years, not five 
'publick Minifters fuffered unjuftly. Indeed whenever the 
' Commons proceeded to Violence, the great Ones had been 
'the Agreffors. 

'GUILT only dreads Liberty of Speech, which drags it 
'out of its lurking Holes, and expofes its Deformity and 
'Horrour to Day-light. Horatius, Valerius, Cincinnatus, 
'and other vertuous and undefigning Magiftrates of the 
'Roman Commonwealth, had nothing to fear from Liberty 
' of Speech. Their virtuous Adminif tration, the more it was 
'examin'd, the more it brightned and gain'd by Enquiry. 
'When Valerius in particular, was accufed upon fome flight 
'grounds of affecting the Diadem; he who was the firft 
' Minifter of Rome, does not accufe the People for examining 
'his Conduct, but approved his Innocence in a Speech to 
' them ; and gave fuch Satisfaction to them, and gained fuch 
'Popularity to himfelf, that they gave him a new Name; 
l inde cognomen factum Publicola ejt; to denote that he was 
' their Favourite and their Friend Lata deinde leges 
'Ante omnes de provocation ADVERSUS MAGISTRATUS 
'AD POPULUM, Livii, lib. 2, Cap. 8. 



28 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

'But Things afterwards took another Turn. Rome with 
'the Lofs of its Liberty, loft alfo its Freedom of Speech; 
'then Mens Words began to be feared and watched; and 
'then firft began the poyjonous Race of Informers banifhed 
' indeed under the righteous Adminif tration of Titus, Narva, 
'Trajan, Aurelius, &c. but encouraged and enriched under 
'the vile Ministry of Sejanus, Tigillinus, Pallas, and Cle- 
( ander: Queri libet, quod in fecreta nojtra non inquirant 
'principes, niji quos Odimus, fays Pliny to Trajan. 

'The beft Princes have ever encouraged and promoted 
'Freedom of Speech; they know that upright Meafures 
'would defend themf elves, and that all upright Men would 
'defend them. Tacitus, f peaking of the Reign of fome of 
'the Princes abovemention'd, fays with Extafy, Rara Tem- 
'porum felicitate, ubi fenfire qua veils, & qua fentias dicer e 
1 licet: A bleffed Time when you might think what you would, 
'and fpeak what you thought. 

'I doubt not but old Spencer and his Son, who were the 
' Chief Minifters and Betrayers of Edward the Second, would 
'have been very glad to have ftopped the Mouths of all the 
'honeft Men in England. They dreaded to be called Tray- 
l tors, becaufe they were Tray tors. And I dare fay, Queen 
' Elizabeth's Walfingham, who deferved no Reproaches, 
'feared none. Mifreprefentation of publick Meafures is 
'eafily overthrown, by reprefenting publick Meafures truly; 
'when they are honeft, they ought to be publickly known, 
'that they may be publickly commended; but if they are 
'knavifh or pernicious, they ought to be publickly detefted. 

Yours, &c, 
SILENCE DOGOOD. 



1722] THE DO GOOD PAPERS 29 

N 5 i 
From Monday July 16. to Monday July 23. 1722 

Corruptio optimi ejt pejjima 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 

SIR, 

It has been for fome Time a Queftion with me, Whether 
a Commonwealth fuffers more by hypocritical Pretenders 
to Religion, or by the openly Profane? But fome late 
Thoughts of this Nature, have inclined me to think, that 
the Hypocrite is the moft dangerous Perfon of the Two, 
efspecially if he fustains a Poft in the Government, and we 
confider his Conduct as it regards the Publick. The firft 
Artifice of a State Hypocrite is, by a few favoury Expref- 
sions which coft him Nothing, to betray the beft Men in 
his Country into an Opinion of his Goodnefs; and if the 
Country wherein he lives is noted for the Purity of Religion, 
he the more eafily gains his End, and confequently may 
more juftly be expos'd and detefted. A notoriously pro- 
fane Perfon in a private Capacity, rums himfelf, and per- 
haps the Deftruction of a few of his Equals; but a publick 
Hypocrite every day deceives his betters, and makes them 
the Ignorant Trumpeters of his fupposed Godlinefs: They 
take him for a Saint, and pafs him for one, without con- 
fidering that they are (as it were) the Inftruments of publick 
Mifchief out of Confcince, (sic) and ruin their Country for 
God's sake. 

THIS Political Defcription of a Hypocrite, may (for 
ought I know) be taken for a new Doctrine by fome of your 
Readers ; but let them confider, that a little Religion, and a 
little Honejty, goes a great way in Courts. 'Tis not incon- 



30 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

fiftent with Charity to diftruft a Religious Man in Power, 
tho' he may be a good Man ; he has many Temptations " to 
propagate public Deduction for Perfonal Advantages and 
Security:" And if his Natural Temper be covetous, and 
his Actions often contradict his pious Difcourfe, we may 
with great Reafon conclude that he has fome other Defign 
in his Religion befides barely getting to Heaven. But the 
moft dangerous Hypocrite in a Common- Wealth, is one 
who leaves the Gospel for the jake of the Law: A Man com- 
pounded of Law and Gospel, is able to cheat a whole Country 
with his Religion, and then deftroy them under Colour of 
Law: And here the Clergy are in great Danger of being 
deceiv'd, and the People of being deceiv'd by the Clery, 
until the Monster arrives to fuch power and Wealth, that he 
is out of the reach of both, and can opprefs the People with- 
out their own blind Affistance. And it is a fad Obfervation, 
that when the People too late fee their Error, yet the Clergy 
f till perf ist in their Encomiums on the Hypocrite ; and when 
he happens to die for the Good of his Country, without leaving 
behind him the Memory of one good Action, he fhall be fure 
to have his Funeral Sermon ftuffed with Pious Expreffions 
which he dropt at fuch a Time, and at fuch a Place, and on 
fuch an Occafion; than which nothing can be more preju- 
dicial to the Intereft of Religion, nor indeed to the Memory 
of the Perfon deceaf'd, The Reafon of this Blindnefs in the 
Clergy is, becaufe they are honourably fupported (as they 
ought to be) by their People, and fee nor feel nothing of the 
Oppreffion which is obvious and burdenfome to every one 
elfe. 

But this Subject raifes in me an Indignation not to be 
born ; and if we have had, or are like to have any Instances 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 31 

of this Nature in New-England, we cannot better manifeft 
our Love to Religion and the Country, than by letting the 
Deceivers in a true Light, and undeceiving the Deceived, 
however fuch Difcoveries may be reprefented by the ignorant 
or defigning Enemies of our Peace and Safety. 

I fhall connlude with a Paragraph or two from an inge- 
nious Political Writer in the London Journal, the better to 
convince your Readers, that Publick Deftruction may be 
eafily carry'd on by hypocritical Pretenders to Religion. 

"A raging Paffion for immoderate Gam had made Men 
"univerfally and intenfely hard-hearted: They were every 
"where devouring one another. And yet the Directors and 
"their Accomplices, who were the acting Inftruments of all 
"this outrageous Madnefs and Mif chief, fet up for wonderful 
" pious Perfons, while they were defying Almighty God, and 
"plundering Men; and they fet apart a Fund of Subfcrip- 
"tions for charitable Ufes; that is, they mercilessly made a 
"whole People Beggars, and charitably fupported a few 
"necejfitous and worthless FAVOURITES. I doubt not, 
"but if the Villany had gone on with Succefs, they would 
" have had their Names handed down to Pofterity with En- 
"comiums; as the Names of other publick Robbers, have 
"been! We have Hijtorians and ODE MAKERS now 
"living, very proper for fuch a Task. It is certain, that 
"moft People did, at one Time, believe the Directors to be 
" great and worthy Perjons. And an honeft Country Clergy- 
" man told me laft Summer, upon the Road, that Sir John 
"was an excellent publick-fpirited Perfon, for that he had 
"beautified his Chancel. 

"Upon the whole we muft not judge of one another by 
"their beft Actions; fince the worft Men do fome Good, 



32 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

"and all Men make fine Profeffions: But we muft judge of 
"Men by the whole of their Conduct, and Effects of it. 
"Thorough Honefty requires great and long Proof, fince 
"many a Man, long thought honeft, has at length proved a 
"Knave. And it is from judging without Proof, or falfe 
"Proof, that Mankind continue Unhappy." 
/ am, SIR, 

your humble Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD. 

[NO 54 

New-England Courant 

From Monday Auguft 6. to Monday Auguft 13. 1722. 
Optime" jocietas hominum jervabitur. Cic. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 

SIR, [No X. 

DISCOURSING lately with an intimate Friend of mine 
of the lamentable Condition of Widows, he put into my 
Hands a Book, wherein the ingenious Author propofes 
(I think) a certain Method for their Relief. I have often 
thought of fome fuch Project for their Benefit my felf, and 
intended to communicate my Thoughts to the Publick ; but 
to prefer my own Propofals to what follows, would be rather 
an Argument of Vanity in me than Good Will to the many 
Hundreds of my Fellow-Sufferers now in New-England. 

'We have (fays he) abundance of Women, who have been 
' Bred well, and Liv'd well, Ruin'd in a few Years, and per- 
'haps, left Young, with a Houfe full of Children, and nothing 
'to Support them; which falls generally upon the Wives of 
'the Inferior Clergy, or of Shopkeepers and Artificers. 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 33 

'They marry Wives with perhaps 3oo/. to iooo/. Portion, 
'and can fettle no Jointure upon them; either they are Ex- 
' travagant and Idle, and Waf te it, or Trade decays, or Loff es, 
'or a Thousand Contingences happen to bring a Tradefman 
'to Poverty, and he Breaks; the Poor Young Woman, it 
'may be, has Three or Four Children, and is driven to a 
'thoufand fhifts, while he lies in the Mini or Fryars under 
'the Dilemma of a Statute of Bankrupt; but if he Dies, then 
'fhe is abfolutely Undone, unlefs fhe has Friends to go to. 

'Suppose an Office to be Erected, to be call'd An Office 
' of Enjurance for Widows, upon the following Conditions ; 

'Two thoufand Women, or their Hufbands for them, 
'Enter their Names into a Regifter to be kept for that pur- 
'pofe, with the Names, Age, and Trade of their Husbands, 
'with the Place of their abode, Paying at the Time of their 
'Entring 55. down with is. ^d. per Quarter, which is to the 
'fetting up and fupport of an Office with Clerks, and all 
'proper Officers for the fame; for their is no maintaining 
'fuch without charge; they receive every one of them a Cer- 
' tificate, SeaPd by the Secretary of the Office, and Sign'd by 
'the Governors, for the Articles hereafter mentioned. 

'If any one the Women becomes a Widow, at any Time 
'after Six Months from the Date of her Subfcription, upon 
'due Notice given, and Claim made at the Office in form, 
'as fhall be directed, fhe fhall receive within Six Months 
'after fuch Claim made, the Sum of 500^. in Money, without 
'any Deductions, faving fome fmall Fees to the Officers, 
'which the Truftees muft fettle, that they may be be (sic) 
' known. 

'In Confideration of this, every Woman fo Subfcribing, 
'Obliges her felf to Pay as often as any Member of the 

VOL. II D 



34 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [172-2 

'Society becomes a Widow, the due Proportion or Share 
' allotted to her to Pay, towards the $ool. for the f aid Widow, 
' provided her fhare does not exceed the Sum of 55. 

'No Seamen or Soldiers Wives to be accepted into fuch a 
'Propofal as this, on the Account before mention'd, becaufe 
'the Contingences of their Lives are not equal to others, 
' unlefs they will admit this general Exception, f uppofing they 
' do not Die out of the Kingdom. 

'It might alfo be an Exception, That if the Widow, that 
'Claim'd, had really, bona fide, left her by her Husband to 
'her own ufe, clear of all Debts and Legacies, 2000^ fhe 
'fhou'd have no Claim; the Intent being to Aid the Poor, 
'not add to the Rich. But there lies a great many Objec- 
' tions againft fuch an Article : As 

' i. It may tempt fome to forfwear themf elves. 

'2. People will order their Wills fo as to defraud the 
' Exception. 

'One Exception muft be made; and that is, Either very 
'unequal Matches, as when a Woman of Nineteen Marries 
'an old Man of Seventy; or Women who have infirm Hus- 
' bands, I mean known and publickly f o. To remedy which, 
'Two things are to be done. 

'The Office muft have moving Officers without doors, 
' who fhall inform themf elves of fuch matters, and if any fuch 
' Circumftances appear, the Office fhould have 14 days time 
' to return their Money, and declare their Subfcriptions Void. 

'2. No Woman whofe Husband had any vifible Dif- 
' temper, fhould claim under a Year after her Subfcription. 

'One grand Objection againft this Propofal, is, How you 
'will oblige People to pay either their Subfcription, or their 
' Quarteridge. 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 35 

'To this I anfwer, By no Compulsion (tho' that might 
'be perform'd too) but altogether voluntary; only with this 
'Argument to move it, that if they do not continue their 
'Payments, they lofe the Benefit of their paft Contributions. 

'I know it lies as a fair Objection againft fuch a Project 
'as this, That the number of Claims are fo uncertain, That 
'no Body knows what they engage in, when they Subfcribe, 
1 for fo many may die Annually out of Two Thouf and, as may 
'perhaps make my Payment 20 or 25^. per Ann, and if a 
'Woman happen to Pay that for Twenty Years, though fhe 
' receives the 500^. at laf t fhe is a great Lofer ; but if fhe dies 
' before her Husband, fhe has lef fened his Eftate confiderably, 
'and brought a great Lofs upon him. 

' Firjt, I fay to this, That I wou'd have fuch a Propofal as 
'this be fo fair and eafy, that if any Perfon who had Sub- 
'fcrib'd found the Payments too high, and the Claims fall too 
'often, it fhou'd be at their Liberty at any Time, upon 
'Notice given, to be releafed and ftand Oblig'd no longer; 
' and if fo, Volenti non fit Injuria; every one knows beft what 
' their own Circumf tances will bear. 

'In the next Place, becaufe Death is a Contingency, no 
'Man can directly Calculate, and all that Subfcribe must 
'take the Hazard; yet that a Prejudice againft this Notion 
'may not be built on wrong Grounds, let's examine a little 
'the Probable hazard, and fee how many fhall die Annually 
'out of 2000 Subfcribers, accounting by the common pro- 
' portion of Burials, to the number of the Living. 

'Sir William Petty in his Political Arithmetick, by a very 
'Ingenious Calculation, brings the Account of Burials in 
' London, to be i in 40 Annually, and and proves it by all the 
'proper Rules of proportion'd Computation; and Fie take 



36 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN- FRANKLIN [1722 

'my Scheme from thence. If then One in Forty of all the 
'People in England, fhould Die, that fuppofes Fifty to Die 
' every Year out of our Two Thousand Subf cribers ; and for 
' a Woman to Contribute 5$. to every one, would certainly be 
'to agree to Pay i2/. ictf. per Ann. upon her Husband's Life, 
'to receive 500^. when he Di'd, and lofe it if fhe Di'd firft; 
'and yet this wou'd not be a hazard beyond reafon too great 
' for the Gain. 

'But I fhall offer fome Reafons to prove this to be impof- 
'fible in our Cafe; Firft, Sir William Petty allows the City 
'of London to contain about a Million of People, and our 
'Yearly Bill of Mortality never yet amounted to 25000 in the 
'moft Sickly Years we have had, Plague Years excepted, 
' fometimes but to 20000, which is but One in Fifty : Now it 
'is to be confider'd here, that Children and Ancient People 
'make up, one time with another, at least one third of our 
'Bills of Mortality; and our Ajjurances lies upon none but 
' the Midling Age of the People, which is the only age wherein 
'Life is any thing fteady; and if that be allow'd, there can- 
'not Die by his Computation, above One in Eighty of fuch 
'People, every Year, but becaufe I would be fure to leave 
'Room for Cafualty, I'le allow one in Fifty fhall Die out of 
'our Number Subfcrib'd. 

'Secondly, It muft be allow'd, that our Payments falling 
' due only on the Death of Husbands, this One in Fifty muft 
'not be reckoned upon the Two thoufand; for 'tis to be 
'fuppos'd at leaft as many Women fhall die as Men, and then 
* there is nothing to Pay; fo that One in Fifty upon One 
'Thoufand, is the moft that I can fuppofe fhall claim the 
' Contribution hi a Year, which is Twenty Claims a Year at 
' 55. each, and is 5/. per Ann. and if a Woman pays this for 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 37 

'Twenty Year, and claims at laft, fhe is Gainer enough, and 
'no extraordinary Lofer if she never claims at all: And I 
'verily believe any Office might undertake to demand at all 
'Adventures not above 61. per Ann. and fecure the Sub- 
'fcriber 5oo/. in cafe she come to claim as a Widow. 

I would leave this to the Confideration of all who are con- 
cern'd for their own or their Neighbour's Temporal Happi- 
nefs; and I am humbly of Opinion, that the Country is 
ripe for many fuch Friendly Societies, whereby every Man 
might help another, without any Differvice to himfelf. We 
have many charitable Gentlemen who Yearly give liberally 
to the Poor, and where can they better beftow their Charity 
than on thofe who become fo by Providence, and for ought 
they know on themfelves. But above all, the Clergy have 
the most need of coming into fome fuch Project as this. 
They as well as poor Men (according to the Proverb) gener- 
ally abound in Children; and how many Clergymen in the 
Country are forc'd to labour in their Fields, to keep them- 
felves in a Condition above Want ? How then shall they be 
able to leave any thing to their forfaken, dejected, & almoft 
forgotten Wives and Children. For my own Part, I have 
nothing left to live on, but Contentment and a few Cows; 
and tho' I cannot expect to be reliev'd by this Project, yet 
it would be no fmall Satisfaction to me to fee it put in 
Practice for the Benefit of others. 

/ am, SIR, &c. 

SILINCE DOGOOD. 



38 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

The [N 55 

New-England Courant. 

From Monday August 13. to Monday Auguft 20. 1722. 
Neque licitum interea eft meam amicam vtfere. 

To the Author of the New- England Courant. 
SIR, [No XI. 

FROM a natural Compaffion to my Fellow-Creatures, 
I have fometimes been betray'd into Tears at the Sight of an 
Object of Charity, who by a bear Relation of his Circum- 
ftances, feem'd to demand the affiftance of thofe about him. 
The following Petition reprefents in fo lively a Manner the 
forlorn State of a Virgin well ftricken in Years and Repent- 
ance, that I cannot forbear publifhing it at this Time, with 
fome Advice to the Petitioner. 

To Mrs. Silence Dogood. 

The Humble Petition of Margaret Aftercaft, 
SHEWETH, 

" i. THAT your Petitioner being puff d up in her younger 
"Years with a numerous Train of Humble Servants, had the 
"Vanity to think, that her extraordinary Wit and Beauty 
"would continually recommend her to the Efteem of the 
" Gallants ; and therefore as foon as it came to be publickly 
"known that any Gentleman addrefs'd her, he was imme- 
"diately difcarded. 

"2. THAT feveral of your Petitioners Humble Servants, 
"who upon their being rejected by her, were, to all Appear- 
"ance in a dying Condition, have fince recover'd their 
"Health, and been feveral Years married, to the great Sur- 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 39 

"prize and Grief of your Petitioner, who parted with them 
"upon no other Conditions, but that they fhould die or run 
"diftracted for her, as feveral of them faithfully promis'd 
"to do. 

"3. THAT your Petititioner finding her felf dif appointed 
"in and neglected by her former Adorers, and no new Offers 
"appearing for fome Years paft, fhe has been induftrioufly 
"contracting Acquaintance with feveral Families in Town 
"and Country, where any young Gentlemen or Widowers 
"have refided, and endeavour'd to appear as converfable 
"as poffible before them: She has like wife been a ftrict 
"Obferver of the Fafhion, and always appear'd well drefs'd. 
"And the better to reftore her decay'd Beauty, fhe has con- 
"fum'd above Fifty Pound's Worth of the moft approved 
" Cosmeticks. But all won't do. 

"YOUR Petitioner therefore moft humbly prays, That 
"you would be pleafed to form a Project for the Relief of 
"all thofe penitent Mortals of the fair Sex, that are like to 
"be punifh'd with their Virginity until old Age, for the Pride 
"and Infolence of their Youth. 

"And your Petitioner (as in Duty bound) fhall ever pray, 
" &c. Margaret Aftercajt " 

WERE I endow'd with the Faculty of Matchmaking, it 
fhould be improv'd for the Benefit of Mrs. M argaret and 
others in her Condition: but fince my extream Modefty 
and Taciturnity, forbids an Attempt of this Nature, I would 
advife them to relieve themfelves in a Method of Friendly 
Society] and that already publifh'd for Widows, I conceive 
would be a very proper Propofal for them, whereby every 
fingle Woman, upon full Proof given of her continuing a 



40 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

Virgin for the Space of Eighteen Years, (dating her Virginity 
from the Age of Twelve,) should be entituled to 500 /. in 
ready Cafh. 

BUT then it will be necefsary to make the following 

j 

Exceptions. 

1. THAT no Woman shall be admitted into the Society 
after she is Twenty Five Years old, who has made a Practice 
of entertaining and difcarding Humble Servants, without 
fumcient Reafon for fo doing, until fhe has manifested her 
Repentance in Writing under her Hand. 

2. NO Member of the Society who has declar'd before 
two credible Witneffes, That it is well known fhe has refused 
jeveral good Offers jince the Time of her Subjcribing, fhall 
be entituled to the 500 /. when she comes of Age ; that is to 
fay, Thirty Years. 

3. NO Woman, who after claiming and receiving, has had 
the good Fortune to marry, fhall entertain any Company 
with Encomiums on her Husband, above the Space of one 
Hour at a Time, upon Pain of returning one half the Money 
into the Office, for the firft Offence; and upon the fecond 
Offence to return the Remainder. 7 am, SIR, 

Your Humble Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD. 

[No 58 
From Monday September 3. to Monday September 10. 1722. 

Quod eft in cordefobrii, eft in ore ebrii. 

To the Author of the New- England Courant. 
SIR, [No XII. 

IT is no unprofitable tho' unpleasant Purfuit, diligently 
to infpect and confider the Manners & Converfation of Men, 



1 722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 41 

who, infenfible of the greateft Enjoyments of humane Life, 
abandon themfelves to Vice from a falfe Notion of Pleajure 
and good Fellowjhip. A true and natural Reprefentation 
of any Enormity, is often the beft Argument againft it and 
Means of removing it, when the moft fevere Reprehenfions 
alone, are found ineffectual. 

I WOULD in this Letter improve the little Obfervation 
I have made on the Vice of Drunkenejs, the better to reclaim 
the good Fellows who ufually pay the Devotions of the Even- 
ing to Bacchus. 

I DOUBT not but moderate Drinking has been improv'd 
for the Diffufion of Knowledge among the ingenious Part 
of Mankind, who want the Talent of a ready Utterance, 
in order to difcover the Conceptions of their Minds in an 
entertaining and intelligible Manner. 'Tis true, drinking 
does not improve our Faculties, but it enables us to uf e them ; 
and therefore I conclude, that much Study and Experience, 
and a little Liquor, are of abfolute Neceffity for fome Tem- 
pers, in order to make them accomplifh'd Orators. Die. 
Ponder difcovers an excellent Judgment when he is infpir'd 
with a Glafs or two of Claret, but he pafses for a Fool among 
thofe of fmall Obfervation, who never faw him the better 
for Drink. And here it will not be improper to obferve, 
That the moderate Ufe of Liquor, and a well plac'd and well 
regulated Anger, often produce this fame Effect; and fome 
who cannot ordinarily talk but in broken Sentences and 
falfe Grammar, do in the Heat of Paffion exprefs themfelves 
with as much Eloquence as Warmth. Hence it it is that 
my own Sex are generally the moft eloquent, because the 
moft paffionate. "It has been faid in the Praife of fome 
"Men," (fays an ingenious Author,) " that they could talk 



42 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1722 

whole Hours together upon any thing ; but it muf t be owned 
to the Honour of the other Sex, that there are many among 
them who can talk whole Hours together upon Nothing. I 
have known a Woman branch out into a long extempore Dif- 
fertation on the Edging of a Petticoat, and chide her Servant 
for breaking a China Cup, in all the Figures of Rhetorick." 

BUT after all it muft be confider'd, that no Pleafure can 
give Satisfaction or prove advantageous to a reajondble 
Mind, which is not attended with the Rejtraints of Reajon. 
Enjoyment is not to be found by Excefs in any fensual 
Gratification; but on the contrary, the immoderate Crav- 
ings of the Voluptuary, are always fucceeded with Loathing 
and a palled Apetite. What Pleafure can the Drunkard 
have in the Reflection, that, while in his Cups, he retain'd 
only the Shape of a Man, and acted the Part of a Beaft; 
or that from reafonable Difcourfe a few Minutes before, he 
defcended to Impertinence and Nonfense? 

I CANNOT pretend to account for the different Effects 
of Liquor on Perfons of different Difpofitions, who are guilty 
of Excefs in the Ufe of it. 'Tis ftrange to fee Men of a regu- 
lar Converf ation become rakifh and profane when intoxi- 
cated with Drink, and yet more furprizing to obferve, that 
fome who appear to be the moft profligate Wretches when 
fober, become mighty religious in their Cups, and will then, 
and at no other Time addrefs their Maker, but when they 
are deftitute of Reafon, and actually affronting him. Some 
fhrink in the Wetting, and others fwell to fuch an unufual 
Bulk in their Imaginations, that they can in an Inftant 
underftand all Arts and Sciences, by the liberal Education of 
a little vivyfying Punch, or a fufficient Quantity of other 
exhilerating Liquor. 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 43 

AND as the Effects of Liquor are various, fo are the Char- 
acters given to its Devourers. It argues fome Shame in the 
Drunkards themfelves, in that they have invented number-- 
lefs Words and Phrafes to cover their Folly, whofe proper 
Significations are harmlefs, or have no Signification at all. 
They are feldom known to be drunk, tho they are very often 
boozey, cogey, tipfey, fox'd, merry, mellow, fuddl'd, groat- 
able, Confoundedly cut, See two Moons, are Among the Philij- 
tines, In a very good Humour, See the Sun, or, The Sun has 
fhone upon them', they Clip the King's Englifh, are Almojt 
froze, Feavourijh, In their Altitudes, Pretty well enter' d, &c. 
In fhort, every Day produces fome new Word or Phrafe 
which might be added to the Vocabulary of the Tiplers: 
But I have chofe to mention thefe few, becaufe if at any 
Time a Man of Sobriety and Temperance happens to cut 
himjelf confoundedly, or is almofs froze, or feavourijh, or 
accidentally fees the Sun, &c. he may efcape the Imputation 
of being drunk, when his Mif fortune comes to be related. 

/ am SIR, 

Your Humble Servant, 
SILENCE DOGOOD. 



[NO 60 

From Monday September 17. to Monday September 24. 1722. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 

SIR, No XIII. 

IN Perfons of a contemplative Difpofition, the moft 
indifferent Things provoke the Exercife of the Imagination; 
and the Satisfactions which often arife to them thereby, are 
a certain Relief to the Labour of the Mind (when it has been 



44 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

intenfely fix'd on more fubftantial Subjects) as well as to 
that of the Body. 

IN one of the late pleafant Moon-light Evenings, I fo far 
indulg'd in my felf the Humour of the Town in walking 
abroad, as to continue from my Lodgings two or three Hours 
later than ufual, & was pleaf'd beyond Expectation before 
my Return. Here I found various Company to obferve, 
and various Difcourfe to attend to. I met indeed with the 
common Fate of Lifteners, who hear no good of themfelves,) 
but from a Confcioufnefs of my Innocence, receiv'd it with 
a Satisfaction beyond what the Love of Flattery and the 
Daubings of a Parafite could produce. The Company who 
rally'd me were about Twenty in Number, of both Sexes; 
and tho' the Confufion of Tongues (like that of Babel) which 
always happens among fo many impetuous Talkers, render'd 
their Difcourfe not fo intelligible as I could wifh, I learnt 
thus much, That one of the Females pretended to know me, 
from fome Difcourfe fhe had heard at a certain Houfe before 
the Publication of one of my Letters ; adding, That I was a 
Perjon 0} an ill Character, and kept a criminal Correjpondence 
with a Gentleman who ajjisted me in Writing. One of the 
Gallants clear'd me of this random Charge, by faying, That 
tho' I wrote in the Character of a Woman, he knew me to be a 
Man; But, continu'd he, he has more need of endeavouring a 
Reformation in himfelf, than f pending his Wit in fatyrizing 
others. 

I HAD no fooner left this Set of Ramblers, but I met a 
Crowd of Tarpolins and their Doxies, link'd to each other 
by the Arms, who ran (by their own Account) after the Rate 
of Six Knots an Hour, and bent their Courfe towards the 
Common. Their eager and amorous Emotions of Body, 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 45 

occafion'd by taking their Miftreffes in Tow, they call'd 
wild Steerage: And as a Pair of them happen'd to trip and 
come to the Ground, the Company were call'd upon to bring 
to, for that Jack and Betty were founder' d. But this Fleet 
were not lefs comical or irregular in their Progrefs than a 
Company of Females I foon after came up with, who, by 
throwing their Heads to the Right and Left, at every one who 
pafs'd by them, I concluded came out with no other Defign 
than to revive the Spirit of Love in Difappointed Batchelors, 
and expofe themfelves to Sale to the firft Bidder. 

BUT it would take up too much Room in your Paper to 
mention all the Occafions of Diverfion I met with in this 
Night's Ramble. As it grew later, I obferved, that many 
penfive Youths with down looks and a flow Pace, would be 
ever now and then crying out on the Cruelty of their Mif- 
treffes; others with a more rapid Pace and chearful Air, 
would be fwinging their Canes, and clapping their Cheeks, 
and whifpering at certain Intervals, I'm certain I jhall have 
her! This is more than I expected! How charmingly jhe 
talks! &c. 

UPON the whole I conclude, That our Night-Walkers 
are a Set of People, who contribute very much to the Health 
and Satisfaction of thofe who have been fatigu'd with Bufi- 
nefs or Study, and occafionally obferve their pretty Geftures 
and Impertinencies. But among Men of Bufinefs, the 
Shoemakers, and other Dealers in Leather, are doubly oblig'd 
to them, inafmuch as they exceedingly promote the Con- 
f umption of their Ware : And I have heard of a Shoemaker, 
who being ask'd by a noted Rambler, Whether he could tell 
how long her Shoes would laft] very prettily anfwer'd, That 
he knew how many Days jhe might wear them, but not how 



46 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

many Nights; because they were then put to a more violent 
and irregular Service than when jhe employed her jelf in the 
common Affairs 0} the Houje. 

I am, SIR, 

Your Humble Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD. 

The [N 62 

New-England Courant. 

From Monday October i. to Monday October 8. 1722. 
Earum caufarum quanta quoeque valeat, videamus. CICERO. 

To the Author of the New-England Courant. 

SIR, No. XIV. 

IT often happens, that the mofs zealous Advocates for 
any Caufe find themfelves difappointed in the firft Appear- 
ance of Succefs in the Propagation of their Opinion ; and the 
Difappointment appears unavoidable, when their eafy Profe- 
lytes too fuddenly ftart into Extreams, and are immediately 
fill'd with Arguments to invalidate their former Practice. 
This creates a Sufpicion in the more confiderate Part of Man- 
kind, that thofe who are thus given to Change, neither fear 
God, nor honour the King. In Matters of Religion, he that 
alters his Opinion on a religious Account, muft certainly go 
thro' much Reading, hear many Arguments on both Sides, 
and undergo many Struggles in his Confcience, before he 
can come to a full Refolution: Secular Intereft will indeed 
make quick Work with an immoral Man, efpecially if, not- 
withftanding the Alteration of his Opinion, he can with any 
Appearance of Credit retain his Immorality. But, by this 
Turn of Thought I would not be fuspected of Uncharitable- 



1722] THE DOGOOD PAPERS 47 

nefs to thofe Clergymen at Connecticut, who have lately em- 
brac'd the Eftablifh'd Religion of our Nation, fome of whom 
I hear made their Profeffions with a Serioufnefs becoming 
their Order: However, fince they have deny'd the Validity 
of Ordination by the Hands of Prejbyters, and confequently 
their Power of Administring the Sacraments, &c. we may 
justly expect a fuitable Manifeftation of their Repentance 
for invading the Priejts Office, and living fo long in a Corab- 
like Rebellion. All I would endeavour to fhew is, That 
an indifcreet Zeal for fpreading an Opinion, hurts the Caufe 
of the Zealot. There are too many blind Zealots among every 
Denomination of Chriftians; and he that propagates the 
Gofpel among Rakes and Beaus without reforming them in 
their Morals, is every whit as ridiculous and impolitick as a 
Statesman who makes Tools of Ideots and Tale-Bearers. 

Much to my prefent Purpofe are the Words of two In- 
genious Authors of the Church of England, tho' in all Proba- 
bility they were tainted with Whiggijh Principles; 

'I would (fays one) have every zealous Man examine his 
' Heart throughly, and, I believe, he will often find that what 
'he calls a Zeal for his Religion, is either Pride, Intereft or 
'Ill-nature. A Man who differs from another in Opinion 
' f ets himf elf above him in his own Judgment, and in f everal 
' Particulars pretends to be the wifer Perfon. This is a great 
'Provocation to the Proud Man, and gives a keen Edge to 
' what he calls his Zeal. And that this is the Cafe very often, 
'we may obferve from the Behaviour of fome of the moft 
'Zealous for Orthodoxy, who have often great Friendfhips 
'and Intimacies with vicious immoral Men, provided they 
' do but agree with them in the fame Scheme of Belief. The 
' Reafon is, becaufe the vicious Believer gives the Precedency 



48 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1722 

'to the virtuous Man, and allows the good Christian to be 
' the worthier Perf on, at the fame Time that he cannot come 
'up to his Perfections. This we find exemplified hi that 
'trite Paffage which we fee quoted in almoft every Syftem 
'of Ethicks, tho' upon another Occafion; 

Video meliore proboque 

Deteriora fequor 

' On the contrary, it is certain if our Zeal were true and genu- 
'ine, we fhould be much more angry with a Sinner than a 
'Heretick, fince there are feveral Cafes which may excufe 
' the latter before his great Judge, but none which can excufe 
' the former. 

'I have (fays another) found by Experience, that it is im- 
'poffible to talk diftinctly without defining the Words of 
' which we make ufe. There is not a Term in our Language 
'which wants Explanation fo much as the Word Church. 
'One would think when People utter it, they fhould have in 
' their Minds Ideas of Virtue and Religion ; but that impor- 
'tant Monofyllable drags all the other Words in the Lan- 
'guage after it, and it is made ufe of to exprefs both Praife 
'and Blame, according to the Character of him who f peaks 
'it. By this means it happens, that no one knows what his 
'Neighbour means when he fays fuch a one is for or againft 
'the Church. It has happen'd that he who is feen every 
'Day at Church, has not been counted in the Eye of the 
'World a Churchman; and he who is very zealous to oblige 
'every one to frequent it but himfelf, has been a very good 
' Son of the Church. This Prae-poffeffion is the beft Handle 
'imaginable for Politicians to make ufe of, for managing the 
'Loves and Hatreds of Mankind to the Purpofes to which 



1723] EDITORIAL PREFACE 49 

'they would lead them. But this is not a Thing for Fools 
'to meddle with, for they only bring Dif esteem upon thofe 
' whom they attempt to f erve, when they unf kilfully pronounce 
'Terms of Art. I have obferved great Evils arife from this 
' Practice, and not only the Cauf e of Piety, but alfo the f ecu- 
'lar Intereft of Clergymen, has extreamly fuffered by the 
'general unexplained Signification of the Word Church.' 
1 am, SIR, 

Your Humble Servant, 

SILENCE DOGOOD. 



4. EDITORIAL PREFACE (M.H.S.) 

TO 
THE NEW ENGLAND COURANT No. 80 * 

Front Monday, February 4, to Monday, February n, 1723 

The late Publisher of this Paper, finding so many Incon- 
veniences would arise by his carrying the Manuscripts and 
publick News to be supervis'd by the Secretary, as to render 

1 " Boston : Printed and sold by Benjamin Franklin in Queen Street, where 
Advertisements are taken in." 

The Courant was conducted in such a reckless fashion by the Hell-fire 
Qub that the Council declared that the tendency of the paper was to mock 
religion, and to disturb the peace and good order of the Province. James 
Franklin the publisher was therefore strictly forbidden " to print or publish 
the New England Courant or any other pamphlet or paper of the like nature, 
except it be first supervised by the Secretary of the Province." It was there- 
upon decided that Benjamin Franklin should appear as the sole publisher. 
His apprenticeship indentures were cancelled and new indentures were signed 
and concealed. Under these circumstances he entered upon his first editorial 
duties, and his introductory preface shows that the Courant had sustained no 
loss by its change of management. ED. 
VOL. II E 



50 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1723 

his carrying it on unprofitable, has intirely dropt the Under- 
taking. The present Publisher having receiv'd the follow- 
ing Piece, desires the Readers to accept of it as a Preface 
to what they may hereafter meet with hi this Paper. 

Non ego mordaci distrinxi Carmine quenquam 
Nulla vonenato Litera onista Joco est. 

Long has the Press groaned in bringing forth an hateful, 
but numerous Brood of Party Pamphlets, malicious Scribbles, 
and Billinsgate Ribaldry. The Rancour and bitterness it 
has unhappily infused into Men's minds, and to what a 
Degree it has sowred and leaven'd the Tempers of Persons 
formerly esteemed some of the most sweet and affable, is 
too well known here, to need any further Proof or Repre- 
sentation of the Matter. 

No generous and impartial Person then can blame the 
present Undertaking, which is designed purely for the Diver- 
sion and Merriment of the Reader, Pieces of Pleasancy 
and Mirth have a secret Charm in them to allay the Heats 
and Tumours of our Spirits, and to make a Man forget 
his restless Resentments. They have a strange Power to 
tune the harsh Disorders of the Soul, and reduce us to a 
serene and placid State of Mind. 

The main Design of this Weekly Paper will be to enter- 
tain the Town with the most comical and diverting Inci- 
dents of Humane Life, which in so large a Place as Boston 
will not fail of a universal Exemplification: Nor shall we 
be wanting to fill up these Papers with a grateful Inter- 
spersion of more serious Morals which may be drawn from 
the most ludicrous and odd Parts of Life. 

As for the Author, that is the next Question. But tho' 



1723] EDITORIAL PREFACE 51 

we profess ourselves ready to oblige the ingenious and cour- 
teous Reader with most Sorts of Intelligence, yet here we 
beg a Reserve. Nor will it be of any Manner of Advantage 
either to them or to the Writers, that their names should 
be published; and therefore in this Matter we desire the 
Favour of you to suffer us to hold our Tongues: Which 
tho' at this Time of Day it may sound like a very uncommon 
Request, yet it proceeds from the very Hearts of your Humble 
Servants. 

By this Time the Reader perceives that more than one 
are engaged in the present Undertaking. Yet is there one 
Person, an Inhabitant of this Town of Boston, whom we 
honour as a Doctor in the Chair, or a perpetual Dictator. 

The Society had design'd to present the Publick with his 
Effigies, but that the Limner, to whom he was presented for 
a Draught of his Countenance, descryed (and this he is 
ready to offer upon Oath) Nineteen Features in his Face, 
more than ever he beheld in any Humane Visage before; 
which so raised the Price of his Picture, that our Master 
himself forbid the Extravagance of coming up to it. And 
then besides, the Limner objected a Schism in his face, 
which splits it from his Forehead in a strait Line down to 
his chin, in such sort, that Mr.. Painter protests it is a double 
Face, and he'll have Four Pounds for the Pourtraiture. 
However, tho' this double Face has spoilt us of a pretty 
Picture, yet we all rejoiced to see old Janus in our Company. 

There is no Man in Boston better qualified than old 
Janus for a Couranteer, or if you please, an Observator, 
being a Man of such remarkable Opticks, as to look two 
ways at once. 

As for his Morals, he is a chearly Christian, as the Country 



52 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1725 

Phrase expresses it. A Man of good Temper, courteous 
Deportment, sound Judgment ; a mortal Hater of Nonsense, 
Foppery, Formality, and endless Ceremony. 

As for his club, they aim at no greater Happiness or Hon- 
our, than the Publick be made to know, that it is the utmost 
of their Ambition to attend upon and do all imaginable 
good Offices to good old Janus the Couranteer, who is and 
always will be the Readers humble Servant. 

P.S. Gentle Readers, we design never to let a Paper 
pass without a Latin Motto if we can possibly pick one up, 
which carries a Charm in it to the Vulgar, and the learned 
admire the pleasure of Construing. We should have 
obliged the World with a Greek scrap or two, but the Printer 
has no Types, and therefore we intreat the candid Reader 
not to impute the defect to our Ignorance, for our Doctor 
can say all the Greek Letters by heart. 



5. TO SIR HANS SLOANE' (B. M.) 

[London] June 2, 1725 

Having lately been in the Nothern (sic) Parts of America 
I have brought from thence a Purse made of the Stone As- 
bestus, a Piece of the Stone, and a Piece of Wood, the Pithy 
Part of which is of the same Nature, and call'd by the In- 

1 First printed in the Gentleman's Magazine, September, 1780. The 
original is in the Sloane Collection, British Museum (SI. 4047, f. 347). 
Franklin refers to this asbestos purse in his autobiography; he says: "Sir 
Hans Sloane came to see me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury 
Square, showed me all his curiosities and persuaded me to add that to the 
number ; for which he paid me handsomely." From this letter it would 
appear that Franklin required but little persuasion. ED. 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 53 

habitants, Salamander Cotton. As you are noted to be a 
Lover of Curiosities, I have inform'd you of these; and if 
you have any Inclination to purchase them, or see 'em, let 
me know your Pleasure by a Line directed for me at the 
Golden Fan in Little Britain, and I will wait upon you with 
them. I am, Sir 

Your most humble Servant 
Benjamin Franklin 

P.S. I expect to be out of Town in 2 or 3 Days, and 
therefore beg an immediate Answer: 



6. JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE FROM LONDON 
TO PHILADELPHIA 1 (L.C.) 

Journal of Occurrences in my Voyage to Philadelphia on board the 
Berkshire, Henry Clark, Master, from London 

Friday, July 2id, 1726. Yesterday in the afternoon we 
left London, and came to an anchor off Gravesend about 
eleven at night. I lay ashore all night, and this morning 
took a walk up to the Windmill Hill, from whence I had an 
agreeable prospect of the country for above twenty miles 
round, and two or three reaches of the river, with ships and 
boats sailing both up and down, and Tilbury Fort on the 
other side, which commands the river and passage to London. 
This Gravesend is a cursed biting place; the chief depend- 
ence of the people being the advantage they make of impos- 
ing upon strangers. If you buy anything of them, and give 
half what they ask, you pay twice as much as the thing is 
worth. Thank God, we shall leave it to-morrow. 

1 From a transcript in the Library of Congress. 



54 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

Saturday, July 23. This day we weighed anchor and 
fell down with the tide, there being little or no wind. In 
the afternoon we had a fresh gale, that brought us down to 
Margate, where we shall lie at anchor this night. Most of 
the passengers are very sick. Saw several porpoisies, &c. 

Sunday, July 24th. This morning we weighed anchor, 
and coming to the Downs, we set our pilot ashore at Deal, 
and passed through. And now, whilst I write this, sitting 
upon the quarterdeck, I have methinks one of the pleasant- 
est scenes in the world before me. 'Tis a fine, clear day, 
and we are going away before the wind with an easy, pleasant 
gale. We have near fifteen sail of ships in sight, and I may 
say in company. On the left hand appears the coast of 
France at a distance, and on the right is the town and castle 
of Dover, with the green hills and chalky cliffs of England, 
to which we must now bid farewell. Albion, farewell ! 

Monday, July 25. All the morning calm. After noon 
sprung up a gale at East ; blew very hard all night. Saw 
the isle of Wight at a distance. 

Tuesday, July 26th. Contrary winds all day, blowing 
pretty hard. Saw the Isle of Wight again in the evening. 

Wednesday, July 27. This morning, the wind blowing 
very hard at West, we stood in for the land, in order to make 
some harbour. About noon we took on board a pilot out 
of a fishing shallop, who brought the ship into Spithead, off 
Portsmouth. The captain, Mr. Denham, and myself went 
on shore, and, during the little time we stayed, I made some 
observations on the place. 

Portsmouth has a fine harbour. The entrance is so nar- 
row, that you may throw a stone from Fort to Fort; yet it 
is near ten fathom deep, and bold close to ; but within there 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 55 

is room enough for five hundred, or, for aught I know, a 
thousand sail of ships. The town is strongly fortified, 
being encompassed with a high wall and a deep and broad 
ditch, and two gates, that are entered over drawbridges; 
besides several forts, batteries of large cannon, and other 
outworks, the names of which I know not, nor had I time 
to take so strict a view as to be able to describe them. In 
war time, the town has a garrison of 10,000 men; but at 
present 'tis only manned by about 100 Invalids. Notwith- 
standing the English have so many fleets of men-of-war at 
sea at this time, 1 I counted in this harbour above thirty 
sail of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Rates, that lay by unrigged, but 
easily fitted out upon occasion, all their masts and rigging 
lying marked and numbered in storehouses at hand. The 
King's yards and docks employ abundance of men, who, 
even in peace time, are constantly building and refitting 
men-of-war for the King's Service. 

Gosport lies opposite to Portsmouth, and is near as big, 
if not bigger; but, except the fort at the mouth of the har- 
bour, and a small outwork before the main street of the 
town, it is only defended by a mud wall, which surrounds 
it, and a trench or dry ditch of about ten feet depth and 
breadth. Portsmouth is a place of very little trade in peace 
time; it depending chiefly on fitting out men-of-war. Spit- 
head is the place where the Fleet commonly anchor, and is 
a very good riding-place. The people of Portsmouth tell 
strange stories of the severity of one Gibson? who was gov- 

1 One gone to the Baltic, one to the Mediterranean, and one to the W. 
Indies. 

2 Sir John Gibson (1637-1717) was lieutenant-governor of Portsmouth, 
1689-1717. ED. 



56 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

ernor of this place in the Queen's time, to his soldiers, and 
show you a miserable dungeon by the town gate, which they 
call Johnny Gibson's Hole, where, for trifling misdemeanors, 
he used to confine his soldiers till they were almost starved 
to death. It is a common maxim, that, without severe dis- 
cipline, 'tis impossible to govern the licentious rabble of 
soldiery. I own, indeed, that if a commander finds he has 
not those qualities in him that will make him beloved by his 
people, he ought, by all means, to make use of such methods 
as will make them fear him, since one or the other (or both) 
is absolutely necessary; but Alexander and Caesar, those 
renowned generals, received more faithful service, and per- 
formed greater actions, by means of the love their soldiers 
bore them, than they could possibly have done, if, instead of 
being beloved and respected, they had been hated and 
feared by those they commanded. 

Thursday, July 28. This morning we came on board, 
having lain on shore all night. We weighed anchor and 
with a moderate gale, stood in for Cowes, in the Isle of 
Wight, and came to an anchor before the town about eleven 
o'clock. Six of the passengers went on shore, and diverted 
themselves till about 12 at night; and then got a boat, and 
came on board again, expecting to sail early in the morning. 

Friday, July 29. But the wind continuing adverse still, 
we went ashore again this morning, and took a walk to New- 
port, which is about four miles distant from Cowes, and is 
the metropolis of the island. Thence we walked to Caris- 
brooke, about a mile further, out of curiosity to see that 
castle, which King Charles the First was confined in; and 
so returned to Cowes in the afternoon, and went on board 
in expectation of sailing. 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 57 

Cowes is but a small town, and lies close to the seaside, 
pretty near opposite to Southampton on the main shore 
of England. It is divided into two parts by a small river 
that runs up within a quarter of a mile of Newport, and is 
distinguished by East and West Cowes. There is a fort 
built in an oval form, on which there are eight or ten guns 
mounted for the defence of the road. They have a post- 
office, a custom-house, and a chappel of ease. And a good 
harbour for ships to ride in in easterly and westerly winds. 

All this afternoon I spent agreeably enough at the draft- 
board. It is a game I much delight in; but it requires a 
clear head, and undisturbed; and the persons playing, if 
they would play well, ought not much to regard the con- 
sequence of the game, for that diverts and withdraws the 
attention of the mind from the game itself, and makes the 
player liable to make many false open moves; and I will 
venture to lay it down for an infallible rule, that, if two per- 
sons equal in judgment play for a considerable sum, he that 
loves money most shall lose; his anxiety for the success of 
the game confounds him. Courage is almost as requisite 
for the good conduct of this game as in a real battle; for, 
if the player imagines himself opposed by one that is much 
his superior in skill, his mind is so intent on the defensive 
part, that an advantage passes unobserved. 

Newport makes a pretty prospect enough from the hills 
that surround it ; (for it lies down in a bottom). The houses 
are beautifully intermixed with trees, and a tall, old-fashioned 
steeple rises in the midst of the town, which is very orna- 
mental to it. .The name of the church I could not learn; 
but there is a very neat market-house, paved with square 
stone, and consisting of eleven arches. There are several 



58 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

pretty handsome streets, and many well-built houses and 
shops, well stored with goods. But I think Newport is 
chiefly remarkable for oysters, which they send to London 
and other places, where they are very much esteemed, being 
thought the best in England. The oyster-merchants fetch 
them, as I am informed, from other places, and lay them 
upon certain beds in the river (the water of which is it seems 
excellently adapted for that purpose) a-fattening; and when 
they have lain a suitable time they are taken up again, and 
made fit for sale. 

When we came to Carisbrooke, which, as I said before, 
is a little village about a mile beyond Newport, we took a 
view of an ancient church that had formerly been a priory 
in Romish times, and is the first church, or the mother- 
church, of the island. It is an elegant building, after the 
old Gothic manner, with a very high tower, and looks very 
venerable in its ruins. There are several ancient monu- 
ments about it; but the stone of which they are composed 
is of such a soft, crumbling nature, that the inscriptions are 
none of them legible. Of the same stone are almost all the 
tombstones, &c., that I observed in the island. 

From this church, (having crossed over the brook that 
gives the name to the village, and got a little boy for a guide,) 
we went up a very steep hill, through several narrow lanes 
and avenues, till we came to the castle gate. We entered 
over the ditch (which is now almost filled up, partly by the 
ruins of the mouldering walls that have tumbled into it, 
and partly by the washing down of the earth from the hill 
by the rains,) upon a couple of brick arches, where I suppose 
formerly there was a drawbridge. An old woman who lives 
in the castle, seeing us strangers walk about, sent and offered 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 59 

to show us the rooms if we pleased, which we accepted. 
This castle, as she informed us, has for many years been 
the seat of the governors of the island; and the rooms and 
hall, which are very large and handsome, with high, arched 
roofs, have all along been kept handsomely furnished, every 
succeeding governor buying the furniture of his predecessor ; 
but, Cadogan, the last governor, who succeeded General 
Webb, 1 refusing to purchase it, Webb stripped it clear of all, 
even the hangings, and left nothing but bare walls. The 
floors are several of them of plaster of Paris, the art of 
making which, the woman told us, was now lost. 

The castle stands upon a very high and steep hill, and 
there are the remains of a deep ditch round it; the walls 
are thick, and seemingly well contrived; and certainly it 
has been a very strong hold in its time, at least before the 
invention of great guns. There are several breaches in the 
ruinous walls, which are never repaired, (I suppose they are 
purposely neglected,) and the ruins are almost everywhere 
overspread with ivy. It is divided into the lower and the 
upper castle, the lower enclosing the upper, which is of a 
round form, and stands upon a promontory, to which you 
must ascend by near an hundred stone steps; this upper 
castle was designed for a retreat in case the lower castle 
should be won, and is the least ruinous of any part except 
the stairs before mentioned, which are so broken and decayed, 
that I was almost afraid to come down again when I was 
up, they being but narrow, and no rails to hold by. 

From the battlements of this upper castle, (which they 

1 General John Richmond Webbe was governor of the Isle of Wight 
August 1710 to September 1716. He was succeeded by William, first Earl 
Cadogan. ED. 



60 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

call the Coop,) you have a fine prospect of the greatest part 
of the island, of the sea on one side, of Cowes road at a dis- 
tance, and of Newport as it were just below you. There is 
a well in the middle of the Coop, which they called the bot- 
tomless well, because of its great depth; but it is now half 
filled up with stones and rubbish, and is covered with two 
or three loose planks; yet a stone, as we tried, is near a 
quarter of a minute in falling before you hear it strike. But 
the well that supplies the inhabitants at present with water 
is in the lower castle, and is thirty fathoms deep. They 
draw their water with a great wheel, and with a bucket that 
holds near a barrel. It makes a great sound if you speak in 
it, and echoed the flute which we played over it very sweetly. 
There are but seven pieces of ordnance mounted upon the 
walls, and those in no very good order; and the old man, 
who is the gunner and keeper of the castle, and who sells 
ale in a little house at the gate, has in his possession but 
six muskets, (which hang up at his wall) and one of them 
wants a lock. He told us that the castle, which had now 
been built 1203 years, was first founded by one Whitgert, 
a Saxon, who conquered the island, and that it was called 
Whitgertsburg for many ages. 

That particular piece of building, which King Charles 
lodged in during his confinement here, is suffered to go en- 
tirely to ruin, there being nothing standing but the walls. 
The island is about sixty miles in circumference, and pro- 
duces plenty of corn and other provisions, and wool as fine 
as Cotswold; its militia having the credit of equalling the 

soldiery, and being the best disciplined in England. 

was once, in King William's time, entrusted with the govern- 
ment of this island. At his death it appeared he was a great 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 61 

villain, and a great politician; there was no crime so dam- 
nable which he would stick at in the execution of his designs, 
and yet he had the art of covering all so thick, that with 
almost all men in general, while he lived, he passed for a 
saint. What surprized me was, that the silly old fellow, the 
keeper of the castle, who remembered him governor, should 
have so true a notion of his character as I perceived he had. 
In short, I believe it is impossible for a man, though he has 
all the cunning of a devil, to live and die a villain, and yet 
conceal it so well as to carry the name of an honest fellow to 
the grave with him, but some one, by some accident or other, 
shall discover him. Truth and sincerity have a certain dis- 
tinguishing native lustre about them, which cannot be per- 
fectly counterfeited ; they are like fire and flame, that cannot 
be painted. 

The whole castle was repaired and beautified by Queen 
Elizabeth, and strengthened by a breastwork all round with- 
out the walls, as appears by this inscription in one or two 
places upon it. 




Saturday, July y>th. This morning about eight o'clock 
we weighed anchor, and turned to windward till we came to 
Yarmouth, another little town upon this island, and there 
cast anchor again, the wind blowing hard, and still westerly. 
Yarmouth is a smaller town than Cowes ; yet, the buildings 
being better, it makes a handsomer prospect at a distance, 
and the streets are clean and neat. There is one monu- 
ment in the church, which the inhabitants are very proud 



62 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

of, and which we went to see. It was erected to the memory 
of Sir Robert Holmes, 1 who had formerly been governor of 
the island. It is his statue in armour, somewhat bigger 
than the life, standing on his tomb, with a truncheon in his 
hand, between two pillars of porphyry. Indeed, all the 
marble about it is very fine and good; and they say it was 
designed by the French King for his palace at Versailles, but 
was cast away upon this island, and by Sir Robert himself 
hi his lifetime applied to this use, and that the whole monu- 
ment was finished long before he died ; (though not fixed up 
in that place) the inscription likewise, (which is very much to 
his honour), being written by himself. One would think 
either that he had no defect at all, or had a very ill opinion 
of the world, seeing he was so careful to make sure of 
a monument to record his good actions and transmit them 
to posterity. 

Having taken a view of the church, town, and fort, on 
which there are seven large guns mounted, three of us took 
a walk up further into the island; and, having gone about 
two miles, we headed a creek that runs up one end of the 
town, and then went to Freshwater Church, about a mile 
nearer the town, but on the other side of the creek. Having 
stayed here some time it grew dark, and my companions 
were desirous to be gone, lest those whom we had left drink- 
ing where we dined in the town should go on board and 
leave us. We were told, that it was our best way to go strait 
down to the mouth of the creek, and that there was a ferry 



1 Sir Robert Holmes (1622-1692) was governor of the Isle of Wight from 
1668 to his death. For a description of the monument and a copy of the 
inscription upon it see Rev. Thomas Pocock, " Memoirs relating to the Lord 
Torrington," Camden Society, Vol. XLVI, p. 1 80. ED. 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 63 

boy that would carry us over to the town. But when we 
came to the house the lazy whelp was in bed, and refused to 
rise and put us over; upon which we went down to the 
water-side, with a design to take his boat, and go over by 
ourselves. We found it very difficult to get the boat, it 
being fastened to a stake, and the tide risen near fifty yards 
beyond it; I stripped all to my shirt to wade up to it; but 
missing the causeway, which was under water, I got up to 
my middle in mud. At last I came to the stake; but, to 
my great disappointment, found she was locked and chained. 
I endeavoured to draw the staple with one of the thole-pins, 
but in vain ; I tried to pull up the stake, but to no purpose ; 
so that, after an hour's fatigue and trouble hi the wet and 
mud, I was forced to return without the boat. 

We had no money hi our pockets, and therefore began to 
conclude to pass the night in some haystack, though the 
wind blew very cold and very hard. In the midst of these 
troubles one of us recollected that he had a horse-shoe in 
his pocket, which he found in his walk, and asked me if I 
could not wrench the staple out with that. I took it, went, 
tried, and succeeded, and brought the boat ashore to them. 
Now we rejoiced and all got in, and, when I had dressed 
myself, we put off. But the worst of all our troubles was to 
come yet ; for, it being high water and the tide over all the 
banks, though it was moonlight we could not discern the 
channel of the creek; but, rowing heedlessly straight for- 
ward, when we were got about half way over, we found our- 
selves aground on a mud bank ; and, striving to row her off 
by putting our oars in the mud, we broke one and there 
stuck fast, not having four inches water. We were now in 
the utmost perplexity, not knowing what in the world to do ; 



64 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

we could not tell whether the tide was rising or falling ; but 
at length we plainly perceived it was ebb, and we could feel 
no deeper water within the reach of our oar. 

It was hard to lie in an open boat all night exposed to the 
wind and weather ; but it was worse to think how foolish we 
should look in the morning, when the owner of the boat 
should catch us in that condition, where we must be exposed 
to the view of all the town. After we had strove and strug- 
gled for half an hour and more, we gave all over, and sat 
down with our hands before us, despairing to get off; for, 
if the tide had left us, we had been never the nearer; we 
must have sat in the boat, as the mud was too deep for us 
to walk ashore through it, being up to our necks. At last 
we bethought ourselves of some means of escaping, and two 
of us stripped and got out, and thereby lightening the boat, 
we drew her upon our knees near fifty yards into deeper 
water ; and then with much ado, having but one oar, we got 
safe ashore under the fort; and, having dressed ourselves 
and tied the man's boat, we went with great joy to the Queen's 
Head, where we left our companions, whom we found wait- 
ing for us, though it was very late. Our boat being gone 
on board, we were obliged to lie ashore all night; and thus 
ended our walk. 

Sunday, July 31 : This morning the wind being mod- 
erated, our pilot designed to weigh, and, taking advantage 
of the tide, get a little further to windward. Upon which 
the boat came ashore, to hasten us on board. We had no 
sooner returned and hoisted in our boat, but the wind began 
again to blow very hard at west, insomuch that, instead of 
going any further, we were obliged to weigh and run down 
again to Cowes for the sake of more secure riding, where 






1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 65 

we came to an anchor again in a very little time; and the 
pudding, which our mess made and put into the pot at Yar- 
mouth, we dined upon at Cowes. 

Monday, August ist. This morning all the vessels in 
the harbour put out their colours in honour of the day, and 
it made a very pretty appearance. The wind continuing to 
blow hard westerly, our mess resolved to go on shore, though 
all our loose corks were gone already. We took with us 
some goods to dispose of, and walked to Newport to make 
our market, where we sold for three shillings in the pound 
less than the prime cost in London; and, having dined at 
Newport, we returned in the evening to Cowes, and con- 
cluded to lodge on shore. 

Tuesday, August 2d. This day we passed on shore, 
diverting ourselves as well as we could ; and, the wind con- 
tinuing still westerly, we stayed on shore this night also. 

Wednesday, August $d. This morning we were hurried 
on board, having scarce time to dine, weighed anchor, and 
stood away for Yarmouth again, though the wind is still 
westerly; but, meeting with a hoy when we were near half- 
way there, that had some goods on board for us to take in, 
we tacked about for Cowes, and came to anchor there a 
third time, about four in the afternoon. 

Thursday, August 4. Stayed on board till about five in 
the afternoon, and then went on shore and stopped all 
night. 

Friday, August 5. Called up this morning and hurried 
aboard, the wind being Northwest. About noon we weighed 
and left Cowes a third time, and, sailing by Yarmouth, we 
came into the channel through the Needles; which passage 
is guarded by Hurst Castle, standing on a spit of Land 

VOL. II F 



66 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

which runs out from the main land of England within a 
mile of the Isle of Wight. Towards night the wind veered 
to the Westward, which put us under apprehensions of 
being forced into port again: but presently after it fell a 
flat calm, and then we had a small breeze that was fair for 
half an hour, when it was succeeded by a calm again. 

Saturday, August 6. This morning we had a fair breeze 
for some hours, and then a calm that lasted all day. In the 
afternoon I leaped overboard and swam round the ship to 
wash myself. Saw several porpoises this day. About eight 
o'Clock we came to an anchor in forty fathom water against 
the tide of flood, somewhere below Portland, and weighed 
again about eleven, having a small breeze. 

Sunday, August 7. Gentle breezes all this day. Spoke 
with a ship, the Ruby, bound for London from Nevis, off 
the Start of Plymouth. This afternoon spoke with Captain 
Homans in a ship bound for Boston, who came out of the 
river when we did, and had been beating about in the chan- 
nel all the time we lay at Cowes in the Wight. 

Monday, August 8. Fine weather, but no wind worth 
mentioning, all this day ; in the afternoon saw the Lizard. 

Tuesday, August 9. Took our leave of the land this 
morning. Calms the fore part of the day. In the after- 
noon a small gale; fair. Saw a Grampus. 

Wednesday, August loth. Wind N. W. Course S. W. 
about four Knots. By observation in latitude 48 50'. 
Nothing remarkable happened. 

Thursday, August nth. Nothing remarkable. Fresh 
gale all day. 

Friday, August 12; Saturday, 13; Sunday, 14. Calms 
and fair breezes alternately. 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 67 

Monday, 15; Tuesday, 16; Wednesday, 17. No con- 
trary winds, but calm and fair breezes alternately. 

Thursday, August 18. Four dolphins followed the ship 
for some hours; we struck at them with the fizgig, but took 
none. 

Friday, August 19. This day we have had a pleasant 
breeze at East. In the morning we spied a sail upon our 
larboard bow, about two leagues' distance. About noon 
she put out English colours, and we answered with our en- 
sign, and in the afternoon we spoke with her. She was a 
ship, of New York, Walter Kippen, master, bound from 
Rochelle, in France, to Boston, with salt. Our captain 

and Mr. D went on board, and stayed till evening, it 

being fine weather. Yesterday, complaints being made that 

Mr. G n, one of the passengers, had, with a fraudulent 

design, marked the cards, a court of justice was called im- 
mediately, and he was brought to his trial in form. A 
Dutchman, who could speak no English, deposed by his 
interpreter that, when our mess was on shore at Cowes, the 
prisoner at the bar marked all the Court cards on the back 
with a pen. 

I have sometimes observed, that we are apt to fancy the 
person that cannot speak intelligibly to us, proportionably 
stupid in understanding, and, when we speak two or three 
words of English to a foreigner, it is louder than ordinary, 
as if we thought him deaf, and that he had lost the use of his 
ears as well as his tongue. Something like this I imagine 
might be the case of Mr. G n; he fancied the Dutch- 
man could not see what he was about, because he could not 
understand English, and therefore boldly did it before his 
face. 



68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1726 

The evidence was plain and positive; the prisoner could 
not deny the fact, but replied in his defence, that the cards 
he marked were not those we commonly played with, but an 
imperfect pack, which he afterwards gave to the cabbin-boy. 
The attorney-general observed to the court, that it was not 
likely he should take the pains to mark the cards without 
some ill design, or some further intention than just to give 
them to the boy when he had done, who understood nothing 
at all of cards. But another evidence being called deposed 
that he saw the prisoner in the main-top one day, when he 
thought himself unobserved, marking a pack of cards on 
the backs, some with the print of a dirty thumb, others with 
the top of his finger, &c. Now, there being but two packs 
on board, and the prisoner having just confessed the marking 
of one, the Court perceived the case was plain. In fine the 
jury brought him in guilty, and he was condemned to be 
carried up to the round-top, and made fast there, in view of 
all the ship's company, during the space of three hours, that 
being the place where the act was committed, and to pay a 
fine of two bottles of brandy. But the prisoner resisting 
authority and refusing to submit to punishment, one of the 
sailors stepped up aloft and let down a rope to us, which 
we, with much struggling, made fast about his middle, and 
hoisted him up into the air, sprawling, by main force. We 
let him hang, cursing and swearing, for near a quarter of 
an hour ; but at length, he crying out Murder ! and looking 
black in the face, the rope being overtort about his middle, 
we thought proper to let him down again; and our mess 
have excommunicated him till he pays his fine, refusing 
either to play, eat, drink, or converse with him. 

Saturday, August 2oth. We shortened sail all last night 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 69 

and all this day, to keep company with the other ship. About 
noon Captain Kippen and one of his passengers came on 
board and dined with us; they stayed till evening. When 
they were gone, we made sail and left them. 

Sunday, August 21 st. This morning we lost sight of 
the Yorker, having a brisk gale of wind at East. Towards 
night a poor little bird came on board us, being almost tired 
to death, and suffered itself to be taken by the hand. We 
reckon ourselves near two hundred leagues from land, so 
that no doubt a little rest was very acceptable to the un- 
fortunate wanderer, who, 't is like, was blown off the coast 
in thick weather, and could not find its way back again. 
We receive it hospitably, and tender it victuals and drink; 
but he refuses both, and I suppose will not live long. There 
was one came on board some days ago, in the same circum- 
stances with this, which I think the cat destroyed. 

Monday, August 22d. This morning I saw several fly- 
ing-fish, but they were small. A favorable wind all day. 

Tuesday, August 23 ; Wednesday, 24. Fair winds, noth- 
ing remarkable. 

Thursday, August 25. Our excommunicated shipmate 
thinking proper to comply with the sentence the court passed 
upon him, and expressing .himself willing to pay the fine, 
we have this morning received him into unity again. Man 
is a sociable being, and it is, for aught I know, one of the 
worst of punishments to be excluded from Society. I have 
read abundance of fine things on the subject of solitude, 
and I know 't is a common boast in the mouths of those that 
affect to be thought wise, that they are never less alone than 
when alone. I acknowledge solitude an agreeable refresh- 
ment to a busy mind ; but were these thinking people obliged 



70 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

to be always alone, I am apt to think they would quickly 
find their very being insupportable to them. I have heard 
of a gentleman, who underwent seven years' close confine- 
ment, in the Bastile, at Paris. He was a man of sense, he 
was a thinking man, but being deprived of all conversation, 
to what purpose should he think; for he was denied even 
the instruments of expressing his thoughts in writing. There 
is no burden so grievous to man as time that he knows not 
how to dispose of. He was forced at last to have recourse 
to this invention; he daily scattered pieces of paper about 
the floor of his little room, and then employed himself in 
picking them up again and sticking them in rows and figures 
on the arm of his elbow-chair ; and he used to tell his friends, 
after his release, that he verily believed, if he had not taken 
this method he should have lost his senses. One of the 
philosophers, I think it was Plato, used to say, that he had 
rather be the veriest stupid block in nature, than the pos- 
sessor of all knowledge without some intelligent being to 
communicate it to. 

What I have said may in a measure account for some 
particulars in my present way of living here on board. Our 
company is in general very unsuitably mixed, to keep up 
the pleasure and spirit of conversation: and, if there are 
one or two pair of us that can sometimes entertain one an- 
other for half an hour agreeably, yet perhaps we are seldom 
in the humour for it together. I rise in the morning and 
read for an hour or two, perhaps, and then reading grows 
tiresome. Want of exercise occasions want of appetite, so 
that eating and drinking afford but little pleasure. I tire 
myself with playing at Draughts, then I go to cards; nay, 
there is no play so trifling or childish, but we fly to it for 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 71 

entertainment. A contrary wind, I know not how, puts us 
all out of good humour; we grow sullen, silent, and re- 
served, and fret at each other upon every little occasion. 
'T is a common opinion among the ladies, that if a man is 
ill-natured he infallibly discovers it when he is in liquor. 
But I who have known many instances to the contrary, 
will teach them a more effectual method to discover the 
natural temper and disposition of their humble servants. 
Let the ladies make one long sea-voyage with them, and, if 
they have the least spark of ill-nature in them, and conceal 
it to the end of the voyage, I will forfeit all my pretensions 
to their favour. The wind continues fair. 

Friday, August 26. The wind and weather fair till 
night came on ; and then the wind came about, and we had 
hard squalls, with rain and lightning, till morning. 

Saturday, August 27. Cleared up this morning, and the 
wind settled westerly. Two dolphins followed us this after- 
noon; we hooked one, and struck the other with the fizgig; 
but they both escaped us, and we saw them no more. 

Sunday, August 28. The wind still continues westerly, 
and blows hard. We are under a reefed mainsail and foresail. 

Monday, August 29. Wind still hard west. Two dol- 
phins followed us this day; we struck at them, but they 
both escaped. 

Tuesday, August 30. Contrary wind still. This even- 
ing, the moon being near full, as she rose after eight o'clock, 
there appeared a rainbow in a western cloud, to windward 
of us. The first time I ever saw a rainbow hi the night, 
caused by the moon. 

Wednesday, August 31. Wind still west; nothing 
remarkable. 



72 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

Thursday, Sept. i. Bad weather, and contrary winds. 

Friday, Sept. 2. This morning the wind changed ; a 
little fair. We caught a couple of dolphins, and fried them 
for dinner. They eat indifferent well. These fish make 
a glorious appearance in the water; their bodies are of a 
bright green, mixed with a silver colour, and their tails of 
a shining golden yellow; but all this vanishes presently 
after they are taken out of their element, and they change 
all over to a light gray. I observed that cutting off pieces of 
a just-caught, living dolphin for baits, those pieces did not 
lose their lustre and fine colours when the dolphin died, but 
retained them perfectly. Every one takes notice of that 
vulgar error of the painters, who always represent this fish 
monstrously crooked and deformed, when it is, in reality, as 
beautiful and well-shaped a fish as any that swims. I cannot 
think what could be the original of this chimera of theirs, 
(since there is not a creature in nature that in the least re- 
sembles their dolphin) unless it proceeded at first from a 
false imitation of a fish in the posture of leaping, which they 
have since improved into a crooked monster, with a head 
and eyes like a bull, a hog's snout, and a tail like a blown 
tulip. But the sailors give me another reason though a 
whimsical one, viz. that as this most beautiful fish is only 
to be caught at sea, and that very far to the Southward, 
they say the painters wilfully deform it in their representa- 
tions, lest pregnant women should long for what it is impos- 
sible to procure for them. 

Saturday, September 3 ; Sunday, 4 ; Monday, 5. Wind 
still westerly; nothing remarkable. 

Tuesday, Sept. 6. This afternoon the wind still con- 
tinuing hi the same quarter, increased till it blew a storm, 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 73 

and raised the sea to a greater height than I had ever seen 
it before. 

Wednesday, Sept. 7. The wind is somewhat abated, 
but the sea is very high still. A dolphin kept us company 
all this afternoon; we struck at him several times, but 
could not take him. 

Thursday, Sept. 8. This day nothing remarkable has 
happened, but I am so indolent that Contrary wind. 

Friday, Sept. 9. This afternoon we took four large dol- 
phins, three with a hook and line, and the fourth we struck 
with a fizgig. The bait was a candle with two feathers 
stuck in it, one on each side, in imitation of a flying-fish, 
which are the common prey of the dolphins. They ap- 
peared extremely eager and hungry, and snapped up the 
hook as soon as ever it touched the water. When we came 
to open them, we found in the belly of one a small dolphin, 
half-digested. Certainly they were half-famished, or are 
naturally very savage, to devour those of their own species. 

Saturday, Sept. 10. This day we dined upon the dol- 
phins we caught yesterday, three of them sufficing the whole 
ship, being twenty-one persons. 

Sunday, Sept. n. We have had a hard gale of wind all 
this day, accompanied with showers of rain. 'T is uncom- 
fortable being upon deck; and, though we have been all 
together all day below, yet the long continuance of these 
contrary winds has made us so dull, that scarce three words 
have passed between us. 

Monday, Sept. 12; Tuesday, 13. Nothing remarkable; 
wind contrary. 

Wednesday, Sept. 14. This afternoon, about two o'clock, 
it being fair weather and almost calm, as we sat playing 



74 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

drafts upon deck, we were surprized with a sudden and 
unusual darkness of the sun, which, as we could perceive, 
was only covered with a small, thin cloud; when that was 
passed by, we discovered that that glorious luminary la- 
boured under a very great eclipse. At least ten parts out 
of twelve of him were hid from our eyes, and we were 
apprehensive he would have been totally darkened. 

Thursday, Sept. 15. For a week past, we have fed our- 
selves with the hopes, that the change of the moon (which 
was yesterday) would bring us a fair wind; but, to our 
great mortification and disappointment, the wind seems now 
settled in the westward, and shows as little signs of an alter- 
ation as it did a fortnight ago. 

Friday, Sept. 16. Calm all this day. This morning 
we saw a Tropic bird, which flew round our vessel several 
times. It is a white fowl, with short wings ; but one feather 
appears in his tail, and does not fly very fast. We reckon 
ourselves about half our voyage ; latitude 38 and odd minutes. 
These birds are said never to be seen further north than the 
latitude of 40. 

Saturday, September 17. All the forenoon the calm con- 
tinued ; the rest of the day some light breezes easterly ; and 
we are in great hopes the wind will settle in that quarter. 

Sunday, September 18. We have had the finest weather 
imaginable all this day, accompanied with what is still more 
agreeable, a fair wind. Every one puts on a clean shirt 
and a cheerful countenance, and we begin to |be very good 
company. Heaven grant that this favourable gale may con- 
tinue! for we have had so much of turning to windward, 
that the word helm-a-lee is become almost as disagreeable to 
our ears as the sentence of a judge to a convicted malefactor. 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 75 

Monday, September 19. The weather looks a little un- 
certain, and we begin to fear the loss of our fair wind. We 
see Tropic birds every day, sometimes five or six together; 
they are about as big as pigeons. 

Tuesday, September 20. The wind is now westerly 
again, to our great mortification; and we are come to an 
allowance of bread, two biscuits and a half a day. 

Wednesday, Sept. 21. This morning our steward was 
brought to the geers and whipped, for making an extrava- 
gant use of flour in the puddings, and for several other mis- 
demeanors. It has been perfectly calm all this day, and 
very hot. I was determined to wash myself in the sea 
to-day, and should have done so, had not the appearance of 
a Shark, that mortal enemy to swimmers, deterred me; he 
seemed to be about five foot long, moves round the ship at 
some distance, in a slow, majestic manner, attended by near 
a dozen of those they call Pilot-fish, of different sizes; the 
largest of them is not so big as a small mackerell, and the 
smallest not bigger than my little finger. Two of these 
diminutive Pilots keep just before his nose, and he seems 
to govern himself in his motions by their direction; while 
the rest surround him on every side indifferently. A shark 
is never seen without a retinue of these, who are his pur- 
veyors, discovering and distinguishing his prey for him; 
while he in turn gratefully protects them from the ravenous, 
hungry dolphin. They are commonly counted a very greedy 
fish; yet this refuses to meddle with the bait thrown out 
for him. 'T is likely he has already made a full meal. 

Thursday, Sept. 22nd. A fresh gale at West all this 
day. The shark has left us. 

Friday, September 2yd. This morning we spied a sail 



76 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

to windward of us about two leagues. We showed our jack 
upon the ensign-staff, and shortened sail for them till about 
noon, when she came up with us. She was a snow, from 
Dublin, bound for New York, having upwards of fifty ser- 
vants on board of both sexes ; they all appeared upon deck, 
and seemed very much pleased at the sight of us. There 
is really something strangly chearing to the spirits in the 
meeting of a ship at sea, containing a society of creatures 
of the same species and in the same circumstances with our- 
selves, after we had been long separated and excommuni- 
cated as it were from the rest of mankind. My heart 
fluttered in my breast with joy, when I saw so many human 
countenances, and I could scarce refrain from that kind of 
laughter, which proceeds from some degree of inward pleas- 
ure. When we have been for a considerable time tossing 
on the vast waters, far from the sight of any land or ships, 
or any mortal creature but ourselves (except a few fish and 
sea-birds), the whole world, for aught we know, may be 
under a second deluge, and we, like Noah and his company 
in the ark, the only surviving remnant of the human race. 
The two Captains have mutually promised to keep each 
other company; but this I look upon to be only matter of 
course, for if ships are unequal in their sailing, they seldom 
stay for one another, especially strangers. This afternoon, 
the wind, that had been so long contrary to us, came about 
to the eastward, (and looks as if it would hold,) to our no 
small satisfaction. I find our messmates in a better humour, 
and more pleased with their present condition, than they 
have been since they came out; which I take to proceed 
from the contemplation of the miserable circumstances of 
the passengers on board our neighbour, and making the 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON" TO PHILADELPHIA 77 

comparison. We reckon ourselves in a kind of paradise, 
when we consider how they live, confined and stifled up 
with such a lousy, stinking rabble, in this hot sultry lati- 
tude. 

Saturday, Sept. 24. Last night we had a very high wind, 
and very thick weather ; in which we lost our consort. This 
morning early we spied a sail ahead of us, which we took to 
be her; but presently after we spied another, and then 
we plainly perceived, that neither of them could be the 
snow; for one of them stemmed with us, and the other 
bore down directly upon us, having the weather-gage 
of us. As the latter drew near, we were a little surprized, 
not knowing what to make of her; for by the course she 
steered, she did not seem designed for any port, but looked 
as if she intended to clap us aboard immediately. I could 
perceive concern in every face on board; but she presently 
eased us of our apprehensions by bearing away astern of 
us. When we hoisted our jack, she answered with French 
colours, and presently took them down again; and we soon 
lost sight of her. The other ran by us hi less than half an 
hour, and answered our jack with an English ensign; she 
stood to the Eastward, but the wind was too high to" speak 
with either of them. About nine o'clock we spied our con- 
sort, who had got a great .way ahead of us. She, it seems, 
had made sail during the night, while we lay by, with our 
mainyard down, during the hard gale. She very civilly 
shortened sail for us, and this afternoon we came up with 
her; and now we are running along very amicably together, 
side by side, having a most glorious fair wind. 

" On either side the parted billows flow, 
While the black ocean foams and roars below." 



7 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

Sunday, September 25. Last night we shot ahead of 
our consort pretty far. About midnight, having lost sight 
of each other, we shortened sail for them : but this morning 
they were got as far ahead of us as we could see, having run 
by us in the dark unperceived. We made sail and came up 
with them about noon; and if we chance to be ahead of 
them again in the night, we are to show them a light, that 
we may not lose company by any such accident for the future. 
The wind still continues fair, and we have made a greater 
run these last four-and-twenty hours than we have done 
since we came out. All our discourse, now, is of Phila- 
delphia, and we begin to fancy ourselves ashore already. 
Yet a small change of weather, attended by a westerly wind, 
is sufficient to blast all our blooming hopes, and quite spoil 
our present good humour. 

Monday, September 26. The wind continued fair all 
night. In the twelve o'clock watch our consort, who was 
about a league ahead of us, showed us a light, and we 
answered with another. About six o'clock this morning we 
had a sudden hurry of wind at all points of the compass, 
accompanied with the most violent shower of rain I ever 
saw, insomuch that the sea looked like a cream dish. It 
surprized us with all our sails up, and was so various, un- 
certain, and contrary, that the mizzen topsail was full, 
while the head sails were all aback; and before the men 
could run from one end of the ship to the other, 't was about 
again. But this did not last long ere the wind settled to 
the NorthEast again, to our great satisfaction. Our con- 
sort fell astern of us in the storm, but made sail and 
came up with us again after it was over. We hailed 
one another on the morrow, congratulating upon the con- 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 79 

tinuance of the fair wind, and both ran on very lovingly 
together. 

Tuesday, Sept. 27. The fair wind continues still. I 
have laid a bowl of punch, that we are in Philadelphia next 
Saturday se'nnight; for we reckon ourselves not above 150 
leagues from land. The snow keeps us company still. 

Wednesday, Sept. 28. We had very variable winds and 
weather last night, accompanied with abundance of rain; 
and now the wind is come about westerly again, but we 
must bear it with patience. This afternoon we took up 
several branches of gulf-weed (with which the sea is spread 
all over, from the Western Isles to the coast of America); 
but one of these branches had something peculiar in it. In 
common with the rest, it had a leaf about three quarters of 
an inch long, indented like a saw, and a small yellow 
berry, filled with nothing but wind; besides which it bore 
a fruit of the animal kind, very surprising to see. It was 
a small shell-fish like a heart, the stalk by which it proceeded 
from the branch being partly of a grisly kind. Upon this 
one branch of the weed, there were near forty of these veg- 
etable animals; the smallest of them, near the end, con- 
tained a substance somewhat like an oyster, but the larger 
were visibly animated, opening their shells every moment, 
and thrusting out a set of unformed claws, not unlike those 
of a crab; but the inner part was still a land of soft jelly. 
Observing the weed more narrowly, I spied a very small 
crab crawling among it, about as big as the head of a ten- 
penny nail, and of a yellowish colour, like the weed itself. 
This gave me some reason to think, that he was a native of 
the branch; that he had not long since been in the same 
condition with the rest of those little embrios that appeared 



8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

in the shells, this being the method of their generation; 
and that, consequently, all the rest of this odd kind of fruit 
might be crabs in due time. To strengthen my conjecture, 
I have resolved to keep the weed in salt water, renewing it 
every day till we come on shore, by this experiment to see 
whether any more crabs will be produced or not in this 
manner. 

I remember that the last calm we had, we took notice of 
a large crab upon the surface of the sea, swimming from 
one branch of weed to another, which he seemed to prey 
upon; and I likewise recollect that at Boston, in New Eng- 
land, I have often seen small crabs with a shell like a snail 
shell upon their backs, crawling about in the salt water; 
and likewise at Portsmouth in England. It is like Nature 
has provided them hard shell to secure them till their own 
proper shell has acquired a sufficient hardness, which once 
perfected, they quit their old habitation and venture abroad 
safe in their own strength. The various changes that silk- 
worms, butterflies, and several other insects go through, 
make such alterations and metamorphoses not improbable. 
This day the captain of the snow with one of his passengers 
came on board us; but the wind beginning to blow, they 
did not stay dinner, but returned to their own vessel. 

Thursday, Sept. 29. Upon shifting the water in which 
I had put the weed yesterday, I found another crab, much 
smaller than the former, who seemed to have newly left his 
habitation. But the weed begins to wither, and the rest 
of the embrios are dead. This new-comer fully con- 
vinces me, that at least this sort of crabs are generated in 
this manner. The snow's captain dined on board us this 
day. Little or no wind. 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 81 

Friday, Sept. 30. I sat up last night to observe an 
eclipse of the moon, which the calendar, calculated for 
London, informed us would happen at five o'clock in the 
morning, Sept. 30. It began with us about eleven last 
night, and continued till near two this morning, darkening 
her body about six digits, or one half ; the middle of it being 
about half an hour after twelve, by which we may discover 
that we are in a meridian of about four hours and half from 
London, or 67 degrees of Longitude, and consequently 
have not much above one hundred leagues to run. This 
is the second eclipse we have had within these fifteen days. 
We lost our consort in the night, but saw him again this 
morning nearly two leagues to the windward. This after- 
noon we spoke with him again. We have had abundance 
of dolphins about us these three or four days; but we 
have not taken any more than one, they being shy of the 
bait. I took in some more gulf-weed to-day with the boat- 
hook, with shells upon it like that before mentioned, and 
three living perfect crabs, each less than the nail of my little 
finger. One of them had something particularly observ- 
able, to wit, a thin piece of the white shell which I before 
noticed as their covering while they remained hi the con- 
dition of embrios, sticking close to his natural shell upon 
his back. This sufficiently confirms me in my opinion of 
the manner of their generation. I have put this remark- 
able crab with a piece of the gulf-weed, shells, &c., into a 
glass phial filled with salt water, (for want of spirits of wine,) 
in hopes to preserve the curiosity till I come on shore. The 
wind is South West. 

Saturday, October is/. Last night our consort, who 
goes incomparably better upon a wind than our vessel, got 

VOL. II G 



82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

so far to windward and ahead of us, that this morning we 
could see nothing of him, and it is like shall see him no 
more. These South Wests are hot, damp winds, and bring 
abundance of rain and dirty weather with them. 

Sunday, October 2d. Last night we prepared our line 
with a design to sound this morning at four o'clock; but 
the wind coming about again to the northwest, we let it 
alone. I cannot help fancying the water is changed a little, 
as is usual when a ship comes within soundings, but 't is 
probable I am mistaken ; for there is but one besides myself 
of my opinion, and we are very apt to believe what we wish 
to be true. 

Monday, October $d. The water is now very visibly 
changed to the eyes of all except the Captain and Mate, 
and they will by no means allow it ; I suppose because they 
did not see it first. Abundance of dolphins are about us, 
but they are very shy, and keep at a distance. Wind 
NorthWest. 

Tuesday, October qth. Last night we struck a dolphin, 
and this morning we found a flying-fish dead under the 
windlass. He is about the bigness of a small mackerel, a 
sharp head, a small mouth, and a tail forked somewhat like 
a dolphin, but the lowest branch much larger and longer 
than the other, and tinged with yellow. His back and sides 
of a darkish blue, his belly white, and his skin very thick. 
His wings are of a finny substance, about a span long, reach- 
ing, when close to his body from an inch below his gills to 
an inch above his tail. When they fly it is straight forward, 
(for they cannot readily turn,) a yard or two above the water; 
and perhaps fifty yards is the furthest before they dip into 
the water again, for they cannot support themselves in the 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 83 

air any longer than while their wings continue wet. These 
flying-fish are the common prey of the dolphin, who is their 
mortal enemy. When he pursues them, they rise and fly; 
and he keeps close under them till they drop, and then snaps 
them up immediately. They generally fly in flocks, four 
or five, or perhaps a dozen together and a dolphin is seldom 
caught without one or more in his belly. We put this flying- 
fish upon the hook, in hopes of catching one, but in a few 
minutes they got it off without hooking themselves; and 
they will not meddle with any other bait. 

Tuesday Night. Since eleven o'clock we have struck 
three fine dolphins, which are a great refreshment to us. 
This afternoon we have seen abundance of grampuses, 
which are seldom far from land; but towards evening we 
had a more evident token, to wit, a little tired bird, some- 
thing like a lark, came on board us, who certainly is an 
American, and 't is likely was ashore this day. It is now 
calm. We hope for a fair wind next. 

Wednesday, October 5. This morning we saw a heron, 
who had lodged aboard last night. 'T is a long-legged, 
long-necked bird, having, as they say, but one gut. They 
live upon fish, and will swallow a living eel thrice, some- 
times, before it will remain in their body. The wind is 
west again. The ship's crew was brought to a short allow- 
ance of water. 

Thursday, October 6th. This morning abundance of 
grass, rock- weed, &c., passed by us; evident tokens that 
land is not far off. We hooked a dolphin this morning, 
that made us a good breakfast. A sail passed by us about 
twelve o'clock, and nobody saw her till she was too far 
astern to be spoken with. 'T is very near calm; we saw 



84 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

another sail ahead this afternoon ; but, night coming on, we 
could not speak with her, though we very much desired it; 
she stood to the northward, and it is possible might have 
informed us how far we are from land. Our artists on board 
are much at a loss. We hoisted our jack to her, but she 
took no notice of it. 

Friday, October 7. Last night, about nine o'clock, sprung 
up a fine gale at NorthEast, which run us in our course 
at the rate of seven miles an hour all night. We were in 
hopes of seeing land this morning, but cannot. The water, 
which we thought was changed, is now as blue as the sky; 
so that, unless at that time we were running over some un- 
known shoal, our eyes strangely deceived us. All the reck- 
onings have been out these several days ; though the captain 
says 't is his opinion we are yet a hundred leagues from 
land ; for my part I know not what to think of it ; we have 
run all this day at a great rate, and now night is come on 
we have no soundings. Sure the American continent is 
not all sunk under water since we left it. 

Saturday, October 8th. The fair wind continues still ; 
we ran all night in our course, sounding every four hours, 
but can find no ground yet, nor is the water changed by all 
this day's run. This afternoon we saw an Irish Lord, and 
a bird which flying looked like a yellow duck. These, they 
say, are not seen far from the coast. Other signs of lands 
have we none. Abundance of large porpoises ran by us 
this afternoon, and we were followed by a shoal of small 
ones, leaping out of the water as they approached. Tow- 
ards evening we spied a sail ahead, and spoke with her 
just before dark. She was bound from New York for 
Jamaica, and left Sandy Hook yesterday about noon, from 



1726] VOYAGE FROM LONDON TO PHILADELPHIA 85 

which they reckon themselves forty-five leagues distant. 
By this we compute that we are not above thirty leagues 
from our Capes, and hope to see land to-morrow. 

Sunday, October 9. We have had the wind fair all the 
morning; at twelve o'clock we sounded, perceiving the 
water visibly changed, and struck ground at twenty-five 
fathoms, to our universal joy. After dinner one of our 
mess went up aloft to look out, and presently pronounced 
the long wished-for sound, LAND ! LAND ! In less than 
an hour we could descry it from the deck, appearing like 
tufts of trees. I could not discern it so soon as the rest; 
my eyes were dimmed with the suffusion of two small drops 
of joy. By three o'clock we were run in within two leagues 
of the land, and spied a small sail standing along shore. 
We would gladly have spoken with her, for our captain was 
unacquainted with the Coast, and knew not what land it 
was that we saw. We made all the sail we could to speak 
with her. We made a signal of distress; but all would not 
do, the ill-natured dog would not come near us. Then we 
stood off again till morning, not caring to venture too near. 

Monday, October 10. This morning we stood in again 
for land ; and we that had been here before all agreed that 
it was Cape Henlopen; about noon we were come very 
near, and to our great joy saw the pilot-boat come off to us, 
which was exceeding welcome. He brought on board about 
a peck of apples with him; they seemed the most delicious 
I ever tasted in my life; the salt provisions we had been 
used to gave them a relish. We had extraordinary fair 
wind all the afternoon, and ran above a hundred miles up 
the Delaware before ten at night. The country appears 
very pleasant to the eye, being covered with woods, except 



86 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1726 

here and there a house and plantation. We cast anchor 
when the tide turned, about two miles below Newcastle, and 
there lay till the morning tide. 

Tuesday, October n. This morning we weighed anchor 
with a gentle breeze, and passed by Newcastle, whence they 
hailed us and bade us welcome. It is extreme fine weather. 
The sun enlivens our stiff limbs with his glorious rays of 
warmth and brightness. The sky looks gay, with here and 
there a silver cloud. The fresh breezes from the woods 
refresh us; the immediate prospect of liberty, after so long 
and irksome confinement, ravishes us. In short, all things 
conspire to make this the most joyful day I ever knew. As 
we passed by Chester, some of the company went on shore, 
impatient once more to tread on terra firma, and designing 
for Philadelphia by land. Four of us remained on board, 
not caring for the fatigue of travel when we knew the voyage 
had much weakened us. About eight at night, the wind 
failing us, we cast anchor at Redbank, six miles from Phila- 
delphia, and thought we must be obliged to lie on board 
that night; but, some young Philadelphians happening to 
be out upon their pleasure in a boat, they came on board, 
and offered to take us up with them; we accepted of their 
kind proposal, and about ten o'clock landed at Philadelphia, 
heartily congratulating each upon our having happily com- 
pleted so tedious and dangerous a voyage. Thank God ! 



1727] TO MISS JANE FRANKLIN" 87 

7. TO MISS JANE FRANKLIN 1 

Philadelphia, January 6, 1726-7. 

DEAR SISTER, 

I am highly pleased with the account Captain Freeman 
gives me of you. I always judged by your behaviour when 
a child, that you would make a good, agreeable woman, 
and you know you were ever my peculiar favorite. I have 
been thinking what would be a suitable present for me to 
make, and for you to receive, as I hear you are grown a 
celebrated beauty. I had almost determined on a tea- 
table; but when I considered, that the character of a good 
housewife was far preferable to that of being only a pretty 
gentlewoman, I concluded to send you a spinning-wheel, 
which I hope you will accept as a small token of my sincere 
love and affection. 

Sister, farewell, and remember that modesty, as it makes 
the most homely virgin amiable and charming, so the want 
of it infallibly renders the most perfect beauty disagreeable 
and odious. But, when that brightest of female virtues 
shines among other perfections of body and mind in the same 
person, it makes the woman more lovely than an angel. 
Excuse this freedom, and use the same with me. I am, 
dear Jenny, your loving brother, B. FRANKLIN. 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin." 
Jared Sparks: Boston, 1833, p. 3. Jane (Franklin) Mecom, youngest sister 
of Benjamin Franklin, born March 27, 1712; married Edward Mecom; 
survived her brother four years. 



88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1728 



8. RULES FOR A CLUB ESTABLISHED FOR 
MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT l 

PREVIOUS QUESTION, TO BE ANSWERED AT EVERY MEETING 

HAVE you read over these queries this morning, in order 
to consider what you might have to offer the Junto touching 
any one of them? viz. 

1. Have you met with any thing in the author you last 
read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the 
Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physic, 
travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge. 

2. What new story have you lately heard agreeable for 
telling in conversation? 

3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his busi- 
ness lately, and what have you heard of the cause? 

4. Have you lately heard of any citizen's thriving well, 
and by what means? 

5. Have you lately heard how any present rich man, here 
or elsewhere, got his estate? 

6. Do you know of a fellow citizen, who has lately done 
a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation ; or who has 
lately committed an error, proper for us to be warned against 
and avoid? 

1 These Rules were drawn up in the year 1728, and designed as general 
regulations for a Club, called the JUNTO, consisting of a select number of 
Franklin's acquaintances in Philadelphia, whom he had induced to associate 
and hold weekly meetings for mutual improvements. These rules were used 
in Germany by Herder. See " Benjamin Franklin's Rules for a Club established 
in Philadelphia, ubertragen und ausgelegt als Statut fur eine Gesellschaft von 
Freunden der Humanitat, von Johann Gottfried Herder, 1792." Copy in 
P. H. S. ED. 



1728] RULES FOR A CLUB 89 

7. What unhappy effects of intemperance have you lately 
observed or heard; of imprudence, of passion, or of any 
other vice or folly? 

8. What happy effects of temperance, of prudence, of 
moderation, or of any other virtue? 

9. Have you or any of your acquaintance been lately 
sick or wounded ? If so, what remedies were used, and what 
were their effects? 

10. Whom do you know that are shortly going voyages or 
journeys, if one should have occasion to send by them ? 

11. Do you think of any thing at present, in which the 
Junto may be serviceable to mankind, to their country, to 
their friends, or to themselves? 

12. Hath any deserving stranger arrived in town since 
last meeting, that you have heard of? And what have you 
heard or observed of his character or merits ? And whether, 
think you, it lies in the power of the Junto to oblige him, or 
encourage him as he deserves? 

13. Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately 
set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to 
encourage ? 

14. Have you lately observed any defect in the laws of 
your country, of which it would be proper to move the legis- 
lature for an amendment? Or do you know of any bene- 
ficial law that is wanting? 

15. Have you lately observed any encroachment on the 
just liberties of the people? 

1 6. Hath any body attacked your reputation lately? 
And what can the Junto do towards securing it? 

17. Is there any man whose friendship you want, and 
which the Junto, or any of them, can procure for you? 



9 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1728 

1 8. Have you lately heard any member's character at- 
tacked, and how have you defended it? 

19. Hath any man injured you, from whom it is in the 
power of the Junto to procure redress? 

20. In what manner can the Junto, or any of them, assist 
you in any of your honourable designs? 

21. Have you any weighty affair on hand, in which you 
think the advice of the Junto may be of service ? 

22. What benefits have you lately received from any 
man not present? 

23. Is there any difficulty in matters of opinion, of justice, 
and injustice, which you would gladly have discussed at this 
time? 

24. Do you see any thing amiss in the present customs or 
proceedings of the Junto, which might be amended? 



Any person to be qualified [as a member of the JUNTO], 
to stand up, and lay his hand upon his breast, and be asked 
these questions, viz. 

1. Have you any particular disrespect to any present 
members? Answer. I have not. 

2. Do you sincerely declare, that you love mankind in 
general, of what profession or religion soever? Answer. 
I do. 

3. Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his 
body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his 
external way of worship? Answer. No. 

4. Do you love truth for truth's sake, and will you en- 
deavour impartially to find and receive it yourself, and 
communicate it to others? Answer. Yes. 



1 72 8] ARTICLES OF BELIEF 9' 



9. ARTICLES OF BELIEF (L.C.) 



AND 



ACTS OF RELIGION 



IN Two PARTS 



Here will I hold. If there is a Pow'r above us, 
(And that there is, all Nature cries aloud, 
Thro' all her Works) He must delight in Virtue ; 
And that which he delights in must be Happy. 

CATO. 



PART I 

Philad 8 
Nov. 20: 1728. 



92 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1728 



FIRST PRINCIPLES 1 

I believe there is one supreme, most perfect Being, Author 
and Father of the Gods themselves. For I believe that 
Man is not the most perfect Being but one, rather that as 
there are many Degrees of Beings his Inferiors, so there are 
many Degrees of Beings superior to him. 

Also, when I stretch my Imagination thro' and beyond 
our System of Planets, beyond the visible fix'd Stars them- 
selves, into that Space that is every Way infinite, and con- 
ceive it fill'd with Suns like ours, each with a Chorus of 
Worlds forever moving round him, then this little Ball on 
which we move, seems, even in my narrow Imagination, 
to be almost Nothing, and myself less than nothing, and of 
no sort of Consequence. 

When I think thus, I imagine it great Vanity in me to sup- 
pose, that the Supremely Perfect does in the least regard 
such an inconsiderable Nothing as Man. More especially, 
since it is impossible for me to have any positive clear idea 
of that which is infinite and incomprehensible, I cannot con- 
ceive otherwise than that he the Infinite Father expects or 
requires no Worship or Praise from us, but that he is even 
infinitely above it. 

But, since there is in all Men something like a natural 

1 The original Ms. of "Articles of Belief," dated Nov. 20, 1728, is in 
the Stevens Collection (L. C.). It was Franklin's daily companion to the end 
of his life. It is the earliest autograph Ms. of Franklin in the Stevens Collec- 
tion. Another copy in that collection is an early transcript entrusted to 
Valpy, the printer, in 1817. It was found among W. T. Franklin's copies, 
much mutilated, and wanting six leaves. 

Although it purports to be the FIRST PART, the work seems never to have 
been continued. ED. 



1728] ARTICLES OF BELIEF 93 

principle, which inclines them to DEVOTION, or the Worship 
of some unseen Power; 

And since Men are endued with Reason superior to all 
other Animals, that we are in our World acquainted with; 

Therefore I think it seems required of me, and my Duty 
as a Man, to pay Divine Regards to SOMETHING. 

I conceive then, that the INFINITE has created many 
beings or Gods, vastly superior to Man, who can better 
conceive his Perfections than we, and return him a more 
rational and glorious Praise. 

As, among Men, the Praise of the Ignorant or of Children 
is not regarded by the ingenious Painter or Architect, who 
is rather honour'd and pleas'd with the approbation of 
Wise Men & Artists. 

It may be that these created Gods are immortal; or it 
may be that after many Ages, they are changed, and others 
Supply their Places. 

Howbeit, I conceive that each of these is exceeding wise 
and good, and very powerful; and that Each has made for 
himself one glorious Sun, attended with a beautiful and 
admirable System of Planets. 

It is that particular Wise and good God, who is the author 
and owner of our System, that I propose for the object of 
my praise and adoration* 

For I conceive that he has in himself some of those Pas- 
sions he has planted in us, and that, since he has given us 
Reason whereby we are capable of observing his Wisdom in 
the Creation, he is not above caring for us, being pleas'd 
with our Praise, and offended when we slight Him, or neglect 
his Glory. 

I conceive for many Reasons, that he is a good Being; 



94 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1728 

and as I should be happy to have so wise, good, and power- 
ful a Being my Friend, let me consider in what manner I 
shall make myself most acceptable to him. 

Next to the Praise resulting from and due to his Wis- 
dom, I believe he is pleas'd and delights in the Happiness of 
those he has created; and since without Virtue Man can 
have no Happiness in this World, I firmly believe he delights 
to see me Virtuous, because he is pleased when he sees Me 
Happy. 

And since he has created many Things, which seem 
purely design'd for the Delight of Man, I believe he is not 
offended, when he sees his Children solace themselves in 
any manner of pleasant exercises and Innocent Delights; 
and I think no Pleasure innocent, that is to Man hurtful. 

I love him therefore for his Goodness, and I adore him for 
his Wisdom. 

Let me then not fail to praise my God continually, for it 
is his Due, and it is all I can return for his many Favours 
and great Goodness to me ; and let me resolve to be virtuous, 
that I may be happy, that I may please Him, who is delighted 
to see me happy. Amen! 

ADORATION 

PREL. Being mindful that before I address the Deity, 
my soul ought to be calm and serene, free from Passion 
and Perturbation, or otherwise elevated with Rational Joy 
and Pleasure, I ought to use a Countenance that expresses 
a filial Respect, mixed w th a kind of Smiling, that Signifies 
inward Joy, and Satisfaction, and Admiration. 

O wise God, my good Father! 



1728] ARTICLES OF BELIEF 95 

Thou beholdest the sincerity of my Heart and of my De- 
votion; Grant me a Continuance of thy Favour! 

1. O Creator, O Father! I believe that thou art Good, 
and that thou art pleased with the pleasure of thy children. 
Praised be thy name for Ever ! 

2. By thy Power hast thou made the glorious Sun, with 
his attending Worlds; from the energy of thy mighty Will, 
they first received [their prodigious] motion, and by thy 
Wisdom hast thou prescribed the wondrous Laws, by which 
they move. Praised be thy name for Ever ! 

3. By thy Wisdom hast thou formed all Things. Thou 
hast created Man, bestowing Life and Reason, and placed 
him in Dignity superior to thy other earthly Creatures. 
Praised be thy name for Ever! 

4. Thy Wisdom, thy Power, and thy Goodness are 
everywhere clearly seen; in the air and in the water, in the 
Heaven and on the Earth; Thou providest for the various 
winged Fowl, and the innumerable Inhabitants of the Water ; 
thou givest Cold and Heat, Rain and Sunshine, hi their 
Season, & to the Fruits of the Earth Increase. Praised 
be thy name for Ever! 

5. Thou abhorrest in thy Creatures Treachery and 
Deceit, Malice, Revenge, [intemperance,] and every other 
hurtful Vice ; but Thou art a Lover of Justice and Sincerity, 
of Friendship and Benevolence, and every Virtue. Thou 
art my Friend, my Father, and my Benefactor. Praised 
be thy name, O God, for Ever! Amen! 

[After this, it will not be improper to read part of some 
such Book as Ray's Wisdom of God in the Creation, or 
Blackmore on the Creation, or the Archbishop of Cambray's 



96 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1728 

Demonstration of the Being of a God, &c., or else spend 
some Minutes in a serious Silence, contemplating on those 
Subjects.] 
Then sing 

MILTON'S HYMN TO THE CREATOR 

" These are thy Glorious Works, Parent of Good ! 
Almighty, Thine this Universal Frame, 
Thus wondrous fair ! Thyself how wondrous then ! 
Speak ye who best can tell, Ye Sons of Light, 
Angels, for ye behold him, and with Songs 
And Choral Symphonies, Day without Night, 
Circle his Throne rejoicing you in Heav'n, 
On Earth join all ye creatures to extol 
Him first, him last, him midst, and without End. 

" Fairest of Stars, last in the Train of Night, 
If rather Thou belongst not to the Dawn, 
Sure Pledge of Day ! thou crown'st the smiling Morn 
With thy bright Circlet, Praise him in thy Sphere 
While Day arises, that sweet Hour of Prime. 
Thou Sun, of this great World, both Eye and Soul, 
Acknowledge him thy greater ; Sound his Praise 
In thy eternal Course ; both when thou climb'st, 
And when high Noon hast gainM, and when thou fall'st. 
Moon ! that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st, 
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies, 
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move 
In mystic Dance not without Song ; resound 
His Praise, that out of Darkness called up Light. 
Air ! and ye Elements ! the eldest Birth 
Of Nature's womb, that in Quaternion run 
Perpetual Circle, multiform, and mix 
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless Change 
Vary to our great Maker still new Praise. 
Ye mists and Exhalations, that now rise 
From Hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey, 
Till the Sun paint your fleecy skirts with Gold, 



1728] ARTICLES OF BELIEF 97 

In honour to the World's Great Author rise ; 

Whether to deck with Clouds the uncolor'd sky, 

Or wet the thirsty Earth w th falling show'rs, 

Rising or falling still advance his Praise. 

His Praise, ye Winds ! that from 4 quarters blow, 

Breathe soft or Loud ; and wave your Tops, ye Pines ! 

With every Plant, in sign of worship wave. 

Fountains ! and ye that warble, as ye flow 

Melodious Murmurs, warbling tune his Praise. 

Join voices all ye living souls, ye Birds ! 

That singing, up to Heaven's high gate ascend, 

Bear on your wings, & in your Note his Praise ; 

Ye that in Waters glide ! and ye that walk 

The Earth ! and stately tread or lowly creep ; 

Witness if I be silent, Ev'n or Morn, 

To Hill, or Valley, Fountain, or Fresh Shade, 

Made Vocal by my Song, and taught his Praise." 

[Here follows the Reading of some Book, or part of a 
Book, Discoursing on and exciting to Moral Virtue.] 

PETITION 

Inasmuch as by Reason of our Ignorance We cannot be 
certain that many Things, which we often hear mentioned 
in the Petitions of Men to the Deity, would prove real Goods, 
if they were in our Possession, and as I have reason to hope 
and believe that the Goodness of my Heavenly Father will 
not withold from me a suitable share of Temporal Blessings, 
if by a Virtuous and holy Life I conciliate his Favour and 
Kindness, Therefore I presume not to ask such things, but 
rather humbly and with a Sincere Heart, express my earnest 
desires that he would graciously assist my Continual En- 
deavours and Resolutions of eschewing Vice and embracing 
Virtue ; which Kind of Supplications will at least be thus far 

VOL. II H 



98 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1728 

beneficial, as they remind me in a solemn manner of my Ex- 
tensive duty. 

That I may be preserved from Atheism & Infidelity, 
Impiety, and Profaneness, and, hi my Addresses to Thee, 
carefully avoid Irreverence and ostentation, Formality and 
odious Hypocrisy, Help me, O Father ! 

That I may be loyal to my Prince, and faithful to my 
country, careful for its good, valiant in its defence, and 
obedient to its Laws, abhorring Treason as much as Tyranny, 

Help me, O Father! 

That I may to those above me be dutiful, humble, and 
submissive; avoiding Pride, Disrespect, and Contumacy, 

Help me, O Father! 

That I may to those below me be gracious, Condescending, 
and Forgiving, using Clemency, protecting innocent Dis- 
tress, avoiding Cruelty, Harshness, and oppression, Insolence, 
and unreasonable Severity, Help me, O Father ! 

That I may refrain from Censure, Calumny and Detrac- 
tion ; that I may avoid and abhor Deceit and Envy, Fraud, 
Flattery, and Hatred, Malice, Lying, and Ingratitude, 
Help me, O Father ! 

That I may be sincere in Friendship, faithful in trust, and 
Impartial in Judgment, watchful against Pride, and against 
Anger (that momentary Madness), Help me, O Father ! 

That I may be just in all my Dealings, temperate in my 
Pleasures, full of Candour and Ingenuity, Humanity and 
Benevolence, Help me, O Father ! 

That I may be grateful to my Benefactors, and generous 
to my Friends, exercising Charity and Liberality to the 
Poor, and Pity to the Miserable, Help me, O Father ! 



1728] ARTICLES OF BELIEF 99 

That I may avoid Avarice and Ambition, Jealousie, and 
Intemperance, Falsehood, Luxury, and Lasciviousness, 
Help me, O Father! 

That I may possess Integrity and Evenness of Mind, 
Resolution in Difficulties, and Fortitude under Affliction; 
that I may be punctual in performing my promises, Peace- 
able and prudent in my Behaviour, Help me, O Father !. 

That I may have Tenderness for the Weak, and reverent 
Respect for the Ancient ; that I may be Kind to my Neigh- 
bours, good-natured to my Companions, and hospitable 
to Strangers, Help me, O Father ! 

That I may be averse to Talebearing, Backbiting, Detrac- 
tion, Slander, & Craft, and overreaching, abhor Extortion, 
Perjury, and every Kind of wickedness, Help me, O Father ! 

That I may be honest and open-hearted, gentle, merci- 
ful, and good, cheerful in spirit, rejoicing in the Good of 
others, Help me, O Father ! 

That I may have a constant Regard to Honour and Prob- 
ity, that I may possess a perfect innocence and a good 
Conscience, and at length become truly Virtuous and Mag- 
nanimous, Help me, good God ; help me, O Father ! * 

And, forasmuch as ingratitude is one of the most odious 
of vices, let me not be unmindful gratefully to acknowledge 
the favours I receive from. Heaven. 

THANKS 

For peace and liberty, for food and raiment, for corn, and 
wine, and milk, and every kind of healthful nourishment, 
Good God, I thank thee ! 

1 At this point the original Ms. ends. The subsequent paragraph, including 
the "Thanks," is found only in W. T. Franklin's transcript (L. C.). ED. 



loo THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

For the common benefits of air and light; for useful fire 
and delicious water, Good God, I thank thee! 

For knowledge, and literature, and every useful art, for 
my friends and their prosperity, and for the fewness of my 
enemies, Good God, I thank thee! 

For all thy innumerable benefits; for life, and reason, 
and the use of speech ; for health, and joy, and every pleas- 
ant hour, My good God, I thank thee ! 



10. THE BUSY-BODY. No. i 1 (P.H.S.) 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4th, 1728-9 

MR. ANDREW BRADFORD, 

I DESIGN this to acquaint you, that I, who have long been 
one of your Courteous Readers, have lately entertain'd some 
Thoughts of setting up for an Author mySelf; not out of 
the least Vanity, I assure you, or Desire of showing my 
Parts, but purely for the Good of my Country. 

I have often observ'd with Concern that your Mercury is 

1 In the spring of 1 728 Franklin separated from Keimer to found his own 
printing house in partnership with Hugh Meredith. He determined to 
establish a newspaper. His plan was betrayed to Keimer, who immediately 
published proposals for one of his own making. He called his paper "The 
Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences and Pennsylvania Gazette," 
(December 28, 1728). To wreck his rival's enterprise Franklin contributed 
to the American Weekly Mercury a series of essays subscribed "The Busy- 
body." The cleverness and entertainment of these essays diverted newspaper 
readers from the drowsy numbers of Keimer's Universal Instructor to the 
sprightlier columns of the Mercury, The first five numbers and the eighth 
were written by Franklin ; the others by Joseph Brientnal. I have never 
seen the Mercury of February n, 1728-9. With this exception the vari- 
ous numbers are reprinted from copies in the Philadelphia Library, and Pa. 
Hist. Society. ED. 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 101 

not always equally entertaining. The Delay of Ships ex- 
pected in, and want of fresh Advices from Europe, make it 
frequently very Dull; and I find the Freezing of our River 
has the same Effect on News as on Trade. With more 
Concern have I continually observ'd the growing Vices and 
Follies of my Country-folk; and, tho' Reformation is prop- 
erly the concern of every Man ; that is, Every one ought to 
mend One; yet 'tis too true hi this Case, that what is every 
Body's Business is nobody's Business; and the Business 
is done accordingly. I therefore, upon mature Delibera- 
tion, think fit to take Nobody's Business wholly into my 
own Hands; and, out of Zeal for the Publick Good, design 
to erect mySelf into a Kind of Censor Morum; proposing, 
with your Allowance, to make Use of the Weekly Mercury 
as a Vehicle hi which my Remonstrances shall be convey'd 
to the World. 

I am sensible I have in this Particular undertaken a very 
unthankful Office, and expect little besides my Labour for 
my Pains. Nay, 'tis probable I may displease a great 
Number of your Readers, who will not very well like 
to pay 10 s. a Year for being told of their Faults. But, 
as most People delight in Censure when they themselves 
are not the Objects of it, if any are offended at my pub- 
lickly exposing their private Vices, I promise they shall have 
the Satisfaction, in a very little Time, of seeing their good 
Friends and Neighbours in the same Circumstances. 

However, let the Fair Sex be assur'd that I shall always 
treat them and their Affairs with the utmost Decency and 
Respect. I intend now and then to dedicate a Chapter 
wholly to their Service ; and if my Lectures any Way con- 
tribute to the Embellishment of their Minds and brightning 



102 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

of their Understandings, without offending their Modesty, I 
doubt not of having their Favour and Encouragement. 

'Tis certain, that no Country in the World produces 
naturally finer Spirits than ours; Men of Genius for every 
kind of Science, and capable of acquiring to Perfection 
every Qualification that is in Esteem among Mankind. 
But as few here have the Advantage of good Books, for 
want of which, good Conversation is still more scarce, it 
would doubtless have been very acceptable to your Readers, 
if, instead of an old out-of-date Article from Muscovy or 
Hungary, you had entertained them with some well-chosen 
Extract from a good Author. This I shall sometimes do, 
when I happen to have nothing of my own to say that I 
think of more Consequence. Sometimes I propose to de- 
liver Lectures of Morality or Philosophy, and (because I 
am naturally enclin'd to be meddling with Things that 
don't concern me) perhaps I may sometimes talk Politicks. 
And if I can by any means furnish out a Weekly Entertain- 
ment for the Publick that will give a rational Diversion, 
and at the same Time be instructive to the Readers, I shall 
think my Leisure Hours well employ'd: And if you pub- 
lish this, I hereby invite all ingenious Gentlemen and others 
(that approve of such an Undertaking) to my Assistance 
and Correspondence. 

'Tis like by this Time, you have a Curiosity to be ac- 
quainted with my Name and Character. As I do not aim 
at publick Praise, I design to remain concealed ; and there 
are such Numbers of our Family and Relations at this 
Time in the Country, that tho' I've sign'd my Name at full 
Length, I am not under the least Apprehension of being 
distinguish'd and discover'd by it. My Character, indeed, 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 103 

I would favour you with, but that I am cautious of praising 
mySelf, lest I should be told my Trumpeter's dead: And 
I cannot find in my Heart at present, to say any Thing to 
my own Disadvantage. 

It is very common with Authors, in their first Perform- 
ances, to talk to their Readers thus; "If this meets with a 
SUITABLE Reception; Or, If this should meet with 
DUE Encouragement, I shall hereafter publish, &c." This 
only manifests the Value they put on their own Writings, 
since they think to frighten the Publick into their Applause, 
by threatning, that unless you approve what they have al- 
ready wrote, they intend never to write again ; when perhaps 
it mayn't be a Pin Matter whether they ever do or no. As 
I have not observ'd the Criticks to be more favourable on 
this Account, I shall always avoid saying any Thing of the 
Kind; and conclude with telling you, that, if you send me 
a Bottle of Ink and a Quire of Paper by the Bearer, you 
may depend on hearing further from, Sir, your most humble 

Servant, 

THE BUSY-BODY. 



THE BUSY-BODY. No. 2 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY II, 1728-9 

All fools have still an itching to deride, 

And fain would be upon the laughing side. 

POPE. 

MONSIEUR de la Rochefoucault tells us somewhere in his 
Memoirs, that the Prince of Conde* delighted much in ridi- 
cule, and used frequently to shut himself up for half a day 
together in his chamber, with a gentleman that was his 



104 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

favorite, purposely to divert himself with examining what 
was the foible or ridiculous side of every noted person in the 
court. That gentleman said afterwards in some company, 
that he thought nothing was more ridiculous in anybody, 
than this same humour in the Prince; and I am somewhat 
inclined to be of this opinion. The general tendency there 
is among us to this embellishment, which I fear has too 
often grossly imposed upon my loving countrymen instead of 
wit, and the applause it meets with from a rising generation, 
fill me with fearful apprehensions for the future reputation 
of my country. A young man of modesty (which is the 
most certain indication of large capacities) is hereby dis- 
couraged from attempting to make any figure in life; his 
apprehensions of being out-laughed will force him to con- 
tinue in a restless obscurity, without having an opportunity 
of knowing his own merit himself or discovering it to the 
world, rather than venture to oppose himself in a place 
where a pun or a sneer shall pass for wit, noise for reason, 
and the strength of the argument be judged by that of the 
lungs. 

Among these witty gentlemen let us take a view of Riden- 
tius. What a contemptible figure does he make with his 
train of paltry admirers ! This wight shall give himself an 
hour's diversion with the cock of a man's hat, the heels of 
his shoes, an unguarded expression in his discourse, or even 
some personal defect ; and the height of his low ambition is 
to put some one of the company to the blush, who perhaps 
must pay an equal share of the reckoning with himself. If 
such a fellow makes laughing the sole end and purpose of 
his life ; if it is necessary to his constitution, or if he has a 
great desire of growing suddenly fat, let him eat ; let him give 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 105 

public notice where any dull stupid rogue may get a quart of 
four-penny for being laughed at; but it is barbarously un- 
handsome, when friends meet for the benefit of conversation 
and a proper relaxation from business, that one should be 
the butt of the company, and four men made merry at the 
cost of the fifth. 

How different from this character is that of the good- 
natured, gay Eugenius, who never spoke yet but with a 
design to divert and please, and who was never yet baulked 
in his intention. Eugenius takes more delight in applying 
the wit of his friends, than in being admired himself; and 
if any one of the company is so unfortunate as to be touched 
a little too nearly, he will make use of some ingenious arti- 
fice to turn the edge of ridicule another way, choosing rather 
to make himself a public jest, than be at the pain of seeing 
his friend in confusion. 

Among the tribe of laughers, I reckon the petty gentle- 
men that write satires, and carry them about in their pock- 
ets, reading them themselves in all company they happen 
into; taking an advantage of the ill taste of the town to 
make themselves famous for a pack of paltry, low nonsense, 
for which they deserve to be kicked rather than admired, 
by all who have the least tincture of politeness. These I 
take to be the most incorrigible of all my readers; nay, I 
expect they will be squibbing at the Busy-Body himself. 
However, the only favour he begs of them is this, that if they 
cannot control their overbearing itch of scribbling, let him 
be attacked in downright biting lyrics ; for there is no satire 
he dreads half so much as an attempt towards a panegyric. 



io6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 
THE BUSY-BODY. No. 3 (P.H.S.) 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY l8TH, 1728-9 

Non vultus instantis Tyranni 

Mente quatit solida, neque Auster, 
Dux inquieti turbidus Adriae, 

Nee fulminantis magna Jovis manus. 

HOR. 

IT is said that the Persians, in their ancient Constitution, 
had publick Schools in which Virtue was taught as a Liberal 
Art or Science; and it is certainly of more Consequence to 
a Man, that he has learnt to govern his Passions ; in spite 
of Temptation to be just in his Dealings, to be Temperate 
in his Pleasures, to support himself with Fortitude under 
his Misfortunes, to behave with Prudence in all Affairs, and 
in every Circumstance of Life; I say, it is of much more 
real Advantage to him to be thus qualified, than to be a 
Master of all the Arts and Sciences in the World beside. 

Virtue alone is sufficient to make a Man Great, Glorious, 
and Happy. He that is acquainted with Cato, as I am, 
cannot help thinking as I do now, and will acknowledge he 
deserves the Name, without being honour'd by it. Cato is 
a Man whom Fortune has plac'd in the most obscure Part 
of the Country. His Circumstances are such, as only put 
him above Necessity, without affording him many Super- 
fluities; Yet who is greater than Cato? I happened but 
the other Day to be at a House in Town, where, among 
others, were met Men of the most Note in this Place. Cato 
had Business with some of them, and knock'd at the Door. 
The most trifling Actions of a Man, in my Opinion, as well 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 107 

as the smallest Features and Lineaments of the Face, give 
a nice Observer some Notion of his Mind. Methought he 
rapp'd in such a peculiar Manner, as seem'd of itself to 
express there was One, who deserv'd as well as desir'd Ad- 
mission. He appear'd in the plainest Country Garb; his 
Great Coat was coarse, and looked old and threadbare; 
his Linnen was homespun; his Beard perhaps of Seven 
Days' Growth; his Shoes thick and heavy; and every Part 
of his Dress corresponding. Why was this Man receiv'd 
with such concurring Respect from every Person in the 
Room, even from those who had never known him or seen 
him before? It was not an exquisite Form of Person, or 
Grandeur of Dress, that struck us with Admiration. 

I believe long Habits of Virtue have a sensible Effect on 
the Countenance. There was something in the Air of his 
Face, that manifested the true Greatness of his Mind, which 
likewise appear'd in all he said, and in every Part of his 
Behaviour, obliging us to regard him with a Kind of 
Veneration. His Aspect is sweetened with Humanity and 
Benevolence, and at the same Time emboldned with Res- 
olution, equally free from a diffident Bashfulness and 
an unbecoming Assurance. The Consciousness of his own 
innate Worth and unshaken Integrity renders him calm 
and undaunted in the Presence of the most Great and Pow- 
erful, and upon the most extraordinary Occasions. His 
strict Justice and known Impartiality make him the Arbi- 
trator and Decider of all Differences, that arise for many 
Miles around him, without putting his Neighbours to the 
Charge, Perplexity, and Uncertainty of Law-Suits. He 
always speaks the Thing he means, which he is never afraid 
or asham'd to do, because he knows he always means well, 



io8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

and therefore is never oblig'd to blush, and feel the Con- 
fusion of finding himself detected in the Meanness of a 
Falshood. He never contrives 111 against his Neighbour, 
and therefore is never seen with a lowring, suspicious Aspect. 
A mixture of Innocence and Wisdom makes him ever seri- 
ously chearful. His generous Hospitality to Strangers, 
according to his Ability; his Goodness, his Charity, his 
Courage in the Cause of the Oppressed, his Fidelity in 
Friendship, his Humility, his Honesty and Sincerity, his 
Moderation, and his Loyalty to the Government; his Piety, 
his Temperance, his Love to Mankind, his Magnanimity, 
his Publick-Spiritedness, and in fine, his consummate Vir- 
tue, make him justly deserve to be esteem'd the Glory of 
his Country. 

" The Brave do never shun the Light ; 
Just are their Thoughts, and open are their Tempers ; 
Freely without Disguise they love and hate ; 
Still are they found in the fair Face of Day, 
And Heaven and Men are Judges of their Actions." 

ROWE. 

Who would not rather chuse, if it were in his Choice, to 
merit the above Character, than be the richest, the most 
learned, or the most powerful Man in the Province without it ? 

Almost every Man has a strong natural Desire of being 
valu'd and esteem'd by the rest of his Species, but I am 
concern'd and griev'd to see how few fall into the Right 
and only infallible Method of becoming so. That laudable 
Ambition is too commonly misapply'd, and often ill em- 
ploy'd. Some to make themselves considerable pursue 
Learning, others grasp at Wealth ; some aim at being thought 
witty; and others are only careful to make the most of an 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 109 

handsome Person; But what is Wit, or Wealth, or Form, 
or Learning, when compar'd with Virtue? 'Tis true, we 
love the handsome, we applaud the Learned, and we fear 
the Rich and Powerful; but we even Worship and adore 
the Virtuous. Nor is it strange; since Men of Virtue are 
so rare, so very rare to be found. If we were as industrious 
to become Good as to make ourselves Great, we should 
become really Great by being Good, and the Number of 
valuable Men would be much increased; but it is a Grand 
Mistake to think of being Great without Goodness; and I 
pronounce it as certain, that there was never yet a truly 
Great Man, that was not at the same Time truly Virtuous. 
O Cretico ! thou sowre Philosopher ! Thou cunning 
Statesman ! Thou art crafty, but far from being Wise. 
When wilt thou be esteem'd, regarded, and belov'd like 
Cato? When wilt thou, among thy Creatures, meet with 
that unfeign'd respect and warm Good-will, that all Men 
have for him? Wilt thou never understand, that the cring- 
ing, mean, submissive Deportment of thy Dependents, is 
(like the worship paid by Indians to the Devil) rather thro' 
Fear of the Harm thou may'st do to them, than out of Grati- 
tude for the Favours they have receiv'd of thee? Thou 
art not wholly void of Virtue; there are many good Things 
in thee, and many good Actions reported of thee. Be ad- 
vised by thy Friend. Neglect those musty Authors; let 
them be cover'd with Dust, and moulder on their proper 
Shelves; and do thou apply thyself to a Study much more 
profitable, The knowledge of Mankind and of thySelf. 

This is to give Notice, that the Busy-Body strictly forbids 
all Persons, from this Time forward, of what Age, Sex, 



I io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Rank, Quality, Degree, or Denomination soever, on any 
Pretence, to enquire who is the Author of this Paper, on 
Pain of his Displeasure, (his own near and Dear Relations 
only excepted.) 

'Tis to be observ'd, that if any bad Characters happen 
to be drawn in the Course of these Papers, they mean no 
particular Person, if they are not particularly apply'd. 

Likewise, that the Author is no Party-man, but a general 
Meddler. 

N. B. Cretico lives in a neighbouring Province. 



THE BUSY-BODY. No. 4 (P.H.S.) 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1728-9 

Ne quid nimis. 

IN my first Paper I invited the Learned and the Ingenious 
to join with me in this Undertaking, and I now repeat that 
Invitation. I would have such Gentlemen take this Op- 
portunity (by trying their Talent in Writing) of diverting 
themselves and their Friends, and improving the Taste of 
the Town. And because I would encourage all Wit of our 
own Growth and Produce, I hereby promise, that whoever 
shall send me a little Essay on some moral or other Subject, 
that is fit for publick View in this Manner, (and not basely 
borrow'd from any other Author,) I shall receive it with 
Candour, and take care to place it to the best Advantage. It 
will be hard if we cannot muster up in the whole Country 
a sufficient Stock of Sense to supply the Busy-Body at least 
for a Twelvemonth. 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY in 

For my own Part, I have already profess'd, that I have 
the Good of my Country wholly at Heart in this Design, 
without the least sinister View; my chief Purpose being to 
inculcate the noble Principles of Virtue, and depreciate Vice 
of every kind. But, as I know the Mob hate Instruction, 
and the Generality would never read beyond the first Line 
of my Lectures, if they were actually fill'd with nothing but 
wholesome Precepts and Advice, I must therefore sometimes 
humor them in their own Way. There are a Set of Great 
Names in the Province, who are the common Objects of 
Popular Dislike. If I can now and then overcome my 
Reluctance, and prevail with myself to satyrize a little one 
of these Gentlemen, the Expectation of meeting with such 
a Gratification will induce many to read me through, who 
would otherwise proceed immediately to the Foreign News. 
As I am very well assured the greatest Men among us have 
a sincere Love for their Country, notwithstanding its Ingrati- 
tude, and the Insinuations of the Envious and Malicious 
to the contrary, so I doubt not but they will chearfully tolerate 
me in the Liberty I design to take for the End above men- 
tioned. 

As yet I have but few Correspondents, tho' they begin now 
to increase. The following Letter, left for me at the Printer's, 
is one of the first I have receiv'd, which I regard the more 
for that it comes from one of the Fair Sex, and because I 
have myself oftentimes suffer'd under the Grievance therein 
complain'd of. 

"TO THE BUSY-BODY 
"SIR, 

"You having set yourself up for a Censuror Morum, (as 
I think you call it), which is said to mean a Reformer of 



112 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Manners, I know no Person more proper to be apply'd to 
for Redress in all the Grievances we suffer from Want of 
Manners, in some People. You must know I am a single 
Woman, and keep a Shop in this Town for a Livelyhood. 
There is a certain Neighbour of mine, who is really agreeable 
Company enough, and with whom I have had an Intimacy 
of some Time standing; but of late she makes her visits so 
excessively often, and stays so very long every Visit, that I 
am tir'd out of all Patience. I have no Manner of Time at 
all to myself; and you, who seem to be a wise Man, must 
needs be sensible that every Person has little Secrets and 
Privacies, that are not proper to be expos'd even to the nearest 
Friend. Now I cannot do the least Thing in the World, 
but she must know all about it; and it is a Wonder I 
have found an Opportunity to write you this Letter. My 
Misfortune is, that I respect her very well, and know not how 
to disoblige her so much as to tell her I should be glad to 
have less of her Company ; for if I should once hint such a 
Thing, I am afraid she would resent it so as never to darken 
my Door again. 

"But alas, Sir, I have not yet told you half my Affliction. 
She has two Children, that are just big enough to run about 
and do pretty Mischief; these are continually along with 
Mamma, either in my Room or Shop, if I have ever so many 
Customers or People with me about Business. Sometimes 
they pull the Goods off my low Shelves down to the Ground, 
and perhaps where one of them has just been making Water. 
My Friend takes up the Stuff, and cries, 'Eh! thou little 
wicked mischievous Rogue! But, however, it has done no 
great Damage ; 'tis only wet a little ;' and so puts it up upon 
the Shelf again. Sometimes they get to my Cask of Nails 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 113 

behind the Counter, and divert themselves, to my great 
Vexation, with mixing my Ten-penny, and Eight-penny, 
and Four-penny, together. I endeavour to conceal my 
Uneasiness as much as possible, and with a grave Look go 
to Sorting them out. She cries, 'Don't thee trouble thyself, 
Neighbour: Let them play a little; I'll put all to rights 
myself before I go.' But Things are never so put to rights, 
but that I find a great deal of Work to do after they are gone. 
Thus, Sir, I have all the Trouble and Festerment of Chil- 
dren, without the Pleasure of calling them my own ; 
and they are now so us'd to being here, that they will be con- 
tent nowhere else. If she would have been so kind as to 
have moderated her Visits to ten times a Day, and stay'd 
but half an hour at a Time, I should have been contented, 
and I believe never have given you this Trouble. But this 
very Morning they have so tormented me, that I could bear 
no longer; for, while the Mother was asking me twenty 
impertinent Questions, the youngest got to my Nails, and 
with great Delight rattled them by handfuls all over the 
Floor; and the other, at the same Time, made such a ter- 
rible Din upon my Counter with a Hammer, that I grew 
half distracted. I was just then about to make myself a 
new Suit of Pinners; but in the Fret and Confusion I cut 
it quite out of all Manner of Shape, and utterly spoil'd a 
Piece of the first Muslin. 

" Pray, Sir, tell me what I shall do ; and talk a little against 
such unreasonable Visiting in your next Paper ; tho' I would 
not have her affronted with me for a great Deal, for sincerely 
I love her and her Children, as well, I think, as a Neighbour 
can, and she buys a great many Things in a Year at my 
Shop. But I would beg her to consider, that she uses me 

VOL. II I 



ii4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

unmercifully, Tho' I believe it is only for want of Thought. 
But I have twenty Things more to tell you besides all this: 
There is a handsome Gentleman, that has a Mind (I don't 
question) to make love to me, but he can't get the least 
Opportunity to O dear ! here she comes again ; I must 
conclude, yours, &c. 

"PATIENCE." 

Indeed, 'tis well enough, as it happens, that she is come 
to shorten this Complaint, which I think is full long enough 
already, and probably would otherwise have been as long 
again. However, I must confess, I cannot help pitying my 
Correspondent's Case ; and, in her Behalf, exhort the Visitor 
to remember and consider the Words of the Wise Man, 
"Withdraw thy Foot from the House of thy Neighbour, 
lest he grow weary of thee, and so hate thee." It is, I be- 
lieve, a nice thing, and very difficult, to regulate our Visits 
in such a Manner, as never to give Offence by coming too 
seldom, or too often, or departing too abruptly, or staying 
too long. However, in my Opinion, it is safest for most 
People in a general way, who are unwilling to disoblige, 
to visit seldom, and tarry but a little while in a Place, not- 
withstanding pressing invitations, which are many times 
insincere. And tho' more of your Company should be really 
desir'd, yet in this Case, too much Reservedness is a Fault 
more easily excus'd than the Contrary. 

Men are subjected to various Inconveniences meerly 
through lack of a small Share of Courage, which is a Quality 
very necessary in the common Occurrences of Life, as well 
as in a Battle. How many Impertinences do we daily suffer 
with great Uneasiness, because we have not Courage enough 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 115 

to discover our Dislike? And why may not a Man use the 
Boldness and Freedom of telling his Friends, that their long 
Visits sometimes incommode him? On this Occasion, it 
may be entertaining to some of my Readers, if I acquaint 
them with the Turkish Manner of entertaining Visitors, 
which I have from an Author of unquestionable Veracity; 
who assures us, that even the Turks are not so ignorant of 
Civility and the Arts of Endearment, but that they can 
practise them with as much Exactness as any other Nation, 
whenever they have a Mind to shew themselves obliging. 

"When you visit a Person of Quality," (says he) "and 
have talk'd over your Business, or the Complements, or 
whatever Concern brought you thither, he makes a Sign to 
have Things serv'd in for the Entertainment, which is gen- 
erally, a little Sweetmeat, a Dish of Sherbet, and another of 
Coffee ; all which are immediately brought in by the Servants, 
and tender'd to all the Guests in Order, with the greatest 
Care and Awfulness imaginable. At last comes the finish- 
ing Part of your Entertainment, which is, Perfuming the 
Beards of the Company; a Ceremony which is perform'd 
in this Manner. They have for the Purpose a small Silver 
Chaffing-Dish, cover'd with a Lid full of Holes, and fixed 
upon a handsome Plate. In this they put some fresh Coals, 
and upon them. a piece of Lignum Aloes, and shutting it 
up, the smoak immediately ascends with a grateful Odour 
thro' the Holes of the Cover. This smoak is held under 
every one's Chin, and offer'd as it were a Sacrifice to his 
Beard. The bristly Idol soon receives the Reverence done 
to it, and so greedily takes in and incorporates the gummy 
Steam, that it retains the Savour of it, and may serve for a 
Nosegay a good while after. 



Ii6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

"This Ceremony may perhaps seem ridiculous at first 
hearing, but it passes among the Turks for a high Gratifi- 
cation. And I will say this in its Vindication, that its Design 
is very wise and useful. For it is understood to give a civil 
Dismission to the Visitants, intimating to them, that the 
Master of the House has Business to do, or some other 
Avocation, that permits them to go away as soon as they 
please, and the sooner after this Ceremony the better. By 
this Means you may, at any Time, without Offence, deliver 
yourself from being detain'd from your Affairs by tedious 
and unseasonable Visits; and from being constrain'd to 
use that Piece of Hypocrisy, so common in the World, of 
pressing those to stay longer with you, whom perhaps in 
your Heart you wish a great Way off for having troubled 
you so long already." 

Thus far my Author. For my own Part, I have taken 
such a Fancy to this Turkish Custom, that for the future I 
shall put something like it in Practice. I have provided a 
Bottle of right French Brandy for the Men, and Citron- Water 
for the Ladies. After I have treated with a Dram, and pre- 
sented a Pinch of my best Snuff, I expect all Company will 
retire, and leave me to pursue my Studies for the Good of 
the Publick. 

ADVERTISEMENT 

I give Notice, that I am now actually compiling, and 
design to publish in a short Time, the true History of the 
Rise, Growth, and Progress of the renowned Tiff- Club. 
All Persons who are acquainted with any Facts, Circum- 
stances, Characters, Transactions, &c. which will be requi- 
site to the Perfecting and Embellishment of the said Work, 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 117 

are desired to communicate the same to the Author, and 
direct their Letters to be left with the Printer hereof. 

The Letter, sign'd "Would-be- something" is come to 
hand. 



THE BUSY-BODY. No. 5 (P. H. s.) 

TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1728-9 

Vos, o patricius sanguis, quos vivere fas est 

Occipiti caeco, posticae occurrite sannae. 

PERSIUS. 

THIS Paper being design'd for a Terror to Evil-Doers, 
as well as a Praise to them that do well, I am lifted up with 
secret Joy to find, that my Undertaking is approved, and 
encourag'd by the Just and Good, and that few are against 
me but those, who have Reason to fear me. 

There are little Follies in the Behaviour of most Men, 
which their best Friends are too tender to acquaint them 
with; There are little Vices and small Crimes, which the 
Law has no Regard to or Remedy for: There are likewise 
great Pieces of Villany sometimes so craftily accomplish'd, 
and so circumspectly guarded, that the Law can take no 
Hold of the Actors. All these Things, and all Things of 
this Nature, come within my Province as Censor; and I am 
determined not to be negligent of the Trust I have reposed 
in myself, but resolve to execute my Office diligently and 
Faithfully. 

And that all the World may judge with how much Hu- 
manity, as well as Justice, I shall behave in this Office; 
and that even my Enemies may be convinc'd I take no 



Ii8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Delight to rake into the Dunghill Lives of vicious Men ; and 
to the End that certain Persons may be a little eas'd of their 
Fears, and reliev'd from the terrible Palpitations they have 
lately felt and suffered, and do still suffer ; I hereby graciously 
pass an Act of general Oblivion, for all Offences, Crimes, 
and Misdemeanors of what Kind soever, committed from 
the Beginning of Year sixteen hundred and eighty one, until 
the Day of the Date of my first Paper, and promise only to 
concern myself with such as have been since and shall here- 
after be committed. I shall take no Notice who has (here- 
tofore) rais'd a Fortune by Fraud and Oppression, nor who 
by Deceit and Hypocrisy; What Woman has been false to 
her good Husband's Bed, nor what Man has, by barbarous 
Usage or Neglect, broke the Heart of a faithful Wife, and 
wasted his Health and Substance in Debauchery; What 
Base Wretch has betray'd his Friend, and sold his Honesty 
for Gold, nor what yet baser Wretch first corrupted him, 
and then bought the Bargain; all this, and much more of 
the same kind, I shall forget, and pass over in Silence ; but 
then it is to be observed, that I expect and require a sudden 
and general Amendment. 

These Threatnings of mine I hope will have a good Effect, 
and, if regarded, may prevent abundance of Folly and 
Wickedness in others, and, at the same Time, save me 
abundance of Trouble. And, that People may not flatter 
themselves with the Hopes of concealing their Misdemeanours 
from my Knowledge, and in that View persist in Evil-doing, 
I must acquaint them, that I have lately enter'd into an 
Intimacy with the extraordinary Person, who some Time 
since wrote me the following Letter; and who, having a 
Wonderful Faculty, that enables him discover the most 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 119 

secret Iniquity, is capable of giving me great Assistance in 
my designed Work of Reformation. 

"MR. BUSY-BODY/ 

"I rejoice, Sir, at the Opportunity you have given me to 
be serviceable to you, and, by your Means, to this Province. 
You must know, that such have been the Circumstances of 
my life, and such were the marvellous Concurrences of my 
Birth, that I have not only a Faculty of discovering the 
Actions of Persons, that are absent or asleep; but even of 
the Devil himself, in many of his secret Workings, in the 
various Shapes, Habits, and Names of Men and Women; 
and, having travel'd and conversed much and met but with 
a very few of the same Perceptions and Qualifications, I 
can recommend mySelf to you as the most useful Man you 
can correspond with. My Father's Father's Father (for we 
had no Grandfathers in our Family) was the same John 
Bunyan, that writ that memorable Book, The Pilgrim's 
Progress, who had, in some Degree, a natural Faculty of 
Second Sight. This Faculty (how derived to him our 
Family Memoirs are not very clear) was enjoy'd by all his 
Descendants, but not by equal Talents. 'Twas very dim 
in several of my first Cousins, and probably had been nearly 
extinct in our particular Branch, had not my Father been a 
Traveller. He lived in his youthful Days in New England. 
There he married, and there was born my elder Brother, 
who had so much of this Faculty, as to discover Witches in 
some of their occult Performances. 

"My Parents transporting themselves to Great Britain, 

1 From this point to the end of the letter Joseph Brientnal is the author. 
ED. 



120 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

my second Brother's Birth was in that Kingdom. He shared 
but a small Portion of this Virtue, being only able to discern 
Transactions about the Time, and for the most Part after 
their happening. My good Father, who delighted in The 
Pilgrim's Progress, and mountainous Places, took Shipping 
with his Wife for Scotland, and inhabited in the Highlands, 
where mySelf was born; and whether the Soil, Climate, 
or Astral Influences, of which are preserved divers Prog- 
nosticks, restored our Ancestor's Natural Faculty of Second 
Sight, in a greater Lustre to me, than it had shined in thro' 
several Generations, I will not here discuss. But so it is, 
that I am possess'd largely of it, and design, if you encour- 
age the Proposal, to take this Opportunity of doing good 
with it, which I question not will be accepted of in a grate- 
ful Way by many of your honest Readers, tho' the Discovery 
of my Extraction bodes me no Deference from your great 
Scholars and modern Philosophers. This my Father was 
long ago aware of; and lest the Name alone should hurt 
the Fortunes of his Children, he in his Shiftings from one 
Country to another, wisely changed it. 

"Sir, I have only this further to say, how I may be use- 
ful to you, and as a Reason for my not making mySelf more 
known in the World. By Virtue of this great Gift of Nature, 
Second- Sightedness, I do continually see Numbers of Men, 
Women, and Children, of all Ranks, and what they are 
doing, while I am sitting in my Closet; which is too great 
a Burthen for the Mind, and makes me also conceit, even 
against Reason, that all this Host of People can see and 
observe me, which strongly inclines me to Solitude, and an 
obscure Living; and, on the other Hand, it will be an Ease 
to me to disburthen my Thoughts and Observations in the 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 121 

Way proposed to you by, Sir, your Friend and humble 
Servant. " 

I conceal this Correspondent's Name, in my Care for 
his Life and Safety, and cannot but approve his Prudence 
in chusing to live obscurely. I remember the Fate of my 
poor Monkey. He had an ill-natur'd Trick of grinning 
and chattering at every Thing he saw in Petticoats. My 
Ignorant Country Neighbours got a Notion, that Pug snarl'd 
by instinct at every Female who had lost her Virginity. 
This was no sooner generally believed, than he was con- 
demn'd to Death; By whom, I could never learn, but 
he was assassinated in the Night, barbarously stabb'd 
and mangled hi a Thousand Places, and left hanging 
dead on one of my Gate-posts, where I found him the next 
Morning. 

The Censor observing, that the Itch of Scribbling begins 
to spread exceedingly, and being carefully tender of the 
Reputation of his Country in Point of Wit and Good Sense, 
has determined to take all manner of writings in Verse or 
Prose, that pretend to either, under his immediate Cogni- 
zance; and accordingly hereby prohibits the Publishing 
any such for the future, till they have first pass'd his Ex- 
amination, and receiv'd his Imprimatur; for which he 
demands as a Fee only 6d per Sheet. 

N. B. He nevertheless permits to be published all Sa- 
tyrical Remarks on the Busy-Body, the above Prohibition 
notwithstanding, and without Examination, or requiring 
the said Fees; which Indulgence the small Wits in and 
about this City are advised gratefully to accept and ac- 
knowledge. 



122 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

The Gentleman, who calls himself Sirronio, is directed, 
on Receipt of this, to burn his great Book of Crudities. 

P. S. In Compassion to that young Man, on Account of 
the great Pains he has taken ; in Consideration of the Char- 
acter I have just receiv'd of him, that he is really Good- 
natured, and on Condition he shows it to no Foreigner or 
Stranger of Sense, I have thought fit to reprieve his said 
great Book of Crudities from the Flames, 'till further Order. 

Noli me tangere. 

I HAD resolved, when I first commenced this Design, on 
no Account to enter into a publick Dispute with any Man; 
for I judg'd it would be equally unpleasant to me and my 
Readers, to see this Paper fill'd with contentious Wran- 
gling, Answers, Replies, &c. ; which is a Way of Writing 
that is Endless, and, at the same time, seldom contains any 
Thing that is either edifying or entertaining. Yet when 

such a considerable Man as Mr. finds himself con- 

cern'd so warmly to accuse and condemn me, as he has 
done in Keimer's last Instructor, I cannot forbear endeav- 
ouring to say something in my own Defence, from one of 
the worst of Characters that could be given of me by a Man 
of Worth. But as I have many Things of more Conse- 
quence to offer the Publick, I declare, that I will never, 
after this Time, take Notice of any Accusations, not better 
supported with Truth and Reason; much less may every 
little Scribbler, that shall attack me, expect an Answer from 
the Busy-Body. 

The Sum of the Charge deliver'd against me, either 
directly or indirectly, in the said Paper, is this. Not to 
mention the first weighty Sentence concerning Vanity and 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 123 

Ill-Nature, and the shrewd Intimation, that I am without 
Charity, and therefore can have no Pretence to Religion, 
I am represented as guilty of Defamation and Scandal, 
the Odiousness of which is apparent to every good Man, and 
the Practice of it opposite to Christianity, Morality, and 
common Justice, and, in some Cases, so far below all these, 
as to be inhumane; As a Blaster of Reputations. As at- 
tempting, by a Pretence, to screen myself from the Imputa- 
tion of Malice and Prejudice. As using a Weapon, which 
the Wiser and better Part of Mankind hold in Abhorrence. 
And as giving Treatment, which the wiser and better Part 
of Mankind dislike on the same Principles, and for the same 
Reason, as they do Assassination, &c. ; and all this is 
infer'd and concluded from a Character I wrote in my 
Number III. 

In order to examine the Justice and Truth of this heavy 
Charge, let us recur to that Character. And here we may 
be surpriz'd to find what a Trifle has rais'd this mighty 
Clamour and Complaint, this Grievous Accusation ! The 
worst Thing said of the Person, in what is called my gross 
Description (be he who he will to whom my Accuser has 
apply'd the Character of Cretico), is, that he is a sowre 
Philosopher, crafty, but not wise. Few Humane Characters 
can be drawn, that will not fit somebody, in so large a Coun- 
try as this ; but one would think, supposing I meant Cretico 
-a real Person, I had sufficiently manifested my Impartiality, 
when I said, in that very Paragraph, that Cretico is not 
without Virtue ; that there are MANY good Things in him, 
and MANY good Actions reported of him ; Which must be 
allow'd, in all Reason, very much to overballance in his 
Favour those worst Words, sowre-temper'd and cunning. 



124 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Nay, my very Enemy and Accuser must have been sensible 
of this, when he freely acknowledges, that he has been 
seriously considering, and cannot yet determine, which he 
would chuse to be, the Cato or Cretico of that Paper; since 
my Cato is one of the best of Characters. Thus much in 
my own Vindication. 

As to the only reasons there given, why I ought not to 
continue drawing Characters, viz. Why should any Man's 
Picture be published, which he never sat for; or his good 
Name taken from him, any more than his Money or Pos- 
sessions, at the arbitrary Will of another, &c. ? I have 
but this to answer. The Money or Possessions, I presume, 
are nothing to the Purpose, since no Man can claim a Right 
either to those or a good Name, if he has acted so as to for- 
feit them. And are not the Publick the only Judges what 
Share of Reputation they think proper to allow any Man? 
Supposing I was capable, and had an Inclination to draw 
all the good and bad Characters in America: Why should 
a good Man be offended with me for drawing good Char- 
acters? And if I draw 111 Ones, can they fit any but those 
that deserve them? And ought any but such to be con- 
cern'd that they have their Deserts? I have as great an 
Aversion and Abhorrence from Defamation and Scandal as 
any Man, and would with the utmost Care avoid being 
guilty of such base Things; Besides I am very sensible 
and certain, that if I should make use of this Paper to de- 
fame any Person, my Reputation would be sooner hurt by 
it than his, and the Busy-Body would quickly become de- 
testable; because, in such a Case, as is justly observed, 
the Pleasure arising from a Taste of Wit and Novelty 
soon dies away in generous and Honest Minds, and is 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 125 

followed with a secret Grief to see their Neighbours calum- 
niated. 

But if I myself was actually the worst Man hi the Province, 
and any one should draw my true Character, would it not 
be ridiculous in me to say he had defam'd and scandaliz'd 

me, unless added in a matter of Truth ? If any Thing 

is meant by asking, why any Man's Picture should be pub- 
lish'd, which he never sat for, it must be, that we should 
give no Character without the Owner's Consent. If I 
discern the Wolf disguis'd in harmless Wool, and contriv- 
ing the Destruction of my Neighbour's Sheep, must I have 
his Permission before I am allow'd to discover and prevent 
him? If I know a Man to be a designing Knave, must I 
ask his Consent to bid my Friends beware of him? If so, 
Then by the same Rule, supposing the Busy-Body had 
really merited all his Enemy had charg'd him with, his 
Consent likewise ought to have been obtain'd before so 
terrible an Accusation was published against him. 

I shall conclude with observing, that in the last Para- 
graph save one of the Piece now examin'd, much Ill-Nature 
and some Good Sense are Co-inhabitants (as he expresses 
it). The Ill-Nature appears in his endeavouring to dis- 
cover Satyr where I intended no such Thing, but quite the 
Reverse: The good Sense, is this, that drawing too good 
a Character of any one is a refined Manner of Satyr, that 
may be as injurious to him as the contrary, by bringing 
on an Examination that undresses the Person, and, in the 
Haste of doing it, he may happen to be stript of what he 
really owns and deserves. As I am Censor, I might punish 
the first, but I forgive it. Yet I will not leave the latter un- 
rewarded; but assure my Adversary, that in Consideration 



126 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

of the Merit of those four Lines, I am resolved to forbear 
injuring him on any Account in that refined Manner. 

I thank my Neighbour P W 1 for his kind 

Letter. 

The Lions complain'd of shall be muzzled. 



THE BUSY-BODY. No. 8 (L.C.P.) 

TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 1729 

Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, 

Auri sacra fames ! 

VIRGIL. 

ONE of the greatest Pleasures an Author can have, is 
certainly the Hearing his Works applauded. The hiding 
from the World our Names, while we publish our Thoughts, 
is so absolutely necessary to this Self-Gratification, that I 
hope my Well-wishers will congratulate me on my Escape 
from the many diligent but fruitless Enquiries, that have 
of late been made after me. Every Man will own, That 
an Author, as such, ought to be try'd by the Merit of his 
Production only; but Pride, Party, and Prejudice at this 
Time run so very high, that Experience shews we form our 
Notions of a Piece by the Character of the Author. Nay, 
there are some very humble Politicians in and about this 
City, who will ask on which Side the Writer is, before they 
presume to give their Opinion of the Thing wrote. This 
ungenerous Way of Proceeding I was well aware of before 
I publish'd my first Speculation, and therefore concealed 
my Name. And I appeal to the more generous Part of 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 127 

the World, if I have since I appear'd in the Character of 
the Busy-Body, given an Instance of my siding with any 
Party more than another, in the unhappy Divisions of my 
Country; and I have, above all, this Satisfaction in my- 
Self, that neither Affection, Aversion, or Interest have 
byass'd me to use any Partiality towards any Man, or sett 
of Men; but whatsoever I find nonsensically ridiculous, 
or immorally dishonest, I have, and shall continue openly 
to attack, with the Freedom of an honest Man and a Lover 
of my Country. 

I profess I can hardly contain mySelf, or preserve the 
Gravity and Dignity, that should attend the Censorial 
Office, when I hear the odd and unaccountable Exposi- 
tions, that are put upon some of my Works, thro' the ma- 
licious Ignorance of some, and the vain Pride of more than 
ordinary Penetration in others; one Instance of which 
many of my Readers are acquainted with. A certain Gentle- 
man has taken a great Deal of Pains to write a Key to the 
Letter in my No. 4, wherein he has ingeniously converted 
a gentle Satyr upon tedious and impertinent Visitants, into 
a Libel on some in the Government. This I mention only 
as a Specimen of the Taste of the Gentlemen I am, for- 
sooth, bound to please in my Speculations, not that I sup- 
pose my Impartiality will .ever be called in Question upon 
that Account. Injustices of this Nature I could complain 
of in many Instancies; but I am at present diverted by 
the Reception of a Letter, which, tho' it regards me only 
in my Private Capacity as an Adept, yet I venture to publish 
it for the Entertainment of my Readers. 



128 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

To Censor Morum, Esq., Busy- Body General of the Province 
0} Pennsylvania, and the counties of Newcastle, Kent, and 
Sussex upon Delaware. 1 

"HONOURABLE SIR, 

"I judge by your Lucubrations, that you are not only a 
Lover of Truth and Equity, but a Man of Parts and Learn- 
ing and a Master of Science ; as such I honour you. Know, 
then, Most profound Sir, That I have, from my Youth up, 
been a very indefatigable Student in and Admirer of that 
Divine Science, Astrology. I have read over Scot, Albertus 
Magnus, and Cornelius Agrippa, above 300 Times ; and was 
in hopes, by my Knowledge and Industry, to gain enough 
to have recompenced me for my Money expended and Time 
lost in the Pursuit of this Learning. You cannot be igno- 
rant, 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, Notwith- 
standing I have used all the Means laid down in the immortal 
Authors before mentioned, and when they fail'd, the ingen- 
ious Mr. P d 1, with his Mercurial Wand and Magnet, I 
have still fail'd in my Purpose. This therefore I send, to 
propose and desire an Acquaintance with you ; and I do not 
doubt, notwithstanding my repeated 111 Fortune, but we 
may be exceedingly serviceable to each other in our Dis- 
coveries; 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, 

1 This letter of " Titan Pleiades " was written by Joseph Brientnal. ED. 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 129 

what may not we do? A Word to the Wise is sufficient. 
I conclude, with all demonstrable Respect, yours and Urania's 
Votary, 

" TITAN PLEIADES." 

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 assur'd 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 Pyrates and others in old Times, 
who were never like to come for it, he himself had dug it all 
up and applied it to charitable Uses ; And this he desired me 
to publish for 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 abun- 
dance of Fatigue in a fruitless Search after Imaginary hid- 
den Treasure. They wander thro' the Woods and Bushes 
by Day, to discover the Marks and Signs ; at Midnight they 
repair to the hopeful Spot with Spades and Pickaxes; full 
of Expectation, they labour violently, trembling at the same 
Time, in every Joint, thro' Fear of certain malicious Demons, 
who are said to haunt and guard such Places. At length a 
mighty hole is dug, and perhaps several Cart-loads of Earth 
thrown out; but, alas, no Cag or Iron Pot is found! No 
VOL. n K 



130 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Seaman's Chest cram'd with Spanish Pistoles, or weighty 
Pieces of Eight! Then they conclude, that, thro' some 
Mistake in the Procedure, some rash Word spoke, or some 
Rule of Art neglected, the Guardian Spirit had Power to 
sink it deeper into the Earth, and convey it out of their 
Reach. Yet when a Man is once thus infatuated, he is so 
far from being discouraged by ill Success, that he is rather 
animated to double his Industry, and will try again and again 
in a Hundred Different Places, in Hopes at last of meeting 
with some lucky Hit, that shall at once sufficiently reward 
him for all his Expence of Time and Labour. 

This odd Humour of Digging for Money, thro' a Belief 
that much has been hid by Pirates formerly frequenting the 
River, has for several Years been mighty prevalent among 
us; insomuch that you can hardly walk half a Mile out of 
Town on any Side, without observing several Pits dug with 
that Design, and perhaps some lately opened. Men, other- 
wise of very good Sense, have been drawn into this Practice 
thro' an overweening Desire of sudden Wealth, and an easy 
Credulity of what they so earnestly wished might be true; 
while the rational and almost certain Methods of acquiring 
Riches by Industry and Frugality are neglected or forgotten. 
There seems to be some peculiar Charm in the conceit of -find- 
ing Money ; and if the Sands of Schuylkil were so much mixed 
with small Grains of Gold, that a Man might in a Day's 
Time, with Care and Application, get together to the Value 
of half a Crown, I make no Question but we should find 
several People employ'd there, that can with Ease earn Five 
Shillings a Day at their proper Trades. 

Many are the idle Stories told of the private Success of 
some People, by which others are encouraged to proceed; 



1729] THE BUSY-BODY 131 

and the Astrologers, with whom the Country swarms at 
this Time, are either irt the Belief of these things themselves, 
or find their Advantage in persuading others to believe 
them ; for they are often consulted about the critical Times 
for Digging, the Methods of laying the Spirit, and the like 
Whimseys, which renders them very necessary to, and very 
much caress'd by the poor deluded Money-hunters. 

There is certainly something very bewitching in the Pur- 
suit after Mines of Gold and Silver and other valuable 
Metals ; And many have been ruined by it. A Sea- Captain 
of my Acquaintance us'd to blame the English for envying 
Spain their Mines of Silver, and too much despising or over- 
looking the Advantages of their own Industry and Manu- 
factures. "For my Part," says he, "I esteem the Banks of 
Newfoundland to be a more valuable Possession than the 
Mountains of Potosi; and, when I have been there on the 
Fishing Account, have look'd upon every cod pulFd up into 
the Vessel as a certain Quantity of Silver Ore, which required 
only carrying to the next Spanish Port to be coin'd into 
Pieces of Eight ; not to mention the National Profit of fiting 
out and Employing such a Number of Ships and Seamen." 

Let honest Peter Buckrum, who has long without Success 
been a Searcher after hidden Money, reflect on this, and be 
reclaimed from that unaccountable Folly. Let him consider, 
that every Stitch he takes, when he is on his Shopboard, is 
picking up part of a Grain of Gold, that will in a few Days' 
Time amount to a Pistole; and let Faber think the same 
of every Nail he drives, or every Stroke with his Plain. Such 
Thoughts may make them industrious, and of consequence 
in Time they may be Wealthy. But how absurd is it to 
neglect a certain Profit for such a ridiculous Whimsey: 



I 3 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

To spend whole Days at the George, in company with an 
idle Pretender to Astrology, contriving Schemes to discover 
what was never hidden, and forgetful how carelessly Busi- 
ness is managed at Home in their Absence; to leave their 
Wives and a warm Bed at Midnight (no matter if it rain, 
hail, snow, or blow a Hurricane, provided that be the critical 
Hour), and fatigue themselves with the Violent Exercise of 
Digging for what they shall never find, and perhaps getting 
a Cold that may cost their Lives, or at least disordering 
themselves so as to be fit for no Business beside for some 
Days after. Surely this is nothing less than the most egre- 
gious Folly and Madness. 

I shall conclude with the Words of my discreet friend 
Agricola, of Chester County, when he gave his Son a Good 
Plantation. "My son," says he, "I give thee now a Valu- 
able Parcel of Land; I assure thee I have found a consid- 
erable Quantity of Gold by Digging there; thee mayst do 
the same. But thee must carefully observe this, Never to 
dig more than Plow-deep." 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 133 

ii. A MODEST 
ENQUIRY 

INTO THE 

NATURE AND NECESSITY 

OF A 

PAPER CURRENCY 



Quid asper 
Utile nummus habet ; patriae charisq, propinquis 

Quantum elargiri deceat. 

PERS. 



Philadelphia : 

Printed and sold at the new Printing- 
office, near the Market, 1729.* (p. H. s.) 



1 For the origin of this tract see the Autobiography, Vol. I, p. 306. ED. 



134 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1729 

THERE is no Science, the Study of which is more useful 
and commendable than the Knowledge of the true Interest 
of one's Country ; and perhaps there is no Kind of Learning 
more abstruse and intricate, more difficult to acquire in any 
Degree of Perfection than This, and therefore none more 
generally neglected. Hence it is, that we every Day find 
Men in Conversation contending warmly on some Point in 
Politicks, which, altho' it may nearly concern them both, 
neither of them understand any more than they do each 
other. 

Thus much by way of Apology for this present Enquiry 
into the, Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. And 
if any Thing I shall say, may be a Means of fixing a Subject, 
that is now the chief Concern of my Countrymen, in a 
clearer Light, I shall have the Satisfaction of thinking my 
Time and Pains well employed. 

To proceed, then, 

There is a certain proportionate Quantity of Money requisite 
to carry on the Trade of a Country freely and currently; More 
than which would be of no Advantage in Trade, and Less, 
if much less, exceedingly detrimental to it. 

This leads us to the following general Considerations. 

First. A great Want of Money, in any Trading Country, 
occasions Interest to be at a very high Rate. And here it may 
be observed, that it is impossible by any Laws to restrain 
Men from giving and receiving exorbitant Interest, where 
Money is suitably scarce: For he that wants Money will 
find out Ways to give 10 per cent, when he cannot have it 
for less, altho' the Law forbids to take more than 6 per cent. 
Now the Interest of Money being high is prejudicial to a 
Country several Ways: It makes Land bear a low Price, 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 135 

because few Men will lay out their Money in Land, when 
they can make a much greater Profit by lending it out upon 
Interest. And much less will Men be inclined to venture 
their Money at Sea, when they can, without Risque or 
Hazard, have a great and certain Profit by keeping it at 
home; thus Trade is discouraged. And if in two Neigh- 
bouring Countries the Traders of one, by Reason of a greater 
Plenty of Money, can borrow it to trade with at a lower 
Rate than the Traders of the other, they will infallibly have 
the Advantage, and get the greatest Part of that Trade 
into their own Hands; For he that trades with Money he 
hath borrowed at 8 or 10 per cent, cannot hold Market with 
him that borrows his money at 6 or 4. On the contrary, a 
plentiful Currency will occasion Interest to be low: And this 
will be an Inducement to many to lay out their Money in 
Lands, rather than put it out to Use, by which means Land 
will begin to rise in Value and bear a better Price. And at 
the same Time it will tend to enliven Trade exceedingly, 
because People will find more Profit in employing their 
Money that Way than in Usury ; and many that understand 
Business very well, but have not a Stock sufficient of their 
own, will be encouraged to borrow Money to trade with, 
when they can have it at moderate Interest. 

Secondly. Want of Money in a Country reduces the Price 
of that Part of its Produce which is used in Trade: Because, 
Trade being discouraged by it as above, there is a much less 
Demand for that Produce. And this is another Reason 
why Land in such a Case will be low, especially where the 
Staple Commodity of the Country is the immediate Produce 
of the Land; because, that Produce being low, fewer people 
find an Advantage in Husbandry, or the Improvement of 



136 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Land. On the contrary, a Plentiful Currency will occasion 
the Trading Produce to bear a good Price; because, Trade 
being encouraged and advanced by it, there will be a much 
greater Demand for that Produce; which will be a great 
Encouragement of Husbandry and Tillage, and consequently 
make Land more valuable, for that many People would 
apply themselves to Husbandry, who probably might other- 
wise have sought some more profitable Employment. 

As we have already experienced how much the Increase 
of our Currency, by what Paper Money has been made, 
has encouraged our Trade, particularly to instance only in 
one Article, Ship-Building, it may not be amiss to observe 
under this Head, what a great Advantage it must be to us 
as a Trading Country, that has Workmen and all the Mate- 
rials proper for that Business within itself, to have Ship- 
Building as much as possible advanced: for every Ship, 
that is built here for the English Merchants, gains the Prov- 
ince her clear Value in Gold and Silver, which must otherwise 
have been sent Home for Returns in her Stead ; and likewise, 
every Ship, built in and belonging to the Province, not only 
saves the Province her first Cost, but all the Freight, Wages, 
and Provisions she ever makes or requires as long as she 
lasts; provided Care is taken to make This her Pay-Port, 
and that she always takes Provisions with her for the whole 
Voyage, which may easily be done. And how considerable 
an Article this is yearly in our Favour, every one, the least 
acquainted with mercantile Affairs, must needs be sensible; 
for, if we could not Build ourselves, we must either purchase 
so many Vessels as we want from other Countries, or else 
Hire them to carry our Produce to Market, which would be 
more expensive than Purchasing, and on many other Accounts 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 137 

exceedingly to our Loss. Now as Trade in general will 
decline where there is not a plentiful Currency, so Ship- 
Building must certainly of Consequence decline where 
Trade is declining. 

Thirdly. Want of Money in a Country discourages Labour- 
ing and Handicrafts Men (which are the chief Strength and 
Support of a People) from coming to settle in it, and induces 
many that were settled to leave the Country, and seek Enter- 
tainment and Employment in other Places, where they can be 
better paid. For what can be more disheartning to an indus- 
trious labouring Man than this, that, after he hath earned 
his Bread with the Sweat of his Brows, he must spend as 
much Time, and have near as much Fatigue in getting it, 
as he had to earn it? And nothing makes more bad Pay- 
masters than a general Scarcity of Money. And here again 
is a Third Reason for Land's bearing a low Price in such 
a Country, because Land always increases in Value in Pro- 
portion with the Increase of the People settling on it, there 
being so many more Buyers; and its Value will infallibly 
be diminished, if the Number of its Inhabitants diminish. 
On the contrary, a Plentiful Currency will encourage great 
Numbers of labouring and Handicrafts Men to come and 
Settle in the Country, by the same Reason that a Want of it 
will discourage and drive them out. Now the more In- 
habitants, the greater Demand for Land (as is said above), 
upon which it must necessarily rise in Value, and bear a 
better Price. The same may be said of the Value of House- 
Rent, which will be advanced for the same Reasons; and, 
by the Increase of Trade and Riches, People will be enabled 
to pay greater Rents. Now the Value of House-Rent rising, 
and Interest becoming low, many that in a Scarcity of Money 



I 3 8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

practised Usury, will probably be more inclined to Building ; 
which will likewise sensibly enliven Business in any Place; 
it being an Advantage not only to Brickmakers, Bricklayers, 
Masons, Carpenters, Joiners, Glaziers, and several other 
Trades immediately employed by Building, but likewise to 
Farmers, Brewers, Bakers, Taylors, Shoemakers, Shopkeepers, 
and, in short, to every one that they lay their Money out 
with. 

Fourthly. Want of Money in such a Country as ours, 
occasions a greater Consumption 0} English and European 
Goods, in Proportion to the Number of the People, than there 
would otherwise be. Because Merchants and Traders, by 
whom abundance of Artificers and labouring Men are em- 
ployed, finding their other Affairs require what Money they 
can get into their hands, oblige those who work for them to 
take one half or perhaps two-thirds Goods in Pay. By 
this Means a greater Quantity of Goods are disposed of, 
and to a greater Value; because Working-Men and their 
Families are thereby induced to be more profuse and ex- 
travagant in fine Apparel and the like, than they would be 
if they were obliged to pay ready Money for such Things 
after they had earn'd and received it, or if such Goods were 
not imposed upon them, of which they can make no other 
Use. For such People cannot send the Goods they are paid 
with to a Foreign Market, without losing considerably by 
having them sold for less than they stand 'em in here; nei- 
ther can they easily dispose of them at Home, because their 
Neighbours are generally supplied in the same Manner. 
But how unreasonable would it be, if some of those very 
Men who have been a Means of thus forcing People into un- 
necessary Expense, should be the first and most earnest in 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 139 

accusing them of Pride and Prodigality. Now, tho' this 
extraordinary Consumption of Foreign Commodities may 
be a Profit to particular Men, yet the Country in general 
grows poorer by it apace. On the contrary, As a plentiful 
Currency will occasion a less consumption of European Goods, 
in proportion to the Number of the People, so it will be a 
means of making the Balance of our Trade more equal 
than it now is, if it does not give it in our Favour; because 
our own Produce will be encouraged at the same Time. 
And it is to be observed, that, tho' less Foreign Commodities 
are consumed in Proportion to the Number of People, yet 
this will be no Disadvantage to the Merchant, because the 
Number of People increasing, will occasion an increasing 
Demand of more Foreign Goods in the Whole. 

Thus we have seen some of the many heavy Disadvan- 
tages a Country (especially such a Country as ours) must 
labour under, when it has not a sufficient Stock of running 
Cash to manage its Trade currently. And we have likewise 
seen some of the Advantages which accrue from having 
Money sufficient, or a Plentiful Currency. 

The foregoing Paragraphs being well considered, we 
shall naturally be led to draw the following Conclusions 
with Regard to what Persons will probably be for or against 
Emitting a large Additional Sum of Paper Bills in this 
Province. 

i. Since Men will always be powerfully influenced in 
their Opinions and Actions by what appears to be their par- 
ticular Interest: Therefore all those, who, wanting Courage 
to venture in Trade, now practise Lending Money on Se- 
curity for exorbitant Interest, which, in a Scarcity of Money 
will be done, notwithstanding the Law, I say all such will 



1 40 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

probably be against a large Addition to our present Stock 
of Paper Money; because a plentiful Currency will lower 
Interest, and make it common to lend on less Security. 

2. All those who are Possessors of large Sums of Money, 
and are disposed to purchase Land, which is attended with 
a great and sure Advantage hi a growing Country as this 
is; I say, the Interest of all such Men will encline them to 
oppose a large Addition to our Money. Because their 
Wealth is now continually increasing by the large Interest 
they receive, which will enable them (if they can keep Land 
from rising) to purchase More some time hence than they 
can at present; and in the mean time all Trade being 
discouraged, not only those who borrow of them, but the 
Common People in general will be impoverished, and con- 
sequently obliged to sell More Land for less Money than 
they will do at present. And yet, after such Men are pos- 
sessed of as much Land as they can purchase, it will then 
be their Interest to have Money made plentiful, because 
that will immediately make Land rise in Value in their 
Hands. Now it ought not to be wonder'd at, if People 
from the Knowledge of a Man's Interest do sometimes 
make a true Guess at his Designs; for Interest, they say, 
will not Lie. 

3. Lawyers, and others concerned in Court Business, 
will probably many of them be against a plentiful Currency ; 
because People in that Case will have less Occasion to run 
in Debt, and consequently less Occasion to go to Law and 
Sue one another for their Debts. Tho' I know some even 
among these Gentlemen, that regard the Publick Good be- 
fore their own apparent private Interest. 

4. All those who are any way Dependants on such Persons 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 141 

as are above mentioned, whether as holding Offices, as 
Tenants, or as Debtors, must at least appear to be against 
a large Addition ; because, if they do not, they must sensibly 
feel their present Interest hurt. And besides these, there 
are, doubtless, many well-meaning Gentlemen and Others, 
who, without any immediate private Interest of their own 
in View, are against making such an Addition, thro' an 
Opinion they may have of the Honesty and sound Judg- 
ment of some of their Friends that oppose it (perhaps for 
the Ends aforesaid), without having given it any thorough 
Consideration themselves. And thus it is no Wonder if 
there is a powerful Party on that Side. 

On the other Hand, those who are Lovers of Trade, and 
delight to see Manufactures encouraged, will be for having 
a large Addition to our Currency: For they very well 
know, that People will have little Heart to advance Money 
in Trade, when what they can get is scarce sufficient to 
purchase Necessaries, and supply their Families with Pro- 
visions. Much less will they lay it out in advancing new 
Manufactures; nor is it possible new Manufactures should 
turn to any Account, where there is not Money to pay the 
Workmen, who are discouraged by being paid in Goods, 
because it is a great Disadvantage to them. 

Again. Those, who are truly for the Proprietor's In- 
terest (and have no separate Views of their own that are 
predominant), will be heartily for a large Addition: Be- 
cause, as I have shewn above, Plenty of Money will for 
several Reasons make Land rise in Value exceedingly: 
And I appeal to those immediately concerned for the Pro- 
prietor in the Sale of his Lands, whether Land has not risen 
very much since the first Emission of what Paper Currency 



I 4 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

we now have, and even by its Means. Now we all know 
the Proprietary has great Quantities to sell. 

And since a Plentiful Currency will be so great a Cause 
of advancing this Province in Trade and Riches, and in- 
creasing the Number of its People; which, tho' it will not 
sensibly lessen the Inhabitants of Great Britain, will occa- 
sion a much greater Vent and Demand for their Commodi- 
ties here ; and allowing that the Crown is the more powerful 
for its Subjects increasing in Wealth and Number, I cannot 
think it the Interest of England to oppose us in making as 
great a Sum of Paper Money here, as we, who are the best 
Judges of our own Necessities, find convenient. And if I 
were not sensible that the Gentlemen of Trade in England, 
to whom we have already parted with our Silver and Gold, 
are misinformed of our Circumstances, and therefore en- 
deavour to have our Currency stinted to what it now is, I 
should think the Government at Home had some Reasons 
for discouraging and impoverishing this Province, which 
we are not acquainted with. 

It remains now that we enquire, Whether a large Addition 
to our Paper Currency will not make it sink in Value very 
much. And here it will be requisite that we first form just 
Notions of the Nature and Value of Money in general. 

As Providence has so ordered it, that not only different 
Countries, but even different Parts of the same Country, 
have their peculiar most suitable Productions; and like- 
wise that different Men have Geniuses adapted to Variety 
of different Arts and Manufactures, Therefore Commerce, 
or the Exchange of one Commodity or Manufacture for 
another, is highly convenient and beneficial to Mankind. 
As for Instance, A may be skilful in the Art of making Cloth, 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 143 

and B understand the raising of Corn; A wants Corn, and 
B Cloth; upon which they make an Exchange with each 
other for as much as each has Occasion, to the mutual Ad- 
vantage and Satisfaction of both. 

But as it would be very tedious, if there were no other 
Way of general Dealing, but by an immediate Exchange of 
Commodities; because a Man that had Corn to dispose of, 
and wanted Cloth for it, might perhaps, in his Search for 
a Chapman to deal with, meet with twenty People that had 
Cloth to dispose of, but wanted no Corn; and with twenty 
others that wanted his Corn, but had no Cloth to suit him 
with; to remedy such Inconveniences, and facilitate Ex- 
change, Men have invented MONEY, properly called a Me- 
dium of Exchange, because through or by its Means Labour 
is exchanged for Labour, or one Commodity for another. 
And whatever particular Thing Men have agreed to make 
this Medium of, whether Gold, Silver, Copper, or Tobacco, 
it is, to those who possess it (if they want any Thing), that 
very Thing which they want, because it will immediately 
procure it for them. It is Cloth to him that wants Cloth, 
and Corn to those that want Corn ; and so of all other Neces- 
saries, it is whatsoever it will procure. Thus he who had 
Corn to dispose of, and wanted to purchase Cloth with it, 
might sell his Corn, for its Value in this general Medium, 
to one who wanted Corn but had no Cloth; and with this 
Medium he might purchase Cloth of him that wanted no 
Corn, but perhaps some other Thing, as Iron it may be, 
which this medium will immediately procure, and so he 
may be said to have exchanged his Cloth for Iron ; and thus 
the general Exchange is soon performed, to the Satisfaction 
of all Parties, with abundance of Facility. 



144 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

For many Ages, those Parts of the World which are en- 
gaged in Commerce, have fixed upon Gold and Silver as 
the chief and most proper Materials for this Medium; they 
being in themselves valuable Metals for their Fineness, 
Beauty, and Scarcity. By these, particularly by Silver, it 
has been usual to value all Things else. But as Silver itself 
is of no certain permanent Value, being worth more or less 
according to its Scarcity or Plenty, therefore it seems requi- 
site to fix upon Something else, more proper to be made 
a Measure of Values, and this I take to be Labour. 1 

By Labour may the Value of Silver be measured as well 
as other Things. As, Suppose one Man employed to raise 
Corn, while another is digging and refining Silver; at the 
Year's End, or at any other Period of Time, the compleat 
Produce of Corn, and that of Silver, are the natural Price 
of each other; and if one be twenty Bushels, and the other 
twenty Ounces, then an Ounce of that Silver is worth the 
Labour of raising a Bushel of that Corn. Now if by the 
Discovery of some nearer, more easy or plentiful Mines, a 
man may get Forty Ounces of Silver as easily as formerly 
he did Twenty, and the same Labour is still required to 
raise Twenty Bushels of Corn, then Two Ounces of Silver 
will be worth no more than the same Labour of raising one 
Bushel of Corn, and that Bushel of Corn will be as cheap at 
two Ounces, as it was before at one, cceteris paribus. 

Thus the Riches of a Country are to be valued by the 
Quantity of Labour its Inhabitants are able to purchase, 
and not by the Quantity of Silver and Gold they possess; 
which will purchase more or less Labour, and therefore is 

1 Franklin states this doctrine in 1729, precisely as Adam Smith does forty- 
six years afterwards in The Wealth of Nations. W. PHILLIPS. 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 145 

more or less valuable, as is said before, according to its 
Scarcity or Plenty. As those Metals have grown much 
more plentiful in Europe since the discovery of America, 1 
so they have sunk in Value exceedingly; for, to instance in 
England, formerly one Penny of Silver was worth a Days 
Labour, but now it is hardly worth the sixth Part of a 
Days Labour ; because not less than Sixpence will purchase 
the Labour of a Man for a Day in any Part of that Kingdom ; 
which is wholly to be attributed to the much greater Plenty 
of Money now in England than formerly. And yet perhaps 
England is in Effect no richer now than at that Time; be- 
cause as much Labour might be purchas'd, or Work got 
done of almost any kind, for 100 1. then, as will .now require 
or is now worth 600 1. 

In the next Place let us consider the Nature of Banks 
emitting Bills of Credit, as they are at this Tune used in 
Hamburgh, Amsterdam, London, and Venice. 

Those Places being Seats of vast Trade, and the Payment 
of great Sums being for that Reason frequent, Bills of Credit 
are found very convenient in Business; because a great 
Sum is more easily counted in Them, lighter in Carriage, 
concealed in less Room, and therefore safer in Travelling 
or Laying up, and on many other Accounts they are very 
much valued. The Banks 'are the general Cashiers of all 
Gentlemen, Merchants, and great Traders in and about 

1 This passage shows, that the theory, as to the effect of the South Ameri- 
can mines upon the rate of money prices and the reduction of the value of 
the precious metals, so elaborately set forth and reasoned out by Adam Smith, 
was quite a familiar notion when he was but six years old ; the correctness 
of which, however, to the extent laid down by Franklin in this place, and 
afterwards by Smith, has of late years been gravely questioned by very 
respectable writers. W. PHILLIPS. 

VOL. II L 



I 4 6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

those Cities ; there they deposit their Money, and may take 
out Bills to the Value, for which they can be certain to have 
Money again at the Bank at any Time. This gives the 
Bills a Credit; so that in England they are never less valu- 
able than Money, and in Venice and Amsterdam they are 
generally worth more. And the Bankers, always reserving 
Money in hand to answer more than the common Run of 
Demands (and some People constantly putting in while 
others are taking out), are able besides to lend large Sums, 
on good Security, to the Government or others, for a reason- 
able Interest, by which they are paid for their Care and 
Trouble; and the Money, which otherwise would have 
lain dead in their Hands, is made to circulate again thereby 
among the People. And thus the Running Cash of the 
nation is, as it were, doubled; for all great Payments being 
made in Bills, Money in lower Trade becomes much more 
plentiful; And this is an exceeding great Advantage to a 
Trading Country, that is not overstocked with Gold and 
Silver. 

As those, who take Bills out of the Banks in Europe, put 
in Money for Security; so here, and in some of the neigh- 
bouring Provinces, we engage our Land. Which of these 
Methods will most effectually secure the Bills from actually 
sinking in Value, comes next to be considered. 

Trade in general being nothing else but the Exchange of 
Labour for Labour, the Value of all Things is, as I have said 
before, most justly measured by Labour. Now suppose 
I put my Money into a Bank, and take out a Bill for the 
Value; if this Bill at the Time of my receiving it, would 
purchase me the Labour of one hundred Men for twenty 
Days, but some time after will only purchase the Labour 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 147 

of the same Number of Men for fifteen Days, it is plain the 
Bill has sunk in Value one fourth Part. Now, Silver and 
Gold being of no permanent Value, and as this Bill is founded 
on Money, and therefore to be esteemed as such, it may be 
that the Occasion of this Fall is the increasing Plenty of 
Gold and Silver, by which Money is one fourth Part less 
valuable than before, and therefore one fourth more is given 
of it for the same Quantity of Labour; and if Land is not 
become more plentiful by some proportionate Decrease of 
the People, one fourth Part more of Money is given for the 
same Quantity of Land; whereby it appears, that it would 
have been more profitable to me to have laid that Money out 
in Land which I put into the Bank, than to place it there 
and take a Bill for it. And it is certain that the Value of 
Money has been continually sinking in England for several 
Ages past, because it has been continually increasing in 
Quantity. But if Bills could be taken out of a Bank in 
Europe on a Land Security, it is probable the Value of such 
Bills would be more certain and steady, because the Number 
of Inhabitants continues to be near the same in those Coun- 
tries from age to age. 

For, as Bills issued upon Money Security are Money, 
so Bills issued upon Land, are in effect Coined, Land,. 

Therefore, (to apply the Above to our own Circumstances) 
if Land in this Province was falling, or any way likely to 
fall, it would behove the Legislature most carefully to con- 
trive how to prevent the Bills issued upon Land from falling 
with it. But, as our People increase exceedingly, and will 
be further increased, as I have before shewn, by the Help 
of a large Addition to our Currency, and as Land in conse- 
quence is continually rising, So, in case no Bills are emitted 



148 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

but what are upon Land Security, the Money-Acts in every 
Part punctually enforced and executed, the Payments of 
Principal and Interest being duly and strictly required, and 
the Principal bond, -fide sunk according to Law, it is absolutely 
impossible such Bills should ever sink below their first 
Value, or below the Value of the Land, on which they are 
founded. In short, there is so little Danger of their sinking, 
that they would certainly rise as the Land rises, if they were 
not emitted in a proper Manner for preventing it. That is, 
by providing in the Act, That Payment may be made, either 
in those Bills, or in any other Bills made current by any Act 
of the Legislature of this Province; and that the Interest, 
as it is received, may be again emitted in Discharge of Pub- 
lick Debts; whereby circulating, it returns again into the 
Hands of the Borrowers, and becomes Part of their future 
Payments; and thus, as it is likely there will not be any 
Difficulty for want of Bills to pay the Office, they are hereby 
kept from rising above their first Value. For else, supposing 
there should be emitted upon mortgaged Land its full pres- 
ent Value in Bills ; as in the Banks in Europe the full Value 
of the Money deposited is given out in Bills ; and supposing 
the Office would take nothing but the same Sum in those 
Bills in Discharge of the Land; as in the Banks aforesaid 
the same Sum in their Bills must be brought in, in order to 
receive out the Money; in such Case the Bills would most 
surely rise in Value as the Land rises; as certainly as the 
Bank Bills founded on Money would fall, if that Money 
was falling. Thus if I were to mortgage to a Loan-Office, 
or Bank, a Parcel of Land now valued at 100 1. in Silver, 
and receive for it the like Sum in Bills, to be paid in again 
at the Expiration of a certain Term of Years ; before which 



1 729] PAPER CURRENCY 149 

my Land rising in Value, becomes worth 150 1. in Silver; 
'Tis plain, that if I have not these Bills in Possession, and 
the Office will take nothing but these Bills, or else what it 
is now become worth in Silver, hi Discharge of my Land ; I 
say it appears plain, that those Bills will now be worth 150 1. 
in Silver to the Possessor, and if I can purchase them for less, 
in order to redeem my Land, I shall by so much be a Gainer. 

I need not say any Thing to convince the Judicious that 
our Bills have not yet sunk, tho' there is and has been some 
Difference between them and Silver; because it is evident 
that that Difference is occasioned by the Scarcity of the 
latter, which is now become a Merchandize, rising and 
falling, like other Commodities as there is a greater or less 
Demand for it, or as it is more or less Plenty. 

Yet farther, in order to make a true Estimate of the Value 
of Money, we must distinguish between Money as it is 
Bullion, which is Merchandize, and as by being coin'd it 
is made a Currency: For its Value as a Merchandize, and 
its Value as a Currency, are two distinct Things; and each 
may possibly rise and fall in some Degree independent of 
the other. Thus, if the Quantity of Bullion increases in a 
Country, it will proportionably decrease in Value; but if 
at the same Time the Quantity of current coin should de- 
crease, (supposing Payments may not be made in Bullion) 
what Coin there is will rise in Value as a Currency, i.e. 
People will give more Labour in Manufactures for a certain 
Sum of ready Money. 

In the same Manner must we consider a Paper Currency 
founded on Land ; as it is Land, and as it is a Currency. 

Money as Bullion, or as Land, is valuable by so much 
labour as it costs to procure that Bullion or Land. 



150 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Money as a Currency has an Additional Value by so much 
Time and Labour as it saves in the Exchange of Commodities. 

If, as a Currency, it saves one Fourth Part of the Time 
and Labour of a Country; it has, on that Account, one 
Fourth added to its original Value. 

When there is no Money in a Country, all Commerce 
must be by Exchange. Now, if it takes one fourth Part 
of the Time and Labour of a Country, to exchange or get 
their Commodities exchanged; then, in computing their 
Value, that Labour of Exchanging must be added to the 
Labour of manufacturing those Commodities. But if that 
Time or Labour is saved by introducing Money sufficient, 
then the additional Value on Account of the Labour or 
Exchanging may be abated, and Things sold for only the 
Value of the Labour in making them; because the People 
may now in the same Time make one Fourth more in Quan- 
tity of Manufactures than they could before. 

From these Considerations it may be gathered, that in all 
the Degrees between having no Money in a Country, and 
Money sufficient for the trade, it will rise and fall in Value 
as a Currency, in Proportion to the Decrease or Increase of 
its Quantity : And if there may be at some Time more than 
enough, the Overplus will have no Effect towards making 
the Currency as a Currency of less Value than when there 
was but enough; because such Overplus will not be used 
in Trade, but be some other way disposed of. 

If we enquire, How much per cent Interest ought to be 
required upon the Loan of these Bills, we must consider what 
is the Natural Standard of Usury: And this appears to be, 
where the Security is undoubted, at least the Rent of so 
much Land as the Money lent will buy: For it cannot be 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 151 

expected, that any Man will lend his Money for less than 
it would fetch him in as Rent if he laid it out in Land, which 
is the most secure Property in the World. But if the Secu- 
rity is casual, then a kind of Ensurance must be enterwoven 
with the simple natural Interest, which may advance the 
Usury very conscionably to any height below the Principal 
itself. Now among us, if the Value of Land is twenty 
Years Purchase, Five per cent is the just Rate of Interest 
for Money lent on undoubted Security. Yet if Money 
grows scarce in a Country it becomes more difficult for 
People to make punctual Payments of what they borrow, 
Money being hard to be raised; likewise Trade being dis- 
couraged and Business impeded for want of a Currency, 
abundance of People must be in declining Circumstances, 
and by these Means Security is more precarious than where 
Money is plenty. On such Accounts it is no wonder if 
People ask a greater interest for their Money than the natural 
Interest; and what is above is to be look'd upon as a kind 
of Premium for the Ensurance of those Uncertainties, as 
they are greater or less. Thus we always see, that where 
Money is scarce, Interest is high, and low where it is plenty. 
Now it is certainly the Advantage of a Country to make 
Interest as low as possible, as I have already shewn; and 
this can be done no other way than by making Money plen- 
tiful. And since, in Emitting Paper Money among us, the 
Office has the best of Security, the Titles to the Land being 
all skilfully and strictly examined and ascertained; and as 
it is only permitting the People by Law to coin their own 
Land, which costs the Government nothing, the Interest 
being more, than enough to pay the Charges of Printing, 
Officers' Fees, &c., I cannot see any good Reason why 



1 52 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

Four per cent to the Loan- Office should not be thought fully 
sufficient. As a low Interest may incline more to take 
Money out, it will become more plentiful in Trade; and 
this may bring down the common Usury, in which Security 
is more dubious, to the pitch it is determined at by law. 

If it should be objected, that Emitting it at so low an In- 
terest, and on such easy Terms, will occasion more to be taken 
out than the Trade of the Country really requires : It may be 
answered, That, as has already been shewn, there can never 
be so much of it emitted as to make it fall below the Land it 
is founded on; because no Man in his Senses will mortgage 
his Estate for what is of no more Value to him than That he 
has mortgaged, especially if the Possession of what he re- 
ceives is more precarious than of what he mortgages, as 
that of Paper Money is when compared to Land: And if 
it should ever become so plenty by indiscreet Persons con- 
tinuing to take out a large Overplus, above what is necessary 
in Trade, so as to make People imagine it would become 
by that Means of less Value than their mortgaged Lands, 
they would immediately of Course begin to pay it in again 
to the Office to redeem their Land, and continue to do so 
till there was no more left in Trade than was absolutely 
necessary. And thus the Proportion would find itself (tho j 
there were a Million too much in the Office to be let out), 
without giving any one the Trouble of Calculation. 

It may, perhaps, be objected to what I have written con- 
cerning the Advantages of a large Addition to our Currency, 
That if the People of this Province increase, and Husbandry 
is more followed we shall overstock the Markets with our 
Produce of Flower, &c. To this it may be answered, that 
we can never have too many People (nor too much Money.) 



1729] PAPER CURRENCY 153 

For when one Branch of Trade or Business is overstocked 
with Hands there are the more to spare to be employed in 
another. So if raising Wheat proves dull, more may (if 
there is Money to support and carry on new Manufactures) 
proceed to the raising and manufacturing of Hemp, Silk, 
Iron, and many other Things the Country is very capable of, 
for which we only want People to work, and Money to pay 
them with. 

Upon the Whole it may be observed, That it is the highest 
Interest of a Trading Country in general to make Money 
plentiful; and that it can be a Disadvantage to none that 
have honest Designs. It cannot hurt even the Usurers, 
though it should sink what they receive as Interest ; because 
they will be proportionably more secure in what they lend; 
or they will have an Opportunity of employing their Money 
to greater Advantage to themselves as well as to the Coun- 
try. Neither can it hurt those Merchants, who have great 
Sums outstanding in Debts in the Country, and seem on that 
Account to have the most plausible Reason to fear it; to 
wit, because a large Addition being made to our Currency 
will increase the Demand of our Exporting Produce, and by 
that Means raise the Price of it, so that they will not be 
able to purchase so much Bread or Flower with 100 1. when 
they shall receive it after such an Addition, as they now can, 
and may if there is no Addition. I say it cannot hurt even 
such, because they will get in their Debts just in exact Pro- 
portion so much the easier and sooner as the Money becomes 
plentier ; and therefore, considering the Interest and Trouble 
saved, they will not be Losers; because it only sinks in 
Value as a Currency, proportionally as it becomes more 
plenty. It cannot hurt the Interest of Great Britain, as has 



154 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

been shewn ; and it will greatly advance the Interest of the 
Proprietor. It will be an Advantage to every industrious 
Tradesman, &c., because his Business will be carried on 
more freely, and Trade be universally enlivened by it. And 
as more Business in all Manufactures will be done, by so 
much as the Labour and Time spent in Exchange is saved, 
the Country in general will grow so much the richer. 

It is nothing to the Purpose to object the wretched Fall 
of the Bills in New England and South Carolina, unless it 
might be made evident that their Currency was emitted with 
the same Prudence and on such good Security, as ours is; 
and it certainly was not. 

As this Essay is wrote and published in Haste, and the 
Subject in itself intricate, I hope I shall be censured with 
Candour, if, for want of Time carefully to revise what I 
have written, in some Places I should appear to have ex- 
press'd myself too obscurely, and in others am liable to 
Objections I did not foresee. I sincerely desire to be ac- 
quainted with the Truth, and on that Account shall think 
myself obliged to any one who will take the Pains to shew 
me or the Publick, where I am mistaken in my Conclusions. 
And as we all know there are among us several Gentlemen 
of acute Parts and profound Learning, who are very much 
against any Addition to our Money, it were to be wished that 
they would favour the Country with their Sentiments on 
this Head in Print; which, supported with Truth and good 
Reasoning, may probably be very convincing. And this is 
to be desired the rather because many People, knowing 
the Abilities of those Gentlemen to manage a good Cause, 
are apt to construe their Silence in This, as an Argument 
of a bad One. Had any Thing of that Kind ever yet ap- 



1729] PREFACE TO THE PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE 155 

peared, perhaps I should not have given the Publick this 
Trouble. But as those ingenious Gentlemen have not 
yet (and I doubt never will) think it worth their concern 
to enlighten the Minds of their erring Countrymen in this 
Particular, I think it would be highly commendable in every 
one of us, more fully to bend our Minds to the Study of 
What is the true Interest of Pennsylvania; whereby we may 
be enabled, not only to reason pertinently with one another ; 
but, if Occasion requires, to transmit Home such clear 
Representations, as must inevitably convince our Superiors 
of the Reasonableness and Integrity of our Designs. 

Philadelphia, April (sic) 3, 1729. 



12. PREFACE TO THE PENNSYLVANIA 

GAZETTE, 1 OCTOBER 2, 1729 (L.C.P.) 

The Pennsylvania Gazette being now to be carry'd on 
by other Hands, the Reader may expect some Account of 
the Method we design to proceed in. 

Upon a view of Chambers's great Dictionaries, from whence 
were taken the Materials of the Universal Instructor in all 
Arts and Sciences, which usually made the First Part of this 
Paper, we find that besides their containing many Things 
abstruse or insignificant to us, it will probably be fifty Years 
before the Whole can be gone thro' in this Manner of Pub- 
lication. There are likewise in those Books continual 

1 In consequence of the merry war made upon him in the columns of the 
Mercury, Keimer's credit in business declined, and he was forced to sell his 
printing house and to go to Barbadoes. His newspaper passed into Franklin's 
hands, and with No. 40 (October 2, 1729) shorn of the ponderous and mean- 
ingless part of its title, The Pennsylvania Gazette began a new existence. 
The Preface announces Franklin's editorial intentions. ED. 



156 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1729 

References from Things under one Letter of the Alphabet 
to those under another, which relate to the same Subject, 
and are necessary to explain and compleat it; these taken 
in their Turn may perhaps be Ten Years distant ; and since 
it is likely that they who desire to acquaint themselves with 
any particular Art or Science, would gladly have the whole 
before them in much less time, we believe our Readers will 
not think such a Method of communicating Knowledge to 
be a proper One. 

However, tho' we do not intend to continue the Publica- 
tion of those Dictionaries in a regular Alphabetical Method, 
as has hitherto been done; yet as several Things exhibited 
from them in the Course of these Papers, have been enter- 
taining to such of the Curious, who never had and cannot 
have the Advantage of good Libraries; and as there are 
many Things still behind, which being in this Manner made 
generally known, may perhaps become of considerable Use, 
by giving such Hints to the excellent natural Genius's of 
our Country, as may contribute either to the Improvement 
of our present Manufactures, or towards the Invention of 
new Ones ; we propose from Time to Time to communicate 
such particular Parts as appear to be of the most general 
Consequence. 

As to the "Religious Courtship," Part of which has been 
retal'd to the Publick in these Papers, the Reader may be 
inform'd, that the whole Book will probably in a little Time 
be printed and bound up by itself; and those who approve 
of it, will doubtless be better pleas'd to have it entire, than 
in this broken interrupted Manner. 

There are many who have long desired to see a good 
News-Paper in Pennsylvania; and we hope those Gentle- 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 157 

men who are able, will contribute towards the making This 
such. We ask Assistance, because we are fully sensible, 
that to publish a good News-Paper is not so easy an Under- 
taking as many People imagine it to be. The Author of 
a Gazette (in the Opinion of the Learned) ought to be quali- 
fied with an extensive Acquaintance with Languages, a 
great Easiness and Command of Writing and Relating 
Things clearly and intelligibly, and in few Words ; he should 
be able to speak of War both by Land and Sea ; be well 
acquainted with Geography, with the History of the Time, 
with the several Interests of Princes and States, the Secrets 
of Courts, and the Manners and Customs of all Nations. 
Men thus accomplish'd are very rare in this remote Part 
of the World; and it would be well if the Writer of these 
Papers could make up among his Friends what is wanting 
in himself. 

Upon the Whole, we may assure the Publick, that as far 
as the Encouragement we meet with will enable us, no Care 
and Pains shall be omitted, that may make the Pennsylvania 
Gazette as agreeable and useful an Entertainment as the 
Nature of the Thing will allow. 



13. A DIALOGUE BETWEEN PHILOCLES AND 
HORATIO, MEETING ACCIDENTALLY IN THE 
FIELDS, CONCERNING VIRTUE AND PLEAS- 
URE 1 

Philocles. My friend Horatio! I am very glad to see 
you; prithee, how came such a Man as you alone? and 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 23, 1730. See "Autobiog- 
raphy," Vol. I, page 343. ED. 



158 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

musing too? What Misfortune in your Pleasures has sent 
you to Philosophy for Relief? 

Horatio. You guess very right, my dear Philocles! We 
Pleasure-hunters are never without 'em; and yet, so en- 
chanting is the Game ! we can't quit the Chace. How calm 
and undisturbed is your Life ! How free from present Em- 
barassments and future Cares! I know you love me, and 
look with Compassion upon my Conduct; Shew me then 
the Path which leads up to that constant and invariable 
Good, which I have heard you so beautifully describe, and 
which you seem so fully to possess. 

Phil. There are few Men in the World I value more 
than you, Horatio! for amidst all your Foibles and painful 
Pursuits of Pleasure, I have oft observed in you an honest 
Heart, and a Mind strongly bent towards Virtue. I wish, 
from my Soul, I could assist you in acting steadily the Part 
of a reasonable Creature; for, if you would not think it a 
Paradox, I should tell you I love you better than you do 
yourself. 

Hor. A Paradox indeed! Better than I do myself! 
When I love my dear self so well, that I love every Thing 
else for my own sake. 

Phil. He only loves himself well, who rightly and judi- 
ciously loves himself. 

Hor. What do you mean by that, Philocles! You Men 
of Reason and Virtue are always dealing in Mysteries, tho' 
you laugh at 'em when the Church makes 'em. I think he 
loves himself very well and very judiciously too, as you call 
it, who allows himself to do whatever he pleases. 

Phil. What, though it be to the Ruin and Destruction 
of that very Self which he loves so well ! That Man alone 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 159 

loves himself rightly, who procures the greatest possible 
Good to himself thro' the whole of his Existence; and so 
pursues Pleasure as not to give for it more than 'tis worth. 

Hor. That depends all upon Opinion. Who shall 
judge what the Pleasure is worth? Supposing a pleasing 
Form of the fair Kind strikes me so much, that I can enjoy 
nothing without the Enjoyment of that one Object. Or, 
that Pleasure hi general is so favorite a Mistress, that I will 
take her as Men do their Wives, for better, for worse ; mind 
no Consequences, nor regarding what's to come. Why 
should I not do it? 

Phil. Suppose, Horatio, that a Friend of yours entred 
into the World about Two-and-Twenty, with a healthful 
vigorous Body, and a fair plentiful Estate of about Five 
Hundred Pounds a Year; and yet, before he had reached 
Thirty, should, by following his Pleasures, and not, as you 
say, duly regarding Consequences, have run out of his Es- 
tate, and disabled his Body to that Degree, that he had 
neither the Means nor Capacity of Enjoyment left, nor any 
Thing else to do but wisely shoot himself through the Head 
to be at rest ; what would you say to this unfortunate Man's 
Conduct? Is it wrong by Opinion or Fancy only? Or 
is there really a Right and Wrong in the Case? Is not one 
Opinion of Life and Action juster than another? Or, one 
Sort of Conduct preferable to another? Or, does that 
miserable Son of Pleasure appear as reasonable and lovely 
a Being in your Eyes, as a Man who, by prudently and 
rightly gratifying his natural Passions, had preserved his 
Body in full Health, and his Estate entire, and enjoy'd 
both to a good old Age, and then died with a thankful Heart 
for the good Things he had received, and with an entire 



160 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

Submission to the Will of Him who first called him into 
Being? Say, Horatio! are these Men equally wise and 
happy ? And is every Thing to be measured by mere Fancy 
and Opinion, without considering whether that Fancy or 
Opinion be right? 

Hor. Hardly so neither, I think; yet sure the wise 
and good Author of Nature could never make us to plague 
us. He could never give us Passions, on purpose to sub- 
due and conquer 'em ; nor produce this Self of mine, or any 
other self, only that it may be denied; for that is denying 
the Works of the great Creator himself. Self-denial, then, 
which is what I suppose you mean by Prudence, seems to 
me not only absurd, but very dishonourable to that Supreme 
Wisdom and Goodness, which is supposed to make so 
ridiculous and Contradictious a Creature, that must be 
always fighting with himself in order to be at rest, and 
undergo voluntary Hardships in order to be happy: Are 
we created sick, only to be commanded to be Sound? Are 
we born under one Law, our Passions, and yet bound to 
another, that of Reason? Answer me, Philocles, for I am 
warmly concerned for the Honour of Nature, the Mother 
of us all. 

Phil. I find, Horatio, my two Characters have af- 
frighted you ; so that you decline the Trial of what is Good, 
by reason : And had rather make a bold Attack upon Provi- 
dence; the usual Way of you Gentlemen of Fashion, who, 
when by living in Defiance of the eternal Rules of Reason, 
you have plunged yourselves into a thousand Difficulties, 
endeavour to make yourselves easy by throwing the Burden 
upon Nature. You are, Horatio, in a very miserable Con- 
dition indeed ; for you say you can't be happy if you controul 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 161 

your Passions; and you feel yourself miserable by an un- 
restrained Gratification of 'em; so that here's Evil, irre- 
mediable Evil, either way. 

Hor. That is very true, at least it appears so to me: 
Pray, what have you to say, Philodes! in Honour of Nature 
or Providence; methinks I'm hi Pain for her: How do 
you rescue her? poor Lady! 

Phil. This, my dear Horatio, I have to say; that what 
you find Fault with and clamour against, as the most terrible 
Evil in the World, Self-denial; is really the greatest Good, 
and the highest Self-gratification: If indeed, you use the 
Word in the Sense of some weak sour Moralists, and much 
weaker Divines, you'll have just Reason to laugh at it; but 
if you take it, as understood by Philosophers and Men of 
Sense, you will presently see her Charms, and fly to her 
Embraces, notwithstanding her demure Looks, as abso- 
lutely necessary to produce even your own darling sole 
Good, Pleasure: For, Self-denial is never a Duty, or a 
reasonable Action, but as 'tis a natural Means of procuring 
more Pleasure than you can taste without it so that this 
grave, Saintlike Guide to Happiness, as rough and dreadful 
as she has been made to appear, is in truth the kindest and 
most beautiful Mistress in the World. 

Hor. Prithee, Philodes! do not wrap yourself hi Alle- 
gory and Metaphor. Why do you teaze me thus? I 
long to be satisfied, what this Philosophical Self-denial is; 
the Necessity and Reason of it; I'm impatient, and all on 
Fire; explain, therefore, in your beautiful, natural easy 
Way of Reasoning, what I'm to understand by this grave 
Lady of yours, with so forbidding, downcast Looks, and 
yet so absolutely necessary to my Pleasures. I stand ready 

VOL. II M 



1 62 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

to embrace her; for you know, Pleasure I court under all 
Shapes and Forms. 

Phil. Attend then, and you'll see the Reason of this 
Philosophical Self-denial. There can be no absolute Per- 
fection in any Creature; because every Creature is derived, 
and dependent: No created Being can be All- wise, All- 
good, and All-powerful, because his Powers and Capacities 
are finite and limited; consequently whatever is created 
must, in its own Nature, be subject to Error, Irregularity, 
Excess, and Disorder. All intelligent, rational Agents find 
in themselves a Power of judging what kind of Beings they 
are; what Actions are proper to preserve 'em, and what 
Consequences will generally attend them, what Pleasures 
they are form'd for, and to what Degree their Natures are 
capable of receiving them. All we have to do then, Hora- 
tio, is to consider, when we are surpriz'd with a new Object, 
and passionately desire to enjoy it, whether the gratifying 
that Passion be consistent with the gratifying other Passions 
and Appetites, equal if not more necessary to us. And 
whether it consists with our Happiness To-morrow, next 
Week, or next Year ; for, as we all wish to live, we are obliged 
by Reason to take as much Care for our future, as our pres- 
ent Happiness, and not build one upon the Rums of t'other. 
But, if thro' the Strength and Power of a present Passion, 
and thro' want of attending to Consequences, we have err'd 
and exceeded the Bounds which Nature or Reason have 
set us; we are then, for our own Sakes, to refrain, or deny 
ourselves a present momentary Pleasure for a future, con- 
stant and durable one: So that this Philosophical Self- 
denial is only refusing to do an Action which you strongly 
desire ; because 'tis inconsistent with your Health, Fortunes, 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 163 

or Circumstances in the World ; or, in other Words, because 
'twould cost you more than 'twas worth. You would lose 
by it, as a Man of Pleasure. Thus you see, Horatio I that 
Self-denial is not only the most reasonable, but the most 
pleasant Thing in the World. 

Hor. We are just coming into Town, so that we can't 
pursue this Argument any farther at present; you have 
said a great deal for Nature, Providence, and Reason: 
Happy are they who can follow such divine Guides. 

Phil. Horatio! good Night; I wish you wise in your 
Pleasures. 

Hor. I wish, Philodes! I could be as wise in my Pleas- 
ures as you are pleasantly Wise ; your Wisdom is agreeable, 
your Virtue is amiable, and your Philosophy the highest 
Luxury. Adieu! thou enchanting Reasoner! 



A SECOND DIALOGUE BETWEEN PHILOCLES 
AND HORATIO, CONCERNING VIRTUE AND 
PLEASURE l 

Philodes. Dear Horatio! where hast thou been these 
three or four Months? What new Adventures have you 
fallen upon since I met you in these delightful, all-inspiring 
Fields, and wondred how such a Pleasure-hunter as you 
could bear being alone? 

Horatio. O Philodes, thou best of Friends, because a 
Friend to Reason and Virtue, I am very glad to see you. 
Don't you remember, I told you then, that some Misfor- 
tunes in my Pleasures had sent me to Philosophy for Relief? 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, July 9, 1730. 



164 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

But now I do assure you, I can, without a Sigh, leave other 
Pleasures for those of Philosophy; I can hear the Word 
Reason mentioned, and Virtue praised, without Laughing. 
Don't I bid fair for Conversion, think you ? 

Phil. Very fair, Horatio! for I remember the Time 
when Reason, Virtue, and Pleasure, were the same Thing 
with you : When you counted nothing Good but what pleas'd, 
nor any thing Reasonable but what you got by; When you 
made a Jest of a Mind, and the Pleasures of Reflection, and 
elegantly plac'd your sole Happiness, like the rest of the 
Animal Creation, in the Gratifications of Sense. 

Hor. I did so: But in our last Conversation, when 
walking upon the Brow of this Hill, and looking down on 
that broad, rapid River, and yon widely-extended beauti- 
fully-varied Plain, you taught me another Doctrine: You 
shewed me, that Self-denial, which above all Things I 
abhorred, was really the greatest Good, and the highest 
Self-gratification, and absolutely necessary to produce even 
my own darling sole Good, Pleasure. 

Phil. True: I told you that Self-denial was never a 
Duty but when it was a natural Means of procuring more 
Pleasure than we could taste without it: That as we all 
strongly desire to live, and to live only to enjoy, we should 
take as much Care about our future as our present Happi- 
ness; and not build one upon the Ruins of 'tother: That 
we should look to the End, and regard Consequences: and 
if, thro' want of Attention we had err'd, and exceeded the 
Bounds which Nature had set us, we were then obliged, for 
our own Sakes, to refrain or deny ourselves a present mo- 
mentary Pleasure for a future, constant, and durable Good. 

Hor. You have shewn, Philodes, that Self-denial, which 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 165 

weak or interested Men have rendred the most forbidding, 
is really the most delightful and amiable, the most reason- 
able and pleasant Thing in the World. In a Word, if I 
understand you aright, Self-denial is, in Truth, Self-recog- 
nising, Self-acknowledging, or Self-owning. But now, my 
Friend ! you are to perform another Promise ; and shew 
me the Path which leads up to that constant, durable, and 
invariable Good, which I have heard you so beautifully 
describe, and which you seem so fully to possess: Is not 
this Good of yours a mere Chimera? Can any Thing be 
constant in a World which is eternally changing ! and which 
appears to exist by an everlasting Revolution of one Thing 
into another, and where every Thing without us, and every 
Thing within us, is in perpetual Motion? What is this 
constant, durable Good, then, of yours? Prithee, satisfy 
my Soul, for I'm all on Fire, and impatient to enjoy her. 
Produce this eternal blooming Goddess with never-fading 
Charms, and see, whether I won't embrace her with as 
much Eagerness and Rapture as you. 

Phil. You seem enthusiastically warm, Horatio; I will 
wait till you are cool enough to attend to the sober, dispas- 
sionate Voice of Reason. 

Hor. You mistake me, my dear Philocles! my Warmth 
is not so great as to run away with my Reason: it is only 
just raised enough to open my Faculties, and fit them to 
receive those eternal Truths, and that durable Good, which 
you so triumphantly boasted of. Begin, then ; I'm prepared. 

Phil. I will. I believe, Horatio! with all your Skep- 
ticism about you, you will allow that Good to be constant 
which is never absent from you, and that to be durable, 
which never Ends but with your Being. 



1 66 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

Hor. Yes, go on. 

Phil. That can never be the Good of a Creature, which 
when present, the Creature may be miserable, and when 
absent, is certainly so. 

Hor. I think not; but pray explain what you mean; 
for I am not much used to this abstract Way of Reasoning. 

Phil. I mean all the Pleasures of Sense. The Good of 
Man cannot consist in the mere Pleasures of Sense ; because, 
when any one of those Objects which you love is absent, 
or can't be come at, you are certainly miserable: and if 
the Faculty be impair'd, though the Object be present, you 
can't enjoy it. So that this sensual Good depends upon a 
thousand Things without and within you, and all out of 
your Power. Can this then be the Good of Man? Say, 
Horatio! what think you, Is not this a chequer'd, fleeting, 
fantastical Good? Can that, in any propriety of Speech, 
be called the Good of Man which even, while he is tasting, 
he may be miserable; and which when he cannot taste, he 
is necessarily so? Can that be our Good, which costs us 
a great deal of Pains to obtain; which cloys in possessing; 
for which we must wait the Return of Appetite before we 
can enjoy again? Or, is that our Good, which we can 
come at without Difficulty; which is heightened by Posses- 
sion, which never ends in Weariness and Disappointment; 
and which, the more we enjoy, the better qualified we are 
to enjoy on? 

Hor. The latter, I think; but why do you torment me 
thus? Philoclesl shew me this Good immediately. 

Phil. I have shewed you what 'tis not ; it is not sensual, 
but 'tis rational and moral Good. It is doing all the Good 
we can to others, by Acts of Humanity, Friendship, Gen- 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 167 

erosity, and Benevolence: This is that constant and dura- 
ble Good, which will afford Contentment and Satisfaction 
always alike, without Variation or Diminution. I speak 
to your Experience now, Horatio I Did you ever find your- 
self weary of relieving the Miserable? or of raising the 
Distressed into Life or Happiness? Or rather, don't you 
find the Pleasure grow upon you by Repetition, and that 
'tis greater in the Reflection than in the Act itself? Is there 
a Pleasure upon Earth to be compared with that which 
arises from the Sense of making others happy? Can this 
Pleasure ever be absent, or ever end but with your Being? 
Does it not always accompany you? Doth not it lie down 
and rise with you? live as long as you live? give you Con- 
solation in the Article of Death, and remain with you in that 
gloomy Hour, when all other Things are going to forsake 
you, or you them? 

Hor. How glowingly you paint, Philocles! Methinks 
Horatio is amongst the Enthusiasts. I feel the Passion: 
I am enchantingly convinced; but I don't know why: 
Overborn by something stronger than Reason. Sure some 
Divinity speaks within me; but prithee, Philocles, give 
me cooly the Cause, why this rational and moral Good so 
infinitely excels the meer natural or sensual. 

Phil. I think, Horatio! that I have clearly shewn you 
the Difference between merely natural or sensual Good, 
and rational or moral Good. Natural or sensual Pleasure 
continues no longer than the Action itself; but this divine 
or moral Pleasure continues when the Action is over, and 
swells and grows upon your Hand by Reflection: The one 
is inconstant, unsatisfying, of short Duration, and attended 
with numberless Ills ; the other is constant, yields full Satis- 



168 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

faction, is durable, and no Evils preceding, accompanying, 
or following it. But, if you enquire farther into the Cause 
of this Difference, and would know why the moral Pleasures 
are greater than the sensual; perhaps the Reason is the 
same as in all other Creatures, That their Happiness or 
chief Good consists in acting up to their chief Faculty, or 
that Faculty which distinguishes them from all Creatures 
of a different Species. The chief Faculty in a Man is his 
Reason; and consequently his chief Good; or that which 
may be justly called his Good, consists not merely in Action, 
but in reasonable Action. By reasonable Actions, we un- 
derstand those Actions which are preservative of the human 
Kind, and naturally tend to produce real and unmixed 
Happiness; and these Actions, by way of Distinction, we 
call Actions morally Good. 

Hor. You speak very clearly, Philodes! but, that no 
Difficulty may remain upon my Mind, pray tell me what is 
the real Difference between natural Good and 111, and moral 
Good and 111 ? for I know several People who use the Terms 
without Ideas. 

Phil. That may be: The Difference lies only in this; 
that natural Good and 111 is Pleasure and Pain: Moral 
Good and 111 is Pleasure or Pain produced with Intention 
and Design; for 'tis the Intention only that makes the 
Agent morally Good or Bad. 

Hor. But may not a Man, with a very good Intention, 
do an ill Action? 

Phil. Yes, but, then he errs in his Judgment, tho' his 
Design be good. If his Error is inevitable, or such as, all 
Things considered, he could not help, he is inculpable: 
But if it arose through want of Diligence in forming his 



1730] DIALOGUE OF PHILOCLES AND HORATIO 169 

Judgment about the Nature of human Actions, he is immoral 
and culpable. 

Hor. I find, then, that hi order to please ourselves 
rightly, or to do good to others morally, we should take 
great Care of our Opinions. 

Phil. Nothing concerns you more; for, as the Happi- 
ness or real Good of Men consists in right Action, and right 
Action cannot be produced without right Opinion, it be- 
hoves us, above all Things in this World, to take Care that 
our Opinions of Things be according to the Nature of 
Things. The Foundation of all Virtue and Happiness is 
Thinking rightly. He who sees an Action is right, that is, 
naturally tending to Good, and does it because of that Ten- 
dency, he only is a moral Man; and he alone is capable of 
that constant, durable, and invariable Good, which has 
been the Subject of this Conversation. 

Hor. How, my dear philosophical Guide, shall I be 
able to know, and determine certainly, what is Right and 
Wrong in Life? 

Phil. As easily as you distinguish a Circle from a Square, 
or Light from Darkness. Look, Horatio, into the sacred 
Book of Nature; read your own Nature, and view the Re- 
lation which other Men stand in to you, and you to them; 
and you'll immediately see- what constitutes human Happi- 
ness, and consequently what is Right. 

Hor. We are just coming into Town, and can say no 
more at present. You are my good Genius, Philocles. 
You have shewed me what is good. You have redeemed 
me from the Slavery and Misery of Folly and Vice, and 
made me a free and happy Being. 

Phil. Then I am the happiest Man in the World. 



I 7 o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1730 

Be steady, Horatio! Never depart from Reason and 
Virtue. 

Hor. Sooner will I lose my Existence. Good Night, 
Philocles. 

Phil. Adieu! dear Horatio! 



14. A WITCH TRIAL AT MOUNT HOLLY * 

"SATURDAY last, at Mount-Holly, about 8 Miles from this 
Place 2 near 300 People were gathered together to see an Ex- 
periment or two tried on some Persons accused of Witchcraft. 
It seems the Accused had been charged with making their 
Neighbours' Sheep dance in an uncommon Manner, and 
with causing Hogs to speak and sing Psalms, etc., to the 
great Terror and Amazement of the king's good and peace- 
able Subjects in this Province; and the Accusers, being 
very positive that if the Accused were weighed in Scales 
against a Bible, the Bible would prove too heavy for them; 
or that, if they were bound and put into the River they 
would swim; the said Accused, desirous to make Innocence 
appear, voluntarily offered to undergo the said Trials if 2 
of the most violent of their Accusers would be tried with 
them. Accordingly the Time and Place was agreed on and 
advertised about the Country; The Accusers were i Man 
and i Woman: and the Accused the same. The Parties 
being met and the People got together, a grand Consulta- 
tion was held, before they proceeded to Trial; in which it 
was agreed to use the Scales first ; and a Committee of Men 
were appointed to search the Men, and a Committee of 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 22, 1730. 

2 Burlington, New Jersey. 



1730] A WITCH TRIAL AT MOUNT HOLLY 171 

Women to search the Women, to see if they had any Thing 
of Weight about them, particularly Pins. After the Scru- 
tiny was over a huge great Bible belonging to the Justice 
of the Place was provided, and a Lane through the Populace 
was made from the Justice's House to the Scales, which 
were fixed on a Gallows erected for that Purpose opposite 
to the House, that the Justice's Wife and the rest of the 
Ladies might see the Trial without coming amongst the 
Mob, and after the Manner of Moorfields a large Ring 
was also made. Then came out of the House a grave, tall 
Man carrying the Holy Writ before the supposed Wizard 
etc, (as solemnly as the Sword-bearer of London before the 
Lord Mayor) the Wizard was first put in the Scale, and over 
him was read a Chapter out of the Books of Moses, and 
then the Bible was put in the other Scale, (which, being 
kept down before) was immediately let go; but, to the great 
Surprize of the Spectators, Flesh and Bones came down 
plump, and outweighed that great good Book by abundance. 
After the same Manner the others were served, and their 
Lumps of Mortality severally were too heavy for Moses 
and all the Prophets and Apostles. This being over, the 
Accusers and the rest of the Mob, not satisfied with this 
Experiment, would have the Trial by Water. Accordingly 
a most solemn Procession was made to the Mill-pond, where 
both Accused and Accusers being stripped (saving only to 
the Women their Shifts) were bound Hand and Foot and 
severally placed in the Water, lengthways, from the Side of 
a Barge or Flat, having for Security only a Rope about the 
Middle of each, which was held by some hi the Flat. The 
accused man being thin and spare with some Difficulty 
began to sink at last ; but the rest, every one of them, swam 



172 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1731 

very light upon the Water. A Sailor in the Flat jump'd 
out upon the Back of the Man accused thinking to drive 
him down to the Bottom; but the Person bound, without 
any Help, came up some time before the other. The Wo- 
man Accuser being told that she did not sink, would be 
duck'd a second Time; when she swam again as light as 
before. Upon which she declared, That she believed the 
Accused had bewitched her to make her so light, and that 
she would be duck'd again a Hundred Times but she would 
duck the Devil out of her. The Accused Man, being sur- 
priz'd at his own Swimming, was not so confident of his 
Innocence as before, but said, 'If I am a Witch, it is more 
than I know.' The more thinking Part of the Spectators 
were of Opinion that any Person so bound and placed in 
the Water (unless they were mere Skin and Bones) would 
swim, till their Breath was gone, and their Lungs fill'd with 
Water. But it being the general Belief of the Populace 
that the Women's shifts and the Garters with which they 
were bound help'd to support them, it is said they are to be 
tried again the next warm Weather, naked." 



15. AN APOLOGY FOR PRINTERS 1 

BEING frequently censur'd and condemn'd by different 
Persons for printing Things which they say ought not to 
be printed, I have sometimes thought it might be necessary 
to make a standing Apology for my self, and publish it once 
a Year, to be read upon all Occasions of that Nature. Much 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 10, 1731. 



1731] AN APOLOGY FOR PRINTERS 173 

Business has hitherto hindered the execution of this Design ; 
but having very lately given extraordinary Offence by print- 
ing an Advertisement with a certain N. B. at the End of it, 
I find an Apology more particularly requisite at this Junc- 
ture, tho' it happens when I have not yet Leisure to write 
such a Thing in the proper Form, and can only in a loose 
manner throw those Considerations together which should 
have been the Substance of it. 

I request all who are angry with me on the Account of 
printing things they don't like, calmly to consider these 
following Particulars. 

1. That the Opinions of Men are almost as various as 
their Faces; an Observation general enough to become a 
common Proverb, So many Men so many Minds. 

2. That the Business of Printing has chiefly to do with 
Mens Opinions; most things that are printed tending to 
promote some, or oppose others. 

3. That hence arises the peculiar Unhappiness of that 
Business, which other Callings are no way liable to; they 
who follow Printing being scarce able to do any thing in 
their way of getting a Living, which shall not probably 
give Offence to some, and perhaps to many; whereas the 
Smith, the Shoemaker, the Carpenter, or the Man of any 
other Trade, may work indifferently for People of all Per- 
suasions, without offending any of them : and the Merchant 
may buy and sell with Jews, Turks, Hereticks and Infidels 
of all sorts, and get Money by every one of them, without 
giving Offence to the most orthodox, of any sort ; or suffer- 
ing the least Censure or 111 will on the Account from any 
Man whatever. 

4. That it is as unreasonable in any one Man or Set of 



174 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1731 

Men to expect to be pleas'd with every thing that is printed, 
as to think that nobody ought to be pleas'd but them- 
selves. 

5. Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men 
differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the 
Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when 
Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an 
overmatch for the latter: Hence they chearfully serve all 
contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding 
on which side they are of the Question in Dispute. 

6. Being thus continually employ'd in serving both 
Parties, Printers naturally acquire a vast Unconcernedness 
as to the right or wrong Opinions contain'd in what they 
print ; regarding it only as the Matter of their daily labour : 
They print things full of Spleen and Animosity, with the 
utmost Calmness and Indifference, and without the least 
Ill-will to the Persons reflected on; who nevertheless un- 
justly think the Printer as much their Enemy as the Author, 
and join both together in their Resentment. 

7. That it is unreasonable to imagine Printers approve 
of every thing they print, and to censure them on any 
particular thing accordingly; since in the way of their 
Business they print such great variety of things opposite 
and contradictory. It is likewise as unreasonable what 
some assert, "That Printers ought not to print any Thing 
but what they approve;" since if all of that Business should 
make such a Resolution, and abide by it, an End would 
thereby be put to Free Writing, and the World would after- 
wards have nothing to read but what happen'd to be the 
Opinions of Printers. 

8. That if all Printers were determin'd not to print any 



1731] AN APOLOGY FOR PRINTERS 175 

thing till they were sure it would offend no body, there would 
be very little printed. 

9. That if they sometimes print vicious or silly things 
not worth reading, it may not be because they approve such 
things themselves, but because the People are so viciously 
and corruptly educated that good things are not encouraged. 
I have known a very numerous Impression of Robin Hood's 
Songs go off in this Province at 25. per Book, in less than a 
Twelvemonth; when a small Quantity of David's Psalms 
(an excellent Version) have lain upon my Hands above 
twice the Time. 

10. That notwithstanding what might be urg'd in be- 
half of a Man's being allow'd to do in the Way of his Busi- 
ness whatever he is paid for, yet Printers do continually 
discourage the Printing of great Numbers of bad things, 
and stifle them in the Birth. I my self have constantly 
refused to print anything that might countenance Vice, 
or promote Immorality; tho' by complying in such Cases 
with the corrupt Taste of the Majority I might have got 
much Money. I have also always refus'd to print such 
things as might do real Injury to any Person, how much 
soever I have been solicited, and tempted with Offers of 
Great Pay; and how much soever I have by refusing got 
the Ill-will of those who would have employ'd me. I have 
hitherto fallen under the Resentment of large Bodies of 
Men, for refusing absolutely to print any of their Party or 
Personal Reflections.- In this Manner I have made my self 
many Enemies, and the constant Fatigue of denying is 
almost insupportable. But the Publick being unacquainted 
with all this, whenever the poor Printer happens either 
through Ignorance or much Persuasion, to do any thing 



176 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1731 

that is generally thought worthy of Blame, he meets with 
no more Friendship or Favour on the above Account, than 
if there were no Merit in't at all. Thus, as Waller says, 

Poets lose half the Praise they would have got 
Were it but known what they discreetly blot ; 

Yet are censur'd for every bad Line found in their Works 
with the utmost Severity. 

I come now to the Particular Case of the N. B. above 
mention'd, about which there has been more Clamour 
against me, than ever before on any other Account. In 
the Hurry of other Business an Advertisement was brought 
to me to be printed; it signified that such a Ship lying at 
such a Wharff, would sail for Barbadoes in such a Time, 
and that Freighters and Passengers might agree with the 
Captain at such a Place; so far is what's common: But 
at the Bottom this odd Thing was added, "N. B. No Sea 
Hens nor Black Gowns will be admitted on any Terms." 
I printed it, and receiv'd my Money; and the Advertise- 
ment was stuck up round the Town as usual. I had not 
so much Curiosity at that time as to enquire the Meaning 
of it, nor did I in the least imagine it would give so much 
Offence. Several good Men are very angry with me on 
this Occasion; they are pleas'd to say I have too much 
Sense to do such things ignorantly ; that if they were Printers 
they would not have done such a thing on any Considera- 
tion; that it could proceed from nothing but my abundant 
Malice against Religion and the Clergy. They therefore 
declare they will not take any more of my Papers, nor have 
any farther Dealings with me; but will hinder me of all 
the Custom they can. All this is very hard! 



1 73i] AN APOLOGY FOR PRINTERS 177 

I believe it had been better if I had refused to print the 
said Advertisement. However, 'tis done, and cannot be 
revok'd. I have only the following few Particulars to offer, 
some of them in my behalf, by way of Mitigation, and some 
not much to the Purpose; but I desire none of them may 
be read when the Reader is not in a very good Humour. 

1. That I really did it without the least Malice, and 
imagin'd the N. B. was plac'd there only to make the Adver- 
tisement star'd at, and more generally read. 

2. That I never saw the Word Sea-Hens before in my 
Life; nor have I yet ask'd the meaning of it; and tho' I 
had certainly known that Black Gowns in that place sig- 
nified the Clergy of the Church of England, yet I have that 
confidence in the generous good Tempei of such of them 
as I know, as to be well satisfied such a trifling mention of 
their Habit gives them no Disturbance. 

3. That most of the Clergy in this and the neighbouring 
Provinces, are my Customers, and some of them my very 
good Friends; and I must be very malicious indeed, or 
very stupid, to print this thing for a small Profit, if I had 
thought it would have given them just Cause of Offence. 

4. That if I had much Malice against the Clergy, and 
withal much Sense ; 'tis strange I never write or talk against 
the Clergy myself. Some have observed that 'tis a fruit- 
ful Topic, and the easiest to be witty upon of all others; 
yet I appeal to the Publick that I am never guilty this way, 
and to all my Acquaintances as to my Conversation. 

5. That if a Man of Sense had Malice enough to desire 
to injure the Clergy, this is the foolishest Thing he could 
possibly contrive for that Purpose. 

6. That I got Five Shillings by it. 

VOL. II N 



178 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1731 

7. That none who are angry with me would have given 
me so much to let it alone. 

8. That if all the People of different Opinions in this 
Province would engage to give me as much for not printing 
things they don't like, as I can get by printing them, I should 
probably live a very easy Life; and if all Printers were 
everywhere so dealt by, there would be very little printed. 

9. That I am oblig'd to all who take my Paper, and am 
willing to think they do it out of meer Friendship. I only 
desire they would think the same when I deal with them. 
I thank those who leave off, that they have taken it so long. 
But I beg they would not endeavour to dissuade others, 
for that will look like Malice. 

10. That 'tis impossible any Man should know what he 
would do if he was a Printer. 

11. That notwithstanding the Rashness and Inexperi- 
ence of Youth, which is most likely to be prevail'd with to 
do things that ought not to be done; yet I have avoided 
printing such Things as usually give Offence either to 
Church or State, more than any Printer that has followed 
the Business in this Province before. 

12. And lastly, That I have printed above a Thousand 
Advertisements which made not the least mention of Sea- 
Hens or Black Gowns; and this being the first Offence, 
I have the more Reason to expect Forgiveness. 

I take leave to conclude with an old Fable, which some 
of my Readers have heard before, and some have not. 

"A certain well-meaning Man and his Son, were travel- 
ling towards a Market Town, with an Ass which they had 
to sell. The Road was bad; and the old Man therefore 
rid, but the Son went a-foot. The first Passenger they 



1 73 1] AN APOLOGY FOR PRINTERS 179 

met, asked the Father if he was not ashamed to ride by 
himself, and suffer the poor Lad to wade along thro' the 
Mire; this induced him to take up his Son behind him: 
He had not travelled far, when he met others, who said, 
they are two unmerciful Lubbers to get both on the Back 
of that poor Ass, in such a deep Road. Upon this the old 
Man gets off, and let his Son ride alone. The next they 
met called the Lad a graceless, rascally young Jackanapes, 
to ride in that Manner thro' the Dirt, while his aged Father 
trudged along on Foot; and they said the old Man was a 
Fool, for suffering it. He then bid his Son come down, 
and walk with him, and they travell'd on leading the Ass by 
the Halter; 'till they met another Company, who called 
them a Couple of senseless Blockheads, for going both on 
Foot in such a dirty Way, when they had an empty Ass 
with them, which they might ride upon. The old Man 
could bear no longer; My Son, said he, it grieves me much 
that we cannot please all these People. Let me throw the 
Ass over the next Bridge, and be no further troubled with 
him." 

Had the old Man been seen acting this last Resolution, 
he would probably have been called a Fool for troubling 
himself about the different Opinions of all that were pleas'd 
to find Fault with him: Therefore, tho' I have a Temper 
almost as complying as his, I intend not to imitate him in 
this last Particular. I consider the Variety of Humors 
among Men, and despair of pleasing every Body; yet I 
shall not therefore leave off Printing. I shall continue 
my Business. I shall not burn my Press and melt my 
Letters. 



l8o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1731 

16. TO MRS. JANE MECOM 1 

Jane Franklin was married to Edward Mecom, of Boston, July 27, 1727. 

PHILADELPHIA, June 19, 1731. 
DEAR SISTER, 

Yours of May 26th I received, with the melancholy news 
of the death of sister Davenport, a loss without doubt re- 
gretted by all that knew her, for she was a good woman. 3 
Her friends ought, however, to be comforted that they have 
enjoyed her so long, and that she has passed through the 
world happily, having never had any extraordinary mis- 
fortune or notable affliction, and that she is now secure 
in rest, in the place provided for the virtuous. I had before 
heard of the death of your first child, and am pleased that 
the loss is in some measure made up to you by the birth of 
a second. 

We have had the smallpox here lately, which raged vio- 
lently while it lasted. There have been about fifty persons 
inoculated, who all recovered except a child of the doctor's 
upon whom the smallpox appeared within a day or two 
after the operation, and who is therefore thought to have 
been certainly infected before. In one family in my neigh- 
bourhood there appeared a great mortality. Mr. George 
Claypoole (a descendant of Oliver Cromwell) 3 had, by 
industry, acquired a great estate, and being in excellent 
business, a merchant, would probably have doubled it, had 

1 Printed from " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Frank- 
lin." Boston (Jared Sparks), 1833. 

2 Sarah Franklin, born January 9, 1699, married to Joseph Davenport, and 
died May 23, 1731. 

8 Elizabeth, daughter of Oliver Cromwell, married John Claypoole, whose 
brother George established the family of that name in Philadelphia. ED. 



1 73 1] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 181 

he lived according to the common course of years. He 
died first, suddenly ; within a short time died his best negro ; 
then one of his children; then a negro woman; then two 
children more, buried at the same time; then two more; 
so that I saw two double buryings come out of the house 
in one week. None were left in the family, but the mother 
and one child, and both their lives till lately despaired of; 
so that all the father's wealth, which everybody thought, 
a little while ago, had heirs enough, and no one would have 
given sixpence for the reversion, was in a few weeks brought 
to the greatest probability of being divided among strangers ; 
so uncertain are all human affairs. The dissolution of 
this family is generally ascribed to an imprudent use of 
quicksilver in the cure of the itch, Mr. Claypoole apply- 
ing it as he thought proper, without consulting a physician 
for fear of charges; and the smallpox coming upon them 
at the same time made their case desperate. 

But what gives me the greatest concern, is the account 
you give me of my sister Holmes's 1 misfortune. I know 
a cancer in the breast is often thought incurable; yet we 
have here in town a kind of shell made of some wood, cut 
at a proper time, by some man of great skill, (as they say,) 
which has done wonders in that disease among us, being 
worn for some time on the breast. I am not apt to be super- 
stitiously fond of believing such things, but the instances 
are so well attested, as sufficiently to convince the most 
incredulous. 

This, if I have interest enough to procure, as I think I 
have, I will borrow for a time, and send it to you, and hope 
the doctors you have will at least allow the experiment to 

1 Mary Franklin, born September 26, 1694, married Robert Holmes. 



1 82 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

be tried, and shall rejoice to hear it has the accustomed 
effect. 

You have mentioned nothing in your letter of our dear 
parents; but I conclude they are well, because you say 
nothing to the contrary. I want to hear from sister Dowse, 1 
and to know of her welfare, as also of my sister Lydia, 2 
who I hear is lately married. I intended to have visited 
you this summer, but printing the paper money here has 
hindered me near two months, and our Assembly will sit 
the 2d of August next, at which time I must not be absent ; 
but I hope to see you this fall. I am your affectionate 
brother, B. FRANKLIN. 



17. LETTER FROM ANTHONY AFTER WIT 8 

MR. GAZETTEER, 

I am an honest Tradesman, who never meant Harm to 
anyBody. My Affairs went on smoothly while a Batchelor ; 
but of late I have met with some Difficulties, of which I 
take the Freedom to give you an Account. 

About the Time I first address'd my present Spouse, 
her Father gave out in Speeches, that if she married a Man 
he liked, he would give with her 200 on the Day of Mar- 
riage. 'Tis true he never said so to me, but he always 
receiv'd me very kindly at his House, and openly coun- 
tenanc'd my Courtship. I form'd several fine Schemes 
what to do with this same 200, and in some Measure 

1 Elizabeth (Franklin) Dowse, eldest child of Josiah and Anne Franklin, 
born at Ecton, March 2, 1677. 

2 Lydia Franklin, born August 8, 1708, married Robert Scott, 1731. 
8 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, July 10, 1 732. 



1732] LETTER FROM ANTHONY AFTERWIT 183 

neglected my Business on that Account: But unluckily it 
came to pass, that when the old Gentleman saw I was pretty 
well engag'd, and that the Match was too far gone to be 
easily broke off; he, without any Reason given, grew very 
angry, forbid me the House, and told his Daughter, that 
if she married me he would not give her a Farthing. How- 
ever, (as he foresaw) we were not to be disappointed in 
that Manner, but, having stole a Wedding, I took her home 
to my House, where we were not in quite so poor a Con- 
dition as the Couple describ'd in the Scotch Song, who had 

" Neither Pot nor Pan, 
But four bare Legs together, 1 ' 

for I had a House tolerably furnished for an ordinary Man 
before. No thanks to Dad, who, I understand, was very 
much pleased with his politick Management. And I have 
since learn'd, that there are other old Curmudgeons (so 
called) besides him, who have this Trick to marry their 
Daughters, and yet keep what they might well spare, till 
they can keep it no longer; But this by way of Digression; 
a Word to the Wise is enough. 

I soon saw, that with Care and Industry we might live 
tolerably easy and in Credit with our Neighbours; But 
my Wife had a strong Inclination to be a Gentlewoman. 
In Consequence of this, my old-fashioned Looking-Glass 
was one Day broke, as she said, No Mortal could tell "which 
way. However, since we could not be without a Glass in 
the Room, "My Dear," says she, "we may as well buy a 
large fashionable One, that Mr. Such-a-one has to sell; 
It will cost but little more than a common Glass, and will 
be much handsomer and more creditable." Accordingly, 



1 84 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

the Glass was bought and hung against the Wall: But in 
a Week's time I was made sensible, by little and little, that 
the Table was by no means suitable to such a Glass. And 
a more proper Table being procur'd, my Spouse, who was 
an excellent Contriver, inform'd me where we might have 
very handsome Chairs in the Way; and thus by Degrees 
I found all my old Furniture stow'd up in the Garret, and 
every thing below alter'd for the better. 

Had we stopp'd here, it might have done well enough; 
but my Wife being entertain'd with Tea by the Good Women 
she visited, we could do no less than the like when they 
visited us; and so we got a Tea-Table with all its Appur- 
tenances of China and Silver. Then my Spouse unfortu- 
nately overwork'd herself in washing the House, so that 
we could do no longer without a Maid. Besides this, it 
happened frequently, that when I came home at One, the 
Dinner was but just put in the Pot, and my Dear thought 
really it had been but Eleven : At other Times, when I came 
at the same Hour, She wondered I would stay so long, for 
Dinner was ready and had waited for me these two Hours. 
These Irregularities occasioned by mistaking the Time, 
convinced me, that it was absolutely necessary to buy a 
Clock, which my Spouse observ'd was a great Ornament 
to the Room! And lastly, to my Grief, she was frequently 
troubled with some Ailment or other, and nothing did her 
so much Good as Riding; And these Hackney Horses were 
such wretched ugly Creatures that I bought a very fine 
pacing Mare, which cost 20; and hereabouts Affairs 
have stood for some Months past. 

I could see all along, that this Way of Living was utterly 
inconsistent with my Circumstances, but had not Resolu- 



1732] LETTER FROAf ANTHONY AFTER WIT 185 

tion enough to help it. Till lately, receiving a very severe 
Dun, which mention'd the next Court, I began in earnest 
to project Relief. Last Monday, my Dear went over the 
River to see a Relation and stay a Fortnight, because she 
could not bear the Heat of the Town. In the Interim I 
have taken my Turn to make Alterations ; viz, I have turn'd 
away the Maid, Bag and Baggage, (for what should we do 
with a Maid, who have except my Boy none but ourselves ?) 
I have sold the fine Pacing Mare, and bought a good Milch 
Cow with 3 of the Money. I have dispos'd of the Tea 
Table, and put a Spinning- Wheel in its Place, which me- 
thinks looks very pretty : Nine empty Canisters I have stuff'd 
with Flax, and with some of the Money of the Tea-Furni- 
ture I have bought a Set of Knitting-Needles ; for to tell 
you a truth, which I would have go no farther, / begin to 
want Stockings. The stately Clock I have transform'd into 
an Hour- Glass, by which I have gain'd a good round Sum, 
and one of the Pieces of the old Looking- Glass, squar'd and 
fram'd, supplies the Place of the Great One, which I have 
convey'd into a Closet, where it may possibly remain some 
Years. In short, the Face of Things is quite changed ; and I 
am mightily pleased when I look at my Hour-Glass. What 
an Ornament it is to the Room ! I have paid my Debts 
and find Money in my Pocket. I expect my Dame home 
next Friday, and, as your Paper is taken in at the House 
where she is, I hope the Reading of this will prepare her 
Mind for the above surprizing Revolutions. If she can 
conform to this new Scheme of Living, we shall be the hap- 
piest Couple perhaps in the Province, and by the Blessing 
of God may soon be in thriving Circumstances. I have 
reserv'd the great Glass, because I know her Heart is set 



186 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

upon it; I will allow her, when she comes in, to be taken 
suddenly ill with the Head-ach, the Stomach-ach, Fainting 
Fits, or whatever other Disorder she may think more proper, 
and she may retire to Bed as soon as she pleases: But, if 
I do not find her in perfect Health, both of Body and Mind, 
the next Morning, away goes the aforesaid Great Glass, 
with several other Trinkets I have no Occasion for, to the 
Vendue that very Day. Which is the irrevocable Resolution 
Of, Sir, Her loving Husband, and 
Your very humble Servant, 
ANTHONY AFTERWIT. 

Postscript. You know we can return to our former Way of 
Living, when we please, if Dad will be at the Expence of it. 



18. LETTER FROM CELIA SINGLE 1 

MR. GAZETTEER, 

I must needs tell you, that some of the Things you print 
do more Harm than Good; particularly I think so of my 
Neighbour the Tradesman's Letter, in one of your late 
Papers, which has broken the Peace of several Families, by 
causing Difference between Men and their Wives: I shall 
give you one Instance, of which I was an Eye and Ear Wit- 
ness. 

Happening last Wednesday Morning to be in at Mrs. 
C ss's, when her Husband return'd from Market, among 
other Things which he had bought he show'd her some 
Balls of Thread. "My Dear," says he, "I like mightily 
those Stockings, which I yesterday saw Neighbour Afterwit 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, July 24, 1732. 



1732] LETTER FROM CELIA SINGLE 187 

knitting for her Husband, of Thread of her own Spinning. 
I should be glad to have some such stockins myself: I un- 
derstand that your Maid Mary is a very good Knitter, and 
seeing this Thread in Market, I have bought it, that the 
Girl may make a Pair or two for me." Mrs. Careless was 
just then at the Glass, dressing her Head, and turning about 
with the Pins in her Mouth, "Lord, Child," says she, "are 
you crazy? What Time has Mary to knit? Who must 
do the W T ork, I wonder, if you set her to Knitting?" "Per- 
haps, my Dear," says he, "you have a mind to knit 'em 
yourself; I remember, when I courted you, I once heard 
you say, that you had learn'd to knit of your Mother." "I 
knit Stockins for you!" says she; "not I truly! There 
are poor Women enough in Town, that can knit; if you 
please, you may employ them." "Well, but my Dear," 
says he, "you know a penny sav'd is a penny got, A pin a 
day is a groat a year, every little makes a muckle, and there 
is neither Sin nor Shame in Knitting a pair of Stockins; 
why should you express such a mighty Aversion to it? As 
to poor Women, you know we are not People of Quality, 
we have no Income to maintain us but what arises from my 
Labour and Industry: Methinks you should not be at all 
displeas'd, if you have an Opportunity to get something as 
well as myself." 

"I wonder," says she, "how you can propose such a thing 
to me; did not you always tell me you would maintain me 

like a Gentlewoman? If I had married Captain , he 

would have scorn'd even to mention Knitting of Stockins " 
"Prithee," says he, (a little nettled,) "what do you tell me 
of your Captains? If you could have had him, I suppose 
you would, or perhaps you did not very well like him. If 



1 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

I did promise to maintain you like a Gentlewoman, I suppose 
'tis time enough for that, when you know how to behave 
like one; Meanwhile 'tis your Duty to help make me able. 
How long, d'ye think, I can maintain you at your present 
Rate of Living?" "Pray," says she, (somewhat fiercely, 
and dashing the Puff into the Powder-Box,) "don't use me 
after this Manner, for I assure you I won't bear it. This 
is the Fruit of your poison Newspapers; there shall come 
no more here, I promise you." "Bless us," says he, "what 
an unaccountable thing is this? Must a Tradesman's 
Daughter, and the Wife of a Tradesman, necessarily and 
instantly be a Gentlewoman? You had no Portion; I am 
forc'd to work for a Living ; you are too great to do the like ; 
there's the Door, go and live upon your Estate, if you can 
find it ; in short, I don't desire to be troubled w' ye." 

What Answer she made, I cannot tell; for, knowing that 
a Man and his Wife are apt to quarrel more violently when 
before Strangers, than when by themselves, I got up and 
went out hastily: But I understood from Mary, who came 
to me of an Errand in the Evening, that they dined together 
pretty peaceably, (the Balls of Thread that had caused the 
Difference being thrown into the Kitchen Fire,) of which I 
was very glad to hear. 

I have several times in your Paper seen severe Reflections 
upon us Women, for Idleness and Extravagance, but I do 
not remember to have once seen any such Animadversions 
upon the Men. If I were dispos'd to be censorious, I could 
furnish you with Instances enough. I might mention Mr. 
Billiard, who spends more than he earns at the Green Table, 
and would have been in Jail long since, were it not for his 
industrious Wife: Mr. Husslecap, who, often all day long, 



1732] LETTER FROM ALICE ADDERTONGUE 189 

leaves his Business for the rattling of Half-pence, in a cer- 
tain Alley: Mr. Finikin, who has seven different Suits of 
fine cloaths, and wears a Change every Day, while his Wife 
and Children sit at home half naked : Mr. Crownhim, who 
is always dreaming over the Chequer-Board, and cares not 
how the World goes, so he gets the game : Mr. T'otherpot, 
the Tavern-haunter; Mr. Bookish, the everlasting Reader; 
Mr. Toot-a-toot, and several others, who are mighty diligent 
at any thing beside their Business. I say, if I were disposed 
to be censorious, I might mention all these and more, but I 
hate to be thought a Scandalizer of my Neighbours, and 
therefore forbear; and for your part, I would advise you 
for the future to entertain your Readers with something 
else, besides People's Reflections upon one another; for 
remember, that there are Holes enough to be pick'd in your 
Coat, as well as others, and those that are affronted by the 
Satyrs you may publish, will not consider so much who 
wrote as who printed: Take not this Freedom amiss from 

Your Friend and Reader, 

CELIA SINGLE. 



19. LETTER FROM ALICE ADDERTONGUE 1 

MR. GAZETTEER, 

I was highly pleased with your last Week's Paper upon 
SCANDAL, as the uncommon Doctrine therein preach'd is 
agreeable both to my Principles and Practice, and as it was 
published very seasonably to reprove the Impertinence of a 
Writer in the foregoing Thursday's Mercury, who, at the 
Conclusion. of one of his silly Paragraphs, laments forsooth, 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 12, 1732. 



190 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

that the Fair Sex are so peculiarly guilty of this enormous 
Crime: Every Blockhead, ancient and modern, that could 
handle a Pen, has, I think, taken upon him to cant in the 
same senseless Strain. If to scandalize be really a Crime, 
what do these Puppies mean? They describe it, they dress 
it up in the most odious, frightful, and detestable Colours, 
they represent it as the worst of Crimes, and then roundly 
and charitably charge the whole Race of Womankind with 
it. Are not they then guilty of what they condemn, at the 
same time that they condemn it? If they accuse us of any 
other Crime, they must necessarily scandalize while they do 
it; but to scandalize us with being guilty of Scandal, is in 
itself an egregious Absurdity, and can proceed from nothing 
but the most consummate Impudence in conjunction with 
the most profound Stupidity. 

This, supposing, as they do, that to scandalize is a Crime ; 
which you have convinc'd all reasonable People is an Opin- 
ion absolutely erroneous. Let us leave, then, these Ideot 
Mock-Moralists, while I entertain you with some Account 
of my Life and Manners. 

I am a young Girl of about thirty-five, and live at present 
with my Mother. I have no Care upon my Head of getting 
a Living, and therefore find it my Duty, as well as Inclina- 
tion, to exercise my Talent at Censure, for the Good of my 
Country-Folks. There was, I am told, a certain generous 
Emperor, who, if a Day had passed over his Head in which 
he had conferred no Benefit on any Man, used to say to his 
Friends, in Latin, Diem perdidi, that is, it seems, / have 
lost a Day. I believe I should make use of the same Ex- 
pression, if it were possible for a Day to pass in which I 
had not, or miss'd, an Opportunity to scandalize somebody : 



1732] LETTER FROM ALICE ADDERTONGUE 191 

But, Thanks be praised, no such Misfortune has befel me 
these dozen Years. 

Yet, whatever Good I may do, I cannot pretend that I 
first entred into the Practice of this Virtue from a Principle 
of Publick Spirit; for I remember, that, when a Child, I 
had a violent Inclination to be ever talking in my own Praise ; 
and being continually told that it was ill Manners, and once 
severely whipt for it, the confin'd Stream form'd itself a 
new Channel, and I began to speak for the future in the 
Dispraise of others. This I found more agreeable to Com- 
pany, and almost as much so to myself: for what great 
Difference can there be, between putting yourself up, or 
putting your Neighbour down ? Scandal, like other Virtues, 
is in part its own Reward, as it gives us the Satisfaction of 
making ourselves appear better than others, or others no 
better than ourselves. 

My Mother, good Woman, and I, have heretofore differ'd 
upon this Account. She argu'd, that Scandal spoilt all 
good Conversation; and I insisted, that without it there 
would be no such Thing. Our Disputes once rose so high, 
that we parted Tea-Tables, and I concluded to entertain 
my Acquaintance in the Kitchin. The first Day of this 
Separation we both drank Tea at the same Time, but she 
with her Visitors in the Parlor. She would not hear of the 
least Objection to any one's Character, but began a new 
sort of Discourse in some such queer philosophical Manner 
as this; "I am mightily pleas'd sometimes," says she, "when 
I observe and consider, that the World is not so bad as 
People out of humour imagine it to be. There is some- 
thing amiable, some good Quality or other, in every body. 
If we were only to speak of People that are least respected, 



I 9 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

there is such a one is very dutiful to her Father, and 
methinks has a fine Set of Teeth; such a one is very respect- 
ful to her Husband; such a one is very kind to her poor 
Neighbours, and besides has a very handsome Shape ; such 
a one is always ready to serve a Friend, and in my Opinion 
there is not a Woman in Town that has a more agreeable 
Air and Gait." This fine kind of Talk, which lasted near half 
an Hour, she concluded by saying, "I do not doubt but every 
one of you have made the like Observations, and I should 
be glad -to have the Conversation continued upon this Sub- 
ject." Just at that Juncture I peep'd in at the Door, and 
never in my Life before saw such a Set of simple vacant 
Countenances. They looked somehow neither glad, nor 
sorry, nor angry, nor pleas'd, nor indifferent, nor attentive; 
but (excuse the Simile) like so many blue wooden images of 
Rie Doe. I in the Kitchin had already begun a ridiculous 

Story of Mr. 's Intrigue with his Maid, and his Wife's 

Behaviour upon the Discovery ; at some Passages we laugh'd 
heartily, and one of the gravest of Mama's Company, 
without making any Answer to her Discourse, got up to go 
and see what the Girls "were so merry about: She was fol- 
low'd by a Second, and shortly after by a Third, till at last 
the old Gentlewoman found herself quite alone, and, being 
convinc'd that her Project was impracticable, came herself 
and finish'd her Tea with us ; ever since which Saul also has 
been among the Prophets, and our Disputes lie dormant. 

By Industry and Application, I have made myself the 
Centre of all the Scandal in the Province, there is little 
stirring, but I hear of it. I began the World with this 
Maxim, that no Trade can subsist without Returns; and 
accordingly, whenever I receiv'd a good Story, I endeavour'd 



1732] LETTER FROM ALICE ADDERTONGUE 193 

to give two or a better in the Room of it. My Punctuality 
in this Way of Dealing gave such Encouragement, that it 
has procur'd me an incredible deal of Business, which with- 
out Diligence and good Method it would be impossible for 
me to go through. For, besides the Stock of Defamation 
thus naturally flowing in upon me, I practise an Art, by 
which I can pump Scandal out of People that are the least 
enclin'd that way. Shall I discover my Secret? Yes; to 
let it die with me would be inhuman. If I have never heard 
111 of some Person, I always impute it to defective Intelli- 
gence; for there are none without their Faults, no, not one. 
If she is a Woman, I take the first Opportunity to let all 
her Acquaintance know I have heard that one of the hand- 
somest or best Men in Town has said something in Praise 
either of her Beauty, her Wit, her^Virtue, or her good Man- 
agement. If you know any thing of Humane Nature, you 
perceive that this naturally introduces a Conversation turn- 
ing upon all her Failings, past, present, and to come. To 
the same purpose, and with the same Success, I cause every 
Man of Reputation to be praised before his Competitors in 
Love, Business, or Esteem, on Account of any particular 
Qualification. Near the Tunes of Election, if I find it 
necessary, I commend every Candidate before some of the 
opposite Party, listening attentively to what is said of him 
in answer: (But Commendations in this latter Case are 
not always necessary, and should be used judiciously;) of 
late Years, I needed only observe what they said of one 
another freely; and having for the Help of Memory, taken 
Account of all Informations and Accusations received, who- 
ever peruses my Writings after my Death, may happen to 
think, that during a certain Term the People of Pennsyl- 

VOL. II O 



194 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1732 

vania chose into all their Offices of Honour and Trust, the 
veriest Knaves, Fools and Rascals in the whole Province. 
The Time of Election used to be a busy Time with me, 
but this Year, with Concern I speak it, People are grown so 
good-natur'd, so intent upon mutual Feasting and friendly 
Entertainment, that I see no Prospect of much Employment 
from that Quarter. 

I mention'd above, that without good Method I could 
not go thro' my Business. In my Father's Lifetime I had 
some Instruction in Accompts, which I now apply with Ad- 
vantage to my own Affairs. I keep a regular Set of Books, 
and can tell, at an Hour's Warning, how it stands between 
me and the World. In my Daybook I enter every Article 
of Defamation as it is transacted; for Scandals received in 
I give Credit, and when I pay them out again I make the 
Persons to whom they respectively relate Debtor. In my 
Journal, I add to each Story, by way of Improvement, such 
probable Circumstances as I think it will bear; and in my 
Ledger the whole is regularly posted. 

I suppose the Reader already condemns me in his Heart 
for this particular of adding Circumstances; but I justify 
that part of my Practice thus. 'Tis a Principle with me, 
that none ought to have a greater Share of Reputation, than 
they really deserve; if they have, 'tis an Imposition upon 
the Publick. I know it is every one's Interest, and therefore 
believe they endeavour to conceal all their Vices and Follies ; 
and I hold that those People are extraordinary foolish or 
careless, who suffer a Fourth of their Failings to come to 
publick Knowledge. Taking then the common Prudence 
and Imprudence of Mankind in a Lump, I suppose none 
suffer above one Fifth to be discovered: Therefore, when 



1732] LETTER FROM ALICE ADDERTONGUE 195 

I hear of any person's Misdoing, I think I keep within 
Bounds if in relating it I only make it three times worse than 
it is ; and I reserve to myself the Privilege of charging them 
with one Fault in four, which for aught I know, they may 
be entirely innocent of. You see there are but few so care- 
ful of doing Justice as myself. What Reason then have 
Mankind to complain of Scandal? In a general way the 
worst that is said of us is only half what might be said, if 
all our Faults were seen. 

But, alas! two great Evils have lately befaln me at the 
same time ; an extream Cold, that I can scarce speak, and a 
most terrible Tooth-ach, that I dare hardly open my Mouth : 
For some Days past, I have receiv'd ten Stories for one I 
have paid; and I am not able to ballance my Accounts 
without your Assistance. I have long thought, that if you 
would make your Paper a Vehicle of Scandal, you would 
double the Number of your Subscribers. I send you here- 
with Account of four Knavish Tricks, two * * *, 5 cu- 
Id-ms, 3 drub'd Wives, and 4 henpeck'd Husbands, all 
within this Fortnight ; which you may, as Articles of News, 
deliver to the Publick ; and, if my Tooth-ach continues, shall 
send you more, being in the mean time your constant Reader, 

ALICE ADDERTONGUE. 

I thank my Correspondent, Mrs. Addertongue, for her 
Good Will, but desire to be excus'd inserting the Articles of 
News she has sent me, such Things being in Reality no 
News at all. 



196 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1733 



20. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1733 (P. H. s.) 

COURTEOUS READER, 

I might in this place attempt to gain thy Favour, by de- 
claring that I write Almanacks with no other View than 
that of the publick Good ; but in this I should not be sincere ; 
and Men are now adays too wise to be deceiv'd by Pretences 
how specious soever. The plain Truth of the Matter is, 
I am excessive poor, and my Wife, good Woman, is, I tell 
her, excessive proud; she cannot bear, she says, to sit spin- 
ning in her Shift of Tow, while I do nothing but gaze at the 
Stars; and has threatned more than once to burn all my 
Books and Rattling-Traps (as she calls my Instruments) 
if I do not make some profitable Use of them for the Good 
of my Family. The Printer has offer'd me some consider- 
able share of the Profits, and I have thus begun to comply 
with my Dame's Desire. 

Indeed this Motive would have had Force enough to have 
made me publish an Almanack many Years since, had it 
not been overpowered by my Regard for my good Friend and 
Fellow Student Mr. Titan Leeds, whose Interest I was ex- 
treamly unwilling to hurt: But this Obstacle (I am far 
from speaking it with Pleasure) is soon to be removed, 
since inexorable Death, who was never known to respect 
Merit, has already prepared the mortal Dart, the fatal 
Sister has already extended her destroying Shears, and that 
ingenious Man must soon be taken from us. He dies, by 
my Calculation made at his Request, on Oct. 17. 1733. 
3 h. 29 m. P. M. at the very instant of the <5 of O and $ : 
By his own Calculation he will survive till the 26th of the 



PoorRicbard, 1733. 



AN 



Almanack 

Forth* Year of Chrift 

173 

Being the Firft after LEAP TEAR 



Yean 

By the Account of the EaRm Cntks 7*41 

By the Latin Chwrch, w**n O OJt^t* fyyz 
By {he Computation of W.W. J742 

By tha ftcmcr. QnantAogy $663 

By JHc ^rw^ Kabbiet. 5494 

Wherein if fffnfaitr&t 
The Lunations, Eclipfes, Judgment of 
the Wethsr, Spring Tid, PJns Motions Sc 
muluil AfpeSs, Son end Moon's Riling and Set- 
ting, LengtH of Dy, Tim*, of HighWft 
fms, CoorU, end obfemble Days. 
Fitted to the Latitude of Forty Xtegr*es, 

apd & Meridian of Five Hours Weft from Ztwaw, 
but miy viihout fcnP.bie Error, lerveal! the ad- 

jic t nt Piters, dven iVom fJewfcumZaxl to A 

CenHna. 

By RICHARD S4UNDERS t hi\om. 



PHILADELPHIA! 
Printed and Told by' 9. FAAHKLII*. at the No 

Printing-office near the Marltct 



1733] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 197 

same Month. This small Difference between us we have 
disputed whenever we have met these 9 Years past; but at 
length he is inclinable to agree with my Judgment: Which 
of us is most exact, a little Time will now determine. As 
therefore these Provinces may not longer expect to see any 
of his Performances after this Year, I think my self free to 
take up the Task, and request a share of the publick En- 
couragement; which I am the more apt to hope for on this 
Account, that the Buyer of my Almanack may consider 
himself, not only as purchasing an useful Utensil, but as 
performing an Act of Charity, to his poor Friend and Servant 

R. SAUNDERS. 1 

1 Titan Leeds replied in his " American Almanack " for 1 734 : 
" Kind Reader, Perhaps it may be expected that I should say something 
concerning an Almanack printed for the Year 1733, Said to be writ by Poor 
Richard or Richard Saunders, who for want of other matter was pleased to 
tell his Readers, that he had calculated my Nativity, and from thence predicts 
my Death to be the I7th of October, 1733. At 22 min. past 3 a-Clock in the 
Afternoon, and that these Provinces may not expect to see any more of his 
( Titan Leeds) Performances, and this precise Predicter who predicts to a 
Minute, proposes to succeed me in Writing of Almanacks ; but notwithstand- 
ing his false Prediction, I have by the Mercy of God lived to write a Diary 
for the Year 1734, and to publish the Folly and Ignorance of this presumptu- 
ous Author. Nay, he adds another gross Falsehood in his said Almanack, 
viz That by my own Calculation, I shall survive until the sbth of the said 
Month, (October) which is as untrue as the former, for I do not pretend to 
that Knowledge, altho' he has usurpt the Knowledge of the Almighty herein, 
and manifested himself a Fool and a Lyar. And by the Mercy of God I have 
lived to survive this conceited Scriblers Day and Minute whereon he has pre- 
dicted my Death ; and as I have supplyed my Country with Almanacks for 
three seven Years by past, to general Satisfaction, so perhaps I may live to 
write when his Performances are Dead. Thus much from your annual 
Friend, Titan Leeds. October 18, 1733, 3 ho. 33 min. P. M. 



198 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1733 

21. A MEDITATION ON A QUART MUGG ' 

WRETCHED, miserable, and unhappy Mug ! I pity thy luck- 
less Lot, I commiserate thy Misfortunes, thy Griefs fill me 
with Compassion, and because of thee are Tears made 
frequently to burst from my Eyes. 

How often have I seen him compelTd to hold up his 
Handle at the Bar, for no other Crime than that of being 
empty; then snatch'd away by a surly Officer, and plung'd 
suddenly into a Tub of cold Water: Sad Spectacle, and 
Emblem of human Penury, oppress'd by arbitrary Power! 
How often is he hurry'd down into a dismal Vault, sent up 
fully laden in a cold Sweat, and by a rude Hand thrust into 
the Fire ! How often have I seen it obliged to undergo the 
Indignities of a dirty Wench; to have melting Candles 
dropt on its naked Sides, and sometimes in its Mouth, to 
risque being broken into a thousand Pieces, for Actions 
which itself was not guilty of ! How often is he forced into 
the Company of boisterous Sots, who lay all their Nonsence, 
Noise, profane Swearing, Cursing, and Quarreling, on the 
harmless Mug, which speaks not a Word ! They overset 
him, maim him, and sometimes turn him to Arms offensive 
or defensive, as they please; when of himself he would not 
be of either Party, but would as willingly stand still. Alas ! 
what Power, or Place, is provided, where this poor Mug, 
this unpitied Slave, can have Redress of his Wrongs and 
Sufferings? Or where shall he have a Word of Praise be- 
stow'd on him for his Well doings, and faithful Services? 
If he prove of a large size, his Owner curses him, and says 
he will devour more than he'll earn : If his Size be small, 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, July 19, 1733. 



1733] A MEDITATION ON A QUART MUGG 199 

those whom his Master appoints him to serve will curse 
him as much, and perhaps threaten him with the Inquisi- 
tion of the Standard. Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condi- 
tion! Of thy self thou wouldst do no Harm, but much 
Harm is done with thee ! Thou art accused of many Mis- 
chiefs; thou art said to administer Drunkenness, Poison, 
and broken Heads : But none praise thee for the good Things 
thou yieldest! Shouldest thou produce double Beer, nappy 
Ale, stallcop Cyder, or Cyder mull'd, fine Punch, or cordial 
Tiff; yet for all these shouldst thou not be prais'd, but the 
rich Liquors themselves, which tho' within thee, will be 
said to be foreign to thee ! And yet, so unhappy is thy 
Destiny, thou must bear all their Faults and Abominations ! 
Hast thou been industriously serving thy Employers with 
Tiff or Punch, and instantly they dispatch thee for Cyder, 
then must thou be abused for smelling of Rum. Hast thou 
been steaming their Noses gratefully, with mull'd Cyder or 
butter'd Ale, and then offerest to refresh their Palates with 
the best of Beer, they will curse thee for thy Greasiness. 
And how, alas ! can thy Service be rendered more tolerable 
to thee? If thou submittest thyself to a Scouring in the 
Kitchen, what must thou undergo from sharp Sand, hot 
Ashes, and a coarse Dishclout; besides the Danger of hav- 
ing thy Lips rudely torn, thy Countenance disfigured, thy 
Arms dismantled, and thy whole Frame shatter'd, with 
violent Concussions in an Iron Pot or Brass Kettle ! And 
yet, O Mug! if these Dangers thou escapest, with little 
Injury, thou must at last untimely fall, be broken to Pieces, 
and cast away, never more to be recollected and form'd 
into a Quart Mug. Whether by the Fire, or hi a Battle, 
or choak'd with a Dishclout, or by a Stroke against a Stone, 



200 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1734 

thy Dissolution happens; 'tis all alike to thy avaritious 
Owner; he grieves not for thee, but for the Shilling with 
which he purchased thee! If thy Bottom Part should 
chance to survive, it may be preserv'd to hold bits of Candles, 
or Blacking for Shoes, or Salve for kibed Heels; but all 
thy other Members will be for ever buried in some miry 
Hole; or less carefully disposed of, so that little Children, 
who have not yet arrived to Acts of Cruelty, may gather 
them up to furnish out their Baby Houses: Or, being cast 
upon the Dunghill, they will therewith be carted into Meadow 
Grounds; where, being spread abroad and discovered, 
they must be thrown to the Heap of Stones, Bones and 
Rubbish; or being left until the Mower finds them with 
his Scythe, they will with bitter Curses be tossed over the 
Hedge; and so serve for unlucky Boys to throw at Birds 
and Dogs ; until by Length of Time and numerous Casual- 
ties, they shall be press'd into their Mother Earth, and be 
converted to their original Principles. 



22. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1734 (A. P. s.) 

COURTEOUS READERS, 

Your kind and charitable Assistance last Year, in pur- 
chasing so large an Impression of my Almanacks, has made 
my Circumstances much more easy in the World, and re- 
quires my grateful Acknowledgment. My Wife has been 
enabled to get a Pot of her own, and is no longer oblig'd to 
borrow one from a Neighbour ; nor have we ever since been 
without something of our own to put in it. She has also 
got a pair of Shoes, two new Shifts, and a new warm Petti- 
coat; and for my part, I have bought a second-hand Coat, 



1734] 



PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 



201 



so good, that I am now not asham'd to go to Town or be 
seen there. These Things have render'd her Temper so 
much more pacifick than it us'd to be, that I may say, I 
have slept more, and more quietly within this last Year, 
than in the three foregoing Years put together. Accept my 
hearty Thanks therefor, and my sincere Wishes for your 
Health and Prosperity. 

In the Preface to my last Almanack, I foretold the Death 
of my dear old Friend and Fellow-Student, the learned and 
ingenious Mr. Titan Leeds, which was to be on the iyth of 
October, 1 733, 3 h. 29 m. P. M. at the very Instant of the <5 of 
and 5 . By his own Calculation he was to survive till 
the 26th of the same Month, and expire in the Time of the 
Eclipse, near n o'clock A. M. At which of these Times 
he died, or whether he be really yet dead, I cannot at this 
present Writing positively assure my Readers; forasmuch 
as a Disorder in my own Family demanded my Presence, 
and would not permit me as I had intended, to be with him 
in his last Moments, to receive his last Embrace, to close 
his Eyes, and do the Duty of a Friend in performing the 
last Offices to the Departed. Therefore it is that I cannot 
positively affirm whether he be dead or not; for the Stars 
only show to the Skilful, what will happen in the natural 
and universal Chain of Causes and Effects; but 'tis well 
known, that the Events which would otherwise certainly 
happen at certain Times in the Course of Nature are some- 
times set aside or postpon'd for wise and good Reasons by 
the immediate particular Dispositions of Providence; which 
particular Dispositions the Stars can by no Means discover 
or foreshow. There is however (and I cannot speak it 
without Sorrow) there is the strongest Probability that my 



202 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1734 

dear Friend is no more; for there appears in his Name, as 
I am assured, an Almanack for the Year 1734, in which I 
am treated in a very gross and unhandsome Manner; in 
which I am called a false Predicter, an Ignorant, a con- 
ceited Scribler, a Fool, and a Lyar. Mr. Leeds was too 
well bred to use any Man so indecently and so scurrilously, 
and moreover his Esteem and Affection for me was extra- 
ordinary: So that it is to be feared that Pamphlet may be 
only a Contrivance of somebody or other, who hopes per- 
haps to sell two or three Year's Almanacks still, by the sole 
Force and Virtue of Mr. Leeds' s Name; but certainly, to 
put Words into the Mouth of a Gentleman and a Man of 
Letters, against his Friend, which the meanest and most 
scandalous of the People might be asham'd to utter even in 
a drunken Quarrel, is an unpardonable Injury to his Memory, 
and an Imposition upon the Publick. 

Mr. Leeds was not only profoundly skilful in the useful 
Science he profess'd, but he was a Man of exemplary So- 
briety, a most sincere Friend, and an exact Performer of 
his Word. These valuable Qualifications, with many others 
so much endear'd him to me, that although it should be so, 
that, contrary to all Probability, contrary to my Prediction 
and his own, he might possibly be yet alive, yet my Loss 
of Honour as a Prognosticator, cannot afford me so much 
Mortification, as his Life, Health and Safety would give 
me Joy and Satisfaction. 

I am, Courteous and Kind Reader 

Your poor Friend and Servant, 

Octob. 30. 1733. R. SAUNDERS.* 

1 In the next issue of his " American Almanack " Titan Leeds, Philomath, 
replied thus : 



1735] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 203 

23. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1735 (A. p. s.) 

COURTEOUS READER, 

This is the third Time of my appearing in print, hitherto 
very much to my own Satisfaction, and, I have reason to 
hope, to the Satisfaction of the Publick also ; for the Publick 
is generous, and has been very charitable and good to me. 
I should be ungrateful then, if I did not take every Op- 
portunity of expressing my Gratitude; for ingratum si 
dixeris, omnia dixeris: I therefore return the Publick my 
most humble and hearty Thanks. 

Whatever may be the Musick of the Spheres, how great 
soever the Harmony of the Stars, 'tis certain there is no 
Harmony among the Stargazers; but they are perpetually 
growling and snarling at one another like strange Curs, or 
like some Men at their Wives: I had resolved to keep the 
Peace on my own part, and affront none of them; and I 

" Courteous and Kind Reader. 

My Almanack being in its usual Method, needs no Explanation ; but per- 
haps it may be expected by some that I shall say something concerning Poor 
Richard, or otherwise Richard Sounders'* Almanack, which I suppose was 
printed in the Year 1733, for the ensuing Year 1734, wherein he useth me 
with such good Manners. I can hardly find what to say to him, without it is 
to advise him not to be too Proud because by his Predicting my Death, and 
his writing an Almanack (I suppose at his Wife's Request) as he himself says, 
she has got a Pot of her own and not longer obliged to borrow one from a 
Neighbour, she has got also two new Shifts, a pair of new Shoes, and a new 
warm Petticoat ; and for his own part he had bought a second-hand Coat so 
good that he is not ashamed to go to Town or to be seen there (Parturiant 
Monies !). But if Falshood and Inginuity be so rewarded, What may we 
expect if ever he be in a capacity to publish that that is either Just or accord- 
ing to Art ? Therefore I shall say little more about it than, as a Friend to 
advise he will never take upon him to praedict or ascribe any Persons Death, 
till he has learned to do it better than he did before." 



204 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1735 

shall persist in that Resolution: But having received much 
Abuse from Titan Leeds deceas'd (Titan Leeds when living 
would not have us'd me so!) I say, having receiv'd much 
Abuse from the Ghost of Titan Leeds, who pretends to be 
still living, and to write Almanacks in Spight of me and 
my Predictions, I cannot help saying, that tho' I take it 
patiently, I take it very unkindly. And whatever he may 
pretend, 'tis undoubtedly true that he is really defunct and 
dead. First because the Stars are seldom disappointed, 
never but in the Case of wise Men, sapiens dominabitur 
astris, and they foreshow'd his Death at the Tune I pre- 
dicted it. Secondly, 'Twas requisite and necessary he should 
die punctually at that Time, for the Honour of Astrology, 
the Art professed both by him and his Father before him. 
Thirdly, 'Tis plain to every one that reads his two last Al- 
manacks (for 1734 and 35) that they are not written with 
that Life his Performances use to be written with; the Wit 
is low and flat, the little Hints dull and spiritless, nothing 
smart in them but Hudibras's Verses against Astrology at 
the Heads of the Months in the last, which no Astrologer 
but a dead one would have inserted, and no Man living 
would or could write such Stuff as the rest. But lastly I 
convince him in his own Words, that he is dead (ex ore 
suo condemnatus esf) for in his Preface to his Almanack for 
1734, he says "Saunders adds another GROSS FALSHOOD in 
his Almanack, viz. that by my own Calculation I shall sur- 
vive until the 26th of the said Month October 1733, which is 
as untrue as the former." Now if it be, as Leeds says, un- 
true and a gross Falshood that he surviv'd till the 26th of 
October 1733, then it is certainly true that he died before 
that Time: And if he died before that Time, he is dead 



1735] PROTECTION OF TOWNS FROM FIRE 205 

now, to all Intents and Purposes, any thing he may say to 
the contrary notwithstanding. And at what Time before 
the 26th is it so likely he should die, as at the Time by me 
predicted, viz. the lyth of October aforesaid? But if some 
People will walk and be troublesome after Death, it may 
perhaps be born with a little, because it cannot well be 
avoided unless one would be at the Pains and Expence of 
laying them in the Red Sea; however, they should not pre- 
sume too much upon the Liberty allow'd them; I know 
Confinement must needs be mighty irksome to the free 
Spirit of an Astronomer, and I am too compassionate to 
proceed suddenly to Extremities with it; nevertheless, tho' 
I resolve with Reluctance, I shall not long defer, if it does 
not speedily learn to treat its living Friends with better 
Manners, 

I am, Courteous Reader, your obliged Friend and Servant 
Octob. 30. 1734. R. SAUNDERS. 



24. PROTECTION OF TOWNS FROM FIRE 1 

MR. FRANKLIN, 

Being old and lame of my Hands, and thereby uncapable 
of assisting my Fellow Citizens, when their Houses are on 
Fire; I must beg them to take in good Part the following 
Hints on the Subject of Fires. 

In the first Place, as an Ounce of Prevention is worth a 
Pound of Cure, I would advise 'em to take Care how they 
suffer living Brandsends, or Coals in a full Shovel, to be 
carried out of one Room into another, or up or down Stairs, 
unless in a Warmingpan shut; for Scraps of Fire may 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, February 4, 1734-1735. 



206 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1735 

fall into Chinks, and make no Appearance till Midnight; 
when your Stairs being in Flames, you may be forced, (as 
I once was) to leap out of your Windows, and hazard your 
Necks to avoid being over-roasted. 

And now we talk of Prevention, where would be the 
Damage, if, to the Act for preventing Fires, by regulating 
Bakehouses and Coopers Shops, a Clause were added to 
regulate all other Houses in the particulars of too shallow 
Hearths, and the destestable Practice of putting Wooden 
Mouldings on each side the Fire Place, which being com- 
monly of Heart-of-Pine and full of Turpentine, stand ready 
to flame as soon as a Coal or a small Brande shall roul 
against them. 

Once more; If Chimneys were more frequently and more 
carefully clean'd, some Fires might thereby be prevented. 
I have known foul Chimneys burn most furiously a few 
Days after they were swept: People in Confidence that 
they are clean, making large Fires. Every Body among 
us is allow'd to sweep Chimneys, that please to undertake 
that Business; and if a Chimney fires thro' fault of the 
Sweeper, the Owner pays the Fine, and the Sweeper goes 
free. This Thing is not right. Those who undertake sweep- 
ing of Chimneys, and employ Servants for that Purpose, 
ought to be licensed by the Mayor; and if any Chimney 
fires and flames out 15 Days after Sweeping, the Fine should 
be paid by the Sweeper ; for it is his Fault. 

We have at present got Engines enough in the Town, but 
I question, whether in many Parts of the Town, Water 
enough can be had to keep them going for half an Hour 
together. It seems to me some Publick Pumps are wanting ; 
but that I submit to better Judgments. 



1735] PROTECTION OF TOWNS FROM FIRE 207 

As to our Conduct in the Affair of Extinguishing Fires, 
tho' we do not want Hands or Good- Will, yet we seem to 
want Order and Method, and therefore I believe I cannot 
do better than to offer for our Imitation, the Example of a 
City in a Neighbouring Province. There is, as I am well 
inform'd, a Club or Society of active Men belonging to each 
Fire Engine; whose Business is to attend all Fires with it 
whenever they happen ; and to work it once a Quarter, and 
see it kept in order: Some of these are to handle the Fire- 
hooks, and others the Axes, which are always kept with the 
Engine ; and for this Service they are consider'd in an Abate- 
ment or Exemption in the Taxes. In Time of Fire, they 
are commanded by Officers appointed by Law, called Fire- 
wards, who are distinguished by a Red Staff of five Feet 
long, headed with a Brass Flame of 6 Inches; And being 
Men of Prudence and Authority, they direct the opening 
and stripping of Roofs by the Ax-Men, the pulling down 
burning Timbers by the Hookmen, and the playing of the 
Engines, and command the making of Lanes, &c. and they 
are impowered to require Assistance for the Removing of 
Goods out of Houses on fire or in Danger of Fire, and to 
appoint Guards for securing such Goods ; and Disobedience, 
to these Officers in any, at such Times, is punished by a 
Fine of 405. or Ten Days Imprisonment. These Officers, 
with the Men belonging to the Engine, at their Quarterly 
Meetings, discourse of Fires, of the Faults committed at 
some, the good Management in some Cases at others, and 
thus communicating their Thoughts and Experience they 
grow wise in the Thing, and know how to command and to 
execute in the best manner upon every Emergency. Since 
the Establishment of this Regulation, it seems there has 



208 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1736 

been no extraordinary Fire in that Place; and I wish there 
never may be any here. But they suffer'd before they made 
such a Regulation, and so must we; for Englishmen feel 
but cannot see; as the Italian says of us. And it has 
pleased God, that in the Fires we have hitherto had, all 
the bad Circumstances have never happened together, such 
as dry Season, high Wind, narrow Street, and little or low 
Water: which perhaps tends to make us secure in our own 
Minds ; but if a Fire with those Circumstances, which God 
forbid, should happen, we should afterwards be careful 
enough. 

Let me say one thing more, and I will be silent. I could 
wish, that either Tiles would come in Use for a Covering to 
Buildings; or else that those who build, would make their 
Roofs more safe to walk upon, by carrying the Wall above 
the Eves, in the Manner of the new Buildings in London, 
and as Mr. Turners House in Front Street, or Mr. Nichols's 
in Chestnut Street, are built; which I conceive would tend 
considerably to their Preservation. 

Let others communicate their Thoughts as freely as I have 
done mine, and perhaps something useful may be drawn 
from the Whole. 

/ am yours, & 

A. A. 



25. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1736 (P.H.S.) 

Loving Readers, 

Your kind Acceptance of my former Labours, has en- 
couraged me to continue writing, tho' the general Approba- 
tion you have been so good as to favour me with, has excited 



1736] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 209 

the Envy of some, and drawn upon me the Malice of others. 
These Ill-willers of mine, despited at the great Reputation I 
gain'd by exactly predicting another Man's Death, have 
endeavour'd to deprive me of it all at once in the most effec- 
tual Manner, by reporting that I my self was never alive. 
They say in short, That there is no such a Man as I am: 
and have spread this Notion so thoroughly in the Country, 
that I have been frequently told it to my Face by those that 
don't know me. This is not civil Treatment, to endeavour 
to deprive me of my very Being, and reduce me to a Non- 
entity in the Opinion of the publick. But so long as I know 
my self to walk about, eat, drink and sleep, I am satisfied 
that there is really such a Man as I am, whatever they may 
say to the contrary: And the World may be satisfied like- 
wise ; for if there were no such Man as I am, how is it possible 
I should appear publickly to hundreds of People, as I have 
done for several Years past, in print? I need not, indeed, 
have taken any Notice of so idle a Report, if it had not been 
for the sake of my Printer, to whom my Enemies are pleased 
to ascribe my Productions ; and who it seems is as unwilling 
to father my Offspring, as I am to lose the Credit of it: 
Therefore to clear him entirely, as well as to vindicate my 
own Honour, I make this publick and serious Declaration, 
which I desire may be believed, to wit, That what I have 
written heretofore and do now write, neither was nor is 
written by any other Man or Men, Person or Persons what- 
soever. Those who are not satisfied with this, must needs 
be very unreasonable. 

My Performance for this Year follows; it submits itself, 
kind Reader, to thy Censure, but hopes for thy Candor, to 
forgive its Faults. It devotes itself entirely to thy Service, 

VOL. II P 



2io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1737 

and will serve thee faithfully: And if it has the good For- 
tune to please its Master, 'tis Gratification enough for the 

Labour of Poor 

R. SAUNDERS. 



26. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1737 (p. H. s.) 

Courteous and kind Reader, 

This is the fifth Time I have appear'd in Publick, chalk- 
ing out the future Year for my honest Countrymen, and fore- 
telling what shall, and what may, and what may not come to 
pass ; in which I have the Pleasure to find that I have given 
general Satisfaction. Indeed, among the Multitude of our 
astrological Predictions, 'tis no wonder if some few fail ; for, 
without any Defect in the Art itself, 'tis well known that a 
small Error, a single wrong Figure overseen in a Calculation, 
may occasion great Mistakes: But however we Almanack- 
makers may miss it in other Things, I believe it will be gen- 
erally allow'd That we always hit the Day of the Month, and 
that I suppose is esteem'd one of the most useful Things in an 
Almanack. 

As to the Weather, if I were to fall into the Method my 

Brother J n l sometimes uses, and tell you, Snow here or 

in New England, Rain here or in South-Carolina, 
Cold to the Northward, Warm to the Southward, and the 
like, whatever Errors I might commit, I should be some- 
thing more secure of not being detected in them : But I con- 
sider, it will be of no Service to any body to know what 
Weather it is 1000 miles off, and therefore I always set down 
positively what Weather my Reader will have, be he where 

1 John Jerman. 



1737] HINTS FOR THOSE THAT WOULD BE RICH 211 

he will at the time. We modestly desire only the favour- 
able Allowance of a day or two before and a day or two after 
the precise Day against which the Weather is set; and if 
it does not come to pass accordingly, let the Fault be laid 
upon the Printer, who, 'tis very like, may have transpos'd 
or misplac'd it, perhaps for the Conveniency of putting hi 
his Holidays: And since, in spight of all I can say, People 
will give him great part of the Credit of making my Alma- 
nacks, 'tis but reasonable he should take some share of 
the Blame. 

I must not omit here to thank the Publick for the gra- 
cious and kind Encouragement they have hitherto given 
me: But if the generous Purchaser of my Labours could 
see how often his F? pence helps to light up the comfort- 
able Fire, line the Pot, fill the Cup and make glad the Heart 
of a poor Man and an honest good old Woman, he would 
not think his Money ill laid out, tho' the Almanack of his 

Friend and Servant 

R. SAUNDERS 
were one half blank Paper. 



27. HINTS FOR THOSE THAT WOULD BE RICH 1 
[OCTOBER 1736] 

THE Use of Money is all the Advantage there is in having 
Money. 

For 6 a Year you may have the Use of ;ioo if you are 
a Man of known Prudence and Honesty. 

1 From "Poor Richard," 1737. 



212 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1737 

He that spends a Groat a day idly, spends idly above 
6 a year, which is the Price of using 100. 

He that wastes idly a Groat's worth of his Time per Day, one 
Day with another, wastes the Privilege of using 100 each Day. 

He that idly loses 55. worth of time, loses 53. and might 
as prudently throw 55. in the River. 

He that loses 55. not only loses that Sum, but all the 
Advantage that might be made by turning it in Dealing, 
which, by the time that a young Man becomes old, amounts 
to a comfortable Bag of Money. 

Again, He that sells upon Credit, asks a Price for what 
he sells equivalent to the Principal and Interest of his Money 
for the Time he is like to be kept out of it: therefore He 
that buys upon Credit, pays Interest for what he buys. 
And he that pays ready Money, might let that Money out 
to Use ; so that He that possesses any Thing he has bought, 
pays Interest for the Use of it. 

Consider then when you are tempted to buy any 
unnecessary Householdstuff, or any superfluous thing, 
whether you will be willing to pay Interest, and Interest 
upon Interest for it as long as you live ; and more if it grows 
worse by using. 

Yet, in buying goods, 'tis best to pay Ready Money, be- 
cause, He that sells upon Credit, expects to lose 5 per Cent 
by bad Debts; therefore he charges, on all he sells upon 
Credit, an Advance that shall make up that Deficiency. 

Those who pay for what they buy upon Credit, pay their 
Share of this Advance. 

He that pays ready Money, escapes or may escape that 
Charge. 

A Penny sav'd is Twopence clear, 
A Pin a Day is a Groat a Year. 



1738] PREFACE BY MISTRESS SAUNDERS 213 



28. PREFACE BY MISTRESS SAUNDERS TO POOR 
RICHARD, 1738 (P.H.S.) 

DEAR READERS, 

My good Man set out last week for Potowmack, to visit 
an old Stargazer of his Acquaintance, and see about a little 
Place for us to settle and end our Days on. He left the 
Copy of his Almanack seal'd up, and bid me send it to 
the Press. I suspected something, and therefore as soon 
as he was gone, I open'd it, to see if he had not been fling- 
ing some of his old Skitts at me. Just as I thought, so it 
was. And truly, (for want of somewhat else to say, I sup- 
pose) he had put into his Preface, that his Wife Bridget . . . 
was this, and that, and t' other. . . . What a-peasecods! 
cannot I have a little Fault or two, but all the Country 
must see it in print ! They have already been told, at one 
time that I am proud, another that I am loud, and that 
I have got a new Petticoat, and abundance of such kind 
of stuff ; and now, forsooth ! all the World must know, 
that Poor Dick's Wife has lately taken a fancy to drink a 
little Tea now and then. A mighty matter, truly, to make 
a Song of ! 'Tis true ; I had a little Tea of a Present from 
the Printer last Year; and what, must a body throw it 
away? In short, I thought the Preface was not worth a 
printing, and so I fairly scratch'd it all out, and I believe 
you'll like our Almanack never the worse for it. 

Upon looking over the Months, I see he has put in abun- 
dance of foul Weather this Year; and therefore I have 
scatter'd here and there, where I could find room, some 
fair, pleasant, sunshiny, &c. for the Good- Women to dry 



2i 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1738 

their Clothes in. If it does not come to pass according 
to my Desire, I have shown my Good- will, however; and 
I hope they'll take it in good part. 

I had a Design to make some other Corrections; and 
particularly to change some of the Verses that I don't very 
well like; but I have just now unluckily broke my Spec- 
tacles; which obliges me to give it you as it is, and con- 
clude 

Your loving Friend, 

BRIDGET SAUNDERS. 



29. TO JOSIAH FRANKLIN 1 

Philadelphia, April 13, 1738. 
HONOURED FATHER, 

I have your favours of the 2ist of March, in which you 
both seem concerned lest I have imbibed some erroneous 
opinions. Doubtless I have my share; and when the nat- 
ural weakness and imperfection of human understanding 
is considered, the unavoidable influence of education, cus- 
tom, books, and company upon our ways of thinking, I 
imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who be- 
lieves, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all the 
doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false. And 
perhaps the same may be justly said of every sect, church, 
and society of men, when they assume to themselves that 
infallibility, which they deny to the Pope and councils. 

I think opinions should be judged of by their influences 
and effects ; and, if a man holds none that tend to make him 

1 From " Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin." Philadelphia : McCarty & 
Davis, 1834, p. 233. 



1738] TO JOSIAH FRANKLIN 215 

less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded he holds 
none that are dangerous; which I hope is the case with me. 

I am sorry you should have any uneasiness on my account ; 
and if it were a thing possible for one to alter his opinions 
in order to please another, I know none whom I ought more 
willingly to oblige in that respect than yourselves. But, 
since it is no more in a man's power to think than to look 
like another, methinks all that should be expected from me 
is to keep my mind open to conviction, to hear patiently and 
examine attentively, whatever is offered me for that end; 
and, if after all I continue hi the same errors, I believe your 
usual charity will induce you to rather pity and excuse, than 
blame me. In the mean time your care and concern for me 
is what I am very thankful for. 

My mother grieves, that one of her sons is an Arian, 
another an Arminian. What an Arminian or an Arian is, 
I cannot say that I very well know. The truth is, I make 
such distinctions very little my study. I think vital religion 
has always suffered, when orthodoxy is more regarded than 
virtue; and the Scriptures assure me, that at the last day 
we shall not be examined what we thought, but what we 
did; and our recommendation will not be, that we said, 
Lord! Lord! but that we did good to our fellow creatures. 
See Matt. xxv. 

As to the freemasons, I know no way of giving my mother 
a better account of them than she seems to have at present, 
since it is not allowed that women should be admitted into 
that secret society. She has, I must confess, on that ac- 
count some reason to be displeased with it ; but for any 
thing else, I must entreat her to suspend her judgment till 
she is better informed, unless she will believe me, when I 



2 i6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1739 

assure her that they are in general a very harmless sort of 
people, and have no principles or practices that are incon- 
sistent with religion and good manners. 

We have had great rains here lately, which, with the 
thawing of snow on the mountains back of our country, 
have made vast floods in our rivers, and, by carrying away 
bridges, boats, &c., made travelling almost impracticable 
for a week past ; so that our post has entirely missed making 
one trip. 

I hear nothing of Dr. Crook, nor can I learn any such 
person has ever been here. 

I hope my sister Jenny's child is by this time recovered. 

I am your dutiful son. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



30. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1739 (A. P. s.) 

Kind Reader, 

Encouraged by thy former Generosity, I once more pre- 
sent thee with an Almanack, which is the yth of my Pub- 
lication. While thou art putting Pence in my Pocket, and 
furnishing my Cottage with necessaries, Poor Dick is not 
unmindful to do something for thy Benefit. The Stars 
are watch'd as narrowly as old Bess watch'd her Daughter, 
that thou mayst be acquainted with their Motions, and told 
a Tale of their Influences and Effects, which may do thee 
more good than a Dream of last Year's Snow. 

Ignorant Men wonder how we Astrologers foretell the 
Weather so exactly, unless we deal with the old black Devil. 
Alas! 'tis as easy as ****** For Instance; The Star- 
gazer peeps at the Heavens thro' a long Glass: He sees 



1739] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 217 

perhaps TAURUS, or the great Bull, in a mighty Chafe, 
stamping on the Floor of his House, swinging his Tail about, 
stretching out his Neck, and opening wide his Mouth. 'Tis 
natural from these Appearances to judge that this furious 
Bull is puffing, blowing and roaring. Distance being con- 
sider'd and Time allow'd for all this to come down, there 
you have Wind and Thunder. He spies perhaps VIRGO 
(or the Virgin ;) she turns her Head round as it were to see 
if any body observ'd her; then crouching down gently, with 
her Hands on her Knees, she looks wistfully for a while 
right forward. He judges rightly what she's about: And 
having calculated the Distance and allow'd Time for its 
Falling, finds that next Spring we shall have a fine April 
shower. What can be more natural and easy than this? 
I might instance the like hi many other particulars ; but this 
may be sufficient to prevent our being taken for Conjurors. 
O the wonderful Knowledge to be found in the Stars ! Even 
the smallest Things are written there, if you had but Skill to 
read: When my Brother J m n erected a Scheme to 
know which was best for his sick Horse, to sup a new-laid 
Egg, or a little Broth, he found that the Stars plainly gave 
their Verdict for Broth, and the Horse having sup'd his 
Broth; Now, what do you think became of that Horse? 
You shall know in my next. 

Besides the usual Things expected in an Almanack, I 
hope the profess'd Teachers of Mankind will excuse my 
scattering here and there some instructive Hints in Matters 
of Morality and Religion. And be not thou disturbed, O 
grave and sober Reader, if among the many serious Sen- 
tences in my Book, thou findest me trifling now and then, 
and talking idly. In all the Dishes I have hitherto cook'd 



218 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1739 

for thee, there is solid Meat enough for thy Money. There 
are Scraps from the Table of Wisdom, that will if well di- 
gested, yield strong Nourishment to thy Mind. But squeam- 
ish Stomachs cannot eat without Pickles; which, 'tis true 
are good for nothing else, but they provoke an Appetite. 
The Vain Youth that reads my Almanack for the sake of an 
idle Joke, will perhaps meet with a serious Reflection, that 
he may ever after be the better for. 

Some People observing the great Yearly Demand for my 
Almanack, imagine I must by this Time have become rich, 
and consequently ought to call myself Poor Dick no longer. 
But, the Case is this, 

When I first begun to publish, the Printer made a fair 
Agreement with me for my Copies, by Virtue of which he 
runs away with the greatest Part of the Profit. However, 
much good may 't do him ; I do not grudge it him ; he is a 
Man I have a great Regard for, and I wish his Profit ten 
times greater than it is. For I am, dear Reader, his, as well 
as thy 

Affectionate Friend 

R. SAUNDERS. 



31. A TRUE PROGNOSTICATION, FOR 1739 ' 

COURTEOUS READERS, 

Having consider'd the infinite Abuses arising from the 
false Prognostications published among you, made under 
the shadow of a Pot of Drink, or so, I have here calculated 
one of the most sure and unerring that ever was seen in 

1 From " Poor Richard," 1739. 



1739] A TRUE PROGNOSTICATION, FOR 1739 219 

black and white, as hereafter you'll find. For doubtless it 
is a heinous, foul and crying Sin, to deceive the poor gaping 
World, greedy of the Knowledge of Futurity, as we Ameri- 
cans all are. Take Notice by the by, that having been at a 
great deal of pains in the Calculation, if you don't believe 
every Syllable, Jot and Tittle of it, you do me a great deal 
of wrong; for which either here or elsewhere, you may 
chance to be claw'd off with a Vengeance. A good Cowskin, 
Crabtree or Bull's pizzle may be plentifully bestow'd on 
your outward Man. You may snuff up your Noses as much 
as you please, 'tis all one for that. 

Well however, come, suite your Noses my little Children; 
and you old doating Father Grey-Beards, pull out your best 
Eyes, on wi' your Barnacles, and carefully observe every 
Scruple of what I'm going to tell you. 

OF THE GOLDEN NUMBER 

The Golden Number, non est inventus. I cannot find it 
this Year by any Calculation I have made. I must content 
myself with a Number of Copper. No matter, go on. 

Of the ECLIPSES this Year 

There are so many invisible Eclipses this Year, that I fear, 
not unjustly, our Pockets will suffer Inanition, be full empty, 
and our Feeling at a Loss. During the first visible Eclipse 
Saturn is retrograde: For which Reason the Crabs will go 
sidelong, and the Ropemakers backward. The Belly will 
wag before, and the A shall sit down first. Mercury 
will have his share in these Affairs, and so confound the 
Speech of People, that when a Pensilvanian would say 



220 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1739 

PANTHER he shall say PAINTER. When a New Yorker 
thinks to say (This) he shall say (Diss) and the people in 
New England and Cape May will not be able to say (Cow) 
for their Lives, but will be forc'd to say (Keow) by a certain 
involuntary Twist in the Root of their Tongues. No Con- 
necticut man nor Marylander will be able to open his Mouth 
this Year but (Sir) shall be the first or last Syllable he pro- 
nounces, and sometimes both. Brutes shall speak in many 
Places, and there will be above seven and twenty irregular 
Verbs made this Year, if Grammar don't interpose. Who 
can help these Misfortunes ! 

Of the DISEASES This Year 

This Year the Stone-blind shall see but very little; the 
Deaf shall hear but poorly; and the Dumb sha'nt speak 
very plain. And it's much, if my Dame Bridget talks at 
all this Year. 

WTiole Flocks, Herds, and Droves of Sheep, Swine and 
Oxen, Cocks and Hens, Ducks and Drakes, Geese and 
Ganders shall go to Pot ; but the Mortality will not be al- 
together so great among Cats, Dogs, and Horses. As for 
old Age, 'twill be incurable this Year, because of the Years 
past. And towards the Fall some People will be seiz'd 
with an unaccountable Inclination to roast and eat their 
own Ears: Should this be call'd Madness, Doctors? I 
think not. But the worst Disease of all will be a certain 
most horrid, dreadful, malignant, catching, perverse and 
odious Malady, almost epidemical, insomuch that many 
shall run mad upon it; I quake for very Fear when I think 
on't: for I assure you very few will escape this Disease, 
which is called by the learned Albumazar Lacko'mony. 



1740] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 221 

Of the FRUITS of the EARTH 

I find that this will be a plentiful Year of all manner of 
good Things, to those who have enough; but the Orange 
Trees in Greenland, will go near to fare the worse for the 
Cold. As for Oats, they'll be a great Help to Horses. I 
dare say there won't be much more Bacon than Swine. 
Mercury somewhat threatens our Parsley-beds, yet Parsly 
will be to be had for Money. Hemp will grow faster than 
the Children of this Age, and some will find there's but too 
much on't. As for Corn, Fruit, Cyder and Turnips, there 
never was such Plenty as will be now; if poor Folks may 
have their Wish. 

Of the CONDITION of some COUNTRIES 

I foresee an universal Droughth this Year thro' all the 
Northern Colonies. Hence there will be dry Rice in Caro- 
lina, dry Tobacco in Virginia and Maryland, dry Bread 
in Pennsylvania and New York; and in New England 
dry Fish and dry Doctrine. Dry Throats there will be 
everywhere; but then how pleasant it will be to drink cool 
Cyder! tho' some will tell you nothing is more contrary 
to Thirst. I believe it; and indeed, Contraria contrariis 

curantur. 

R. SAUNDERS. 



32. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1740 (A.P.S.) 

October 7. 1739. 
Courteous Reader, 

You may remember that in my first Almanack, pub- 
lished for the Year 1733, I predicted the Death of my dear 
Friend Titan Leeds, Philomat. to happen that Year on the 



222 



THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1740 



1 7th Day of October ; 3 h. 29 m. P. M. The good Man, 
it seems, died accordingly: But W. B. and A. B have con- 
tinued to publish Almanacks in his Name ever since; as- 
serting for some Years that he was still living; At length 
when the Truth could no longer be conceal'd from the 
World, they confess his Death in their Almanack for 1739, 
but pretend that he died not till last Year, and that before 
his Departure he had furnished them with Calculations 
for 7 Years to come. Ah, My Friends, these are poor 
Shifts and thin Disguises; of which indeed I should have 
taken little or no Notice, if you had not at the same time 
accus'd me as a false Predictor; an Aspersion that the 
more affects me, as my whole Livelyhood depends on a 
contrary Character. 

But to put this Matter beyond Dispute, I shall acquaint 
the World with a Fact, as strange and surprizing as it is 
true; being as follows, viz. 

On the 4th Instant, towards midnight, as I sat in my 
little Study writing this Preface, I fell fast asleep; and 
continued in that Condition for some time, without dream- 
ing any thing, to my Knowledge. On awaking I found 
lying before me the following Letter, viz. 

'Dear Friend SAUNDERS, 

My Respect for you continues even in this separate State, 
and I am griev'd to see the Aspersions thrown on you by 
the Malevolence of avaricious Publishers of Almanacks 
who envy your Success. They say Your Prediction of my 
Death in 1733 was false, and they pretend that I remained 
alive many Years after. But I do hereby certify, that I 
did actually die at that time; precisely at the Hour you 



1740] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 223 

mention'd, with a Variation only of 5 m. 53 sec. which must 
be allow'd to be no great matter in such Cases. And I 
do farther declare that I furnish'd them with no Calcula- 
tions of the Planets Motions, etc, seven Years after my 
Death, as they are pleased to give out: so that the Stuff 
they publish as an Almanack in my Name is no more mine 
than 'tis yours. 

You will wonder perhaps, how this Paper comes written 
on your Table. You must know that no separate Spirits 
are under any Confinement till after the final Settlement 
of all Accounts. In the mean time we wander where we 
please, visit our old Friends, observe their Actions, enter 
sometimes into their Imaginations, and give them Hints, 
waking or sleeping that may be of Advantage to them. 
Finding you asleep, I entred your left Nostril, ascended 
into your Brain, found out where the Ends of those Nerves 
were fastned that move your right Hand and Fingers, by 
the Help of which I am now writing unknown to you; but 
when you open your Eyes, you will see that the Hand written 
is mine, tho' wrote with yours. 

The People of this Infidel Age, perhaps, will hardly 
believe this Story. But you may give them these three 
Signs by which they shall be convinc'd of the Truth of it. 
About the middle of June next, J. J n, Philomai, shall 
be openly reconciled to the Church of Rome, and give all 
his Goods and Chatties to the Chappel, being perverted by 
a certain Country Schoolmaster. On the yth of September 
following my old Friend W. B t shall be sober 9 Hours, 
to the Astonishment of all his Neighbours: And about the 
same time W. B. and A. B. will publish another Almanack 
in my Name, in Spight of Truth and Common-Sense. 



224 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1742 

As I can see much clearer into Futurity, since I got free 
from the dark Prison of Flesh, in which I was continually 
molested and almost blinded with Fogs arising from Tiff, 
and the Smoke of burnt Drams; I shall in kindness to you, 
frequently give you Informations of things to come for the 
Improvement of your Almanack: Being Dear Dick 

Your affectionate Friend 
T. LEEDS.' 

For my own part I am convinc'd that the above Letter 
is genuine. If the Reader doubts of it, let him carefully 
observe the three Signs ; and if they do not actually come 
to pass, believe as he pleases. 

/ am his humble Friend 
R. SAUNDERS. 

33. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1742 (L.C.P.) 

Courteous READER, 

THIS is the ninth Year of my Endeavours to serve thee 
in the Capacity of a Calendar- Writer. The Encourage- 
ment I have met with must be ascrib'd, in a great Measure, 
to your Charity, excited by the open honest Declaration 
I made of my Poverty at my first Appearance. This 
my Brother Philomaths could, without being Conjurers, 
discover; and Poor Richard's Success has produced ye a 
Poor Will, and a Poor Robin; and no doubt Poor John, 
&c. will follow, and we shall all be, in Name, what some 
Folks say we are already in Fact, a Parcel of poor Almanack- 
Makers. During the Course of these nine Years, what 
Bufferings have I not sustained! The Fraternity have 
been all in Arms. Honest Titan, deceas'd, was rais'd, 




BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 

From an original portrait in pencil by Benjamin West, in the collection 
of The Hon. Samuel W. Pennypacker, LL.D. 



1742] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 225 

and made to abuse his old Friend. Both Authors and 
Printers were angry. Hard Names, and many, were be- 
stow'd on me. They deny'd me to be the Author of my 
own works; declar'd there never was any such Person; 
asserted that I was dead 60 Years ago; prognosticated my 
Death to happen within a Twelvemonth: with many other 
malicious Inconsistences, the Effects of blind Passion, 
Envy at my Success; and a vain Hope of depriving me, 
(dear Reader) of thy wonted Countenance and Favour. 
Who knows him? they cry: Where does he live? But 
what is that to them? If I delight in a private Life, have 
they any Right to drag me out of my Retirement ? I have 
good Reasons for concealing the Place of my Abode. 'Tis 
time for an old Man, as I am, to think of preparing for 
his great Remove. The perpetual Teasing of both Neigh- 
bours and Strangers, to calculate Nativities, give Judg- 
ments on Schemes, erect Figures, discover Thieves, detect 
Horse- Stealers, describe the Route of Run-aways and 
stray 'd Cattle; The Croud of Visitors with a 1000 trifling 
Questions ; Will my Ship return safe ? Will my Mare win 
the Race? Will her next Colt be a Pacer? When will my 
Wife die? Who shall be my Husband, and HOW LONG 
first? When is the best time to cut Hair, trim Cocks, or 
sow Sallad? These and the like Impertinences I have now 
neither Taste nor Leisure for. I have had enough of 'em. 
All that these angry Folks can say, will never provoke me 
to tell them where I live. I would eat my Nails first. 

My last Adversary is J. J n, 1 Philomat., who de- 
clares and protests (in his preface, 1741) that the false Proph- 
ecy put in my Almanack, concerning him, the Year before, 

1 John Jerman. 

VOL. II Q 



226 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1742 

is altogether false and untrue : and that I am one of Baal's 
false Prophets. This false, false Prophecy he speaks of, 
related to his Reconciliation with the Church of Rome; 
which, notwithstanding his Declaring and Protesting, is, 
I fear, too true. Two Things in his elegiac Verses confirm 
me in this Suspicion. He calls the first of November by 
the Name of All Hallows Day. Reader; does not this smell 
of Popery? Does it in the least savour of the pure Lan- 
guage of Friends? But the plainest Thing is; his Adora- 
tion of Saints, which he confesses to be his Practice, in these 
Words, page 4. 

" When any Trouble did me befal, 
To my dear Mary then I would call." 

Did he think the whole World were so stupid as not to 
take Notice of this? So ignorant as not to know, that all 
Catholicks pay the highest Regard to the Virgin Mary? 
Ah ! Friend John, we must allow you to be a Poet, but you 
are certainly no Protestant. I could heartily wish your 
Religion were as good as your Verses. 

RICHARD SAUNDERS.* 

1 In the following Year John Jerman wrote in the Preface to his "Ameri- 
can Almanack " : 

" To the READERS, Here is presented to your View and Service, an Alma- 
nack for the Year 1 743 according to my yearly Method, so I hope it needs no 
Explanation. I have put down the Judgment of the Weather as usual, and 
as I find the Aspects and Positions of the Planets to signifie ; but no Man can 
be infallible therein, by reason of the many contrary Causes happening at or 
near the same Time, and the inconstancy of the Summer Showers and Gusts, 
being very often great Rain Hail and Thunder in one Place, and none at all 
in another Place within a few Miles distance. However I think mine comes 
as near the Matter as any other, if not nearer. 

The Reader may expect a Reply from me to R S rs alias B 

f MS facetious Way of proving me no Protestant. I do hereby protest, 

that for that and such kind of Usage the Printer of that witty Performance 



1742] RULES OF HEALTH AND LONG LIFE 227 

34. RULES OF HEALTH AND LONG LIFE 1 

EAT and drink such an exact Quantity as the Constitu- 
tion of thy Body allows of, in reference to the Services of 
the Mind. 

They that study much, ought not to eat so much as those 
that work hard, their Digestion being not so good. 

The exact Quantity and Quality, being found out, is to 
be kept to constantly. 

Excess in all other Things whatever, as well as in Meat 
and Drink, is also to be avoided. 

Youth, Age, and Sick, require a different Quantity. 

And so do those of contrary Complexions; for that which 
is too much for a phlegmatick Man, is not sufficient for a 
Cholerick. 

The Measure of Food ought to be (as much as possibly 
may be) exactly proportionable to the Quality and Con- 
dition of the Stomach, because the Stomach digests it. 

That Quantity that is sufficient, the Stomach can per- 
fectly concoct and digest, and it sufficeth the due Nourish- 
ment of the Body. 

A greater Quantity of some things may be eaten than 
of others, some being of lighter Digestion than others. 

The Difficulty lies, in finding out an exact Measure ; but 
eat for Necessity, not Pleasure, for Lust knows not where 
Necessity ends. 

shall not have the Benefit of my Almanack for this Year. To avoid further 
Contention, and judging it unnecessary to offer any Proofs to those of my 
Acquaintance that I am not a Papist, I shall with these few Lines conclude 
and give place to what I think more agreeable to my Readers. 

John Jerman." 
1 From Poor Richard, 1742. 



228 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1743 

Wouldst thou enjoy a long Life, a healthy Body, and a 
vigorous Mind, and be acquainted also with the wonder- 
ful Works of God, labour in the first place to bring thy 
Appetite into Subjection to Reason. 



35. A PROPOSAL 

FOR PROMOTING USEFUL KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE 
BRITISH PLANTATIONS IN AMERICA 1 

Philadelphia, May 14, 1743. 

THE English are possessed of a long tract of continent, 
from Nova Scotia to Georgia, extending north and south 
through different climates, having different soils, produc- 
ing different plants, mines, and minerals, and capable of 
different improvements, manufactures, &c. 

The first drudgery of settling new colonies, which con- 
fines the attention of people to mere necessaries, is now 
pretty well over; and there are many in every province 
in circumstances that set them at ease, and afford leisure 
to cultivate the finer arts and improve the common stock 
of knowledge. To such of these who are men of specu- 
lation, many hints must from time to time arise, many 
observations occur, which if well examined, pursued, and im- 
proved, might produce discoveries to the advantage of some 
or all of the British plantations, or to the benefit of man- 
kind in general. 

1 This paper appears to contain the first suggestion, in any public form, 
for an American Philosophical Society, It was originally printed on a 
separate sheet, as a circular letter, and sent by the author to his different 
correspondents. S. 



1743] A PROPOSAL 229 

But as from the extent of the country such persons 
are widely separated, and seldom can see and converse 
or be acquainted with each other, so that many useful 
particulars remain uncommunicated, die with the dis- 
coverers, and are lost to mankind; it is, to remedy this 
inconvenience for the future, proposed, 

That one society be formed of virtuosi or ingenious men, 
residing in the several colonies, to be called The American 
Philosophical Society, who are to maintain a constant cor- 
respondence. 

That Philadelphia, being the city nearest the centre of the 
continent colonies, communicating with all of them north- 
ward and southward by post, and with all the islands by sea, 
and having the advantage of a good growing library, be the 
centre of the Society. 

That at Philadelphia there be always at least seven 
members, viz. a physician, a botanist, a mathematician, 
a chemist, a mechanician, a geographer, and a general 
natural philosopher, besides a president, treasurer, and sec- 
retary. 

That these members meet once a month, or oftener, at 
their own expense, to communicate to each other their ob- 
servations and experiments, to receive, read, and consider 
such letters, communications, or queries as shall be sent 
from distant members; to direct the dispersing of copies 
of such communications as are valuable, to other distant 
members, in order to procure their sentiments there- 
upon. 

That the subjects of the correspondence be: all new- 
discovered plants, herbs, trees, roots, their virtues, uses, 
&c. ; methods of propagating them, and making such as 



230 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1743 

are useful, but particular to some plantations, more general ; 
improvements of vegetable juices, as ciders, wines, &c.; 
new methods of curing or preventing diseases; all new- 
discovered fossils in different countries, as mines, minerals, 
and quarries; new and useful improvements in any branch 
of mathematics; new discoveries in chemistry, such as im- 
provements in distillation, brewing, and assaying of ores; 
new mechanical inventions for saving labour, as mills and 
carriages, and for raising and conveying of water, draining 
of meadows, &c. ; all new arts, trades, and manufactures, 
that may be proposed or thought of; surveys, maps, and 
charts of particular parts of the sea-coasts or inland coun- 
tries ; course and junction of rivers and great roads, situation 
of lakes and mountains, nature of the soil and productions; 
new methods of improving the breed of useful animals; in- 
troducing other sorts from foreign countries; new improve- 
ments in planting, gardening, and clearing land; and all 
philosophical experiments that let light into the nature of 
things, tend to increase the power of man over matter, and 
multiply the conveniences or pleasures of life. 

That a correspondence, already begun by some intended 
members, shall be kept up by this Society with the ROYAL 
SOCIETY of London, and with the DUBLIN SOCIETY. 

That every member shall have abstracts sent him quar- 
terly, of ever>' thing valuable communicated to the Society's 
Secretary at Philadelphia ; free of all charge except the yearly 
payment hereafter mentioned. 

That, by permission of the postmaster-general, such com- 
munications pass between the Secretary of the Society and 
the members, postage-free. 

That, for defraying the expense of such experiments as 



1743] A PROPOSAL 231 

the Society shall judge proper to cause to be made, and other 
contingent charges for the common good, every member send 
a piece of eight per annum to the treasurer, at Philadelphia, 
to form a common stock, to be disbursed by order of the 
President with the consent of the majority of the members 
that can conveniently be consulted thereupon, to such per- 
sons and places where and by whom the experiments are to 
be made, and otherwise as there shall be occasion ; of which 
disbursements an exact account shall be kept, and com- 
municated yearly to every member. 

That, at the first meetings of the members at Philadelphia, 
such rules be formed for regulating their meetings and trans- 
actions for the general benefit, as shall be convenient and 
necessary; to be afterwards changed and improved as there 
shall be occasion, wherein due regard is to be had to the 
advice of distant members. 

That, at the end of every year, collections be made and 
printed, of such experiments, discoveries, and improvements, 
as may be thought of public advantage; and that every 
member have a copy sent him. 

That the business and duty of the Secretary be to receive 
all letters intended for the Society, and lay them before the 
President and members at. their meetings ; to abstract, cor- 
rect, and methodize such papers as require it, and as he 
shall be directed to do by the President, after they have been 
considered, debated, and digested in the Society; to enter 
copies thereof in the Society's books, and make out copies 
for distant members; to answer their letters by direction of 
the President, and keep records of all material transactions 
of the Society. 

Benjamin Franklin, the writer of this Proposal, offers him- 



232 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1743 

self to serve the Society as their secretary, till they shall be 
provided with one more capable. 1 



36. SHAVERS AND TRIMMERS 3 

ALEXANDER MILLER, Peruke-maker, in Second-street, 
Philadelphia, takes Opportunity to acquaint his Customers, 
that he intends to leave off the Shaving Business after the 
22d of August next. 

To MR. FRANKLIN. 
Sm, 

It is a common Observation among the People of Great 
Britain and Ireland, that the Barbers are reverenced by the 
lower Classes of the Inhabitants of those Kingdoms, and in 
the more remote Parts of those Dominions, as the sole 
Oracles of Wisdom and Politicks. This at first View seems 
to be owing to the odd Bent of Mind and peculiar Humour 
of the People of those Nations : But if we carry this Observa- 
tion into other Parts, we shall find the same Passion equally 
prevalent throughout the whole civilized World; and dis- 
cover in every little Market-Town and Village the 'Squire, 
the Exciseman, and even the Parson himself, listening with 
as much Attention to a Barber's News, as they would to the 
profound Revelations of a Chancellor of the Exchequer, or 
principal Secretary of State. 

1 This is doubtless the paper alluded to by Dr. Franklin in his autobiog- 
raphy, where he says ; " I succeeded, in the year 1 744, in proposing and 
establishing a Philosophical Society. The paper I wrote for that purpose will 
be found among my writings ; if not lost with many others." S. 

2 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 23, 1743. 



1743] SHAVERS AND TRIMMERS 233 

Antiquity likewise will furnish us with many Confirma- 
tions of the Truth of what I have here asserted. Among the 
old Romans the Barbers were understood to be exactly of 
the same Complection I have hear described. I shall not 
trouble your Readers with a Multitude of Examples taken 
from Antiquity. I shall only quote one Passage in Horace, 
which may serve to illustrate the Whole, and is as follows. 

Strenuus et fortis, causisq ; Philippus agendis 
Clarus, ab officiis octavam circiter horam 
Dum redit : atq ; foro nimium distare carinas 
Jam grandis natu queritur, conspexit, ut aiunt, 
Adrasum quendam vacua tonsoris in umbra. 
Cultello proprios purgantem leniter ungues. 

Hor. Epist. Lib. I. 7. 

By which we may understand, that the Tonsoris Umbra, or 
Barber's Shop, was the common Rendezvous of every idle 
Fellow, who had no more to do than to pair his Nails, talk 
Politicks, and see, and to be seen. 

But to return to the Point in Question. If we would know 
why the Barbers are so eminent for their Skill in Politicks, 
it will be necessary to lay aside the Appellation of Barber, 
and confine ourselves to that of Shaver and Trimmer, 
which will naturally lead us to consider the near Relation 
which subsists between Shaving, Trimming and Politicks, 
from whence we shall discover that Shaving and Trimming 
is not the Province of the Mechanic alone, but that there are 
their several Shavers and Trimmers at Court, the Bar, in 
Church and State. 

And first, Shaving or Trimming, in a strict mechanical 
Sense of the Word, signifies a cutting, sheering, lopping off, 
and fleecing us of those Excrescencies of Hair, Nails, Flesh, 



234 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1743 

&c., which burthen and disguise our natural Endowments. 
And is not the same practised over the whole World, by Men 
of every Rank and Station ? Does not the corrupt Minister 
lop off our Privileges and fleece us of our Money? Do not 
the Gentlemen of the long Robe find means to cut off those 
Excrescencies of the Nation, Highwaymen, Thieves and 
Robbers ? And to look into the Church, who has been more 
notorious for shaving and fleecing, than that Apostle of 
Apostles, that Preacher of Preachers, the Rev. Mr. G. W. ? 
But I forbear making farther mention of this spiritual Shaver 
and Trimmer, lest I should affect the Minds of my Readers 
as deeply as his Preaching has affected their Pockets. 

The second Species of Shavers and Trimmers are those 
who, according to the English Phrase, make the best of a 
bad Market: Such as cover (what is called by an eminent 
Preacher) their poor Dust in tinsel Cloaths and gaudy 
Plumes of Feathers. A Star, and Garter, for Instance, adds 
Grace, Dignity and Lustre to a gross corpulent Body ; and a 
competent Share of religious Horror thrown into the Counte- 
nance, with proper Distortions of the Face, and the Addition 
of a lank Head of Hair, or a long Wig and Band, com- 
mands a most profound Respect to Insolence and Ignorance. 
The Pageantry of the Church of Rome is too well known for 
me to instance: It will not however be amiss to observe, 
that his Holiness the Pope, when he has a Mind to fleece his 
Flock of a good round Sum, sets off the Matter with Briefs, 
Pardons, Indulgencies, &c. &c. &c. 

The Third and last Kind of Shavers and Trimmers are 
those who (in Scripture Language) are carried away with 
every Wind of Doctrine. The Vicars of Bray, and those 
who exchange their Principles with the Times, may justly 



1743] SHAVERS AND TRIMMERS 235 

be referred to this Class. But the most odious Shavers and 
Trimmers of this Kind, are a certain set of Females, called 
(by the polite World) JILTS. I cannot give my Readers a 
more perfect Idea of these than by quoting the following 
Lines of the Poet : 

Fatally fair they are, and in their Smiles 

The Graces, little Loves, and young Desires inhabit; 

But they are false luxurious in their Appetites, 

And all the Heav'n they hope for, is Variety. 

One Lover to another still succeeds, 

Another and another after that, 

And the last Fool is welcome as the former ; 

Till having lov'd his Hour out, he gives his Place, 

And mingles with the Herd that went before him. 

Rowers Fair Penitent. 

Lastly, I cannot but congratulate my Neighbours on the 
little Favour which is shown to Shavers and Trimmers by the 
People of this Province. The Business is at so low an Ebb, 
that the worthy Gentleman whose Advertisement I have 
chosen for the Motto of my Paper, acquaints us he will leave 
it off after the 22d of August next. I am of Opinion that all 
possible Encouragement ought to be given to Examples of 
this Kind, since it is owing to this that so perfect an Under- 
standing is cultivated among ourselves, and the Chain of 
Friendship is brightened and perpetuated with our good 
Allies, the Indians. The Antipathy which these sage Natu- 
ralists bear to Shaving and Trimming, is well known. 

I am, Yours, &c. 



236 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1743 



TO THE PUBLICK 1 

* * * Causis Philippus agendis 
Claras, * * * 

S. P. D. 

My Paper on Shavers and Trimmers, in the last Gazette, 
being generally condemn'd, I at first imputed it to the Want 
of Taste and Relish for Pieces of that Force and Beauty, 
which none but University-bred Gentlemen can produce: 
But upon Advice of Friends, whose Judgment I could de- 
pend on, I examined myself and to my Shame must confess, 
that I found myself to be an uncircumcised Jew, whose Ex- 
crescencies of Hair, Nails, Flesh, &c. did burthen and dis- 
guise my Natural Endowments; but having my Hair and 
Nails since lopp'd off and shorn, and my fleshly Excrescencies 
circumcised, I now appear in my wonted Lustre, and expect 
a speedy Admission among the Levites, which I have already 
the Honour of among the Poets and Natural Philosophers. 
I have one Thing more to add, which is, That I had no real 
Animosity against the Person whose Advertisement I made 
the Motto of my Paper ; but (as may appear to all who have 
been Big with Pieces of this Kind) what I had long on my 
Mind, I at last unburden'd myself of. O ! these JILTS still 
run in my Mind. 

N.B. The Publick perhaps may suppose this Confession 
forced upon me ; but if they repair to the P Pe in Second- 
street, they may see Me, or the Original hereof under my 
own Hand, and be convinced that this is genuine. 

1 From The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 30, 1743. 



1743] TO MRS. JANE MECOM 237 

37. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (p. c.) 

PHILADELPHIA, July 10, 1743. 

SIR : Mr. Read has communicated to me part of a letter 
from you, recommending a young man 2 whom you would 
be glad to see in better business than that of a journeyman 
printer. I have already three printing-houses in different 
colonies, and purpose to set up a fourth if I can meet with a 
proper person to manage it, having all materials ready for that 
purpose. If the young man will venture over hither, that I 
may see and be acquainted with him, we can treat about the 
affair, and I make no doubt but he will think my proposals 
reasonable ; if we should not agree, I promise him, however, 
a twelve-month's good work, and to defray his passage back 
if he inclines to return to England. I am, sir, your humble 

servant unknown, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

38. TO MRS. JANE MECOM 3 

PHILADELPHIA, July 28, 1743. 
DEAREST SISTER JENNY, 

I took your admonition very kindly, and was far from being 
offended at you for it. If I say any thing about it to you, it 

1 Printed by Bigelow, Vol. X, p. 233. Strahan's papers are now widely 
dispersed in private collections. William Strahan (1715-1785), a printer and 
publisher, was a junior partner of Andrew Millar, and, after 1 768, a partner of 
Thomas Cadell, the elder. He published Gibbon's " Decline and Fall," and 
the histories of Robertson and Hume. He was Hume's literary executor. 
He became King's Printer in 1769. ED. 

8 David Hall. 

* From " The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin," Philadelphia. Published 
by William Duane, 1817, Vol. VI, p. 5. 



238 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1743 

is only to rectify some wrong opinions you seem to have en- 
tertained of me; and this I do only because they give you 
some uneasiness, which I am unwilling to be the occasion of. 
You express yourself, as if you thought I was against the 
worshipping of God, and doubt that good works would merit 
heaven ; which are both fancies of your own, I think, without 
foundation. I am so far from thinking that God is not to be 
worshipped, that I have composed and wrote a whole book 
of devotions for my own use ; and I imagine there are few if 
any in the world so weak as to imagine that the little good 
we can do here can merit so vast a reward hereafter. 

There are some things in your New England doctrine and 
worship, which I do not agree with; but I do not therefore 
condemn them, or desire to shake your belief or practice of 
them. We may dislike things that are nevertheless right in 
themselves. I would only have you make me the same 
allowance, and have a better opinion both of morality and 
your brother. Read the pages of Mr. 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 of thorns and figs of thistles." I have no time to add, 
but that I shall always be your affectionate brother, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. It was not kind in you, when your sister com- 
mended good works, to suppose she intended it a reproach 
to you. It was very far from her thoughts. 



1744] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 239 



39. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1744 (p. H. s.) 

Courteous Reader, 

This is the Twelfth Year that I have in this Way laboured 

for the Benefit of Whom ? of the Publick, if you '11 be 

so good-natured as to believe it ; if not, e'en take the naked 
Truth, 't was for the Benefit of my own dear self ; not for- 
getting in the mean time, our gracious Consort and Dutchess 
the peaceful, quiet, silent Lady Bridget. But whether my 
Labours have been of any Service to the Publick or not, the 
Publick I must acknowledge has been of Service to me; I 
have lived Comfortably by its Benevolent Encouragement; 
and I hope I shall always bear a grateful Sense of its con- 
tinued Favour. 

My Adversary J . . n J n has indeed made an 

Attempt to out-shine me by pretending to penetrate a Year 
deeper into Futurity; and giving his Readers gratis in his 
Almanack for 1743 an Eclipse of the Year 1744, to be before- 
hand with me: His Words are, "The first Day of April next 
"Year 1744, there will be a GREAT ECLIPSE of the Sun; 
"it begins about an Hour before Sunset. It being in the 
"Sign Aries, the House of Mars, and in the 7th, shows Heat, 
" Difference and Animosities between Persons of the highest 
"Rank and Quality," &c. I am very glad, for the Sake of 
* * * se Persons of Rank and Quality, that there is * * man- 
ner of Truth in this Prediction : They may, ***** please, 
live in Love and Peace. And I ***** his Readers (they 
are but few, indeed, and so the Matter 's the less) not to give 
themselves any Trouble about observing this imaginary 
Great Eclipse ; for they may stare till they 're blind without 



240 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

seeing the least Sign of it. I might, on this Occasion, return 

Mr. / n the Name of Baal's false Prophet he gave me 

some Years ago in his Wrath, on Account of my Predicting 
his Reconciliation with the Church of Rome, (tho* he seems 
now to have given up that Point) but I think such Language 
******* old Men and Scholars unbecoming; and 
********** the Affair with the Buyers of this Almanack 
as well as he can, who perhaps will not take it very kindly, 
that he has done what in him lay (by sending them out to gaze 
at an invisible Eclipse on the first of April) to make April 
Fools of them all. His old threadbare Excuse which he 
repeats Year after Year about the Weather, "That no man 
can be infallible therein, by Reason of the many contrary 
Causes happening at or near the same time, and the Uncon- 
stancy of the Summer Showers and Gusts," etc. will hardly 
serve him in the Affair of Eclipses; and I know not where 
he '11 get another. 

I have made no Alteration in my usual Method, except add- 
ing the Rising and Setting of the Planets, and the Lunar 
Conjunctions. Those who are so disposed, may thereby 
very readily learn to know the Planets, and distinguish them 
from each other. / am, dear Reader, 

Thy obliged Friend 
R. SAUNDERS. 

40. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 1 (L. c.) 
SlR, PHILADELPHIA, November 4, 1743. 

I received the favour of yours, with the proposal for a new 
method of printing, which I am much pleased with; and, 

1 Transcript in Library of Congress. Cadwallader Golden (1688-1776) 
published a "History of the Five Indian Nations" (New York, 1727; Lon- 



1744] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 241 

since you express some confidence in my opinion, I shall 
consider it very attentively and particularly, and in a post or 
two send you some observations on every article. 1 

My long absence from home in the summer put my busi- 
ness so much behindhand, that I have been in a continual 
hurry ever since my return, and had no leisure to forward 
the scheme of the Society. But that hurry being now near 
over, I purpose to proceed in the affair very soon, your 
approbation being no small encouragement to me. 

I cannot but be fond of engaging in a correspondence so 
advantageous to me as yours must be. I shall always receive 
your favours as such, and with great pleasure. 

I wish I could by any means have made your son's longer 
stay here as agreeable to him, as it would have been to those 
who began to be acquainted with him. 

I am, Sir, with much respect, 

Your most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



41. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 3 (P. c.) 

, Feb. 12, 1744. 



SIR, 

I received your Favour per Mr. Chew, dated Sept. 10. 
and a Copy via Boston. I received also Mr. Middleton's 

don, 1745), and "Principles of Action in Matter," with a treatise on "Flux- 
ions," London, 1752. ED. 

1 The " proposal " here referred to, which was evidently an original inven- 
tion of Mr. Golden, has some resemblance to the early attempts at stereotype 
printing. Franklin's " observations " have not been found. ED. 

3 Printed by Bigelow, " Life of Benjamin Franklin," 5th edition, 1905, 
Vol. I, p. 375. Printed here from Puttick and Simpson's Catalogue, No. 374, 
July 1 6, 1888. 

VOL. II R 



242 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

pieces. 1 I am pleased to hear that my old Acquaintance 
Mr. Wiggate, is promoted, and hope the Discovery will be 
compleated. I would not have you be too nice in the Choice 
of Pamphlets you send me. Let me have everything, good 
or bad, that makes a Noise and has a Run: For I have 
Friends here of different tastes to oblige with the sight of 
them. 

"If Mr. Warburton publishes a New Edition of Pope's 
Works, please to send it me as soon as it is out, 6 setts. That 
Poet has many Admirers here, and the Reflection he some- 
where casts on the Plantations as if they had a Relish for 
such Writers as Ward 2 only, is injurious. Your Authors 
know but little of the Fame they have on this side of the 
Ocean. We are a kind of Posterity in respect to them. 
We read their Works with perfect impartiality, being at too 
great a distance to be byassed by the Factions, Parties and 
Prejudices that prevail among you. We know nothing of 
their Personal Failings; the Blemishes in their Charactre 
never reaches [sic] us, and therefore the bright and amiable 
part strikes us with its full Force. They have never of- 
fended us or any of our Friends, and we have no competi- 
tions with them, therefore we praise and admire them without 
Restraint. Whatever Thomson writes send me a dozen 
copies of. I had read no poetry for several years, and almost 
lost the Relish of it, till I met with his Seasons. That charm- 

1 See Letter to Strahan, July 4, 1 744. 

2 Edward Ward (1667-1731), "The London Spy," a writer of Hudibrastic 
verse. His works sold in great numbers in the Plantations. Hence Pope's 
reference to him in the Dunciad i, 234: 

" Nor sail with Ward to ape-and-monkey climes 
Where vile Mundungus trucks for viler rhymes." 

ED. 



1744] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 243 

ing Poet has brought more Tears of Pleasure into my Eyes 
than all I ever read before. I wish it were in my Power to 
return him any Part of the joy he has given me." 

I purpose to send you by a Ship that is to sail shortly from 
this port a bill and an invoice of Books that I shall want for 
Sale in my Shop, which I doubt not you will procure as 
cheap as possible, otherwise I shall not be able to sell them, 
as here is one who is furnish'd by Oswald that sells exces- 
sively low: I cannot conceive upon what Terms they deal. 
The Pamphlets and Newspapers I shall be glad to receive 
by way of N. York and Boston when there is no Ship directly 
hither. If you direct them for B. F., Postm. Philada., they 
will come readily to hand from those Places. Mr. Hall is 
perfectly well and gains Ground daily in the Esteem of all that 
know him. I hope Caslon 1 will not delay casting the Eng- 
lish Fount I wrote to you for, so long as he has some that 
have been sent me. I have no doubt but Mr. Hall will suc- 
ceed well hi what he undertakes. He is obliging, discreet, 
industrious, and honest; and where those Qualities meet, 
Things seldom go amiss. Nothing in my Power shall be 
wanting to serve him. I cannot return your Compliments 
in Kind, this Quaker plain Country producing none. All 
I can do is to demonstrate, by a hearty Readiness in serving 
you when I have an Opportunity, or any Friend you recom- 
mend, that I do truly esteem and love you, being, Sir, 
Your obliged humble Servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 William Caslon (1692-1766), the English Elzevir. At the time this 
letter was written his foundry was in Chiswell Street, and he had taken his 
son into partnership with him. ED. 



244 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 



42. PREFACE TO LOGAN'S TRANSLATION 
OF "CATO MAJOR" 1 

THE PRINTER TO THE READER 

This Version of Cicero's Tract de Senectute, was made 
Ten Years since, by the Honourable and Learned Mr. 
Logan, of this City; undertaken partly for his own Amuse- 
ment, (being then in his 6oth Year, which is said to be nearly 
the Age of the Author when he wrote it) 2 but principally 
for the Entertainment of a Neighbour then in his grand 
Climacteric; and the Notes were drawn up solely on that 
Neighbour's Account, who was not so well acquainted as 
himself with the Roman History and Language: Some 
other Friends, however, (among whom I had the Honour to 
be ranked) obtained Copies of it in MS. And, as I believed 
it to be in itself equal at least, if not far preferable to any 
other Translation of the same Piece extant in our Language, 
besides the Advantage it has of so many valuable Notes, 
which at the same time they clear up the Text, are highly 
instructive and entertaining ; I resolved to give it an Impres- 
sion, being confident that the Publick would not unfavourably 
receive it. 

1 M. T. Cicero's " Cato Major, or his Discourse of Old- Age : With Explana- 
tory Notes. Philadelphia. Printed and sold by B. Franklin, 1744." 

2 Logan wrote to Franklin (February 26, 1744) : "Pray do not forget to 
mention that it was done ten years since in the 6oth year of my life nearly the 
same age that Cicero was when he wrote the original, tho' perhaps he was a 
year or two older : that it was wrote only for my own diversion and for the 
entertainment of a Friend less skill'd in the language or the history of Rome, 
and far from the thought of ever seeing it in print, for I well know there were 
other English versions of it, tho' I had never seen one of them." (Cicero 
was in his 63d year.) ED. 



1744] PREFACE TO LOG AW S TRANSLATION 245 

A certain Freed-man of Cicero's is reported to have said 
of a medicinal Well, discovered in his Time, wonderful for 
the Virtue of its Waters in restoring Sight to the Aged, That 
it was a Gift of the bountiful Gods to Men, to the end that 
all might now have the Pleasure of reading his Master's 
Works. As that Well, if still in being, is at too great a Dis- 
tance for our Use, I have, Gentle Reader, as thou seest, 
printed this Piece of Cicero's in a large and fair Character, 
that those who begin to think on the Subject of Old Age, 
(which seldom happens till their Sight is somewhat impair'd 
by its Approaches) may not, in Reading, by the Pain small 
Letters give the Eyes, feel the Pleasure of the Mind in the 
least allayed. 

I shall add to these few Lines my hearty Wish, that this 
first Translation of a Classic in this Western World, may 
by followed with many others, performed with equal Judg- 
ment and Success ; and be a happy Omen, that Philadelphia 
shall become the Seat of the American Muses. 

PHILADELPHIA, Febr. 29. I743-4. 1 

1 James Logan (1674-1751) came to America as secretary to William 
Penn. He was a man of great learning and accumulated the most valuable 
library upon the Western Continent. He was the friend and correspondent 
of Fabricius, and through him secured books which " neither price nor prayers 
could buy." Franklin's literary education was derived from Logan's library 
at Stenton. The following letter gives a good notion of the relation existing 
between the great scholar and the eager pupiL 

STENTON, May 6, 1741. 
MY GOOD FRIEND B. FRANKLIN : 

I return thee all thy Books with my hearty thanks for thy trouble in favour- 
ing me with a sight of them, and am highly pleased there are any in the 
Province who are so fond of such studies, and at the same time so well fur- 
nish'd with cash as to take them all together in their present condition at 
those Prices. But as I have some knowledge of the unhappy young man that 
most (not all) of them belonged to, I am sorry he should strain so far as to 
say the Homer cost him 4 Moydores. For one of the same, most exquisitely 



246 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 
43. AN 

ACCOUNT 

OF THE NEW-INVENTED 

PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES; 

WHEREIN 

THEIR CONSTRUCTION AND MANNER OF OPERATION IS PARTICULARLY 
EXPLAINED; THEIR ADVANTAGES ABOVE EVERY OTHER METHOD 
OF WARMING ROOMS DEMONSTRATED; AND ALL OBJECTIONS THAT 
HAVE BEEN RAISED AGAINST THE USE OF THEM ANSWERED AND 
OBVIATED. WITH DIRECTIONS FOR PUTTING THEM UP, AND FOR 
USING THEM TO THE BEST ADVANTAGE. AND A COPPER-PLATE 
IN WHICH THE SEVERAL PARTS OF THE MACHINE ARE EXACTLY 
LAID DOWN, FROM A SCALE OF EQUAL PARTS. 

PHILADELPHIA : 

PRINTED AND SOLD BY B. FRANKLIN. I744- 1 

In these Northern Colonies the Inhabitants keep Fires to 
sit by, generally Seven Months in the Year ; that is, from the 
Beginning of October to the End of April; and in some 
Winters near Eight Months, by taking in part of September 
and May. 

bound, was offer'd to me the same year they were printed (1711) for less than 
one, and I never heard they were much started. I have one of the same 
edition of the Herodotus, perfect with all its maps of which this has not one 
that was bought of Ch. Bateman for 14 sh'gs for Wm. Masters, but this has 
been bound at least a second time, and only in sheepskin after it had been 
grossly abused, etc. I therefore advise thee by all means to accept the offer 
tho' with some considerable abatement, but I would willingly know who the 
Possessor is to be of the Ovid, for I want the use of the 3d vol. for about a 
week at most. I hope notwithstanding it suits us not to deal at present, 
Thou wilt still continue thy resolution to favour us with a visit. 

Thy real friend, 

JAMES LOGAN. 
1 Published in November, 1744. 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 247 

Wood, our common Fewel, which within these 100 Years 
might be had at every Man's Door, must now be fetch'd 
near 100 Miles to some Towns, and makes a very consider- 
able Article in the Expence of Families. 

As therefore so much of the Comfort and Conveniency of 
our Lives, for so great a Part of the Year, depends on the 
Article of Fire; since Fuel is become so expensive, and (as 
the Country is more clear'd and settled) will of course grow 
scarcer and dearer ; any new Proposal for Saving the Wood, 
and for lessening the Charge and augmenting the Benefit of 
Fire, by some particular Method of Making and Managing 
it, may at least be thought worth Consideration. 

The New Fire-Places are a late Invention to that purpose, 
(experienced now three Winters by a great Number of Fami- 
lies in Pennsylvania) of which this Paper is intended to give 
a particular Account. 

That the Reader may the better judge whether this Method 
of Managing Fire has any Advantage over those heretofore 
in Use, it may be proper to consider both the old and new 
Methods, separately and particularly, and afterwards make 
the Comparison. 

In order to this 'tis necessary to understand well some few 
of the Properties of Air and Fire, viz. 

i. Air is rarified by Heat, and condens'd by Cold, i.e. the 
same Quantity of Air takes up more Space when warm than 
when cold. This may be shown by several very easy Ex- 
periments. Take any clear Glass Bottle (a Florence Flask 
stript of the Straw is best), place it before the Fire, and, as 
the Air within is warm'd and rarified, part of it will be driven 
out of the Bottle ; turn it up, place its Mouth in a Vessel of 
Water, and remove it from the Fire ; then, as the Air within 



248 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 



cools and contracts, you will see the Water rise in the Neck 
of the Bottle, supplying the Place of just so much Air as was 
driven out. Hold a large hot Coal near the Side of the 
Bottle, and as the Air within feels the Heat, it will again 
distend and force out the Water. Or, Fill a Bladder half- 
full of Air, tie the Neck tight, and lay it before a Fire as near 
as may be without scorching the Bladder; as the Air within 
heats, you will perceive it to swell and fill the Bladder, till 
it becomes tight, as if full blown : Remove it to a cool Place, 
and you will see it fall gradually, till it becomes as lank as at 
first. 

2. Air ratified and distended by Heat is specifically * 
lighter than it was before, and will rise in other Air of greater 
Density. As Wood, Oil, or any other Matter specifically 
lighter than Water, if plac'd at the Bottom of a Vessel of 
Water, will rise till it comes to the Top ; so rarified Air will 
rise in common Air, till it either comes to Air of equal Weight, 
or is by Cold reduc'd to its former Density. 

A Fire then being made hi any Chimney, the Air over 
the Fire is rarified by the Heat, becomes lighter and there- 
fore immediately rises in the Funnel, and goes out ; the other 
Air in the Room (flowing towards the Chimney) supplies its 
Place, is rarified in its turn, and rises likewise; the Place of 
the Air thus carried out of the Room is supplied by fresh Air 
coming in thro' Doors and Windows, or, if they be shut, thro' 
every Crevice with Violence, as may be seen by holding a 
Candle to a Key-hole : If the Room be so tight as that all 
the Crevices together will not supply so much Air as is con- 

1 Body or Matter of any sort is said to be specifically heavier or lighter 
than other Matter, when it has more or less Substance or Weight in the same 
Dimensions. F. 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 249 

tinually carried off, then in a little time the Current up the 
Funnel must flag, and the Smoke, being no longer driven up 
must come into the Room. 

1. Fire (i.e. Common Fire) throws out Light, Heat, and 
Smoke (or Fume) The two first move in right Lines, and 
with great Swiftness; the latter is but just separated from 
the Fuel, and then moves only as it is carried by the Stream 
of rarified Air. And without a continual Accession and 
Recession of Air, to carry off the smoaky Fumes, they would 
remain crouded about the Fire, and stifle it. 

2. Heat may be separated from the Smoke as well as from 
the Light, by means of a Plate of Iron, which will suffer Heat 
to pass through it without the others. 

3. Fire sends out its Rays of Heat, as well as Rays of 
Light, equally every way: But the greatest sensible Heat 
is over the Fire, where there is, besides the Rays of Heat shot 
upwards, a continual rising Stream of hot Air, heated by the 
Rays shot round on every Side. 

These Things being understood, we proceed to consider 
the Fire-places heretofore in Use, viz. 

1. The large open Fire-places used in the Days of our 
Fathers, and still generally in the Country, and in Kitchens. 

2. The newer-fashion'd Fire-places, with low Breasts and 
narrow Hearths. 

3. Fire-places with hollow Backs, Hearths and Jams of 
Iron, (described by Mons. Ganger) l for warming the Air 
as it comes into the Room. 

4. The Holland Stoves, with Iron Doors opening into the 
Room. 

5. The German Stoves, which have no Opening in the 

1 In his Tract entitled, La Mechanique de Feu. F. 



250 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Room where they are us'd, but the Fire is put in from some 
other Room, or from without. 

6. Iron Pots, with open Charcoal Fires, plac'd in the 
middle of a Room. 

1. The first of these Methods has generally the Con- 
veniency of two warm Seats, one in each Corner; but they 
are sometimes too hot to abide in, and, at other times in- 
commoded with the Smoke; there is likewise good Room 
for the Cook to move, to hang on Pots, &c. Their Incon- 
veniencies are, that they almost always smoke, if the Door 
be not left open; that they require a large Funnel, and a 
large Funnel carries off a great Quantity of Air, which occa- 
sions what is called a strong Draft to the Chimney, without 
which strong Draft the Smoke would come out of some Part 
or other of so large an Opening so that the Door can seldom 
be shut; and the cold Air so nips the Backs and Heels of 
those that sit before the Fire, that they have no Comfort 'till 
either Screens or Settles are provided (at a considerable 
Expence) to keep it off, which both cumber the Room and 
darken the Fire-side. A moderate Quantity of Wood on the 
Fire in so large a Hearth, seems but little ; and, in so strong 
and cold a Draught, warms but little; so that People are 
continually laying on more. In short, 'tis next to impossible 
to warm a Room with such a Fire-place : And I suppose our 
Ancestors never thought of warming Rooms to sit in; all 
they purposed was to have a Place to make a Fire in, by 
which they might warm themselves when acold. 

2. Most of these old-fashion'd Chimneys in Towns and 
Cities, have been, of late Years, reduc'd to the second Sort 
mention'd, by building Jambs within them, narrowing the 
Hearth, and making a low Arch or Breast. 'Tis strange, 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 251 

methinks, that tho' Chimneys have been so long in Use, their 
Construction should be so little understood till lately, that 
no Workman pretended to make one which should always 
carry off all the Smoke, but a Chimney-cloth was look'd 
upon as essential to a Chimney: This Improvement, how- 
ever, by small Openings and low Breasts, has been made in 
our Days ; and Success in the first Experiments has brought 
it into general Use in Cities, so that almost all new Chimneys 
are now made of that sort, and much fewer Bricks will 
make a Stack of Chimneys now than formerly. An Improve- 
ment so lately made, may give us Room to believe, that still 
farther Improvements may be found, to remedy the Incon- 
veniencies yet remaining. For these new Chimneys, tho' 
they keep Rooms generally free from Smoke, and, the Open- 
ing being contracted, will allow the Door to be shut, yet the 
Funnel still requiring a considerable Quantity of Air, it 
rushes in at every Crevice so strongly, as to make a continual 
Whistling or Howling; and 'tis very uncomfortable as well 
as dangerous to sit against any such Crevice. Many Colds 
are caught from this Cause only; it being safer to sit in the 
open Street ; for then the Pores do all close together, and the 
Air does not strike so sharply against any particular Part. 
The Spaniards have a Proverbial Saying, 

" If the Wind blows on you thro 1 a Hole, 
Make your Will, and take Care of your Soul." 

Women, particularly, from this Cause, (as they sit much in 
the House) get Colds in the Head, Rheums, and Defluctions, 
which fall into their Jaws and Gums, and have destroy'd 
early many a fine set of Teeth in these Northern Colonies. 
Great and bright Fires do also very much contribute to dam- 



2 S 2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

age the Eyes, dry and shrivel the Skin, and bring on early 
the Appearances of Old- Age. In short, many of the Diseases 
proceeding from Colds, as Fevers, Pleurisies, &c., fatal to 
very great Numbers of People, may be ascrib'd to strong- 
drawing Chimneys, whereby, in severe Weather, a Man is 
scorch'd before, while he's froze behind. 1 In the mean 

1 As the Writer is neither Physician nor Philosopher, the Reader may 
expect he should justify these his Opinions by the Authority of some that 
are so. M. Clare, F. R. S., in his Treatise of The Motion of Fluids, says, 
(p. 246, &c.) " And here it may be remarked, that 'tis more prejudicial to 
Health to sit near a Window or Door, in a Room where there are many Can- 
dles and a Fire, than in a Room without : For the Consumption of Air thereby 
occasioned, will always be very considerable, and this must necessarily be 
replaced by cold Air from without. Down the Chimney can enter none, the 
Stream of warm Air always arising therein absolutely forbids it : The Supply 
must therefore come in wherever other Openings shall be found. If these 
happen to be small, Let those who sit near them beware; the smaller the 
Floodgate, the smarter will be the Stream. Was a Man, even in a Sweat, to 
leap into a cold Bath, or jump from his warm Bed, in the intensest cold, even 
in a Frost, provided he do not continue over-long therein, and be in Health 
when he does this, we see by experience, that he gets no Harm. If he sits a 
little while against a Window, into which a successive Current of cold Air 
comes, his Pores are closed, and he gets a Fever. In the first Case, the Shock 
the Body endures is general, uniform, and therefore less fierce ; in the other, 
a single Part, a Neck, or Ear perchance, is attacked, and that with the greater 
Violence probably, as it is done by a successive Stream of cold Air. And the 
Cannon of a Battery, pointed against a single Part of a Bastion, will easier 
make a Breach than were they directed to play singly upon the whole Face, 
and will admit the Enemy much sooner into the Town." 

That warm Rooms, and keeping the Body warm in Winter, are Means of 
preventing such Diseases, take the Opinion of that learned Italian Physician, 
Antonio Portia, in the Preface to his Tract De Militis Sanitate tuenda, where, 
speaking of a particular wet and cold Winter, remarkable at Venice for its 
Sickliness, he says, " Popularis autem pleuritis, quze Venetiis sseviit mensibus 
Dec., Jan., Feb., ex coeli, aerisq ; inclementiS facta est, quod non habeant hypo- 
causta \_Stove- Rooms'], et quod non soliciti sunt Itali omnes de auribus, 
temporibus, collo, totoq ; corpore defendendis ab injuriis aeris ; et tegmina 
domorum Veneti disponant parum inclinata, ut nives diutius permaneant 
super tegmina. E contra, Germani, qui experiuntur cceli inclementiam, per- 
didicere sese defendere ab aeris injurift. Tecta construunt multum inclinata, 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 253 

time, very little is done by these Chimneys towards wanning 
the Room ; for the Air round the Fire-place, which is warm'd 
by the direct Rays from the Fire, does not continue in the 
Room, but is continually crouded and gather'd into the 
Chimney by the Current of cold Air coming behind it, and 
so is presently carried off. 

In both these Sorts of Fire-places, the greatest Part of the 
Heat from the Fire is lost : For as Fire naturally darts Heat 
every way, the Back, the two Jambs, and the Hearth drink 
up almost all that's given them, very little being reflected 
from Bodies so dark, porous, and unpolish'd ; and the upright 
Heat, which is by far the greatest, flies directly up the Chim- 
ney. Thus Five Sixths at least of the Heat (and conse- 
quently of the Fewel) is wasted, and contributes nothing 
towards warming the Room. 

3. To remedy this, the Sieur Ganger gives us, in his Book 

ut dccidant nives. German! abundant lignis, domusque hypocaustis ; foris 
autem incedunt pannis, pellibus, gossipio, bene mehercule loricati atq ; 
muniti. In Bavaria interrogabam (curiositate motus videndi Germaniam) 
quot narn elapsis mensibus pleuritide vel peripneumunia fuissent absumti ; 
dicebant vix unus aut alter illis temporibus pleuritide fuit correptus." 

The great Dr. Boerhaave, whose Authority alone might be sufficient, in his 
Aphorisms mentions, as one antecedent Cause of Pleurisies, "a cold Air 
driven violently through some narrow Passage upon the Body, overheated by 
Labour or Fire." 

The eastern Physicians agree with the Europeans in this Point ; witness the 
Chinese Treatise, entitled Tchang Seng, i.e. The Art of procuring Health and 
long Life, as translated in Pire Du Haiders Account of China, which has this 
Passage. " As of all the Passions which ruffle us, Anger does the most mis- 
chief, so of all the malignant Affections of the Air, a Wind that comes thro' 
any narrow Passage, which is cold and piercing, is most dangerous ; and, 
coming upon us unawares, insinuates itself into the Body, often causing 
grievous Diseases. It should therefore be avoided, according to the Advice 
of the ancient Proverb, as carefully as the Point of an Arrow." These Mis- 
chiefs are avoided by the Use of the new-invented Fire-places, as will be 
shewn hereafter. F. 



254 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

entitled La Mechanique de Feu, published 1709, seven dif- 
ferent Constructions of the third sort of Chimneys men- 
tioned above, in which there are hollow Cavities made by 
Iron Plates in the Back, Jambs, and Hearths, thro' which 
Plates the Heat passing warms the Air in those Cavities, 
which is continually coming into the Room fresh and warm. 
The Invention was very ingenious, and had many Con- 
veniencies : The Room was warm'd in all Parts, by the Air 
flowing into it through the heated Cavities : Cold Air was 
prevented rushing thro' the Crevices, the Funnel being 
sufficiently supply'd by those Cavities: Much less Fuel 
would serve, &c. But the first Expence, which was very 
great; the Intricacy of the Design, and the Difficulty of the 
Execution, especially in old Chimneys, discouraged the 
Propagation of the Invention ; so that there are, (I suppose,) 
very few such Chimneys now in Use. [The upright Heat, 
too, was almost all lost in these, as in the common Chimneys.] 
4. The Holland Iron Stove, which has a Flue proceeding 
from the Top, and a small Iron Door opening into the Room, 
comes next to be considered. Its Conveniences are, that 
it makes a Room all over warm; for the Chimney being 
wholly closed, except the Flue of the Stove, very little Air is 
required to supply that, and therefore not much rushes in 
at Crevices, or at the Door when 'tis opened. Little Fewel 
serves, the Heat being almost all saved; for it rays out 
almost equally from the four Sides, the Bottom, and the 
Top, into the Room, and presently warms the Air around it, 
which, being rarified, rises to the Cieling, and its Place is 
supplied by the lower Air of the Room, which flows gradu- 
ally towards the Stove, and is there warm'd and rises in 
its turn, so that there is a continual Circulation till all the 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 255 

Air in the Room is wanned. The Air, too, is gradually 
changed by the Stove- Door's being in the Room, thro' 
which, part of it is continually passing, and that makes these 
Stoves wholesomer, or at least pleasanter, than the German 
Stoves next to be spoke of. But they have these Incon- 
veniences. There is no Sight of the Fire, which is in itself 
a pleasant Thing. One cannot conveniently make any 
other Use of the Fire but that of warming the Room. When 
the Room is warm, People not seeing the Fire are apt to 
forget supplying it with Fuel 'til 'tis almost out, then, grow- 
ing cold, a great deal of Wood is put in, which soon makes it 
too hot. The Change of Air is not carried on quite quick 
enough; so that, if any Smoke or ill Smell happens in the 
Room, 'tis a long time before 'tis discharged. For these 
Reasons the Holland Stove has not obtain'd much among 
the English (who love the Sight of the Fire) unless in some 
Workshops, where People are oblig'd to sit near Windows for 
the Light, and in such Places they have been found of good 
Use. 

5. The German Stove is like a Box, one Side wanting. 
'Tis composed of Five Iron Plates, scru'd together, and 
fix'd so as that you may put the Fuel into it from another 
Room, or from, the Outside of the House. 'Tis a kind of 
Oven revers'd, its Mouth being without, and Body within 
the Room that is to be warm'd by it. This Invention cer- 
tainly warms a Room very speedily and thoroughly with 
little Fuel : No Quantity of cold Air comes in at any Crevice, 
because there is no Discharge of Air which it might supply, 
there being no Passage into the Stove from the Room. These 
are its Conveniences. Its Inconveniences are, That People 
have not even so much Sight or Use of the Fire as in the 



256 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Holland Stoves, and are moreover oblig'd to breathe the 
same unchang'd Air continually, mix'd with the Breath and 
Perspiration from one another's Bodies, which is very dis- 
agreeable to those who have not been accustomed to it. 

6. Charcoal Fires, in Pots, are us'd chiefly in the Shops 
of Handicraftsmen. They warm a Room (that is kept close 
and has no Chimney to carry off the warm'd Air,) very 
speedily and uniformly: But there being no Draught to 
change the Air, the sulphurous Fumes from the Coals (be 
they ever so well kindled before they are brought in, there 
will be some) mix with it, render it disagreeable, hurtful to 
some Constitutions, and sometimes, when the Door is long 
kept shut, produce fatal consequences. 

To avoid the several Inconveniences, and at the same time 
retain all the Advantages of other Fire-places, was contrived 
the PENNSYLVANIA FIRE-PLACE, now to be described. 

This Machine consists of 

A Bottom Plate, (i) (See Plate V.) 

A Back Plate, (ii) 

Two Side Plates, (iii, iii) 

Two Middle Plates, (iv, iv) which, join'd together form 
a tight Box with winding Passages in it for warming the Air. 

A Front Plate, (v) 

A Top Plate, (vi) 

These are all of cast Iron, with Mouldings or Ledges 
where the Plates come together, to hold them fast, and retain 
the Mortar us'd for Pointing to make tight Joints. When 
the Plates are all in their Places, a Pair of slender Rods 
with Screws, are sufficient to bind the Whole very firmly 
together, as it appears in Fig. 2. 

There are, moreover, two thin Plates of wrought Iron, viz. 












^1 




1744] PENNSYLVANIA!* FIRE-PLACES 257 

the Shutter (vii) and the Register (viii) ; besides the Screw- 
Rods, O, P, all which we shall explain in their Order. 

(i) The Bottom Plate, or Hearth-Piece, is round before, 
with a rising Moulding, that serves as a Fender to keep Coals 
and Ashes from coming to the Floor, &c. It has two Ears, 
F, G, perforated to receive the Screw-Rods, O P; a long 
Air-Hole, a a, thro' which the fresh outward Air passes up 
into the Air-Box ; and three Smoke-Holes, B C thro' which 
the Smoke descends and passes away; all represented by 
dark Squares. It has also double Ledges to receive between 
them the Bottom Edges of the Back Plate, the two Side 
Plates, and the two Middle Plates. These Ledges are about 
an Inch asunder, and about half an Inch high ; a Profile of 
two of them, join'd to a Fragment of Plate, appears in Fig. 3. 

(ii) The Back Plate is without Holes, having only a Pair 
of Ledges on each Side, to receive the Back Edges of the two. 

(iii, iii) Side Plates: These have each a Pair of Ledges 
to receive the Side Edges of the Front Plate, and a little 
Shoulder for it to rest on; also two Pair of Ledges to re- 
ceive the Side Edges of the two Middle Plates, which form 
the Air- Box; and an oblong Air-hole near the Top, thro' 
which is discharged into the Room the Air warm'd in the 
Air-Box. Each has also a Wing or Bracket, H and 7, to 
keep in falling Brands, Coals, &c., and a small Hole, Q 
and R, for the Axis of the Register to turn in. 

(iv, iv) The Air-Box is compos'd of the two Middle 
Plates, D E and F G. The first has five thin Ledges or 
Partitions, cast on it, two Inches deep, the Edges of which 
are receiv'd in so many Pair of Ledges cast in the other. 
The Tops of all the Cavities form'd by these thin deep 
Ledges are also covered by a Ledge of the same Form and 

VOL. II S 



258 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Depth, cast with them; so that when the Plates are put 
together, and the Joints luted, there is no Communication 
between the Air-Box and the Smoke. In the winding Pas- 
sages of this Box, fresh Air is warm'd as it passes into the 
Room. 

(v) The Front Plate is arch'd on the under Side, and 
ornamented with Foliages, &c. ; it has no Ledges. 

(vi) The Top Plate has a Pair of Ears, M N, answerable 
to those in the Bottom Plate, and perforated for the same 
Purpose: It has also a Pair of Ledges running round the 
under Side, to receive the Top Edges of the Front, Back, 
and Side Plates. The Air-Box does not reach up to the Top 
Plate by two Inches and half. 

(vii) The Shutter is of thin wrought Iron and light, of 
such a Length and Breadth as to close well the Opening of 
the Fire-place. It is us'd to blow up the Fire, and to shut 
up and secure it a Nights. It has two brass Knobs for 
Handles, d d, and commonly slides up and down in a Groove, 
left, in putting up the Fire-place, between the foremost Ledge 
of the Side Plates, and the Face of the Front Plate ; but some 
choose to set it aside when it is not in Use, and apply it on 
Occasion. 

(viii) The Register, is also of thin wrought Iron. It is 
plac'd between the Back Plate and Air-Box, and can, by 
Means of the Key S be turn'd on its Axis so as to lie in any 
Position between level and upright. 

The Screw-Rods, O P are of wrought Iron, about a 
third of an Inch thick, with a Button at Bottom, and a Screw 
and Nut at Top; and may be ornamented with two small 
Brasses screw'd on above the Nuts. 

To put this Machine to work, 



PROFILE OF THE PENNSYLYAJSTEA CHIMNEY AND FIRE-PLACE 

C 




Side View 



STAFFORDSHIRE FIRE -PLACE. Page, 531. 
front View 




PLATE VI 



1744] PENNSYLVANIA!* FIRE-PLACES 259 

1. A false Back of four Inch (or, in shallow small Chim- 
neys, two-Inch ) Brick- Work is to be made in the Chimney, 
four Inches or more from the true Back: From the Top of 
this false Back, a Closing is to be made over to the Breast of 
the Chimney, that no Air may pass into the Chimney, but 
what goes under the false Back, and up behind it. 

2. Some Bricks of the Hearth are to be taken up, to form 
a Hollow under the Bottom Plate; across which Hollow 
runs a thin tight Partition, to keep apart the Air entring the 
Hollow, and the Smoke ; and is therefore plac'd between the 
Air-hole and Smoke-holes. 

3. A Passage is made, communicating with the outward 
Air, to introduce that Air into the fore part of the Hollow 
under the Bottom Plate, whence it may rise thro' the Air- 
hole into the Air-box. 

4. A Passage is made from the back Part of the Hol- 
low, communicating with the Flue behind the false Back: 
Through this Passage the Smoke is to pass. 

The Fire-place is to be erected upon these Hollows, by 
putting all the Plates in their Places, and screwing them 
together. 

Its Operation may be conceiv'd by observing the Plate en- 
titled, Pro-file of the Chimney and Fire-place. (See Plate VI.) 

M The Mantel-piece, or Breast of the Chimney. 

C The Funnel. 

B The false Back and Closing. 

E True Back of the Chimney. 

T Top of the Fire-place. 

F The Front of it. 

A The Place where the Fire is made. 

D The Air-Box. 



26o THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

K The Hole in the Side plate, thro' which the warm'd 
Air is discharg'd out of the Air-Box into the Room. 

H The Hollow fill'd with fresh Air, entring at the Pas- 
sage /, and ascending into the Air-Box thro' the Air-hole in 
the Bottom plate, near 

G The Partition in the Hollow to keep the Air and Smoke 
apart. 

P The Passage under the false Back and Part of the 
Hearth for the Smoke. 

[The arrows show] the Course of the Smoke. 

The Fire being made at A, the Flame and Smoke will 
ascend and strike the Top T, which will thereby receive a 
considerable Heat. The Smoke, finding no Passage up- 
wards, turns over the Top of the Air-box, and descends 
between it and the Back Plate to the Holes in the Bottom 
Plate, heating, as it passes, both Plates of the Air-box, and 
the said Back Plate; the Front Plate, Bottom and Side 
Plates are also all heated at the same Time. The Smoke 
proceeds in the Passage that leads it under and behind the 
false Back, and so rises into the Chimney. The Air of the 
Room, warm'd behind the Back Plate, and by the Sides, 
Front, and Top Plates, becoming specifically lighter than 
the other Air in the Room, is oblig'd to rise ; but the Closure 
over the Fire-place hindring it from going up the Chimney, 
it is forc'd out into the Room, rises by the Mantle-piece to 
the Cieling, and spreads all over the Top of the Room, 
whence being crouded down gradually by the Stream of 
newly-warm'd Air that follows and rises above it, the whole 
Room becomes in a short time equally warmed. 

At the same Time the Air, warmed under the Bottom 
Plate and in the Air-Box, rises, and comes out of the Holes in 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 261 

the Side Plates, very swiftly if the Door of the Room be shut, 
and joins its Current with the Stream before mentioned, 
rising from the Side, Back, and Top Plates. 

The Air that enters the Room thro' the Air-box is fresh, 
tho' warm; and computing the Swiftness of its Motion with 
the Areas of the Holes, 'tis found that near 10 Barrels of 
fresh Air are hourly introduc'd by the Air-Box ; and by this 
Means the Air in the Room is continually changed, and 
kept at the same Time sweet and warm. 

'Tis to be observed, that the entring Air will not be warm 
at first Lighting the Fire, but heats gradually as the Fire 
encreases. 

A square Opening for a Trap- Door should be left in the 
Closing of the Chimney, for the Sweeper to go up: The 
Door may be made of Slate or Tin, and commonly kept 
close shut, but so plac'd as that turning up against the Back 
of the Chimney when open, it closes the Vacancy behind the 
false Back, and shoots the Soot, that falls in Sweeping, out 
upon the Hearth. This Trap- Door is a very convenient Thing. 

In Rooms where much Smoking of Tobacco is used, 'tis 
also convenient to have a small Hole, about five or six Inches 
square, cut near the Cieling through into the Funnel: This 
Hole must have a Shutter, by -which it may be clos'd or open'd 
at Pleasure. When open, there will be a strong Draught of 
Air through it into the Chimney, which will presently carry 
off a Cloud of Smoke, and keep the Room clear : If the Room 
be too hot likewise, it will carry off as much of the warm Air 
as you please, and then you may stop it intirely, or in part, 
as you think fit. By this Means it is that the Tobacco Smoke 
does not descend among the Heads of the Company near the 
Fire, as it must do before it can get into common Chimneys. 



262 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

The Manner of using this Fire-place 

Your Cord- wood must be cut into three Lengths; or else 
a short Piece, fit for the Fire-place, cut off, and the longer left 
for the Kitchen or other Fires. Dry Hickery, or Ash, or any 
Woods that burn with a clear Flame, are rather to be chosen, 
because such are less apt to foul the Smoke Passages with 
Soot ; and Flame communicates with its Light, as well as by 
Contact, greater Heat to the Plates and Room. But where 
more ordinary Wood is used, half a dry Faggot of Brushwood 
burnt at the first making of Fire in the Morning, is very ad- 
vantageous; as it immediately by its sudden Blaze heats 
the Plates and warms the Room (which with bad Wood 
slowly kindling would not be done so soon) and at the same 
time, by the Length of its Flame turning in the Passages, 
consumes and cleanses away the Soot that such bad smoaky 
Wood had produc'd therein the preceding Day, and so keeps 
them always free and clean. When you have laid a little 
Back log, and plac'd your Billets on small Dogs, as in common 
Chimneys, and put some Fire to them, then slide down your 
Shutter as low as the Dogs, and the Opening being by that 
means contracted, the Air rushes in briskly and presently 
blows up the Flames. When the Fire is sufficiently kindled, 
slide it up again. 1 In some of these Fire-places there is a 
little six inch square Trap-door of thin wrought Iron or Brass, 

1 The Shutter is slid up and down in this Manner, only in those Fire-places 
which are so made, as that the Distance between the Top of the arch'd Open- 
ing and the Bottom Plate is the same as the Distance between it and the Top 
Plate. Where the Arch is higher, as it is in the Draught annex'd (which is 
agreeable to the last Improvements), the Shutter is set by, and apply'd occa- 
sionally : because, if it were made deep enough to close the whole Opening 
when slid down, it would hide Part of it when up. F. 



1744] PENNSYLVANIA!* FIRE-PLACES 263 

covering a Hole of like Dimensions near the Fore part of the 
Bottom Plate, which being by a Ring lifted up towards the 
Fire, about an Inch, where it will be retain'd by two springing 
Sides fix'd to it perpendicularly, (see Plate V., Fig. 4), the 
Air rushes in from the Hollow under the Bottom Plate, and 
blows the Fire. Where this is us'd, the Shutter serves only to 
close the Fire a Nights. The more forward you can make 
your Fire on the Hearth-Plate, not to be incommoded by the 
Smoke, the sooner and more will the Room be warmed. At 
Night, when you go to Bed, cover the Coals or Brands with 
Ashes as usual; then take away the Dogs, and slide down 
the Shutter close to the Bottom Plate, sweeping a little Ashes 
against it that no Air may pass under it ; then turn the Reg- 
ister, so as very near to stop the Flue behind. If no Smoke 
then comes out at Crevices into the Room 'tis, right : If any 
Smoke is perceiv'd to come out, move the Register so as to 
give a little Draught, and 'twill go the right way. Thus the 
Room will be kept warm all Night; for the Chimney being 
almost entirely stopt, very little, if any, cold Air will enter the 
Room at any Crevice. When you come to re-kindle the Fire 
in the Morning, turn open the Register before you lift up the 
Slider, otherwise if there be any Smoke in the Fire- Place, it 
will come out into the Room. By the same Use of the Shut- 
ter and Register, a blazing Fire may be presently stifled, as 
well as secured, when you have Occasion to leave it for any 
Time; and at your Return you will find the Brands warm, 
and ready for a speedy Re-kindling. The Shutter alone will 
not stifle a Fire ; for it cannot well be made to fit so exactly 
but that Air will enter, and that in a violent Stream, so as 
to blow up and keep alive the Flames, and consume the Wood, 
if the Draught be not check'd by turning the Register to shut 



264 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

the Flue behind. The Register has also two other Uses. If 
you observe the Draught of Air into your Fire-place to be 
stronger than is necessary (as in extream cold Weather it often 
is) so that the Wood is consum'd faster than usual ; in that 
Case, a quarter, half, or two-thirds Turn of the Register, will 
check the Violence of the Draught, and let your Fire burn 
with the Moderation you desire : And at the same Time both 
the Fire- Place and the Room will be the wanner, because less 
cold Air will enter and pass through them. And if the Chim- 
ney should happen to take Fire (which indeed there is very 
little Danger of, if the preceding Direction be observ'd in 
making Fires, and it be well swept once a Year; for, much 
less Wood being burnt, less Soot is proportionably made; 
and the Fuel being soon blown into Flame by the Shutter, (or 
the Trap-door Bellows) there is consequently less Smoke 
from the Fuel to make Soot ; then, tho' the Funnel should be 
foul, yet the Sparks have such a crooked up and down round- 
about Way to go, that they are out before they get at it) I say, 
if ever it should be on fire, a Turn of the Register shuts all 
close, and prevents any Air going into the Chimney, and so 
the Fire may easily be stifled and mastered. 

The Advantages of this Fire-place 

Its Advantages above the common Fire-places are, 
i. That your whole Room is equally warmed; so that 
People need not croud so close round the Fire, but may sit 
near the Window, and have the Benefit of the Light for 
Reading, Writing, Needlework, &c. They may sit with 
Comfort in any Part of the Room, which is a very consider- 
able Advantage in a large Family, where there must often be 
two Fires kept, because all cannot conveniently come at one. 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 265 

2. If you sit near the Fire, you have not that cold Draught 
of uncomfortable Air nipping your Back and Heels, as when 
before common Fires, by which many catch Cold, being 
scorcht before, and, as it were, froze behind. 

3. If you sit against a Crevice, there is not that sharp 
Draught of cold Air playing on you, as in Rooms where 
there are Fires in the common way; by which many catch 
Cold, whence proceed Coughs, 1 Catarrhs, Tooth-achs, Fevers, 
Pleurisies, and many other Diseases. 

4. In Case of Sickness, they make most excellent Nursing- 
Rooms ; as they constantly supply a Sufficiency of fresh Air, 
so warmed at the same time as to be no way inconvenient or 
dangerous. A small One does well in a Chamber; and, the 
Chimneys being fitted for it, it may be remov'd from one 
Room to another, as Occasion requires, and fix'd in half an 
Hour. The equal Temper, too, and Warmth, of the Air of 
the Room, is thought to be particularly advantageous in 
some Distempers: For 'twas observed in the Winters of 1730 
and 1736, when the Small-Pox spread in Pennsylvania, that 
very few of the Children of the Germans died of that Dis- 
temper in Proportion to those of the English; which was 
ascrib'd by some to the Warmth and equal Temper of 
Air in their Stove-Rooms; which made the Disease as 
favourable as it commonly is in the West Indies. But this 
Conjecture we submit to the judgment of Physicians. 

1 My Lord Molesworth, in his account of Denmark, says, " That few or 
none of the People there are troubled with Coughs, Catarrhs, Consumptions, 
or such like Diseases of the Lungs ; so that in the Midst of Winter in the 
Churches, which are very much frequented, there is no Noise to interrupt the 
Attention due to the Preacher. I am persuaded" (says he) "their -warm 
Stoves contribute to their Freedom from these kinds of Maladies," page 91. 
F. 



266 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

5. In common Chimneys, the strongest Heat from the 
Fire, which is upwards, goes directly up the Chimney, and 
is lost ; and there is such a strong Draught into the Chimney, 
that not only the upright Heat, but also the back, sides, and 
downward Heats are carried up the Chimney by that Draught 
of Air ; and the Warmth given before the Fire, by the Rays 
that strike out towards the Room, is continually driven back, 
crouded into the Chimney, and carried up, by the same 
Draught of Air. But here the upright Heat strikes and 
heats the Top Plate, which warms the Air above it, and that 
comes into the Room. The Heat likewise, which the Fire 
communicates to the Sides, Back Bottom and Air-Box, is 
all brought into the Room ; for you will find a constant Cur- 
rent of warm Air coming out of the Chimney- Corner into 
the Room. Hold a Candle just under the Mantle-Piece, or 
Breast of your Chimney, and you will see the Flame bent 
outwards: By laying a Piece of Smoaking Paper on the 
Hearth, on either Side, you may see how the Current of Air 
moves, and where it tends, for it will turn and carry the 
Smoke with it. 

6. Thus, as very little of the Heat is lost, when this Fire- 
Place is us'd, much less Wood 1 will serve you, which is a 
considerable Advantage where Wood is dear. 

1 People, who have us'd these Fire-places, differ much in their Accounts 
of the Wood saved by them. Some say five sixths, others three fourths, and 
others much less. This is owing to the great Difference there was in their 
former Fires ; some (according to the different Circumstances of their Rooms 
and Chimneys) having been us'd to make very large, others middling, and 
others, of a more sparing Temper, very small Ones. While in these Fire- 
Places (their Size and Draught being nearly the same) the Consumption is 
more equal. I suppose, taking a Number of Families together, that two 
thirds, or half the Wood, at least, is saved. My common Room, I know, is 
made twice as warm as it used to be, with a quarter of the Wood I formerly 
consum'd there. F. 



1744] PENNSYLVANIA!* FIRE-PLACES 267 

7. When you burn Candles near this Fire-Place, you will 
find that the Flame burns quite upright, and does not blare 
and run the Tallow down, by drawing towards the Chimney, 
as against common Fires. 

8. This Fire-place cures most smoaky chimneys, and 
thereby preserves both the Eyes and Furniture. 

9. It prevents the Fouling of Chimneys; much of the 
Lint and Dust that contributes to foul a Chimney, being by 
the low Arch oblig'd to pass thro' the Flame, where 'tis 
consum'd. Then, less Wood being burnt, there is less Smoke 
made. Again, the Shutter, or Trap-Bellows, soon blowing 
the Wood into a Flame, the same Wood does not yield so 
much Smoke as if burnt in a common Chimney : For as soon 
as Flame begins, Smoke, in proportion, ceases. 

10. And, if a Chimney should be foul, 'tis much less likely 
to take Fire. If it should take Fire, 'tis easily stifled and 
extinguished. 

11. A Fire may be very speedily made in this Fire-Place, 
by the Help of the Shutter, or Trap-Bellows, as aforesaid. 

12. A Fire may be soon extinguished by closing it with 
the Shutter before, and turning the Register behind, which 
will stifle it, and the Brands will remain ready to rekindle. 

13. The Room being once warm, the Warmth may be 
retain'd in it all Night. 

14. And lastly, the Fire is so secur'd at Night, that not 
one Spark can fly out into the Room to do Damage. 

With all these Conveniencies, you do not lose the pleasing 
Sight nor Use of the Fire, as in the Dutch Stoves, but may 
boil the Tea-Kettle, warm the Flat-Irons, heat Heaters, 
keep warm a Dish of Victuals by setting it on the Top, 
&c. &c. 



268 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Objections answered 

There are some Objections commonly made by People 
that are unacquainted with these Fire-Places, which it may 
not be amiss to endeavour to remove, as they arise from 
Prejudices which might otherwise obstruct in some Degree 
the general Use of this beneficial Machine. We frequently 
hear it said, They are of the Nature of Dutch Stoves; Stoves 
have an unpleasant Smell; Stoves are unwholesome; and 
Warm Rooms make People tender, and apt to catch Cold. As 
to the first, that they are of the Nature of Dutch Stoves, the 
Description of those Stoves in the Beginning of this Paper, 
compar'd with that of these Machines, shows that there is a 
most material Difference, and that these have vastly the Ad- 
vantage, if it were only in the single Article of the Admission 
and Circulation of fresh Air. But it must be allowed there 
may have been some Cause to complain of the offensive 
Smell of Iron Stoves. This Smell, however, never proceeded 
from the Iron itself, which in its Nature, whether hot or 
cold, is one of the sweetest of Metals, but from the general 
uncleanly Manner of using those Stoves. If they are kept 
clean, they are as sweet as an Ironing-Box, which, tho' ever 
so hot, never offends the Smell of the nicest Lady ; but it is 
common to let them be greased by setting Candlesticks on 
them, or otherwise; to rub greasy Hands on them, and, 
above all, to spit upon them to try how hot they are, which 
is an inconsiderate, filthy unmannerly Custom; for the 
slimy Matter of Spittle drying on, burns and fumes when the 
Stove is hot, as well as the Grease, and smells most nauseously ; 
which makes such close Stove-Rooms, where there is no 
Draught to carry off those filthy Vapours, almost intolerable 



1744] PENNSYLVANIAN FIRE-PLACES 269 

to those that are not from their Infancy accustomed to them. 
At the same time, nothing is more easy than to keep them 
clean; for when by any Accident they happen to be fouled, 
a Lee made of Ashes and Water, with a Brush, will scour 
them perfectly; as will also a little strong Soft Soap and 
Water. 

That hot Iron of itself gives no offensive Smell, those know 
very well who have (as the Writer of this has) been present 
at a Furnace when the Workmen were pouring out the flow- 
ing Metal to cast large Plates, and not the least Smell of it 
to be perceived. That hot Iron does not, like Lead, Brass, 
and some other Metals, give out unwholesome Vapours, is 
plain from the general Health and Strength of those who 
constantly work in Iron, as Furnace-men, Forge-men, and 
Smiths ; That it is in its Nature a Metal perfectly wholesome 
to the Body of Man, is known from the beneficial Use of 
Chalybeat or Iron-Mine Waters; from the Good done by 
taking Steel Filings in several Disorders; and that even the 
Smithy Water, in which hot Irons are quench'd, is found 
advantageous to the human Constitution. The ingenious 
and learned Dr. Desaguliers, to whose instructive Writings 
the Contriver of this Machine acknowledges himself much 
indebted, relates an Experiment he made, to try whether 
heated Iron would yield unwholesome Vapours. He took a 
Cube of Iron, and having given it a very great Heat, he fix'd 
it so to a Receiver, exhausted by the Air-Pump, that all the 
Air rushing in to fill the Receiver, should first pass thro' a 
Hole in the hot Iron. He then put a small Bird into the Re- 
ceiver, who breath'd that Air without any Inconvenience, 
or suffering the least Disorder. But the same Experiment 
being made with a Cube of hot Brass, a Bird put into that 



270 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Air dy'd in a few Minutes. Brass, indeed, stinks even when 
cold, and much more when hot ; Lead too, when hot, yields 
a very unwholesome Steam; but Iron is always sweet, and 
every way taken is wholesome and friendly to the human 
Body, except in Weapons. 

That warm Rooms make People tender and apt to catch 
Cold, is a Mistake as great as it is (among the English) 
general. We have seen in the preceding Pages how the com- 
mon Rooms are apt to give Colds; but the Writer of this 
Paper may affirm, from his own Experience, and that of his 
Family and Friends who have used warm Rooms for these 
four Winters past, that by the Use of such Rooms, People 
are rendered less liable to take Cold, and, indeed, actually 
hardened. If sitting warm in a Room made One subject to 
take Cold on going out, lying warm in Bed should, by a 
Parity of Reason, produce the same Effect when we rise. 
Yet we find we can leap out of the wannest Bed naked in 
the coldest Morning, without any such Danger; and in the 
same Manner out of warm Clothes into a cold Bed. The 
Reason is, that in these Cases the Pores all close at once, the 
Cold is shut out, and the Heat within augmented, as we soon 
after feel by the glowing of the Flesh and Skin. Thus, no 
one was ever known to catch Cold by the use of the Cold 
Bath : And are not cold Baths allowed to harden the Bodies 
of those that use them? Are they not therefore frequently 
prescrib'd to the tenderest Constitutions ? Now, every Time 
you go out of a warm Room into the cold freezing Air, you 
do as it were plunge into a Cold Bath, and the Effect is in 
proportion the same; for (tho* perhaps you may feel some- 
what chilly at first) you find in a little Time your Bodies 
hardened and strengthened, your Blood is driven round with 



1744] PENNSYLVANIA^ FIRE-PLACES 271 

a brisker Circulation, and a comfortable, steady, uniform 
inward Warmth succeeds that equal outward Warmth you 
first received in the Room. Farther to confirm this Asser- 
tion, we instance the Swedes, the Danes, the Russians; these 
Nations are said to live in Rooms, compar'd to ours, as hot 
as Ovens ; * yet where are the hardy Soldiers, tho' bred in 
their boasted cool Houses, that can, like these People, bear 
the Fatigues of a Winter Campaign in so severe a Climate, 
march whole Days to the Neck in Snow, and at Night en- 
trench in Ice, as they do ? 

The Mentioning of those Northern Nations puts me in 
Mind of a considerable Publick Advantage that may arise 
from the general Use of these Fire-places. It is observable, 
that tho' those Countries have been well inhabited for many 
Ages, Wood is still their Fuel, and yet at no very great Price ; 
which could not have been if they had not universally used 
Stoves, but consum'd it as we do in great Quantities, by open 
Fires. By the Help of this saving Invention our Wood may 
grow as fast as we consume it, and our Posterity may warm 
themselves at a moderate Rate, without being oblig'd to 
fetch their Fuel over the Atlantick; as, if Pit-Coal should 

1 Mr. Boyle, in his Experiments and Observations upon Cold, Ska-mi's Abridg- 
ment, Vol. I. p. 684, says, " Tis remarkable, that, while the Cold has strange 
and tragical Effects at Moscow and elsewhere, the Russians and Livonians 
should be exempt from them, who accustom themselves to pass immediately 
from a great Degree of Heat, to as great an one of Cold, without receiving 
any visible Prejudice thereby. I remember, being told by a Person of unques- 
tionable Credit, that it was a common Practice among them, to go from a hot 
Stove into cold Water ; the same was, also, affirmed to me by another who 
resided at Moscow. This Tradition is likewise abundantly confirmed by 
Olearius" " Tis a surprizing thing," says he, " to see how far the Russians 
can endure Heat ; and how, when it makes them ready to faint, they can go 
out of their Stoves, stark naked, both Men and Women, and throw them- 
selves into cold Water, and even in Winter wallow in the Snow." F. 



272 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

not be here discovered (which is an Uncertainty) they must 
necessarily do. 

We leave it to the Political Arithmetician to compute how 
much Money will be sav'd to a Country, by its spending two 
thirds less of Fuel ; how much Labour saved in Cutting and 
Carriage of it; how much more Land may be clear'd for 
Cultivation ; how great the Profit by the additional Quantity 
of Work done, in those Trades particularly that do not exer- 
cise the Body so much, but that the Workfolks are oblig'd 
to run frequently to the Fire to warm themselves: And to 
physicians to say, how much healthier thick-built Towns and 
Cities will be, now half suffocated with sulphury Smoke, 
when so much less of that Smoke shall be made, and the Air 
breath'd by the Inhabitants be consequently so much purer. 
These Things it will suffice just to have mentioned; let us 
proceed to give some necessary Directions to the Workman, 
who is to fix or set up these Fire-Places. 

Directions to the Bricklayer 

The Chimney being first well swept and cleans'd from 
Soot, &c., lay the Bottom Plate down on the Hearth, in 
the Place where the Fire-Place is to stand, which may be as 
forward as the Hearth will allow. Chalk a Line from one 
of its back Corners round the Plate to the other Corner, that 
you may afterwards know its Place when you come to fix it ; 
and from those Corners, two parallel Lines to the Back of 
the Chimney : Make Marks also on each Side, that you may 
know where the Partition is to stand, which is to prevent any 
Communication between the Air and Smoke. Then re- 
moving the Plate, make a Hollow under it and beyond it, by 
taking up as many of the Bricks or Tiles as you can within 



1744] PENNSYLVANIA!* FIRE-PLACES 273 

your chalked Lines, quite to the Chimney-Back. Dig out 
six or eight Inches deep of the Earth or Rubbish all the 
Breadth and Length of your Hollow; then make a Passage 
of four Inches square, (if the Place will allow so much) leading 
from the Hollow to some Place communicating with the 
outer Air; by outer Air we mean Air without the Room you 
intend to warm. This Passage may be made to enter your 
Hollow on either Side, or in the Fore part, just as you find 
most convenient, the Circumstances of your Chimney con- 
sidered. If the Fire-Place is to be put up in a Chamber, you 
may have this Communication of outer Air from the Stair- 
case; or sometimes more easily from between the Chamber 
Floor and the Cieling of the lower Room, making only a small 
Hole in the Wall of the House entring the Space betwixt 
those two Joists with which your Air-Passage in the Hearth 
communicates. If this Air-Passage be so situated as that 
Mice may enter it and nestle in the Hollow, a little Grate of 
Wire will keep them out. This Passage being made, and, 
if it runs under any Part of the Hearth, til'd over securely, 
you may proceed to raise your false Back. This may be of 
four Inches or two Inches Thickness, as you have Room, 
but let it stand at least four Inches from the true Chimney- 
Back. In narrow Chimnies this false Back runs from Jamb 
to Jamb, but in large, old-fashion'd Chimnies you need not 
make it wider than the Back of the Fire-place. To begin 
it, you may form an Arch nearly flat of three Bricks End to 
End, over the Hollow, to leave a Passage the Breadth of the 
Iron Fire-Place, and five or six Inches deep, rounding at 
Bottom, for the Smoke to turn and pass under the false 
Back, and so behind it up the Chimney. The false Back is 
to rise till it is as high as the Breast of the Chimney, and then 

VOL. II T 



274 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

to close over to the Breast ; always observing, if there is a 
wooden Mantle-Tree, to close above it. If there is no Wood 
in the Breast, you may arch over and close even with the 
lower Part of the Breast. By this Closing the Chimney is 
made tight, that no Air or Smoke may pass up it, without 
going under the false Back. Then from Side to Side of your 
Hollow, against the Marks you made with Chalk, raise a 
tight Partition, Brick-on-Edge, to separate the Air from the 
Smoke, bevelling away to half an Inch the Brick that comes 
just under the Air-Hole, that the Air may have a free Pas- 
sage up into the Air-Box : Lastly, close the Hearth over that 
Part of the Hollow that is between the false Back and the 
Place of the Bottom Plate, coming about half an Inch under 
the Plate, which Piece of hollow Hearth may be supported 
by a Bit or two of old Iron Hoop; then is your chimney 
fitted to receive the Fire- Place. 

To set it, Lay first a little Bed of Mortar all round the 
Edges of the Hollow, and over the Top of the Partition: 
Then lay down your Bottom Plate in its Place (with the Rods 
in it) and tread it till it lies firm. Then put a little fine Mor- 
tar (made of Loam and Lime, with a little Hair,) into its 
Joints, and set in your back Plate, leaning it for the present 
against the false Back ; then set in your Air-Box, with a little 
Mortar in its Joints ; then put in the two Sides, closing them 
up against the Air-Box, with Mortar in their Grooves, and 
fixing at the same time your Register; then bring up your 
Back to its Place, with Mortar in its Grooves, and that will 
bind the Sides together. Then put in your Front Plate, 
placing it as far back in the Groove as you can, to leave Room 
for the sliding Plate; Then lay on your Top Plate, with 
Mortar in its Grooves also, screwing the whole firmly together 



1744] PENNSYLVAN1AN FIRE-PLACES 275 

by means of the Rods. The Capital letters, A, B, D, E, &c., 
in the annex'd cut, show the corresponding Parts of the 
several Plates. Lastly, the Joints being pointed all round on 
the Outside, the Fire-Place is fit for Use. 

When you make your first Fire in it, perhaps, if the Chim- 
ney be thoroughly cold, it may not draw, the Work too being 
all cold and damp. In such Case, put first a few Shovels 
of hot Coals in the Fire-Place, then lift up the Chimney 
sweeper's Trap-Door, and putting in a Sheet or two of flaming 
Paper, shut it again, which will set the Chimney a Drawing 
immediately, and, when once 'tis fill'd with a Column of 
warm Air, it will draw strongly and continually. 

The Drying of the Mortar and Work by the first Fire may 
smell unpleasantly, but that will soon be over. 

In some shallow Chimneys, to make more Room for the 
false Back and its Flue, Four Inches or more of the Chimney- 
Back may be pick'd away. 

Let the Room be made as tight as conveniently it may be, 
so will the outer Air that must come in to supply the Room 
and Draught of the Fire, be all obliged to enter thro' the 
Passage under the Bottom-Plate, and up thro' the Air-Box; 
by which Means it will not come cold to your Backs, but be 
wanned as it comes in, and mixed with the warm Air round 
the Fire- Place, before it spreads in the Room. 

But as a great Quantity of cold Air, in extream cold 
Weather especially, will presently enter a Room if the Door 
be carelessly left open, 'tis good to have some Contrivance to 
shut it, either by Means of Screw Hinges, a Spring, or a 
Pulley. 

When the Pointing in the Joints is all dry and hard, get 
some Powder of Black-Lead, (broken Bits of Black-Lead 



276 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Crucibles from the Silversmiths, pounded fine, will do) and 
mixing it with a little Rum and Water, lay it on, when the 
Plates are warm, with a hard Brush, over the Top and Front- 
Plates, part of the Side and Bottom-Plates, and over all the 
Pointing; and, as it dries, rub it to a Gloss with the same 
Brush, so the Joints will not be discern'd, but it will look all 
of a Piece, and shine like new Iron. And the false Back 
being plaister'd and whitewash'd, and the Hearth redden'd, 
the whole will make a pretty Appearance. Before the Black 
Lead is laid on, it would not be amiss to wash the Plates 
with strong Lee and a Brush, or Soap and Water, to cleanse 
them from any Spots of Grease or Filth that may be on them. 
If any Grease should afterwards come on them, a little wet 
Ashes will get it out. 

If it be well set up, and in a tolerable good Chimney, 
Smoke will draw in from as far as the Fore Part of the Bottom 
Plate, as you may try by a Bit of burning Paper. 

People are at first apt to make their Rooms too warm, not 
imagining how little a Fire will be sufficient. When the 
Plates are no hotter than that one may just bear the Hand on 
them, the Room will generally be as warm as you desire it. 



44- TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 1 (L. c.) 

SIR New York, April 5. 1744. 

Happening to be in this City about some particular Affairs, 
I have the Pleasure of receiving yours of the 28th past, here. 
And can now acquaint you, that the Society, as far as 

1 This letter was first printed in The American Medical and Philosophical 
Register for October, 1811, Vol. II. p. 203. The manuscript was obtained by 
the editors from the papers of Cadwallader Golden. Accompanying the printed 



1744] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 277 

relates to Philadelphia, is actually formed, and has had 
several Meetings to mutual Satisfaction; as soon as I get 
home, I shall send you a short Ace 1 of what has been done 
and propos'd at those Meetings. The Members are 

Dr. Thomas Bond, as Physician. 

Mr. John Bartram, as Botanist. 

Mr. Thomas Godfrey, as Mathematician. 

Mr. Saml Rhodes, as Mechanician. 

Mr. W m Parsons, as Geographer. 

Dr. Phineas Bond, as General Nat. Philosopher. 

Mr. Thos. Hopkmson, President. 

Mr. W m Coleman, Treasurer. 

B. F , Secret'y. 

To whom the following Members have since been added, 
viz. Mr. Alexander, of New York. Mr. Morris, (Ch. Justice 
of the Jerseys.) Mr. Home, Secretary of do. Mr. Jn. Coxe, 
of Trenton and Mr. Martyn, of the same Place. Mr. 
Nicholls tells me of several other Gentlemen of this City, 
that incline to encourage the Thing. And there are a Num- 
ber of others, hi Virginia, Maryland, Carolina, and the New 
England Colonies, who we expect to join us, as soon as they 
are acquainted that the Society has begun to form itself. 
I am, Sir, with much Respect, 

Your most hum e serv 4 , 

B. FRANKLIN. 

letter is a beautiful fac-simile of the original in the handwriting of Franklin. 
THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, as afterwards instituted, was formed 
out of two Societies, of which the above was one. The other was the Society 
for promoting and propagating Useful Knowledge. The two Societies were 
incorporated into one, called THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, in 
December, 1768; and in January, 1769, Franklin was elected the first Presi- 
dent, although he was at that time in England. ED. 



278 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

45. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN (P.C.) 

Philadelphia, July 4, 1744. 

SIR : I received your favour per Mr. Hall, who arrived 
here about two weeks since, and from the short acquaint- 
ance I have had with him I am persuaded he will answer 
perfectly the character you had given of him. I make no 
doubt but his voyage, though it has been expensive, will 
prove advantageous to him. I have already made him some 
proposals, which he has under consideration, and as we are 
like to agree on them, we shall not, I believe, differ on the 
article of his passage money. 

I am much obliged to you for your care and pains in pro- 
curing me the founding tools; though I think, with you, 
that the workmen have not been at all bashful in making 
their bills. I shall pay a proportion of the insurance, etc., 
to Mr. Read, and send you a bill by the next opportunity. 

I thank you for Mr. Dobbs' piece. 1 I wish that public- 
spirited gentleman may live to enjoy the satisfaction of hear- 
ing that English vessels sail easily through his expected 
passage. But though from the idea this piece gives me of 
Capt. Middleton I don't much like him, yet I would do him 
the justice to read what he has to say for himself, and there- 
fore request you to send me what is published on his side 
of the question. I have long wanted a friend in London, 
whose judgment I would depend on, to send me from time 

1 Arthur Dobbs (1689-1765) was interested in the Search for a Northwest 
passage to India and China. Christopher Middleton, a captain of the Hud- 
son Bay Company, commanded the voyage of discovery. Dobbs accused him 
of making false reports of the voyage. The pamphlet referred to above is 
entitled " Remarks on Capt. Middleton's Defence, by A. Dobbs " (London : 
1744). Middleton's " Rejoinder" appeared the next year. 



1744] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 279 

to time such new pamphlets as are worth reading on any 
subject (religious controversy excepted), for there is no de- 
pending on titles and advertisements. This favour I take the 
freedom to beg of you, and shall lodge money in your hands 
for that purpose. 

We have seldom any news on our side of the globe that can 
be entertaining to you or yours. All our affairs are petit. 
They have a miniature resemblance only, of the grand things 
of Europe. Our governments, parliaments, wars, treaties, 
expeditions, fashions, etc., though matters of great and serious 
consequence to us, can seem but trifles to you. Four days 
since, our naval force received a terrible blow. Fifty sail of 
the line destroyed would scarce be a greater loss to Britain 
than that to us, and yet 'twas only a 2O-gun-ship sunk, 
and about one hundred men drowned, just as she was going 
out to sea on a privateering voyage against the king's ene- 
mies. She was overset by a flaw of wind, being built too 
sharp, and too high-masted. A treaty is now holding at 
Newtown, in Lancaster County, a place sixty miles west of 
this city, between the governments of Virginia, Maryland 
and Pennsylvania on one side, and the united five nations of 
Indians on the other. 1 I will send you an account of it when 
printed, as the method of doing business with those bar- 
barians may perhaps afford you some amusement. 

We have already in our library Bolton's and Shaw's 
abridgments of Boyle's works. I shall, however, mention 
to the directors the edition of his works at large ; 2 possibly 
they may think fit to send for it. 

1 See Cadwallader Golden, "The History of the Five Indian Nations," 
London, 1747, pp. 89-152. The Treaty was held from June 22 to July 4. 
a Richard Boulton, "The Works of Robert Boyle Epitomized," London: 



280 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1744 

Please to remember me affectionately to my old friend 
Mr. Wigate, to whom I shall write per next opportunity. 
I am, sir, your obliged humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



46. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

July 31, 1744. 

SIR: The above is a copy of my last (via Coke). This 
encloses bills for twenty pounds thirteen shillings sterling, 
for which when received please to give my account credit, 
and send me by the first ship a font of about 300 Ib. wt. of 
good new English letter, which I shall want to complete a 
little printing-house for our common friend Mr. Hall. I 
send you per this ship a box containing 300 copies of a piece 
I have lately printed here, 1 and purpose to send you 200 
more per next ship. I desire you to take the properest 
measures for getting them sold at such a price as they will 
readily fetch, and I will take books of you in exchange for 
them. This kind of commerce may be advantageous to us 
both, and to Mr. Hall; since, if we have a reasonable sale 
where we live, for such things as we print, what we do over 
and above, and can get disposed of at a foreign market, is 
almost so much clear gain. I have only time to add that I 
am, with sincere regard, your obliged humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1699. 4 vols. Octavo. Peter Shaw, " The Philosophical Works of Robert 
Boyle abridged and methodized." London: 1738. The Library purchased 
and still possesses the complete edition of 1744. ED. 
1 Logan's " Cato Major." ED. 



1744] TO JOSIAH AND ABIAH FRANKLIN 281 

47. TO JOSIAH AND ABIAH FRANKLIN 1 

Philadelphia, September 6, 1744. 

HONOURED FATHER AND MOTHER, 

I apprehend I am too busy in prescribing and meddling 
in the doctor's sphere, when any of you complain of ails in 
your letters. But as I always employ a physician myself, 
when any disorder arises in my family, and submit implicitly 
to his orders in every thing, so I hope you consider my ad- 
vice, when I give any, only as a mark of my good will, and 
put no more of it in practice than happens to agree with 
what your doctor directs. 

Your notion of the use of strong lye I suppose may have 
a good deal in it. The salt of tartar, or salt of wormwood, 
frequently prescribed for cutting, opening, and cleansing, is 
nothing more than the salt of lye procured by evaporation. 
Mrs. Stevens's medicine for the stone and gravel, the secret 
of which was lately purchased at a great price by the Parlia- 
ment, has for its principal ingredient salt, which Boerhaave 
calls the most universal remedy. The same salt intimately 
mixed with oil of turpentine, which you also mentioned, 
make the sapo phUosophorum, wonderfully extolled by some 
chemists for like purposes. It is highly probable, as your 
doctor says, that medicines are much altered in passing 
between the stomach and bladder; but such salts seem well 
fitted in their nature to pass with the least alteration of 
almost anything we know; and, if they will not dissolve 

iFrom "The Works of Benjamin Franklin." Philadelphia: (Duane) 
1817, Vol. VI, p. 6. ED. 



gravel and stone, yet I am half persuaded that a moderate 
use of them may go a great way towards preventing these 
disorders, as they assist a weaker digestion in the stomach, 
and powerfully dissolve crudities such as those which I have 
frequently experienced. As to honey and molasses, I did 
not mention them merely as openers and looseners, but also 
from conjecture, that, as they are heavier in themselves than 
our common drink, they might when dissolved in our bodies 
increase the gravity of our fluids, the urine in particular, and 
by that means keep separate and suspended therein those 
particles, which, when unused, form gravel, &c. 

I will inquire after the herb you mention. We have a 
botanist here, an intimate friend of mine, who knows all the 
plants in the country. 1 He would be glad of the corre- 
spondence of some gentlemen of the same taste with you, 
and has twice, through my hands, sent specimens of the 
famous Chinese ginseng, found here, to persons who desired 
it in Boston, neither of whom has had the civility to write 
him a word in answer, or even to acknowledge the receipt 
of it, of which please to give a hint to brother John. 

We have had a very healthy summer and a fine harvest; 
the country is filled with bread ; but, as trade declines since 
the war began, I know not what our farmers will do for a 
market. I am your affectionate and dutiful son, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 John Bai tram. ED. 



I74SJ TO JOHN" FRANKLIN, AT BOSTON 283 

48. TO JOHN FRANKLIN, AT BOSTON 1 

PHILADELPHIA, [Mar. 10,] 1745. 

Our people are extremely impatient to hear of your 
success at Cape Breton. My shop is filled with thirty in- 
quirers at the coming in of every post. Some wonder the 
place is not yet taken. I tell them I shall be glad to hear 
that news three months hence. Fortified towns are hard 
nuts to crack; and your teeth have not been accustomed 
to it. Taking strong places is a particular trade, which you 
have taken up without serving an apprenticeship to it. 
Armies and veterans need skilful engineers to direct them 
in their attack. Have you any? But some seem to think 
forts are as easy taken as snuff. Father Moody's prayers 
look tolerably modest. You have a fast and prayer day for 
that purpose; in which I compute five hundred thousand 
petitions were offered up to the same effect in New England, 
which added to the petitions of every family morning and 
evening, multiplied by the number of days since January 
25th, make forty-five millions of prayers ; which, set against 
the prayers of a few priests in the garrison, to the Virgin 
Mary, give a vast balance hi your favour. 

If you do not succeed, I fear I shall have but an indif- 
ferent opinion of Presbyterian prayers in such cases, as long 
as I live. Indeed, in attacking strong towns I should have 
more dependence on works, than on faith; for, like the king- 

1 This letter is undated, but from Franklin's ecclesiastical mathematics it 
would appear to have been written on the tenth of March. His calculation 
of 500,000 inhabitants of New England is perhaps 100,000 in excess of the 
actual population. The news of the fall of Louisburg came at about the time 
that Franklin predicted. ED. 



2 8 4 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 

dom of heaven, they are to be taken by force and violence ; 
and in a French garrison I suppose there are devils of that 
kind, that they are not to be cast out by prayers and fasting, 
unless it be by their own fasting for want of provisions. I 
believe there is Scripture in what I have wrote, but I cannot 
adorn the margin with quotations, having a bad memory, 
and no Concordance at hand ; besides no more time than to 

subscribe myself, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



49. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

PHILADELPHIA, August 15, 1745. 
SIR, 

I received your favour of the 2oth past, with your medical 
piece enclosed, the reading of which gave me a great deal of 
pleasure. I showed it to our friend Mr. Bartram, who 
carried it home, and, as he since tells me, is taking a copy 
of it. His keeping of it for that end has prevented my show- 
ing it to any other gentleman as you desired, and hitherto 
prevented my writing to you upon it, as I intended. But, 
lest you should conclude me the very worst correspondent 
in the world, I shall delay no longer giving you some thoughts, 
that occurred to me in reading of it, choosing rather to be 
blamed for not writing to the purpose, than for not writing 
at all. 

I am extremely pleased with your doctrine of the absorbent 
vessels intermixed with the perspiratory ducts, both on the 
external and internal superficies of the body. After I had 
read Sanctorius, I imagined a constant stream of the per- 
spirable matter issuing at every pore in the skin. But then I 



1745] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 285 

was puzzled to account for the effects of mercurial unctions 
for the strangury, sometimes occasioned by an outward appli- 
cation of the flies, and the like; since whatever virtue or 
quality might be in a medicine laid upon the skin, if it 
would enter the body, it must go against wind and tide, as 
one may say. Dr. Hales helped me a little, when he informed 
me, in his Vegetable Statics, 1 that the body is not always in a 
perspirable, but sometimes in an imbibing state, as he ex- 
presses it, and will at times actually grow heavier by being 
exposed to moist air. But this did not quite remove my 
difficulty; since, as these fits of imbibing did not appear to 
be regular or frequent, a blistering plaster might lie on the 
body a week, or a mercurial unguent be used a month, to no 
purpose, if the body should so long continue in a perspirable 
state. Your doctrine, which was quite new to me, makes all 
easy; since the body may perspire and absorb at the same 
time, through the different ducts destined to those different 
ends. 

I must own, however, that I have one objection to the ex- 
planation you give of the operation of these absorbents. 
That they should communicate with the veins, and the per- 
spirants with the arteries only, seems natural enough; but, 
as all fluids by the hydrostatical law pass equally in all direc- 
tions, I question whether the mere direction of one of those 
minute vessels, where it joins with a vein or artery, with or 
against the stream of blood in the larger vessel, would be 
sufficient to produce such contrary effects as perspiring and 
absorbing. If it would, both perspirants and absorbents 
might proceed from the arteries only, or from the veins only, 

1 Stephen Hales (1677-1761), "Vegetable Staticks, or an Account of some 
Statical Experiments on the Sap in Vegetables." London : 1 727. ED. 



286 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 



\\ 
// \>y 



or from both indifferently; as, by the figure in the margin, 
whether the vessel a b is an artery or a vein, if the stream 
^ moves from a to b, the minute 

communicating vessel c shall 
be a perspirant, and d an ab- 
a - " - ' sorbent; and the contrary, if 
it moves from b to a. Yet I cannot say I am certain the 
mere direction of the vessel will have no effect ; I only sus- 
pect it, and am making a little machine to try an experi- 
ment with for satisfaction. 

It is a siphon made of two large joints of Carolina cane 

united at e, into which 
two small glass tubes, 
/ and g, are to be in- 
serted, one on the de- 
v scending, and the other 

"Os. on the ascending side. 
I propose to fill the 

siphon and the two glass tubes with water, and, when it is 
playing, unstop at the same instant the tops of both glass 
tubes, observing in which the water sinks fastest. You shall 
know the success. I conceive the pressure of the atmosphere 
on the apertures of the two glass tubes to be no way different 
from the pressure of the same on the mouths of the per- 
spirants and absorbents, and if the water sinks equally in the 
two tubes, notwithstanding the direction of one against and 
the other with the stream, I shall be ready to think we must 
look out for another solution. You will say, perhaps, that 
it will then be time enough when the experiment is tried, and 
succeeds as I suspect; yet I cannot forbear attempting at 
one beforehand, while some thoughts are present in my mind. 




1745] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 287 

If a new solution should be found necessary, this may be 
ready for consideration. 

I do not remember, that any anatomist, that has fallen in 
my way, has assigned any other cause of the motion of the 
blood through its whole circle, than the contractile force of 
the heart, by which that fluid is driven with violence into the 
arteries, and so continually propelled by repetitions of the 
same force, till it arrives at the heart again. May we for 
our present purpose suppose another cause producing half 
the effect, and say that the ventricles of the heart, like 
syringes, draw when they dilate, as well as force when they 
contract ? That this is not unlikely, may be judged from the 
valves nature has placed in the arteries, to prevent the draw- 
ing back of the blood in those vessels when the heart dilates, 
while no such obstacles prevent its sucking (to use the vulgar 
expression) from the veins. If this be allowed, and the 
insertion of the absorbents into the veins and of the per- 
spirants into the arteries be agreed to, it will be of no impor- 
tance hi what direction they are inserted. For, as the 
branches of the arteries are continually lessening in their 
diameters, and the motion of the blood decreasing by means 
of the increased resistance, there must, as more is constantly 
pressed on behind, arise a kind of crowding in the extremities 
of those vessels, which will naturally force out what is con- 
tained in the perspirants that communicate with them. This 
lessens the quantity of blood, so that the heart cannot receive 
again by the veins all it had discharged into the arteries, 
which occasions it to draw strongly upon the absorbents, that 
communicate with them. And thus the body is continually 
perspiring and imbibing. Hence after long fasting the body 
is more liable to receive infection from bad air, and food, 



2 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 

before it is sufficiently chylified, is drawn crude into the blood 
by the absorbents that open into the bowels. 

To confirm this position, that the heart draws, as well as 
drives the blood, let me add this particular. If you sit or 
lean long, in such a manner as to compress the principal 
artery that supplies a limb with blood, so that it does not 
furnish a due quantity, you will be sensible of a pricking pain 
in the extremities like that of a thousand needles; and the 
veins, which used to raise your skin in ridges, will be (with 
the skin) sunk into channels ; the blood being drawn out of 
them, and their sides pressed so closely together that it is 
with difficulty and slowly that the blood afterwards enters 
them, when the compressed artery is relieved. If the blood 
was not drawn by the heart, the compression of an artery 
would not empty a vein, and I conjecture that the pricking 
pain is occasioned by the sides of the small vessels being 
pressed together. 

I am not without apprehension, that this hypothesis is 
either not new, or, if it is new, not good for any thing. It 
may, however, in this letter, with the enclosed paper on a 
kindred subject, serve to show the great confidence I place 
in your candor, since to you I so freely hazard myself (ultra 
crepidam) in meddling with matters directly pertaining to 
your profession, and entirely out of the way of my own. If 
you give yourself the trouble of reading them, it is all I can 
modestly expect. Your silence about them afterwards will 
be sufficient to convince me, that I am in the wrong, and 
that I ought to study the sciences I dabble in, before I pre- 
sume to set pen to paper. I will endeavour, however, to 
make you some amends by procuring you from better judges 
some better remarks on the rest of your piece, and shall 



1745] TO JAMES READ 289 

observe your caution not to let them know from whom I 
had it. 

The piece on Fluxions I purpose shortly to read again, 
and that on the several species of matter, when you shall 
have what little I shall be able to say about them. 

The members of our Society here are very idle gentlemen. 
They will take no pains. I must, I believe, alter the scheme 
and proceed with the papers I have, and may receive, in the 
manner you advise in one of your former letters. The men- 
tion of your former letters puts me hi mind how much I am 
in arrear with you. Like some honest insolvent debtors, I 
must resolve to pay ready money for what I have hereafter, 
and discharge the old debt by little and little as I am able. 

The impertinence of these mosquitos to me (now I am in 
the humour of writing) prevents a great deal of mine to you, 
so that, for once, they are of some use in the world. I am, 

Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



50. TO JAMES READ 1 

SATURDAY MORNING, August 17, 1745. 
DEAR JEMMY; 

I have been reading your letter over again, and, since you 
desire an answer, I sit down to write you one ; yet, as I write 
in the market, it will, I believe, be but a short one, though 
I may be long about it. I approve of your method of writing 
one's mind, when one is too warm to speak it with temper ; 
but, being quite cool myself in this affair, I might as well 
speak as write, if I had an opportunity. 

1 A relative of Mrs. Deborah Franklin. ED. 
VOL. II U 



290 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 

Are you an attorney by profession, and do you know no 
better how to choose a proper court in which to bring your 
action? Would you submit to the decision of a husband, 
a cause between you and his wife? Don't you know that 
all wives are in the right ? It may be you don't, for you are 
yet but a young husband. But see, on this head, the learned 
Coke, that oracle of the law, in his chapter De Jur. Marit. 
Angl. I advise you not to bring it to trial; for, if you do, 
you will certainly be cast. 

Frequent interruptions make it impossible for me to go 
through all your letter. I have only time to remind you of 
the saying of that excellent old philosopher, Socrates, that, 
in differences among friends, they that make the first conces- 
sions are the wisest; and to hint to you, that you are in danger 
of losing that honour in the present case, if you are not very 
speedy in your acknowledgments, which I persuade myself 
you will be, when you consider the sex of your adversary. 

Your visits never had but one thing disagreeable in them, 
that is, they were always too short. I shall exceedingly re- 
gret the loss of them, unless you continue, as you have begun, 
to make it up to me by long letters. 

I am, dear Jemmy, with sincere love to our dearest Suky, 
your very affectionate friend and cousin, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

51. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

PHILADELPHIA, November 28, 1745. 
SIR, 

I shall be very willing and ready, when you think proper 
to publish your piece on gravitation, 1 to print it at my own 

1 " Cause of Gravitation," New York, 1745. ED. 



1745] TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN- 291 

expense and risk. If I can be the means of communicating 
any thing valuable to the world, I do not always think of 
gaining, nor even of saving, by my business ; but a piece of 
that kind, as it must excite the curiosity of all the learned, 
can hardly fail of bearing its own expense. 

I must not pretend to dispute with you on any part of the 
animal economy. You are quite too strong for me. I shall 
just mention two or three little things, that I am not quite 
clear in. 

If there is no contrivance in the frame of the auricles or 
ventricles of the heart, by which they dilate themselves, I 
cannot conceive how they are dilated. It is said, by the 
force of the venal blood rushing into them. But if that blood 
has no force which was not first given to it by the contraction 
of the heart, how can it (diminished as it must be by the re- 
sisting friction of the vessels it has passed through) be strong 
enough to overcome that contraction? Your doctrine of 
fermentation in the capillaries helps me a little; for if the 
returning blood be rarefied by the fermentation, its motion 
must be increased ; but, as it seems to me that it must by its 
expansion resist the arterial blood behind it, as much as it 
accelerates the venal blood before it, I am still somewhat 
unsatisfied. I have heard or read somewhere, too, that the 
hearts of some animals continue to contract and dilate, or to 
beat, as it is commonly expressed, after they are separated 
from the other vessels, and taken out of the body. If this be 
true, their dilation is not caused by the force of the returning 
blood. 

I should be glad to satisfy myself, too, whether the blood 
is always quicker in motion, when the pulse beats quicker. 
Perhaps more blood is driven forward by one strong, deep 



292 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 

stroke, than by two that are weak and light ; as a man may 
breathe more air by one long common respiration, when in 
health, than by two quick, short ones in a fever. I applied 
the siphon I mentioned to you in a former letter to the pipe 
of a water-engine. E is the engine ; a, its pipe ; b b b, the 




siphon ; c and d, the two glass pipes communicating with the 
siphon. Upon working the engine, the water flowed through 
the siphon, and the glass tube c\ but none was discharged 
through d. When I stopped with my finger the end of the 
siphon, the water issued at both glass tubes, with equal force, 
and on only half stopping the end of the siphon, it did the 
same. I imagine the sudden bending of the siphon gives 
such a resistance to the stream, as to occasion its issuing out 
of the glass tube c. But I intend to try a farther experiment, 
of which I shall give you an account. 

I am now determined to publish an American Philosophical 
Miscellany, monthly or quarterly. I shall begin with next 
January, and proceed as I find encouragement and assistance. 
As I purpose to take the compiling wholly upon myself, the 
reputation of no gentleman or society will be affected by 



1745] TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 293 

what I insert of another's ; and that perhaps will make them 
more free to communicate. Their names shall be published 
or concealed, as they think proper, and care taken to do exact 
justice to matters of invention, &c. I shall be glad of your 
advice in any particulars that occurred to you in thinking of 
this scheme ; for, as you first proposed it to me, I doubt not 
but you have well considered it. 1 

I have not the original of Dr. Mitchell's tract on the Yellow 
Fever. 2 Mine is a copy I had taken, with his leave, when 
here. Mr. Evans will make a copy of it for you. 

I hope it will be confirmed by future experiment, that the 
yaws are to be cured by tar-water. The case you relate to 
Dr. Mitchell gives great hopes of it, and should be published, 
to induce people to make trials. For, though it should not 
always succeed, I suppose there is no danger of its doing any 
harm. 

As to your pieces on Fluxions and the different species of 
matter, it is not owing to reservedness that I have not yet sent 
you my thoughts; but because I cannot please myself with 
them, having had no leisure yet to digest them. If I was 
clear, that you are anywhere mistaken, I would tell you so, 
and give my reasons with all freedom, as believing nothing I 



1 It does not appear that this scheme was ever carried into execution. S. 

2 Dr. John Mitchell, a physician and botanist, of unknown origin, settled 
early in the eighteenth century at Urbanna on the Rappahannock. Peter 
Collinson read before the Royal Society, his " Essay upon the Causes of the 
different Colours of People in different Climates." He left his " Essay upon 
the Yellow Fever," in manuscript. Benjamin Rush read it and derived from 
it new views of the nature of that malady when it appeared in Philadelphia in 
1793. Rush desired it to be printed in The American Medical and Philo- 
sophical Register, and it appeared there in October, 1813 (Vol. IV. p. 181). 
Rush obtained the manuscript from Franklin who had it from Dr. Mitchell. 
See Miller's " Retrospect," Vol. I. p. 318. ED. 



294 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 

could do would be more obliging to you. I am persuaded 
you think, as I do, that he who removes a prejudice, or an 
error, from our minds, contributes to their beauty, as he 
would do to that of our faces, who should clear them of a wart 
or a wen. 

I have a friend gone to New York with a view of settling 
there, if he can meet with encouragement. It is Dr. John 
Bard, 1 whom I esteem an ingenious physician and surgeon, 
and a discreet, worthy, and honest man. If, upon con- 
versation with him, you find this character just, I doubt not 
but you will afford him your advice and countenance, which 
will be of great service to him in a place where he is entirely 
a stranger, and very much oblige, Sir, 

Your most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I shall forward your letter to Dr. Mitchell. Thank 
you for leaving it open for my perusal. 



52. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1746 

Who is Poor Richard? People oft enquire, 
Where lives ? What is he ? never yet the nigher. 
Somewhat to ease your Curiositee, 
Take these slight Sketches of my Dame and me. 
Thanks to kind Readers and a careful Wife, 
With plenty bless'd, I lead an easy Life; 
My business Writing; less to drain the Mead, 



r. John Bard (1716-1799), first president of The New York Medical 
Society. This introduction was the origin of a long and intimate friendship 
between Dr. Bard and Mr. Colden. ED. 



1745] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 295 

Or crown the barren Hill with useful Shade ; 
In the smooth Glebe to see the Plowshare worn, 
And fill the Granary with needful Corn. 
Press nectareous Cyder from my loaded Trees, 
Print the sweet Butter, turn the Drying Cheese. 
Some Books we read, tho' few there are that hit 
The happy Point where Wisdom joins with Wit ; 
That set fair Virtue naked to our View, 
And teach us what is decent, what is true. 
The Friend sincere, and honest Man, with Joy 
Treating or treated oft our Time employ. 
Our Table next, Meals temperate ; and our Door 
Op'ning spontaneous to the bashful Poor. 
Free from the bitter Rage of Party Zeal, 
All those we love who seek the publick Weal. 

Nor blindly follow Superstitious Love, 
Which cheats deluded Mankind o'er and o'er, 
Not over righteous, quite beyond the Rule, 
Conscience perplext by every canting Tool. 
Nor yet when Folly hides the dubious Line, 
When Good and Bad the blended Colours join : 
Rush indiscreetly down the dangerous Steep, 
And plunge uncertain in the darksome Deep. 
Cautious, if right ; if wrong resolv'd to part 
The Inmate Snake that folds about the Heart. 
Observe the Mean, the Motive, and the End, 
Mending ourselves, or striving still to mend. 
Our Souls sincere, our Purpose fair and free, 
Without Vain Glory or Hypocrisy: 
Thankful if well ; if ill, we kiss the Rod ; 
Resign with Hope, and put our Trust hi God. 



296 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1745 

53. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

PHILADELPHIA, December n, 1745. 

Sir : While the war continues, I find it will not answer 
to send for any considerable quantity of books, for that busi- 
ness, as well as others, grows duller daily, and people are 
unwilling to give the advanced price we are now obliged to 
put on books, by the excessive charges of insurance, etc. 
So at present I only send for a few school books, and books 
of navigation, which they cannot do without. 

I sent you, some time since, a bill for fifteen pounds and 
part of Mr. Hall's bill, ten pounds, which I hope will come 
to hand and be readily paid. I purpose to send you another 
soon, and am, sir, your most humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Our Library Company sends for about twenty 
pounds sterling worth of books yearly. Mr. Collinson does 
us the favour to buy them for us. Perhaps on your speak- 
ing to that gentleman, he would take them of you. 



54. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

December 22, 1745. 

SIR: The above is a copy of what I wrote you, per 
Mesnard, who sailed about ten days ago from this port. 
This goes per Capt. Hargrave, who is soon to sail from Mary- 
land. Enclosed I send you a bill for 15 75. id., which I 
hope will be readily paid. Enclosed is also a letter to Mr. 
Collinson, containing an order for books for the library, 



1746] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 297 

which, when you deliver, you will have an opportunity of 
proposing to furnish them. Please to add to the enclosed list 
the following books for me, viz.: Starkey's Pyrotechny 
Assorted, an old book ; 6 Echard's Gazetteer, 6 Watts' Lyric 
Poems, 6 Watts' Logic, with Supplement; i Watts' Essays; 
also 5 or 6 Ibs. of long-primer fractions, i.e., to use with long 
primer in arithmetic work. Mr. Hall and all your friends 
here are well, as I hope this will find you [indistinct] 



55. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

PHILADELPHIA, May 22, 1746. 

SIR: This is only to enclose a third bill for 15 sterling, 
the second and first of which went from this port and Annapo- 
lis ; and to desire you to send me two sets of Popple's maps of 
North America, one bound, the other in sheets. They are 
for our Assembly, who also want the statutes at large; but 
as I hear they are risen to an extravagant price I would have 
you send me word what they will cost before you send them. 
We are all well. Mr. Hall has not tune to write, the post 
just going. I am, sir, your humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



56. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

PHILADELPHIA, September 25, 1746. 

SIR: Your favours of February nth and May ist are 
come to hand. Mesnard arrived safe this morning, and I 
suppose I shall have the trunks out in a day or two. Our 
other ships, Lisle and Houston, not yet come, but daily ex- 
pected. I am much obliged to you for your ready compli- 



298 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1746 

ance with my requests. I sent you in the spring a bill on 
Messrs. Hoare and Arnold for 15, which I hope came to 
hand and was readily paid as that on Geo. Rigge for 
.15 75. it/. I now send you the following bills, viz. : 

STERLING 








s. 

5 

8 

3 

IS 

10 

17 


d. 
7 



3 

o 



9 


Geo. Copper's for . . 


2 

A 


Ra. Page's for 
Sarah Gresham's for . 


- 4 
4 
M 







32 19 7 

I wish the sum had been all in one bill, as the trouble to 
you would be less ; but bills have been scarce lately, and we 
were glad to get any. I think, however, to send you no more 
such small ones. 

I shall, as you desire, deliver one of Ainsworth's Diction- 
aries to Mr. Read. You will take the charge of it from my 
account and add it to his in your book. 

Please to send me, per next vessel, 6 doz. of Dyche's and 
as many of Owen's Spelling Books, with a dozen of post 
horns of different sizes. I shall speedily send you another 
bill. 

My wife joins with me in thanks to you and good Mrs. 
Strahan and young master, for your kindness to our daughter. 
She shall make her acknowledgments herself as soon as she is 
able. 

I congratulate you on the defeat of Jacobitism by your 
glorious Duke, 1 and the restoration of peace and good order 
within the kingdom. We have just now an account that a 

iAtCuUoden. ED. 



1746] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD 299 

French fleet of thirty sail were lately seen off Cape Sable. 
They are supposed to be that from Brest. I hope they are 
followed by one of superior force from England, otherwise 
a great deal of mischief may be done in North America. 
Our friends, Messrs. Hall and Read continue well. I am, 
sir, your most obliged humble servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. I am sorry it so happened that Mr. Collinson had 
bespoke the books. The next catalogue sent to him will be 
accompanied with a request from the directors that he pur- 
chase them of you only. 



57. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD, 1747 (p. H. s.) 

Courteous Reader, 

This is the i5th Time I have entertain'd thee with my 
annual Productions; I hope to thy Profit as well as mine. 
For besides the astronomical Calculations, and other Things 
usually contained in Almanacks, which have their daily Use 
indeed while the Year continues, but then become of no 
Value, I have constantly interspers'd moral Sentences, pru- 
dent Maxims, and wise Sayings, many of them containing 
much good Sense in very few Words, and therefore apt to 
leave strong and lasting Impressions on the Memory of young 
Persons, whereby they may receive Benefit as long as they 
live, when both Almanack and Almanack-maker have been 
long thrown by and forgotten. If I now and then insert a 
Joke or two, that seem to have little in them, my Apology is 
that such may have their Use, since perhaps for their Sake 



300 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1746 

light airy Minds peruse the rest, and so are struck by some- 
what of more Weight and Moment. The Verses on the 
Heads of the Months are also generally design'd to have the 
same Tendency. I need not tell thee that not many of them 
are of my own Making. If thou hast any Judgment in 
Poetry, thou wilt easily discern the Workman from the 
Bungler. I know as well as thee, that I am no Poet born; 
and it is a Trade I never learnt, nor indeed could learn. // 
/ make Verses, 'tis in Spight of Nature and my Stars, I 
write. Why then should I give my Readers bad Lines of 
my own, when good Ones of other People's are so plenty? 
'Tis methinks a poor Excuse for the bad Entertainment of 
Guests, that the Food we set before them, tho' coarse and 
ordinary, is of one's own Raising, off one's own Plantation, 
&c. when there is Plenty of what is ten times better, to be 
had in the Market. On the contrary, I assure ye, my 
Friends, that I have procur'd the best I could for ye, and 
much Good may 't do ye. 

I cannot omit this Opportunity of making honourable 
Mention of the late deceased Ornament and Head of our 
Profession, Mr. Jacob Taylor, who for upwards of 40 Years 
(with some few Intermissions only) supply'd the good People 
of this and the neighbouring Colonies, with the most com- 
pleat Ephemeris and most accurate Calculations that have 
hitherto appear'd in America. ... He was an ingenious 
Mathematician, as well as an expert and skilful Astronomer ; 
and moreover, no mean Philosopher, but what is more than 
all, He was a Pious and an HONEST Man. Requiescat in 
pace. 

I am thy poor Friend, to serve thee, 

R. SAUNDERS. 



1747] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN" 301 

58. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 4, 1746, 7. 

SIK; I wrote a line to you some days since, via New 
York, enclosing a bill of ^25 sterling; the second in a copy 
to go by some other vessel from that port ; the third you 
have herein ; together with a bill for 60 sterling, which I 
hope will be duly honoured. My wife wrote to you per 
Mesnard for 6 Nelson's Justice, 6 Dyche's Dictionaries, 
12 Cole's English Ditto, 6 Female Fables, 6 Croxall's 
Ditto, and Mrs. Rowe's works complete. If not sent 
before, please add them to the within invoice, and send 
the whole per first ship ; and also Lenery on Foods, and 
Dr. Moffat on Health. Please to deliver the enclosed 
procuration to Mr. Acworth with the bill. The books 
you sent per Mesnard turned out all right, and in good 
order, except that the Prayer-books had all wrong psalms, 
the old version. I do not know if they will ever sell. 
The paper should not have been cut at the edges, being to 
be bound in account books. Our friends Hall and Read 
continue well. My wife joins me in best respects to Mrs. 
Strahan and yourself. She will write per Seymour, as will 
Mr. Hall. The Life of Du Renty, charged at 6 s. per 
dozen, has Price, stitched, fourpence, under the title-page. 
Is there not a mistake in the charge? 

I am, sir, your obliged humble servant 

B. FRANKLIN. 

Your government sent no fleet to protect us against the 
French under D'Anville. But they have been defeated by 
the hand of God. 



302 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

59. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 

g IR PHILADELPHIA, March 28, 1747. 

Your kind present of an electric tube, with directions for 
using it, has put several of us on making electrical experi- 
ments, in which we have observed some particular phae- 
nomena, that we look upon to be new. I shall therefore 
communicate them to you hi my next, though possibly they 
may not be new to you, as among the numbers daily em- 
ployed hi those experiments on your side the water, 'tis 
probable some one or other has hit on the same observations. 
For my own part, I never was before engaged in any study 
that so totally engrossed my attention and my time as this 
has lately done; for what with making experiments when I 
can be alone, and repeating them to my Friends and Ac- 
quaintance, who, from the novelty of the thing, come con- 
tinually in crouds to see them, I have, during some months 
past, had little leisure for any thing else. 

I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



60. TO PETER COLLINSON 

SlR, [PHILADELPHIA,] July n, 1747. 

In my last I informed you that, in pursuing our electrical 
enquiries, we had observed some particular phenomena, 
which we looked upon to be new, and of which I promised 

1 1 have printed this letter and the subsequent letters dated July n, 1747, 
September 1,1747, from the "Experiments and Observations" (1769), pp. 
1-21. ED. 



1747] TO PETER COLLINSON 303 

to give you some account, though I apprehended they might 
possibly not be new to you, as so many hands are daily 
employed in electrical experiments on your side the water, 
some or other of which would probably hit on the same 
observations. 

The first is the wonderful effect of pointed bodies, both 
in drawing off and throwing off the electrical fire. For 
example, 

Place an iron shot of three or four inches diameter on the 
mouth of a clean dry glass bottle. By a fine silken thread 
from the deling, right over the mouth of the bottle, suspend 
a small cork ball, about the bigness of a marble ; the thread 
of such a length, as that the cork ball may rest against the 
side of the shot. Electrify the shot, and the ball will be 
repelled to the distance of four or five inches, more or less, 
according to the quantity of Electricity. When hi this state, 
if you present to the shot the point of a long slender sharp 
bodkin, at six or eight inches distance, the repellency is 
instantly destroy'd, and the cork flies to the shot. A blunt 
body must be brought within an inch, and draw a spark, to 
produce the same effect. To prove that the electrical fire 
is drawn off by the point, if you take the blade of the bodkin 
out of the wooden handle, and fix it in a stick of sealing-wax, 
and then present it at the distance aforesaid, or if you bring 
it very near, no such effect follows; but sliding one finger 
along the wax till you touch the blade, and the ball flies to 
the shot immediately. If you present the point hi the dark, 
you will see, sometimes at a foot distance, and more, a light 
gather upon it, like that of a fire-fly, or glow-worm ; the less 
sharp the point, the nearer you must bring it to observe the 
light; and, at whatever distance you see the light, you may 



304 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

draw off the electrical fire, and destroy the repellency. If 
a cork ball so suspended be repelled by the tube, and a point 
be presented quick to it, tho' at a considerable distance, 'tis 
surprizing to see how suddenly it flies back to the tube. 
Points of wood will do near as well as those of iron, provided 
the wood is not dry; for perfectly dry wood will no more 
conduct Electricity than sealing-wax. 

To shew that points will throw off 1 as well as draw off the 
electrical fire ; lay a long sharp needle upon the shot, and you 
cannot electrise the shot so as to make it repel the rock ball. 2 
Or fix a needle to the end of a suspended gun-barrel, or 
iron rod, so as to point beyond it like a little bayonet ; and 
while it remains there, the gun-barrel, or rod, cannot by 
applying the tube to the other end be electrised so as to give a 
spark, the fire continually running out silently at the point. 
In the dark you may see it make the same appearance as it 
does in the case before mentioned. 

The repellency between the cork ball and the shot is like- 
wise destroyed, i, by sifting fine sand on it; this does it 
gradually. 2, by breathing on it. 3, by making a smoke 
about it from burning wood. 3 4, by candle-light, even 

1 This power of points to throw off the electrical fire, was first communi- 
cated to me by my ingenious friend, Mr. Thomas Hopkinson, since deceased, 
whose virtue and integrity, in every station of life, public and private, will 
ever make his Memory dear to those who knew him, and knew how to value 
him. 

2 This was Mr. ffopkinson's experiment, made with an expectation of 
drawing a more sharp and powerful spark from the point, as from a kind 
of focus, and he was surprized to find little or none. 

8 We suppose every particle of sand, moisture, or smoke, being first at- 
tracted and then repelled, carries off with it a portion of the electrical fire ; 
but that the same still subsists in those particles, till they communicate it to 
something else, and that it is never really destroyed. So, when water is 
thrown on common fire, we do not imagine the element is thereby destroyed 



1747] TO PETER COLUNSOff 305 

though the candle is at a foot distance : these do it suddenly. 
The light of a bright coal from a wood fire ; and the light of 
red-hot iron do it likewise; but not at so great a distance. 
Smoke from dry rosin dropt on hot iron, does not destroy 
the repellency; but is attracted by both shot and cork ball, 
forming proportionable atmospheres round them, making 
them look beautifully, somewhat like some of the figures 
in Burners or Whiston's Theory of the Earth. 

N. B. This experiment should be made in a closet, where 
the air is very still, or it will be apt to fail. 

The light of the sun thrown strongly on both cork and shot 
by a looking-glass for a long time together, does not impair 
the repellency in the least. This difference between fire-light 
and sun-light is another thing that seems new and extraordi- 
nary to us. 1 

We had for some time been of opinion, that the electrical 
fire was not created by friction, but collected, being really 
an element diffus'd among, and attracted by other matter, 
particularly by water and metals. We had even discovered 
and demonstrated its afflux to the electrical sphere, as well 
as its efflux, by means of little light windmill-wheels made of 
stiff paper vanes, fixed obliquely and turning freely on fine 
wire axes; also by little wheels of the same matter, but 
formed like water-wheels. Of the disposition and applica- 
tion of which wheels, and the various phaenomena resulting, 

or annihilated, but only dispersed, each particle of water carrying off in vapour 
its portion of the fire, which it had attracted and attached to itself. 

1 This different Effect probably did not arise from any difference in the 
light, but rather from the particles separated from the candle, being first 
attracted and then repelled, carrying off the electric matter with them ; and 
from the rarefying the air, between the glowing coal or red-hot iron, and the 
electrised shot, through which rarified air the electric fluid could more readily 
pass. 

VOL. II X 



306 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

I could, if I had time, fill you a sheet. 1 The impossibility 
of electrising one's self (though standing on wax) by rubbing 
the tube, and drawing the fire from it; and the manner of 
doing it, by passing the tube near a person or thing standing 
on the floor, &c., had also occurred to us some months 
before Mr. Watson's ingenious Sequel came to hand, and 
these were some of the new things I intended to have com- 
municated to you. But now I need only mention some 
particulars not hinted in that piece, with our reasonings 
thereupon; though perhaps the latter might well enough 
be spared. 

1. A person standing on wax, and rubbing the tube, and 
another person on wax drawing the fire, they will both of 
them, (provided they do not stand so as to touch one 
another) appear to be electrised, to a person standing on 
the floor; that is, he will perceive a spark on approaching 
each of them with his knuckle. 

2. But, if the persons on wax touch one another during 
the exciting of the tube, neither of them will appear 
to be electrised. 

3. If they touch one another after exciting the tube, and 
drawing the fire as aforesaid, there will be a stronger spark 
between them, than was between either of them and the 
person on the floor. 

4. After such strong spark, neither of them discover any 
electricity. 

These appearances we attempt to account for thus: We 

1 These experiments with the wheels were made and communicated to me 
by my worthy and ingenious friend, Mr. Philip Syng; but we afterwards dis- 
covered, that the motion of those wheels was not owing to any afflux or efflux 
of the electric fluid, but to various circumstances of attraction and repulsion. 
1750. 



1747] TO PETER COLLINS ON 307 

suppose, as aforesaid, that electrical fire is a common ele- 
ment, of which every one of the three persons above men- 
tioned has his equal share, before any operation is begun 
with the tube. A, who stands on wax and rubs the tube, 
collects the electrical fire from himself into the glass; and 
his communication with the common stock being cut off by 
the wax, his body is not again immediately supply'd. 5, 
(who stands on wax likewise) passing his knuckle along 
near the tube, receives the fire which was collected by the 
glass from A; and his communication with the common 
stock being likewise cut off, he retains the additional quantity 
received. To C, standing on the floor, both appear to be 
electrised: for he having only the middle quantity of elec- 
trical fire, receives a spark upon approaching B, who has an 
over quantity; but gives one to A, who has an under quan- 
tity. If A and B approach to touch each other, the spark 
is stronger, because the difference between them is greater: 
After such touch there is no spark between either of them 
and C, because the electrical fire in all is reduced to the origi- 
nal equality. If they touch while electrising, the equality 
is never destroy'd, the fire only circulating. Hence have 
arisen some new terms among us : we say, B, (and bodies like 
circumstanced) is electrised positively; A, negatively. Or 
rather, B is electrised plus; A, minus. And we daily in 
our experiments electrise bodies plus or minus, as we think 
proper. To electrise plus or minus, no more needs to be 
known than this, that the parts of the tube or sphere that are 
rubbed, do, in the instant of the friction, attract the electrical 
fire, and therefore take it from the thing rubbing : the same 
parts immediately, as the friction upon them ceases, are dis- 
posed to give the fire they have received, to any body that 



3 o8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

has less. Thus you may circulate it, as Mr. Watson has 
shewn; you may also accumulate or subtract it upon, or 
from any body, as you connect that body with the rubber 
or with the receiver, the communication with the common 
stock being cut off. We think that ingenious gentleman 
was deceived when he imagined (hi his Sequel) that the 
electrical fire came down the wire from the cieling to 
the gun-barrel, thence to the sphere, and so electrised the 
machine and the man turning the wheel, &c. We suppose 
it was driven off, and not brought on through that wire; 
and that the machine and man, &c., were electrised minus, 
i.e. had less electrical fire in them than things in common. 

As the vessel is just upon sailing, I cannot give you so 
large an account of American electricity as I intended: I 
shall only mention a few particulars more. We find granu- 
lated lead better to fill the phial with, than water, being easily 
warmed, and keeping warm and dry in damp air. We fire 
spirits with the wire of the phial. We light candles, just 
blown out, by drawing a spark among the smoke, between 
the wire and snuffers. We represent lightning, by passing 
the wire in the dark, over a China plate, that has gilt flowers, 
or applying it to gilt frames of looking-glasses, &c. We 
electrise a person twenty or more times running, with a touch 
of the ringer on the wire, thus: He stands on wax. Give 
him the electrised bottle in his hand. Touch the wire with 
your finger, and then touch his hand or face; there are 
sparks every time. 1 We increase the force of the electrical 

1 By taking a spark from the wire, the electricity within the bottle is dimin- 
ished ; the outside of the bottle then draws some from the person holding it, 
and leaves him in the negative state. Then when his hand or face is touch'd, 
an equal quantity is restored to him from the person touching. F. 



1747] TO PETER COLLINSON" 309 

kiss vastly, thus : Let A and B stand on wax ; or A on wax, 
and B on the floor; give one of them the electrised phial in 
hand; let the other take hold of the wire; there will be a 
small spark; but when their lips approach, they will be 
struck and shock'd. The same if another gentleman and 
lady, C and D, standing also on wax, and joining hands 
with A and B } salute or shake hands. We suspend by fine 
silk thread a counterfeit spider, made of a small piece of 
burnt cork, with legs of linnen thread, and a grain or two of 
lead stuck in him, to give him more weight. Upon the table, 
over which he hangs, we stick a wire upright, as high as the 
phial and wire, two or three inches from the spider : then we 
animate him, by setting the electrified phial at the same dis- 
tance on the other side of him; he will immediately fly to 
the wire of the phial, bend his legs in touching it ; then spring 
off, and fly to the wire on the table ; thence again to the wire 
of the phial, playing with his legs against both, in a very 
entertaining manner, appearing perfectly alive to persons 
unacquainted. He will continue this motion an hour or 
more in dry weather. We electrify, upon wax in the dark, 
a book that has a double line of gold round upon the covers, 
and then apply a knuckle to the gilding; the fire appears 
everywhere upon the gold like a flash of lightning : not upon 
the leather, nor, if you touch the leather instead of the gold. 
We rub our tubes with buckskin, and observe always to keep 
the same side to the tube, and never to sully the tube by 
handling; thus they work readily and easily, without the 
least fatigue, especially if kept hi tight pasteboard cases, 
lined with flannel, and sitting close to the tube. 1 This I 

1 Our tubes are made here of green glass, 27 or 30 inches long, as big as 
can be grasped. F. 



3 io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

mention, because the European papers on Electricity, fre- 
quently speak of rubbing the tube, as a fatiguing exercise. 
Our spheres are fixed on iron axes, which pass through 
them. At one end of the axis there is a small handle, with 
which you turn the sphere like a common grindstone. This 
we find very commodious, as the machine takes up but little 
room, is portable, and may be enclosed in a tight box, when 
not in use. 'Tis true, the sphere does not turn so swift as 
when the great wheel is used : but swiftness we think of little 
importance, since a few turns will charge the phial, &c., 

sufficiently. 1 

I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



61. TO JARED ELIOT 2 (Y.) 

PHILAD A , July 16, 1747. 
DEAR SIR, 

I receiv'd your favour of the 4th instant. I ought before 
this Time to have acknowledg'd the Receipt of the Book, 
which came very Safe, and in good Order, to hand. We 
have many Oil-Mills in this Province, it being a great Coun- 
try for Flax. Linseed Oil may now be bought for 3/ per 
Gallon ; sometimes for 2/6 ; but at New York, I have been 
told, it generally holds up at about 8/. Of this you can 
easily be satisfy'd, it being your neighbour Government. 

1 This simple, easily-made machine was a contrivance of Mr. Syng's. F. 

3 The original letter is in the Library of Yale University. Jared Eliot 
(1685-1763) was a grandson of "Apostle " Eliot ; he was a graduate of Yale 
College, and was Rector of Killingworth, Connecticut. He was the teacher 
of Samuel Johnson, first president of King's College, and he was a Fellow of 
the Royal Society. ED. 



1747] TO JARED ELIOT 311 

In your last, you enquir'd about the kind of Land from 
which our Hemp is rais'd. I am told it must be very rich 
Land. Sometimes they use drain'd Swamps and banked 
Meadows; but the greatest part of our Hemp is brought 
from Conestoga, which is a large and very rich Tract of 
Land * * * miles from this city on the Banks of the Susque- 
hanah, a large fresh-water river. It is brought down in 
waggons. 

If you should send any of your Steel Saws here for sale, 
I should not be wanting where my Recommendation might 
be of service. 

We have had as wet a Summer as has been known here 
these thirty Years, so that it was with Difficulty our People 
got in their Harvest. In some Parts of the Country a great 
deal of Hay has been lost, and some Corn mildew'd; but 
in general the Harvest has been very great. The two pre- 
ceding Summers (particularly the last) were excessively dry. 
I think with you, it might be of advantage to know what the 
Seasons are in the several Parts of the Country. One's 
Curiosity in some Philosophical Points might also be 
gratified by it. 

We have frequently, along this North American Coast, 
Storms from the northeast, which blow violently sometimes 
3 or 4 Days. Of these I have had a very singular Opinion 
some years, viz. that, tho' the Course of the Wind is from 
N.E. to S.W., yet the Course of the Storm is from S.W. to 
N.E. ; that is, the air is in violent Motion in Virginia before it 
moves in Connecticut, and in Connecticut before it moves 
at Cape Sable, &c. My Reasons for this Opinion, (if the 
like have not occurr'd to you,) I will give in my next. 

I thank you for the curious Facts you have communicated 



3 I2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

to me relating to Springs. I think with you, that most 
Springs arise from Rains, Dews, or Ponds, on higher Grounds ; 
yet possibly some, that break out near the Tops of high 
Hollow Mountains, may proceed from the Abyss, or from 
Water in the Caverns of the Earth, rarefied by its internal 
Heat, and raised in Vapour, till the cold Region near the 
Tops of such Mountains condenses the Vapour into Water 
again, which comes forth in Springs, and runs down on the 
outside of the Mountains, as it ascended on the inside. 
There it is said to be a large Spring near the Top of Tene- 
riffe; and that Mountain was formerly a Volcano, conse- 
quently hollow within. Such Springs, if such there be, 
may properly be called Springs of dislill'd Water. 

Now I mention Mountains, it occurs to tell you, that the 
great Apalachian Mountains, which run from York River, 
back of these colonies, to the Bay of Mexico, show hi many 
Places, near the highest Parts of them, strata of Sea Shells ; 
in some Places the Marks of them are in the solid Rocks. 
It is certainly the Wreck of a World we live on ! We have 
Specimens of these Sea Shell Rocks, broken off near the Tops 
of these Mountains, brought and deposited in our Library 
as Curiosities. If you have not seen the like, I'll send you a 
Piece. Farther, about Mountains (for Ideas will string 
themselves like Ropes of Onions) ; when I was once riding 
in your Country, Mr. Walker show'd me at a distance the 
Bluff Side or End of a Mountain, which appeared striped 
from Top to Bottom, and told me the Stone or Rock of 
that Mountain was divided by Nature into Pillars; of this 
I should be glad to have a particular Account from you. 
I think I was somewhere near New Haven when I saw it. 

You made some Mistake when you intended to favour 



1747] TO JARED ELIOT 313 

me with some of the new valuable Grass Seed (I think you 
called it Herd-seed), for what you gave me is grown up, 
and proves mere Timothy; so I suppose you took it out of 
a wrong paper or Parcel. 

I wish your new Law may have the good Effect expected 
from it, in extricating your Government from the heavy 
Debt this War has obliged them to contract. I am too 
little acquainted with your particular Circumstances to judge 
of the Prudence of such a Law for your Colony with any 
Degree of Exactness. But to a Friend one may hazard 
one's Notions, right or wrong. And, as you are pleas'd 
to desire my Thoughts, you shall have 'em and welcome. 
I wish they were better. 

First, I imagine that the Five Per Cent Duty on Goods 
imported from your Neighbouring Governments, tho' paid 
at first Hand by the Importer, will not upon the whole come 
out of his Pocket, but be paid in Fact by the Consumer; 
for the Importer will be sure to sell his Goods as much 
dearer as to reimburse himself; so that it is only another 
Mode of Taxing your own People, tho' perhaps meant 
to raise Money on your Neighbours. Yet, if you can 
make some of the Goods, heretofore imported, among 
yourselves, the advanc'd price of five per cent may en- 
courage your own Manufacture, and in tune make the 
Importation of such Articles unnecessary, which will be an 
Advantage. 

Secondly, I imagine the Law will be difficult to execute, 
and require many Officers to prevent Smuggling in so ex- 
tended a Coast as yours; and the Charge considerable; 
and, if Smuggling is not prevented, the fair Trader will be 
undersold and ruined. If the Officers are many and busy, 



3 14 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

there will arise numbers of vexatious Lawsuits, and Dissen- 
sions among your People. Qucere, whether the Advantages 
will overbalance. 

Thirdly, if there is any Part of your Produce that you 
can well spare, and would desire to have taken off by your 
Neighbours in Exchange for something you more want, 
perhaps they, taking offence at your selfish Law, may in 
Return lay such heavy Duties or Discouragements on that 
article, as to leave it a Drug on your Hands. As to the 
duty on transporting Lumber (unless in Connecticut Bottoms 
to the West Indies), I suppose the Design is to raise the 
Price of such Lumber on your Neighbours, and throw that 
advanced price into your Treasury. But may not your 
Neighbours supply themselves elsewhere? Or, if Numbers 
of your People have Lumber to dispose of, and want Goods 
from, or have Debts to pay to your Neighbours, will they not 
(unless you employ Numbers of Officers to watch all your 
Creeks and Landings) run their Lumber, and so defeat the 
Law? Or, if the Law is strictly executed, and the Duty 
discourage the Transportation to your Neighbours, will not 
all your people, that want to dispose of Lumber, be laid at 
the Mercy of those few Merchants that send it to the West 
Indies, who will buy it at their own Price, and make such 
Pay for it as they think proper? 

If I had seen the Law, and heard the Reasons that are 
given for making it, I might have judged and talked of it 
more to the purpose. At present I shoot my Bolt pretty 
much in the Dark; but you can excuse and make proper 
Allowances. 

My best Respects to good Mrs. Eliot and your sons; 
and, if it falls in your way, my Service to the kind, hos- 



1747] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 315 

pitable People near the River, whose name I am sorry I've 
forgot. 

I am, dear Sir, with the utmost Regard, 
Your obliged numb servt, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



62. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philad, July 29, 1747. 

SIR: Your Favours of March 18. and April i. are come to 
hand, with all the Books, etc., mention'd in the Invoice hi 
good Order, and am much oblig'd to you for your ready 
compliance with all my Requests. 

I believe I could have got Subscriptions for 20 Sets of 
the Universal History, and perhaps more; but unluckily 
a Ship from Ireland has, since the Receipt of your Letter, 
brought hi 20 Setts compleat, and they are offer'd at a lower 
Rate than the English Edition can be afforded at, even if 
I paid but 4/ per Vol. I do what I can to lessen the Credit 
of that piratical Edition, and talk much of the Improvements 
made hi this; but that being to be had intire immediately, 
and this not till after many Months, weighs a good deal 
with some; and others object, that 'tis to be apprehended, 
the London Booksellers will either curtail the Folio Edition 
greatly to save Money, or put the Subscribers at last to the 
Expence of a greater Number of Volumes than 20; seeing 
the Volumes are much less than those of the Irish Edition, 
the 3 first of the one, containing but little more than the first 
of the other. If they think fit to venture a parcel here, 

1 From the original in the collection of Mr. John Boyd Thacher, of Albany. 



3 i6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

Hall will do his best to dispose of them, and I will assist 
him what I can. They may send a Parcel also to Mr. 
Parker, Printer of New York, a very honest punctual Man. 

I am glad all the Bills I sent you have been paid or accepted. 
You may expect more in a short time; and after the next 
Parcel of Books are paid for, you will chiefly have to deal 
with Mr. Hall, into whose Hands I have agreed to put the 
Shop, etc. 

With all our best Respects to you and yours, heartily 
wishing you Health and Happiness, I conclude your obliged 
humbl 6 Serv 4 , 

per Mesnard. B. FRANKLIN. 



63. TO JOHN FRANKLIN 1 (A. p. s.) 

DEAR BROTHER Aug 1 6. 1747. 

I am glad to hear that M r Whitefield is safe arriv'd, and 
recovered his Health: he is a good Man and I love him: 

M r Douse has wrote to me per this Post, at M rs Steele's 
Request desiring an Explanation from me with regard to 
my Dissatisfaction with that Lady. I have wrote him in 
answer that I think a Misunderstanding between Persons 
at such a Distance, and never like to be further acquainted, 
can be of no kind of Consequence, & therefore had better 
be dropt and forgot than committed to Paper ; but that how- 
ever, if M rs Steele after Recollection still desires it, I will 
be very particular with her in a Letter for that purpose to 
herself. If such a Letter should be written, I will send you 
a Copy of it, for your & Sister's Satisfaction ; but think 'twill 
be best that you do [not] show it, or any of the Letters in 

1 Rough Draft in A. P. S. 



1747] TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN" 317 

which I have mention'd her nor speak of them, but keep 
quite unconcern'd for perhaps there may be a little 
Squabble. 

With Love to Sister, &c. &c. I am, Sir 

Your affectionate Brother 
B. FRANKLIN. 



64. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 1 (L. c.) 

Philadelphia, 1747. 

ACCORDING to my promise, I send you in writing my obser- 
vations on your book ; you will be the better able to consider 
them; which I desire you to do at your leisure, and to set 
me right where I am wrong. 

I stumble at the threshold of the building, and therefore 
have not read further. The author's vis inertia essential 
to matter, upon which the whole work is founded, I have not 
been able to comprehend. And I do not think he demon- 
strates at all clearly (at least to me he does not), that there 
is really such a property in matter. 

He says, No. 2, "Let a given body or mass of matter be 
called a, and let any given celerity be called c. That celerity 
doubled, tripled, &c., or halved, thirded, &c., will be 2C, 
3^, &c., or $c, ^c, &c., respectively. Also the body doubled, 
tripled, or halved, thirded, will be 2a, 30, or 0, a, respec- 

1 This letter has hitherto been supposed to have been addressed to Thomas 
Hopkinson. There are two transcripts of it in the Library of Congress. I 
have printed from Benjamin Vaughan's copy. The book referred to was " An 
Inquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, wherein its Immortality is 
evinced," etc., by Andrew Baxter. The thesis which the author attempts to 
maintain rests upon the belief that nature is essentially inert and that all 
changes in it argue the action of an immaterial principle and consequently of 
the superintendence of a divine power. ED. 



318 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

tively." Thus far is clear. But he adds, "Now to move the 
body a, with the celerity c, requires a certain force to be im- 
pressed upon it ; and to move it with a celerity as 2C, requires 
twice that force to be impressed upon it, &c." Here I suspect 
some mistake creeps in, by the author's not distinguishing 
between a great force applied at once, and a small one con- 
tinually applied, to a mass of matter, in order to move it. 
I think it is generally allowed by the philosophers, and, for 
aught we know, is certainly true, that there is no mass vof 
matter, how great soever, but may be moved by any force 
how small soever, (taking friction out of the question,) 
and this small force, continued, will in time bring the mass 
to move with any velocity whatsoever. Our author himself 
seems to allow this towards the end of the same No. 2, when 
he is subdividing his celerities and forces ; for as in continuing 
the division to eternity by his method of \c, $c, %c, $c, &c. 
you can never come to a fraction of velocity that is equal to 
oc, or no celerity at all; so, dividing the force in the same 
manner, you can never come to a fraction of force that will 
not produce an equal fraction of celerity. 

Where then is the mighty vis inertia, and what is its 
strength, when the greatest assignable mass of matter will 
give way to, or be moved by, the least assignable force? 
Suppose two globes equal to the sun and to one another, 
exactly equipoised in Jove's balance; suppose no friction 
in the centre of motion, in the beam or elsewhere ; if a mus- 
keto then were to light on one of them, would he not give 
motion to them both, causing one to descend and the other 
to rise? If it is objected, that the force of gravity helps 
one globe to descend, I answer, the same force opposes the 
other's rising. Here is an equality that leaves the whole 



1747] TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 319 

motion to be produced by the musketo, without whom those 
globes would not be moved at all. What then does vis 
inertia do in this case? and what other effect could we 
expect if there were no such thing? Surely, if it were any 
thing more than a phantom, there might be enough of it in 
such vast bodies to annihilate, by its opposition to motion, 
so trifling a force! 

Our author would have reasoned more clearly, I think, 
if, as he has used the letter a for a certain quantity of matter, 
and c for a certain quantity of celerity, he had employed 
one letter more, and put /, perhaps, for a certain quantity 
of force. This let us suppose to be done; and then, as it 
is a maxim that the force of bodies in motion is equal to the 
quantity of matter multiplied by the celerity, (or / = c x a) ; 
and as the force received by and subsisting in matter, when 
it is put in motion, can never exceed the force given; so, if 
/ moves a with c, there must needs be required 2/ to move 
a with 2c; for a moving with 20 would have a force equal 
to 2/, which it could not receive from i/; and this, not because 
there is such a thing as vis inertia, for the case would be the 
same if that had no existence; but because nothing can give 
more than it has. And now again, if a thing can give what 
it has, if i/ can to la give ic, which is the same thing as 
giving it i/, (that is, if force applied to matter at rest, can put 
it in motion, and give it equal force,) where then is vis inertia ? 
If it existed at all in matter, should we not find the quantity 
of its resistance subtracted from the force given? 

In No. 4, our author goes on and says, "The body a re- 
quires a certain force to be impressed on it to be moved 
with a celerity as c, or such a force is necessary ; and there- 
fore it makes a certain resistance, &c. ; a body as za requires 



320 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

twice that force to be moved with the same celerity, or it 
makes twice that resistance; and so on." This I think is 
not true ; but that the body 2a, moved by the force i/, (though 
the eye may judge otherwise of it) does really move with the 
same celerity as it did when impelled by the same force; 
for 20. is compounded of ia-f 10; and if each of the ia's, 
or each part of the compound, were made to move with ic 
(as they might be by 2/), then the whole would move with 2C, 
and not with ic, as our author supposes. But i/ applied 
to 20 makes each a move with \c\ and so the whole moves 
with ic ; exactly the same as ia was made to do by i/ before. 
What is equal celerity but a measuring the same space by 
moving bodies in the same time? Now if ia, impelled by i/, 
measures one hundred yards in a minute; and in 2a, im- 
pelled by i/, each a measures fifty yards in a minute, which 
added make one hundred ; are not the celerities, as the forces, 
equal? And, since force and celerity in the same quantity 
of matter are always in proportion to each other, why should 
we, when the quantity of matter is doubled, allow the force 
to continue unimpaired, and yet suppose one half of the 
celerity to be lost? I wonder the more at our author's 
mistake in this point, since in the same number I find him 
observing; "We may easily conceive that a body, as 30, 
4<z, &c., would make three or four bodies equal to once a, 
each of which would require once the first force to be moved 
with the celerity c" If then, in 30, each a requires once the 
first force /, to be moved with the celerity c, would not each 
move with the force /, and celerity cl and consequently 
the whole be 30 moving with 3/ and 3*;? After so distinct 
an observation, how could he miss of the consequence, 
and imagine that ic and 30 were the same? Thus, as our 



1747] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 321 

author's abatement of celerity in the case of 20. moved by if is 
imaginary, so must be his additional resistance. And here 
again, I am at a loss to discover any effect of the vis inertia. 

In No. 6, he tells us, "that all this is likewise certain when 
taken the contrary way, viz. from motion to rest; for the body 
a, moving with a certain velocity, as c, requires a certain 
degree of force or resistance to stop that motion," &c. &c. ; 
that is, in other words, equal force is necessary to destroy 
force. It may be so. But how does that discover a vis 
inertia? Would not the effect be the same, if there were 
no such thing? A force if strikes a body la, and moves 
it with the celerity ic, that is, with the force i/; it requires, 
even according to our author, only an opposing if to stop it. 
But ought it not (if there were a vis inertia) to have not only 
the force if, but an additional force equal to the force of 
vis inertia, that obstinate power by which a body endeavours 
with all its might to continue in its present state, whether of 
motion or rest? I say, ought there not to be an opposing 
force equal to the sum of these? The truth, however, is, 
that there is no body, how large soever, moving with any 
velocity, how great soever, but may be stopped by an opposing 
force, how small soever, continually applied. At least, 
all our modern philosophers agree to tell us so. 

Let me turn the thing in what light I please, I cannot 
discover the vis inertia, nor any effect of it. It is allowed 
by all, that a body la, moving with a velocity ic, and a force 
if, striking another body la at rest, they will afterwards 
move on together, each with \c and \] ; which, as I said before, 
is equal in the whole to ic and if. If vis inertia, as in this 
case, neither abates the force nor the velocity of bodies, 
what does it, or how does it discover itself? 

VOL. II Y 



322 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

I imagine I may venture to conclude my observations on this 
piece, almost in the words of the author; that, if the doc- 
trines of the immateriality of the soul and the existence of 
God, and of divine providence, are demonstrable from no 
plainer principles, the deist (that is, theist} has a desperate 
cause in hand. I oppose my theist to his atheist, because I 
think they are diametrically opposite ; and not near of kin, 
as Mr. Whitefield seems to suppose, where (in his Journal) 
he tells us, "M. B. was a deist, I had almost said an atheist;" 
that is, chalk, I had almost said charcoal. 

The din of the Market 1 increases upon me; and that, 
with frequent interruptions, has, I find, made me say some 
things twice over; and, I suppose, forget some others I 
intended to say. It has, however, one good effect, as it 
obliges me to come to the relief of your patience with 

Your humble servant, 
B. FRANKLIN. 

65. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

Philadelphia, August 6, 1747. 

SIR, 

The observations I sent you on Baxter's book were wrote 
on a sheet or two of paper in folio. He builds his whole 
argument on the vis inertia of matter. I boldly denied the 
being of such a property, and endeavoured to demonstrate 
the contrary. If I succeeded, all his edifice falls of course, 
unless some other way supported. I desired your senti- 
ments of my argument. You left the book for me at New 

1 Vaughan explains this as Hungerford Market, near Craven Street, Lon- 
don, where Franklin lived ; but the letter was written in Philadelphia and 
obviously refers to the market in that city. ED. 



1747] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 323 

York, with a few lines containing a short censure upon the 
author, and that your time had been much taken up in town 
with business, but you were now about to retire into the 
country, where you should have leisure to peruse my papers ; 
since which I have heard nothing from you relating to them. I 
hope you will easily find them, because I have lost my rough 
draft; but do not give yourself much trouble about them; 
for if they are lost, it is really no great matter. 

I am glad to hear, that some gentlemen with you are 
inclined to go on with electrical experiments. I am satisfied 
we have workmen here, who can make the apparatus as 
well to the full as that from London; and they will do it 
reasonably. By the next post, I will send you their compu- 
tation of the expense. If you shall conclude to have it done 
here, I will oversee the work, and take care that every part 
be done to perfection, as far as the nature of the thing admits. 

Instead of the remainder of my rough minutes on elec- 
tricity, (which are indeed too rough for your view,) I send 
you enclosed copies of two letters I lately wrote to Mr. Col- 
linson on that subject. When you have perused them, 
please to leave them with Mr. Nichols, whom I shall desire 
to forward them per next post to a friend in Connecticut. 

I am glad your Philosophical Treatise meets with so good 
reception in England. Mr. Collinson writes the same things 
to Mr. Logan; and Mr. Rose, of Virginia, writes me, that 
he had received accounts from his correspondents to the 
same purpose. I perceive by the papers, that they have also 
lately reprinted, in London, your "History of the Five 
Nations" in octavo. If it come to your hands, I should be 
glad to have a sight of it. 

Mr. Logan, on a second reading of your piece on Fluxions 



324 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

lately, is satisfied, that some of the faults he formerly ob- 
jected to it were his own, and owing to his too little attention 
at that time. He desires me to tell you so, and that he asks 
your pardon. Upon what Mr. Collinson wrote, he again 
undertook to read and consider your Philosophical Trea- 
tise. 1 I have not seen him since, but shall soon, and will 
send you his sentiments. I am, Sir, 
With great respect, 

Your most humble servant, 
B. FRANKLIN. 

66. TO PETER COLLINSON 2 (P. c.) 

Philad*, Aug* 14, 1747. 

SIR 

I have lately written two long Letters to you on the Sub- 
ject of Electricity, one by the Governor's Vessel, the other 
per Mesnard. On some further Experiments since I have 
observ'd a Phenomenon or two, that I cannot at present 
account for on the Principle laid down in those Letters, and 
am therefore become a little diffident of my Hypothesis, 

1 The title of this treatise, as originally printed, was as follows; " Explica- 
tion of the first Causes of Action in Matter ; and of the Cause of Gravitation. 
London, 1746." A second edition enlarged was published five years after- 
wards with a different title, namely; " The Principles of Action in Matter, 
the Gravitation of Bodies and the Motion of the Planets explained from those 
Principles. By Cadwallader Golden, Esquire. London. Printed for Dodsley, 
1751." The book was dedicated to the Earl of Macclesfield, then President 
of the Royal Society. Appended is a chapter entitled, " An Introduction to 
the Doctrine of Fluxions, or the Arithmetic of Infinities ; in order to assist 
the Imagination in forming Conceptions of the Principles on which that Doc- 
trine is founded." The volume contains eight chapters, besides the one on 
Fluxions, is printed in quarto, and extends to two hundred and fifteen pages. 

" ' ' O 

a From the original in the collection of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. 



1747] TO PETER COLLINS ON 325 

and asham'd that I have express'd myself in so positive a 
manner. In going on with these Experiments how many 
pretty Systems do we build which we soon find ourselves 
oblig'd to destroy! If there is no other Use discover'd of 
Electricity this however is something considerable, that it 
may help to make a vain man humble. 

I must now request that you would not Expose those 
Letters; or if you communicate them to any Friends you 
would at least conceal my Name. I have not Time to add 

but that I am, Sir, 

Your obliged and most hum 6 Serv 1 

B. FRANKLIN. 

67. TO PETER COLLINSON l 
SJR, [Philadelphia,] Sept. i, 1747. 

The necessary trouble of copying long letters, which per- 
haps, when they come to your hands, may contain nothing 
new, or worth your reading, (so quick is the progress made 
with you in Electricity,) half discourages me from writing 
any more on that subject. Yet I cannot forbear adding a 
few observations on M. Muschenbroek's wonderful bottle. 

i. The non-electric contain'd in the bottle differs when 
electrised from a non-electric electrised out of the bottle, 
in this: that the electrical fire of the latter is accumulated 
on its surface, and forms an electrical atmosphere round it 
of considerable extent; but the electrical fire is crowded 
into the substance of the former, the glass confining it. 2 

1 From " Experiments and Observations on Electricity." London : 1 769, 
p. 12. 

3 See this opinion rectified in 16 and 17 [of letter dated April 27, 1749]. 
The fire in the bottle was found by subsequent experiments not to be con- 
tained in the non-electric, but in the glass. 1748. 



326 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

2. At the same time that the wire and the top of the bottle, 
&c. is electrised positively or plus, the bottom of the bottle 
is electrised negatively or minus, in exact proportion; i.e., 
whatever quantity of electrical fire is thrown in at the top, 
an equal quantity goes out of the bottom. 1 To understand 
this, suppose the common quantity of electricity in each 
part of the bottle, before the operation begins, is equal to 
20; and at every stroke of the tube, suppose a quantity 
equal to i is thrown in; then, after the first stroke, the 
quantity contained in the wire and upper part of the bottle 
will be 21, in the bottom 19; after the second, the upper 
part will have 22, the lower 18, and so on, till, after 20 strokes, 
the upper part will have a quantity of electrical fire equal 
to 40, the lower part none; and then the operation ends: 
for no more can be thrown into the upper part, when no 
more can be driven out of the lower part. If you attempt 
to throw more in, it is spued back through the wire, or flies 
out in loud cracks through the sides of the bottle. 

3. The equilibrium cannot be restored in the bottle by 
inward communication or contact of the parts; but it must 
be done by a communication form'd without the bottle, 
between the top and bottom, by some non-electric, touching 
or approaching both at the same time; in which case it is 
restored with a violence and quickness inexpressible; or 
touching each alternately, in which case the equilibrium is 
restored by degrees. 

4. As no more electrical fire can be thrown into the top 
of the bottle, when all is driven out of the bottom, so, in a 
bottle not yet electrised, none can be thrown into the top, 

1 What is said here, and after, of the top and bottom of the bottle, is true 
of the inside and outside surfaces, and should have been so expressed. F. 



1747] TO PETER COLLINSON 327 

when none can get out at the bottom ; which happens either 
when the bottom is too thick, or when the bottle is placed 
on an electric per se. Again, when the bottle is electrised, 
but little of the electrical fire can be drawn out from the top, 
by touching the wire, unless an equal quantity can at the 
same time get in at the bottom. 1 Thus, place an electrised 
bottle on clean glass or dry wax, and you will not, by touch- 
ing the wire, get out the fire from the top. Place it on a 
non-electric, and touch the wire, you will get it out in a 
short time; but soonest when you form a direct communi- 
cation as above. 

So wonderfully are these two states of electricity, the plus 
and minus, combined and balanced in this miraculous 
bottle ! situated and related to each other in a manner that 
I can by no means comprehend ! If it were possible that a 
bottle should in one part contain a quantity of air strongly 
comprest, and in another part a perfect vacuum, we know 
the equilibrium would be instantly restored within. But 
here we have a bottle containing at the same time a plenum 
of electrical fire, and a vacuum of the same fire ; and yet the 
equilibrium cannot be restored between them but by a com- 
munication without! though the plenum presses violently 
to expand, and the hungry vacuum seems to attract as vio- 
lently in order to be filled. 

5. The shock to the nerves (or convulsion rather) is oc- 
casioned by the sudden passing of the fire through the body 
in its way from the top to the bottom of the bottle. The 
fire takes the shortest course, as Mr. Watson justly ob- 
serves. But it does not appear from experiment, that, in 
order for a person to be shocked, a communication with the 

1 See the preceding note, relating to top and bottom. F. 



328 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

floor is necessary ; for he that holds the bottle with one hand, 
and touches the wire with the other, will be shock'd as 
much, though his shoes be dry, or even standing on wax, 
as otherwise. And, on the touch of the wire (or of the gun- 
barrel, which is the same thing), the fire does not proceed 
from the touching finger to the wire, as is supposed, but 
from the wire to the finger, and passes through the body to 
the other hand, and so into the bottom of the bottle. 

Experiments confirming the above. 

EXPERIMENT I. 

Place an electrised phial on wax; a small cork ball, sus- 
pended by a dry silk-thread, held in your hand, and brought 
near to the wire, will first be attracted, and then repelled: 
when in this state of repellency, sink your hand, that the 
ball may be brought towards the bottom of the bottle; it 
will be there instantly and strongly attracted, 'till it has 
parted with its fire. 

If the bottle had a positive electrical atmosphere, as well 
as the wire, an electrified cork would be repelled from one 
as well as from the other. 

EXPERIMENT H. 

PL. i. FIG. i. From a bent wire (a) sticking in the 
table, let a small linen thread (6) hang down within half an 
inch of the electrised phial (c). Touch the wire of the phial 
repeatedly with your finger, and at every touch you will see 
the thread instantly attracted by the bottle. (This is best 
done by a vinegar-cruet, or some such belly'd bottle.) As 
soon as you draw any fire out from the upper part by touch- 



1747] TO PETER COLLINSON 329 

ing the wire, the lower part of the bottle draws an equal 
quantity in by the thread. 

EXPERIMENT HI. 

FIG. 2. Fix a wire in the lead, with which the bottom of 
the bottle is armed (d), so as that bending upwards, its ring- 
end may be level with the top or ring-end of the wire in the 
cork (e), and at three or four inches distance. Then elec- 
tricise the bottle, and place it on wax. If a cork, suspended 
by a silk thread (/), hang between these two wires, it will 
play incessantly from one to the other, 'till the bottle is no 
longer electrised ; that is, it fetches and carries fire from the 
top to the bottom of the bottle, till the equilibrium is re- 
stored. 

EXPERIMENT IV. 

FIG. 3. Place an electrised phial on wax ; take a wire (g) 
in form of a C, the ends at such a distance when bent, as that 
the upper may touch the wire of the bottle, when the lower 
touches the bottom: stick the outer part on a stick of seal- 
ing-wax (h), which will serve as a handle; then apply the 
lower end to the bottom of the bottle, and gradually bring 
the upper end near the wire in the cork. The consequence 
is, spark follows spark till the equilibrium is restored. Touch 
the top first, and, on approaching the bottom with the other 
end, you have a constant stream of fire from the wire enter- 
ing the bottle. Touch the top and bottom together, and 
the equilibrium will instantly be restored, the crooked wire 
forming the communication. 

EXPERIMENT V. 

FIG. 4. Let a ring of thin lead, or paper, surround a bottle 
(i), even at some distance from or above the bottom. From 



330 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

that ring let a wire proceed up, till it touch the wire of the 
cork (k). A bottle so fixt cannot by any means be elec- 
trised: the equilibrium is never destroyed: for while the 
communication between the upper and lower parts of the 
bottle is continued by the outside wire, the fire only circu- 
lates; what is driven out at bottom, is constantly supply'd 
from the top. 1 Hence a bottle cannot be electrised, that is 
foul or moist on the outside, if such moisture continue up 
to the cork or wire. 

EXPERIMENT VI. 

Place a man on a cake of wax, and present him the wire 
of the electrified phial to touch, you standing on the floor, 
and holding it in your hand. As often as he touches it, he 
will be electrified plus; and any one standing on the floor 
may draw a spark from him. The fire in this experiment 
passes out of the wire into him; and at the same time out 
of your hand into the bottom of the bottle. 

EXPERIMENT VII. 

Give him the electrical phial to hold; and do you touch 
the wire; as often as you touch it, he will be electrified 
minus, and may draw a spark from any one standing on the 
floor. The fire now passes from the wire to you, and from 
him into the bottom of the bottle. 

EXPERIMENT VHI. 

Lay two books on two glasses, back towards back, two 
or three inches distant. Set the electrified phial on one, 
and then touch the wire ; that book will be electrified minus; 
the electrical fire being drawn out of it by the bottom of the 

1 i.e. from the inside to the outside. F. 



1747] TO PETER COLLINSOtf 331 

bottle. Take off the bottle, and, holding it in your hand, 
touch the other with the wire; that book will be electrified 
plus; the fire passing into it from the wire, and the bottle 
at the same time supplied from your hand. A suspended 
small cork ball will play between these books 'till the equi- 
librium is restored. 

EXPERIMENT DC. 

When a body is electrised plus, it will repel a positively 
electrified feather or small cork ball. When minus (or 
when in the common state), it will attract them, but stronger 
when minus than when in the common state, the difference 
being greater. 

EXPERIMENT X. 

Though, as in Experiment VI, a man standing on wax 
may be electrised a number of times by repeatedly touching 
the wire of an electrised bottle (held in the hand of one stand- 
ing on the floor), he receiving the fire from the wire each 
time : yet holding it in his own hand, and touching the wire, 
though he draws a strong spark, and is violently shocked, 
no Electricity remains in him ; the fire only passing through 
him, from the upper to the lower part of the bottle. Ob- 
serve, before the shock, to let some one on the floor touch 
him to restore the equilibrium in his body; for in taking 
hold of the bottom of the bottle, he sometimes becomes a 
little electrised minus, which will continue after the shock, 
as would also any plus Electricity, which he might have 
given him before the shock. For, restoring the equilibrium 
in the bottle does not at all effect the Electricity in the man 
through whom the fire passes; that Electricity is neither 
increased nor diminished. 



332 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN 1 FRANKLIN [1747 
EXPERIMENT XI. 

The passing of the electrical fire from the upper to the 
lower part * of the bottle, to restore the equilibrium, is ren- 
dered strongly visible by the following pretty experiment. 
Take a book whose covering is filletted with gold; bend a 
wire of eight or ten inches long, in the form of (m), Fig. 5 ; 
slip it on the end of the cover of the book, over the gold line, 
so as that the shoulder of it may press upon one end of the 
gold line, the ring up, but leaning towards the other end of 
the book. Lay the book on a glass or wax, and on the 
other end of the gold lines set the bottle electrised; then 
bend the springing wire, by pressing it with a stick of wax, 
till its ring approaches the ring of the bottle wire ; instantly 
there is a strong spark and stroke, and the whole line of 
gold, which completes the communication between the top 
and bottom of the bottle, will appear a vivid flame, like the 
sharpest lightning. The closer the contact between the 
shoulder of the wire and the gold at one end of the line, and 
between the bottom of the bottle and the gold at the other 
end, the better the experiment succeeds. The room should 
be darkened. If you would have the whole filletting round 
the cover appear in fire at once, let the bottle and wire touch 
the gold in the diagonally opposite corners. 

I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 That is, from the inside to the oittsidt. F. 



1747] TO CADWALLADER COLDEflf 333 

68. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

PHILADELPHIA, October i, 1747. 

SIR, 

I send you herewith the "History of the Five Nations." 
You will perceive that Osborne, to puff up the book, has 
inserted the Charters, &c., of this province, all under the 
title of History of the Five Nations; which I think was 
not fair, but it is a common trick of booksellers. 

Mr. James Read, to whom Mr. Osborne has sent a parcel 
of books by recommendation of Mr. Collinson, being en- 
gaged in business of another kmd, talks of declining to act hi 
disposing of them, and perhaps may put them into my 
hands. If he should, I will endeavour to do Mr. Osborne 
justice in disposing of them to the best advantage, as also 
of any parcel he may send me from your recommendation. 

Mr. Armit is returned well from New England. As he 
has your power of attorney, and somewhat more leisure at 
present, than I have, I think to put your letter to Mr. Hughes 
into his hands, and desire him to manage the affair of your 
servant. I shall write a line besides to Hughes, that he 
would assist hi obliging the servant to do you justice, which 
may be of some service, as he owns himself obliged to me, 
for recovering a servant for him, that had been gone above 
a twelve-month. I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



334 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 



69. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD IMPROVED: 

1748 (P. H. S.) 

Kind, Reader 

The favourable Reception my annual Labours have 
met with from the Publick these 15 Years past, has engaged 
me in Gratitude to endeavour some Improvements of my 
Almanack. And since my Friend Taylor is no more, whose 
Ephemerides so long and so agreeably serv'd and enter- 
tain'd these Provinces, I have taken the Liberty to imitate 
his well-known Method, and give two Pages for each Month ; 
which affords me Room for several valuable Additions, as 
will best appear on Inspection and Comparison with former 
Almanacks. Yet I have not so far follow'd his Method, 
as not to continue my own when I thought it preferable; 
and thus my Book is increas'd to a Size beyond his, and 
contains much more Matter. 

Hail Night serene ! thro' Thee where'er we turn 
Our wond'ring Eyes, Heav'n's Lamps profusely burn; 
And Stars unnumber'd all the Sky adorn. 
But lo ! what's that I see appear? 
It seems far off a pointed flame ; 
From Earthwards too the shining Meteor came: 
How swift it climbs th' etherial Space ! 
And now it traverses each Sphere, 
And seems some knowing Mind, familiar to the Place, 
Dame, hand my Glass, the longest, strait prepare ; 
'Tis He 'tis TAYLOR'S Soul, that travels there. 
O stay ! thou happy Spirit, stay, 
And lead me on thro' all th' unbeaten Wilds of Day; 



1747] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD IMPROVED 335 

Where Planets in pure Streams of Ether driven, 
Swim thro' the blue Expanse of Heav'n. 
There let me, thy Companion, stray 
From Orb to Orb, and now behold 
Unnumber'd Suns, all Seas of molten Gold, 
And trace each Comet's wandring Way. 

Souse down into Prose again, my Muse; for Poetry's 
no more thy Element, than Air is that of the Flying-Fish; 
whose Flights, like thine, are therefore always short and 
heavy. l 

1 Then follows an account from Middleton of the severe cold of British 
America, in the neighbourhood of Hudson Bay. ED. 



7 o. PLAIN TRUTH: 1 (P.H.S.) 

OR, 

SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS 

ON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE CITY OF 
PHILADELPHIA, 

AND 

PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA 
BY A TRADESMAN OF PHILADELPHIA 



Capta" urbe, nihil fit reliqui victis. Sed, per deos immortales, vos ego 
appello, qui semper domos, villas, signa, tabulas vestras, tantae sestimationis 
fecistis ; si ista, cujuscumque modi sint, quse amplexamini, retinere, si volup- 
tatibus vestris otium prsebere vultis ; expergiscimini aliquando, et capessite 
rempublicam. Non agitur nunc . . . de sociorum injuriis ; LIBERTAS ET 
ANIMA nostra in dubio est. . . . Dux hostium cum exercitu supra caput est. 
Vos cunctamini etiam nunc, et dubitatis quid . . . faciatis ? . . . Scilicet res ipsa 
aspera est, sed vos non timetis earn. lino vero maxime ; sed inertia" et mollitia" 
animi, alius alium exspectantes, cunctamini ; videlicet, Diis immortalibus con- 
fisi, qui hanc rempublicam in maxumis periculis servavere. Non votis, neque 
suppliciis muliebribus, auxilia deorum parantur : vigilando, agendo, bene 
consulendo, prospere omnia cedunt. Ubi socordiae tete (sic) atque ignaviae 
tradideris, nequicquam deos implores ; irati, infestique sunt. 

M. FOR. CATO, in SALUST. 

PRINTED IN THE YEAR MDCCXLVII* 



1 Published November 14, 1747. See the biographical sketch in Vol. X 
for a full history of this tract. ED. 

2 The design and the wood-cut are not badly executed. At the bottom is a 
part of the motto inserted in the title-page ; Non votis {neque suppliciis 
muliebribus, auxilia deorum parantur]. ED. 



336 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 337 

IT is said the wise Italians make this proverbial Remark 
on our Nation, viz. "The English feel, but they do not see." 
That is, they are sensible of Inconveniencies when they are 
present, but do not take sufficient Care to prevent them: 
their natural Courage makes them too little apprehensive 
of Danger, so that they are often surpriz'd by it, unprovided 
of the proper Means of Security. When 'tis too late, they 
are sensible of their Imprudence: After great Fires, they 
provide Buckets and Engines : after a Pestilence they think 
of keeping clean their Streets and common Shores: and 
when a Town has been sack'd by their Enemies, they pro- 
vide for its Defence, &c. This Kind of After- Wisdom is 
indeed so common with us, as to occasion the vulgar, tho' 
very significant Saying, When the Steed is stolen, you shut 
the Stable Door. 

But the more insensible we generally are of publick Danger, 
and indifferent when warn'd of it, so much the more freely, 
openly, and earnestly, ought such as apprehend it, to speak 
their Sentiments; that if possible, those who seem to sleep, 
may be awaken'd, to think of some Means of Avoiding or 
Preventing the Mischief before it be too late. 

Believing therefore that 'tis my Duty, I shall honestly 
speak my Mind in the following Paper. 

War, at this Time, rages over a great Part of the known 
World ; our News-Papers are Weekly filled with fresh Ac- 
counts of the Destruction it everywhere occasions. Penn- 
sylvania, indeed, situate in the Center of the Colonies, has 
hitherto enjoy'd profound Repose; and tho' our Nation is 
engag'd in a bloody War, with two great and powerful 
Kingdoms, yet, defended, in a great Degree, from the French 
on the one Hand, by the Northern Provinces, and from the 

VOL. II Z 



338 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

Spaniards on the other by the Southern, at no small Ex- 
pence to each, our People have, till lately, slept securely in 
their Habitations. 

There is no British Colony excepting this, but has made 
some Kind of Provision for its Defence ; many of them have 
therefore never been attempted by an Enemy; and others 
that were attack'd, have generally defended themselves 
with Success. The Length and Difficulty of our Bay and 
River have been thought so effectual a Security to us, that 
hitherto no Means have been entered into that might dis- 
courage an Attempt upon us, or prevent its succeeding. 

But whatever Security this might have been while both 
Country and City were poor, and the Advantage to be ex- 
pected scarce worth the Hazard of an Attempt, it is now 
doubted whether we can any longer safely depend upon it. 
Our Wealth, of late Years much encreas'd, is one strong 
Temptation, our defenceless State another, to induce an 
Enemy to attack us; while the Acquaintance they have 
lately gained with our Bay and River, by Means of the 
Prisoners and Flags of Truce they have had among us; by 
Spies which they almost everywhere maintain, and perhaps 
from Traitors among ourselves; with the Facility of getting 
Pilots to conduct them; and the known Absence of Ships 
of War, during the greatest Part of the Year, from both 
Virginia and New-York, ever since the War began, render 
the Appearance of Success to the Enemy far more promising, 
and therefore highly encrease our Danger. 

That our Enemies may have Spies abroad, and some even 
in these Colonies, will not be made much doubt of, when 'tis 
considered, that such has been the Practice of all Nations 
in all Ages, whenever they were engaged, or intended to 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 339 

engage in War. Of this we have an early Example in the 
Book of Judges (too too pertinent to our Case, and therefore 
I must beg leave a little to enlarge upon it) where we are told, 
(Chap, xviii. v. 2,) that the Children of Dan sent of their 
Family five Men from their Coasts to spie out the Land, and 
search it, saying, Go, search the Land. These Danites, it 
seems were at this Time not very orthodox in their Religion, 
and their Spies met with a certain idolatrous Priest of their 
own Persuasion, (v. 3.) and they said to him, Who brought 
thee hither! What makest thou in this Place? And what 
hast thou here? [Would to God no such priests were to be 
found among us.] And they said unto him, (v. 5,) Ask Coun- 
sel of God, that we may know, whether our Way which we go 
shall be prosperous? and the Priest said unto them, Go in 
Peace; before the Lord is your Way wherein you go. [Are 
there no Priests among us, think you, that might, in the like 
Case, give an Enemy as good Encouragement? 'Tis well 
known, that we have Numbers of the same Religion with 
those who of late encouraged the French to invade our 
Mother- Country.] And they came, (Verse 7.) to Laish, and 
saw the People that were therein, how they dwelt CARELESS, 
after the Manner of the Zidonians, QUIET and SECURE. They 
thought themselves secure, no doubt ; and as they never had 
been disturbed, vainly imagined they never should. 'Tis 
not unlikely, that some might see the Danger they were ex- 
posed to by living in that careless Manner ; but that, if these 
publickly expressed their Apprehensions, the rest reproached 
them as timorous Persons, wanting Courage or Confidence 
in their Gods,, who (they might say) had hitherto protected 
them. But the Spies, (Verse 8.) returned, and said to their 
Countrymen, (Verse 9.) Arise that we may go up against them; 



340 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

for we have seen the Land, and behold it is very good! And 
are ye still? Be not slothful to go. (Verse 10.) When ye go, 
ye shall come unto a People SECURE; [that is, a People that 
apprehend no Danger, and therefore have made no Pro- 
vision against it ; great Encouragement this !] and to a large 
Land, and a Place where there is no Want of any Thing. 
What could they desire more? Accordingly we find, in the 
following Verses, that six hundred Men only, appointed 
with Weapons of War, undertook the Conquest of this large 
Land; knowing that 600 Men, armed and disciplined, 
would be an Over match perhaps for 60,000, unarmed, un- 
disciplined, and off their Guard. And when they went 
against it, the idolatrous Priest, (Verse 17.) with his graven 
Image, and his Ephod, and his Teraphim, and his molten 
Image, (Plenty of superstitious Trinkets,) joined with them, 
and, no doubt, gave them all the Intelligence and Assistance 
in his Power; his Heart, as the Text assures us, being glad, 
perhaps for Reasons more than one. And now, what was 
the Fate of poor Laishl The 600 Men being arrived, 
found, as the Spies had reported, a People QUIET and SECURE, 
(Verse 20, 21.) And they smote them with the Edge of the 
Sword, and burnt the City with FIRE ; and there was no DE- 
LIVERER, because it was jar from Zidon. Not so far from 
Zidon, however, as Pennsylvania is from Britain; and yet 
we are, if possible, more careless than the People of Laishl 
As the Scriptures are given for our Reproof, Instruction and 
Warning, may we make a due Use of this Example, before 
it be too late ! 

And is our Country, any more than our City, altogether 
free from Danger? Perhaps not. We have, 'tis true, had 
a long Peace with the Indians: But it is a long Peace indeed, 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 341 

as well as a long Lane, that has no Ending. The French 
know the Power and Importance of the Six Nations, and 
spare no Artifice, Pains or Expence, to gain them to their 
Interest. By their Priests they have converted many to 
their Religion, and these have openly espoused their Cause. 
The rest appear irresolute which Part to take; no Persua- 
sions, tho' enforced with costly Presents, having yet been 
able to engage them generally on our Side, tho' we had 
numerous Forces on their Borders, ready to second and sup- 
port them. What then may be expected, now those Forces 
are, by Orders from the Crown, to be disbanded; when our 
boasted Expedition is laid aside, thro' want (as it may appear 
to them) either of Strength or Courage ; when they see that 
the French and their Indians, boldly, and with Impunity, 
ravage the Frontiers of New York and scalp the Inhabitants ; 
when those few Indians that engaged with us against the 
French, are left exposed to their Resentment: When they 
consider these Things, is there no Danger that, thro' Disgust 
at our Usage, joined with Fear of the French Power, and 
greater Confidence in their Promises and Protection than 
in ours, they may be wholly gamed over by our Enemies, 
and join in the War against us ? If such should be the Case, 
which God forbid, how soon may the Mischief spread to 
our Frontier Counties? And what may we expect to be 
the Consequence, but deserting of Plantations, Ruin, Blood- 
shed, and Confusion! 

Perhaps some in the City, Towns and Plantations near 
the River, may say to themselves, An Indian War on the 
Frontiers will not affect us; the Enemy will never come near 
our Habitations; let those concern 7 d take Care of themselves. 
And others who live in the Country, when they are told of the 



342 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

Danger the City is in from Attempts by Sea, may say, What 
is that to us ? The Enemy will be satisfied with the Plunder 
of the Town, and never think it worth his while to visit our 
Plantations: let Hie Town take care of itself. These are not 
mere Suppositions, for I have heard some talk in this strange 
Manner. But are these the Sentiments of true Pennsyl- 
vanians, of Fellow- Countrymen, or even of Men that have 
Common Sense or Goodness? Is not the whole Province 
one Body, united by living under the same Laws, and en- 
joying the same Priviledges? Are not the People of City 
and Country connected as Relations both by Blood and 
Marriage, and in Friendships equally dear? Are they not 
likewise united in Interest, and mutually useful and neces- 
sary to each other? When the Feet are wounded, shall the 
Head say, // is not me; I will not trouble myself to contrive 
Relief! Or if the Head is in Danger, shall the Hands say, 
We are not affected, and therefore will lend no Assistance! 
No. For so would the Body be easily destroyed : But when 
all Parts join their endeavours for its Security, it is often 
preserved. And such should be the Union between the 
Country and the Town ; and such their mutual Endeavours 
for the Safety of the Whole. When New-England, a distant 
Colony, involv'd itself in a grievous Debt to reduce Cape- 
Breton, we freely gave Four Thousand Pounds for their 
Relief. And at another Time, remembring that Great 
Britain, still more distant, groan'd under heavy Taxes in 
supporting the War, we threw in our Mite to their Assistance, 
by a free Gift of Three Thousand Pounds: And shall Country 
and Town join in helping Strangers (as those comparatively 
are), and yet refuse to assist each other? 
But whatever different Opinions we have of our Security 



I747J PLAIN TRUTH 343 

in other Respects, our TRADE, all seem to agree, is in Danger 
of being ruin'd in another Year. The great Success of our 
Enemies, in two different Cruizes this last Summer in our 
Bay, must give them the greatest Encouragement to repeat 
more frequently their Visits, the Profit being almost certain, 
and the Risque next to nothing. Will not the first Effect 
of this, be, an Enhauncing of the Price of all foreign Goods 
to the Tradesman and Farmer, who use or consume them? 
For the Rate of Insurance will increase, in Proportion to 
the Hazard of Importing them ; and in the same Proportion 
will the Price of those Goods increase. If the Price of the 
Tradesman's Work and the Fanner's Produce would en- 
crease equally with the Price of foreign Commodities, the 
Damage would not be so great: But the direct contrary 
must happen. For the same Hazard, or Rate of Insurance, 
that raises the Price of what is imported, must be deducted 
out of, and lower the Price of what is exported. Without 
this Addition and Deduction, as long as the Enemy cruize 
at our Capes, and take those Vessels that attempt to go out, 
as well as those that endeavour to come in, none can afford 
to trade, and Business must be soon at a Stand. And will 
not the Consequences be, a discouraging of many of the 
Vessels that us'd to come from other Places to purchase our 
Produce, and thereby a Turning of the Trade to Ports that 
can be entered with less Danger, and capable of furnishing 
them with the same Commodities, as New-York, &c. A 
Lessening of Business to every Shopkeeper, together with 
Multitudes of bad Debts ; the high Rate of Goods discourag- 
ing the Buyers, and the low Rates of their Labour and 
Produce rendering them unable to pay for what they had 
bought: Loss of Employment to the Tradesman, and bad 



344 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

Pay for what little he does: And, lastly, loss of many In- 
habitants, who will retire to other Provinces not subject to 
the like Inconveniencies ; whence a Lowering of the Value 
of Lands, Lots, and Houses? 

The Enemy, no doubt, have been told, That the People 
of Pennsylvania are Quakers, and against all Defence, from 
a Principle of Conscience; this, tho' true of a Part, and 
that a small Part only of the Inhabitants, is commonly said 
of the Whole; and what may make it look probable to 
Strangers, is, that in Fact, nothing is done by any Part of 
the People towards their Defence. But to refuse Defending 
one's self, or one's Country, is so unusual a Thing among 
Mankind, that possibly they may not believe it, till by 
Experience they find, they can come higher and higher up 
our River, seize our Vessels, land and plunder our Planta- 
tions and Villages, and retire with their Booty unmolested. 
Will not this confirm the Report, and give them the greatest 
Encouragement to strike one bold Stroke for the City, and 
for the whole Plunder of the River? 

It is said by some, that the Expense of a Vessel, to guard 
our Trade, would be very heavy, greater than perhaps all 
the Enemy can be supposed to take from us at Sea would 
amount to; and that it would be cheaper for the Govern- 
ment to open an Insurance- Office, and pay all Losses. But 
is this right Reasoning? I think not: For what the Enemy 
takes is clear Loss to us, and Gain to him; encreasing his 
Riches and Strength, as much as it diminishes ours, so 
making the Difference double; whereas the Money paid 
our own Tradesmen for Building and Fitting out a Vessel 
of Defence, remains in the Country, and circulates among 
us; what is paid to the Officers and Seamen that navigate 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 345 

her, is also spent ashore, and soon gets into other Hands; 
the Farmer receives the Money for her Provisions, and on 
the whole, nothing is clearly lost to the Country but her 
Wear and Tear, or so much as she sells for at the End of the 
War less than her first Cost. This Loss, and a trifling one 
it is, is all the Inconvenience : But how many and how great 
are the Conveniencies and Advantages! And should the 
Enemy, thro' our Supineness and Neglect to provide for the 
Defence both of our Trade and Country, be encouraged to 
attempt this City, and after plundering us of our Goods, 
either burn it, or put it to Ransom; how great would that 
Loss be ! Besides the Confusion, Terror, and Distress, so 
many Hundreds of Families would be involv'd in ! 

The Thought of this latter Circumstance so much affects 
me, that I cannot forbear expatiating somewhat more upon 
it. You have, my dear Countrymen, and Fellow-Citizens, 
Riches to tempt a considerable Force to unite and attack 
you, but are under no Ties or Engagements to unite for 
your Defence. Hence, on the first Alarm, Terror will spread 
over All ; and as no Man can with Certainty depend that 
another will stand by him, beyond Doubt very many will 
seek Safety by a speedy Flight. Those that are reputed 
rich, will flee, thro' Fear of Torture, to make them produce 
more than they are able. The Man that has a Wife and 
Children, will find them hanging on his Neck, beseeching 
him with Tears to quit the City, and save his Life, to guide 
and protect them in that Time of general Desolation and 
Ruin. All will run into Confusion, amidst Cries and Lam- 
entations, and the Hurry and Disorder of Departers, carrying 
away their Effects. The Few that remain will be unable 
to resist. Sacking the City will be the first, and Burning it, 



346 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

in all Probability, the last Act of the Enemy. This, I be- 
lieve, will be the Case, if you have timely notice. But what 
must be your Condition, if suddenly surprized, without 
previous Alarm, perhaps in the Night! Confined to your 
Houses, you will have nothing to trust to but the Enemy's 
Mercy. Your best Fortune will be, to fall under the Power 
of Commanders of King's Ships, able to controul the Mari- 
ners ; and not into the Hands of licentious Privateers. Who 
can, without the utmost Horror, conceive the Miseries of the 
Latter ! when your Persons, Fortunes, Wives and Daughters, 
shall be subject to the wanton and unbridled Rage, Rapine 
and Lust, of Negroes, Molattoes, and others, the vilest and 
most abandoned of Mankind. 1 A dreadful Scene! which 
some may represent as exaggerated. I think it my Duty to 
warn you: Judge for yourselves. 

'Tis true, with very little Notice, the Rich may shift for 
themselves. The Means of speedy Flight are ready in their 
Hands; and with some previous Care to lodge Money and 
Effects in distant and secure Places, tho' they should lose 
much, yet enough may be left them, and to spare. But most 
unhappily circumstanced indeed are we, the middling People, 
the Tradesmen, Shopkeepers, and Farmers of this Province 
and City! We cannot all fly with our Families; and, if 
we could, how shall we subsist? No; we and they, and 

1 By Accounts, the ragged Crew of the Spanish Privateer that plundered 
Mr. Listen's, and another Plantation, a little below Newcastle, was composed 
of such as these. The Honour and Humanity of their Officers may be judg'd 
of, by the Treatment they gave poor Capt. Brown, whom they took with 
Martin's Ship in returning from their Cruize. Because he bravely defended 
himself and Vessel longer than they expected, for which every generous 
Enemy would have esteem'd him, did they, after he had struck and submitted, 
barbarously stab and murder him, tho' on his Knees begging Quarter ! 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 347 

what little we have gained by hard Labour and Industry, 
must bear the Brunt : The Weight of Contributions, extorted 
by the Enemy (as it is of Taxes among ourselves) must be 
surely borne by us. Nor can it be avoided as we stand at 
present ; for tho' we are numerous, we are quite defenceless, 
having neither Forts, Arms, Union, nor Discipline. And 
tho' it were true, that our Trade might be protected at no 
great Expence, and our Country and our City easily defended, 
if proper Measures were but taken ; yet who shall take these 
Measures? Who shall pay that Expence? On whom may 
we fix our Eyes with the least Expectation that they will 
do any one Thing for our Security ? Should we address that 
wealthy and powerful Body of People, who have ever since 
the War governed our Elections, and filled almost every Seat 
in our Assembly ; should we intreat them to consider, 
if not as Friends, at least as Legislators, that Protection is as 
truly due from the Government to the People, as Obedience 
from the People to the Government ; and that if on account 
of their religious Scruples, they themselves could do no Act 
for our Defence, yet they might retire, relinquish their Power 
for a Season, quit the Helm to freer Hands during the present 
Tempest, to Hands chosen by their own Interest too, whose 
Prudence and Moderation, with regard to them, they might 
safely confide in, secure, from their own native Strength, of 
resuming again their present Stations, whenever it shall 
please them: Should we remind them, that the Publick 
Money, raised from All, belongs to All; that since they have, 
for their own Ease, and to secure themselves in the quiet En- 
joyment of their Religious Principles (and may they long 
enjoy them), expended such large Sums to oppose Petitions, 
and engage favourable Representations of their Conduct, 



348 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [174? 

if they themselves could by no Means be free to appropriate 
any Part of the Publick Money for our Defence ; yet it would 
be no more than Justice to spare us a reasonable Sum for 
that Purpose, which they might easily give to the King's Use 
as heretofore, leaving all the Appropriation to others, who 
would faithfully apply it as we desired : Should we tell them, 
that tho' the Treasury be at present empty, it may soon be 
filled by the outstanding Publick Debts collected ; or at least 
Credit might be had for such a Sum, on a single Vote of the 
Assembly : That tho' they themselves may be resigned and 
easy under this naked, defenceless State of the Country, it 
is far otherwise with a very great Part of the People, with 
us, who can have no Confidence that God will protect those 
that neglect the use of rational Means for their Security ; nor 
have any Reason to hope, that our Losses, if we should suffer 
any, may be made up by Collections in our Favour at Home. 
Should we conjure them by all the Ties of Neighbourhood, 
Friendship, Justice and Humanity, to consider these Things ; 
and what Distraction, Misery, and Confusion, what Deso- 
lation and Distress, may possibly be the Effect of their un- 
seasonable Predominancy and Perseverance ; yet all would 
be in vain : For they have already been by great Numbers of 
the People petitioned in vain. Our late Governor did for 
Years sollicit, request, and even threaten them in vain. The 
Council have since twice remonstrated to them in vain. 
Their religious Prepossessions are unchangeable, their Ob- 
stinacy invincible* Is there then the least Hope remaining, 
that from that Quarter any Thing should arise for our 
Security ? 

And is our Prospect better, if we turn our Eyes to the 
Strength of the opposite Party, those Great and rich Men, 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 349 

Merchants and others, who are ever railing at Quakers for 
doing what their Principles seem to require, and what in 
Charity we ought to believe they think their Duty, but take 
no one Step themselves for the Publick Safety? They have 
so much Wealth and Influence, if they would use it, that they 
might easily, by their Endeavours and Example, raise a mili- 
tary Spirit among us, make us fond, studious of, and expert 
in Martial Discipline, and effect every Thing that is neces- 
sary, under God, for our Protection. But ENVY seems to 
have taken Possession of their Hearts, and to have eaten out 
and destroyed every generous, noble, publick-spirited Senti- 
ment. Rage at the Disappointment of their little Schemes 
for Power, gnaws their Souls, and fills them with such cordial 
Hatred to their Opponents, that every Proposal, by the Exe- 
cution of which those may receive Benefit as well as them- 
selves, is rejected with Indignation. What, say they, shall 
we lay out our Money to protect the Trade of Quakers ? Shall 
we fight to defend Quakers? No; let the Trade perish, and 
the City burn; let what will happen, we shall never lift a 
Finger to prevent it. Yet the Quakers have Conscience to 
plead for their Resolution not to fight, which these Gentle- 
men have not. Conscience with you, Gentlemen, is on the 
other Side of the Question : Conscience enjoins it as a DUTY 
on you (and indeed I think it such on every Man) to defend 
your Country, your Friends, your aged Parents, your Wives, 
and helpless Children : And yet you resolve not to perform 
this Duty, but act contrary to your own Consciences, because 
the Quakers act according to theirs. 'Till of late, I could 
scarce believe the Story of him, who refused to pump in a 
sinking Ship, because one on board, whom he hated, would 
be saved by it as well as himself. But such, it seems, is the 



350 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

Unhappiness of human Nature, that our Passions, when 
violent, often are too hard for the united force of Reason, 
Duty, and Religion. 

Thus unfortunately are we circumstanc'd at this Time, 
my dear Countrymen and Fello w- Citizens ; we, I mean, the 
middling People, the Farmers, Shopkeepers and Trades- 
men of this City and Country. Thro' the Dissensions of 
our Leaders, thro' mistaken Principles of Religion, join'd 
with a Love of Worldly Power, on the one Hand; thro' 
Pride, Envy, and implacable Resentment on the other; our 
Lives, our Families and little Fortunes, dear to us as any 
Great Man's can be to him, are to remain continually ex- 
pos'd to Destruction, from an enterprizing, cruel, now well- 
inform'd, and by Success encourag'd Enemy. It seems as 
if Heaven, justly displeas'd at our growing Wickedness, and 
determin'd to punish * this once-favoured Land, had suffered 
our Chiefs to engage in these foolish and mischievous Con- 
tentions, for little Posts and paltry Distinctions, that our 
Hands might be bound up, our Understandings darkned 
and misled, and every Means of our Security neglected. It 
seems as if our greatest Men, our Gives nobilissimi 2 of both 
Parties, had sworn the Ruin of the Country, and invited the 
French, our most inveterate Enemy, to destroy it. Where 
then shall we seek for Succour and Protection? The Gov- 

1 When God determined to punish his chosen People, the Inhabitants of 
Jerusalem, who, tho' Breakers of his other Laws, were scrupulous Observers 
of that ONE which required keeping holy the Sabbath-Day; he suffered even 
the strict Observation of that Command to be their Ruin : For Pompey, 
observing that they then obstinately refused to fight, made a general Assault 
on that Day, took the Town, and butcher'd them with as little Mercy as he 
found Resistance. JOSEPHUS. 

2 Conjuravere cives nobilissimi patriam incendere ; GALLORUM GENTEM, 
infest issimam nomini Romano, ad bellum arcessunt CATO, in SALUST. 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 351 

eminent we are immediately under denies it to us; and if 
the Enemy comes, we are far from Zidon, and there is no 
Deliverer near. Our Case indeed is dangerously bad ; but 
perhaps there is yet a Remedy, if we have but the Pru- 
dence and the Spirit to apply it. 

If this now flourishing City, and greatly improving Colony, 
is destroy'd and ruin'd, it will not be for want of Numbers 
of Inhabitants able to bear Arms in its Defence. 'Tis com- 
puted, that we have at least (exclusive of the Quakers) 
60,000 Fighting Men, acquainted with Fire Arms, many of 
them Hunters and Marksmen, hardy and bold. All we want 
is Order, Discipline, and a few Cannon. At present we are 
like the separate Filaments of Flax before the Thread is 
form'd, without Strength, because without Connection; but 
UNION would make us strong, and even formidable: Tho' 
the Great should neither help nor join us; tho' they should 
even oppose our Uniting, from some mean Views of their 
own, yet, if we resolve upon it, and it please God to inspire 
us with the necessary Prudence and Vigour, it may be effected. 
Great Numbers of our People are of British Race, and tho' 
the fierce fighting Annuals of those happy Islands, are said 
to abate their native Fire and Intrepidity, when removed to 
a foreign Clime, yet with the People 'tis not so ; Our Neigh- 
bours of New-England afford the World a convincing Proof, 
that Britons, tho' a Hundred Years transplanted, and to the 
remotest Part of the Earth, may yet retain, even to the third 
and fourth Descent, that Zeal for the Publick Good, that 
military Prowess, and that undaunted Spirit, which has in 
every age distinguished their Nation. What Numbers have 
we likewise of those brave People, whose Fathers in the last 
Age made so glorious a Stand for our Religion and Liberties, 



352 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

when invaded by a powerful French Army, join'd by Irish 
Catholicks, under a bigotted Popish king ! Let the memo- 
rable SIEGE of LONDONDERRY, and the signal actions of the 
INISKILLINGERS, by which the Heart of that Prince's Schemes 
was broken, be perpetual Testimonies of the Courage and 
Conduct of those noble Warriors! Nor are there wanting 
amongst us, Thousands of that Warlike Nation, whose Sons 
have ever since the Time of Casar maintained the Character 
he gave their Fathers, of joining the most obstinate Courage 
to all the other military Virtues ; I mean the brave and steady 
GERMANS. Numbers of whom have actually borne Arms 
in the Service of their respective Princes ; and if they fought 
well for their Tyrants and Oppressors, would they refuse to 
unite with us in Defence of their newly acquired and most 
precious Liberty and Property? Were this Union formed, 
were we once united, thoroughly arm'd and disciplin'd, was 
every Thing in our Power done for our Security, as far as 
human Means and Foresight could provide, we might then, 
with more Propriety, humbly ask the Assistance of Heaven, 
and a Blessing on our lawful Endeavours. The very Fame 
of our Strength and Readiness would be a Means of Discour- 
aging our Enemies ; for 'tis a wise and true Saying, that One 
Sword often keeps another in the Scabbard. The Way to 
secure Peace is to be prepared for War. They that are on 
their Guard, and appear ready to receive their Adversaries, 
are in much less Danger of being attack'd, than the supine, 
secure and negligent. We have yet a Winter before us, 
which may afford a good and almost sufficient Opportunity 
for this, if we seize and improve it with a becoming Vigour. 
And if the Hints contained in this Paper are so happy as to 
meet with a suitable Disposition of Mind in his Countrymen 



1747] PLAIN TRUTH 353 

and Fellow- Citizens, the Writer of it will, in a few Days, lay 
before them a Form of an ASSOCIATION for the Purposes 
herein mentioned, together with a practicable Scheme for 
raising the Money necessary for the Defence of our Trade, 
City, and Country, without laying a Burthen on any Man. 

May the God of Wisdom, Strength, and Power, the Lord 
of the Armies of Israel, inspire us with Prudence in this Time 
of Danger; take away from us all the Seeds of Contention 
and Division, and unite the Hearts and Counsels of all of 
us, of whatever Sect or Nation, in one Bond of Peace, 
Brotherly Love, and Generous Publick Spirit ; May he give 
us Strength and Resolution to amend our Lives, and remove 
from among us every Thing that is displeasing to him ; afford 
us his most gracious Protection, confound the Designs of our 
Enemies, and give Peace in all our Borders, is the sincere 

Prayer of 

A TRADESMAN OF PHILADELPHIA. 1 

1 At the end of the second edition is added the following communication, 
purporting to be an extract from the Pennsylvania Gazette, for November igth, 
1747: 

" MR. FRANKLIN, 

For the Entertainment of your readers unskilled in the Latin tongue, I send 
you a translation of the sentences prefixed to the pamphlet called PLAIN 
TRUTH, lately published. I cannot say the translation is strictly verbal, nor 
do I pretend to have reached the masterly force and beauty of the original. 
To transfuse the spirit of the noble Roman patriot into our language, requires 
a much abler pen. If I have given you his general sense and meaning, it will 
fully answer my design and expectation. Be pleased to let it have a place in 
your next, and you will much oblige Yours, &c., 

"X. 

"TRANSLATION 

" Should the city be taken, all will be lost to the conquered. Therefore, 
if you desire to preserve your buildings, houses, and country-seats, your 
statues, paintings, and all your other possessions, which you so highly esteem; 
if you wish to continue in the enjoyment of them, or to have leisure for any 

VOL. II 2 A 



354 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

71. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

PHILADELPHIA, November 27, 1747. 
SIR, 

The violent party spirit, that appears in all the votes, &c., 
of your Assembly, seems to me extremely unseasonable as 
well as unjust, and to threaten mischief not only to yourselves 
but to your neighbours. It begins to be plain that the French 
may reap great advantages from your divisions. God grant 
they may be as blind to their own interest, and as negligent 
of it, as the English are of theirs. It must be inconvenient 
to you to remove your family, but more so to you and them 
to live under continual apprehensions and alarms. I shall 
be glad to hear you are all in a place of safety. 

Though "Plain Truth" bore somewhat hard on both 
parties here, it has had the happiness not to give much offence 
to either. It has wonderfully spirited us up to defend our- 

future pleasures, I beseech you by the immortal Gods, rouse at last, awake 
from your lethargy, and save the commonwealth. It is not the trifling con- 
cern of injuries from your allies that demands your attention ; your liberties, 
lives, and fortunes, with every thing that is interesting and dear to you, are 
in the most imminent danger. Can you doubt of or delay what you ought to 
do, now, when the enemy's swords are unsheathed, and descending on your 
heads ? The affair is shocking and horrid ! Yet, perhaps, you are not afraid. 
Yes, you are terrified to the highest degree. But through indolence and 
supineness of soul, gazing at each other, to see who shall first rise to your 
succour ; and a presumptuous dependence on the immortal Gods, who indeed 
have preserved this republic in many dangerous seasons; you delay and 
neglect every thing necessary for your preservation. Be not deceived ; Divine 
assistance and protection are not to be obtained by timorous prayers, and 
womanish supplications. To succeed, you must join salutary counsels, vigi- 
lance, and courageous actions. If you sink into effeminacy and cowardice ; 
if you desert the tender and helpless, by Providence committed to your charge, 
never presume to implore the Gods ; it will provoke them, and raise their 
indignation against you." 



1747] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 355 

selves and country, to which end great numbers are entering 
into an association, of which I send you a copy enclosed. 
We are likewise setting on foot a lottery to raise three thou- 
sand pounds for erecting a battery of cannon below the city. 
We have petitioned the Proprietor to send us some from Eng- 
land, and have ordered our correspondents to send us over 
a parcel, if the application to the Proprietor fails. But, lest 
by any accident they should miscarry, I am desired to write 
to you, and ask your opinion, whether, if our government 
should apply to Governor Clinton to borrow a few of your 
spare cannon, till we could be supplied, such application 
might probably meet with success. Pray excuse the effects 
of haste on this letter. 

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, your most obliged 
humble servant. B. FRANKLIN. 



72. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

PHILADELPHIA, November 28, 1747. 

SIR: I received your favour of June nth, per Capt. 
Tiffin, with the books, etc., all in good order. Mr. Parks, 
who drew the bill on Guidart & Sons, is surprised at their 
protesting it, they having, as he says, large effects of his in 
their hands: he will speedily renew that bill. Enclosed I 
send you a bill on Hr. Kilby, Esq., for 19 75. i^d. sterling, 
which I hope will be readily paid ; and you may expect other 
bills from me for larger sums. What books will be wanted 
for the shop hereafter, Mr. Hall will write for. I shall send 
for no more unless for myself or a friend. I must desire 
you to send per first opportunity the maps formerly wrote 
for, viz. : Popple's large one of North America, pasted on 






356 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1747 

rollers ; Ditto bound in a book ; and eight or ten other maps 
of equal size if to be had ; they are for the long gallery and 
the Assembly room in the State-house. If none so large are 
to be got, let prospects of cities, buildings, etc., be pasted 
round them to make them as large. I want also Folard's 
Polybius, 1 in French; it is in six volumes, 4to, printed at 
Paris, and costs about three guineas. My best respects to 
good Mrs. Strahan; I know not but in another year I may 
have the pleasure of seeing you both in London. Please to 
deliver the enclosed to Mr. Acworth I know not where 
to direct to him. I am, dear sir, your most obliged humble 
servant, B. FRANKLIN. 

73. TO JAMES LOGAN 

SIR, MONDAY NOON, [December 4, 1747]. 

I am heartily glad you approve of our proceedings. We 
shall have arms for the poor in the spring, and a number of 
battering cannon. The place for the batteries is not yet 
fixed; but it is generally thought that near Red Bank will 
be most suitable, as the enemy must there have natural diffi- 
culties to struggle with, besides the channel being narrow. 
The Dutch are as hearty as the English. " Plain Truth" 
and the "Association" are in their language, and their par- 
sons encourage them. It is proposed to breed gunners by 
forming an artillery club, to go down weekly to the battery 
and exercise the great guns. The best engineers against 
Cape Breton were of such a club, tradesmen and shopkeepers 
of Boston. I was with them at the Castle 2 at their exercise 
in 1743. 

1 See letter to Strahan, Oct. 19, 1 748, for the explanation of this order. ED. 

2 Castle William, in Boston harbour. ED. 



1747] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 357 

I have not time to write longer, nor to wait on you till next 
week. In general all goes well, and there is a surprising 
unanimity in all ranks. Near eight hundred have signed 
the Association, and more are signing hourly. 1 One company 
of Dutch is complete. I am with great respect, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



74. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

PHILADELPHIA, January 27, 1748. 
DEAR SIR, 

I received your favour relating to the cannon. We have 
petitioned our Proprietors for some, and have besides wrote 
absolutely to London for a quantity, in case the application 
to the Proprietors should not succeed; so that, accidents 
excepted, we are sure of being supplied some time next 
summer. But, as we are extremely desirous of having 
some mounted early in the spring, and perhaps, if your 
engineer should propose to use all you have, the works he may 
intend will not very soon be ready to receive them, we should 
think ourselves exceedingly obliged to your government, if 

1 The " Association " was intended for the defence of Philadelphia. In 
The Pennsylvania Gazette, November 26, 1 747, it is thus referred to : " Last 
Saturday a great number of the Inhabitants of this City met at Mr. Walton's 
School-House in Arch Street, where a Form of an Association for our com- 
mon Security and Defense against the Enemy was consider'd and agreed to. 
On Monday following the same was laid before a great meeting of the Princi- 
pal Gentlemen, Merchants and others, at Roberts' Coffee House, when, after 
due Debate, it was unanimously approv'd of, and another meeting appointed 
for the next Day following at the New Building, in order to begin signing. 
According, on Tuesday Evening upwards of five hundred men of all Ranks 
subscribed their names ; and as the Subscribing is still going on briskly in all 
parts of the Town, 'tis not doubted but that in a few Days the number will 
exceed a thousand in this City, exclusive of the neighbouring Towns and 
Country." ED. 



358 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

you would lend us a few for one year only. When you return 
to New York, I hope a great deal from your interest and 
influence. 

Mr. Read, to whom Osborne consigned your books, 1 did 
not open or offer them for sale till within these two weeks, 
being about to remove, when he received them, and having 
till now no conveniency of shelves, &c. In our two last 
papers he has advertised generally, that he has a parcel of 
books to sell, Greek, Latin, French, and English, but makes 
no particular mention of the Indian History ; it is therefore 
no wonder that he has sold none of them, as he told me a few 
days since. I had one of them from London, which I sent 
you before any of my friends saw it. So, as no one here has 
read it but myself, I can only tell you my own opinion, that 
it is a well written, entertaining, and instructive piece, and 
must be exceedingly useful to all those colonies, which have 
any thing to do with Indian affairs. 

You have reason to be pleased with the mathematician's 
envious expression about your tract on gravitation. I long 
to see from Europe some of the deliberate and mature 
thoughts of their philosophers upon it. 

To obtain some leisure I have taken a partner 2 into the 
printing-house; but, though I am thereby a good deal dis- 

1 Mr. Colden's " History of the Five Indian Nations," which was published 
in London, and copies of which were sent over to be sold in Philadelphia. ED. 

2 David Hall, a Scotchman by birth, and a friend of Mr. Strahan, worked 
in the same office with him as a journeyman printer in London. His partner- 
ship with Franklin continued eighteen years, during which time he had the 
principal charge of the business, and proved himself an honest, industrious, 
and worthy man. He conducted the Pennsylvania Gazette with prudence 
and ability. He was likewise a bookseller and stationer. He died on the 
1 7th of December, 1772, at the age of fifty-eight years. See Thomas's " His- 
tory of Printing," Vol. II. p. 54. S. 



1748] TO JAMES LOGAN 359 

engaged from private business, I find myself still fully occu- 
pied. The association, lottery, and batteries fill up at pres- 
ent a great part of my time. 

I thank you for communicating the sheet on the first 
principles of morality, the continuation of which I shall be 

glad to see. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



75. TO JAMES LOGAN 

Philadelphia, January 27, 1748. 

Sra, 

I have not yet found the book, but suppose I shall to- 
morrow. The post goes out to-day, which allows me no 
time to look for it. We have a particular account from 
Boston of the guns there. They are in all thirty-nine, Span- 
ish make and new ; fifteen of them are twenty-eight pounders, 
and twenty-four are fourteen pounders. We offer by this 
post 1500, this currency, for them all, and suppose we shall 
get them. 

The insurers, in consideration of the premium of twenty 
per cent, engage thus : that, if the prizes arising against the 
tickets insured do not, one with another, make in the whole 
a sum equal to the first cost of the tickets, they will make 
up the deficiency. They now think it a disadvantageous 
agreement, and have left off insuring ; for though they would 
gain, as you observe, 1000, if they insured the whole at that 
rate, in one lot, yet it will not be so when they insure a num- 
ber of separate lots, as ten, twenty, or one hundred tickets in 
a lot; because the prizes, falling in one lot, do not help to 
make up the deficiencies in another. The person that in- 



360 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

sured your one hundred and twenty-five, did the next day 
give the whole premium to another with six and a quarter 
per cent more, to be reinsured two thirds of them. I have 
not insured for anybody, so I shall neither lose nor gain that 
way. I will send the policy, that you may see it, with the 
book. I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



76. TO JAMES LOGAN 

Philadelphia, January 30, 1748. 

SIR, 

I send you herewith the book, and enclosed is the policy. 
Here is no news but what is bad, namely, the taking of Mes- 
nard, an account of which we have by way of Lisbon. He 
was carried into St. Malo. And just now we have advice 
from New York, that an express was arrived there from New 
England to inform the government that two prisoners, who 
had escaped from different parts of Canada and arrived in 
New England, agreed in declaring, that three thousand men 
were getting ready to march against Albany, which they in- 
tended to besiege and take ; and that they were to be joined 
by a great body of Indians. They write from New York, 
that the advice is credited there. I wish it may not prove 
too true, the wretched divisions and misunderstandings 
among the principal men in that government giving the 
enemy too much encouragement and advantage. 

I hope you and your good family continue well, being with 
sincere respect and affection, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



1748] TO JAMES LOGAN 361 

77. TO JAMES LOGAN 

Philadelphia, April 6, 1748. 

SIR, 

I have a letter from Mr. Samuel Laurens, of New York, 
who undertook to ship the guns for us, informing me that 
two small vessels had been agreed with to bring them round ; 
but a sloop arriving there on Sunday last, that had been 
chased in latitude thirty-six by a ship and brigantine, which 
were supposed to be the Don Pedro with a consort coming 
on this coast, the Governor and Council thought it more 
advisable to send them to Brunswick, which we since hear 
is done. Captain Wallace, a discreet old sea commander 
of this place, goes to-day or to-morrow to receive them there, 
and provide carriages to bring them to Philadelphia. The 
postmaster at New York, and another correspondent there, 
write me, that the ship seen was certainly the Don Pedro, 
the captain of the vessel chased knowing her well, having 
often seen her at the Havana, where he has been several 
voyages with a flag of truce. He was very near being taken, 
but escaped by favour of the night. We are glad to hear the 
Don is come out with one consort only, as by some accounts 
we apprehended he intended to bring a small fleet with him. 
It now looks as if his design was more against our trade than 
our city. 

With this I send you a packet from London, and a pam- 
phlet from Sweden, both left with me for you by the new Swed- 
ish missionary, Mr. Sandin. You must have heard that Mr. 
James Hamilton is appointed our governor; an event that 
gives us the more pleasure, as we esteem him a benevolent 



362 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

and upright, as well as a sensible man. I hope he will arrive 
here early in the summer, and bring with him some cannon 
from the Proprietors. I am, Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



78. TO CADWALLADER GOLDEN 

Philadelphia, September 29, 1748. 

SIR, 

I received your favour of the i2th instant, which gave me 
the greater pleasure, as it was so long since I had heard from 
you. I congratulate you on your return to your beloved 
retirement. I, too, am taking the proper measures for obtain- 
ing leisure to enjoy life and my friends, more than hereto- 
fore, having put my printing-house under the care of my 
partner, David Hall, absolutely left off bookselling, and 
removed to a more quiet part of the town, where I am settling 
my old accounts, and hope soon to be quite master of my own 
time, and no longer, as the song has it, at every one's call but 
my own. If health continue, I hope to be able in another 
year to visit the most distant friend I have, without incon- 
venience. 

With the same views I have refused engaging further in 
public affairs. The share I had in the late Association, &c., 
having given me a little present run of popularity, there was 
a pretty general intention of choosing me a representative 
of the city at the next election of Assembly men ; but I have 
desired all my friends, who spoke to me about it, to discour- 
age it, declaring that I should not serve, if chosen. Thus 
you see I am in a fair way of having no other tasks, than such 
as I shall like to give myself, and of enjoying what I look 



1748] TO CADWALLADER COLD EN 363 

upon as a great happiness, leisure to read, study, make ex- 
periments, and converse at large with such ingenious and 
worthy men, as are pleased to honour me with their friend- 
ship or acquaintance, on such points as may produce some- 
thing for the common benefit of mankind, uninterrupted by 
the little cares and fatigues of business. Among other 
pleasures I promise myself, that of corresponding more fre- 
quently and fully with Dr. Golden is none of the least. I 
shall only wish that what must be so agreeable to me may 
not prove troublesome to you. 

I thank you for your kind recommending of me to Mr. 
Osborne. Mr. Read would readily have put the books into 
my hands, but, it being now out of my way to dispose of them, 
I propose to Mr. Hall the taking of them into his shop ; but 
he, having looked over the invoice, says they are charged so 
extravagantly high, that he cannot sell them for any profit 
to himself, without hurting the character of his shop. He 
will, however, at my request, take the copies of the Indian 
History and put them on sale ; but the rest of the cargo must 
lie, I believe, for Mr. Osborne's further orders. I shall 
write to him by our next vessels. 

I am glad you have had. an opportunity of gaining the 
friendship of Governor Shirley, with whom though I have 
not the honour of being particularly acquainted, I take him 
to be a wise, good, and worthy man. He is now a fellow 
sufferer with you, in being made the subject of some public, 
virulent, and senseless libels. I hope they give him as little 
pain. 

Mr. Bartram continues well. Here is a Swedish gentle- 
man, 1 a professor of botany, lately arrived, and I suppose 

1 This gentleman was Peter Kalm, the Swedish traveller, who spent some 



364 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

will soon be your way, as he intends for Canada. Mr. Col- 
linson and Dr. Mitchell recommend him to me as an ingen- 
ious man. Perhaps the enclosed (left at the post-office for 
you) may be from him. I have not seen him since the first 
day he came. I delivered yours to Mr. Evans; and, when 
I next see Mr. Bartram, I shall acquaint him with what you 
say. 
I am, with great esteem and respect, dear Sir, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 



79. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 (p. c.) 

Philad a Oct. 18, 1748. 
Sir 

I have receiv'd your several Favours of April i. June 2. 
June 14, and Aug* 20. and some others, with all the Books 
and Pamphlets you have sent at Sundry Times for the Library 
Company: We wish it were in our Power to do you or any 
Friend of yours some Service in Return for your long-con- 
tinued Kindness to us. 

I am pleas'd to hear that my Electrical Experim t8 were 
acceptable to the Society, and I shall be glad to see the ingen- 
ious Mr. Watson's new Piece on that Subject, when he thinks 
fit to publish it. Of late we have done but little here in that 
Way; but possibly we may resume those Enquiries this 
coming Winter as the approaching Peace gives us a Prospect 
of being more at Ease in our Minds : If anything new arises 
among us, I shall not fail to communicate it to you. 

time in America making researches in Natural History, and afterwards pub- 
lished an account of his travels in the Swedish language. The work was 
translated into English. ED. 

1 The original of this letter is in the possession of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan. 



1748] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 365 

Our Friend Bartram show'd me some Queries you sent 
him relating to the Country back of us. My Son is just 
return'd from a Journey to Ohio with Conrad Weiser; from 
their Journals etc. he may collect Answers to most of them ; 
if John has not done it by this Vessel, I will by the next. 
Mr. Kalm has been much out of Town since his Arrival, 
and is now gone to New York. I hear he proposes to Winter 
here ; no Service I can do him shall be wanting ; but hitherto 
we have but little Acquaintance. 

The Library Company will shortly send you a Bill. I 
am with great Esteem and Respect, Sir 

B. FRANKLIN. 



80. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Philad* Oct. 19, 1748. 
Dear Sir 

I received your Favour of April 25. with the Maps, etc. 
I am glad the Polybius did not come, and hope you will not 
have sent it when this reaches your Hands ; it was intended 
for my Son who was then in the Army and seemed bent on 
a military Life, but as Peace cuts off his Prospect of Ad- 
vancem* in that Way, he will apply himself to other Business. 
Enclos'd I send you his Certificate from the Governor of 
New York, by which he is entitled to 98. 16. 4 being his 
Pay; with a Letter of Attorney impowering you to receive 
it ; I know not what the Deductions will be at the Pay Office, 
but desire you will give my Ace 1 Credit for the net Proceeds. 
I am in daily Expectation of a Bill from Virginia of 50 
which I shall remit you towards the ballance, and Mr. Hall 

1 From the original in the possession of Hon: Samuel W. Pennypacker. 



366 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

will acc* with you for those things you have sent me that are 
put in his Invoice. Our acc te agree except that I have charg'd 
you i. 9. 7. for the Ainsworth s? James Read the 6/7 being 
the Proportion of Charges on that Book, and the Bill on 
Geo. Rigge my ace* calls 15. 7. n., yours 15. 7. i., which 
is but a small variation ; and I know not but yours may be 
right. 

I have lately sent a Printing-house to Antigua, by a very 
sober, honest and diligent young Man, who has already (as 
I am inform'd by divers Hands) gain'd the Friendship of 
the Principal People, and is like to get into good Business. 
This will open another Market for your Books if you think 
fit to use it, for I am persuaded that if you shall send him a 
Parcel with any Quantity of Stationery he may write to you 
for, he will make you good and punctual Returns. His 
Name is Thomas Smith; he is the only Printer on that 
Island: had work'd with me here, and at my Printing- 
house in New York 3 or 4 Years, and always behaved ex- 
treamly well. 

Mr. Thomas Osborne, Bookseller, of London, is en- 
deavouring to open a Correspondence in the Plantations 
for the Sale of his Books. He has accordingly sent several 
Parcels, i to Mr. Parker of N. York, i to Mr. Read here, 
and i to Mr. Parks in Virginia. I have seen the Invoices 
to Parker and Read, and observe the Books to be very high 
charg'd, so that I believe they will not sell. I recommend 
Parker to you for Books, but he tells me he has wrote you 
several Letters, and in two of them sent a Guinea to pur- 
chase some small Things, but never receiv'd any Answer. 
Perhaps the Guineas made the Letters miscarry. He is 
a very honest, punctual Man, and will be in the Way of sell- 



1748] TO JAMES LOGAN 367 

ing a great many Books : I think you might find your Ace* 
in Writing to him: Mr. Read having left off Bookselling, 
Osborne has wrote to me and desired me to take those Books 
into my hands, proposing a Correspondence etc. but I have 
declin'd it in a Letter per this Ship. 

My Spouse will write to Mrs. Strahan, to whom my best 
Respects. By this time twelvemonth, if nothing extraor- 
dinary happens to prevent it, I hope to have the Pleasure 
of seeing you both hi London; being, with great Esteem 
and Affection, d r Sir, 

Your obliged Friend and Serv*. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. You will find Mr. Geo. Smith, one of the Witnesses 
to the Power of Attorney, at the Pensilvania coffee-house. 
He goes over in this ship. 



81. TO JAMES LOGAN 

Philadelphia, October 30, 1748. 

SIR, 

I received your favour of the s8th, with the piece on the 
Generation of Plants, for which I thank you. Mr. Sandin, 
the Swedish missionary, who gave me Wahlboom's Oration 
to send you (as he passed through this town from New 
York, where he just arrived, to Racoon Creek, where he was 
to be settled), I have never seen since. Mr. Kalm came to 
see me the day he arrived, and brought me letters from Mr. 
Collinson and Dr. Mitchell, both recommending him. I 
invited him to lodge at my house, and offered him any ser- 
vice hi my power; but I never saw him afterwards till yes- 



3 68 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

terday, when he told me that he had been much in the 
country, and at New York, since his arrival, but was now 
come to settle in town for the winter. To-day he dined 
with me ; and, as I had received yours in the morning, I took 
occasion to ask him if he had not yet seen Mr. Logan. He 
said, no; that he had once been out with his countryman, 
Mr. Kock, proposing to wait on you as they returned; but 
it proved later in the evening than they had expected, and 
he thought a visit then would be unseasonable, but proposed 
soon to pay his respects to you. Possibly he might at that 
time have the packet for you at Naglee's. I did not ask 
him about that. Inquiring of him what was become of Mr. 
Sandin, he told me that soon after he got to Racoon Creek, 
he was taken with the fever and ague, which was followed 
by several other disorders, that constantly harassed him, 
and at length carried him off, just as Kalm arrived here, who, 
hearing that he was dangerously ill, hurried down to see him, 
but found him dead. 

Sandin had a family with him, and, when here, was in 
haste to get to his settlement, but might intend to wait on 
you when he should come again to Philadelphia. Kalm, I 
suppose, might be in haste to see as much of the country as 
he could, and make his journey to New York, before cold 
weather came on. I mention these things so particularly, 
that you may see you have not been purposely avoided by 
both these gentlemen, as you seem to imagine. I did not 
let Kalm know that you had mentioned him to me in your 
letter. I shall write to Mr. Hugh Jones, as you desire. I 
am, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN. 



1748] TO JAMES READ 369 



82. TO JAMES READ 

December 5, 1748. 

Dear Sir : 'Tis some time since I received a consider- 
able account against you from England. An unwillingness 
to give you concern has hitherto prevented my mentioning 
it to you. By comparing the moderation and long forbear- 
ance toward you of Mr. Strahan, to whom you owe so much, 
with your treatment of an old friend in distress, bred up with 
you under the same roof, and who owes you so little, you 
may perceive how much you have misunderstood yourself. 
'Tis with regret I now acquaint you that (even while you 
were talking to me in that lofty strain yesterday concerning 
Mr. Grace) I had hi my pocket the power of attorney to 
recover of you 131. i6s. 4d. sterling, a balance long due. 
It will be your own fault if it comes to be known, for I have 
mentioned it to nobody. And I now ask you how you would 
in your own case like those petty pieces of practice you so 
highly contended for, of summoning a day only before the 
court, lest the cause should be made up and fees thereby pre- 
vented; and of carrying on a suit privately against a man 
in another county than that in which he lives and may every 
day be found, getting a judgement by default, and taking him 
by surprise with an execution when he happens to come 
where you have sued him, etc., etc. I should be glad to have 
that account against my friend Grace, with all the little 
charges you have so cunningly accumulated on it, that I may 
communicate it to him; and doubt not but he will immedi- 
ately order you payment. It appears not unlikely to me, 
that he may soon get through all his difficulties, and as I 

VOL. II 2 B 



370 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1748 

know him good-natured and benevolent to a high degree, 
so I believe he will be above resenting the ill-treatment he 
has received from some that are now so fond of insulting 
him, and from whom he might have expected better things. 
But I think you would do well not to treat others in the same 
manner, for fortune's wheel is often turning, and all are not 
alike forgiving. I request, as soon as it suits your con- 
venience, that you will take the proper measures with re- 
gard to Mr. Strahan's account, and I am your humble 

servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 



83. ADVICE TO A YOUNG TRADESMAN 

(i748) 

To MY FRIEND, A. B. : 

As you have desired it of me, I write the following hints, 
which have been of service to me, and may, if observed, be so 
to you. 

Remember, that time is money. He that can earn ten 
shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one 
half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his 
diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only ex- 
pense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five 
shillings besides. 

Remember, that credit is money. If a man lets his money 
lie in my hands after it is due, he gives me the interest, or so 
much as I can make of it during that time. This amounts 
to a considerable sum where a man has good and large credit, 
and makes good use of it. 

Remember, that money is of the prolific, generating nature. 



1748] ADVICE TO A YOUNG TRADESMAN 371 

Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, 
and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again it is 
seven and three-pence, and so on till it becomes an hundred 
pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every 
turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He 
that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the 
thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys 
all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds. 

Remember, that six pounds a year is but a groat a day. 
For this little sum (which may be daily wasted either in time 
or expense unperceived) a man of credit may, on his own 
security, have the constant possession and use of an hundred 
pounds. So much in stock, briskly turned by an industrious 
man, produces great advantage. 

Remember this saying, The good paymaster is lord of 
another man's purse. He that is known to pay punctually 
and exactly to the time he promises, may at any time, and on 
any occasion, raise all the money his friends can spare. This 
is sometimes of great use. After industry and frugality, 
nothing contributes more to the raising of a young man in 
the world than punctuality and justice in all his dealings; 
therefore never keep borrowed money an hour beyond the 
time you promised, lest a disappointment shut up your 
friend's purse for ever. 

The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are 
to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the 
morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him 
easy six months longer ; but, if he sees you at a billiard-table, 
or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, 
he sends for his money the next day; demands it, before he 
can receive it, in a lump. 



372 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

It shows, besides, that you are mindful of what you owe ; 
it makes you appear a careful as well as an honest man, and 
that still increases your credit. 

Beware of thinking all your own that you possess, and of 
living accordingly. It is a mistake that many people who 
have credit fall into. To prevent this, keep an exact account 
for some time, both of your expenses and your income. If 
you take the pains at first to mention particulars, it will have 
this good effect: you will discover how wonderfully small, 
trifling expenses mount up to large sums, and will discern 
what might have been, and may for the future be saved, 
without occasioning any great inconvenience. 

In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as 
the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, in- 
dustry and frugality, that is, waste neither time nor money, 
but make the best use of both. Without industry and fru- 
gality nothing will do, and with them every thing. He that 
gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary 
expenses excepted), will certainly become rich, if that Being 
who governs the world, to whom all should look for a blessing 
on their honest endeavours, doth not, in his wise providence, 

otherwise determine. 

AN OLD TRADESMAN. 



84. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

Sir. Philad", April 29, 1749. 

I suppose Mr. Hall will acquaint you that I have settled 
with him for those Things you sent me that were charg'd in 
his Invoice. Enclosed are the following Bills, viz. 

1 From the original in the collection of Hon : Samuel W. Pennypacker. 



1749] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 373 








s. 


d. 


Richard Graham's 


. 22. 


0. 


o 


James McNab's 


3- 


10. 


o 


Hammond & Co. 


2. 


13- 


7 


it 


8. 


8 


o 


u 


. 9. 


o. 






45- I2 - 7 

which, with my son's Wages and a Remittance I order'd 
you from the W. Indies, and suppose may be in your Hands 
before this Time, will, I imagine, near ballance our Ace*. 

In a former Letter I promis'd to write you largely about 
your Affairs with Mr. Read, and the Measures taken to 
recover your Money. Before I received your Power of At- 
torney and Ace 1 there was a Misunderstanding between us, 
occasion'd by his endeavouring to get a small Office from 
me (Clerk to the Assembly), which I took the more amiss, 
as we had always been good Friends, and the Office could 
not have been of much Service to him, the Salary being 
small ; but valuable to me, as a means of securing the Pub- 
lick Business to our Printing-House. So as we were not on 
Speaking Terms when your Ace* came to hand, and the 
Influence I had over him as a Friend was become little or 
nothing, it was some Time before I mention'd it to him. 
But at length the Ice was broke in the following Manner.. 
I have a Friend in the Country that assisted me when I first 
set up, whose Affairs have lately been in some Disorder 
(occasion'd chiefly by his too great good Nature), his Cred- 
itors coming at the same time in a Crowd upon him. I had 
made up with several of them for him, but Mr. Read being 
employ 'd hi one small Case (a Debt of 12 only) carry'd on 
(by some Contrivance in the Law which I don't understand) 
a private Action against him, by summoning him in this 



374 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

County when he lives in another, and obtain'd a Judgment 
against him without his or my knowing anything of the 
matter, and then came to me, knowing I had a great Affection 
for Mr. Grace, and in a very insulting Manner ask'd: 
"What shall I do with your Friend Grace? I have got 
Judgment against him, and must take out Execution if the 
Debt is not immediately satisfy 'd." etc. Upon enquiring into 
the Matter and understanding how it had been carry'd on, 
I grew a little warm, blam'd his Practice as irregular and 
unfair, and his Conduct towards Mr. Grace, to whom his 
Father and Family had been much oblig'd, as ungrateful; 
and said that since he look'd on me as Mr. Grace's Friend 
he should have told me of the Action before he commenced 
it, that I might have prevented it, and sav'd him the Charges 
arising on it, and his not doing so could be only from a View 
to the small Fees it produced him, in carrying it thro' all the 
Courts, etc. He justify'd his Practice, and said it was legal 
and frequent; deny'd that his Father or Family were under 
any Obligations to Mr. Grace; alledged that Grace had 
us'd him ill in employing another Lawyer in some of his own 
Actions, when at the same Time he owed him near Five 
Pounds ; and added haughtily that he was determin'd to sue 
Grace on his own ace 1 , if not speedily paid, and, so saying, 
left me very abruptly. I thought this a good Opportunity 
of introducing your Affair, imagining that a Consciousness 
of his ill Behaviour to me and my Friend would pique him 
to make immediate Payment. Accordingly I wrote him a 
Letter the next Day, of which I send you the rough Draft 
enclos'd, together with his Answer; since which several 
other Letters pass'd on the same Subject of which I have 
no Copies. All I insisted on, since he declared his Inability 



1749] TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 375 

to pay at present, was, that he should give you his Bond, 
so that in Case of his Death you might come in for Payment 
prior to common Creditors, and that he should allow you 
Interest from the Time the Money became due in the com- 
mon Course of Payments. He agreed to give his Bond, but 
it has been delay'd from time to time till this Day, when on 
my Writing to him again to know what Account I should 
send you, I receiv'd from him the enclosed Billet in which 
he refuses to allow Interest for the Time past. As he cannot 
be compell'd to pay Interest on a Book Ace 1 ., I desired him 
then to fill up and execute a Bond to you for the Principal, 
and he might settle the Affair of the Interest with you here- 
after. Accordingly he has just now done it, so that Interest 
will arise for the Time to come ; but as he threatens to pay 
very speedily, and I am persuaded may easily do it by the 
help of his Relations, who are wealthy, I hope you will not 
have much Interest to receive. He has a great many good 
Qualities for which I love him; but I believe he is, as you 
say, sometimes a little crazy. If the Debt were to me I 
could not sue him ; so I believe you will not desire me to do 
it for you ; but he shall not want Pressing (tho' I scarce ever 
dun for myself), because I think his Relations may and will 
help him if properly apply'd to; and Mr. Hall thinks with 
me, that urging him frequently may make him more con- 
siderate, and induce him to abridge some of his unnecessary 
Expences. The Bond is made payable in a Month from 
the Day ; and, for your Encouragement, I may add that not- 
withstanding what he affects to say of the Badness of his 
Circumstances I look on the Debt to be far from desperate. 
Please to send me Chambers' Dictionary, the best Edition, 
and charge it in Mr. Hall's Invoice. My Compliments to 



376 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

good Mrs. Strahan. My Dame writes to her. I am, with 
great Esteem and Affection, dear Sir, 

Your most obliged Friend and humble Serv 1 . 

B. FRANKLIN. 



85. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 

Philadelphia, July 3, 1749. 

Dear Sir : I wrote to you very fully per Arthur concern- 
ing your affair with Mr. Read, and shall have nothing to add 
on that subject till I hear further from you. I acquainted 
you that he had given his bond for the balance due to you, 
and that I do not look on the debt as desperate. 

Enclosed I send you several second bills, having sent the 
firsts per Arthur. I hope to hear per next ship that you have 
received my son's pay, since I understand there was a Par- 
liament in March last, for a sum to defray all the charges of 
the Canada expedition. If it should prove otherwise, I will 
send the balance from hence in the fall, and make you satis- 
faction for the delay and disappointment. 

The Library Company send to Mr. Collinson by this ship 
for a parcel of books. I have recommended you to him on 
this occasion, and hope you will have the selling of them. 
If you should, and the Company judge your charges reason- 
able, I doubt not but you will keep their custom. 

I fear I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you this year, 
perhaps the next I may. 

Please to send me a book lately advertised; I think it is 
called A Collection of Sentences, Wise Sayings, etc., by some 
officer about the Parliament House ; his name I have forgot. 



1749] TO GEORGE WHITEFIELD 377 

With all our best respects to you and yours, I am, dear sir, 

your most obliged friend and servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

What is the price of printing paper in London ? 



86. TO GEORGE WHITEFIELD 1 

Philadelphia, July 6, 1749. 

DEAR SIR 

Since your being in England, I have received two of your 
favours and a box of books to be disposed of. It gives me 
great pleasure to hear of your welfare and that you purpose 
soon to return to America. 

We have no news here worth writing to you. The affair 
of the building remains in statu quo, there having been no 
new application to the Assembly about it, or anything done 
in consequence of the former. 

I have received no money on your account from Mr. 
Thanklin, or from Boston. Mrs. Read and your other 
friends here, in general, are well, and will rejoice to see you 
again. 

I am glad to hear that you have frequent opportunities 
of preaching among the great. If you can gain them to a 
good and exemplary life, wonderful changes will follow in 
the manners of the lower ranks ; for ad exemplum regis, etc. 
On this principle, Confucius, the famous Eastern reformer, 
proceeded. When he saw his country sunk in vice, and 
wickedness of all kinds triumphant, he applied himself first 
to the grandees; and having, by his doctrine, won them to 
the cause of virtue, the commons followed in multitudes. 

1 From Bigelow, Vol. II, p. 150. 



378 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

The mode has a wonderful influence on mankind ; and there 
are numbers who, perhaps, fear less the being in hell, than 
out of the fashion. Our most western reformations began 
with the ignorant mob; and when numbers of them were 
gained, interest and party views drew in the wise and great. 
Where both methods can be used, reformations are likely to 
be more speedy. O that some method could be found to 
make them lasting! He who discovers that will, in my 
opinion, deserve more, ten thousand times, than the inventor 
of the longitude. 

My wife and family join in the most cordial salutations to 
you and good Mrs. Whitefield. 

I am, dear Sir, your very affectionate friend, and most 

obliged humble Servant 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 



87. TO MRS. ABIAH FRANKLIN, AT BOSTON 1 

Philadelphia, September 7, 1749. 
HONOURED MOTHER, 

We received your kind letter by this post, and are glad 
you still continue to enjoy such a share of health. Cousin 
Josiah and his spouse arrived hearty and well last Saturday 
noon. I met them the evening before at Trenton, thirty 
miles off, and accompanied them to town. They went into 
their own house on Monday, and I believe will do very well, 
for he seems bent on industry, and she appears a discreet, 
notable young woman. My wife has been to see them every 
day, calling in as she passes by ; and I suspect has fallen in 

1 From " A Collection of the Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," 
Boston (Sparks), 1833, P- *5- 



1749] TO MRS, ABIAH FRANKLIN 379 

love with our new cousin; for she entertains me a deal, 
when she comes home, with what cousin Sally does, and 
what cousin Sally says, what a good contriver she is, and 
the like. 

I believe it might be of service to me, in the matter of 
getting in my debts, if I were to make a voyage to London ; 
but I have not yet determined on it in my own mind, and 
think I am grown almost too lazy to undertake it. 

The Indians are gone homewards loaded with presents. 
In a week or two the treaty with them will be printed, and I 
will send you one. My love to brother and sister Mecom, 
and to all inquiring friends. I am your dutiful son, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

88. TO MRS. ABIAH FRANKLIN 1 

Philadelphia, October 16, 1749. 
HONOURED MOTHER, 

This has been a busy day with your daughter, and she is 
gone to bed much fatigued and cannot write. 

I send you enclosed one of our new Almanacs. We print 
them early, because we send them to many places far dis- 
tant. I send you also a moidore enclosed, which please to 
accept towards chaise hire, that you may ride warm to meet- 
ings this winter. Pray tell us what kind of a sickness you 
have had in Boston this summer. Besides the measles and 
flux, which have carried off many children, we have lost 
some grown persons, by what we call the Yellow Fever; 
though that is almost, if not quite over, thanks to God, who 
has preserved all our family in perfect health. 

1 From " A Collection of Familiar Letters of Benjamin Franklin," Boston, 
1833, p. 1 6. 



380 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

Here are cousins Coleman, and two Folgers, all well. 
Your granddaughter is the greatest lover of her book and 
school, of any child I ever knew, and is very dutiful to her 
mistress as well as to us. 

I doubt not but brother Mecom will send the collar, as 
soon as he can conveniently. My love to him, sister, and 
all the children. I am your dutiful son. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

89. TO WILLIAM STRAHAN 1 (P. c.) 

DEAR SIR Phiiad* Oct. 23, 1749. 

I hope before this can reach you, your Parliament will 
have met and ordered Payment of what has been so long due 
on Ace 1 of the Canada Expedition. In the Settling our Ace 1 
I will make you a reasonable Allowance for the Disappoint- 
ment occasioned by the Delay of my Son's Bill. 

J. Read has remov'd into a House of less Rent, which I 
was well pleas'd with. I have had no Talk with him lately 
about your Affair, but still hope for the best; and it shall 
not be long before I take an Opportunity of urging him to 
discharge some Part of the Bond. 

I am now engag'd in a new public Affair as you will see 
by the enclos'd, which I hope with God's Blessing will very 
soon be in good Train. 

I have laid aside my Intention of seeing England, and 
believe I shall execute it next year, if nothing extraordinary 
occurs, for which your Conversation is not one of the least 
Pleasures I propose to myself. 

I hope this will find you and good Mrs. Strahan safe re- 

1 This letter is in the possession of Mr. Alfred T. White, Brooklyn. 



1749] PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD IMPROVED 381 

turn'd from your northern Journey. I am just setting out 
on one, and I have only time to add, that I am, with great 
Esteem and sincere Affection, D r Sir, 
Your most obliged 

humbl e Serv' 

B. FRANKLIN. 

P. S. Please to give my Ace 1 C r for what you receave by 
the enclos'd Power of Attorney. And let me know the Sum 
that I may pay the Person here. 



90. PREFACE TO POOR RICHARD IMPROVED: 



To THE READER 

The Hope of acquiring lasting Fame, is, with many 
Authors, a most powerful Motive to Writing. Some, tho' 
few, have succeeded; and others, tho' perhaps fewer, may 
succeed hereafter, and be as well known to Posterity by 
their Works, as the Antients are to us. We Philomaths, as 
ambitious of Fame as any other Writers whatever, after all 
our painful Watchings and laborious Calculations, have 
the constant Mortification to see our Works thrown by at 
the End of the Year, and treated as mere waste Paper. Our 
only Consolation is, that short-lived as they are, they out- 
live those of most of our Contemporaries. 

Yet, condemned to renew the Sisyphean Toil, we every 
Year heave another heavy Mass up the Muses Hill, which 
never can the Summit reach, and soon comes tumbling down 
again. 

This, Kind Reader, is my seventeenth Labour of the Kind. 
Thro' thy continued Good-will, they have procur'd me, if 



382 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

no Bays, at least Pence; and the latter is perhaps the better 
of the two ; since 'tis not improbable that a Man may receive 
more solid Satisfaction from Pudding, while he is living, 
than from Praise, after he is dead. 

In my last, a few Faults escap'd; some belong to the 
Author, but most to the Printer: Let each take his Share 
of the Blame, confess, and amend for the future. In the 
second Page of AUGUST I mention'd 120 as the next per- 
fect Number to 28; it was wrong, 120 being no perfect 
Number; the next to 28 I find to be 496. The first is 6; 
let the curious Reader, fond of mathematical Questions, 
find the fourth. In the 2d Page of March, in some Copies, 
the Earth's Circumference was said to be nigh 4000, Instead 
of 24000 Miles, the Figure 2 being omitted at the Beginning. 
This was Mr. Printer's Fault; who being also somewhat 
niggardly of his Vowels, as well as profuse of his Consonants, 
put in one Place, among the Poetry, mad instead of made, 
and in another wrapped instead of warp'd; to the utter 
demolishing of all Sense in those Lines, leaving nothing 
standing but the Rhime. These and some others, of the 
like kind, let the Readers forgive, or rebuke him for, as to 
their Wisdom and Goodness shall seem meet: For in such 
Cases the Loss and Damage is chiefly to the Reader, who, 
if he does not take my Sense at first Reading, 'tis odds he 
never gets it; for ten to one he does not read my Works a 
second Time. 

Printers indeed should be very careful how they omit a 
Figure or a Letter : For by such Means sometimes a terrible 
Alteration is made in the Sense. I have heard, that once, in 
a new Edition of the Common Prayer, the following Sentence, 
We shall all be changed in a Moment, in the Twinkling of an 



1749] TO JARED ELIOT 383 

Eye; by the Omission of a single Letter, became, We shall 
all be hanged in a Moment, &c., to the no small Surprize of 
the first Congregation it was read to. 

May this Year prove a happy One to Thee and Thine, is 
the hearty Wish of, Kind Reader, 

Thy obliged Friend 
R. SAUNDERS. 

91. TO JARED ELIOT 1 (Y.) 

SIR, 

I have perused your two Essays on Field Husbandry, 2 and 
think the publick may be much benefited by them; but, if 
the Farmers in your neighbourhood are as unwilling to leave 
the beaten road of their Ancestors as they are near me, it will 
be difficult to persuade them to attempt any improvement. 
Where the cash is to be laid out on a probability of a return, 
they are very Averse to the running any risque at all, or even 
Expending freely, where a Gentleman of a more Publick 
Spirit has given them Ocular Demonstration of the Success. 

About eighteen months ago, I made a Purchase of about 
three hundred Acres of Land near Burlington, and resolved 
to improve it in the best and Speediest manner, that I might 
be Enabled to indulge myself hi that kind of life, which was 
most agreeable. My fortune, (thank God,) is such that I 
can enjoy all the necessaries and many of the Indulgencies 
of Life ; but I think that hi Duty to my children I ought so 
to manage, that the profits of my Farm may Ballance the loss 

1 The date of this letter is uncertain but it must have been written in 1749. 
The original is in the Library of Yale University. 

2 " An Essay upon Field Husbandry in New England, as it is or may be 
ordered," by Jared Eliot, M.A., New London, 1748. A continuation of the 
Essay appeared in 1749. ED. 



384 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

my Income will Suffer by my retreat to it. In order to this, 
I began with a Meadow, on which there had never been 
much Timber, but it was always overflowed. The Soil of 
it is very fine, and black about three-foot ; then it comes to 
a fatt bluish Clay ; of this deep meadow I have about eighty 
acres, forty of which had been Ditched and mowed. The 
Grass which comes in first after Ditching is Spear-grass and 
white clover; but the weeds are to be mowed four or five 
years before they will be Subdued, as the Vegetation is very 
Luxuriant. 

This meadow had been ditched and planted with Indian 
Corn, of which it produced above Sixty Bushells per acre. 
I first Scoured up my Ditches and Drains, and took off all 
the Weeds; then I ploughed it, and Sowed it with Oats in 
the last of May. In July I mowed them down, together with 
the Weeds, which grew plentifully among them, and they 
made good Fodder. I immediately ploughed it again, and 
kept harrowing till there was an appearance of Rain; and, 
on the 23d of August, I sowed near thirty acres with red 
Clover and Herd-grass, allowing six quarts of Herd-grass 
and four pounds of red clover to an acre in most parts of it ; 
in other parts, four quarts Herd-grass and three pounds red 
clover. The red clover came up in four days, and the Herd- 
grass in six days ; and I now find, that, where I allowed the 
most seed, it protects itself the better against the Frost. I 
also Sowed an Acre with twelve pound of red clover, and it 
does well. I Sowed an Acre more with two bushells of Rye- 
Grass Seed and five pound of Red Clover; the Rye-Grass 
Seed failed, and the Red Clover heaves out much for want 
of being thicker. However, in March next I intend to 
throw in six pound more of Red Clover, as the Ground 



1749] TO JARED ELIOT 385 

is open and loose. As these Grasses are represented not 
durable, I have sown two bushells of the Sweeping of Hay- 
lofts (where the best Hay was used), well Riddled, per Acre, 
supposing that the Spear- Grass and white clover seed would 
be more equally scattered when the other shall fail. 

What surprized me was to find, that the Herd-grass, 
whose Roots are small and spread near the Surface, should 
be less affected by the Frost than the red Clover, whose Roots 
I measured in the last of October, and found that many of 
their Tap roots penetrated five Inches, and from its Sides 
threw out near thirty Horizontal roots, some of which were 
Six inches long, and branched. From the figure of this 
root, I flattered myself, that it would endure the heaving of 
the frost ; but I now see, that wherever it is thin Sown it is 
generally hove so far out, as that but a few of the horizontal 
and a small part of the Tap roots remain covered, and I 
fear will not recover. Take the whole together, it is well 
matted, and looks like a green corn-field. 

I have about ten Acres more of this Ground ready for 
Seed in the Spring, but expect to combat with the Weeds a 
year or two. That sown in August I believe will rise so soon 
in the Spring, as to suppress them in a great measure. 

My next undertaking wa.s a Round Pond of twelve Acres. 
Ditching round it, with a large drain through the middle, 
and other smaller Drains, laid it perfectly dry. This, having 
first taken up all the rubbish, I ploughed up, and harrowed 
it many times over, till it was smooth. Its soil is blackish; 
but, in about a foot or ten inches, you come to a sand of the 
same color with the upland. From the Birch that grew upon 
it, I took it to be of a Cold Nature, and therefore I procured 
a Grass which would best suit that kind of Ground, inter- 

VOL. II 2 C 



386 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

mixt with many others, that I might thereby see which suited 
it best. On the eighth 7 ber , I laid it down with Rye, 
which being harrowed in, I threw in the following grass 
seed; a bushell of Salem Grass or Feather-Grass, half a 
bushell of Timothy or Herd- Grass, half a bushell of Rye- 
Grass, a peck of Burden-grass or blue bent, and two Pints 
of Red Clover per Acre, (all the Seed in the Chaff, except the 
Clover,) and bushed them in. I could wish they had been 
clean, as they would have come up sooner, and been better 
grown before the Frost; and I have found by Experiment, 
that a bushell of clean Chaff of Timothy or Salem Grass 
will yield five quarts of Seed. The Rye looks well, and 
there is abundance of Timothy or Salem Grass come up 
amongst it; but it is yet small, and in that state there is 
scarce any knowing those Grasses apart. I expect from the 
sands lying so near the surface, that it will suffer much in 
dry Weather but if it will produce good, 1 

B. FRANKLIN. 



92. PROPOSALS RELATING TO THE EDUCATION 
OF YOUTH IN PENSILVANIA. PHILADELPHIA: 
PRINTED IN THE YEAR, MDCCXLIX 2 (A. p. s.) 

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE READER. 

It has long been regretted as a Misfortune to the Youth 
of this Province, that we have no ACADEMY, in which they 
might receive the Accomplishments of a regular Education. 

1 The letter is unfinished. ED. 

2 This tract was illustrated by copious notes extracted from a number of 
pedagogical writings. As these notes are incorporated to a considerable 
extent in " Observations relative to the Intentions of the Original Founders 



1749] PROPOSALS RELATING TO EDUCATION 387 

The following Paper of Hints towards forming a Plan for 
that Purpose, is so far approv'd by some publick-spirited 
Gentlemen, to whom it has been privately communicated, 
that they have directed a Number of Copies to be made by 
the Press, and properly distributed, in order to obtain the 
Sentiments and Advice of Men of Learning, Understanding, 
and Experience in these Matters; and have determined to 
use their Interest and best Endeavours, to have the Scheme, 
when compleated, carried gradually into Execution; in 
which they have Reason to believe they shall have the hearty 

of the Academy in Philadelphia " (q.v.), it has been deemed unnecessary to 
reprint them here. 

The following note, however, presents Franklin's appreciation of the writers 
upon pedagogy whose works were read and quoted by him : 

" AUTHORS quoted in this PAPER 

1. The famous Milton, whose Learning and Abilities are well known, and 
who had practised some Time the Education of Youth, so could speak from 
Experience. 

2. The great Mr. Locke who wrote a Treatise on Education, well known, 
and much esteemed, being translated into most of the modern Languages of 
Europe. 

3. Dialogues on Education. 2 vols. Octavo, that are much esteem'd, hav- 
ing had two Editions in 3 Years. Suppos'd to be wrote by the ingenious Mr. 
Hutcheson (Author of A Treatise on the Passions, and another on the Ideas 
of Beauty and Virtue) who has had much Experience in Educating of Youth, 
being a Professor in the College at Glasgow, etc. 

4. The learned Mr. Obadiah Walker, who had been many Years a Tutor 
to young Noblemen, and wrote a Treatise on the Education of a young Gentle- 
man ; of which the Fifth Edition was printed 1687. 

5. The much admired Mons. Rollin, whose whole Life was spent in a 
College ; and wrote 4 vols. on Education, under the Title of, The Method of 
Teaching and Studying the Belles Lettres ; which are translated into English, 
Italian, and most of the modern Languages. 

6. The learned and ingenious Dr. George Turnbull, Chaplain to the pres- 
ent Prince of Wales; who has had much Experience in the Educating of 
Youth, and publish'd a Book, Octavo, intituled, Observations on Liberal Edu- 
cation, in all its Branches, 1 742. 

With some others." ED. 



3 88 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

Concurrence and Assistance of many who are Wellwishers 
to their Country. Those who incline to favour the Design 
with their Advice, either as to the Parts of Learning to be 
taught, the Order of Study, the Method of Teaching, the 
(Economy of the School, or any other Matter of Importance 
to the Success of the Undertaking, are desired to communi- 
cate their Sentiments as soon as may be, by Letter directed 
to B. FRANKLIN, Printer, in PHILADELPHIA." 

PROPOSALS 

The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise 
Men in all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness 
both of private Families and of Commonwealths. Almost 
all Governments have therefore made it a principal Object 
of their Attention, to establish and endow with proper 
Revenues, such Seminaries of Learning, as might supply 
the succeeding Age with Men qualified to serve the Publick 
with Honour to themselves, and to their Country. 

Many of the first Settlers of these Provinces were Men 
who had received a good Education in Europe, and to their 
Wisdom and good Management we owe much of our present 
Prosperity. But their Hands were full, and they could not 
do all Things. The present Race are not thought to be 
generally of equal Ability: For though the American Youth 
are allow'd not to want Capacity; yet the best Capacities 
require Cultivation, it being truly with them, as with the 
best Ground, which unless well tilled and sowed with profit- 
able Seed, produces only ranker Weeds. 

That we may obtain the Advantages arising from an In- 
crease of Knowledge, and prevent as much as may be the 
mischievous Consequences that would attend a general 



1749] PROPOSALS RELATING TO EDUCATION 389 

Ignorance among us, the following Hints are offered towards 
forming a Plan for the Education of the Youth of Penn- 
sylvania, viz. 

It is propos'd, 

THAT some Persons of Leisure and publick Spirit apply 
for a CHARTER, by which they may be incorporated, with 
Power to erect an ACADEMY for the Education of Youth, 
to govern the same, provide Masters, make Rules, receive 
Donations, purchase Lands, etc., and to add to their Num- 
ber, from Time to Time such other Persons as they shall 
judge suitable. 

That the Members of the Corporation make it their 
Pleasure, and in some Degree their Business, to visit the 
Academy often, encourage and countenance the Youth, 
countenance and assist the Masters, and by all Means in 
their Power advance the Usefulness and Reputation of 
the Design; that they look on the Students as in some Sort 
their Children, treat them with Familiarity and Affection, 
and, when they have behav'd well, and gone through their 
Studies, and are to enter the World, zealously unite, and 
make all the Interest that can be made to establish them, 
whether in Business, Offices, Marriages, or any other Thing 
for their Advantage, preferably to all other Persons what- 
soever even of equal Merit. 

And if Men may, and frequently do, catch such a Taste 
for cultivating Flowers, for Planting, Grafting, Inoculating, 
and the like, as to despise all other Amusements for their 
Sake, why may not we expect they should acquire a Relish 
for that more useful Culture of young Minds. Thompson says, 

" T is Joy to see the human Blossoms blow, 
When infant Reason grows apace, and calls 



390 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

For the kind Hand of an assiduous Care. 
Delightful Task! to rear the tender Thought, 
To teach the young Idea how to shoot ; 
To pour the fresh Instruction o'er the Mind, 
To breathe th' enlivening Spirit, and to fix 
The generous Purpose in the glowing Breast. 1 ' 

That a House be provided for the ACADEMY, if not in 
the Town, not many Miles from it ; the Situation high and 
dry, and if it may be, not far from a River, having a Garden, 
Orchard, Meadow, and a Field or two. 

That the House be furnished with a Library (if in the 
Country, if in the Town, the Town Libraries may serve) 
with Maps of all Countries, Globes, some mathematical 
Instruments, an Apparatus for Experiments in Natural 
Philosophy, and for Mechanics; Prints, of all Kinds, Pros- 
pects, Buildings, Machines, &c. 

That the Rector be a Man of good Understanding, good 
Morals, diligent and patient, learn'd in the Languages and 
Sciences, and a correct pure Speaker and Writer of the 
English Tongue; to have such Tutors under him as shall 
be necessary. 

That the boarding Scholars diet together, plainly, tem- 
perately, and frugally. 

That, to keep them in Health, and to strengthen and ren- 
der active their Bodies, they be frequently exercis'd in 
Running, Leaping, Wrestling, and Swimming, &c. 

That they have peculiar Habits to distinguish them from 
other Youth, if the Academy be in or near the Town; for 
this, among other Reasons, that their Behaviour may be 
the better observed. 

As to their STUDIES, it would be well if they could be 



1749] PROPOSALS RELATING TO EDUCATION 391 

taught every Thing that is useful, and every Thing that is 
ornamental: But Art is long, and their Time is short. It 
is therefore propos'd that they learn those Things that are 
likely to be most useful and most ornamental. Regard being 
had to the several Professions for which they are intended. 

All should be taught to write a fair Hand, and swift, as 
that is useful to All. And with it may be learnt something 
of Drawing, by Imitation of Prints, and some of the first 
Principles of Perspective. 

Arithmetick, Accounts, and some of the first Principles of 
Geometry and Astronomy. 

The English Language might be taught by Grammar; 
in which some of our best Writers, as Tillotson, Addison, 
Pope, Algernoon Sidney, Cato's Letters, &c., should be 
Classicks : the Stiles principally to be cultivated, being the 
clear and the concise. Reading should also be taught, and 
pronouncing, properly, distinctly, emphatically; not with 
an even Tone, which under-does, nor a theatrical, which 
over-does Nature. 

To form their Stile they should be put on Writing Letters 
to each other, making Abstracts of what they read ; or writ- 
ing the same Things in their own Words ; telling or writing 
Stories lately read, in their own Expressions. All to be 
revis'd and corrected by the Tutor, who should give his 
Reasons, and explain the Force and Import of Words, &c. 

To form their Pronunciation, they may be put on making 
Declamations, repeating Speeches, delivering Orations &c. ; 
The Tutor assisting at the Rehearsals, teaching, advising, 
correcting their Accent, &c. 

But if History be made a constant Part of their Reading, 
such as the Translations of the Greek and Roman Historians, 



392 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

and the modern Histories of ancient Greece and Rome, &c. 
may not almost all Kinds of useful Knowledge be that Way 
introduc'd to Advantage, and with Pleasure to the Student ? 
As 

GEOGRAPHY, by reading with Maps, and being required 
to point out the Places where the greatest Actions were done, 
to give their old and new Names, with the Bounds, Situation, 
Extent of the Countries concern'd, &c. 

CHRONOLOGY, by the Help of Helvicus or some other 
Writer of the Kind, who will enable them to tell when those 
Events happened; what Princes were Cotemporaries, what 
States or famous Men flourish'd about that Time, &c. The 
several principal Epochas to be first well fix'd in their 
Memories. 

ANTIENT CUSTOMS, religious and civil, being frequently 
mentioned in History, will give Occasion for explaining them ; 
in which the Prints of Medals, Basso-Relievos, and antient 
Monuments will greatly assist. 

MORALITY, by descanting and making continual Ob- 
servations on the Causes of the Rise or Fall of any Man's 
Character, Fortune, Power &c. mentioned in History; the 
Advantages of Temperance, Order, Frugality, Industry, 
Perseverance &c. &c. Indeed the general natural Tendency 
of Reading good History must be, to fix in the Minds of 
Youth deep Impressions of the Beauty and Usefulness of 
Virtue of all Kinds, Publick Spirit, Fortitude, &c. 

History will show the wonderful Effects of ORATORY, in 
governing, turning and leading great Bodies of Mankind, 
Armies, Cities, Nations. When the Minds of Youth are 
struck with Admiration at this, then is the Time to give them 
the Principles of that Art, which they will study with Taste 



1749] PROPOSALS RELATING TO EDUCATION 393 

and Application. Then they may be made acquainted 
with the best Models among the antients, their Beauties 
being particularly pointed out to them. Modern Political 
Oratory being chiefly performed by the Pen and Press, its 
Advantages over the Antient in some Respects are to be 
shown; as that its Effects are more extensive, more lasting, 
&c. 

History will also afford frequent Opportunities of showing 
the Necessity of a Publick Religion, from its Usefulness to 
the Publick ; the Advantage of a Religious Character among 
private Persons; the Mischiefs of Superstition, &c. and the 
Excellency of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION above all others 
antient or modern. 

History will also give Occasion to expatiate on the Advan- 
tage of Civil Orders and Constitutions ; how Men and their 
Properties are protected by joining in Societies and establish- 
ing Government; their Industry encouraged and rewarded, 
Arts invented, and Life made more comfortable: The Ad- 
vantages of Liberty, Mischiefs of Licentiousness, Benefits 
arising from good Laws and a due Execution of Justice, &c. 
Thus may the first Principles of sound Politicks be fix'd in 
the Minds of Youth. 

On Historical Occasions, Questions of Right and Wrong, 
Justice and Injustice, will naturally arise, and may be put to 
Youth, which they may debate in Conversation and in Writ- 
ing. When they ardently desire Victory, for the Sake of the 
Praise attending it, they will begin to feel the Want, and be 
sensible of the Use of Logic, or the Art of Reasoning to dis- 
cover Truth, and of Arguing to defend it, and convince Ad- 
versaries. This would be the Time to acquaint them with 
the Principles of that Art. Grotius, Puffendorff, and some 



394 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

other Writers of the same Kind, may be used on these Occa- 
sions to decide their Disputes. Publick Disputes warm the 
Imagination, whet the Industry, and strengthen the natural 
Abilities. 

When Youth are told, that the Great Men whose Lives 
and Actions they read in History, spoke two of the best 
Languages that ever were, the most expressive, copious, 
beautiful ; and that the finest Writings, the most correct Com- 
positions, the most perfect Productions of human Wit and 
Wisdom, are in those Languages, which have endured Ages, 
and will endure while there are Men; that no Translation 
can do them Justice, or give the Pleasure found in Reading 
the Originals; that those Languages contain all Science; 
that one of them is become almost universal, being the Lan- 
guage of Learned Men in all Countries ; that to understand 
them is a distinguishing Ornament, &c. they may be thereby 
made desirous of learning those Languages, and their In- 
dustry sharpen'd in the Acquisition of them. All intended 
for Divinity, should be taught the Latin and Greek; for 
Physick, the Latin, Greek, and French; for Law, the Latin 
and French; Merchants, the French, German, and Spanish: 
And though all should not be compell'd to learn Latin, Greek, 
or the modern foreign Languages; yet none that have an 
ardent Desire to learn them should be refused ; their English, 
Arithmetick and other Studies absolutely necessary, being at 
the same Time not neglected. 

If the new Universal History were also read, it would give 
a connected Idea of human Affairs, so far as it goes, which 
should be follow'd by the best modern Histories, particularly 
of our Mother Country; then of these Colonies; which 
should be accompanied with Observations on their Rise, 



1749] PROPOSALS RELATING TO EDUCATION 395 

Encrease, Use to Great Britain, Encouragements, Discour- 
agements, etc. the Means to make them flourish, secure 
their Liberties, &c. 

With the History of Men, Times, and Nations, should be 
read at proper Hours or Days, some of the best Histories of 
Nature, which would not only be delightful to Youth, and fur- 
nish them with Matter for their Letters, &c. as well as other 
History ; but afterwards of great Use to them, whether they 
are Merchants, Handicrafts, or Divines; enabling the first 
the better to understand many Commodities, Drugs, &c. ; the 
second to improve his Trade or Handicraft by new Mixtures, 
Materials, &c., and the last to adorn his Discourses by beau- 
tiful Comparisons, and strengthen them by new Proofs of 
Divine Providence. The Conversation of all will be im- 
proved by it, as Occasions frequently occur of making 
Natural Observations, which are instructive, agreeable, and 
entertaining in almost all Companies. Natural History 
will also afford Opportunities of introducing many Observa- 
tions, relating to the Preservation of Health, which may be 
afterwards of great Use. Arbuthnot on Air and Aliment, 
Sanctorius on Perspiration, Lentery on Foods, and some 
others, may now be read, and a very little Explanation will 
make them sufficiently intelligible to Youth. 

While they are reading Natural History, might not a little 
Gardening, Planting, Grafting, Inoculating, etc., be taught 
and practised; and now and then Excursions made to the 
neighbouring Plantations of the best Farmers, their Methods 
observ'd and reason'd upon for the Information of Youth? 
The Improvement of Agriculture being useful to all, and 
Skill in it no Disparagement to any. 

The History of Commerce, of the Invention of Arts, Rise 



396 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

of Manufactures, Progress of Trade, Change of its Seats, 
with the Reasons, Causes, &c., may also be made entertain- 
ing to Youth, and will be useful to all. And this, with the 
Accounts in other History of the prodigious Force and Effect 
of Engines and Machines used in War, will naturally intro- 
duce a Desire to be instructed in Mechanicks, and to be 
inform'd of the Principles of that Art by which weak Men 
perform such Wonders, Labour is sav'd, Manufactures 
expedited, &c. This will be the Time to show them Prints 
of antient and modern Machines, to explain them, to let 
them be copied, and to give Lectures in Mechanical Phi- 
losophy. 

With the whole should be constantly inculcated and culti- 
vated, that Benignity of Mind, which shows itself in searching 
for and seizing every Opportunity to serve and to oblige; and 
is the Foundation of what is called GOOD BREEDING ; highly 
useful to the Possessor, and most agreeable to all. 

The Idea of what is true Merit should also be often pre- 
sented to Youth, explain'd and impress'd on their Minds, 
as consisting in an Inclination join'd with an Ability to 
serve Mankind, one's Country, Friends r and Family; which 
Ability is (with the Blessing of God) to be acquir'd or greatly 
encreas'd by true Learning; and should indeed be the great 
Aim and End of all Learning. 



93. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 

SlR, [Philadelphia,] 1748. 

i. There will be the same explosion and shock if 
the electrified phial is held in one hand by the hook, and the 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, p. 21. 



1749] TO PETER COLLINS ON 397 

coating touch'd with the other, as when held by the coating, 
and touch'd at the hook. 

2. To take the charg'd phial safely by the hook, and not 
at the same time diminish its force, it must first be set down 
on an electric 'per se. 

3. The phial will be electrified as strongly, if held by the 
hook, and the coating apply'd to the globe or tube ; as when 
held by the coating, and the hook apply'd. 1 

4. But the direction of the electrical fire, being different 
in the charging, will also be different in the explosion. The 
bottle charged through the hook, will be discharged through 
the hook; the bottle charged through the coating, will be 
discharged through the coating; and not otherways; for 
the fire must come out the same way it went in. 

5. To prove this, take two bottles that were equally 
charged through the hooks, one in each hand; bring their 
hooks near each other, and no spark or shock will follow; 
because each hook is disposed to give fire, and neither to 
receive it. Set one of the bottles down on glass, take it up 
by the hook, and apply its coating to the hook of the other; 
then there will be an explosion and shock, and both bottles 
will be discharged. 

6. Vary the experiment, by charging two phials equally, 
one through the hook, the other through the coating; hold 
that by the coating which was charged through the hook; 
and that by the hook which was charged through the coat- 
ing ; apply the hook of the first to the coating of the other, 
and there will be no shock or spark. Set that down on glass 
which you held by the hook, take it up by the coating, and 

1 This was a Discovery of the very ingenious Mr. Kinnersley's, and by him 
communicated to me. F. 



398 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

bring the two hooks together : a spark and shock will follow, 
and both phials be discharged. 

In this experiment the bottles are totally discharged, or 
the equilibrium within them restored. The abounding of 
fire in one of the hooks (or rather in the internal surface of 
one bottle) being exactly equal to the wanting of the other; 
and therefore, as each bottle has in itself the abounding as 
well as the wanting, the wanting and abounding must be 
equal in each bottle. See 8, 9, 10, u. But if a man holds 
in his hands two bottles, one fully electrified, the other not 
at all, and brings their hooks together, he has but half a 
shock, and the bottles will both remain half electrified, the 
one being half discharged, and the other half charged. 

7. Place two phials equally charged on a table, at five 
or six inches distance. Let a cork ball, suspended by a 
silk thread, hang between them. If the phials were both 
charged through their hooks, the cork, when it has been 
attracted and repelled by the one, will not be attracted, but 
equally repelled by the other. But, if the phials were 
charged, the one through the hook, and the other through 
the coating, 1 the ball, when it is repelled from one hook, will 
be as strongly attracted by the other, and play vigorously 
between them [fetching the electric fluid from the one, and 
delivering it to the other 1774] till both phials are nearly 
discharged. 

8. When we use the terms of charging and discharging 
the phial, it is in compliance with custom, and for want of 

1 To charge a bottle commodiously through the coating, place it on a glass 
stand; form a communication from the prime conductor to the coating, and 
another from the hook to the wall or floor. When it is charged, remove the 
latter communication before you take hold of the bottle, otherwise great part 
of the fire will escape by it. F. 



1749] TO PETER COLLINS ON 399 

others more suitable. Since we are of opinion, that there 
is really no more electrical fire in the phial after what is 
called its charging, than before, nor less after its discharg- 
ing; excepting only the small spark that might be given to, 
and taken from, the non-electric matter, if separated from 
the bottle, which spark may not be equal to a five-hundredth 
part of what is called the explosion. 

For if, on the explosion, the electrical fire came out of the 
bottle by one part, and did not enter in again by another, 
then, if a man, standing on wax, and holding the bottle in 
one hand, takes the spark by touching the wire hook with 
the other, the bottle being thereby discharged, the man 
would be charged; or whatever fire was lost by one, would 
be found in the other, since there was no way for its escape : 
But the contrary is true. 

9. Besides, the phial will not suffer what is called a 
charging, unless as much fire can go out of it one way, as is 
thrown in by another. A phial cannot be charged standing 
on wax or glass, or hanging on the prime conductor, unless a 
communication be formed between its coating and the floor. 

10. But suspend two or more phials on the prime con- 
ductor, one hanging to the tail of the other; and a wire 
from the last to the floor, an equal number of turns of the 
wheel shall charge them all equally, and every one as much 
as one alone would have been ; what is driven out at the tail 
of the first, serving to charge the second ; what is driven out 
of the second charging the third ; and so on. By this means 
a great number of bottles might be charged with the same 
labour, and equally high, with one alone, were it not that 
every bottle receives new fire, and loses its old with some 
reluctance, or rather gives some small resistance to the 



400 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

charging, which in a number of bottles becomes more equal 
to the charging power, and so repels the fire back again on 
the globe, sooner [in proportion] than a single bottle would do. 

11. When a bottle is charged in the common way, its 
inside and outside surfaces stand ready, the one to give fire 
by the hook, the other to receive it by the coating ; the one 
is full, and ready to throw out, the other empty and ex- 
tremely hungry; yet as the first will not give out, unless 
the other can at the same instant receive in, so neither 
will the latter receive in, unless the first can at the same 
instant give out. When both can be done at once, it is done 
with inconceivable quickness and violence. 

12. So a strait spring (though the comparison does not 
agree in every particular) when forcibly bent, must, to 
restore itself, contract that side which in the bending was 
extended, and extend that which was contracted; if either 
of these two operations be hindered, the other cannot be done. 
But the spring is not said to be charg'd with elasticity when 
bent, and discharged when unbent; its quantity of elas- 
ticity is always the same. 

13. Glass, in like manner, has within its substance always 
the same quantity of electrical fire, and that a very great 
quantity in proportion to the mass of glass, as shall be shewn 
hereafter. 

14. This quantity, proportioned to the glass, it strongly 
and obstinately retains, and will have neither more nor less 
though it will suffer a change to be made in its parts and 
situation ; that is, we may take away part of it from one of 
the sides, provided we throw an equal quantity into the other. 

15. Yet, when the situation of the electrical fire is thus 
altered in the glass ; when some has been taken from one 



1749] TO PETER COLLINSON 401 

side, and some added to the other, it will not be at rest, or 
in its natural state, till it is restored to its original equality. 
And this restitution cannot be made through the substance 
of the glass, but must be done by a non-electric communica- 
tion formed without, from surface to surface. 

1 6. Thus, the whole force of the bottle, and power of 
giving a shock, is in the glass itself; the non-electrics in 
contact with the two surfaces, serving only to give and 
receive to and from the several parts of the glass; that is, 
to give on one side, and take away from the other. 

17. This was discovered here in the following manner: 
Purposing to analyze the electrified bottle, in order to find 
wherein its strength lay, we placed it on glass, and drew out 
the cork and wire, which for that purpose had been loosely 
put in. Then taking the bottle in one hand, and bringing 
a finger of the other near its mouth, a strong spark came 
from the water, and the shock was as violent as if the wire 
had remained in it, which shewed that the force did not lie 
in the wire. Then, to find if it resided in the water, being 
crouded into and condensed in it, as confin'd by the glass, 
which had been our former opinion, we electrified the bottle 
again, and, placing it on glass, drew out the wire and cork 
as before; then, taking up the bottle, we decanted all its 
water into an empty bottle, which likewise stood on glass; 
and taking up that other bottle, we expected, if the force 
resided in the water, to find a shock from it ; but there was 
none. We judged then, that it must either be lost in decant- 
ing, or remain in the first bottle. The latter we found to be 
true ; for that bottle on trial gave the shock, though filled up 
as it stood with fresh unelectrified water from a tea-pot. To 
find, then, whether glass had this property merely as glass, 

VOL. II D 



402 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

or whether the form contributed any thing to it ; we took a 
pane of sash-glass, and, laying it on the hand [stand], placed 
a plate of lead on its upper surface; then electrified that 
plate, and bringing a finger to it, there was a spark and 
shock. We then took two plates of lead of equal dimen- 
sions, but less than the glass by two inches every way, and 
electrified the glass between them, by electrifying the upper- 
most lead ; then separated the glass from the lead, in doing 
which, what little fire might be in the lead was taken out, 
and the glass being touched in the electrified parts with a 
finger, afforded only very small pricking sparks, but a great 
number of them might be taken from different places. Then 
dexterously placing it again between the leaden plates, and 
compleating a circle between the two surfaces, a violent 
shock ensued. Which demonstrated the power to reside in 
glass as glass, and that the non-electrics in contact served 
only, like the armature of a loadstone, to unite the force of 
the several parts, and bring them at once to any point de- 
sired ; it being the property of a non-electric, that the whole 
body instantly receives or gives what electrical fire is given 
to, or taken from, any one of its parts. 

1 8. Upon this we made what we called an electrical bat- 
tery, consisting of eleven panes of large sash-glass, arm'd 
with thin leaden plates, pasted on each side, placed ver- 
tically, and supported at two inches distance on silk cords, 
with thick hooks of leaden wire, one from each side, stand- 
ing upright, distant from each other, and convenient com- 
munications of wire and chain, from the giving side of one 
pane, to the receiving side of the other; that so the whole 
might be charged together, and with the same labour as one 
single pane; and another contrivance to bring the giving 



1749] TO PETER COLLJNSON 403 

sides, after charging, in contact with one long wire, and the 
receivers with another, which two long wires would give the 
force of all the plates of glass at once through the body of 
any animal forming the circle with them. The plates may 
also be discharged separately, or any number together that 
is required. But this machine is not much used, as not per- 
fectly answering our intention with regard to the ease of 
charging, for the reason given, Sec. 10. We made also, of 
large glass panes, magical pictures, and self-moving ani- 
mated wheels, presently to be described. 

19. I perceive by the ingenious Mr. Watson's last book, 
lately received, that Dr. Bevis had used, before we had, 
panes of glass to give a shock ; l though, till that book came 
to hand, I thought to have communicated it to you as a 
novelty. The excuse for mentioning it here is, that we 
tried the experiment differently, drew different consequences 
from it (for Mr. Watson still seems to think the fire accumu- 
lated on the non-electric that is in contact with the glass, p. 
72) and, as far as we hitherto know, have carried it farther. 

20. The magical picture 2 is made thus. Having a large 
metzotinto with a frame and glass, suppose of the KING, 
(God preserve him) take out the print, and cut a pannel 
out of it near two inches distant from the frame all round. 
If the cut is through the picture, it is not the worse. With 
thin paste, or gum- water, fix the border that is cut off on the 
inside the glass, pressing it smooth and close; then fill up 
the vacancy by gilding the glass well with leaf-gold, or brass. 
Gild likewise. the inner edge of the back of the frame all 
round, except the top part, and form a communication 

1 1 have since heard, that Mr. Smeaton was the first who made use of panes 
of glass for that purpose. F. 2 Contrived by Mr. Kinnersley. F. 



404 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

between that gilding and the gilding behind the glass: then 
put in the board, and that side is finished. Turn up the 
glass, and gild the fore side exactly over the back gilding, 
and when it is dry, cover it by pasting on the pannel of the 
picture that hath been cut out, observing to bring the cor- 
respondent parts of the border and picture together, by 
which the picture will appear of a piece, as at first, only part 
is behind the glass, and part before. Hold the picture hori- 
zontally by the top, and place a little moveable gilt crown 
on the king's head. If now the picture be moderately elec- 
trified, and another person take hold of the frame with one 
hand, so that his fingers touch its inside gilding, and with 
the other hand endeavour to take off the crown, he will 
receive a terrible blow, and fail in the attempt. If the pic- 
ture were highly charged, the consequence might perhaps 
be as fatal l as that of high treason, for when the spark is 
taken through a quire of paper laid on the picture, by means 
of a wire communication, it makes a fair hole through every 
sheet, that is, through forty-eight leaves, though a quire of 
paper is thought good armour against the push of a sword, 
or even against a pistol bullet, and the crack is exceeding 
loud. The operator, who holds the picture by the upper 
end, where the inside of the frame is not gilt, to prevent its 
falling, feels nothing of the shock, and may touch the face 
of the picture without danger, which he pretends is a test 
of his loyalty. If a ring of persons take the shock among 
them, the experiment is called The Conspirators. 

.21. On the principle, in Sec. 7, that hooks of bottles, differ- 
ently charged, will attract and repel differently, is made an 

1 We have since found it fatal to small animals, though not to large ones. 
The biggest we have yet killed is a hen. 1750. 



1749] TO PETER COLLINSON 405 

electrical wheel, that turns with considerable strength. A 
small upright shaft of wood passes at right angles through a 
thin round board, of about twelve inches diameter, and 
turns on a sharp point of iron, fixed in the lower end, while a 
strong wire in the upper end, passing through a small hole 
in a thin brass plate, keeps the shaft truly vertical. About 
thirty radii of equal length, made of sash-glass, cut in narrow 
strips, issue horizontally from the circumference of the 
board, the ends most distant from the center being about 
four inches apart. On the end of every one, a brass thimble 
is fixed. If now the wire of a bottle electrified in the common 
way, be brought near the circumference of this wheel, it will 
attract the nearest thimble, and so put the wheel in motion ; 
that thimble, in passing by, receives a spark, and thereby 
being electrified is repelled, and so driven forwards ; while a 
second being attracted, approaches the wire, receives a 
spark, and is driven after the first, and so on till the wheel 
has gone once round, when the thimbles before electrified 
approaching the wire, instead of being attracted as they were 
at first, are repelled, and the motion presently ceases. But 
if another bottle, which had been charged through the coat- 
ing, be placed near the same wheel, its wire will attract the 
thimble repelled by the first, and thereby double the force 
that carries the wheel round; and not only taking out the 
fire that had been communicated to the thimbles by the first 
bottle, but even robbing them of their natural quantity, 
instead of being repelled when they come again towards the 
first bottle, they are more strongly attracted, so that the 
wheel mends its pace, till it goes with great rapidity, twelve 
or fifteen rounds in a minute, and with such strength, as that 
the weight of one hundred Spanish dollars, with which we 



406 THE WRITINGS OP BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

once loaded it, did not seem in the least to retard its motion. 
This is called an electrical jack; and if a large fowl were 
spitted on the upright shaft, it would be carried round before 
a fire with a motion fit for roasting. 

22. But this wheel, like those driven by wind, water, or 
weights, moves by a foreign force, to wit, that of the bottles. 
The self-moving wheel, though constructed on the same 
principles, appears more surprising. 'Tis made of a thin 
round plate of window-glass, seventeen inches diameter, 
well gilt on both sides, all but two inches next the edge. 
Two small hemispheres of wood are then fixed with cement 
to the middle of the upper and under sides, centrally opposite, 
and in each of them a thick strong wire eight or ten inches 
long, which together make the axis of the wheel. It turns 
horizontally on a point at the lower end of its axis, which 
rests on a bit of brass cemented within a glass salt-cellar. 
The upper end of its axis passes through a hole in a thin 
brass plate cemented to a long strong piece of glass, which 
keeps it six or eight inches distant from any non-electric, 
and has a small ball of wax or metal on its top, to keep in the 
fire. In a circle on the table which supports the wheel, are 
fixed twelve small pillars of glass, at about four inches dis- 
tance, with a thimble on the top of each. On the edge of the 
wheel is a small leaden bullet, communicating by a wire with 
the gilding of the upper surface of the wheel ; and about six 
inches from it is another bullet communicating in like manner 
with the under surface. When the wheel is to be charged by 
the upper surface, a communication must be made from the 
under surface to the table. When it is well charged, it begins 
to move; the bullet nearest to a pillar moves towards the 
thimble on that pillar, and passing by, electrifies it, and then 



1749] TO PETER COLLINSON 407 

pushes itself from it; the succeeding bullet, which commu- 
nicates with the other surface of the glass, more strongly 
attracts that thimble, on account of its being before elec- 
trified by the other bullet; and thus the wheel increases its 
motion till it comes to such a height that the resistance of 
the air regulates it. It will go half an hour, and make one 
minute with another twenty turns in a minute, which is six 
hundred turns in the whole ; the bullet of the upper surface 
giving in each turn twelve sparks, to the thimbles, which 
makes seven thousand two hundred sparks; and the bullet 
of the under surface receiving as many from the thimbles; 
those bullets moving in the time near two thousand five hun- 
dred feet. The thimbles are well fixed, and in so exact a 
circle, that the bullets may pass within a very small distance 
of each of them. If, instead of two bullets you put eight, 
four communicating with the upper surface, and four with 
the under surface, placed alternately; which eight, at about 
six inches distance, completes the circumference, the force 
and swiftness will be greatly increased, the wheel making 
fifty turns in a minute ; but then it will not continue moving 
so long. These wheels may be applied, perhaps, to the 
ringing of chimes, 1 and moving of light-made orreries. 

23. A small wire bent circularly, with a loop at each end ; 
let one end rest against the under surface of the wheel, and 
bring the other end near the upper surface, it will give a 
terrible crack, and the force will be discharged. 

24. Every spark in that manner drawn from the surface 
of the wheel, makes a round hole in the gilding, tearing off 
a part of it in coming out ; which shews that the fire is not 
accumulated on the gilding, but is in the glass itself. 

1 This was afterwards done with success by Mr. Kinnersley. F. 






4 o8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

25. The gilding being varnished over with turpentine 
varnish, the varnish, though dry and hard, is burnt by the 
spark drawn through it, and gives a strong smell and visible 
smoke. And when the spark is drawn through paper, all 
round the hole made by it, the paper will be blacked by the 
smoke, which sometimes penetrates several of the leaves. 
Part of the gilding torn off, is also found forcibly driven into 
the hole made in the paper by the stroke. 

26. It is amazing to observe in how small a portion of 
glass a great electrical force may lie. A thin glass bubble, 
about an inch diameter, weighing only six grains, being half 
filled with water, partly gilt on the outside, and furnish'd 
with a wire hook, gives, when electrified, as great a shock as 
a man can well bear. As the glass is thickest near the 
orifice, I suppose the lower half, which being gilt was elec- 
trified and gave the shock, did not exceed two grains ; for it 
appeared, when broke, much thinner than the upper half. 
If one of these thin bottles be electrified by the coating, and 
the spark taken out through the gilding, it will break the glass 
inwards, at the same time that it breaks the gilding outwards. 

27. And allowing (for the reasons before given, . 8, 9, 10,) 
that there is no more electrical fire in a bottle after charging 
than before, how great must be the quantity in this small 
portion of glass ! It seems as if it were of its very substance 
and essence. Perhaps if that due quantity of electrical fire 
so obstinately retained by glass, could be separated from it r 
it would no longer be glass; it might lose its transparency, 
or its brittleness, or its elasticity. Experiments may pos- 
sibly be invented hereafter to discover this. 

28. We were surprised at the account given in Mr. 
Watson's book, of a shock communicated through a great 



1749] TO PETER COLLINS OK 409 

space of dry ground, and suspect there must be some metal- 
line quality in the gravel of that ground ; having found that 
simple dry earth, rammed in a glass tube, open at both ends, 
and a wire hook inserted in the earth at each end, the earth 
and wires making part of a circuit, would not conduct the 
least perceptible shock, and indeed when one wire was 
electrified, the other hardly shewed any signs of its being in 
connection with it. 1 Even a thoroughly wet packthread 
sometimes fails of conducting a shock, though it otherwise 
conducts Electricity very well. A dry cake of ice, or an 
icicle held between two in a circle, likewise prevents the 
shock, which one would not expect, as water conducts it so 
perfectly well. Gilding on a new book, though at first it 
conducts the shock extremely well, yet fails after ten or a 
dozen experiments, though it appears otherwise in all respects 
the same, which we cannot account for. 2 

29. There is one experiment more which surprizes us, 
and is not hitherto satisfactorily accounted for; it is this: 
Place an iron shot on a glass stand, and let a ball of damp 
cork, suspended by a silk thread, hang in contact with the 
shot. Take a bottle in each hand, one that is electrified 
through the hook, the other through the coating : Apply the 
giving wire to the shot, which will electrify it positively, and 
the cork shall be repelled: then apply the requiring wire, 
which will take out the spark given by the other; when the 
cork will return to the shot : Apply the same again, and take 

1 Probably the ground is never so dry. F. 

2 We afterwards found that it failed after one stroke with a large bottle; 
and the continuity of the gold appearing broken, and many of its parts dis- 
sipated, the Electricity could not pass the remaining parts without leaping 
from part to part through the air, which always resists the motion of this fluid, 
and was probably the cause of the gold's not conducting so well as before. F. 



4 io THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

out another spark, so will the shot be electrified negatively, 
and the cork in that case shall be repelled equally as before. 
Then apply the giving wire to the shot, and give the spark 
it wanted, so will the cork return: Give it another, which 
will be an addition to its natural quantity, so will the cork 
be repelled again : And so may the experiment be repeated 
as long as there is any charge in the bottles. Which shews, 
that bodies having less than the common quantity of Elec- 
tricity, repel each other, as well as those that have more. 

Chagrined a little that we have been hitherto able to pro- 
duce nothing in this way of use to mankind; and the hot 
weather coming on, when electrical experiments are not so 
agreeable, it is proposed to put an end to them for this 
season, somewhat humorously, in a party of pleasure on the 
banks of SkuylkiL 1 Spirits, at the same time, are to be fired 
by a spark sent from side to side through the river, without 
any other conductor than the water; an experiment which 
we some time since performed, to the amazement of many. 2 

1 The river that washes one side of Philadelphia as the Delaware does the 
other; both are ornamented with the summer habitations of the citizens, and 
the agreeable mansions of the principal people of this colony. F. 

2 As the possibility of this experiment has not been easily conceived, I shall 
here describe it. Two iron rods, about three feet long, were planted just 
within the margin of the river, on the opposite sides. A thick piece of wire, 
with a small round knob at its end, was fixed to the top of one of the rods, 
bending downwards, so as to deliver commodiously the spark upon the surface 
of the spirit. A small wire fastened by one end to the handle of the spoon, 
containing the spirit, was carried across the river, and supported in the air by 
the rope commonly used to hold by, in drawing the ferry-boats over. The 
other end of this wire was tied round the coating of the bottle; which being 
charged, the spark was delivered from the hook to the top of the rod standing 
in the water on that side. At the same instant the rod on the other side de- 
livered a spark into the spoon, and fired the spirit; the electric fire returning 
to the coating of the bottle, through the handle of the spoon and the sup- 
ported wire connected with them. 

That the electric fire thus actually passes through the water, has since been 



1749] PHENOMENA OF THUNDER-GUSTS 411 

A turkey is to be killed for our dinner by the electrical shock, 
and roasted by the electrical jack, before a fire kindled by the 
electrified bottle: when the healths of all the famous elec- 
tricians in England, Holland, France, and Germany are to 
be drank in electrified bumpers, 1 under the discharge of guns 
from the electrical battery. April 29, 1749. 



94. TO PETER COLLINSON 2 

Containing Observations and Suppositions, towards forming 
a new Hypothesis for explaining the several Phenomena 
of Thunder-gusts. 3 

SIR, 

Non-electric bodies, that have electric fire thrown into 
them, will retain it till other electrics, that have less, approach ; 
and then it is communicated by a snap, and becomes equally 
divided. 

2. Electrical fire loves water, is strongly attracted by it, 
and they can subsist together. 

3. Air is an electric per se, and when dry will not conduct 
the electrical fire; it will neither receive it, nor give it to 
other bodies ; .otherwise no body surrounded by air, could be 

satisfactorily demonstrated to many by an experiment of Mr. Kinnersley's, per- 
formed in a trough of water about ten feet long. The hand being placed 
under water in the direction of the spark (which always takes the strait 
or shortest course) is struck and penetrated by it as it passes. F. 

1 An electrified bumper is a small thin glass tumbler, near filled with wine, 
and electrified as the bottle. This when brought to the lips gives a shock, 
if the party be close shaved, and does not breathe on the liquor. F. 

2 From " Experiments and Observations on Electricity." London, 1 769, 
P-39- 

8 Thunder-gusts are sudden storms of thunder and lightning, which are fre- 
quently of short duration, but sometimes produce mischievous effects. F. 



4 i2 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

electrified positively and negatively: for should it be at- 
tempted positively: the air would immediately take away 
the overplus; or negatively, the air would supply what was 
wanting. 

4. Water being electrified, the vapours arising from it will 
be equally electrified ; and floating in the air, in the form of 
clouds, or otherwise, will retain that quantity of electrical 
fire, till they meet with other clouds or bodies not so much 
electrified, and then will communicate as before mentioned. 

5. Every particle of matter electrified is repelled by every 
other particle equally electrified. Thus the stream of a 
fountain, naturally dense and continual, when electrified, 
will separate and spread in the form of a brush, every drop 
endeavouring to recede from every other drop. But on 
taking out the electrical fire they close again. 

6. Water being strongly electrified (as well as when 
heated by common fire) rises in vapours more copiously; 
the attraction of cohesion among its particles being greatly 
Weakened, by the opposite power of repulsion introduced 
with the electrical fire; and, when any particle is by any 
means disengaged, it is immediately repelled, and so flies 
into the air. 

7. Particles happening to be situated as A and B (Fig. 6, 
representing the profile of a vessel of water) are more easily 
disengaged than C and D, as each is held by contact with 
three only, whereas C and D are each in contact with nine. 
When the surface of the water has the least motion, particles 
are continually pushed into the situation represented by A 
and B. 

8. Friction between a non-electric and an electric per se 
will produce electrical fire; not by creating, but collecting 



1749] PHENOMENA OF THUNDER-GUSTS 413 

it; for it is equally diffused in our walls, floors, earth, and 
the whole mass of common matter. Thus the whirling glass 
globe, during its friction against the cushion, draws fire from 
the cushion, the cushion is supplied from the frame of the 
machine, that from the floor on which it stands. Cut off 
the communication by thick glass or wax, placed under the 
cushion, and no fire can be produced, because it cannot be 
collected. 

9. The ocean is a compound of water, a non-electric, and 
salt, an electric per se. 

10. When there is a friction among the parts near its sur- 
face, the electrical fire is collected from the parts below. It 
is then plainly visible in the night; it appears in the stern 
and in the wake of every sailing vessel ; every dash of an oar 
shews it, and every surf and spray: In storms the whole 
sea seems on fire. The detach'd particles of water, then 
repelled from the electrified surface, continually carry off 
the fire as it is collected; they rise and form clouds, and 
those clouds are highly electrified, and retain the fire till 
they have an opportunity of communicating it. 

11. The particles of water, rising in vapours, attach them- 
selves to particles of air. 

12. The particles of air are said to be hard, round, sepa- 
rate, and distant from each other; every particle strongly 
repelling every other particle, whereby they recede from 
each other, as far as common gravity will permit. 

13. The space between any three particles, equally re- 
pelling each other, will be an equilateral triangle. 

14. In air compressed, these triangles are smaller; in 
rarefied air they are larger. 

15. Common fire, joined with air, increases the repulsion, 



414 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

enlarges the triangles, and thereby makes the air specifically 
lighter. Such air, among denser air, will rise. 

16. Common fire, as well as electrical fire, gives repulsion 
to the particles of water, and destroys their attraction of 
cohesion; hence common fire, as well as electrical fire, 
assists in raising vapours. 

17. Particles of water, having no fire in them, mutually 
attract each other. Three particles of water then being 
attached to the three particles of a triangle of air, would by 
their mutual attraction operating against the air's repulsion, 
shorten the sides and lessen the triangle, whereby that por- 
tion of air made denser, would sink to the earth with its 
water, and not rise to the formation of a cloud. 

1 8. But, if every particle of water attaching itself to air 
brings with it a particle of common fire, the repulsion of 
the air being assisted and strengthened by the fire, more 
than obstructed by the mutual attraction of the particles 
of water, the triangle dilates, and that portion of air, be- 
coming rarer and specifically lighter, rises. 

19. If the particles of water bring electrical fire when 
they attach themselves to air, the repulsion between the 
particles of water electrified, joins with the natural repulsion 
of the air, to force its particles to a greater distance, whereby 
the triangles are dilated, and the air rises, carrying up with 
it the water. 

20. If the particles of water bring with them portions of 
both sorts of fire, the repulsion of the particles of air is still more 
strengthened and increased, and the triangles farther enlarged. 

21. One particle of air may be surrounded by twelve 
particles of water of equal size with itself, all in contact 
with it; and by more added to those. 



1749] PHENOMENA OF THUNDER-GUSTS 415 

22. Particles of air, thus loaded, would be drawn nearer 
together by the mutual attraction of the particles of water, 
did not the fire, common or electrical, assist their repulsion. 

23. If air, thus loaded, be compressed by adverse winds, 
or by being driven against mountains, &c., or condensed 
by taking away the fire that assisted it in expanding; the 
triangles contract, the air with its water will descend as a 
dew; or, if the water surrounding one particle of air comes 
in contact with the water surrounding another, they coalesce 
and form a drop, and we have rain. 

24. The sun supplies (or seems to supply) common fire 
to all vapours, whether raised from earth or sea. 

25. Those vapours, which have both common and elec- 
trical fire in them, are better supported, than those which 
have only common fire in them, For when vapours rise into 
the coldest region above the earth, the cold will not diminish 
the electrical fire, if it doth the common. 

26. Hence clouds formed by vapours raised from fresh 
waters within land, from growing vegetables, moist earth, 
&c., more speedily and easily deposite their water, having 
but little electrical fire to repel and keep the particles sepa- 
rate. So that the greatest part of the water raised from 
the land, is let fall on the land again; and winds blowing 
from the land to the sea are dry; there being little use for 
rain on the sea, and to rob the land of its moisture, in order 
to rain on the sea, would not appear reasonable. 

27. But clouds, formed by vapours raised from the sea, 
having both fires, and particularly a great quantity of the 
electrical, support their water strongly, raise it high, and 
being moved by winds, may bring it over the middle of the 
broadest continent from the middle of the widest ocean. 



4 i6 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

28. How these ocean clouds, so strongly supporting their 
water, are made to deposite it on the land where it is wanted, 
is next to be considered. 

29. If they are driven by winds against mountains, those 
mountains being less electrified attract them, and on con- 
tact take away their electrical fire, (and being cold, the 
common fire also;) hence the particles close towards the 
mountains and towards each other. If the air was not much 
loaded, it only falls in dews on the mountain tops and sides, 
forms springs, and descends to the vales in rivulets, which 
united, make larger streams and rivers. If much loaded, 
the electrical fire is at once taken from the whole cloud ; and, 
in leaving it, flashes brightly and cracks loudly; the par- 
ticles instantly coalescing for want of that fire, and falling 
in a heavy shower. 

30. When a ridge of mountains thus dams the clouds, 
and draws the electrical fire from the cloud first approach- 
ing it ; that which next follows, when it comes near the first 
cloud, now deprived of its fire, flashes into it, and begins 
to deposite its own water ; the first cloud again flashing into 
the mountains ; the third approaching cloud, and all the suc- 
ceeding ones, acting in the same manner as far back as they 
extend, which may be over many hundred miles of country. 

31. Hence the continual storms of rain, thunder, and 
lightning on the east side of the Andes, which running north 
and south, and being vastly high, intercept all the clouds 
brought against them from the Atlantic ocean by the trade 
winds, and oblige them to deposite their waters, by which 
the vast rivers Amazons, La Plata, and Oroonoko are formed, 
which return the water into the same sea, after having fertil- 
ized a country of very great extent. 



1749] PHENOMENA OF THUNDER-GUSTS 417 

32. If a country be plain, having no mountains to inter- 
cept the electrified clouds, yet it is not without means to 
make them deposite their water. For if an electrified cloud 
coming from the sea, meets in the air a cloud raised from the 
land, and therefore not electrified ; the first will flash its fire 
into the latter, and thereby both clouds shall be made sud- 
denly to deposite water. 

33. The electrified particles of the first cloud close when 
they lose their fire ; the particles of the other clouds close in 
receiving it: in both, they have thereby an opportunity of 
coalescing into drops. The concussion or jerk given to the 
air, contributes also to shake down the water, not only from 
those two clouds, but from others near them. Hence the 
sudden fall of rain immediately after flashes of lightning. 

34. To shew this by an easy experiment : Take two round 
pieces of pasteboard, two inches diameter; from the center 
and circumference of each of them suspend by fine silk 
threads eighteen inches long, seven small balls of wood, or 
seven peas equal in bigness: so will the balls, appending 
to each pasteboard, form equal equilateral triangles, one ball 
being in the center, and six at equal distances from that, and 
from each other; and thus they represent particles of air. 
Dip both sets in water, and some adhering to each ball, 
they will represent air loaded. Dexterously electrify one 
set, and its balls will repel each other to a greater distance, 
enlarging the triangles. Could the water supported by 
seven balls come into contact, it would form a drop or drops 
so heavy as to break the cohesion it had with the balls, and 
so fall. Let the two sets then represent two clouds, the one 
a sea cloud electrified, the other a land cloud. Bring them 
within the sphere of attraction, and they will draw towards 

VOL. II 2 E 



4 i8 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

each other, and you will see the separated balls close thus; 
the first electrified ball that comes near an unelectrified ball 
by attraction joins it, and gives it fire ; instantly they separate, 
and each flies to another ball of its own party, one to give, 
the other to receive fire; and so it proceeds through both 
sets, but so quick as to be in a manner instantaneous. In 
the cohesion they shake off and drop their water, which 
represents rain. 

35. Thus, when sea and land clouds would pass at too 
great a distance from the flash, they are attracted towards 
each other till within that distance; for the sphere of elec- 
trical attraction is far beyond the distance of flashing. 

36. When a great number of clouds from the sea meet a 
number of clouds raised from the land, the electrical flashes 
appear to strike in different parts; and as the clouds are 
jostled and mixed by the winds, or brought near by the 
electrical attraction, they continue to give and receive flash 
after flash, till the electrical fire is equally diffused. 

37. When the gun-barrel (in electrical experiments) has 
but little electrical fire in it, you must approach it very near 
with your knuckle, before you can draw a spark. Give it 
more fire, and it will give a spark at a greater distance. Two 
gun-barrels united, and as highly electrified, will give a 
spark at a still greater distance. But, if two gun-barrels 
electrified will strike at two inches distance, and make a 
loud snap, to what a great distance may 10,000 acres of 
electrified cloud strike and give its fire, and how loud must 
be that crack? 

38. It is a common thing to see clouds at different heights 
passing different ways, which shews different currents of 
air, one under the other. As the air between the tropics is 



1749] PHENOMENA OF THUNDER-GUSTS 419 

ratified by the sun, it rises, the denser northern and south- 
ern air pressing into its place. The air, so rarified and 
forced up, passes northward and southward, and must 
descend into the polar regions, if it has no opportunity 
before, that the circulation may be carried on. 

39. As currents of air, with the clouds therein, pass differ- 
ent ways, 'tis easy to conceive how the clouds, passing 
over each other, may attract each other, and so come near 
enough for the electrical stroke. And also how electrical 
clouds may be carried within land very far from the sea, 
before they have an opportunity to strike. 

40. When the air, with its vapours raised from the ocean 
between the tropics, comes to descend in the polar regions, 
and to be in contact with the vapours arising there, the elec- 
trical fire they brought begins to be communicated, and is 
seen in clear nights, being first visible where 'tis first in 
motion, that is, where the contact begins, or in the most 
northern part; from thence the streams of light seem to 
shoot southerly, even up to the zenith of northern countries. 
But tho' the light seems to shoot from the north southerly, 
the progress of the fire is really from the south northerly, 
its motion beginning in the north being the reason that 'tis 
there first seen. 

For the electrical fire is never visible but when in motion, 
and leaping from body to body, or from particle to particle, 
thro' the air. When it passes thro' dense bodies, 'tis unseen. 
When a wire makes part of the circle, in the explosion of 
the electrical phial, the fire, though in great quantity, passes 
in the wire invisibly: but in passing along a chain, it 
becomes visible as it leaps from link to link. In passing 
along leaf gilding 'tis visible : for the leaf gold is full of pores ; 



420 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1749 

hold a leaf to the light and it appears like a net, and the fire 
is seen in its leaping over the vacancies. And as when a 
long canal filled with still water is opened at one end, in 
order to be discharged, the motion of the water begins first 
near the opened end, and proceeds towards the close end, 
tho' the water itself moves from the close towards the opened 
end: so the electrical fire discharged into the polar regions, 
perhaps from a thousand leagues length of vaporised air, 
appears first where 'tis first in motion, i.e., in the most north- 
ern part, and the appearance proceeds southward, tho' the 
fire really moves northward. This is supposed to account 
for the Aurora Borealis. 

41. When there is great heat on the land, in a particular 
region (the sun having shone on it perhaps several days, 
while the surrounding countries have been screen'd by 
clouds) the lower air is rarified and rises, the cooler, denser 
air above descends; the clouds in that air meet from all 
sides, and join over the heated place ; and if some are elec- 
trified, others not, lightning and thunder succeed, and 
showers fall. Hence thunder-gusts after heats, and cool air 
after gusts; the water and the clouds that bring it, coming 
from a higher and therefore a cooler region. 

42. An electrical spark, drawn from an irregular body 
at some distance, is scarce ever strait, but shows crooked 
and waving in the air. So do the flashes of lightning, the 
clouds being very irregular bodies. 

43. As electrified clouds pass over a country, high hills 
and high trees, lofty towers, spires, masts of ships, chimneys, 
&c., as so many prominencies and points, draw the elec- 
trical fire, and the whole cloud discharges there. 

44. Dangerous, therefore, is it to take shelter under a 



1749] PHENOMENA OF THUNDER-GUSTS 421 

tree, during a thunder-gust. It has been fatal to many, 
both men and beasts. 

45. It is safer to be in the open field for another reason. 
When the cloaths are wet, if a flash in its way to the ground 
should strike your head, it may run in the water over the sur- 
face of your body ; whereas, if your cloaths were dry, it would 
go through the body, [because the blood and other humours, 
containing so much water, are more ready conductors 1774]. 

Hence a wet rat cannot be killed by the exploding elec- 
trical bottle, when a dry rat may. 1 

46. Common fire is in all bodies, more or less, as well as 
electrical fire. Perhaps they may be different modifications 
of the same element; or they may be different elements. 
The latter is by some suspected. 

47. If they are different things, yet they may and do sub- 
sist together in the same body. 

48. When electrical fire strikes through a body, it acts 
upon the common fire contained in it, and puts that fire in 
motion; and if there be a sufficient quantity of each kind 
of fire, the body will be inflamed. 

49. When the quantity of common fire in the body is 
small, the quantity of the electrical fire (or the electrical 
stroke) should be greater : if the quantity of common fire be 
great, less electrical fire suffices to produce the effect. 

50. Thus spirits must be heated before we can fire them 
by the electrical spark. 2 If they are much heated, a small 
spark will do ; if not, the spark must be greater. 

1 This was tried with a bottle, containing about a quart. It is since thought 
that one of the large glass jars, mentioned in these papers, might have killed 
him, though wet. F. 

2 We have since fired spirits without heating them, when the weather is 



422 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN" FRANKLIN [1749 

51. Till lately, we could only fire warm vapours; but 
now we can burn hard, dry rosin. And when we can pro- 
cure greater electrical sparks, we may be able to fire not 
only unwarm'd spirits, as lightning does, but even wood, 
by giving sufficient agitation to the common fire contained 
in it, as friction we know will do. 

52. Sulphureous and inflammable vapours arising from 
the earth, are easily kindled by lightning. Besides what 
arise from the earth, such vapours are sent out by stacks of 
moist hay, corn, or other vegetables, which heat and reek. 
Wood, rotting in old trees or buildings, does the same. 
Such are therefore easily and often fired. 

53. Metals are often melted by lightning, tho' perhaps 
not from heat in the lightning, nor altogether from agitated 
fire in the metals. For as whatever body can insinuate 
itself between the particles of metal, and overcome the at- 
traction by which they cohere (as sundry menstrua can) will 
make the solid become a fluid, as well as fire, yet without 
heating it: so the electrical fire, or lightning, creating a 
violent repulsion between the particles of the metal it passes 
through, the metal is fused. 

54. If you would, by a violent fire, melt off the end of a 
nail, which is half driven into a door, the heat given the 
whole nail before a part would melt, must burn the board 
it sticks in. And the melted part would burn the floor it 
dropp'd on. But if a sword can be melted in the scabbard, 
and money in a man's pocket by lightning, without burning 
either, it must be a cold fusion. 1 

warm. A little poured into the palm of the hand, will be warmed sufficiently 

by the hand, if the spirit be well rectified. ^Ether takes fire most readily. F. 

1 These facts, though related in several accounts, are now doubted; since 



1750] TO PETER COLLINS ON 423 

55. Lightning rends some bodies. The electrical spark 
will strike a hole through a quire of strong paper. 

56. If the source of lightning, assigned in this paper, be 
the true one, there should be little thunder heard at sea far 
from land. And accordingly some old sea-captains, of 
whom enquiry has been made, do affirm, thac the fact agrees 
perfectly with the hypothesis ; for that in crossing the great 
ocean, they seldom meet with thunder till they come into 
soundings ; and that the islands far from the continent have 
very little of it. And a curious observer, who lived 13 years 
at Bermudas, says, there was less thunder there in that 
whole time, than he has sometimes heard in a month at 
Carolina. 



95. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 

[Philadelphia,] July 27, 1750. 

SIR, 

Mr. W-ts-n, 3 I believe, wrote his Observations on my 
last paper in haste, without having first well considered 
the Experiments related 17,* which still appear to me 
decisive in the question, Whether the accumulation of the 
electrical fire be in the electrified glass, or in the non-electric 
matter connected with the glass? and to demonstrate that 
'tis really in the glass. 

it has been observed that the parts of a bell-wire which fell on the floor 
being broken and partly melted by lightning, did actually burn into the boards. 
(See " Philos. Trans." Vol. LI. Part I.) and Mr. Kinnersley has found, that 
a fine iron wire, melted by Electricity, has had the same effect. F. 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p.8 9 .-F. 

2 William Watson, M.D. Ed. 

8 See the Paper entitled, Farther Experiments, &c. F. 



424 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

As to the experiment that ingenious Gentleman men- 
tions, and which he thinks conclusive on the other side, 
I persuade myself he will change his opinion of it, when 
he considers, that as one person applying the wire of the 
charged bottle to warm spirits, in a spoon held by another 
person, both standing on the floor, will fire the spirits, and 
yet such firing will not determine whether the accumulation 
was in the glass or the non-electric; so the placing another 
person between them, standing on wax, with a bason in his 
hand, into which the water from the phial is pour'd, while 
he at the instant of pouring presents a finger of his other 
hand to the spirits, does not at all alter the case ; the stream 
from the phial, the side of the bason, with the arms and 
body of the person on the wax, being altogether but as one 
long wire, reaching from the internal surface of the phial to 
the spirits. 

June 2()th, i75i[?]. In Captain Waddelfs account of the 
effects of lightning on his ship, I could not but take notice 
of the large comazants (as he calls them) that settled on the 
spintles at the top-mast heads, and burned like very large 
torches (before the stroke). According to my opinion, 
the electrical fire was then drawing off, as by points, from 
the cloud; the largeness of the flame betokening the great 
quantity of electricity in the cloud: and had there been a 
good wire communication from the spintle heads to the 
sea, that could have conducted more freely than tarred 
ropes, or masts of turpentine wood, I imagine there would 
either have been no stroke; or, if a stroke, the wire would 
have conducted it all into the sea without damage to the 
ship. 

His compasses lost the virtue of the loadstone, or the 



I75o] TO PETER COLLINSON 425 

poles were reversed; the North point turning to the South. 
By Electricity we have (here at Philadelphia) frequently 
given polarity to needles, and reversed it at pleasure. Mr. 
Wilson, at London, tried it on too large masses, and with too 
small force. 

A shock from four large glass jars, sent through a fine 
sewing-needle, gives it polarity, and it will traverse when 
laid on water. If the needle when struck lies East and 
West, the end entered by the electric blast points North. 
If it lies North and South, the end that lay towards the 
North will continue to point North when placed on water, 
whether the fire entered at that end, or at the contrary 
end. 

The Polarity given is strongest when the Needle is struck 
lying North and South, weakest when lying East and 
West ; perhaps if the force was still greater, the South 
end, enter'd by the fire, (when the needle lies North and 
South) might become the North, otherwise it puzzles us to 
account for the inverting of compasses by lightning; since 
their needles must always be found in that situation, and 
by our little Experiments, whether the blast entered the 
North and went out at the South end of the needle, or the 
contrary, still the end that lay to the North should continue 
to point North. 

In these experiments the ends of the needles are some- 
times finely blued like a watch-spring by the electric flame. 
This colour given by the flash from two jars only, will 
wipe off, but four jars fix it, and frequently melt the needles. 
I send you some that have had their heads and points 
melted off by our mimic lightning; and a pin, that had its 
point melted off, and some part of its head and neck run. 



426 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

Sometimes the surface on the body of the needle is also 
run, and appears blister'd when examined by a magnifying- 
glass. The jars I make use of hold 7 or 8 gallons, and 
are coated and lined with tin-foil; each of them takes a 
thousand turns 1 of a globe nine inches diameter to charge it. 

I send you two specimens of tin-foil melted between 
glass, by the force of two jars only. 

I have not heard that any of your European electricians 
have ever been able to fire gunpowder by the electric flame. 
We do it here in this manner. A small cartridge is filled with 
dry powder, hard rammed, so as to bruise some of the grains ; 
two pointed wires are then thrust in, one at each end, the 
points approaching each other in the middle of the cartridge 
till within the distance of half an inch; then, the cartridge 
being placed in the circle, when the four jars are discharged, 
the electric flame leaping from the point of one wire to the 
point of the other, within the cartridge amongst the powder, 
fires it, and the explosion of the powder is at the same instant 
with the crack of the discharge. Yours, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

96. TO PETER COLLINSON 2 
SIR, Philadelphia, July 29, 1750. 

As you first put us on electrical experiments, by sending 
to our library company a tube, with directions how to use 
it; and as our honourable proprietary enabled us to carry 

1 The cushion being afterwards covered with a long flap of buckskin, which 
might cling to the globe, and care being taken to keep that flap of a due tem- 
perature; between too dry and too moist, we found so much more of the elec- 
tric fluid was obtained, as that 150 turns were sufficient. 1753. 

2 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
P-53- 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 427 

those experiments to a greater height, by his generous present 
of a compleat electrical apparatus ; 'tis fit that both should 
know, from time to time, what progress we make. It was 
in this view I wrote and sent you my former papers on 
this subject, desiring, that, as I had not the honour of a direct 
correspondence with that bountiful benefactor to our library, 
they might be communicated to him through your hands. 
In the same view I write and send you this additional paper. 
If it happens to bring you nothing new, (which may well 
be, considering the number of ingenious men in Europe, 
continually engaged in the same researches) at least it will 
show, that the instruments put into our hands are not neg- 
lected ; and, that if no valuable discoveries are made by us, 
whatever the cause may be, it is not want of industry and 
application. 
I am, Sir, your much obliged Humble Servant, 

B. FRANKLIN. 

97. Opinions and Conjectures, concerning the Properties and 
Effects of the Electrical Matter, arising from Experiments 
and Observations, made at Philadelphia, 1749.* 

i. THE electrical matter consists of particles extremely 
subtile, since it can permeate common matter, even the 
densest metals, with such ease and freedom as not to receive 
any perceptible resistance. 

2. If any one should doubt whether the electrical matter 
passes thro' the substance of bodies, or only over and along 
their surfaces, a shock from an electrified large glass jar, 
taken through his own body, will probably convince him. 

1 From " Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1 769, 
p. 54. 



428 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

3. Electrical matter differs from common matter in 
this, that the parts of the latter mutually attract, those 
of the former mutually repel, each other. Hence the ap- 
pearing divergency in a stream of electrified effluvia. 

4. But though the particles of electrical matter do 
repel each other, they are strongly attracted by all other 
matter. 1 

5. From these three things, the extreme subtilty of 
the electrical matter, the mutual repulsion of its parts, 
and the strong attraction between them and other mat- 
ter, arise this effect, that, when a quantity of electrical 
matter is applied to a mass of common matter, of any bigness 
or length, within our observation, (which hath not already 
got its quantity) it is immediately and equally diffused 
through the whole. 

6. Thus, common matter is a kind of spunge to the 
electrical fluid. And as a spunge would receive no water 
if the parts of water were not smaller than the pores of 
the spunge; and even then but slowly, if there were not 
a mutual attraction between those parts and the parts of 
the spunge; and would still imbibe it faster, if the mutual 
attraction among the parts of the water did not impede, 
some force being required to separate them; and fastest, if, 
instead of attraction, there were a mutual repulsion among 
those parts, which would act in conjunction with the attrac- 
tion of the spunge; so is the case between the electrical 
and common matter. 

7. But in common matter there is (generally) as much 
of the electrical, as it will contain within its substance. If 

1 See the ingenious Essays on Electricity, in the Transactions, by Mr. 
Ellicot, F. 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 429 

more is added, it lies without upon the surface, and forms 
what we call an electrical atmosphere ; and then the body 
is said to be electrified. 

8. 'Tis supposed, that all kinds of common matter 
do not attract and retain the electrical, with equal strength 
and force, for reasons to be given hereafter. And that 
those called electrics per se, as glass, &c., attract and retain 
it strongest, and contain the greatest quantity. 

9. We know that the electrical fluid is in common matter, 
because we can pump it out by the globe or tube. We 
know that common matter has near as much as it can contain, 
because, when we add a little more to any portion of it, 
the additional quantity does not enter, but forms an electrical 
atmosphere. And we know that common matter has not 
(generally) more than it can contain, otherwise all loose 
portions of it would repel each other, as they constantly 
do when they have electric atmospheres. 

10. The beneficial uses of this electric fluid in the creation, 
we are not yet well acquainted with, though doubtless such 
there are, and those very considerable ; but we may see some 
pernicious consequences that would attend a much greater 
proportion of it. For had this globe we live on, as much of 
it in proportion as we can give to a globe of iron, wood, or 
the like, the particles of dust and other light matters that 
get loose from it, would, by virtue of their separate electrical 
atmospheres, not only repel each other, but be repelled 
from the earth, and not easily be brought to unite with 
it again ; whence our air would continually be more and more 
clogged with foreign matter, and grow unfit for respiration. 
This affords another occasion of adoring that wisdom which 
has made all things by weight and measure ! 



430 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

11. If a piece of common matter be supposed entirely 
free from electrical matter, and a single particle of the latter 
be brought nigh, it will be attracted, and enter the body, and 
take place in the center, or where the attraction is every way 
equal. If more particles enter, they take their places where 
the balance is equal between the attraction of the common 
matter, and their own mutual repulsion. 'Tis supposed 
they form triangles, whose sides shorten as their number in- 
creases ; till the common matter has drawn in so many, that 
its whole power of compressing those triangles by attraction, 
is equal to their whole power of expanding themselves by 
repulsion; and then will such piece of matter receive no 
more. 

12. When part of this natural proportion of electrical fluid 
is taken out of a piece of common matter, the triangles formed 
by the remainder, are supposed to widen by the mutual re- 
pulsion of the parts, until they occupy the whole piece. 

13. When the quantity of electrical fluid, taken from a 
piece of common matter, is restored again, it enters, the ex- 
panded triangles being again compressed till there is room 
for the whole. 

14. To explain this: take two apples, or two balls of 
wood or other matter, each having its own natural quantity 
of the electrical fluid. Suspend them by silk lines from the 
cieling. Apply the wire of a well-charged vial, held in 
your hand, to one of them (.4) Fig. 7, and it will receive from 
the wire a quantity of the electrical fluid, but will not imbibe 
it, being already full. The fluid therefore will flow round 
its surface, and form an electrical atmosphere. Bring A 
into contact with B, and half the electrical fluid is commu- 
nicated, so that each has now an electrical atmosphere, and 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 431 

therefore they repel each other. Take away these atmos- 
pheres by touching the balls, and leave them in their natural 
state : then, having fixed a stick of sealing-wax to the mid- 
dle of the vial to hold it by, apply the wire to A, at the same 
time the coating touches B. Thus will a quantity of the 
electrical fluid be drawn out of B, and thrown on A. So 
that A will have a redundance of this fluid, which forms an 
atmosphere round it, and B an exactly equal deficiency. Now, 
bring these balls again into contact, and the electrical atmos- 
phere will not be divided between A and B, into two smaller 
atmospheres as before ; for B will drink up the whole atmos- 
phere of A, and both will be found again in their natural 
state. 

15. The form of the electrical atmosphere is that of the 
body it surrounds. This shape may be rendered visible in 
a still air, by using a smoke from dry rosin dropt into a hot 
tea-spoon under the electrified body, which will be attracted, 
and spread itself equally on all sides, covering and conceal- 
ing the body. 1 And this form it takes, because it is at- 
tracted by all parts of the surface of the body, though it 
cannot enter the substance already replete. Without this 
attraction, it would not remain round the body, but dissipate 
in the air. 

1 6. The atmosphere of electrical particles surrounding an 
electrified sphere, is not more disposed to leave it, or more 
easily drawn off from any one part of the sphere than from 
another, because it is equally attracted by every part. But 
that is not the case with bodies of any other figure. From a 
cube it is more easily drawn at the corners than at the plane 
sides and so from the angles of a body of any other form, and 

1 See p. 183. 



432 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

still most easily from the angle that is most acute. Thus, if 
a body shaped as A, B, C, D, E, in Fig. 8 [see p. 328], be 
electrified, or have an electrical atmosphere communicated to 
it, and we consider every side as a base on which the particles 
rest, and by which they are attracted, one may see, by imagin- 
ing a line from A to F, and another from E to G, that the 
portion of the atmosphere included in F, A, E, G, has the line 
A E for its basis. So the portion of atmosphere included in 
H, A, B, /, has the line A, B, for its basis. And likewise 
the portion included in K, B, C, L, has B, C, to rest on ; and 
so on the other side of the figure. Now if you would draw 
off this atmosphere with any blunt smooth body, and ap- 
proach the middle of the side A, B, you must come very 
near, before the force of your attractor exceeds the force or 
power with which that side holds its atmosphere. But 
there is a small portion between /, B, K, that has less of the 
surface to rest on, and to be attracted by, than the neigh- 
bouring portions, while at the same time there is a mutual 
repulsion between its particles, and the particles of those 
portions; therefore here you can get it with more ease, or 
at a greater distance. Between F, A, H, there is a larger 
portion that has yet a less surface to rest on, and to attract 
it; here, therefore, you can get it away still more easily. 
But easiest of all, between L, C, M, where the quantity is 
largest, and the surface to attract and keep it back the least. 
When you have drawn away one of these angular portions 
of the fluid, another succeeds in its place, from the nature of 
fluidity, and the mutual repulsion before mentioned; and 
so the atmosphere continues flowing off at such angle, like 
a stream, till no more is remaining. The extremities of the 
portions of atmosphere over these angular parts, are like- 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 433 

wise at a greater distance from the electrified body, as may 
be seen by the inspection of the above figure ; the point of the 
atmosphere of the angle C being much farther from C, than 
any other part of the atmosphere over the lines C, B, or B, A ; 
and, besides the distance arising from the nature of the fig- 
ure, where the attraction is less, the particles will naturally 
expand to a greater distance by their mutual repulsion. On 
these accounts we suppose electrified bodies discharge their 
atmospheres upon unelectrified bodies more easily, and at 
a greater distance from their angles and points, than from 
their smooth sides. Those points will also discharge into 
the air, when the body has too great an electrical atmosphere, 
without bringing any non-electric near, to receive what is 
thrown off. For the air, though an electric per se, yet has 
always more or less water and other non-electric matters 
mixed with it: and these attract and receive what is so dis- 
charged. 

17. But points have a property, by which they draw on 
as well as throw off the electrical fluid, at greater distances 
than blunt bodies can. That is, as the pointed part of an 
electrified body will discharge the atmosphere of that body, 
or communicate it farthest to another body, so the point of 
an unelectrified body will draw off the electrical atmosphere 
from an electrified body, farther than a blunter part of the 
same unelectrified body will do. Thus a pin held by the 
head, and the point presented to an electrified body, will 
draw off its atmosphere at a foot distance ; where, if the head 
were presented instead of the point, no such effect would 
follow. To understand this, we may consider, that if a 
person standing on the floor would draw off the electrical 
atmosphere from an electrified body, an iron crow and a 

VOL. II 2 F 



434 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

blunt knitting-needle held alternately in his hand, and pre- 
sented for that purpose, do not draw with different forces in 
proportion to their different masses. For the man, and what 
he holds in his hand, be it large or small, are connected with 
the common mass of unelectrified matter; and the force 
with which he draws is the same in both cases, it consisting 
in the different proportion of electricity in the electrified 
body, and that common mass. But the force with which 
the electrified body retains its atmosphere by attracting it, 
is proportioned to the surface over which the particles are 
placed; that is, four square inches of that surface retain 
their atmosphere with four times the force that one square 
inch retains its atmosphere. And as in plucking the hairs 
from the horse's tail, a degree of strength not sufficient to 
pull away a handful at once, could yet easily strip it hair by 
hair, so a blunt body presented cannot draw off a number 
of particles at once, but a pointed one, with no greater force, 
takes them away easily, particle by particle. 

1 8. These explanations of the power and operation of 
points, when they first occurr'd to me, and while they first 
floated in my mind, appeared perfectly satisfactory; but 
now I have wrote them, and considered them more closely 
in black and white, I must own I have some doubts about 
them; yet, as I have at present nothing better to offer in 
their stead, I do not cross them out: for even a bad solu- 
tion read, and its faults discovered, has often given rise to 
a good one, in the mind of an ingenious reader. 

19. Nor is it of much importance to us, to know the man- 
ner in which nature executes her laws; 'tis enough if we 
know the laws themselves. 'Tis of real use to know that 
china left in the air unsupported will fall and break; but 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 435 

how it comes to fall, and why it breaks, are matters of specu- 
lation. 'Tis a pleasure indeed to know them, but we can 
preserve our china without it. 

20. Thus, in the present case, to know this power of points 
may possibly be of some use to mankind, though we should 
never be able to explain it. The following experiments, as 
well as those in my first paper, shew this power. I have a 
large prime conductor, made of several thin sheets of cloth- 
ier's pasteboard, form'd into a tube, near ten feet long and 
a foot diameter. It is cover'd with Dutch emboss'd paper, 
almost totally gilt. This large metallic surface supports a 
much greater electrical atmosphere than a rod of iron of 50 
times the weight would do. It is suspended by silk lines, 
and when charged will strike at near two inches distance, a 
pretty hard stroke, so as to make one's knuckle ach. Let a 
person standing on the floor present the point of a needle, 
at 12 or more inches distance from it, and while the needle 
is so presented, the conductor cannot be charged, the point 
drawing off the fire as fast as it is thrown on by the electrical 
globe. Let it be charged, and then present the point at the 
same distance, and it will suddenly be discharged. In the 
dark you may see a light on the point, when the experiment 
is made. And if the person holding the point stands upon 
wax, he will be electrified by receiving the fire at that dis- 
tance. Attempt to draw off the electricity with a blunt 
body, as a bolt of iron round at the end, and smooth, (a 
silversmith's iron punch, inch thick, is what I use) and you 
must bring it within the distance of three inches before you 
can do it, and then it is done with a stroke and crack. As 
the pasteboard tube hangs loose on silk lines, when you ap- 
proach it with the punch-iron, it likewise will move towards 



436 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

the punch, being attracted while it is charged; but if, at 
the same instant, a point be presented as before, it retires 
again, for the point discharges it. Take a pair of large 
brass scales, of two or more feet beam, the cords of the 
scales being silk. Suspend the beam by a pack-thread 
from the cieling, so that the bottom of the scales may be 
about a foot from the floor: The scales will move round in 
a circle by the untwisting of the pack-thread. Set the iron 
punch on the end upon the floor, in such a place as that the 
scales may pass over it in making their circle : Then electrify 
one scale, by applying the wire of a charged phial to it. As 
they move round, you see that scale draw nigher to the floor, 
and dip more when it comes over the punch ; and if that be 
placed at a proper distance, the scale will snap and discharge 
its fire into it. But, if a needle be stuck on the end of the 
punch, its point upward, the scale, instead of drawing nigh 
to the punch, and snapping, discharges its fire silently 
through the point, and rises higher from the punch. Nay, 
even if the needle be placed upon the floor near the punch, 
its point upwards, the end of the punch, tho' so much higher 
than the needle, will not attract the scale and receive its fire, 
for the needle will get it and convey it away, before it comes 
nigh enough for the punch to act. And this is constantly 
observable in these experiments, that the greater quantity 
of electricity on the pasteboard tube, the farther it strikes or 
discharges its fire, and the point likewise will draw it off at 
a still greater distance. 

Now if the fire of electricity and that of lightning be the 
same, as I have endeavoured to shew at large, in a former 
paper, this pasteboard tube and these scales may represent 
electrified clouds. If a tube of only ten feet long will strike 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 437 

and discharge its fire on the punch at two or three inches 
distance, an electrified cloud of perhaps 10,000 acres may 
strike and discharge on the earth at a proportionably greater 
distance. The horizontal motion of the scales over the floor, 
may represent the motion of the clouds over the earth ; and 
the erect iron punch, a hill or high building ; and then we 
see how electrified clouds passing over hills or high build- 
ings at too great a height to strike, may be attracted lower 
till within their striking distance. And lastly, if a needle 
fixed on the punch with its point upright, or even on the 
floor below the punch, will draw the fire from the scale silently 
at a much greater than the striking distance, and so prevent 
its descending towards the punch ; or if in its course it would 
have come nigh enough to strike, yet being first deprived of 
its fire it cannot, and the punch is thereby secured from the 
stroke; I say, if these things are so, may not the knowl- 
edge of this power of points be of use to mankind, in pre- 
serving houses, churches, ships, &c. from the stroke of 
lightning, by directing us to fix on the highest parts of those 
edifices, upright rods of iron made sharp as a needle, and 
gilt to prevent rusting, and from the foot of those rods a 
wire down the outside of .the building into the ground, or 
down round one of the shrouds of a ship, and down her side 
till it reaches the water? Would not these pointed rods 
probably draw the electrical fire silently out of a cloud be- 
fore it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us 
from that most sudden and terrible mischief? 

21. To determine the question, whether the clouds that 
contain lightning are electrified or not, I would propose an 
experiment to be try'd where it may be done conveniently. 
On the top of some high tower or steeple, place a kind of 



438 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

centry-box, (as in Fig. 9,) big enough to contain a man and 
an electrical stand. From the middle of the stand let an 
iron rod rise and pass bending out of the door, and then up- 
right 20 or 30 feet, pointed very sharp at the end. If the 
electrical stand be kept clean and dry, a man standing on 
it when such clouds are passing low, might be electrified 
and afford sparks, the rod drawing fire to him from a cloud. 
If any danger to the man should be apprehended (though I 
think there would be none), let him stand on the floor of his 
box, and now and then bring near to the rod the loop of a 
wire that has one end fastened to the leads, he holding it by 
a wax handle; so the sparks, if the rod is electrified, will 
strike from the rod to the wire, and not affect him. 

22. Before I leave this subject of lightning, I may mention 
some other similarities between the effects of that, and those 
of electricity. Lightning has often been known to strike 
people blind. A pigeon that we struck dead to appearance 
by the electrical shock, recovering life, drooped about the 
yard several days, eat nothing, though crumbs were thrown 
to it, but declined and died. We did not think of its be- 
ing deprived of sight; but afterward a pullet struck dead 
in like manner, being recovered by repeatedly blowing into 
its lungs, when set down on the floor, ran headlong against 
the wall, and on examination appeared perfectly blind. 
Hence we concluded that the pigeon also had been abso- 
lutely blinded by the shock. The biggest animal we have 
yet killed, or tried to kill, with the electrical stroke, was a 
well-grown pullet. 

23. Reading in the ingenious Dr. M iles's account of the 
thunder-storm at Stretham, the effect of the lightning in 
stripping off all the paint that had covered a gilt moulding 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 439 

of a pannel of wainscot, without hurting the rest of the paint, 
I had a mind to lay a coat of paint over the filletting of gold 
on the cover of a book, and try the effect of a strong electri- 
cal flash sent through that gold from a charged sheet of glass. 
But having no paint at hand, I pasted a narrow strip of 
paper over it; and when dry, sent the flash through the 
gilding, by which the paper was torn off from end to end, 
with such force, that it was broke in several places, and in 
others brought away part of the grain of the Turky-leather 
in which it was bound ; and convinced me, that had it been 
painted, the paint would have been stript off in the same 
manner with that on the wainscot at Stretham. 

24. Lightning melts metals, and I hinted in my paper on 
that subject, that I suspected it to be a cold fusion ; I do not 
mean a fusion by force of cold, but a fusion without heat. 1 
We have also melted gold, silver, and copper, in small quan- 
tities, by the electrical flash. The manner is this: Take 
leaf gold, leaf silver, or leaf gilt copper, commonly called 
leaf brass, or Dutch gold ; cut off from the leaf long narrow 
strips, the breadth of a straw. Place one of these strips 
between two strips of smooth glass that are about the width 
of your finger. If one strip of gold, the length of the leaf, 
be not long enough for the glass, add another to the end of 
it, so that you may have a little part hanging out loose at 
each end of the glass. Bind the pieces of glass together 
from end to end with strong silk thread ; then place it so as 
to be part of an electrical circuit, (the ends of gold hanging 
out being of use to join with the other parts of the circuit,) 
and send the flash through it, from a large electrified jar or 
sheet of glass. Then if your strips of glass remain whole, 

1 See note in page 431. 



440 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

you will see that the gold is missing in several places, and 
instead of it a metallic stain on both the glasses ; the stains 
on the upper and under glass exactly similar in the minutest 
stroke, as may be seen by holding them to the light; the 
metal appeared to have been not only melted, but even vitri- 
fied, or otherwise so driven into the pores of the glass, as to 
be protected by it from the action of the strongest Aqua For- 
tis or Aqua Regia. I send you enclosed two little pieces of 
glass with these metallic stains upon them, which cannot be 
removed without taking part of the glass with them. Some- 
times the stain spreads a little wider than the breadth of the 
leaf, and looks brighter at the edge, as by inspecting closely 
you may observe in these. Sometimes the glass breaks to 
pieces; once the upper glass broke into a thousand pieces, 
looking like coarse salt. The pieces I send you were stain'd 
with Dutch gold. True gold makes a darker stain, some- 
what reddish; silver, a greenish stain. We once took two 
pieces of thick looking-glass, as broad as a Gunter's scale, 
and six inches long; and placing leaf gold between them, 
put them between two smoothly-plain'd pieces of wood, and 
fix'd them tight in a book-binder's small press ; yet though 
they were so closely confined, the force of the electrical 
shock shivered the glass into many pieces. The gold was 
melted, and stain'd into the glass, as usual. The circum- 
stances of the breaking of the glass differ much in making 
the experiment, and sometimes it does not break at all : but 
this is constant, that the stains in the upper and under pieces 
are exact counterparts of each other. And though I have 
taken up the pieces of glass between my ringers immediately 
after this melting, I never could perceive the least warmth 
in them. 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 441 

25. In one of my former papers, I mentioned, that gild- 
ing on a book, though at first it communicated the shock 
perfectly well, yet failed after a few experiments, which we 
could not account for. We have since found that one strong 
shock breaks the continuity of the gold in the filletting, and 
makes it look rather like dust of gold, abundance of its parts 
being broken and driven off; and it will seldom conduct 
above one strong shock. Perhaps this may be the reason: 
When there is not a perfect continuity in the circuit, the fire 
must leap over the vacancies: There is a certain distance 
which it is able to leap over according to its strength; if a 
number of small vacancies, though each be very minute, 
taken together exceed that distance, it cannot leap over 
them, and so the shock is prevented. 

26. From the before-mentioned law of electricity, that 
points as they are more or less acute, draw on and throw off 
the electrical fluid with more or less power, and at greater 
or less distances, and in larger or smaller quantities in the 
same time, we may see how to account for the situation of 
the leaf of gold suspended between two plates, the upper 
one continually electrified, the under one in a person's hand 
standing on the floor. When the upper plate is electrified, 
the leaf is attracted, and raised towards it, and would fly to 
that plate, were it not for its own points. The corner that 
happens to be uppermost when the leaf is rising, being a 
sharp point, from the extream thinness of the gold, draws 
and receives at a distance a sufficient quantity of the electric 
fluid to give itself an electric atmosphere, by which its prog- 
ress to the upper plate is stopt, and it begins to be repelled 
from that plate, and would be driven back to the under plate, 
but that its lowest corner is likewise a point, and throws off 



442 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

or discharges the overplus of the leaf's atmosphere, as fast 
as the upper corner draws it on. Were these two points per- 
fectly equal in acuteness, the leaf would take place exactly 
in the middle space, for its weight is a trifle compared to the 
power acting on it : But it is generally nearest the unelectri- 
fied plate, because, when the leaf is offered to the electrified 
plate, at a distance, the sharpest point is commonly first 
affected and raised towards it ; so that point, from its greater 
acuteness, receiving the fluid faster than its opposite can 
discharge it at equal distances, it retires from the electrified 
plate, and draws nearer to the unelectrified plate, till it 
comes to a distance where the discharge can be exactly equal 
to the receipt, the latter being lessened, and the former en- 
creased ; and there it remains as long as the globe continues 
to supply fresh electrical matter. This will appear plain, 
when the difference of acuteness in the corners is made very 
great. Cut a piece of Dutch gold (which is fittest for these 
experiments on account of its greater strength) into the 
form of Fig. 10, the upper corner a right angle, the two next 
obtuse angles, and the lowest a very acute one; and bring 
this on your plate under the electrified plate, in such a man- 
ner as that the right-angled part may be first raised (which 
is done by covering the acu+e part with the hollow of your 
hand) and you will see this leaf take place much nearer to the 
upper than the under plate ; because, without being nearer, 
it cannot receive so fast at its right-angled point, as it can 
discharge at its acute one. Turn this leaf with the acute 
part uppermost, and then it takes place nearest the unelec- 
trified plate ; because, otherwise, it receives faster at its acute 
point, than it can discharge at its right-angled one. Thus 
the difference of distance is always proportioned to the dif- 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 443 

ference of acuteness. Take care in cutting your leaf, to 
leave no little ragged particles on the edges, which some- 
times form points where you would not have them. You 
may make this figure so acute below, and blunt above, as 
to need no under plate, it discharging fast enough into the 
air. When it is made narrower, as the figure between the 
pricked lines, we call it the Golden Fish, from its manner of 
acting. For if you take it by the tail, and hold it at a foot 
or greater horizontal distance from the prime conductor, it 
will, when let go, fly to it with a brisk but wavering motion, 
like that of an eel through the water ; it will then take place 
under the prime conductor, at perhaps a quarter or half of 
an inch distance, and keep a continual shaking of its tail like 
a fish, so that it seems animated. Turn its tail towards the 
prime conductor, and then it flies to your finger, and seems 
to nibble it. And if you hold a plate under it at six or eight 
inches distance, and cease turning the globe, when the elec- 
trical atmosphere of the conductor grows small, it will de- 
scend to the plate, and swim back again several times, with 
the same fish-like motion, greatly to the entertainment of 
spectators. By a little practice in blunting or sharpening 
the heads or tails of these figures, you may make them take 
place as desired, nearer or farther from the electrified plate. 

27. It is said, in Section 8 of this paper, that all kinds of 
common matter are supposed not to attract the electrical 
fluid with equal strength; and that those called electrics 
per se, as glass, &c., attract and retain it strongest, and con- 
tain the greatest quantity. This latter position may seem 
a paradox to some, being contrary to the hitherto received 
opinion; and therefore I shall now endeavour to explain it. 

28. In order to this, let it first be considered, that we can- 



444 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

not, by any means we are yet acquainted with, force the elec- 
trical fluid thro' glass. I know it is commonly thought, 
that it easily pervades glass ; and the experiment of a feather 
suspended by a thread, in a bottle hermetically sealed, yet 
moved by bringing a rubbed tube near the outside of the 
bottle, is alledged to prove it. But, if the electrical fluid so 
easily pervades glass, how does the vial become charged (as 
we term it), when we hold it in our hands? Would not the 
fire thrown in by the wire, pass through to our hands, and 
so escape into the floor? Would not the bottle in that case 
be left just as we found it, uncharged, as we know a metal 
bottle so attempted to be charged would be? Indeed, if 
there be the least crack, the minutest solution of continuity 
in the glass, though it remains so tight that nothing else 
we know of will pass, yet the extremely subtile electric fluid 
flies through such a crack with the greatest freedom, and 
such a bottle we know can never be charged: What then 
makes the difference between such a bottle and one that 
is sound, but this, that the fluid can pass through the one, 
and not through the other? * 

29. It is true, there is an experiment, that at first sight 
would be apt to satisfy a slight observer, that the fire thrown 
into the bottle by the wire, does really pass thro' the glass. 
It is this : place the bottle on a glass stand, under the prime 
conductor ; suspend a bullet by a chain from the prime con- 
ductor, till it comes within a quarter of an inch right over 
the wire of the bottle; place your knuckle on the glass 
stand, at just the same distance from the coating of the bot- 
tle, as the bullet is from its wire. Now let the globe be 

1 See the first sixteen Sections of the former paper, called Farther Experi- 
ments, &c. 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 445 

turned, and you see a spark strike from the bullet to the 
wire of the bottle, and the same instant you see and feel an 
exactly equal spark striking from the coating on your knuckle, 
and so on, spark for spark. This looks as if the whole re- 
ceived by the bottle was again discharged from it. And yet 
the bottle by this means is charged ! l And therefore the 
fire that thus leaves the bottle, though the same in quantity, 
cannot be the very same fire that entered at the wire, for if 
it were, the bottle would remain uncharged. 

30. If the fire that so leaves the bottle be not the same 
that is thrown in through the wire, it must be fire that sub- 
sisted in the bottle (that is, in the glass of the bottle) before 
the operation began. 

31. If so, there must be a great quantity in glass, because 
a great quantity is thus discharged, even from very thin 
glass. 

32. That this electrical fluid or fire is strongly attracted by 
glass, we know from the quickness and violence with which 
it is resumed by the part that had been deprived of it, when 
there is an opportunity. And by this, that we cannot from 
a mass of glass, draw a quantity of electric fire, or electrify 
the whole mass mirnis, as we can a mass of metal. We 
cannot lessen or increase its whole quantity, for the quantity 
it has it holds ; and it has as much as it can hold. Its pores 
are filled with it as full as the mutual repellency of the par- 
ticles will admit ; and what is already in, refuses, or strongly 
repels, any additional quantity. Nor have we any way of 
moving the electrical fluid in glass, but one; that is, by 
covering part of the two surfaces of thin glass with non- 
electrics, and then throwing an additional quantity of this 

1 See Sect. 10, of Farther Experiments, &c. 



446 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

fluid on one surface, which spreading in the non-electric, 
and being bound by it to that surface, acts by its repelling 
force on the particles of the electrical fluid contained in the 
other surface, and drives them out of the glass into the non- 
electric on that side, from whence they are discharged, and 
then those added on the charged side can enter. But when 
this is done, there is no more in the glass, nor less than before, 
just as much having left it on one side as it received on the 
other. 

33. I feel a want of terms here, and doubt much whether I 
shall be able to make this part intelligible. By the word 
surface, in this case, I do not mean mere length and breadth 
without thickness ; but when I speak of the upper or under 
surface of a piece of glass, the outer or inner surface of the 
vial, I mean length, breadth, and half the thickness, and beg 
the favour of being so understood. Now, I suppose, that 
glass in its first principles, and in the furnace, has no more 
of this electrical fluid than other common matter: That 
when it is blown, as it cools, and the particles of common 
fire leave it, its pores become a vacuum: That the com- 
ponent parts of glass are extremely small and fine, I guess 
from its never showing a rough face when it breaks, but 
always a polish; and from the smallness of its particles I 
suppose the pores between them must be exceeding small, 
which is the reason that aqua-fortis, nor any other men- 
struum we have, can enter to separate them and dissolve 
the substance; nor is any fluid we know of, fine enough to 
enter, except common fire, and the electric fluid. Now the 
departing fire, leaving a vacuum, as aforesaid, between 
these pores, which air nor water are fine enough to 
enter and fill, the electric fluid, (which is everywhere 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 447 

ready in what we call the non- electrics, and in the non- 
electric mixtures that are in the air) is attracted in; yet 
does not become fixed with the substance of the glass, but 
subsists there as water in a porous stone, retained only by 
the attraction of the fixed parts, itself still loose and a fluid. 
But I suppose farther, that in the cooling of the glass, its 
texture becomes closest in the middle, and forms a kind of 
partition, in which the pores are so narrow, that the par- 
ticles of the electrical fluid, which enter both surfaces at the 
same time, cannot go through, or pass and repass from one 
surface to the other, and so mix together; yet, though the 
particles of electric fluid, imbibed by each surface, cannot 
themselves pass through to those of the other, their repel- 
lency can, and by this means they act on one another. The 
particles of the electric fluid have a mutual repellency, but 
by the power of attraction in the glass they are condensed 
or forced nearer to each other. When the glass has received, 
and, by its attraction, forced closer together so much of this 
electric fluid, as that the power of attracting and condensing 
in the one, is equal to the power of expansion in the other, 
it can imbibe no more, and that remains its constant whole 
quantity ; but each surface would receive more, if the repel- 
lency of what is in the opposite surface did not resist its 
entrance. The quantities of this fluid in each surface being 
equal, their repelling action on each other is equal; and 
therefore those of one surface cannot drive out those of the 
other; but, if a greater quantity is forced into one surface 
than the glass would naturally draw in, this increases the 
repelling power on that side, and, overpowering the attrac- 
tion on the other, drives out part of the fluid that had been 
imbibed by that surface, if there be any non-electric ready 



448 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

to receive it; such there is in all cases where glass is elec- 
trified to give a shock. The surface that has been thus 
emptied by having its electrical fluid driven out, resumes 
again an equal quantity with violence, as soon as the glass 
has an opportunity to discharge that over quantity more 
than it could retain by attraction in its other surface, by the 
additional repellency of which the vacuum had been occa- 
sioned. For experiments favouring (if I may not say con- 
firming) this hypothesis, I must, to avoid repetition, beg 
leave to refer you back to what is said of the electrical phial 
in my former papers. 

34. Let us now see how it will account for several other 
appearances. 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. But 
the instant the parts of the glass so opened and filled, have 
passed the friction, they close again, and force the additional 
quantity out upon the surface, where it must rest till that 
part comes round to the cushion again, unless some non- 
electric (as the prime conductor) first presents to receive it. 1 

1 In the dark, the electric fluid may be seen on the cushion in two semi- 
circles or half-moons, one on the fore part, the other on the back part of the 
cushion, just where the globe and cushion separate. In the fore crescent the 
fire is passing out of the cushion into the glass; in the other it is leaving 
the glass, and returning into the back part of the cushion. When the prime 
conductor is apply 'd to take it off the glass, the back crescent disappears. F. 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 449 

But if the inside of the globe be lined with a non-electric, 
the additional repellency of the electrical fluid, thus collected 
by friction on the rubb'd part of the globe's outer surface, 
drives an equal quantity out of the inner surface into that 
non-electric lining, which receiving it, and carrying it away 
from the rubb'd part into the common mass, through the 
axis of the globe, and frame of the machine, the new-col- 
lected electrical fluid can enter and remain in the outer 
surface, and none of it (or a very little) will be received by 
the prime conductor. As this charg'd part of the globe 
comes round to the cushion again, the outer surface delivers 
its overplus fire into the cushion, the opposite inner surface 
receiving at the same time an equal quantity from the floor. 
Every electrician knows, that a globe wet within will afford 
little or no fire ; but the reason has not before been attempted 
to be given, that I know of. 

34 (sic). So if a tube lined with a non-electric be rubb'd, 1 
little or no fire is obtained from it. What is collected from 
the hand, in the downward rubbing stroke, entering the pores 
of the glass, and driving an equal quantity out of the inner 
surface into the non-electric lining : and the hand in passing 
up to take a second stroke, takes out again what had been 
thrown into the outer surface, and then the inner surface 
receives back again what it had given to the non-electric 
lining. Thus the particles of electrical fluid belonging to 
the inside surface go in and out of their pores every stroke 
given to the tube. Put a wire into the tube, the inward end 
in contact with the non-electric lining, so it will represent 
the Leyden bottle. Let a second person touch the wire 
while you rub, and the fire driven out of the inward surface 

1 Gilt Paper, with the gilt face next the glass, does well. 
VOL. II 2 G 



450 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

when you give the stroke, will pass through him into the 
common mass, and return through him when the inner sur- 
face resumes its quantity, and therefore this new kind of 
Leyden bottle cannot be so charged. But thus it may : after 
every stroke, before you pass your hand up to make another, 
let a second person apply his finger to the wire, take the 
spark, and then withdraw his finger; and so on till he has 
drawn a number of sparks; thus will the inner surface be 
exhausted, and the outer surface charged; then wrap a 
sheet of gilt paper close round the outer surface, and grasp- 
ing it in your hand you may receive a shock by applying 
the finger of the other hand to the wire : for now the vacant 
pores in the inner surface resume their quantity, and the 
overcharg'd pores in the outer surface discharge that over- 
plus; the equih'brium being restored through your body, 
which could not be restored through the glass. 1 If the tube 
be exhausted of air, a non-electric lining, in contact with the 
wire, is not necessary ; for in vacuo, the electrical fire will fly 
freely from the inner surface, without a non-electric con- 
ductor : but air resists in motion ; for being itself an electric 
per se, it does not attract it, having already its quantity. So 
the air never draws off an electric atmosphere from any 
body, but in proportion to the non-electrics mix'd with it: 
it rather keeps such an atmosphere confin'd, which from the 
mutual repulsion of its particles, tends to dissipation, and 
would immediately dissipate in vacuo. And thus the ex- 
periment of the feather inclosed in a glass vessel hermetically 
sealed, but moving on the approach of the rubbed tube, is 
explained: When an additional quantity of the electrical 
fluid is applied to the side of the vessel by the atmosphere 

1 See Farther Experiments, Sect. 15. 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 451 

of the tube, a quantity is repelled and driven out of the inner 
surface of that side into the vessel, and there affects the 
feather, returning again into its pores, when the tube with 
its atmosphere is withdrawn; not that the particles of that 
atmosphere did themselves pass through the glass to the 
feather. And every other appearance I have yet seen, in 
which glass and electricity are concerned, are, I think, ex- 
plained with equal ease by the same hypothesis. Yet, per- 
haps, it may not be a true one, and I shall be obliged to him 
that affords me a better. 

35. Thus I take the difference between non- electrics, and 
glass, an electric per se, to consist in these two particulars, 
ist, That a non- electric easily suffers a change in the quan- 
tity of the electric fluid it contains. You may lessen its 
whole quantity, by drawing out a part, which the whole body 
will again resume ; but of glass you can only lessen the quan- 
tity contained in one of its surfaces; and not that, but by 
supplying an equal quantity at the same time to the other 
surface; so that the whole glass may always have the same 
quantity in the two surfaces, their two different quantities 
being added together. And this can only be done in glass 
that is thin; beyond a certain thickness we have yet no 
power that can make this change. And, 2dly, that the 
electric fire freely removes from place to place, in and through 
the substance of a non-electric, but not so through the sub- 
stance of glass. If you offer a quantity to one end of a long 
rod of metal, it receives it, and when it enters, every par- 
ticle that was before in the rod, pushes its neighbour quite 
to the farther end, where the overplus is discharged; and 
this instantaneously where the rod is part of the circle 
in the experiment of the shock. But glass, from the small- 



452 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

ness of its pores, or stronger attraction of what it contains, 
refuses to admit so free a motion; a glass rod will not 
conduct a shock, nor will the thinnest glass suffer any 
particle entering one of its surfaces to pass through to the 
other. 

36. Hence we see the impossibility of success in the ex- 
periments proposed, to draw out the effluvial virtues of a 
non-electric, as cinnamon for instance, and mixing them 
with the electric fluid, to convey them with that into the 
body, by including it in the globe, and then applying fric- 
tion, &c. For though the effluvia of cinnamon, and the 
electric fluid should mix within the globe, they would never 
come out together through the pores of the glass, and so go to 
the prime conductor ; for the electric fluid itself cannot come 
through; and the prime conductor is always supply'd from 
the cushion, and that from the floor. And besides, when 
the globe is filled with cinnamon, or other non-electric, no 
electric fluid can be obtained from its outer surface, for the 
reason before mentioned. I have tried another way, which 
I thought more likely to obtain a mixture of the electric and 
other effluvia together, if such a mixture had been possible. 
I placed a glass plate under my cushion, to cut off the com- 
munication between the cushion and floor; then brought a 
small chain from the cushion into a glass of oil of turpentine, 
and carried another chain from the oil of turpentine to the 
floor, taking care that the chain from the cushion to the 
glass touch'd no part of the frame of the machine. Another 
chain was fixed to the prime conductor, and held in the hand 
of a person to be electrified. The ends of the two chains 
in the glass were near an inch distant from each other, the 
oil of turpentine between. Now the globe being turned, 



1750] PROPERTIES OF THE ELECTRICAL MATTER 453 

could draw no fire from the floor through the machine, the 
communication that way being cut off by the thick glass 
plate under the cushion: it must then draw it through the 
chains whose ends were dipped in the oil of turpentine. And 
as the oil of turpentine, being an electric per se, would not 
conduct, what came up from the floor was obliged to jump 
from the end of one chain to the end of the other, through 
the substance of that oil, which we could see in large sparks, 
and so it had a fair opportunity of seizing some of the finest 
particles of the oil in its passage, and carrying them off with 
it : but no such effect followed, nor could I perceive the least 
difference in the smell of the electric effluvia thus collected, 
from what it has when collected otherwise, nor does it other- 
wise affect the body of a person electrised. I likewise put 
into a phial, instead of water, a strong purgative liquid, and 
then charged the phial, and took repeated shocks from it, 
in which case every particle of the electrical fluid must, 
before it went through my body, have first gone through the 
liquid when the phial is charging, and returned through it 
when discharging, yet no other effect followed than if it had 
been charged with water. I have also smelt the electric 
fire when drawn thro' gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, wood, 
and the human body, and could perceive no difference ; the 
odour is always the same where the spark does not burn 
what it strikes ; and therefore I imagine it does not take that 
smell from any quality of the bodies it passes through. And 
indeed, as that smell so readily leaves the electric matter, 
and adheres to the knuckle receiving the sparks, and to other 
things ; I suspect that it never was connected with it, but 
arises instantaneously from something in the air acted upon 
by it. For if it was fine enough to come with the electric 



454 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 

fluid through the body of one person, why should it stop on 
the skin of another? 

But I shall never have done, if I tell you all my conjectures, 
thoughts, and imaginations on the nature and operations of 
this electric fluid, and relate the variety of little experiments 
we have tried. I have already made this paper too long, for 
which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it 
shorter. I shall only add, that as it has been observed 
here that spirits will fire by the electric spark in the summer- 
time, without heating them, when Fahrenheit's thermometer 
is above 70; so when colder, if the operator puts a small 
flat bottle of spirits in his bosom, or a close pocket, with the 
spoon, some little time before he uses them, the heat of his 
body will communicate warmth more than sufficient for the 
purpose. 

98. ADDITIONAL EXPERIMENTS; 1 

Proving that the Leyden Bottle has no more Electrical Fire 
in it when charged, than before; nor less when discharged: 
That, in discharging, the Fire does not issue from the Wire 
and the Coating at the same Time, as some have thought, 
but that the Coating always receives what is discharged by 
the Wire, or an equal Quantity; the outer Surface being 
always in a Negative State of Electricity, when the inner 
Surface is in a Positive State. 

PLACE a thick plate of glass under the rubbing cushion, to 
cut off the communication of electrical fire from the floor 
to the cushion; then, if there be no fine points or hairy 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 86. 



1750] ADDITIONAL EXPERIMENTS 455 

threads sticking out from the cushion, or from the parts of 
the machine opposite to the cushion, (of which you must 
be careful) you can get but a few sparks from the prime 
conductor, which are all the cushion will part with. 

Hang a phial then on the prime conductor, and it will 
not charge though you hold it by the coating. But 

Form a communication by a chain from the coating to the 
cushion, and the phial will charge. 

For the globe then draws the electric fire out of the out- 
side surface of the phial, and forces it through the prime 
conductor and wire of the phial, into the inside surface. 

Thus the bottle is charged with its own fire, no other 
being to be had while the glass plate is under the cushion. 

Hang two cork balls by flaxen threads to the prime con- 
ductor; then touch the coating of the bottle, and they will 
be electrified and recede from each other. 

For, just as much fire as you give the coating, so much is 
discharged through the wire upon the prime conductor, 
whence the cork balls receive an electrical atmosphere. But, 

Take a wire bent in the form of a C, with a stick of wax 
fixed to the outside of the curve, to hold it by; and apply 
one end of this wire to the coating, and the other at the same 
time to the prime conductor, the phial will be discharged; 
and if the balls are not electrified before the discharge, 
neither will they appear to be so after the discharge, for they 
will not repel each other. 

Now if the fire discharged from the inside surface of the 
bottle through its wire, remained on the prime conductor, 
the balls would be electrified, and recede from each other. 

If the phial really exploded at both ends, and discharged 
fire from both coating and wire, the balls would be more 



456 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750 ? 

electrified, and recede farther; for none of the fire can 
escape, the wax handle preventing. 

But if the fire, with which the inside surface is surcharged, 
be so much precisely as is wanted by the outside surface, 
it will pass round through the wire fixed to the wax handle, 
restore the equilibrium in the glass, and make no alteration 
in the state of the prime conductor. 

Accordingly we find, that, if the prime conductor be elec- 
trified, and the cork balls in a state of repellency before the 
bottle is discharged, they continue so afterwards. If not, 
they are not electrified by that discharge. 



99. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 
Sm, 

According to your request, I now send you the Arithmeti- 
cal Curiosity, of which this is the history. 

Being one day in the country, at the house of our common 
friend, the late learned Mr. Logan, he shewed me a folio 
French book, filled with magic squares, wrote, if I forget 
not, by one M. Frenicle, 2 in which, he said, the author had 
discovered great ingenuity and dexterity in the management 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
p. 350. The dates of the letters, in which the account of Magical Squares and 
Magical Circles was communicated to Mr. Collinson, are not known; but in a 
letter from James Logan to Mr. Collinson, dated February I4th, 1750, the fol- 
lowing mention is made of them. " Our Benjamin Franklin," says Mr. Logan, 
" is certainly an extraordinary man, one of a singular good judgment, but of 
equal modesty. He is clerk of our Assembly, and there, for want of other 
employment, while he sat idle, he took it into his head to think of magical 
squares, in which he outdid Frenicle himself, who published above eighty 
pages in folio on that subject alone." S. 

2 Bernard Frenicle de Bessy (1605-1675), "Traite des triangles rectangles 
en nombre" (Paris, 1676). ED. 



1750?] TO PETER COLLINSON 457 

of numbers; and, though several other foreigners had dis- 
tinguished themselves in the same way, he did not recollect 
that any one Englishman had done any thing of the kind 
remarkable. 

I said, it was, perhaps, a mark of the good sense of our 
English mathematicians, that they would not spend their 
time in things that were merely difficiles nuga, incapable 
of any useful application. He answered, that many of the 
arithmetical or mathematical questions, publickly pro- 
posed and answered in England, were equally trifling and 
useless. "Perhaps the considering and answering such 
questions," I replied, "may not be altogether useless, if it 
produces by practice an habitual readiness and exactness in 
mathematical disquisitions, which readiness may, on many 
occasions, be of real use." "In the same way," says he, 
"may the making of these squares be of use." I then con- 
fessed to him, that in my younger days, having once some 
leisure, (which I still think I might have employed more 
usefully) I had amused myself in making these kind of magic 
squares, and, at length, had acquired such a knack at it, that 
I could fill the cells of any magic square, of reasonable size, 
with a series of numbers as fast as I could write them, dis- 
posed in such a manner, as that the sums of every row, hori- 
zontal, perpendicular, or diagonal, should be equal; but 
not being satisfied with these, which I looked on as common 
and easy things, I had imposed on myself more difficult 
tasks, and succeeded in making other magic squares, with a 
variety of properties, and much more curious. He then 
shewed me several in the same book, of an uncommon and 
more curious kind ; but, as I thought none of them equal to 
some I remembered to have made, he desired me to let him 



458 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [1750? 

see them; and accordingly, the next time I visited him, I 
carried him a square of 8, which I found among my old 
papers, and which I will now give you, with an account of 
its properties. (See Plate VII. Fig. i.) 
The properties are, 

1. That every strait row (horizontal or vertical) of 8 
numbers added together, makes 260, and half each row half 
260. 

2. That the bent row of 8 numbers, ascending and descend- 
ing diagonally, viz. from 16 ascending to 10, and from 23 
descending to 1 7 ; and every one of its parallel bent rows of 
8 numbers, make 260. Also the bent row from 52, desc iding 
to 54, and from 43 ascending to 45 ; and every one of its par- 
allel bent rows of 8 numbers, make 260. Also the bent row 
from 45 to 43 descending to the left, and from 23 to 17 
descending to the right, and every one of its parallel bent 
rows of 8 numbers, make 260. Also the bent row from 52 
to 54 descending to the right, and from 10 to 16 descend- 
ing to the left, and every one of its parallel bent rows of 8 
numbers, make 260. Also the parallel bent rows next to 
the above-mentioned, which are shortened to 3 numbers 
ascending, and 3 descending, &c., as from 53 to 4 ascending, 
and from 29 to 44 descending, make, with the 2 corner 
numbers, 260. Also the 2 numbers, 14, 6 1 ascending, and 
36, 19, descending, with the lower 4 numbers situated 
like them, viz. 50, i, descending, and 32, 47, ascending, 
make 260. And, lastly, the 4 corner numbers, with the 4 
middle numbers, make 260. 

So this magical square seems perfect in its kind. But 
these are not all its properties; there are 5 other curious 
ones, which, at some other time, I will explain to you. 



XX 



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PLATE VII 



1750?] 71? PETER COLLINSON 459 

Mr. Logan then shewed me an old arithmetical book, in 
quarto, wrote, I think, by one Stifelius, 1 which contained a 
square of 16, that he said he should imagine must have been 
a work of great labour; but if I forget not, it had only the 
common properties of making the same sum, viz. 2056, in every 
row, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. Not willing to be 
out-done by Mr. Stifelius, even in the size of my square, I 
went home, and made, that evening, the following magical 
square of 16, which, besides having all the properties of the 
foregoing square of eight, i.e. it would make the 2056 in all 
the same rows and diagonals, had this added, that a four 
square hole being cut in a piece of paper of such a size as to 
take in and shew through it, just 16 of the little squares, when 
laid on the greater square, the sum of the 16 numbers so 
appearing through the hole, wherever it was placed on the 
greater square, should likewise make 2056. This I sent to 
our friend the next morning, who, after some days, sent it 
back in a letter with these words; "I return to thee thy 
astonishing or most stupendous piece of the magical square, 
in which" but the compliment is too extravagant, and 
therefore, for his sake, as well as my own, I ought not to 
repeat it. Nor is it necessary; for I make no question but 
you will readily allow this square of 1 6 to be the most magi- 
cally magical of any magic square ever made by any magi- 
cian. (See Plate VII. Fig. 2.) 

I did not, however, end with squares, but composed also 
a magick circle, consisting of 8 concentric circles, and 8 
radial rows, filled with a series of numbers, from 12 to 75, 
inclusive, so disposed as that the numbers of each circle, 

1 Mich. Stifelius, " Arithmetica Integra cum praefatione Phil. Melanchthonis 
(Novimb. 1544)." ED. 



4 6o PAPERS RELATING TO A PLAN OF UNION [1750 

or each radial row, being added to the central number 12, 
they made exactly 360, the number of degrees in a circle; 
and this circle had, moreover, all the properties of the square 
of 8. If you desire it, I will send it ; but at present, I believe, 
you have enough on this subject. 

I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 






100. TO PETER COLLINSON 1 - 
SIR, 

I am glad the perusal of the magical squares afforded you 
any amusement. I now send you the magical circle. (See 
Plate VIII.) 

Its properties, besides those mentioned in my former, are 
these. 

Half the numbers in any radial row, added with half the 
central number, make 180, equal to the number of degrees 
in a semicircle. 

Also half the numbers in any one of the concentric circles, 
taken either above or below the horizontal double line, with 
half the central number, make 180. 

And, if any four adjoining numbers, standing nearly in a 
square, be taken from any part, and added with half the cen- 
tral number, they make 180. 

There are, moreover, included four other sets of circular 
spaces, excentric with respect to the first, each of these sets 
containing five spaces. The centers of the circles that bound 
them, are at A, B, C, and D. Each set, for the more easy 

1 From "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," London, 1769, 
P- 354- 



OIUCJUB (DIP 




PLATE VIII 



1750] TO PETER COLLINSON 461 

distinguishing them from the first, are drawn with a differ- 
ent colour'd ink, red, blue, green, and yellow. 1 

These sets of excentric circular spaces intersect those of 
the concentric, and each other; and yet the numbers con- 
tained in each of the twenty excentric spaces, taken all 
around, make, with the central number, the same sum as 
those in each of the 8 concentric, "viz. 360. The halves, also 
of those drawn from the centers A and C, taken above or 
below the double horizontal line, and of those drawn from 
centers, B and D, taken to the right or left of the vertical 
line, do, with half the central number, make just 180, 

It may be observed, that there is not one of the numbers 
but what belongs at least to two of the different circular 
spaces; some to three, some to four, some to five; and yet 
they are all so placed as never to break the required number 
360, in any of the twenty-eight circular spaces within the 
primitive circle. 

These interwoven circles make so perplexed an appearance, 
that it is not easy for the eye to trace every circle of numbers 
one would examine, through all the maze of circles inter- 
sected by it; but if you fix one foot of the compasses in 
either of the centres, and extend the other to any number 
in the circle you would examine belonging to that center, the 
moving foot will point the others out, by passing round over 
all the numbers of that circle successively. I am, &c. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

1 In the plate they are distinguished by dashed or dotted lines, as different 
as the engraver could well make them. F. 



APPENDIX 

101. THE SPEECH OF POLLY BAKER 1 

The Speech of Miss Polly Baker before a Court of Judica- 
ture, at Connecticut near Boston in New England; where 
she was prosecuted the fifth time, for having a Bastard 

1 The Speech of Polly Baker appeared in The Gentleman's Magazine, 
April, 1747, Vol. XVII, p. 175. It appeared later in The American Mu- 
seum, March, 1787, and in other periodicals, and has been reprinted by Par- 
ton and Bigelow. Thomas Jefferson tells an interesting story concerning it : 
" The Doctor and Silas Deane were in conversation one day at Passy on the 
numerous errors in the Abbe's [Raynal] Histoirc des deux Indes when he 
happened to step in. After the usual salutations, Silas Deane said to him : 
' the Doctor and myself, Abbe, were just speaking of the errors of fact into 
which you have been led in your history.' ' Oh no, Sir,' said the Abbe, ' that 
is impossible. I took the greatest care not to insert a single fact for which I 
had not the most unquestionable authority.' ' Why,' says Deane, ' there is the 
story of Polly Baker, and the eloquent apology you have put into her mouth 
when brought before a court of Massachusetts to suffer punishment under 
a law, which you cite, for having had a bastard. I know there never was 
such a law in Massachusetts.' ' Be assured,' said the Abbe, ' you are mis- 
taken, and that that is a true story. I do not immediately recollect indeed 
the particular information on which I quote it, but I am certain that I had 
for it unquestionable authority.' 'Doctor Franklin who had been for some 
time shaking with restrained laughter at the Abbe's confidence in his authority 
for the tale, said, ' I will tell you, Abbe, the origin of that story. When I 
was a printer and editor of a newspaper, we were sometimes slack of news 
and to amuse our customers, I used to fill up our vacant columns with anec- 
dotes, and fables, and fancies of my own, and this of Polly Baker is a story 
of my own making, on one of those occasions.' The Abbe without the 
least disconcert, exclaimed with a laugh, ' Oh, very well, Doctor, I had rather 
relate your stories than other men's truths.' " (The Writings of Thomas 
Jefferson, Vol. X, p. 1 21, note.) 

In The Gentleman's Magazine, May, 1747, a person who subscribed him- 
self " William Smith " wrote to the editor : " When I was in New England 

463 



464 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Child: Which influenced the Court to dispense with her 
Punishment, and which induced one of her Judges to marry 
her the next Day by whom she had fifteen Children. 

"May it please the honourable bench to indulge me in a 
few words: I am a poor, unhappy woman, who have no 
money to fee lawyers to plead for me, being hard put to it 
to get a living. I shall not trouble your honours with long 
speeches ; for I have not the presumption to expect that you 
may, by any means, be prevailed on to deviate in your Sen- 
tence from the law, in my favour. All I humbly hope is, 
that your honours would charitably move the governor's 

in the year 1745, I had the pleasure of seeing the celebrated Polly Baker -who 
was then, though near 60 years of age, a comely woman and the wife of Paul 
Dudley Esq., of Roxbury, about two miles from Boston, who marry'd her, as 
is mentioned in the papers and had 15 children by her. I send you this in- 
formation because it has been insinuated, that the speech publish'd in her 
name was entirely fictitious ; that it could not be the speech of any woman 
(in which many females for different reasons concur) but was entirely the 
invention of some Templar or Garretteer." In the following month " L. 
Americanus " wrote to the editor : 

"June i, 1747 
"MR. URBAN 

"The Author of the letter in your Magazine for May, sign'd William 
Smith is egregiously imposed upon ; for 'tis well known, that Paul Dudley, 
Esq; never acted in any judicial capacity in Connecticut, but is chief justice 
of the province where he has always resided, and has been long married to a 
daughter of the late Gov. WINTHROP, by whom he never had any children. 

" As they are of very good families, and he is one of the first rank in the 
country 'tis pity their names should be ignorantly or wantonly used in support 
of a fictitious speech." 

In July, 1748, The Gentleman's Magazine published an apology for the 
libel which "thro' the wicked contrivance of one William Smith, we un- 
warily publish'd in our Magazine for May, 1747." 

The mystery surrounding the authorship and first publication of the 
" Speech " remains an impenetrable mystery. The style is altogether Frank- 
linian, and the story seems unquestionably to have been written by him, but I 
have searched The Pennsylvania Gazette in vain for it. It is not there. I 
have reprinted it from The Gentleman's Magazine, and as it is impossible 
to assign a date for its publication I have relegated it to the Appendix. ED. 



APPENDIX 465 

goodness on my behalf, that my fine may be remitted. This 
is the fifth time, gentlemen, that I have been dragg'd before 
your court on the same account; twice I have paid heavy 
fines, and twice have been brought to publick punishment, 
for want of money to pay those fines. This may have been 
agreeable to the laws, and I don't dispute it; but since 
laws are sometimes unreasonable in themselves, and there- 
fore repealed; and others bear too hard on the subject in 
particular circumstances, and therefore there is left a power 
somewhere to dispense with the execution of them ; I take 
the liberty to say, that I think this law, by which I am pun- 
ished, both unreasonable in itself, and particularly severe 
with regard to me, who have always lived an inoffensive life 
in the neighbourhood where I was born, and defy my enemies 
(if I have any) to say I ever wrong'd any man, woman, or 
child. Abstracted from the law, I cannot conceive (may it 
please your honours) what the nature of my offense is. I 
have brought five fine children into the world, at the risque of 
my life ; I have maintain'd them well by my own industry, 
without burthening the township, and would have done it 
better, if it had not been for the heavy charges and fines I 
have paid. Can it be a crime (in the nature of things, I 
mean) to add to the king's subjects, in a new country, that 
really wants people? I own it, I should think it rather a 
praiseworthy than a punishable action. I have debauched 
no other woman's husband, nor enticed any other youth; 
these things I never was charg'd with; nor has any one the 
least cause of complaint against me, unless, perhaps, the 
ministers of justice, because I have had children without being 
married, by which they have missed a wedding fee. But 
can this be a fault of mine ? I appeal to your honours. You 

VOL. II 2 H 



466 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

are pleased to allow I don't want sense; but I must be 
stupefied to the last degree, not to prefer the honourable 
state of wedlock to the condition I have lived in. I always 
was, and still am willing to enter into it ; and doubt not my 
behaving well in it, having all the industry, frugality, fer- 
tility, and skill hi economy appertaining to a good wife's 
character. I defy any one to say I ever refused an offer of 
that sort: on the contrary, I readily consented to the only 
proposal of marriage that ever was made me, which was 
when I was a virgin, but too easily confiding in the person's 
sincerity that made it, I unhappily lost my honour by trust- 
ing to his ; for he got me with child, and then forsook me. 

" That very person, you all know, he is now become a 
magistrate of this country ; and I had hopes he would have 
appeared this day on the bench, and have endeavoured to 
moderate the Court in my favour; then I should have 
scorn'd to have mentioned it; but I must now complain 
of it, as unjust and unequal, that my betrayer and undoer, 
the first cause of all my faults and miscarriages (if they must 
be deemed such), should be advanced to honour and power 
in this government that punishes my misfortunes with stripes 
and infamy. I should be told, 'tis like, that were there no 
act of Assembly in the case, the precepts of religion are vio- 
lated by my transgressions. If mine is a religious of- 
fense, leave it to religious punishments. You have already 
excluded me from the comforts of your church communion. 
Is not that sufficient? You believe I have offended heaven, 
and must suffer eternal fire: Will not that be sufficient? 
What need is there then of your additional fines and whip- 
ping? I own I do not think as you do, for, if I thought 
what you call a sin was really such, I could not presumptu- 



APPENDIX 467 

ously commit it. But, how can it be believed that heaven is 
angry at my having children, when to the little done by me 
towards it, God has been pleased to add his divine skill and 
admirable workmanship in the formation of their bodies, 
and crowned the whole by furnishing them with rational and 
immortal souls? 

" Forgive me, gentlemen, if I talk a little extravagantly on 
these matters; I am no divine, but if you, gentlemen, must 
be making laws, do not turn natural and useful actions into 
crimes by your prohibitions. But take into your wise con- 
sideration the great and growing number of batchelors in 
the country, many of whom, from the mean fear of the ex- 
pences of a family, have never sincerely and honourably courted 
a woman in their lives ; and by their manner of living leave 
unproduced (which is little better than murder) hundreds 
of their posterity to the thousandth generation. Is not this 
a greater offense against the publick good than mine ? Com- 
pel them, then, by law, either to marriage, or to pay double 
the fine of fornication every year. What must poor young 
women do, whom customs and nature forbid to solicit the 
men, and who cannot force themselves upon husbands, when 
the laws take no care to provide them any, and yet severely 
punish them if they do their duty without them ; the duty of 
the first and great command of nature and nature's God, 
encrease and multiply; a duty, from the steady performance 
of which nothing has been able to deter me, but for its sake 
I have hazarded the loss of the publick esteem, and have 
frequently endured publick disgrace and punishment; and 
therefore ought, in my humble opinion, instead of a whipping, 
to have a statue erected to my memory." 



468 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 



102. A CONJECTURE AS TO THE CAUSE OF THE 
HEAT OF THE BLOOD IN HEALTH, AND 
OF THE COLD AND HOT FITS OF SOME 
FEVERS. 1 

The parts of fluids are so smooth, and roll among one 
another with so little friction, that they will not by any 
(mechanical) agitation grow warmer. A phial half full of 
water shook with violence and long continued, the water 
neither heats itself nor warms the phial. Therefore the blood 
does not acquire its heat either from the motion and friction 
of its own parts, or its friction against the sides of its vessels. 

But the parts of solids, by reason of their closer adhesion, 
cannot move among themselves without friction, and that 
produces heat. Thus, bend a plummet to and fro, and, in 
the place of bending, it shall soon grow hot. Friction on 
any part of our flesh heats it. Clapping of the hands warms 
them. Exercise warms the whole body. 

The heart is a thick muscle, continually contracting and 
dilating near eighty times in a minute. By this motion there 
must be a constant interfriction of its constituent solid parts. 
That friction must produce a heat, and that heat must 
consequently be continually communicated to the perfluent 
blood. 

To this may be added, that every propulsion of the blood 
by the contraction of the heart, distends the arteries, which 
contract again in the intermission; and this distension and 
contraction of the arteries may occasion heat in them, which 

1 This piece was found by Sparks in Franklin's handwriting among the 
papers of Cadwallader Golden. Its date is uncertain. ED. 



APPENDIX 469 

they must likewise communicate to the blood that flows 
through them. 

That these causes of the heat of the blood are sufficient 
to produce the effect, may appear probable, if we consider 
that a fluid once warm requires no more heat to be applied 
to it in any part of time to keep it warm, than what it shall 
lose in an equal part of time. A smaller force will keep a 
pendulum going, than what first set it in motion. 

The blood, thus warmed in the heart, carries warmth with 
it to the very extremities of the body, and communicates it to 
them ; but, as by this means its heat is gradually diminished, 
it is returned again to the heart by the veins for a fresh 
calefaction. 

The blood communicates its heat, not only to the solids 
of our body, but to our clothes, and to a portion of the cir- 
cumambient air. Every breath, though drawn in cold, is 
expired warm ; and every particle of the materia perspirabilis 
carries off with it a portion of heat. 

While the blood retains a due fluidity, it passes freely 
through the minutest vessels, and communicates a proper 
warmth to the extremities of the body. But when by any 
means it becomes viscid, as not to be capable of passing those 
minute vessels, the extremities, as the blood can bring no 
more heat to them, grow cold. 

The same viscidity hi the blood and juices checks or stops 
the perspiration, by clogging the perspiratory ducts, or, 
perhaps, by not admitting the perspirable parts to separate. 
Paper wet with size and water will not dry so soon as if wet 
with water only. 

A vessel of hot water, if the vapour can freely pass from it, 
soon cools. If there be just fire enough under it to add 



470 THE WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

continually the heat it loses, it retains the same degree. If 
the vessel be closed, so that the vapour may be retained, there 
will from the same fire be a continual accession of heat to the 
water, till it rises to a great degree. Or, if no fire be under it, 
it will retain the heat it first had for a long time. I have ex- 
perienced, that a bottle of hot water stopped, and put in my 
bed at night, has retained so much heat seven or eight hours, 
that I could not in the morning bear my foot against it, 
without some of the bedclothes intervening. 

During the cold fit, then, perspiration being stopped, great 
part of the heat of the blood, that used to be dissipated, is 
confined and retained in the body; the heart continues its 
motion, and creates a constant accession to that heat; the 
inward parts grow very hot, and, by contact with the ex- 
tremities, communicate that heat to them. The glue of the 
blood is by this heat dissolved, and the blood afterwards 
flows freely, as before the disorder. 



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