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Title: Benjamin Franklin
       Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

Author: Frank Luther Mott
        Chester E. Jorgenson

Release Date: March 6, 2011 [EBook #35508]

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General Editor



Volumes of representative selections, prepared by American scholars under the general editorship of Harry Hayden Clark, University of Wisconsin.

Volumes now ready are starred.

American Transcendentalists, Raymond Adams, University of North Carolina

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*Jonathan Edwards, Clarence H. Faust, University of Chicago, and Thomas H. Johnson, Hackley School

*Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederic I. Carpenter, Harvard University

*Benjamin Franklin, Frank Luther Mott and Chester E. Jorgenson, University of Iowa

*Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, Frederick C. Prescott, Cornell University

Bret Harte

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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Robert Shafer, University of Cincinnati

*Washington Irving, Henry A. Pochmann, Mississippi State College

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John Lothrop Motley

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John Greenleaf Whittier


Pen drawing by Kerr Eby, after an
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ÆT. 56

Benjamin Franklin


Frank Luther Mott

Director, School of Journalism
University of Iowa

Chester E. Jorgenson

Instructor in English
University of Iowa

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Benjamin Franklin's reputation in America has been singularly distorted by the neglect of his works other than his Autobiography and his most utilitarian aphorisms. If America has contented herself with appraising him as "the earliest incarnation of 'David Harum,'" as "the first high-priest of the religion of efficiency," as "the first Rotarian," it may be that this aspect of Franklin is all that an America plagued by growing pains, by peopling and mechanizing three thousand miles of frontier, has been able to see. That facet of Franklin's mind and mien which allowed Carlyle to describe him as "the Father of all Yankees" was appreciated by Sinclair Lewis's George F. Babbitt: "Once in a while I just naturally sit back and size up this Solid American Citizen, with a whale of a lot of satisfaction." But this is not the Franklin of "imperturbable common-sense" honored by Matthew Arnold as "the very incarnation of sanity and clear-sense, a man the most considerable ... whom America has yet produced." Nor is this the Franklin who emerges from his collected works (and the opinions of his notable contemporaries) as an economist, political theorist, educator, journalist, scientific deist, and disinterested scientist. If he wrote little that is narrowly belles-lettres, he need not be ashamed of his voluminous correspondence, in an age which saw the fruition of the epistolary art. The Franklin found in his collected and uncollected writings is, as the following Introduction may suggest, not the Franklin who too commonly is synchronized exclusively with the wisdom and wit of Poor Richard.

Since the present interpretation of the growth of Franklin's mind, with stress upon its essential unity in the light of scientific deism, tempered by his debt to Puritanism, classicism, and neoclassicism,[vi] may seem somewhat novel, the editors have felt it desirable to document their interpretation with considerable fullness. It is hoped that the reader will withhold judgment as to the validity of this interpretation until the documentary evidence has been fully considered in its genetic significance, and that he will feel able to incline to other interpretations only in proportion as they can be equally supported by other evidence. The present interpretation is also supported by the Selections following—the fullest collection hitherto available in one volume—which offer, the editors believe, the essential materials for a reasonable acquaintance with the growth of Franklin's mind, from youth to old age, in its comprehensive interests—educational, literary, journalistic, economic, political, scientific, humanitarian, and religious.

With the exception of the selections from the Autobiography, the works are arranged in approximate chronological order, hence inviting a necessarily genetic study of Franklin's mind. The Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain, never before printed in an edition of Franklin's works or in a book of selections, is here printed from the London edition of 1725, retaining his peculiarities of italics, capitalization, and punctuation. Attention is also drawn to the photographically reproduced complete text of Poor Richard Improved (1753), graciously furnished by Mr. William Smith Mason. The Way to Wealth is from an exact reprint made by Mr. Mason, and with his permission here reproduced. One of the editors is grateful for the privilege of consulting Mr. Mason's magnificent collection of Franklin correspondence (original MSS), especially the Franklin-Galloway and Franklin-Jonathan Shipley (Bishop of St. Asaph) unpublished correspondence. With Mr. Mason's generous permission the editors reproduce fragments of this correspondence in the Introduction.

The bulk of the selections have been printed from the latest, standard edition, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, collected[vii] and edited with a Life and Introduction by Albert Henry Smyth (10 vols., 1905-1907). For permission to use this material the editors are grateful to The Macmillan Company, publishers. The editors are indebted to Dr. Max Farrand, Director of the Henry E. Huntington Library, for permission to reprint part of Franklin's MS version of the Autobiography.

Chester E. Jorgenson is preparing an analysis and interpretation of Franklin's brand of scientific deism, its sources and relation to his economic, political, and literary theories and practice. Fragments of this projected study are included, especially in Section VII of the following Introduction. For the past two years Mr. Jorgenson has enjoyed the kindness and generosity of Mr. William Smith Mason, and has incurred an indebtedness which cannot be expressed adequately in print.

The work of the editors has been vastly eased by Beata Prochnow Jorgenson's assistance in typing, proofreading, et cetera. They are extremely grateful to Professor Harry Hayden Clark for incisive suggestions and valuable editorial assistance.

F. L. M.
C. E. J.




I. Franklin's Milieu: The Age of Enlightenment, xiii
II. Franklin's Theories of Education, xxxii
III. Franklin's Literary Theory and Practice, xlvi
IV. Franklin as Printer and Journalist, lvii
V. Franklin's Economic Views, lxiv
VI. Franklin's Political Theories, lxxxii
VII. Franklin as Scientist and Deist, cx

Chronological Table, cxlii

Selected Bibliography

I. Works, cli
II. Collections and Reprints, cliii
III. Biographies, clv
IV. Biographical and Critical Studies, clviii
V. The Age of Franklin, clxxiv
VI. Bibliographies and Check Lists, clxxxvi


Notes, 529




Benjamin Franklin's reputation, according to John Adams, "was more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or Voltaire, and his character more beloved and esteemed than any or all of them."[i-1] The historical critic recognizes increasingly that Adams was not thinking idly when he doubted whether Franklin's panegyrical and international reputation could ever be explained without doing "a complete history of the philosophy and politics of the eighteenth century." Adams conceived that an explication of Franklin's mind and activities integrated with the thought patterns of the epoch which fathered him "would be one of the most important that ever was written; much more interesting to this and future ages than the 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.'" And such a historical and critical colossus is still among the works hoped for but yet unborn. Too often, even in the scholarly mind, Franklin has become a symbol, and it may be confessed, not a winged one, of the self-made man, of New-World practicality, of the successful tradesman, of the Sage of Poor Richard with his penny-saving economy and frugality. In short, the Franklin legend fails to transcend an allegory of the success of the doer in an America allegedly materialistic, uncreative, and unimaginative.

It is the purpose of this essay to show that Franklin, the American Voltaire,—always reasonable if not intuitive, encyclopedic if not sublimely profound, humane if not saintly,—is best explained with reference to the Age of Enlightenment, of which he was the completest colonial representative. Due attention[xiv] will, however, be paid to other factors. And therefore it is necessary to begin with a brief survey of the pattern of ideas of the age to which he was responsive. Not without reason does one critic name him as "the most complete representative of his century that any nation can point to."[i-2]

When Voltaire, "the patriarch of the philosophes," in 1726 took refuge in England, he at once discovered minds and an attitude toward human experience which were to prove the seminal factors of the Age of Enlightenment. He found that Englishmen had acclaimed Bacon "the father of experimental philosophy," and that Newton, "the destroyer of the Cartesian system," was "as the Hercules of fabulous story, to whom the ignorant ascribed all the feats of ancient heroes." Voltaire then paused to praise Locke, who "destroyed innate ideas," Locke, than whom "no man ever had a more judicious or more methodical genius, or was a more acute logician." Bacon, Newton, and Locke brooded over the currents of eighteenth-century thought and were formative factors of much that is most characteristic of the Enlightenment.

To Bacon was given the honor of having distinguished between the fantasies of old wives' tales and the certainty of empiricism. Moved by the ghost of Bacon, the Royal Society had for its purpose, according to Hooke, "To improve the knowledge of naturall things, and all useful Arts, Manufactures, Mechanick practises, Engynes and Inventions by Experiments."[i-3] The zeal for experiment was equaled only by its miscellaneousness. Cheese making, the eclipses of comets, and the intestines[xv] of gnats were alike the objects of telescopic or microscopic scrutiny. The full implication of Baconian empiricism came to fruition in Newton, who in 1672 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Bacon was not the least of those giants upon whose shoulders Newton stood. To the experimental tradition of Kepler, Brahe, Harvey, Copernicus, Galileo, and Bacon, Newton joined the mathematical genius of Descartes; and as a result became "as thoroughgoing an empiricist as he was a consummate mathematician," for whom there was "no a priori certainty."[i-4] At this time it is enough to note of Newtonianism, that for the incomparable physicist "science was composed of laws stating the mathematical behaviour of nature solely—laws clearly deducible from phenomena and exactly verifiable in phenomena—everything further is to be swept out of science, which thus becomes a body of absolutely certain truth about the doings of the physical world."[i-5] The pattern of ideas known as Newtonianism may be summarized as embracing a belief in (1) a universe governed by immutable natural laws, (2) which laws constitute a sublimely harmonious system, (3) reflecting a benevolent and all-wise Geometrician; (4) thus man desires to effect a correspondingly harmonious inner heaven; (5) and feels assured of the plausibility of an immortal life. Newton was a believer in scriptural revelation. It is ironical that through his cosmological system, mathematically demonstrable, he lent reinforcement[xvi] to deism, the most destructive intellectual solvent of the authority of the altar.

Deists, as defined by their contemporary, Ephraim Chambers (in his Cyclopædia ..., London, 1728), are those "whose distinguishing character it is, not to profess any particular form, or system of religion; but only to acknowledge the existence of a God, without rendering him any external worship, or service. The Deists hold, that, considering the multiplicity of religions, the numerous pretences to revelation, and the precarious arguments generally advanced in proof thereof; the best and surest way is, to return to the simplicity of nature, and the belief of one God, which is the only truth agreed to by all nations." They "reject all revelations as an imposition, and believe no more than what natural light discovers to them...."[i-6] The "simplicity of nature" signifies "the established order, and course of natural things; the series of second causes; or the laws which God has imposed on the motions impressed by him."[i-7] And attraction, a kind of conatus accedendi, is the crown, according to the eighteenth century, of the series of secondary causes. Hence, Newtonian physics became the surest ally of the deist in his quest for a religion, immutable and universal. The Newtonian progeny were legion: among them were Boyle, Keill, Desaguliers, Shaftesbury, Locke, Samuel Clarke, 'sGravesande, Boerhaave, Diderot, Trenchard and Gordon, Voltaire, Gregory, Maclaurin, Pemberton, and others. The eighteenth century echoed Fontenelle's eulogy that Newtonianism was "sublime geometry." If, as Boyle wrote, mathematical and mechanical principles were "the alphabet, in which God wrote the world," Newtonian science and empiricism were the lexicons which the deists used to read the cosmic volume in which the universal laws were inscribed. And the deists and the liberal political theorists "found the fulcrum for subverting existing institutions[xvii] and standards only in the laws of nature, discovered, as they supposed, by mathematicians and astronomers."[i-8]

Complementary to Newtonian science was the sensationalism of John Locke. Conceiving the mind as tabula rasa, discrediting innate ideas, Lockian psychology undermined such a theological dogma as total depravity—man's innate and inveterate malevolence—and hence was itself a kind of tabula rasa on which later were written the optimistic opinions of those who credited man's capacity for altruism. If it remained for the French philosophes to deify Reason, Locke honored it as the crowning experience of his sensational psychology.[i-9] Then, too, as Miss Lois Whitney has ably demonstrated, Lockian psychology "cleared the ground for either primitivism or a theory of progress."[i-10] In addition, his social compact theory, augmenting seventeenth-century liberalism, furnished the political theorists of the Enlightenment with "the principle of Consent"[i-11] in their[xviii] antipathy for monarchial obscurantism. Locke has been described as the "originator of a psychology which provided democratic government with a scientific basis."[i-12] The full impact of Locke will be felt when philosophers deduce that if sensations and reflections are the product of outward stimuli—those of nature, society, and institutions—then to reform man one needs only to reform society and institutions, or remove to some tropical isle. We remember that the French Encyclopedists, for example, were motivated by their faith in the "indefinite malleability of human nature by education and institutions."[i-13]

"With the possible exception of John Locke," C. A. Moore observes, "Shaftesbury was more generally known in the mid-century than any other English philosopher."[i-14] Shaftesbury's a priori "virtuoso theory of benevolence" may be viewed as complementary to Locke's psychology to the extent that both have within them the implication that through education and reform man may become perfectible. Both tend to undermine social, political, and religious authoritarianism. Shaftesbury's insistence upon man's innate altruism and compassion, coupled with the deistic and rationalistic divorce between theology and morality, resulted in the dogma that the most acceptable service to God is expressed in kindness to God's other children and helped to motivate the rise of humanitarianism.

The idea of progress[i-15] was popularized (if not born) in the eighteenth century. It has been recently shown that not only[xix] the results of scientific investigations but also Anglican defenses of revealed religion served to accelerate a belief in progress. In answer to the atheists and deists who indicted revealed religion because revelation was given so late in the growth of the human family and hence was not eternal, universal, and immutable, the Anglican apologists were forced into the position of asserting that man enjoyed a progressive ascent, that the religious education of mankind is like that of the individual. If, as the deists charged, Christ appeared rather belatedly, the apologists countered that he was sent only when the race was prepared to profit by his coming. God's revelations thus were adjusted to progressive needs and capacities.[i-16]

Carl Becker has suggestively dissected the Enlightenment in a series of antitheses between its credulity and its skepticism. If the eighteenth-century philosopher renounced Eden, he discovered Arcadia in distant isles and America. Rejecting the authority of the Bible and church, he accepted the authority of "nature," natural law, and reason. Although scorning metaphysics, he desired to be considered philosophical. If he denied miracles, he yet had a fond faith in the perfectibility of the species.[i-17]

Even as Voltaire had his liberal tendencies stoutly reinforced by contact with English rationalism and deism,[i-18] so were the other French philosophes, united in their common hatred of the Roman Catholic church, also united in their indebtedness to exponents of English liberalism, dominated by Locke and Newton. If, as Madame de Lambert wrote in 1715, Bayle more than others of his age shook "the Yoke of authority and opinion," English free thought powerfully reinforced the native French revolt against authoritarianism. After 1730 English was the[xx] model for French thought.[i-19] Nearly all of Locke's works had been translated in France before 1700. Voltaire's affinity for the English mind has already been touched on. D'Alembert comments, "When we measure the interval between a Scotus and a Newton, or rather between the works of Scotus and those of Newton, we must cry out with Terence, Homo homini quid præstat."[i-20]

Any doctrine was intensely welcome which would allow the Frenchman to regain his natural rights curtailed by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, by the inequalities of a state vitiated by privileges, by an economic structure tottering because of bankruptcy attending unsuccessful wars and the upkeep of a Versailles with its dazzling ornaments, and by a religious program dominated by a Jesuit rather than a Gallican church.[i-21] Economic, political, and religious abuses were inextricably united; the spirit of revolt did not feel obliged to discriminate between the authority of the crown and nobles and the authority of the altar. Graphic is Diderot's vulgar vituperation: he would draw out the entrails of a priest to strangle a king!

Let us now turn to the American backgrounds. The bibliolatry of colonial New England is expressed in William Bradford's resolve to study languages so that he could "see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in all their native beauty."[i-22] In addition to furnishing the new Canaan with[xxi] ecclesiastical and political precedent, Scripture provided "not a partiall, but a perfect rule of Faith, and manners." Any dogma contravening the "ancient oracle" was a weed sown by Satan and fit only to be uprooted and thrown in the fire. The colonial seventeenth century was one which, like John Cotton, regularly sweetened its mouth "with a piece of Calvin." One need not be reminded that Calvinism was inveterately and completely antithetical to the dogma of the Enlightenment.[i-23] Calvinistic bibliolatry contended with "the sacred book of nature." Its wrathful though just Deity was unlike the compassionate, virtually depersonalized Deity heralded in the eighteenth century, in which the Trinity was dissolved. The redemptive Christ became the amiable philosopher. Adam's universally contagious guilt was transferred to social institutions, especially the tyrannical forms of kings and priests. Calvin's forlorn and depraved man became a creature naturally compassionate. If once man worshipped the Deity through seeking to parallel the divine laws scripturally revealed, in the eighteenth century he honored his benevolent God, who was above demanding worship, through kindnesses shown God's other children. The individual was lost in society, self-perfection gave way to humanitarianism, God to Man, theology to morality, and faith to reason. The colonial seventeenth century was politically oligarchical:[xxii] when Thomas Hooker heckled Winthrop on the lack of suffrage, Winthrop with no compromise asserted that "the best part is always the least, and of that best part the wiser part is always the lesser."[i-24] If the seventeenth-century college was a cloister for clerical education, the Enlightenment sought to train the layman for citizenship.

With the turn of the seventeenth century several forces came into prominence, undermining New England's Puritan heritage. Among those relevant for our study are: the ubiquitous frontier, and the rise of Quakerism, deism, Methodism, and science. The impact of the frontier was neglected until Professor Turner called attention to its existence; he writes that "the most important effect of the frontier has been in the promotion of democracy here and in Europe.... It produces antipathy to control, and particularly to any direct control.... The frontier conditions prevalent in the colonies are important factors in the explanation of the American Revolution...."[i-25] In the period included in our survey the frontier receded from the coast to the fall line to the Alleghenies: at each stage it "did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier."[i-26] One recalls the spirited satire on frontier conditions, as the above aspects give birth to violence and disregard for law, in Hugh Brackenridge's Modern Chivalry. Under the satire one feels the justness of the attack, intensified by our knowledge that Brackenridge grew up "in a democratic Scotch-Irish back-country settlement." If the frontiersmen during the eighteenth century did not place their dirty boots on their governors' desks, they were partially responsible for an inveterate spirit of revolt,[xxiii] shown so brutally in the "massacres" provoked by the "Paxton boys" of Pennsylvania. One is not unprepared to discover resentment against the forms of authority in a territory in which a strong back is more immediately important than a knowledge of debates on predestination. Granting the importance of the frontier in opposing the theocratic Old Way, it must be considered in terms of other and more complex factors.

Reinforcing Edwards's Great Awakening, George Whitefield, especially in the Middle Colonies, challenged the growing complacence of colonial religious thought with his insistence that man "is by nature half-brute and half-devil." It has been suggested that Methodism in effect allied itself with the attitudes of Hobbes and Mandeville in attacking man's nature, and hence by reaction tended to provoke "a primitivism based on the doctrine of natural benevolence."[i-27]

The "New English Israel" was harried by the Quakers,[i-28] who preached the priesthood of all believers and the right of private judgment. They denied the total depravity of the natural man and the doctrine of election; they gloried in a loving Father, and scourged the ecclesiastical pomp and ceremony of other religions. They were possessed by a blunt enthusiasm which held the immediate private revelation anterior to scriptural revelation. Faithful to the inner light, the Quakers seemed to neglect Scripture. Although the less extreme Quakers, such as John Woolman, did not blind themselves to the need for personal introspection and self-conquest, Quakerism as a movement tended to place the greater emphasis on morality articulate in terms of fellow-service, and lent momentum to the rise of humanitarianism expressed in prison reform and anti-slavery agitation. Also one may wonder to what extent colonial Quakerism tended to lend sanction to the rising democratic spirit.

In the person of Cotton Mather, until recently considered a[xxiv] bigoted incarnation of the "Puritan spirit ... become ossified," are discovered forces which, when divorced from Puritan theology, were to become the sharpest wedges splintering the deep-rooted oak of the Old Way. These forces were the authority of reason and science. In The Christian Philosopher,[i-29] basing his attitude on the works of Ray, Derham, Cheyne, and Grew,[i-30] Mather attempted to shatter the Calvinists' antithesis between science and theology, asserting "that [Natural] Philosophy is no Enemy, but a mighty and wondrous Incentive to Religion."[i-31] He warned that since even Mahomet with the aid of reason found the Workman in his Work, Christian theologians should fear "lest a Mahometan be called in for thy Condemnation!"[i-32] Studying nature's sublime order, one must be blind if his thoughts are not carried heavenward to "admire that Wisdom itself!" Although Mather mistrusted Reason, he accepted it as "the voice of God"—an experience which enabled him to discover the workmanship of the Deity in nature. Magnetism, the vegetable kingdom, the stars infer a harmonious order, so wondrous that only a God could have created it. If Reason is no complete substitute for Scripture it offers enough evidence to hiss atheism out of the world: "A Being that must be superior to Matter, even the Creator and Governor of all Matter, is everywhere so conspicuous, that there can be nothing more monstrous than to deny the God that is above."[i-33] Sir Isaac Newton with his mathematical and experimental proof of the sublime universal order strung on invariable secondary causes, Mather confessed, is "our perpetual Dictator."[i-34] Conceiving of science as a rebuke to the atheist, and a natural ally to scriptural[xxv] theology, Mather, like a Newton himself, juxtaposed rationalism and faith in one pyramidal confirmation of the existence, omnipotence, and benevolence of God. Here were variations from Calvinism's common path which, when augmented by English and French liberalism, by the influence of Quakerism and the frontier, were to give rise to democracy, rationalism, and scientific deism. The Church of England through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had "pursued a liberal latitudinarian policy which, as a mode of thought, tended to promote deism by emphasizing rational religion and minimizing revelation."[i-35] It was to be expected that in colonies created by Puritans (or even Quakers), deism would have a less spectacular and extensive success than it appears to have had in the mother country. If militant deism remained an aristocratic cult until the Revolution,[i-36] scientific rationalism (Newtonianism) long before this, from the time of Mather, became a common ally of orthodoxy. If a "religion of nature" may be defined with Tillotson as "obedience to Natural Law, and the performance of such duties as Natural Light, without any express and supernatural revelation, doth dictate to man," then it was in the colonies, prior to the Revolution, more commonly a buttress to revealed religion than an equivalent to it.

Lockian sensism and Newtonian science were the chief sources of that brand of colonial rationalism which at first complemented orthodoxy, and finally buried it among lost causes. The Marquis de Chastellux was astounded when he found on a center table in a Massachusetts inn an "Abridgment of Newton's Philosophy"; whereupon he "put some questions" to his host "on physics and geometry," with which he "found him well acquainted."[i-37] Now, even a superficial reading of the eighteenth century discloses countless allusions to Newton, his[xxvi] popularizers, and the implications of his physics and cosmology. As Mr. Brasch suggests, "From the standpoint of the history of science," the extent of the vogue of Newtonianism "is yet very largely unknown history."[i-38]

In Samuel Johnson's retrospective view, the Yale of 1710 at Saybrook was anything but progressive with its "scholastic cobwebs of a few little English and Dutch systems."[i-39] The year of Johnson's graduation (1714), however, Mr. Dummer, Yale's agent in London, collected seven hundred volumes, including works of Norris, Barrow, Tillotson, Boyle, Halley, and the second edition (1713) of the Principia and a copy of the Optics, presented by Newton himself. After the schism of 1715/6 the collection was moved to New Haven, at the time of Johnson's election to a tutorship. It was then, writes Johnson, that the trustees "introduced the study of Mr. Locke and Sir Isaac Newton as fast as they could and in order to this the study of mathematics. The Ptolemaic system was hitherto as much believed as the Scriptures, but they soon cleared up and established the Copernican by the help of Whiston's Lectures, Derham, etc."[i-40] Johnson studied Euclid, algebra, and conic sections "so as to read Sir Isaac with understanding." He gloomily reviews the "infidelity and apostasy" resulting from the study of the ideas of Locke, Tindal, Bolingbroke, Mandeville, Shaftesbury, and Collins. That Newtonianism and even deism made progress at Yale is the tenor of Johnson's backward glance. About 1716 Samuel Clarke's edition of Rohault was introduced at Yale: Clarke's Rohault[i-41] was an attack upon this[xxvii] standard summary of Cartesianism. Ezra Stiles was not certain that Clarke was honest in heaping up notes "not so much to illustrate Rohault as to make him the Vehicle of conveying the peculiarities of the sublimer Newtonian Philosophy."[i-42] This work was used until 1743 when 'sGravesande's Natural Philosophy was wisely substituted. Rector Thomas Clap used Wollaston's Religion of Nature Delineated as a favorite text. That there was no dearth of advanced natural science and philosophy, even suggestive of deism, is fairly evident.

Measured by the growth of interest in science in the English universities, Harvard's awareness of new discoveries was not especially backward in the seventeenth century. Since Copernicanism at the close of the sixteenth century had few adherents,[i-43] it is almost startling to learn that probably by 1659 the Copernican system was openly avowed at Harvard.[i-44] In 1786 Nathaniel Mather wrote from Dublin: "I perceive the Cartesian philosophy begins to obteyn in New England, and if I conjecture aright the Copernican system too."[i-45] John Barnard, who was graduated from Harvard in 1710, has written that no algebra was then taught, and wistfully suggests that he had been born too soon, since "now" students "have the great Sir Isaac Newton and Dr. Halley and some other mathematicians for their guides."[i-46] Although Thomas Robie and Nathan Prince are thought to have known Newton's physics through secondary sources,[i-47] and, as Harvard tutors, indoctrinated their charges with Newtonianism, it was left to Isaac Greenwood[i-48] to transplant[xxviii] from London the popular expositions of Newtonian philosophy. A Harvard graduate in 1721, Greenwood continued his theological studies in London where he attended Desaguliers's lectures on experimental philosophy, based essentially on Newtonianism. From Desaguliers Greenwood learned how

By Newton's help, 'tis evidently seen
Attraction governs all the World's machine.[i-49]

He learned that Scripture is "to teach us Morality, and our Articles of Faith" but not to serve as an instructor in natural philosophy.[i-50] In fine, Greenwood became devoted to science, and science as it might serve to augment avenues to the religious experience. In London he had come to know Hollis, who in 1727 suggested to Harvard authorities that Greenwood be elected Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural and Experimental Philosophy.[i-51] Greenwood accepted, and until 1737 was at Harvard a propagandist of the new science. In 1727 he advertised in the Boston News-Letter[i-52] that he would give scientific lectures, revolving primarily around "the Discoveries of the incomparable Sir Isaac Newton." From 1727 through 1734 he was a prominent popularizer of Newtonianism in Boston.[i-53]

It remained for Greenwood's pupil John Winthrop to be the first to teach Newton at Harvard with adequate mechanical and textual materials. Elected in 1738 to the Hollis professorship formerly held by Greenwood, Winthrop adopted 'sGravesande's Natural Philosophy, at which time, Cajori observes, "the teachings[xxix] of Newton had at last secured a firm footing there."[i-54] The year after his election he secured a copy of the Principia (the third edition, 1726, edited by Dr. Henry Pemberton, friend of Franklin in 1725-1726). According to the astute Ezra Stiles, Winthrop became a "perfect master of Newton's Principia—which cannot be said of many Professors of Philosophy in Europe."[i-55] That he did not allow Newtonianism to draw him to deism may be seen in Stiles's gratification that Winthrop "was a Firm friend to Revelation in opposition to Deism." Stiles "wish[es] the evangelical Doctors of Grace had made a greater figure in his Ideal System of divinity," thus inferring that Winthrop was a rationalist in theology, however orthodox.[i-56]

A cursory view of the eighteenth-century pulpit discloses that if the clergy did not become deistic they were not blind to a natural religion, and often employed its arguments to augment scriptural authority. Aware of the writings of Samuel Clarke, Wollaston, Whiston, Cudworth, Butler, Hutcheson,[i-57] Voltaire, and Locke, Mayhew revolts against total depravity[i-58] and the doctrines of election and the Trinity, arraigns himself against authoritarianism and obscurantism, and though he draws upon reason for revelation of God's will, he does not seem to have been latitudinarian in respect to the holy oracles. Although he often wrote ambiguously concerning the nature of Christ, he asserted: "That I ever denied, or treated in a bold or ludicrous manner, the divinity of the Son of God, as revealed in scripture,[xxx] I absolutely deny."[i-59] He is antagonistic toward the mystical in Calvinism, convinced that "The love of God is a calm and rational thing, the result of thought and consideration."[i-60] His biographer thinks that Mayhew was "the first clergyman in New England who expressly and openly opposed the scholastic doctrine of the trinity."[i-61] Coupling "natural and revealed religion," he does not threaten but he urges that one "ought not to leave the clear light of revelation.... It becomes us to adhere to the holy Scriptures as our only rule of faith and practice, discipline and worship."[i-62] In Mayhew one finds an impotent compromise between Calvinism and the demands of reason, fostered by the Enlightenment. Like Mayhew's, in the main, are the views of Dr. Charles Chauncy, who reconciled the demands of reason and revelation, concluding that "the voice of reason is the voice of God."[i-63] Jason Haven and Jonas Clarke are typical of the orthodox rationalists who were alive to the implications of science, and to such rationalists as Tillotson and Locke. Haven affirms that "by the light of reason and nature, we are led to believe in, and adore God, not only as the maker, but also as the governor of all things."[i-64] "Revelation comes in to the assistance of reason, and shews them to us in a clearer light than we could see them without its aid." Clarke observes that "the light of nature teaches, which revelation confirms."[i-65] Rev. Henry Cumings, illustrating his indebtedness to scientific rationalism, honors "the gracious Parent of the universe, whose[xxxi] tender mercies are over all his works ...,"[i-66] a Deity "whose providence governs the world; whose voice all nature obeys; to whose controul all second causes and subordinate agents are subject; and whose sole prerogative it is to dispense blessings or calamities, as to his wisdom seems best."[i-67] Simeon Howard discovers the "perfections of the Deity, as displayed in the Creation" as well as in the "government and redemption of the world."[i-68] Both Phillips Payson[i-69] and Andrew Eliot[i-70] affirm the identity of "the voice of reason, and the voice of God."

No clergyman of the eighteenth century was more terribly conscious of the polarity of colonial thought than was Ezra Stiles. Abiel Holmes has told the graphic story of Stiles's struggles with deism after reading Pope, Whiston, Boyle, Trenchard and Gordon, Butler, Tindal, Collins, Bolingbroke, and Shaftesbury.[i-71] If he finally, as a result of his trembling and fearful doubt, reaffirmed zealously his faith in the bibliolatry and relentless dogma of Calvinism,[i-72] Newtonian rationalism was a means to his recovery, and throughout his life a complement to his Calvinism.[i-73] Turning from his well-worn Bible, the chief source of his faith, he also kindled his "devotion at the stars." It should be remembered, however, that this tendency among Puritan clergy to call science to the support of theology had been inaugurated by Cotton Mather as early as 1693,[i-74] and that it was the Puritan Mather whom Franklin acknowledged as having started him on his career and influenced him, by his Essays to do Good, throughout life.


Only against this complex and as yet inadequately integrated background of physical conditions and ideas (the dogmas of Puritanism, Quakerism, Methodism, rationalism, scientific deism, economic and political liberalism[i-75]—against a cosmic, social, and individual attitude, the result of Old-World thought impinging on colonial thought and environment) can one attempt to appraise adequately the mind and achievements of Franklin, whose life was coterminous with the decay of Puritan theocracy and the rise of rationalism, democracy, and science.


Franklin's penchant for projects manifests itself nowhere more fully than in his schemes of education, both self and formal. One may deduce a pattern of educational principles not undeservedly called Franklin's theories of education, theories which he successfully institutionalized, from an examination of his Junto ("the best school of philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the province"[i-76]), his Philadelphia Library Company (his "first project of a public nature"[i-77]), his[xxxiii] Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America, calling for a scientific society of ingenious men or virtuosi, his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania and Idea of the English School, which eventually fathered the University of Pennsylvania, and from his fragmentary notes in his correspondence.

Variously apotheosized, patronized, or damned for his practicality, expediency, and opportunism, dramatized for his allegiance to materiality, Franklin has commonly been viewed (and not only through the popular imagination) as one fostering in the American mind an unimaginative, utilitarian prudence, motivated by the pedestrian virtues of industry, frugality, and thrift. Whatever the educational effect of Franklin's life and writings on American readers, we shall find that his works contain schemes and theories which transcend the more mundane habits and utilitarian biases ascribed to him.

Franklin progressively felt "the loss of the learned education" his father had planned for him, as he realized in his hunger for knowledge that he must repair the loss through assiduous reading, accomplished during hours stolen from recreation and sleep.[i-78] Proudly he confessed that reading was his "only amusement."[i-79] In 1727 he formed the Junto, or Leather Apron Club, his first educational project. Franklin was never more eclectic than when founding the Junto. To prevent Boston homes from becoming "the porches of hell,"[i-80] Cotton Mather had created mutual improvement societies through which neighbors would help one another "with a rapturous assiduity."[i-81] Mather in his Essays to do Good proposed:[xxxiv]

That a proper number of persons in a neighborhood, whose hearts God hath touched with a zeal to do good, should form themselves into a society, to meet when and where they shall agree, and to consider—"what are the disorders that we may observe rising among us; and what may be done, either by ourselves immediately, or by others through our advice, to suppress those disorders?"[i-82]

Since Franklin's father was a member of one of Mather's "Associated Families" and since Franklin as a boy read Mather's Essays with rapt attention,[i-83] and since his Rules for a Club Established for Mutual Improvement are amazingly congruent with Mather's rules proposed for his neighborly societies, it is not improbable that Franklin in part copied the plans of this older club. One also wonders whether Franklin remembered Defoe's suggestions in Essays upon Several Projects (1697) for the formation of "Friendly Societies" in which members covenanted to aid one another.[i-84] In addition, M. Faÿ has observed that the "ideal which this society [the Junto] adopted was the same that Franklin had discovered in the Masonic lodges of England."[i-85] Then, too, in London during the period of Desaguliers, Sir Hans Sloane, and Sir Isaac Newton, he would have heard much of the ideals and utility of the Royal Society. Many of the questions discussed by the Junto are suggestive of the calendar of the Royal Society:

Is sound an entity or body?

How may the phenomena of vapors be explained?

What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the Bay of Fundy, than the Bay of Delaware?


How may smoky chimneys be best cured?

Why does the flame of a candle tend upwards in a spire?[i-86]

The Junto members, like Renaissance gentlemen, were determined to convince themselves that nothing valuable to the several powers of life should be alien to them. They were urged to communicate to one another anything significant "in history, morality, poetry, physic, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge."[i-87] Surely a humanistic catholicity of interest! Schemes for getting on materially, suggestions for improving the laws and protecting the "just liberties of the people,"[i-88] efforts to aid the strangers in Philadelphia (an embryonic association of commerce), curiosity in the latest remedies used for the sick and wounded: all were to engage the minds of this assiduously curious club. Above all, the members must be "serviceable to mankind, to their country, to their friends, or to themselves."[i-89] The intensity of the Junto's utilitarian purpose was matched only by its humanitarian bias. Members must swear that they "love mankind in general, of what profession or religion soever,"[i-90] and that they believe no man should be persecuted "for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship." Also they must profess to "love truth for truth's sake," to search diligently for it and to communicate it to others. Tolerance, the empirical method, scientific disinterestedness, and humanitarianism had hardly gained a foothold in the colonies in 1728. On the other hand, the Junto members were urged, when throwing a kiss to the world, not to neglect their individual ethical development.[i-91] Franklin's humanitarian[xxxvi] neighborliness is associated with a rigorous ethicism. The members were invited to report "unhappy effects of intemperance," of "imprudence, of passion, or of any other vice or folly," and also "happy effects of temperance, of prudence, of moderation." Franklin reflects sturdily here, and boundlessly elsewhere, the Greek and English emphasis on the Middle Way. If this is prudential, it is an elevated prudence.

The Philadelphia Library Company was born of the Junto and became "the mother of all the North American subscription libraries, now so numerous."[i-92] The colonists, "having no publick amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries."[i-93] It is curious that although many articles have been written describing the Library Company no one seems to include a study of the climate of ideas represented in its volumes.[i-94] One must be careful not to credit Franklin with solely presiding over the ordering of books. At a meeting in 1732 of the company, Thomas Godfrey, probable inventor of the quadrant and he who learned Latin to read the Principia, notified the body that "Mr. Logan had let him know he would willingly give his advice of the choice of the books ... the Committee esteeming[xxxvii] Mr. Logan to be a Gentleman of universal learning, and the best judge of books in these parts, ordered that Mr. Godfrey should wait on him and request him to favour them with a catalogue of suitable books."[i-95] The first order included: Puffendorf's Introduction and Laws of Nature, Hayes upon Fluxions, Keill's Astronomical Lectures, Sidney on Government, Gordon and Trenchard's Cato's Letters, the Spectator, Guardian, Tatler, L'Hospital's Conic Sections, Addison's works, Xenophon's Memorabilia, Palladio, Evelyn, Abridgement of Philosophical Transactions, 'sGravesande's Natural Philosophy, Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, Bayle's Critical Dictionary, and Dryden's Virgil. As a gift Peter Collinson included Newton's Principia in the order. The ancient phalanxes were thoroughly routed! Then there is the MS "List of Books of the Original Philadelphia Library in Franklin's Handwriting"[i-96] which lends recruits to the modern battalions. Included in this list are: Fontenelle on Oracles, Woodward's Natural History of Fossils and Natural History of the Earth, Keill's Examination of Burnet's Theory of the Earth, Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris, William Petty's Essays, Voltaire's Elements of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy, Halley's Astronomical Tables, Hill's Review of the Works of the Royal Society, Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, Burlamaqui's Principles of Natural Law and Principles of Politic Law, Bolingbroke's Letters on the Study and Use of History, and Conyer Middleton's Miscellaneous Works. From the volumes owned by the Library Company in 1757 it would have been possible for an alert mind to discover all of the implications, philosophic and religious, of the rationale of science. No less could be found here the political speculations which were later to aid the colonists in unyoking themselves from England. The Library was an arsenal capable of supplying[xxxviii] weapons to rationalistic minds intent on besieging the fortress of Calvinism. Defenders of natural rights could find ammunition to wound monarchism; here authors could discover the neoclassic ideals of curiosa felicitas, perspicuity, order, and lucidity reinforced by the emphasis on clarity and correctness sponsored by the Royal Society and inherent in Newtonianism as well as Cartesianism. In short, the volumes contained the ripest fruition of scientific and rationalistic modernity. One can only conjecture the extent to which this library would perplex, astonish, and finally convert men to rationalism and scientific deism, and release them from bondage to throne and altar.

In 1743 Franklin wrote and distributed among his correspondents A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America. From a letter (Feb. 17, 1735/6) of William Douglass, one-time friend of Franklin's brother James, to Cadwallader Colden, we learn that some years before 1736, Colden "proposed the forming a sort of Virtuoso Society or rather Correspondence."[i-97] I. W. Riley suggests that Franklin owes Colden thanks for having stimulated him to form the American Philosophical Society.[i-98] There remains no convincing evidence, however, to disprove A. H. Smyth's observation that Franklin's Proposal "appears to contain the first suggestions, in any public form [editors' italics] for an American Philosophical Society." P. S. Du Ponceau has noted with compelling evidence that the philosophical society formed in 1744 was the direct descendant of Franklin's Junto.[i-99] That in part the Philadelphia Library Company was one of the factors in[xxxix] the formation of the scientific society may be inferred from Franklin's request that it be founded in Philadelphia, which, "having the advantages of a good growing library," can "be the centre of the Society."[i-100] The most important factor, however, was obviously the desire to imitate the forms and ideals of the Royal Society of London. Both societies had as their purpose the improvement of "the common stock of knowledge"; neither was to be provincial or national in interests, but was to have in mind the "benefit of mankind in general." A study of Franklin's Proposal will suggest the purpose of the Royal Society as interpreted by Thomas Sprat:

Their purpose is, in short, to make faithful Records, of all the Works of Nature, or Art, which can come within their reach: that so the present Age, and posterity, may be able to put a mark on the Errors, which have been strengthened by long prescription: to restore the Truths, that have lain neglected: to push on those, which are already known, to more various uses: and to make the way more passable, to what remains unreveal'd.[i-101]

The Royal Society, no less than Franklin's Proposal, stressed the usefulness of its experimentation. Even as it sought "to overcome the mysteries of all the Works of Nature"[i-102] through experimentation and induction, the Baconian empirical method, so Franklin urged the cultivation of "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."[i-103] Though Franklin may have stopped short of theoretical science,[i-104] he was not only interested in making[xl] devices but also in discovering immutable natural laws on which he could base his mechanics for making the world more habitable, less unknown and terrifying. Interpreting natural phenomena in terms of gravity and the laws of electrical attraction and repulsion is to detract from the terror in a universe presided over by a providential Deity, exerting his wrath through portentous comets, "fire-balls flung by an angry God."

Franklin's program is no more miscellaneous, or seemingly pedestrian, than the practices of the Royal Society. As a discoverer of nature's laws and their application to man's use, Franklin, the Newton of electricity, appealed to fact and experiment rather than authority and suggested that education in science may serve, in addition to making the world more comfortable, to make it more habitable and less terrifying. The ideals of scientific research and disinterestedness were dramatized picturesquely by the Tradesman Franklin, who aided the colonist in becoming unafraid.

Although his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania (1749) furnished the initial suggestion which created the Philadelphia Academy, later the college, and ultimately the University of Pennsylvania, it is easy to overestimate the real significance of Franklin's influence in these schemes unless we remember that political quarrels separated him from those who were nurturing the school in the 1750's. In 1759 Franklin wrote from London to his friend, Professor Kinnersley, concerning the cabal in the Academy against him: "The Trustees have reap'd the full Advantage of my Head, Hands, Heart and Purse, in getting through the first Difficulties of the Design, and when they thought they could do without[xli] me, they laid me aside."[i-105] After Franklin failed to secure Samuel Johnson,[i-106] Rev. William Smith was made Provost and Professor of Natural Philosophy of the Academy in 1754. He quoted Franklin as saying that the Academy had become "a narrow, bigoted institution, put into the hands of the Proprietary party as an engine of government."[i-107]


With Milton, Locke, Fordyce, Walker, Rollin, Turnbull, and "some others" as his sources, Franklin adapted the works of these pioneers in education to provincial uses. (One finds it difficult to discover any original ideas in the Proposals.) Like Locke and Milton, he urged that education "supply the succeeding Age with Men qualified to serve the Publick with Honour to themselves, and to their Country."[i-108] Here he was unlike President Clap, who in 1754 explained that "the Original End and design of Colleges was to instruct and train up persons for the Work of the ministry.... The great design of founding this school [Yale] was to educate ministers in our own way."[i-109] As early as 1722, in Dogood Paper No. IV, Franklin caricatured sardonically the narrow theological curriculum of Harvard College.[i-110] Existing for the citizenry rather than the clergy, offering instruction in English as well as Latin and Greek, in mechanics, physical culture, natural history, gardening, mathematics, and arithmetic rather than in sectarian theology, Franklin's Academy was to be more secular and utilitarian than any other school in the provinces. Indeed, Rev. George Whitefield lamented the want of "aliquid Christi" in the curriculum, "to make it as useful as I would desire it might be."

Franklin stressed the need for the acquisition of a clear and concise literary style. He observed: "Reading should also be[xliii] taught, and pronouncing, properly, distinctly, emphatically; not with an even Tone, which under-does, nor a theatrical, which over-does Nature." Hence he reflected the virtues of neoclassic perspicuity and correctness. (These plans he more fully expressed in his Idea of the English School, published in 1751.) As he grew older he apparently became less tolerant of the teaching of the ancient languages in colonial schools: in Observations Relative to the Intentions of the Original Founders of the Academy of Philadelphia (1789), he charged that the Latin school had swallowed the English and that he was hence "surrounded by the Ghosts of my dear departed Friends, beckoning and urging me to use the only Tongue now left us, in demanding that Justice to our Grandchildren, that our Children has [sic] been denied."[i-111] The Latin and Greek languages he considered "in no other light than as the Chapeau bras of modern Literature."[i-112] Like Emerson's, his opposition was to linguistic study rather than to the classical ideas.

Although he emphasized the study of science and mechanics, it is important to observe that he kept his balance. He warned Miss Mary Stevenson in 1760: "There is ... a prudent Moderation to be used in Studies of this kind. The Knowledge of Nature may be ornamental, and it may be useful; but if, to attain an Eminence in that, we neglect the Knowledge and Practice of essential Duties, we deserve Reprehension."[i-113] Not without reserve did he champion the Moderns; remembering several provocative scientific observations in Pliny, he wrote to William Brownrigg (Nov. 7, 1773): "It has been of late too much the mode to slight the learning of the ancients."[i-114] He would not agree with the enthusiastic and trenchant disciple of the[xliv] moderns, M. Fontenelle, that "We are under an obligation to the ancients for having exhausted almost all the false theories that could be found."[i-115] Although he would agree that the empirical method of acquiring knowledge is more reasonable than authoritarianism reared on syllogistic foundations, and with Cowley that

Bacon has broke that scar-crow Deity ["Authority"],[i-116]

he was not blithely confident that science and the knowledge gained from experimentation would create a more rigorously moral race. He wrote to Priestley in 1782: "I should rejoice much, if I could once more recover the Leisure to search with you into the Works of Nature; I mean the inanimate, not the animate or moral part of them, the more I discover'd of the former, the more I admir'd them; the more I know of the latter, the more I am disgusted with them."[i-117] He often suggested, "As Men grow more enlightened," but seldom did this clause carry more than an intellectual connotation. Progress in knowledge[i-118] did not on the whole suggest to Franklin progress in morals or the general progress of mankind.

Essentially classical in morality, extolling a temperance like that of Xenophon, Epictetus, Cicero, Socrates, and Aristotle, Franklin could not cheerily champion the moderns without serious reservations. Considering only progress in knowledge, man may be considered as pedetentim progredientes, but, Franklin thought, man seemed to have found it easier to conquer lightning than himself. If science and other contemporaneous knowledge detracted from cosmic terror, it did not solve the problem of the mystery of evil and sin: like Shakespeare, Franklin was perplexed by the inexplicability and ruthlessness of Man's potential and actual malevolence.[i-119] Thus in stressing[xlv] utility and vocational adaptiveness, Franklin did not forget to stress the need for development of character, man's internal self, and here he did not find the ancients dispensable.[i-120] If unlike Socrates in his studies of physical nature, he was like the Athenian gadfly in his quest for moral perfection in the teeth of "perpetual temptation," in his strenuous and sober effort to know himself. Too little attention has been paid Franklin's Hellenic sobriety—even as it has had too meagre an influence. Let Molière challenge, "The ancients are the ancients, we are the people of today"; Franklin, although confident that he could learn more of physical nature from Newton than from Aristotle, was not convinced that the wisdom of Epictetus or the Golden Verses of Pythagoras were less salutary than the wit of his own age. A modern in his confidence in the progress of knowledge, Franklin, approaching the problem of morality, wisely saw the ancients and moderns as complementary. Aware of the continuity of the mind and race, he was not willing to dismiss the ancients as fit to be imitated. Yet he failed to discover in the welter of egoistic men any continuous moral progress, although, unlike the determinists, he thought that the individual could improve himself through self-knowledge and self-control. Unlike contemporary exponents of the "original genius" cult who scorned industrious rational study and conformity, Franklin as an educational theorist was the exponent of reason and of conscious intellectual industry and thrift; he would mediate between the study of nature and of man, and, like Aristotle, he would rely not so much upon individualistic self-expression as upon a purposeful imitation of those men in the past who had led useful and happy lives.



Uniting the "wit of Voltaire with the simplicity of Rousseau," Franklin achieved a style "only surpassed by the unimprovable Hobbes of Malmesbury, the paragon of perspicuity." Characterized by simplicity, order, and a trenchant pointedness, his prose style was "a principal means" of his "advancement."[i-122]

He was "extreamly ambitious ... to be a tolerable English writer." In the Autobiography he recalls that he read books in "polemic divinity," Plutarch's Lives (probably Dryden's translation), Pilgrims Progress, Defoe's Essays upon Several Projects, Mather's Essays to do Good, Xenophon's Memorabilia,[i-123] the Spectator papers, and the writings of Shaftesbury and Collins.

Born in Boston, he knew the Bible,[i-124] characterized by[xlvii] the apostle of Augustan correctness, Jonathan Swift, as possessing "that simplicity, which is one of the greatest perfections in any language." If Franklin did not achieve its "sublime eloquence," he approximated at intervals its directness and simplicity. In reading Defoe's Essays he learned that Queen Anne's England urged that writers be "as concise as possible" and avoid all "superfluous crowding in of insignificant words, more than are needful to express the thing intended." (It is possible that Defoe's efforts "to polish and refine the English tongue," to avoid "all irregular additions that ignorance and affectation have introduced," influenced Franklin in favor of "correctness" and against provincialisms.) Defoe's "explicit, easy, free, and very plain" rhetoric is Franklin's.

After Franklin's father warned him that his arguments were not well-ordered and trenchantly expressed, he desperately sought to acquire a convincing prose style. In 1717 James, Franklin's elder brother, returned from serving a printer's apprenticeship in London. James had known and been attracted to Augustan England, the England of the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian. Familiar is Franklin's narrative of how he patterned his fledgling style on the pages of the Spectator papers, and learned to satisfy his father—and himself. Like the neoclassicists, Franklin learned to write by imitation, by respectfully subordinating himself to those he recognized as masters, and not, like the romanticists, by expressing his own ego in revolt against convention and conformity to traditional standards. The group who supplied copy for James's New England Courant, we are told, were trying to write like the Spectator. "The very look of an ordinary first page of the Courant is like that of the Spectator page."[i-125] In the Dogood Papers (1722) and the Busy-Body[xlviii] series (1728) Franklin's writings show a literal indebtedness to the style and even substance of the Spectator.[i-126] If, after the Busy-Body essays, Franklin's writings bear little resemblance to the elegance and glow of the Spectator, he did learn from it a long-remembered lesson in orderliness. From the Spectator he may have learned to temper wit with morality and morality with wit; he may have learned the neoclassic objection to the "unhappy Force of an Imagination, unguided by the Check of Reason and Judgment";[i-127] he may have acquired his distrust of foreign phrases when English ones were as good, or better, insisting on the use of native English undefiled. It is interesting but perhaps futile to conjecture to what degree Franklin at this time, on reading Spectator No. 160, "On Geniuses" (warning against a servile imitation of ancient authors, a warning which anticipates the cult of original geniuses of later decades), would have been predisposed against ancient literature and languages. If the Spectator was partially responsible for his pleasantries at the expense of Greek in Dogood Paper No. IV, his attitude toward the ancients is more ostensibly the result of his later preoccupation with the sciences,[i-128] and of contact with representatives of the deistic time-spirit whose faith in progress led them to underrate the past.

When Franklin went to live in London in 1724-1726, and became familiar with such men of science as Dr. Henry Pemberton and others, he must have become aware of ideals of prose style not a little unlike those practised by the preachers of his Boston. In Boston he had heard (and in the polemical works in his father's library, read) sermons couched in a style satirized in Hudibras as a "Babylonish dialect ... of patched and piebald languages" (ll. 93 ff.). Sensing the disparity between the seventeenth-century[xlix] prose styles and the empirical, logical, and orderly method of science, the Royal Society not long after its inception inaugurated a campaign for a clarity akin to the pattern urged by Hobbes: "The Light of humane minds is Perspicuous Words, Reason is the Pace, Encrease of Science the way; and the benefit of man-kind the end. And on the contrary, Metaphors, and senseless and ambiguous words, are like ignes fatui; and reasoning upon them, is wandering among innumerable absurdities."[i-129] Summarizing the intent of the stylistic reformations instituted by the Royal Society, Thomas Sprat urged writers "to reject all the amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style: to return back to the primitive purity, and shortness, when men deliver'd so many things, almost in an equal number of words ... a close, naked, natural way of speaking; positive expressions; clear senses; a native easiness: bringing all things as near the Mathematical plainness, as they can: and preferring the language of Artizans, Countrymen, and Merchants, before that, of Wits, or Scholars."[i-130] It is asserted that the program of the Royal Society "called for stylistic reform as loudly as for reformation in philosophy. Moreover, this attitude was in the public mind indissolubly associated with the Society."[i-131] It is only reasonable to infer that Franklin (as a member of the Royal Society and as founder of the American Philosophical Society) was alive to the movement toward "undefiled[l] plainness" which had for half a century been gathering momentum.[i-132]

Even as Cartesianism[i-133] in France is said to have fostered logic and lucidity of detail, and that which is universally valid and recognized by all men, and that art which is aloof to the non-human world, so in England may Newtonianism (which overthrew Cartesianism) have conditioned writers to develop a uniform style, purged of tenuous rhetorical devices. An age characterized by a worship of reason, which was supposed to be identical in all men, an age deferring to the general mind of man, would be hostile to the rhetorical caprices of those expressing their private, idiosyncratic enthusiasms. If the neoclassic apotheosis of simplicity and freedom from intricacy was the result of a "rationalistic anti-intellectualism,"[i-134] expressed in terms of hostility to belabored proof of ideas known to the general will, then it would seem that one of the factors sturdily conditioning this hostility was Newtonian science. Admitting that reason leads to uniformitarianism, one may recall that the processes of science are discoverable by reason, and that such a cosmologist as Newton illustrated mathematically and empirically a system, grand in its lucidity, and capable of being apprehended by all through reason. If the deistic fear of "enthusiasm" in religion—the individual will prevailing against the consensus gentium—parallels, according to Professor Lovejoy, the neoclassic fear of feeling and the unrestrained play of imagination in art, then Newtonian science, as it reinforced deism, was no negligible factor in discrediting enthusiasm, and hence indirectly militating against originality, emotion, and the unchecked imagination. Is it not conceivable that the Newtonian[i-135] cosmology, popularized[li] by a vast discipleship, challenged the scientists and men of letters alike to achieve a corresponding order, clarity, and simplicity in poetry and prose?

After Franklin's return from London, he reinforced his Addison-like style with the rhetorical implications of science and Newtonianism: in his Preface (1729) to the Pennsylvania Gazette he observed that an editor ought to possess a "great Easiness and Command of Writing and Relating Things clearly and intelligibly, and in few Words."[i-136] Good writing, in Franklin's opinion, "should proceed regularly from things known to things unknown [surely the method of all inductive reasoning and science] distinctly and clearly without confusion. The words used should be the most expressive that the language affords, provided that they are the most generally understood. Nothing should be expressed in two words that can be as well expressed in one; that is, no synonyms should be used, or very rarely, but the whole should be as short as possible, consistent with clearness; the words should be so placed as to be agreeable to the ear in reading; summarily it should be smooth, clear, and short, for the contrary qualities are displeasing."[i-137] Like the members of the Royal Society, Franklin would bring the words of written discourse "as near as possible to the spoken."[i-138] In 1753 he observed: "If my Hypothesis [concerning waterspouts] is not the Truth itself it is [at] least as naked: For I have not with some of our learned Moderns, disguis'd my Nonsense in Greek, cloth'd it in Algebra or adorn'd it with Fluxions. You have it in puris naturalibus."[i-139] He briefly summarized his rhetorical ideal, in a letter to Hume: "In writings intended for persuasion[lii] and for general information, one cannot be too clear; and every expression in the least obscure is a fault."[i-140]

Unlike Jefferson, "no friend to what is called purism, but a zealous one" to neology, Franklin had an inveterate antipathy toward the use of colloquialisms, provincialisms, and extravagant innovations.[i-141] In another letter to Hume, he hoped that "we shall always in America make the best English of this Island [Britain] our standard."[i-142] If he did not hold the typical eighteenth-century view that "English must be subjected to a process of classical regularizing,"[i-143] neither did he, with his friend Joseph Priestley, espouse the idea of correctness, dependent only on usage. In general, he seems to have had a tendency toward purism; it is not unlikely that as a youth he was influenced by Swift's Proposal for Correcting, Improving, and Ascertaining the English Tongue.[i-144] Striving for correctness, and[liii] the avoidance of "affected Words or high-flown Phrases"[i-145] he approximated the curiosa felicitas of the neoclassicists.[i-146]

A solid neoclassicist[i-147] in style. Franklin accepted the canon of imitation as it was imperfectly understood in the eighteenth century. To the extent, however, that the models were conceived of as approximating the consensus gentium, fragments illustrating universal reason, there may be little disparity between neoclassic imitation and Aristotle's use of the term in the sense of imitating a higher ethical reality. His own life, Franklin thought, (with the exception of a few "errata") was "fit to be imitated."[i-148] A. H. Smyth notes, perhaps extravagantly, "Nothing but the 'Autobiography' of Benvenuto Cellini, or the 'Confessions' of Rousseau, can enter into competition with it."[i-149] This may suggest a clue to the durable nature of Franklin's life-tale. Cellini, it is true, was tremendously alive to Benvenuto, even as Michel de Montaigne was interested in his own whims, but neither Cellini, nor Montaigne, nor Franklin, could have penned the Confessions, the thesis of which is that if Rousseau is not better than other men at least he is different. Cellini, Montaigne, and Franklin, on the other hand, while allowing us to see their fancies and singular biases, tended to emphasize[liv] those qualities which they held in common with their age, nation, and even the continuity of mankind. Montaigne, it will be remembered, sought to express la connaissance de l'homme en général. With no aspirations to become an original genius, Franklin, both in his prose style and his yearning for perfection, sought the guidance of models, which he conceived as embodying universal reason. Had he been a writer of epics[i-150] he would with Pope have acquired "from ancient rules a just esteem"—when the rules were, in his mind, "according to nature."

Likewise Franklin is representative of the Enlightenment in his description of the province of the imagination. It is an axiom that "the belief that the imagination ought to be kept in check by reason, pervades the critical literature of the first half of the eighteenth century."[i-151] Franklin observes that poetasters above all need instruction on how to govern "Fancy [Imagination] with Judgement."[i-152] He implies that imagination is a power lending an air of unreality to a creation, often like "the Effect of some melancholy Humour."[i-153] He feared that the unchecked fancy would vitiate his ideals of simplicity and correctness, and a sober and practical argument.


Posing as no original genius independent of the wisdom of the ages,[i-154] confessing that "from a child" he "was fond of reading" and that as a youth "reading was the only amusement" he allowed himself, Franklin was not backward in cataloguing many of the authors who helped to motivate his thought. He seems to have been acquainted with portions of Plato, Aesop, Pliny, Xenophon, Herodotus, Epictetus, Vergil, Horace, Tacitus, Seneca, Sallust, Cicero, Tully, Milton, Jeremy Taylor, Bacon, Dryden, Tillotson, Rabelais,[i-155] Bunyan, Fénelon, Chevalier de Ramsay,[i-156] Pythagoras, Waller, Defoe, Addison and Steele, William Temple, Pope, Swift, Voltaire, Boyle, Algernon Sidney, Trenchard and Gordon,[i-157] Young, Mandeville, Locke, Shaftesbury, Collins, Bolingbroke, Richardson, Whiston, Watts, Thomson, Burke, Cowper, Darwin, Rowe, Rapin, Herschel, Paley, Lord Kames, Adam Smith, Hume, Robertson, Lavoisier, Buffon, Dupont de Nemours, Whitefield, Pemberton, Blackmore, John Ray, Petty, Turgot, Priestley, Paine, Mirabeau, Quesnay, Raynal, Morellet, and Condorcet, to suggest only the more prominent.[i-158] Such a catalogue tends to discredit the all too common idea that the untutored tradesman was torpid to the information and wisdom found in books.

If his prose style shows none of the delicate rhythms and haunting imagery of the prose born of the romantic movement, it is nevertheless far from pedestrian. If it seems devoid of imaginative splendor, it is not lacking in force and persuasion.[i-159] After one has noted Franklin's canon of simplicity[lvi] and order, his insistence on correctness, his assumed role as Censor Morum, his acceptance of the doctrine of imitation and the use of imagination guided by reason, one returns to the question of the degree to which the ideals of rhetoric fostered by the men of science may have helped to motivate Franklin's prose style, and to what degree his acceptance of deism augmented by Newtonianism may have furnished him with a rationale which lent sanction to his demand for a simple style.

Sir Humphrey Davy found in Franklin's scientific papers a language lucid and decorous, "almost as worthy of admiration as the doctrine"[i-160] they contain. S. G. Fisher buoyantly maintained that Franklin's "is the most effective literary style ever used by an American." After reading Franklin's paper on stoves he was "inclined to lay down the principle that the test of literary genius is the ability to be fascinating about stoves."[i-161] Whether he writes soberly (albeit tempered by Gallic fancy) of the mutability of life, as in The Ephemera, or of sophisticated social amenities, as in the letters to Madame Brillon and Madame Helvétius, or in his memoirs, in which solid fact follows solid fact, sifted by the years of good fortune, Franklin's style never loses its compelling charm and vigor. If he never wrote (or uttered) less than was demanded by the nature of his subject, neither would he have disgusted the Clerk of Oxenford who

Nought o word spak he more than was nede.

He was no formal literary critic such as Boileau, Lessing, or Coleridge, and no acknowledged arbiter of taste, such as Dr. Johnson. Yet Franklin, in voluminous practice, enjoying tremendous international vogue, proved that his theories bore the acid test of effectiveness. Indirectly he challenged his readers to honor principles of rhetoric which could so trenchantly serve the demands of his catholic pen, and make him one of the most widely read of all Americans.


Franklin was a printer chiefly because of two proclivities which were basic in his personality from childhood to old age—a bent toward practical mechanics ("handiness") and a fondness for reading (bookishness). Further, he was a journalist and publisher chiefly because he was a printer.

A thorough printer is both an artisan and an artist; he has both the manual dexterity of a good workman and the aesthetic appreciation of the amateur of beauty. Franklin always took pride in his ability to handle the printer's tools, from the time when, at the age of twelve, he became "a useful hand"[i-162] in the print shop of his brother James, until the very end of his life. One of the pleasantest anecdotes of the old printer is that which tells of his visit to the famous Didot printing establishment in Paris, when he stepped up to a press, and motioning the printer aside, himself took possession of the machine and printed off several sheets. Then the American ambassador smiled at the gaping printers and said, "Do not be astonished, Sirs, it is my former business."[i-163]

Even in his boyhood, it was a pleasure to Franklin "to see good workmen handle their tools," and he tells in his autobiography how much this feeling for tools meant to him throughout his life.[i-164] His flair for invention, though founded on this same[lviii] "handiness," was not always directed toward the production of tools; but in the two fields of "philosophical" experimentation and the printing trade, his dexterity and cleverness in making needful instruments and devices were invaluable.

Partly because of the fact that printers' supplies must be imported from England, and partly because of his natural tool-mindedness, Franklin manufactured more of his own supplies than any other American commercial printer before or since. He cast type, made paper molds, mixed inks, made contributions to press building, did engraving, forwarded experiments in stereotyping, and worked at logotypy. Long after he had retired from the printing business. Franklin continued to influence developments in that field. It is a common saying among printers that one never forgets the smell of printer's ink. Franklin kept touch with his former business through various partnerships, through correspondence with printer friends, through the establishment of a private press in his home at Passy during his ambassadorship to France, and through his personal supervision of the education of his grandson in "the art preservative of arts." "I am too old to follow printing again myself," he wrote to a friend, "but, loving the business, I have brought up my grandson Benjamin to it, and have built and furnished a printing-house for him, which he now manages under my eye."[i-165]

As to just how adept Franklin was on the distinctively aesthetic side of printing, critics must differ. It has been customary to assume that the output of his shop was far superior to that of the several other printing houses in the colonies.[i-166] Such broad generalizations are misleading, however; and it is certainly possible[lix] to find Parks and even Bradford imprints which compare favorably enough with some of Franklin's. In typography, the phase of printing which affords the widest aesthetic scope, Franklin was by no means a genius. William Parks, of Annapolis and later of Williamsburg, was at least Franklin's peer during the seventeen-thirties and 'forties in the artistic arrangement of type; and William Goddard, who practiced the art a little later in several of the colonies, was his superior. Yet Franklin was an outstanding printer in a region blessed with few good presses. The difference between him and most of the other colonial printers may be stated thus: Franklin maintained a high average of workmanlike (though not inspired) performance, while his contemporaries were inclined to be slovenly, inaccurate, and generally careless.

In the later years of his life Franklin gave no little attention to fine printing, though as a dilettante rather than as a commercial printer. In France he was friendly with François Ambroise Didot, the greatest French printer of his times, and put his grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache to school in Didot's establishment. With Pierre Simon Fournier, who ranked next to Didot among French printers, Franklin corresponded from time to time. In England the American printer maintained touch with prominent practitioners of his craft from the time of his first visit abroad until his death. Samuel Palmer, Franklin's first London employer, was but a mediocre printer; but John Watts, to whose house the young American went after a year at Palmer's, stood much higher in his vocation.[i-167] Both Watts and Palmer were patrons of William Caslon, from whom Franklin later bought type. But John Baskerville, Caslon's rival, was the founder whom Franklin did most to encourage and to bring to the attention of discriminating printers. The English printer with whom Franklin was upon the terms of[lx] greatest intimacy—and that for many years—was William Strahan, member of Parliament, King's Printer, and a successful publisher. Strahan was a man of parts, a great letter writer, and a friend of David Hume and Samuel Johnson. The latter referred to the Strahan shop as "the greatest printing house in London."[i-168] Another correspondent was John Walter, logotyper, press builder, and founder of the London Times.[i-169] In all his letters to his printer friends, Franklin shows not only a lively interest in improvements and inventions for the trade, but also an increasing interest in the artistic side of printing and type-founding.

The "bookish inclination" which Franklin credits in the Autobiography with being the quality that decided his father to make a printer of him, appertained to the trade because printers were commonly publishers and sellers of books and pamphlets, and often editors and publishers of newspapers. How the young Franklin satisfied his literary urge in the print shop of his brother James is a familiar story, and his theories of writing are traced in another section of this Introduction. The contribution to literature which he made as a publisher of original books is negligible, but he did his part both as publisher and bookseller to spread that bookishness to which he felt that he owed much of his own success. Like all publishers before and since, he was forced by his customers to issue books of a lower sort than he could fully approve in order to float editions of more desirable works: he tells plaintively of his public's preference for "Robin Hood's Songs" over the Psalms of his beloved Watts.[i-170] In still[lxi] another way, Franklin promoted the bookishness of his community: he founded the first of American circulating libraries, and he built up for himself one of the largest private libraries in the country.[i-171]

Journalism was a common by-product of the printing trade. When Franklin and Meredith took over Keimer's The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729, there were six other newspapers being published in the colonies—three in Boston and one each in New York, Philadelphia, and Annapolis. The Williamsburg press had a newspaper a few years later, but the other two printing towns in the colonies had to wait some thirty years for journalistic ventures—a newspaper in New London and a magazine in Woodbridge.[i-172]

The fundamental question to be asked in analyzing a newspaper may be stated thus: What is the editorial conception of the primary function of the press? Franklin had received his early newspaper training on his brother's New England Courant, which frankly acknowledged entertainment as its primary function and relegated news to a minor place. Of his contemporaries in 1729, the oldest, the Boston News-Letter, held the publication of news to be its sole function; while the Boston Gazette, the New York Gazette, and the Maryland Gazette took much the same attitude. In the main, they were rather dreary reprints of stale European news. Bradford's American Weekly Mercury, in Philadelphia, gave somewhat more attention to local news; but with the exception of the Franklin-Breintnal Busy-Body papers, contributed in 1728-1729 in order to bring Keimer to his knees, the Mercury gave very little attention to the entertainment function. Only the New England Weekly Journal, carrying on something of the tradition of the old Courant, dealt largely in entertainment as well as in news. This[lxii] bi-functional policy was the one adopted by Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette, which was always readable and amusing at the same time that it was newsy.

Of the editorial or opinion-forming function of newspapers there was little evidence in Franklin's paper,[i-173] at least in the field of politics. The obvious reason was the active governmental censorship. It remained for John Peter Zenger to introduce that function into colonial journalism in the New York Weekly Journal in 1733: his struggle for the freedom of the press is well known.[i-174] But the Pennsylvania Gazette never became in any degree a political organ while Franklin edited it; and his first political pronouncement was published not in his paper but in a pamphlet, Plain Truth, issued just before his retirement from editorial duties.

Two common misconceptions in regard to Franklin's newspaper call for correction: (1) The Pennsylvania Gazette was not connected as forerunner or ancestor with the Saturday Evening Post. The Gazette, a newspaper to the end, closed its file in 1815;[i-175] the Post, a story paper, issued its Volume I, Number 1, in 1821. Throughout much of the latter half of the nineteenth century, the Post carried the legend "Founded in 1821" on its front page; and not until after the Curtis Publishing Company bought it in 1897 did it begin to print the words "Founded A.D. 1728 by Benjamin Franklin" on its cover. The sole connection of the Post with Franklin lies in the fact that it was first issued[lxiii] from an office at 53 Market Street which Franklin had once occupied.[i-176] (2) Franklin did not publish a "chain" of newspapers. A "chain" implies some kind of co-operative connection between the various members, but the several papers which Franklin helped to finance had no such relationship. In some he was a six-years partner,[i-177] keeping his interest until the resident publisher, usually a former employee, was established; to some he made loans or, in the case of relatives, gifts.[i-178]

One of his journalistic ventures which is not mentioned in the Autobiography is the General Magazine, of 1741. It missed by three days being the first of American magazines: Andrew Bradford had learned of Franklin's project and, with his American Magazine, beat him in the race for priority. But the American Magazine was a failure in three monthly numbers, while Franklin's periodical, though more readable, died after its sixth issue.[i-179] As an initial episode in the history of American magazines, the General Magazine has a certain eminence; but Franklin's neglect of it when writing his Autobiography, after the events of nearly fifty busy years had apparently crowded it out of his memory, is sufficient commentary on its unimportance.

To the end of his life Franklin was proud of his trade of printing, with its handmaiden journalism. His last will and testament begins: "I, Benjamin Franklin, Printer...." Though clearly not the chief interest of his life, it was one to which he was fundamentally and consistently attached.



An eighteenth-century colonial who wrote on paper money, interest, value, and insurance, who discussed a theory of population and the economic aspects of the abolition of slavery, who championed free trade, and who probably lent Adam Smith some information used in his Wealth of Nations, who was an empirical agriculturist, who was "half physiocratic before the rise of the physiocratic school"—such a colonial has, indeed, claims to being America's pioneer economist.

Franklin's hatred of negro slavery was conditioned by more than his humanitarian bias. It may be seen that his indictments of black cargoes were the resultant of an interplay of his convictions that economically slavery was enervating and dear and of his abstract sense of religious and ethical justice. One should not minimize, however, his distrust of slavery on other than economic bases. He was acutely influenced by the Quakers of his colony who, like gadflies, were stinging slaveholders to an awareness of their blood traffic, and by the rise of English humanitarianism. In his youth he had published (first edition, 1729; second, 1730), with no little danger to himself and his business, Ralph Sandiford's A Brief Examination of the Practice of the Times, an Amos-like vituperative attack on the "unrighteous Gain" of slaveholding. He also published works of Benjamin Lay and John Woolman.[i-180] Friend of Anthony Benezet, Benjamin Rush, Fothergill, and Granville Sharp, and after 1760 a member of Dr. Bray's Associates, he lent his voice and pen to denouncing slavery on religious and ethical grounds; and in England, after the James Sommersett[lxv] trial (1772), he "began to agitate for parliamentary action" toward the abolishing of slavery in all parts of the British Empire.[i-181] Following the Sommersett verdict, Franklin contributed a brief article to the London Chronicle (June 18-20, 1772) in which he denounced the "constant butchery of the human species by this pestilential detestable traffic in the bodies and souls of men."[i-182] Losing his temperamental urbanity when observing "the diabolical Commerce,"[i-183] "the abominable African Trade," he recollects approvingly that a certain French moralist[i-184] could "not look on a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained with spots of human blood!"[i-185] Conditioned by Quakerism, by his deism, which suggested that "the most acceptable Service we render him [God] is doing good to his other Children," and by the eighteenth century's growing repugnance toward suffering and pain,[i-186] Franklin (although he took little part in legislating against slavery in Pennsylvania) became through his writing a model to be imitated, especially in France, by a people more intent on becoming humane than saintly.

His letter to Anthony Benezet (London, July 14, 1773), however, clearly indicates that for economic, as well as humanitarian reasons, he had sought freedom for slaves:

I am glad to hear that such humane Sentiments prevail so much more generally than heretofore, that there is Reason to hope our Colonies may in time get clear of a Practice that[lxvi] disgraces them, and, without producing any equivalent Benefit, is dangerous to their very Existence.[i-187]

Franklin's view of the economic disabilities of slavery is best expressed in Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, Etc. (1751). Arguing against British restraint of colonial manufactures, he observed that "'tis an ill-grounded Opinion that by the Labour of slaves, America may possibly vie in Cheapness of Manufactures with Britain. The Labour of Slaves can never be so cheap here as the Labour of working Men is in Britain."[i-188] With arithmetic based on empirical scrutiny of existing conditions, resembling the mode of economists following Adam Smith, he charged that slaves are economically unprofitable due to the rate of interest in the colonies, their initial price, their insurance and maintenance, their negligence and malevolence.[i-189] In addition, "Slaves ... pejorate the Families that use them; the white Children become proud, disgusted with Labour, and being educated in Idleness, are rendered unfit to get a Living by Industry."[i-190] Slaves are hardly economical investments in terms of colonial character. Looking to the "English Sugar Islands" where Negroes "have greatly diminish'd the Whites," and deprived the poor of employment, "while a few Families acquire vast Estates," he realized that "population was limited by means of subsistence,"[i-191] which foreshadowed the more pessimistic progressions of Malthus. Having just maintained that "our People must at least be doubled every 20 Years,"[i-192] and intuitively suspecting that the means for subsistence progress more slowly, he exclaimed, "Why increase the Sons of Africa, by planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red?"[i-193] He saw mere economic extravagance as the short-time effect of[lxvii] slavery; he feared that the long-time effect would be to create an aristocracy subsisting at the head of a vast brood of slaves and poor whites.[i-194]

It was inevitable in a state having no staple crop, such as rice, sugar, tobacco, or cotton, which offered at least economic justification for negro slavery, that abolition of slaves should be urged partially on purely economic grounds, and that Pennsylvania should have been the first colony to legislate in favor of abolition, in 1780. Although one may feel that economic determinism is overly simple and audacious in its doctrinaire interpretations, one can not refuse to see the extent to which economics tended to buttress humane and religious factors in Franklin's mind to make him a persuasive champion of abolition.[i-195]

A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency[i-196] has been appraised as "by far the ablest and most original treatise that had been written on the subject up to 1728[lxviii] and was probably the most widely read work on paper currency that appeared in colonial America."[i-197] That Franklin's interest in paper money was not unique, one may gather from the fact that between 1714 and 1721 "nearly thirty pamphlets appeared" on this subject in Massachusetts alone.[i-198] One of the 1728 theses at Harvard, answered in the affirmative, was: "Does the issue of paper money contribute to the public good?"[i-199] "Since there was a scarcity of circulating medium, caused by the constant drain of specie for export," explains Mr. D. R. Dewey, "it is not strange that projects for converting credit into wealth should have sprung up in the colonies."[i-200] Franklin argued in his Modest Enquiry[i-201] that (1) "A plentiful Currency will occasion Interest to be low," (2) it "will occasion the Trading Produce to bear a good Price," (3) it "will encourage great Numbers of labouring and Handicrafts Men to come and settle in the Country," and (4) it "will occasion a less consumption of European Goods, in proportion to the Number of the People." Thus he saw paper money as a "Morrison's Pill," promising to cure all economic ills.[i-202] It has been suggested that as a printer Franklin naturally would favor issues of paper money. In view of his later apostasy one should note that in this essay Franklin apparently accepted the current mercantilist notions, best expressed here in his conviction that paper money will secure a favorable balance of trade.[lxix] Demands for emissions of paper money were inevitable in a colony in the grip of such a restrictive commercial policy as British mercantilism. It must be observed, however, that Franklin differed from the proper mercantilists to the extent that simple valuable metals were not to be measures of value. Deriving his idea from Sir William Petty, Franklin took labor as the true measure of value,[i-203]—a position later held by Karl Marx. In his preoccupation with the growth of manufactures and favorable balances of trade, Franklin gave no suggestions that at least by 1767 he was to become an exponent of agrarianism and free trade. One wonders to what extent his warnings against the purchase of "unnecessary Householdstuff, or any superfluous thing," his inveterate emphasis on industry and frugality, were conditioned by his view that such indulgence would essentially cause a preponderance of imports, hence casting against them an unfavorable trade balance.[i-204]

In 1751 Parliament passed an act regulating in the New England colonies the issue of paper money and preventing them "from adding a legal tender clause thereto"; in 1764 Parliament forbade issue of legal tender money in any of the colonies. As a member of the Pennsylvania assembly, Franklin had successfully sponsored issues of paper money; in London, following the 1764 act, he urged that one of the causes breeding disrespect for Parliament was "the prohibition of making paper money among [us]."[i-205] Economics blends into politics when we remember that the 1764 restraining legislation was "one of the factors in the subsequent separation, for it caused some of the suffering that[lxx] inevitably follows in the wake of an unsound monetary policy whose onward course is suddenly checked."[i-206] In 1766 Franklin was yet an ardent imperialist, who sought politically and economically to keep whole "that fine and noble China Vase, the British Empire." His Remarks and Facts Concerning American Paper Money (1767), in answer to Lord Hillsborough's Board of Trade report circulated among British merchants, is an ardent plea for legal tender paper money. He argued that British merchants (since yearly trade balances had regularly been in their favor) had not been deprived of gold and silver, that paper money had worked in the Colonies,[i-207] and that British merchants had lost no more in their colonial dealings than was inevitable in war times. Franklin concluded that since there were no mines in the colonies, paper money was a necessity (arguing here very shrewdly that even English silver "is obliged to the legal Tender for Part of its Value"). Hence, at least for colonies deserving it, the mother country should take off the restraint on legal tender. What Franklin seems not to have known and what the merchants had actually felt (they had their accounts staring at them) was that in the past, especially after 1750, much of the legal tender was in effect nothing but inconvertible fiat money. Mr. Carey quotes from an uncollected item, Franklin's "The Legal Tender of Paper Money in America," in which he threatened that "if the colonies were not allowed to issue legal-tender notes there was no way in which they could retain hard money except by boycotting English goods."[i-208] Franklin suggested (to S. Cooper, April 22, 1779) that depreciation may not be unmixed evil, since it may be viewed as a tax: "It should[lxxi] always be remembered, that the original Intention was to sink the Bills by Taxes, which would as effectually extinguish the Debt as an actual Redemption."[i-209] Not a little Machiavellian for one who was not blind to the sanctity of contracts!

With the Revolution and the attendant depreciation in currency, Franklin tended to warn against over-issues.[i-210] Like Governor Hutchinson, who said that "the morals of the people depreciate with the currency," Franklin confessed in 1783 "the many Mischiefs, the injustices, the Corruption of Manners, &c., &c., that attended a depreciating Currency."[i-211] There is no evidence to show that Franklin dissented from the conservative prohibition in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 against issues of legal tender paper.[i-212]

Deborah Logan (in a letter in 1829) stated that Franklin "once told Dr. Logan that the celebrated Adam Smith, when writing his 'Wealth of Nations,' was in the habit of bringing chapter after chapter as he composed it, to himself, Dr. Price and others of the literati; then patiently hear [sic] their observations, and profit by their discussion and criticism—even sometimes submitting to write whole chapters anew, and even to reverse some of his propositions."[i-213] James Parton observed that the allusions to the colonies which "constitute the experimental evidence of the essential truth of the book" were supplied by Franklin.[i-214] But Rae reasonably counters: "It ought of course to be borne in mind that Smith had been in the constant habit of hearing much about the American Colonies and their affairs[lxxii] during his thirteen years in Glasgow from the intelligent merchants and returned planters of that city."[i-215]

In general, we may conclude that Franklin and Smith were exponents of free trade in proportion as they were reactionaries against British mercantilism. Each in his reaction tended to elevate the function of agriculture beyond reasonable limits. Unlike the physiocrats and Franklin, however, Adam Smith did not hold that, in terms of wealth-producing, manufacturers were sterile. Even if Franklin saw only agriculture as productive, he was not blind to the utility of manufactures, especially after the break with the mother country, when he realized that home industry must be developed to supply the colonial needs formerly satisfied by British exports.[i-216]

Finally, each was, in varying degrees, an exponent of laissez[lxxiii] faire.[i-217] Since we shall discover that politically Franklin was less a democrat than is often supposed, we may feel that his belief in free trade led him to embrace reservedly the principle of laissez faire, rather than that free trade, an economic concept, was but a fragment of a larger dogma, namely, that government should be characterized by its passivity, frugality, and maximum negligence. V. L. Parrington quotes[i-218] from George Whately's Principles of Trade, which contained views congenial to Franklin:

When Colbert assembled some wise old merchants of France, and desired their advice and opinion, how he could best serve and promote commerce, their answer, after consultation, was, in three words only, Laissez-nous faire: "Let us alone." It is said by a very solid writer of the same nation, that he is well advanced in the science of politics, who knows the full force of that maxim. Pas trop gouverner: "Not to govern too much!" which, perhaps, would be of more use when applied to trade, than in any other public concern. (Present editors' italics.)

Laissez faire in Franklin's as in Whately's view tended to be synonymous with free trade. Laissez faire was suggested by his insistence on free trade, as he progressively expressed his antipathy for mercantilism, rather than that free trade was simply[lxxiv] a natural deduction from a more inclusive economic-political dogma.

Writing to the pro-colonial Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph, whose "sweet Retirement" at Twyford he had long enjoyed, Franklin, seeing no hopes of a reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain, uttered what marked him as the first American disciple of Quesnay's school of economic thought: "Agriculture is the great Source of Wealth and Plenty. By cutting off our Trade you have thrown us to the Earth, whence like Antaeus we shall rise yearly with fresh Strength and Vigour."[i-219] Upon learning of the colonists' "Resolutions of Non-Importation" he wrote to "Cousin" Folger that they must promote their own industries, especially those of the "Earth and their Sea, the true Sources of Wealth and Plenty."[i-220] Learning that the colonists had threatened to boycott English manufacturers by creating their own basic industries, Franklin demurred in a letter to Cadwallader Evans: "Agriculture is truly productive of new wealth; manufacturers only change forms, and whatever value they give to the materials they work upon, they in the mean time consume an equal value in provisions, &c. So that riches are not increased by manufacturing; the only advantage is, that provisions in the shape of manufactures are more easily carried for sale to foreign markets."[i-221] Positions to be Examined, Concerning National Wealth[i-222] affords a succinct statement of Franklin's agrarianism. "There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbours. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture,[lxxv] the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry."[i-223] Dupont de Nemours, as early as 1769, had written: "Who does not know that the English have today their Benjamin Franklin, who has adopted the principles and the doctrines of our French economists?"[i-224] Before attempting to appraise the real indebtedness of Franklin to the physiocrats, it is well to seek to learn how he came in contact with their ideas, and especially why by the year 1767 he was acutely susceptible to their doctrine. In the summer of 1767, in the company of Sir John Pringle, Franklin went to Paris, not an unknown figure to the French savants, who were acquainted with his scientific papers already translated into French by D'Alibard. That he was feted by the Newtons of the physiocrats, François Quesnay and the elder Mirabeau, as "le Savant, le Geomètre, le Physicien, l'homme à qui la nature permet de dévoiler ses secrets,"[i-225] we are assured, when to De Nemours (July 28, 1768) he writes regretfully: "Be so good as to present my sincere respect to that venerable apostle, Dr. Quesnay, and to the illustrious Ami des Hommes (of whose civilities to me at Paris I retain a grateful remembrance)...."[i-226] Having missed Franklin in Paris (1767), De Nemours had sent Franklin "un recueil des principaux traités économiques du Docteur Quesnay" and his own Physiocratie (1768), which cast him in the role "of a propagandist of Physiocratie doctrines."[i-227] Franklin admitted, "I am perfectly charmed with them, and wish I could have stayed in France for some time, to have studied in[lxxvi] your school, that I might by conversing with its founders have made myself quite a master of that philosophy."[i-228] That Franklin was not before 1767 unacquainted with the Économistes we learn when he tells Dupont de Nemours that Dr. Templeman had shown him the De Nemours-Templeman correspondence when the latter was Secretary of the London Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. A second trip to Paris (in 1769) to confer with Barbeu Dubourg, an avowed physiocrat, concerning his forthcoming translation of Franklin's works, served to acquaint him still further with the doctrines of the new school.

Franklin's agrarianism[i-229] is congruent with physiocracy[i-230] in as far as he observed that agriculture alone, of the many industries, produced a surplus of wealth after all of the expenses of production had been paid.[i-231] Each laborer produced more than[lxxvii] enough to satisfy his own needs. This surplus the Économistes termed the produit net. A worker in manufactures, it was assumed, consumed foodstuffs and other materials in proportion to the value he created in his manufacturing process. Hence there obviously could be no produit net accruing from manufactures. Like the physiocrats, Franklin felt that manufactures were sterile, to the extent that no new wealth was created. The physiocrats believed, however, that laborers in manufacturing industries could create a produit net if they stinted themselves in consuming foodstuffs, et cetera, but it was argued that this prudential asceticism was not a characteristic habit. To this extent at least the physiocrats were empirical.

Free trade no less than agrarianism characterized physiocracy. Although Franklin indicated his antagonism toward governmental restraint of trade, internal and among nations, in his antipathy toward British mercantilism, it was not until after he became impregnated with French doctrine that he began to express very fully his advocacy of free trade. After Connecticut imposed a 5% duty on goods imported from neighboring colonies, Franklin wrote to Jared Eliot in 1747 that it was likely that the duty would devolve on the consumer and be "only another mode of Taxing" the purchaser. In addition he recognized that smuggling, virtually a colonial art, would cause the "fair Trader" to "be undersold and ruined."[i-232] He urged that[lxxviii] the import duty might suggest selfishness, and might also tend to deter Connecticut commerce. Here, it must be admitted, Franklin did not sanction free trade with a priori appeals to the "natural order," the key in the arch of physiocracy. He rather appealed to the instincts and observations of the prudential tradesman. His Plan for Regulating Indian Affairs (1766), unlike his 1747 letters, suggested (if it did not express concretely) inviolable laws of commerce in the words: "It seems contrary to the Nature of Commerce, for Government to interfere in the Prices of Commodities.... It therefore seems to me, that Trade will best find and make its own Rates; and that Government cannot well interfere, unless it would take the whole Trade into its own hands ... and manage it by its own Servants at its own Risque."[i-233] To Dupont de Nemours he admitted that British mercantilism had not achieved "that wisdom which sees the welfare of the parts in the prosperity of the whole."[i-234] To Sir Edward Newenham, representing the County of Dublin, he expressed admiration for Irish efforts to secure freedom of commerce, "which is the right of all mankind." "To enjoy all the advantages of the climate, soil, and situation in which God and nature have placed us, is as clear a right as that of breathing; and can never be justly taken from men but as a punishment for some atrocious crime."[i-235] Three years before he met Quesnay (though after he had read Dupont de Nemours's letters to Templeman), Franklin sanctioned free trade through appeal to other than utilitarian prudence: first he admitted that British restraint of colonial commerce, for example with the West Indies, will tend to prevent colonists from making remittances for[lxxix] British manufactured goods, since "The Cat can yield but her skin." Then with a suggestion of philosophic generalization he hoped that "In time perhaps Mankind may be wise enough to let Trade take its own Course, find its own Channels, and regulate its own Proportions, etc."[i-236] Restraint of manufactures "deprive[s] us of the Advantage God & Nature seem to have intended us.... So selfish is the human Mind! But 'tis well there is One above that rules these Matters with a more equal Hand. He that is pleas'd to feed the Ravens, will undoubtedly take care to prevent a Monopoly of the Carrion."[i-237] Glorifying the husbandman and suggesting that trade restrictions disturb a natural order, Franklin wrote to David Hartley in 1783 that Great Britain has tended to impede "the mutual communications among men of the gifts of God, and rendering miserable multitudes of merchants and their families, artisans, and cultivators of the earth, the most peaceable and innocent part of the human species."[i-238]

That Franklin was not without his influence in eighteenth-century economic thought we may gather from Dugald Stewart's opinion that "the expressions laissez-faire and, pas trop gouverner are indebted chiefly for their extensive circulation to the short and luminous comments of Franklin, which had so extraordinary an influence on public opinion in the old and new[lxxx] world."[i-239] Mr. Carey maintains that Franklin, unlike the physiocrats, inveighed against trade regulations because they led to smuggling rather than because to any important degree they violated the "natural order." The physiocrats are tenuous, amorphous, and ambiguous when they seek to define L'Ordre naturel. At times Dupont de Nemours seems to identify it with a primitivistic past.[i-240] Quesnay, on the other hand, says: "Natural right is indeterminate in a state of nature. The right only appears when justice and labour have been established."[i-241] Again, he asserts: "By entering society and making conventions for their mutual advantage men increase the scope of natural right without incurring any restriction of their liberties, for this is just the state of things that enlightened reason would have chosen."[i-242] Natural order is a "providential order": "Its laws are irrevocable, pertaining as they do to the essence of matter and the soul of humanity. They are just the expression of the will of God."[i-243] According to the physiocrats, the laws of the natural order are "unique, eternal, invariable, and universal."[i-244] Now it is true that nowhere did Franklin assert that his advocacy of laissez faire and agrarianism was neatly dependent on these a priori bases. Even though this is true, there are references (quoted above) which seem to suggest that trade restrictions are violations of the very nature of things. It is not wholly fanciful (bearing in mind Franklin's adoration of a Deity who is the creator and sustainer of immutable, universal physical laws which together present the mind with the concept of a vast, wonderfully harmonized physical machine) to conjecture to what extent this matchless physical harmony tended to challenge him with the possibility of discovering a parallel economic machine operating according to immutable laws capable of proof and human adaptability.


O. H. Taylor has shown that "The evolution of the idea of 'laws' in economics has closely paralleled its evolution in the natural sciences."[i-245] In searching for these economic constants, "the economic mechanism was regarded as a wise device of the Creator for causing individuals, while pursuing only their own interests, to promote the prosperity of society; and for causing the right adjustment to one another of supplies, demand, prices, and incomes, to take place automatically, in consequence of the free action of all individuals."[i-246] After giving due weight to the fact that Franklin saw in the doctrine of the physiocrats trenchant arguments to buttress his attacks on British mercantilism, one has cogent evidence for at least raising the question, To what extent may his apprehension of a demonstrable physical harmony have suggested to his speculative mind an economic analogy?[i-247]



Plague of the Pennsylvania proprietaries, propagandist of the American Revolution, moderator of the Constitutional Convention, Franklin was all through his life a politician and statesman in an age characterized above all by political speculations and changes in the destiny of states. Colonial patriot, "arch rebel of King George III," "idol of the court of Versailles," Franklin was a cyclopedia of political strategy and principles. Only through a genetic survey of Franklin the political theorist can one hope to understand his mind as he changed from imperialist, to revolutionist, to the patriarch of the Constitutional Convention who, like a balance wheel, moderated the extreme party factions.

In the early 1720's, Franklin had breathed a Boston air saturated with discontent between the royal governor and the governed. By 1730 he was printer to the Pennsylvania Assembly and in 1736 was appointed clerk to that body. Yet one learns little of his political biases until 1747, when he published Plain Truth. In 1729 he genially asserted that he was "no Party-man,"[i-248] and in 1746 temperately stated,

Free from the bitter Rage of Party Zeal,
All those we love who seek the publick Weal.[i-249]

His Plain Truth (November, 1747), directed against the proprietary governor as well as against the Quaker assembly, showed Franklin a party man only if one dedicated to "the publick weal" was a party man. With all respect for the Quaker conscience which checks military activity, Franklin could not, however, condone its virtually prohibiting others from defending[lxxxiii] the province's border. And the proprietaries had shown an inveterate unwillingness to arm Pennsylvania—a reluctance which did not, however, prevent them from collecting taxes and quitrents. On other questions the governor and his chiefs had to contend with the opposition of the assembly. Without opposition, the proprietary government could serenely kennel itself in its medieval privilege of remaining dumb to an urgent need: one remembers that eighteenth-century proprietary colonies were "essentially feudal principalities, upon the grantees of which were bestowed all the inferior regalities and subordinate powers of legislation which formerly belonged to the counts palatine, while provision was also made for the maintenance of sovereignty in the king [the king paid little attention to Pennsylvania], and for the realization of the objects of the grant."[i-250] While the government remained inert, Pennsylvania would be a pawn in the steeled hands of the French and their rum-subsidized Indian mercenaries. Appealing to Scripture and common sense, Franklin pleaded for "Order, Discipline, and a few Cannon."[i-251] Not untruthfully he warned that "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."[i-252] Since war existed, there was no need to consider him a militarist because he challenged, "The Way to secure Peace is to be prepared for War."[i-253] In the midst of Plain Truth Franklin uttered what only before the time of Locke could be interpreted in terms of feudal comitatus: he entreated his readers 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."[i-254] Suggestive of the contract theory, this is revolutionary only in a very elementary[lxxxiv] way. With the French writhing under the Treaty of Paris, with appeals to natural rights and the right of revolution, this once harmless principle took on Gargantuan significance. But Thomas Penn anticipated wisely enough the ultimate implication of Franklin's paper; Penn intuitively saw the march of time: "Mr. Franklin's doctrine that obedience to governors is no more due them than protection to the people, is not fit to be in the heads of the unthinking multitude. He is a dangerous man and I should be glad if he inhabited any other country, as I believe him of a very uneasy spirit. However, as he is a sort of tribune of the people, he must be treated with regard."[i-255] It is difficult to see how Franklin's passion for order and provincial union,[i-256] obviously necessary, could have been considered so illiberally subversive of the government. By 1747 Franklin had read in Telemachus that kings exist for the people, not the people for the kings; he must have read Locke's justification of the "Glorious Revolution" and have become aware of the impetus it gave to the British authority of consent in its subsequent constitutional history.

After his first political pamphlet, he widened his horizon from provincial to colonial affairs. Two years before the London Board of Trade demanded that colonial governors hold a conference with the Iroquois, Franklin seems to have devised plans for uniting the several colonies. He was aware of the narrow particularism shown by the provinces; he knew also that since "Governors are often on ill Terms with their Assemblies," no concerted military efforts could be achieved without a military[lxxxv] federation.[i-257] One remembers that as soon as he could think politically he was an imperialist, a lesser William Pitt, and in his Increase of Mankind (1751) could gloat over an envisioned thickly populated America—"What an Accession of Power to the British Empire by Sea as well as Land!"[i-258] When the Board of Trade, after British efforts to bring the colonies together had failed, demanded that something be done, Franklin was appointed one of the commissioners to meet at Albany in 1754. Like Franklin, Governor Glen had admitted that the colonies were "a Rope of Sand ... loose and inconnected."[i-259] Franklin's plan, adopted by the commissioners, called for a Governor-General "appointed by the king" and a Grand Council made up of members chosen by the Assembly of each of the colonies, the Governor "to have a negation on all acts of the Grand Council, and carry into execution whatever is agreed on by him and that Council."[i-260] Surely not a very auspicious beginning for one who later was to favor the legislative over the executive functions of state. The plan included the powers of making Indian treaties of peace and war, of regulating Indian trade and Indian purchases, of stimulating the settling of new lands, of making laws to govern new areas, of raising soldiers, of laying general duties, et cetera.[i-261] But Franklin did not minimize the lack of cohesion of the colonies. We recollect that "in 1755, at a time[lxxxvi] when their very existence was threatened by the French, Massachusetts and New York engaged in a bitter boundary controversy leading to riot and bloodshed."[i-262] The colonies refused to ratify the plan—"their weak Noddles are perfectly distracted,"[i-263] wrote Franklin. He was probably right when he observed in 1789 that had the plan been adopted "the subsequent Separation of the Colonies from the Mother Country might not so soon have happened."[i-264] The sending of British regulars to America and the resulting efforts at taxation were not least among the sparks which set off the Revolution.

Franklin's Three Letters to Governor Shirley (1754), while expressing no credulous views of the wisdom of the people, maintained in one breath that the colonists were loyal to the Constitution and Crown as ever colonists were and in another that "it is supposed an undoubted right of Englishmen, not to be taxed but by their own consent given through their representatives."[i-265] (Shirley had apparently written that the Council in the Albany Plan should be appointed by England, and not by the colonial assemblies.) Franklin held for the colonists' right to English civil liberty and the right to enjoy the Constitution. Here again we find a factor later magnified into one of the major causes of the Revolution.

In addition to being lethargic in the defense of the Pennsylvania borders, the proprietor refused "to be taxed except for a trifling Part of his Estate, the Quitrents, located unimprov'd Lands, Money at Interest, etc., etc., being exempted by Instructions to the Governor."[i-266] Thereupon Franklin turned from[lxxxvii] colonial affairs (which had indeed proved obstinate) to pressing local matters, when in 1757 he was appointed agent to go to London to demand that the proprietor submit his estates to be taxed. In the Report of the Committee of Aggrievances of the Assembly of Pennsylvania[i-267] (Feb. 22, 1757) it was charged that the proprietor had violated the royal charter and the colonists' civil rights as Englishmen, and had abrogated their natural rights, rights "inherent in every man, antecedent to all laws."[i-268] Later it was but a short step from provincial matters to colonial rights of revolution. In this Report we see Franklin associated for the first time expressly with the throne-and-altar-defying concept of natural rights.

Although we have yet to review the evidence which shows that Franklin at one stage in his political career was an arch-imperialist, we need to digress to observe an intellectual factor which, if only fragmentarily expressed in his political thought during his activities in behalf of Pennsylvania liberties, was to become a momentous sanction when during the war he became a diplomat of revolution. From the Stoics, from Cicero, Grotius, Puffendorf, Burlamaqui, and as Rev. Jonathan Mayhew[i-269] observes, from Plato and Demosthenes, from Sidney, Milton, Hoadley, and Locke; in addition, from Gordon and Trenchard (see Cato's Letters and The Independent Whig), Blackstone, Coke—from these and many others, the colonists derived a pattern of thought known as natural rights, dependent on natural law.[i-270] There is no better summary of natural rights[lxxxviii] than the Declaration of Independence; and of it John Adams remarked: "There is not an idea in it but what has been hackneyed in Congress for two years before."[i-271] Carl Becker pointedly observes: "Where Jefferson got his ideas is hardly so much a question as where he could have got away from them."[i-272] A characteristic summary of natural law may be found in Blackstone's Commentaries:[i-273]

This law of nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.[i-274]

Discoverable only by reason, natural laws are immutable and universal, apprehensible by all men. As Hamilton wrote,

The origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact between the rulers and the ruled, and must be liable to such limitations as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can any man, or set of men, have to govern others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a people in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to intrust, is to violate that law of nature which gives every man a right to his personal liberty, and can therefore confer no obligation to obedience.[i-275]


In a pre-social state, real or hypothetical, men possess certain natural rights, the crown of them, according to Locke,[i-276] being "the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name, property." In entering the social state men through free consent are willing to sacrifice fragments of their natural rights in order to gain civil rights. This process would seem tyrannical were one to forget that the surrender is sanctioned by the principle of consent. Men in sacrificing their rights expect from society (i.e., the governors) civil rights and, in addition, protection of their unsurrendered natural rights. A voluntary compact is achieved between the governor and the governed. If laws are fabricated which contravene these, the governed have retained for themselves the right of forcible resistance. A natural inference from these premises is that sovereignty rests with the people. In the colonies this secular social compact was buttressed by the principle of covenants and natural rights within the churches. Sermons became "textbooks of politics."[i-277] Miss Baldwin has ably illustrated how before 1763 the clergy in Franklin's native New England[xc] had popularized the "doctrines of natural right, the social contract, and the right of resistance" as well as "the fundamental principle of American constitutional law, that government, like its citizens, is bounded by law and when it transcends its authority it acts illegally."[i-278]

In an oration commemorating the Boston massacre Dr. Benjamin Church stated the principle of the compact: "A sense of their wants and weakness in a state of nature, doubtless inclined them to such reciprocal aids and support, as eventually established society."[i-279] Defining liberty as "the happiness of living under laws of our own making by our personal consent or that of our representatives,"[i-280] he warned that any breach of trust in the governor "effectually absolves subjects from every bond of covenant and peace."[i-281]

Then, too, Newtonian science buttressed the principle of natural rights. Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated mathematically that the universe was governed by a fagot of immutable, universal, and harmonious physical laws. These were capable of being apprehended through reason. Now even as reason discovered the matchless physical harmony, so could reason, men argued, ferret out unvarying, universal principles of social-political rights. These principles constituted natural rights, natural to the extent that all men had the power, if not the capacity, to discover and learn them through use of their native reason. Newton demonstrated the validity of physical law: Locke sanctioned the supremacy of reason. Since Franklin[xci] was himself motivated by Newtonian rationalism and was a student of Locke, there is reason to believe that he was vibrantly aware of the extent to which the scientific-rationalistic ideology lent sanction to man's timeless quest for the certitude of "natural rights," antecedent to all laws.

Franklin's mission to London in 1757 as Pennsylvania agent may be understood through an examination of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (London, 1759).[i-282] If not written by him, at least "the ideas are his." Convinced that the proprietors "seem to have no regard to the Publick Welfare, so the private Point may be gained—'Tis like Firing a House to have Opportunity of stealing a Trencher,"[i-283] Franklin knew that a brilliant attack had to be made were he to intimidate the proprietary government into assuming its charter responsibilities and granting the colonists what they considered to be inviolable rights. By 1758 his "Patience with the Proprietors is almost tho' not quite spent."[i-284] A few months later, impatient with unresponsive officials, he wrote to Joseph Galloway: "God knows when we shall see it finish'd, and our Constitution settled firmly on the Foundation of Equity and English Liberty: But I am not discouraged; and only wish my Constituents may have the Patience that I have, and that I find will be absolutely necessary."[i-285] In 1759 Franklin still found the proprietors "obscure, uncertain and evasive," and was acutely virulent in despising Rev. William Smith, who was in London attacking him and the Quaker Assembly's demands.[i-286][xcii] In the same letter to Galloway he uttered a thought which he sought to develop during his second trip to London as Assembly agent in 1764: "For my part, I must own, I am tired of Proprietary Government, and heartily wish for that of the Crown."

Turning to An Historical Review to learn the political principles sanctioning the Assembly's grievances against its feudal lords, one finds that the colonists conceived it "our duty to defend the rights and privileges we enjoy under the royal charter."[i-287] Secondly, they reminded the lords that the laws agreed upon in England (prior to the settling of Pennsylvania) were "of the nature of an original compact between the proprietary and the freemen, and as such were reciprocally received and executed."[i-288] Thirdly, they demanded the right to exercise the "birthright of every British subject," "to have a property of [their] own, in [their] estate, person, and reputation; subject only to laws enacted by [their] own concurrence, either in person or by [their] representatives."[i-289] Fourthly, they resisted the proprietors on basis of their possession of natural rights, "antecedent to all laws."[i-290] The editor of the protest charged that "It is the cause of every man who deserves to be free, everywhere."[i-291] It is ironic that this grievance should have enjoyed the sanction of one who, like Lord Chatham, was an empire builder, one who proudly wrote, "I am a Briton," and even during the time he sought to retrieve the Pennsylvania colonists' lost natural rights, entertained the ideas of a British imperialist. Franklin little saw that the internal Pennsylvania struggle was to be contagious, that the provincial revolt was motivated partially at least by political theories which were to be given expression par excellence when a discontented minority created the Declaration of Independence. In 1760 Franklin[xciii] had the satisfaction of witnessing the victory of the Assembly over the Proprietors, although he was not unaware that the right to tax feudal lands was less than that right he had already envisioned—the right to become a royal colony.[i-292]

But Franklin's pleas for charter, constitutional, and natural rights may be misleading if one considers his position as suggestive of doctrinaire republicanism, of Paine's "Government is the badge of our lost innocence," or of Shelley's

Kings, priests, and statesmen blast the human flower.

His political activities assert the rights of the governed against the governor; his writings often indirectly suggest the intemperance of the governed, and the need for something more lasting than mere outer freedom. Like Coleridge, who wrote:

[Man] may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within,

white-locked Father Abraham harangued:

The Taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the Government were the only Ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our Idleness, three times as much by our Pride, and four times as much by our Folly; and from these Taxes the Commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an Abatement.[i-293]


With solid good sense Franklin acknowledged that "happiness in this life rather depends on internals than externals."[i-294]

His purpose for being in London accomplished, Franklin wrote The Interest of Great Britain Considered with Regard to Her Colonies, and the Acquisitions of Canada and Guadaloupe (1760). Since "there is evidence that the pamphlet created much contemporary interest,"[i-295] Franklin undoubtedly had some influence in causing the retention of Canada, a retention which "made the American Revolution inevitable."[i-296] If the release from French terrorism caused the colonists to become myopic toward advantages lent them as a British colony, it is appropriate in view of Franklin's later advocacy of independence and ironic in view of his then imperialistic principles, that he should have written The Interest of Great Britain. Here Franklin, later to be a propagandist of revolution, cast himself in the role of architect of a vast empire. For economic reasons, and for colonial safety, he urged the retention, ridiculing the charge that the colonies were lying in wait to declare their independence from England, if the French were cast out from Canada.

Back in Pennsylvania in 1764 he declared the provincial government "running fast into anarchy and confusion."[i-297] In his Cool Thoughts on the Present Situation of Our Public Affairs (1764) he set up a sturdy antagonism between "Proprietary Interest and Power, and Popular Liberty." Unlike the "lunatic fringe" of liberals who see "Popular Liberty compatible only with a tendency toward anarchy" Franklin urged that the Pennsylvania government lacked "Authority enough to keep the common Peace."[i-298] The constitutional nature of proprietary government had lost dignity and hence "suffers in the Opinion[xcv] of the People, and with it the Respect necessary to keep up the Authority of Government." Almost Burkean in his apology for change, he suggested that the popular party demand "rather and only a Change of Governor, that is, instead of self-interested Proprietaries, a gracious King!" His Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County[i-299] is a bloody tribute to the lack of authority and police power of the current regime. The Petition to the King for a royal governor maintained that, torn by "armed Mobs," the government was "weak, unable to support its own Authority, and maintain the common internal Peace of the Province."[i-300]

While petitioning for a crown colony, he found himself in 1765 faced with a larger than provincial interest—Lord Grenville's Stamp Act forced him into the role of one seeking definition of colonial status. Such was his position in his examination (1766) before the House of Commons relative to the repeal of the Stamp Act. Almost brusquely he told his catechizers that even a moderated stamp act could not be enforced "unless compelled by force of arms."[i-301] With a preface asserting that colonials before 1763 were proud to be called Old-England men, he summarized: "The authority of parliament was allowed to be valid in all laws, except such as should lay internal taxes. It was never disputed in laying duties to regulate commerce."[i-302] Parliament, in the colonial view, had no right to lay internal taxes because "we are not represented there." Mr. Merriam observes that in advancing this legal and constitutional issue, the colonists "had in short an antiquated theory as to the position and power of Parliament, and a premature theory of Parliamentary representation."[i-303]

Franklin referred to the Pennsylvania colonial charter to prove that all that was asked for was the "privileges and liberties of[xcvi] Englishmen." When the examiners asked whether the colonists appealing to the Magna Charta and constitutional rights of Englishmen could not with equal force "object to the parliament's right of external taxation," Franklin with cautious ambiguity declared: "They never have hitherto."[i-304] Franklin's skill in upholding tenuous, almost "metaphysical," constitutional grievances (grievances, however, which were not upheld by constitutional legalists in England) captivated Edmund Burke's imagination: Franklin appeared to him like a schoolmaster catechizing a pack of unruly schoolboys. Conservative in his omission of any appeal to "natural rights," he was radical in his legalistic distinctions between parliamentary rights to levy certain kinds of taxes. His position in 1766 and for several years following was one of seeking legal definitions of the colonial status. Considering the popular excesses in the colonies, Franklin's view was anything but illiberally radical. Trying to counteract "the general Rage against America, artfully work'd up by the Grenville Faction,"[i-305] fearful that the unthinking rabble in the colonies might demonstrate too lustily against duties and the redcoats,[i-306] Franklin saw, as a result of the constitutional dilemma, the true extent of the fracture:

But after all, I doubt People in Government here will never be satisfied without some Revenue from America, nor America ever satisfy'd with their imposing it; so that Disputes will from this Circumstance besides others, be perpetually arising, till there is a consolidating union of the whole.[i-307]

His chief demand was for a less ambiguous relation between the mother and her offspring, for a unified, pacific commonwealth[xcvii] empire. Until he left for the colonies in 1775, he tirelessly sought through conversation, conference, and articles[i-308] sent to the British press (in addition he "reprinted everything from America" that he "thought might help our Common Cause") to reiterate patiently the colonies' "Charter liberties,"[i-309] their abhorrence of Parliament-imposed internal taxes, and the quartering of red-coated battalions. Constantly hoping for a favorable Ministry (of a Lord Rockingham or a Shelburne), and bemoaning the physical infirmities of Pitt which rendered him politically impotent, Franklin felt almost romantically confident at first of a change that must come. All the while, like Merlin's gleam, visions of a world-encircling British empire haunted the Pennsylvania tradesman. A letter to Barbeu Dubourg discloses at once his belief in an imperial federation[i-310] and in the sovereignty of the colonial assemblies: "In fact, the British empire is not a single state; it comprehends many; and, though the Parliament of Great Britain has arrogated to itself the power of taxing the colonies, it has no more right to do so, than it has to tax Hanover. We have the same King, but not the same legislatures."[i-311] Marginalia by Franklin's hand in an anti-colonial[xcviii] pamphlet written by Dean Tucker indicate how completely he (and here he represented colonial, not private, opinion) had failed to see the growth of parliamentary power: "These Writers against the Colonies all bewilder themselves by supposing the Colonies within the Realm, which is not the case, nor ever was."[i-312]

By 1774 Franklin had discovered the futility of his imperialistic illusions: ministries, fearing the siren colonies, had blocked their ears with wax. The Pennsylvanian knew that "Divine Providence first infatuates the power it designs to ruin."[i-313] He who had wished for an empire as harmoniously companied as the orbited harmony of celestial bodies lamented while on his way to America in 1775 that "so glorious a Fabric as the present British Empire [was] to be demolished by these Blunderers."[i-314] Broken was "that fine and noble China Vase, the British Empire."[i-315] In 1774 he would have gained little cheer from William Livingston's opinion (uttered in 1768): "I take it that clamour is at present our best policy."[i-316]

His sense of defeat was aggravated by that ugly scene in the Cockpit in 1774 when Wedderburn bespattered the taciturn colonial agent with foul invective. It had been charged that Franklin, the postmaster, had purloined[i-317] letters of Governor[xcix] Hutchinson and Lieutenant Governor Oliver of Massachusetts and had sent them back to the colonies as proof of the colonists' contention that the royal governors were hostile to their colonial subjects. He whom (as Lord Chatham said) "all Europe held in high Estimation for his Knowledge and Wisdom, and rank'd with our Boyles and Newtons," was decked by Wedderburn "with the choicest flowers of Billingsgate." In the presence of Lord Shelburne, Lord North, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, and Priestley, Franklin, "motionless and silent," bore the harangue of the solicitor general for a full three hours.[i-318] Franklin's eloquent mock humility inspired Horace Walpole to write:

Sarcastic Sawney, swol'n with spite and prate,
On silent Franklin poured his venal hate.
The calm philosopher, without reply,
Withdrew, and gave his country liberty.

As propagandist for legislative freedom, Franklin, appealing for sanction to legalistic and constitutional liberty more than to natural rights, was no more radical than Edmund Burke. If ever an extreme democrat, Franklin had yet by 1775 to become one. Temperamentally hostile to "drunken electors," the "madness of mobs," he held a patrician attitude toward authority. Earlier, in 1768, he had written from London: "All respect to law and government seems to be lost among the common people, who are moreover continually inflamed by seditious scribblers, to trample on authority and every thing that used to keep them in order."[i-319] To Georgiana Shipley he sent (Epitaph on Squirrel Mungo's death) this Miltonic and unrepublican sentiment:


Learn hence,
Ye who blindly seek more liberty,
Whether subjects, sons, squirrels or daughters,
That apparent restraint may be real protection
Yielding peace and plenty
With security.[i-320]

In 1771 he indicted Parliament in a letter to Joseph Galloway: "Its Censures are no more regarded than Popes' Bulls. It is despis'd for its Venality, and abominated for its Injustice." But he hastened to show that he had no illusions that men are natively pure, that only governments are wicked. With almost a Hamiltonian distrust of the public ranks he wrote: "And yet it is not clear that the People deserve a better Parliament, since they are themselves full as corrupt and venal: witness the Sums they accept for their Votes at almost every Election."[i-321]

Back in the colonies, Franklin remained just long enough to help form a constitution for Pennsylvania,[i-322] and to aid Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence.[i-323] After the royal governors had dissolved the assemblies and the Continental Congress urged the colonies to form their own constitutions, Franklin assumed leadership in his state and helped to compose a constitution less conservative than those of most[ci] of the other colonies.[i-324] Created between July 15 and Sept. 28, 1776, essentially by one who had just worked on and signed the Declaration of Independence, it is not strange that the dominant ideology of this constitution—that of natural rights, the compact theory, and consent of the governed—should be like that of the Declaration. The new constitution has been called the "most democratic constitution yet seen in America."[i-325] The unicameral legislature, the assembly of representatives, the plan of judicial review of laws every seven years, and other features have been looked upon as demonstrating the dangerous ultra-democratic tendencies of Franklin. The revolutionary Benjamin Rush, who had helped Paine with Common Sense, was dismayed because, in his view, Pennsylvania "has substituted mob government for one of the happiest governments in the world.... A single legislature is big with tyranny. I had rather live under the government of one man than of seventy-two."[i-326] One wonders to what extent Franklin was responsible for the unicameral legislature when we know that it "was the natural outcome of Penn's ideas of government as embodied in his various charters."[i-327] The plural executive, the right of freemen[cii] to form their militia and elect their own officers, the extension of male suffrage, and other innovations in this constitution were of a radical nature in as far as the populace were given greater liberties and responsibilities than ever before in the colonies. It seems almost incredible that the patrician-minded Franklin, with his Puritan heritage, should have thus almost hurriedly cast himself at the feet of the people. Certain extenuating factors may be mentioned in an attempt not to gloss over but to understand the violent antithesis between Franklin the imperialist and Franklin the revolutionist. To what extent did his antipathy for proprietary governors, as well as the general colonial experience with governors, suggest a joint executive of a council and governor?[i-328] Since his experience as a Whig propagandist had been to exalt colonial legislatures, to what extent did he see in the unicameral form a plan which would give freest movement to the legislative activity? Prior to 1776 there is little that would suggest that Franklin had any confidence in men, unchecked.[i-329] Yet it is difficult to show that, in the first flush of indignation against England and revolutionary enthusiasm, Franklin did not favor for a time distinctly radical tendencies.

In 1776 he left, as he wrote to Jan Ingenhousz, "to procure those aids from European powers, for enabling us to defend our freedom and independence."[i-330] He who had "been a Servant to many publicks, thro' a long life" went to Passy, where from[ciii] the Hôtel de Valentinois of M. Roy de Chaumont he was to direct financial efforts calculated, with Washington's generalship, and the assiduous loyalty of a minority group, to win the Revolution. Welcomed as the apotheosis of "les Insurgens,"[i-331] he was virtually deified; as Turgot expressed it, Eripuit caelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis. The universality of his vogue in France was primarily due to his deistic naturalism, his wily pleading and activities in behalf of colonial independence, the receptivity of the Gallic mind for any marten-capped child of the New World, and to his scientific thought and experimentation which had fortified Reason in purging the unknown of its terror, helping thus to make the philosophe at home in his reasonable world. Three weeks after Franklin arrived in France, one Frenchman said that "it is the mode today for everybody to have an engraving of M. Franklin over the mantelpiece."[i-332] France overnight became Franklinist when the savant came to dwell at Passy. Even before the victory of Yorktown he became la mode. It was to be his success to convert France's unrecognized alliance with the colonies to an open and undisguised alliance, perhaps even to war with England.[i-333] But even for one who enjoyed, as John Adams wrote, a reputation "more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or Voltaire,"[i-334] it was to be a difficult task to manipulate a Beaumarchais, a Vergennes, and others, in spite of the well-known and inveterate economic and political grievances which the French held for the English. The virtues he stressed in the Morals of Chess he was able to translate into a diplomatic mien,[civ] uniting "perfect silence" with a "generous civility." As a result, his record as minister to France is marked by complete success; but for this "it is by no means certain that American independence would have been achieved until many years later."[i-335]

Plagued by Frenchmen desiring places in the colonial army, feted by the philosophes, sorely vexed by the need for settling countless maritime affairs, embracing and embraced by the venerable Voltaire, corresponding with Hartley concerning exchange of prisoners, shaping alliances and treaties, conducting scientific experiments, investigating Mesmer, intrigued by balloon ascensions, made the darling of several salons, associating in the Lodge of the Nine Sisters with Bailly, Bonneville, Warville, Condorcet, Danton, Desmoulins, D'Auberteuil, Pétion, Saint-Étienne, Sieyès, and others, all men who helped to give shape (or shapelessness) to the French Revolution,[i-336] Franklin found little time to search for that philosophic repose which he had long coveted. It may be extravagant to say that Franklin was the "Creator of Constitutionalism in Europe,"[i-337] but we know that in 1783 he printed the colonial constitutions for continental distribution.[i-338] It has been suggested that Franklin was an important formative factor in Condorcet's faith in universal suffrage, a unicameral legislature, and the liberties guaranteed by constitutional law.[i-339] Then, too, Franklin had signed the Declaration of Independence—a document which the French hailed as the "restoration of[cv] humanity's title deeds."[i-340] The Duc de la Rochefoucauld eulogized the unicameral legislature of Pennsylvania, identifying "this grand idea" and its "maximum of simplicity" as Franklin's creation.[i-341] Fauchet eulogized him as "one of the foremost builders of our sacred constitution."[i-342] Along with Helvétius, Mably, Rousseau, and Voltaire, Franklin was considered as one who laid the foundations for the French revolution.[i-343] Franklin's taciturnity, his "art of listening," his diplomatic reserve, do not suggest a volatile iconoclast doing anything consciously to bring about a republican France. This did not prevent him from becoming a symbol of liberty by his mere presence in the land, stimulating patriots to examine the foundations of the tyrannical authority which they saw or imagined enslaving them. Holding no brief for natural equality, Franklin suggested that "quiet and regular Subordination" is "so necessary to Success."[i-344] Realist that he was, he became almost obsessed with the innate depravity of men until he was doubtful whether "the Species were really worth producing or preserving."[i-345] One would not be considered excessively republican who inveighed against the "collected passions, prejudices, and private interests" of collective legislative bodies.[i-346][cvi] He wrote to Caleb Whitefoord: "It is unlucky ... that the Wise and Good should be as mortal as Common People and that they often die before others are found fit to supply their Places."[i-347] The great proportion of mankind, weak and selfish, need "the Motives of Religion to restrain them from Vice."[i-348] No less extreme than J. Q. Adams's retort to Paine's Rights of Man, that it is anarchic to trust government "to the custody of a lawless and desperate rabble," was Franklin's distrust of the unthinking majority.[i-349]

Having helped to free the colonies, Franklin fittingly became, if not one of the fathers of the Constitution, then, due to the serenity with which he helped to moderate the plans of extremists on both sides, at least its godfather. If, as Mr. James M. Beck asserts, the success of the Constitution has been the result of its approximation of the golden mean, between monarchy and anarchy, the section and the nation, the small and the large state, then its success may be attributed not a little to Franklin's genius.[i-350] After small and large states had waged a fruitless struggle over congressional representation, Franklin spoke:

The diversity of opinion turns on two points. If a proportional representation takes place, the small States contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large States say their money will be in danger. When a broad table is to be made, and the edges <of planks do not fit> the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint.[i-351]


The former imperialist could not logically become a state rights advocate. Engrossed essentially in "promoting and securing the common Good,"[i-352] he derided the advantage the greater state would have, asserting that he "was originally of Opinion it would be better if every Member of Congress, or our national Council, were to consider himself rather as a Representative of the whole, than as an Agent for the Interests of a particular State." When Mr. Randolph considered,

To negative all laws, passed by the several States, contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of union: (the following words were added to this clause on motion of Mr. Franklin, "or any Treaties subsisting under the authority of the union.")[i-353]

This is anything but the corollary of a defender of state rights. Franklin was convinced that the permanence of the national view alone could prevent federal anarchy. Addressing himself to the problem of delegated authority Madison observed: "This prerogative of the General Govt. is the great pervading principle that must controul the centrifugal tendency of the States; which, without it, will continually fly out of their proper orbits and destroy the order & harmony of the political system."[i-354] One is tempted to see here Newton's principle of gravity translated into terms of political nationalism; one wonders whether it is probable that (like Madison's) Franklin's emphasis on the harmony of the whole could have been partly conditioned by the cohesiveness and harmony of universal physical laws incarnate in Newtonian physics, of which he was a master.


Franklin was "apprehensive ...—perhaps too apprehensive,—that the Government of these States may in future times end in a Monarchy."[i-355] He suggested that moderate rather than kingly salaries paid the chief executive would tend to allay this danger. Between Randolph, who belabored a single executive as the "foetus of monarchy," and Wilson, who harbored it as the "best safeguard against tyranny," stood Franklin, who saw it as subversive of democratic sovereignty but not necessarily fatal. He declared himself emphatically against the motion that the executive have a complete negative.[i-356] Extolling popular sovereignty, he warned that "In free Governments the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors & sovereigns."[i-357] He refused to consider a plan which sought to establish a franchise only for freeholders: "It is of great consequence that we shd. not depress the virtue & public spirit of our common people; of which they displayed a great deal during the war, and which contributed principally to the favorable issue of it."[i-358] Pinckney had made a motion that rulers should have unencumbered estates:

Doctr Franklin expressed his dislike of every thing that tended to debase the spirit of the common people. If honesty was often the companion of wealth, and if poverty was exposed to peculiar temptation, it was not less true that the possession of property increased the desire of more property—[i-359].... This Constitution will be much read and attended to in Europe, and if it should betray a great partiality to the rich—will not only hurt us in the esteem of the most liberal and enlightened men there, but discourage the common people from removing to this Country.[i-360]

Pinckney's motion was rejected. Franklin within the Convention[cix] did not seem to fear Gerry's threat—"the evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy."[i-361]

Franklin suggested the adoption of a unicameral legislature, but does not seem to have made any struggle for it. His article of 1789 in defense of the Pennsylvania (unicameral) legislature, however, shows that he clung to the principle as firmly as he had in 1776.[i-362] He questioned: "The Wisdom of a few Members in one single Legislative Body, may it not frequently stifle bad Motions in their Infancy, and so prevent their being adopted?" In addition the bicameral house is cumbersome and provocative of delay.

Little is known of Franklin's attitude toward the violent controversy attendant upon efforts toward ratification. In his Ancient Jews and Anti-Federalists[i-363] he warned the traducers of the new Constitution against voiding an instrument which in his opinion was as sound as the frailty of human reason would allow it to be. In fact, said he, it "astonishes me, ... to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does."[i-364] He may be said to have been anti-federalistic to the extent that he feared a strong executive, guarded jealously the legislative sphere, worried little about checks and balances, sought to accelerate popular sovereignty; he was federalistic to the extent that he opposed state localism with national sovereignty, was not blind to the depravity of human nature and hence felt the need for a vigorous coercive government. To M. Le Veillard he confessed an almost Hamiltonian distrust of the multitude: The Constitution "has ... met with great opposition in some States, for we are at present a nation of politicians. And, though there is a general dread of giving too much power to our governors, I think we are more in danger from too little obedience in the governed."[i-365] He made the same complaint a year later: "We have been guarding against an evil that old States are most[cx] liable to, excess of power in the rulers, but our present danger seems to be defect of obedience in the subjects."[i-366] It is difficult to reconcile his inveterate distrust of men with his activity in behalf of an almost universal franchise, reluctance to sanction the principle of checks and balances, and belief in a unicameral legislature; it is difficult to reconcile the Plutarchan fervor with which he advocated the wisdom of following great leaders with his fear of a vigorous executive. It is not improbable that those ideas which are generally anti-federalistic in Franklin's political view are in part the result of his hatred of proprietary abuses which he witnessed as a provincial statesman during his middle age.


Jan Ingenhousz, the celebrated physician to Maria Theresa of Austria, wrote a letter to Franklin on May 3, 1780, which doubtless caused the patriarch of Passy to reflect—not without sadness of heart—on the diversified fortune which time and circumstance had devised for him. The physician (no friend to the American revolution) implored Franklin not to abandon "entirely the world Nature whose laws made by the supreme wisdom and is constant and unalterable as its legislature himself [sic]." Ingenhousz lamented that Franklin, "a Philosopher so often and so successfully employed in researches of the most intricate and the most mysterious operations of Nature,"[i-367] should have given his time to politics.

Franklin is now most commonly viewed as a utilitarian moralist, a successful tradesman and printer, a shrewd propagandist and financier, the diplomat of the Revolution, and if at all as a scientist, then only as a virtuoso, fashioning devices, such as open stoves, bifocal spectacles, and lightning rods, for practical[cxi] uses. Probably few general readers are aware that Franklin was a disinterested scientist in the sense that he interrogated nature with an eye to discovering its immutable laws. It is conversely supposed that Franklin himself was unaware of any inclination to pursue natural science to the exclusion of those political achievements which have identified him as one of the wiliest and sagest diplomats of the Enlightenment.

It may be learned, however (not without astonishment), that Franklin almost from the beginning of his participation in politics resented the time given over to such activities, as so much time lost to his speculations and research in natural science. As early as 1752 he wistfully (though realistically) confessed that "business sometimes obliges one to postpone philosophical amusements."[i-368] A month after this, he wrote to Cadwallader Colden: "I congratulate you on the prospect you have, of passing the remainder of life in philosophical retirement."[i-369] In the midst of investigating waterspouts, he observed to John Perkins: "How much soever my Inclinations lead me to philosophical Inquiries, I am so engag'd in Business, public and private, that those more pleasing pursuits [of natural science] are frequently interrupted...."[i-370] He urged Dr. John Fothergill to give himself "repose, delight in viewing the Operations of nature in the vegetable creation."[i-371] In 1765, upon completing his negotiations in behalf of the Pennsylvania Assembly, he promised Lord Kames that he would "engage in no other" political affairs.[i-372] To the notable professor of physics of the University of Turin, Giambatista Beccaria, he wrote in 1768 from London (where he had sought to have the Stamp Act rescinded) that he had to "take away entirely" his "attention from philosophical matters, though I have constantly cherished the hope of returning home where I could find leisure to resume[cxii] the studies that I have shamefully put off from time to time."[i-373] Again, in 1779, he confessed to Beccaria: "I find myself here [Passy] immers'd in Affairs, which absorb my Attention, and prevent my pursuing those Studies in which I always found the highest Satisfaction; and I am now grown so old, as hardly to hope for a Return of that Leisure and Tranquillity so necessary for Philosophical Disquisitions."[i-374] He longed (in 1782) to have Congress release him so that he might "spend the Evening of Life more agreeably in philosophic [devoted to natural science] Leisure."[i-375] He who, John Winthrop claimed, "was good at starting Game for Philosophers,"[i-376] acknowledged that he had thrown himself on the public, which, "having as it were eaten my flesh, seemed now resolved to pick my bones."[i-377] Reverend Manasseh Cutler visited Franklin a few months before the patriarch's death. They ardently discussed botany, Franklin boyish in his eagerness to show the Reverend Mr. Cutler a massive book, containing "the whole of Linnaeus' Systema Vegetabilies." "The Doctor seemed extremely fond, through the course of the visit, of dwelling on Philosophical subjects, and particularly that of natural History, while the other Gentlemen were swallowed up with politics."[i-378] In a fictitious (?) conversation between Joseph II of Austria and Franklin, the Newton of electricity is reported as explaining that he was early in life attracted by natural philosophy: "Necessity afterwards made me a politician.... I was Franklin, the Philosopher to the world, long after I had in fact, become Franklin the Politician."[i-379][cxiii] After reviewing the evidence, it seems incredulous to doubt that, regardless of his achievements in other fields, Franklin sought his greatest intellectual pleasure in scientific research and speculation, and that his doctrines of scientific deism antedated and conditioned his political, economic, and humanitarian interests.

If Franklin's inventions have been justly praised, his affections for the empirical scientific method and his philosophic interest in Nature's laws have been unjustly ignored. He observed to Ebenezer Kinnersley "that a philosopher cannot be too much on his guard in crediting their ["careless observers'"] relations of things extraordinary, and should never build an hypothesis on any thing but clear facts and experiments, or it will be in danger of soon falling ... like a house of cards";[i-380] and to Abbé Soulavie, "You see I have given a loose to imagination; but I approve much more your method of philosophizing, which proceeds upon actual observation, makes a collection of facts, and concludes no farther than those facts will warrant."[i-381] In 1782 he wrote to Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, that he longed to "sit down in sweet Society with my English philosophic Friends, communicating to each other new Discoveries, and proposing Improvements of old ones; all tending to extend the Power of Man over Matter, avert or diminish the Evils he is subject to, or augment the Number of his Enjoyments."[i-382] A careful study of his scientific papers discloses that he was not untrained in the method of hypotheses sustained or rejected by patient and laborious experimentation: not fortuitously did he arrive at conclusions in electricity, which were epochal in (1) "His rejection of the two-fluid theory of electricity[cxiv] and substitution of the one-fluid theory; (2) his coinage of the appropriate terms positive and negative, to denote an excess or a deficit of the common electric fluid; (3) his explanation of the Leyden jar, and, notably, his recognition of the paramount rôle played by the glass or dielectric; (4) his experimental demonstration of the identity of lightning and electricity; and (5) his invention of the lightning conductor for the protection of life and property, together with his clear statement of its preventive and protective functions."[i-383] Not only an inventor, Franklin inductively observed natural phenomena, and drew conclusions until he had created a virtual Principia of electricity. His contemporaries were not loath to honor him as a second Newton. Franklin, however, was in all of his researches under a self-confessed yoke which doubtless tended to deny him access to the profoundest reaches of scientific inquiry: from Philadelphia he wrote in 1753 to Cadwallader Colden, eminent mathematician (as well as versatile scientist): "Your skill & Expertness in Mathematical Computations, will afford you an Advantage in these Disquisitions [among them, researches in electricity], that I lament the want of, who am like a Man searching for some thing in a dark Room where I can only grope and guess; while you proceed with a Candle in your Hand."[i-384]

In an effort to learn the modus operandi of Franklin's philosophic thought, let us now review its genetic development, its probable sources, its relation to scientific deism, and the degree to which he achieved that serene repose for which he ever strove. A pioneer American rationalist, not without his claims to being "another Voltaire," Franklin as a youth read those works which were forming or interpreting the thought patterns of the age. Born in an epoch presided over by a Locke and a Newton, an epoch of rationalism and "supernatural" rationalism,[cxv] alike fed by physico-mathematical speculation. Franklin, barely beyond adolescence, felt the impacts of the age of reason. Scholars before and since M. M. Curtis have explained that "in religion he was a Deist of the type of Lord Herbert of Cherbury."[i-385] M. Faÿ has sought, without convincing documentary evidence, to interpret Franklin's philosophic mind in terms of Pythagoreanism.[i-386] We may find that these views are over simple and historically inadequate—even wrong.

Franklin was reared "piously in the Dissenting way"[i-387] by a "pious and prudent" Calvinistic father who died as he lived, with "entire Dependence on his Redeemer."[i-388] "Religiously educated as a Presbyterian,"[i-389] young Benjamin was taught that Major est Scripturae auctoritas quam omnis humani ingenü capacitas. He was nurtured on the Bible and "books in polemic divinity," and he regularly attended services at the Old South Church. Doubtless without reflection he was led to identify goodness with the church and its worship. He was a part of New England's bibliolatry. Not long before he was apprenticed to his brother James he read Cotton Mather's Bonifacius—An Essay upon the Good that is to be Devised and Designed by those who desire to Answer the Great End of Life, and to do good while they live, and Defoe's Essays upon Several Projects: or Effectual Ways for Advancing the Interests of the Nation. He confessed in 1784 that Bonifacius "gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good than on any other kind of reputation."[i-390] Mather, as an exponent of[cxvi] Christian charity, urged that man help his neighbors "with a rapturous assiduity,"[i-391] that he may discover the "ravishing satisfaction which he might find in relieving the distresses of a poor miserable neighbor."[i-392] It is ironic that Mather should have apparently aided a young man to divorce himself from the strenuous subtleties of theology. (Franklin was too young to gather that Mather circumspectly warned against a covenant of works, and hence was Pauline in his advocacy of charity rather than of humanitarianism.) And from Defoe's Essays Franklin received more than a penchant for projects. Like Mather, Defoe observed that "God Almighty has commanded us to relieve and help one another in distress."[i-393] Defoe seemed to young Franklin to dwell on fellow-service—to promise that the good man need not have understood all of the dogma of Old South meetinghouse.

Apprenticed to James, Franklin admitted that he "now had access to better books."[i-394] Whatever the extent of James's library in 1718, by 1722 the New England Courant collection included Burnet's History of the Reformation, Theory of the Earth, the Spectator papers, The Guardian, Art of Thinking [Du Port Royal], The Tale of a Tub, and the writings of Tillotson.[i-395] After reading most probably in these, and, as we are told, in Tryon's Way to Health, Xenophon's Memorabilia, digests of some of Boyle's lectures, Anthony Collins, Locke, and Shaftesbury, Franklin became in his Calvinist religion a "real doubter."[i-396] He became at the age of sixteen, as a result of reading Boyle's Lectures,[i-397] a "thorough Deist."[i-398] We cannot be certain of[cxvii] the Lectures read by Franklin, but we may observe Bentley's Folly of Atheism (1692) and Derham's Physico-Theology (1711-1712), which are representative of the series provided for by Boyle. Like Mather's The Christian Philosopher (1721)[i-399] they both employ science and rationalism to reinforce (never as equivalent to or substitute for) scriptural theology. Fed by Newtonian physics, Bentley discovers in gravity "the great basis of all mechanism," the "immediate fiat and finger of God, and the executions of the divine law."[i-400] Gravity, "the powerful cement which holds together this magnificent structure of the world,"[i-401] is the result of the Deity "who always acts geometrically." Borrowing from Cockburne, Ray, Bentley, and Fénelon, Derham offers likewise to prove the existence and operations of the Workman from his Work.[i-402]

It is unlikely that Boyle's Lectures (characterized by orthodox rationalism, augmented by Newtonianism) would alone have precipitated in Franklin a "thorough deism." Not improbably Locke, Shaftesbury, and Anthony Collins (whom Franklin mentions reading) were most militant in overthrowing his inherited bibliolatry. Although he does not say exactly which of Collins's works he read, Collins's rationale is repeated clearly enough in any one of his pieces. Warring against "crack-brain'd Enthusiasts," the "prodigious Ignorance" and "Impositions of Priests," against defective scriptural texts, Collins[cxviii] defends "our natural Notions" against the authoritarianism of priests. Vilifying the authority of the surplice, he apotheosizes the authority of reason.[i-403] He intensifies the English tradition of every-man-his-own-priest, and exclaims "How uncertain Tradition is!"[i-404] From this militant friend of John Locke, Franklin was doubtless impregnated with an odium theologicum and an exalted idea of the sanctity of Reason.

Having read An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,[i-405] Franklin may have remembered that Locke there observed, "Nothing that is contrary to, and inconsistent with, the clear and self-evident dictates of reason, has a right to be urged or assented to as a matter of faith, wherein reason hath nothing to do."[i-406] Like Collins, Locke urged a deistic rationale:

Since then the precepts of Natural Religion are plain, and very intelligible to all mankind, and seldom to come to be controverted; and other revealed truths, which are conveyed to us by books and languages, are liable to the common and natural obscurities and difficulties incident to words; methinks it would become us to be more careful and diligent in observing the former, and less magisterial, positive, and imperious, in imposing our own sense and interpretations of the latter.[i-407]


In addition Franklin may have been influenced by Locke's implied Newtonianism; he would suspect the subtleties of the Old South Church when he read: "For the visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation, that a rational creature, who will but seriously reflect on them, cannot miss the discovery of a Deity."[i-408] Like Newton, Locke inferred an infinite and benevolent Geometrician from "the magnificent harmony of the universe."

Franklin also read Shaftesbury's Characteristics, which Warburton quotes Pope as saying "had done more harm to revealed religion in England than all the works of infidelity put together."[i-409] Although he may have pondered over Shaftesbury's "virtuoso theory of Benevolence," he was not one to be readily convinced of the innate altruism of man. His Puritan heritage linked with an empirical realism prevented him from becoming prey to Shaftesbury's a priori optimism. He was aware of the potential danger of a complacent trust in natural impulses, which often lead to

The love of sweet security in sin.

To what extent did Franklin's nascent humanitarianism—mildly provoked by the neighborliness of Mather and Defoe—receive[cxx] additional sanction from Shaftesbury's doctrine that "compassion is the supreme form of moral beauty, the neglect of it the greatest of all offenses against nature's ordained harmony"?[i-410] Identifying self-love and social, Shaftesbury saw the divine temper achieved through affection for the public, the "universal good."[i-411] Born among men who were convinced of the supremacy of scripture, Franklin would at first be astonished (then perhaps liberated) upon reading in the Characteristics that "Religion excludes only perfect atheism."[i-412] From such a piece as Shaftesbury's An Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit Franklin learned that not all men preserved a union between theology and ethics, scripture and religion. Although Shaftesbury occasionally indicated a reverence for sacred scriptures, the totality of his thought was cast in behalf of natural religion. He was convinced that the "Deity is sufficiently revealed through natural Phenomena."[i-413] Extolling the apprehension of the Deity through man's uniform reason, Shaftesbury urbanely lampooned enthusiasm, that private revelation which threatened to prevail against the consensus gentium.

By 1725 Franklin had divorced theology from morality and morality from conscience, having punctuated his youth with faunish "errata."[i-414] Although he was as a youth too much at ease in Zion, he did not lose substantial (if then a theoretic) faith in the struggle between the law of the spirit and the law of the members. Nurtured by the Bible, Bunyan, Addison and Steele, Tryon, Socrates, and Xenophon—a blend of Christian and classical traditions—he felt the reasonableness, if not the saintliness, of curbing the resolute sway of his natural self.[i-415]


After five years with James, a year in Philadelphia where part of the time he worked with Samuel Keimer,[i-416] a fanatic[cxxii] and bearded Camisard, Franklin, through the duplicity of Governor Keith, found himself in November, 1724, aboard the London-Hope, England-bound. It would be unfair to Franklin were we to think him a primitive colonist to whom England was an unreal, incalculable land. We remember that James knew the London of Anne, Addison, Steele, Locke, and Newton. And we have seen that the New England Courant library was one of which no London gentleman and scholar need have been ashamed. As a worker on this newspaper Franklin had set up the names and some indications of the thoughts of such men as Fénelon, Tillotson, Defoe, Swift, Butler, Bayle, Isaac Watts, Blount, Burnet, Whiston, Temple, Trenchard and Gordon, Denham, Garth, Dryden, Milton, Locke, Flamstead, and Newton.[i-417]

During his two years in London, working successively in the printing houses of Samuel Palmer and James Watts, he mingled with many of the leaders of the day. Probably because he had, while yet in America, read (in the transactions of the Royal Society) of the virtuosi's interest in asbestos, he wrote to Sir Hans Sloane, offering to show him purses made of that novel stuff.[i-418] And we know that Sir Hans Sloane received[cxxiii] Franklin in his home at Bloomsbury Square. Before he met other notables he published (what he called later an "erratum") A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725).[i-419] Franklin himself said this work was the result of his setting up Wollaston's The Religion of Nature Delineated[i-420] at Palmer's and his not agreeing with the author's "reasonings." Coming to Wollaston's work (with Franklin's Dissertation and Articles of Belief in mind) we can, however, see much that Franklin agreed with, general principles which do little more than reflect the current patterns of thought. Like Franklin, Wollaston saw Reason as "the great law of our nature."[i-421] With Locke he denied innate ideas.[i-422] That part of The Religion of Nature Delineated in which he searched with laborious syllogistic reasoning for the Ultimate Cause (which could not produce itself) may have been boring to the less agile mind of the young printer. Wollaston, however, apologized for his syllogistic gymnastics offered in proof of Deity since "much more may those greater motions we see in the world, and the phenomena attending them" afford arguments for such a proof:

I mean the motions of the planets and the heavenly bodies. For these must be put into motion, either by one Common mighty Mover, acting upon them immediately, or by causes and laws of His Appointment; or by their respective movers, who, for reasons to which you can by this time be no stranger, must depend upon some Superior, that furnished them with the power of doing this.[i-423]


With Newtonian rapture he marveled at "the grandness of this fabric of the world,"[i-424] at "the chorus of planets moving periodically, by uniform laws." Rapt in wonder, he gazed "up to the fixt stars, that radiant numberless host of heaven." Like a Blackmore, Ray, Fontenelle, or Newton, he felt that they were "probably all possest by proper inhabitants."[i-425] He wondered at the "just and geometrical arrangement of things."[i-426] These are all sentiments that Franklin expressed in his philosophical juvenilia.[i-427] But then, Franklin (after reading this sublimated geometry which reduced the parts of creation to an equally sublime simplicity) noted in Wollaston that man must be a free agent,[i-428] that good and evil are as black and white, distinguishable,[i-429] that empirically the will is free, the author urging with Johnsonian good sense, "The short way of knowing this certainly is to try."[i-430] Franklin's Dissertation was dedicated to his friend James Ralph and prefaced by a misquotation from Dryden and Lee's Oedipus. It purports, as Franklin wrote in 1779, "to prove the doctrine of fate, from the supposed attributes of God ... that in erecting and governing the world, as he was infinitely wise, he knew what would be best; infinitely good, he must be disposed, and infinitely powerful, he must be able to execute it: consequently all is right."[i-431] With confidence lent him by his a priori method, he proposed: "I. There is said to be a First Mover, who is called God, Maker of the Universe. II. He is said to be all-wise, all-good, all-powerful."[i-432] With the nonchalance of an abstractionist, he concluded, "Evil doth not exist."[i-433] Transcending the sensational necessitarianism[i-434][cxxv] of Anthony Collins and John Locke, Franklin observed (with an eye on Newton's law of gravitation) that man has liberty, the "Liberty of the same Nature with the Fall of a heavy Body to the Ground; it has Liberty to fall, that is, it meets with nothing to hinder its Fall, but at the same Time it is necessitated to fall, and has no Power or Liberty to remain suspended."[i-435] As a disciple of Locke's psychology, Franklin reflected his concept of the tabula rasa in describing an infant's mind which "is as if it were not." "All our Ideas are first admitted by the Senses and imprinted on the Brain, increasing in Number by Observation and Experience; there they become the Subjects of the Soul's Action."

In the Dissertation one can discover the extent to which Franklin had absorbed (if not from Newton's own works, then from his popularizers and intellectual sons such as Pemberton, Franklin's friend) several of the essential tenets of Newtonianism. Here we see his belief in a universe motivated by immutable natural laws comprising a sublimely harmonious system reflecting a Wise Geometrician; a world in which man desires to affect a corresponding inner heaven. Enraptured by the order of the natural laws of Newtonianism, and like a Shaftesbury searching for a demonstrable inner harmony, Franklin (carrying his a priorism to logical absurdity) was unable to reconcile free will with Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Goodness. (In how far was this partly the result of his having been steeped in Calvinism's doctrine of Election?)

The Dissertation is as appreciative of Newton's contribution to physics and thought as Thomson's[i-436] To the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton.[cxxvi] Not unlike Franklin's framework is Shaftesbury's thought in An Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit.[i-437] Since Franklin acknowledged his reading of Shaftesbury and since as late as 1730 he borrowed heavily from the Characteristics, it seems probable that Shaftesbury lent Franklin in this case some sanction for his only metaphysical venture.[i-438]

As one result of his printing A Dissertation he made the acquaintance of Lyons, author of The Infallibility of Human Judgement[i-439] who introduced him to Mandeville[i-440] and Dr.[cxxvii] Henry Pemberton, who in turn "Promis'd to give me an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extreamly desirous; but this never happened [the italics are the editors']."[i-441] Dr. Pemberton, physician and mathematician, met Newton in 1722, and during the time Franklin enjoyed his friendship was helping Newton to prepare the third edition of the Principia. As a result of his aiding Newton "to discover and understand his writings,"[i-442] Pemberton in 1728 published A View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy. It is obvious that Franklin could have discovered few men with a more concentrated and enthusiastic knowledge of Newtonianism than that possessed by Dr. Pemberton. As we have already noted, Franklin undoubtedly derived his appreciation of Newtonian speculation not from grubbing in the Principia but from secondary sources. There is no reason to apologize for Franklin on this score when we remember that Voltaire, who popularized Newtonianism in France, exclaimed: "Very few people read Newton because it is necessary to be learned to understand him. But everybody talks about him." Desaguliers, coming to London from Oxford in 1713, observed that "he found all Newtonian philosophy generally receiv'd among persons of all ranks and professions, and even among the ladies by the help of experiments."[i-443][cxxviii] Pemberton wrote that the desire after knowledge of Newtonianism "is by nothing more fully illustrated, than by the inclination of men to gain an acquaintance with the operations of nature; which disposition to enquire after the causes of things is so general, that all men of letters, I believe, find themselves influenced by it."[i-444] Through the sublimated mathematics of the Principia, Pemberton observed, "the similitude found in all parts of the universe makes it undoubted, that the whole is governed by one supreme being, to whom the original is owing of the frame of nature, which evidently is the effect of choice and design."[i-445] To what extent Franklin later gave evidence of his knowledge of Newtonian speculation we shall further discover in his Articles of Belief.

He returned in the summer of 1726 on the Berkshire to Philadelphia with Mr. Denham, a sweetly reasonable Quaker.[i-446][cxxix] During this journey he wrote his Journal of a Voyage from London to Philadelphia, indicating a virtuoso's interest in all novel phenomena of nature. In Philadelphia he worked for Denham, then Keimer, and finally established his own printing house in 1728, a year after founding the Junto,[i-447] and the year of his Articles of Belief. By this time, Franklin, like Hume, wearied of metaphysics. Commonly this creed has been described as illustrating the deism of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It is true that Franklin admits a God who ought to be worshipped,[cxxx] the chief parts of worship being the cultivation of virtue and piety; but there is no suggestion of Lord Herbert's fourth and fifth dogmas, that sin must be atoned for by repentance, and that punishment and rewards follow this life. His reaction against Calvinism may be shown in his failure to include reference to scripture, the experience of faith, and the triune godhead presided over by the redeemer Christ. As a deist he accepted "one supreme, most perfect Being." This Deity is the "Author and Father of the Gods themselves." "Infinite and incomprehensible," He has created many gods, each having "made for himself one glorious Sun, attended with a beautiful and admirable System of Planets." Franklin offered his adoration to that "Wise and Good God, who is the author and owner of our System." It is conventional to suggest that his interest in the plurality of worlds and gods should be traced to Plato's Timaeus.[i-448] In the absence of any conclusive evidence concerning Franklin's study of Plato, and in view of his profound awareness of contemporary scientific and philosophical thought, it seems more reasonable to see the source of this idea in the thought of his own age. Let us remember that with the growth of the heliocentric cosmology there resulted a vast expanse of the unknown, bound to intrigue the speculations of the philosophers of the age. We know that Ray, Fénelon, Blackmore, Huygens, Fontenelle, Shaftesbury, Locke, and Newton all wondered about the plurality of worlds and gods.

In company with the supernatural rationalists and deists, Franklin exalted Reason as the experience through which God is discovered and known. Through Reason he is "capable of observing his Wisdom in the Creation." With Newtonian zeal, upon observing "the glorious Sun, with his attending Worlds," he saw the Deity responsible first for imparting "their prodigious motion," and second for maintaining "the wondrous Laws by[cxxxi] which they move." As we have seen above, this argument from the design of creation to a Creator was one of the most influential and popular of the impacts of Newtonian physics. Like Fénelon, Blackmore, and Ray, whom he read and recommended that others read,[i-449] Franklin exclaimed:

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, in their Season, [et cetera].

In addition to the works mentioned above which aided Franklin in arriving at a natural religion, it is certain that his views and even idiom received stout reinforcement from such a passage as follows from Ray's classic work:

There is no greater, at least no more palpable and convincing argument of the existence of a Deity, than the admirable act and wisdom that discovers itself in the make and constitution, the order and disposition, the ends and uses of all the parts and members of this stately fabric of heaven and earth; for if in the works of art ... a curious edifice or machine, counsel, design, and direction to an end appearing in the whole frame, and in all the several pieces of it, do necessarily infer the being and operation of some intelligent architect or engineer, why shall not also in the works of nature, that grandeur and magnificence, that excellent contrivance for beauty, order, use &c. which is observable in them, wherein they do as much transcend the effects of human art as infinite power and wisdom exceeds finite, infer the existence and efficacy of an omnipotent and all-wise Creator?[i-450]

Then he directly referred to the Archbishop of Cambray's Traité de l'existence et des attributs de Dieu. Oliver Elton observes[cxxxii] that this work "with its appeal to popular science, is the chief counterpart in France to the 'physico-theology' current at the time in England."[i-451] From the skeleton of the smallest animal, "the bones, the tendons, the veins, the arteries, the nerves, the muscles, which compose the body of a single man"[i-452] to "this vaulted sky" which turns "around so regularly,"[i-453] all show "the infinite skill of its Author."[i-454] Although Fénelon is applying Cartesian physics, here Descartes reinforced Newtonianism; like Newton, Fénelon argued that cosmic motion is ordered by "immutable laws," so "constant and so salutary." Blackmore's Creation, a Philosophical Poem (1712), aiming to demonstrate "the existence of a God from the marks of wisdom, design, contrivance, and the choice of ends and means, which appear in the universe"[i-455] also furnished additional sanction for Franklin's emphasis on the wondrous laws of the creation and the discovery of the Deity in his Work. Like James Thomson, Blackmore seeks to show how

The long coherent chain of things we find
Leads to a Cause Supreme, a wise Creating Mind.[i-456]

In revolt against the contractile elements in Calvinism, Franklin believed that God "is not offended, when he sees his Children solace themselves in any manner of pleasant exercises and Innocent Delights."[i-457] In his Articles of Belief Franklin retains from his Dissertation his a priori concept of the Deity[cxxxiii] as a creator and sustainer of "Wondrous Laws," immutable and beneficent. To the depersonalized First Mover, however, he has added "some of those Passions he has planted in us," and he suggests furthermore that the Deity is mildly providential. A maker of systematic, if inhuman, metaphysics in the Dissertation, the author of the Articles, in spite of the superficial and embryonic metaphysics, succeeds better in making himself at home in his world. To this embryonic religion (linked with Franklin's obsession with the plurality of worlds and gods—of no real significance save to indicate picturesquely the extent to which he had, with the scientists of his age, extended the limits of the physical universe) Franklin welded a pattern of ethics, prudential but stern.

Mr. Hefelbower's description of the growth of free thought might appropriately be applied to Franklin's Articles: "As the supernatural waned in radical Deism, the ethical grew in importance, until religion was but a moral system on a theistic background."[i-458] Although the metaphysical portions of this work are far too neighborly and casual to be inspiring and provocative of saintliness, the ethical conclusions (would that they were uttered less consciously and complacently!) are worthy of the introspective force of New England's stern mind, of the classic tradition of Socrates and Aristotle, and of England's unbending emphasis on the middle way.[i-459] One could learn from the Articles how to be just, if he did not discover what is meant by the beauty of holiness. In 1728 Franklin, though bewildered by the tenuousness of metaphysics, based his religion on the "everlasting tables of right reason," plumbing the "mighty volumes of visible nature." He was thus our pioneer scientific deist, who discovered his chief sanction in popularized Newtonian physics.


Following Franklin's formal profession of deism buttressed by Newtonian science in 1728, one must depend on scattered references to plot the persistence of his philosophic ideology. His Dialogues between Philocles and Horatio (1730), borrowed[i-460] from Shaftesbury's The Moralists, suggest that his moral speculations were dual and not reconciled; he seems torn between humanitarian compassion and the self-development of the individual, unable to decide which is the nobler good. One may observe that this moral bifurcation was inveterate in Franklin's mind, never resolving itself into a fondness for the idea that human nature is inexorably the product of institutions and outward social forms. A Witch Trial at Mount Holly suggests that he felt free to handle scriptures with Aristophanic levity. His intellectual conviction of a matchless physical harmony, as yet unmatched in the world by a corresponding moral harmony, is joyously seen in Preface to Poor Richard, 1735:

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....[i-461]

Even Polly Baker is made to appeal to "nature and nature's God,"[i-462] discovering in her bastard children the Deity's "divine skill and admirable workmanship in the formation of their bodies." In Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania (1749) Franklin remarked in a note on Natural Philosophy that "Proper Books may be, Ray's Wisdom of God in the Creation, Derham's Physico-Theology, [Pluche's?] Spectacle de la Nature, &c."[i-463] Poor Richard, in addition to prognostications of weather, survey of roads, Rabelaisian wit, and[cxxxv] aphoristic wisdom, was a popular vehicle for the diffusion of a Newtonianism bordering on a mild form of deism.[i-464]

Since Franklin's interest in science is too commonly discussed as if his research were synonymous with a tinkering and utilitarian inventiveness, it is pertinent to inquire in how far it was at least partially (or even integrally) the result of his philosophic acceptance of Newtonianism. Since his philosophic rationale preceded his activities in science, it will not do to suggest that his interest in science was responsible for his scientific deism. He wrote (August 15, 1745) to Cadwallader Colden, who was receptive to Newtonianism, that he [Franklin] "ought to study the sciences" in which hitherto he had merely dabbled.[i-465] Then follow his electrical experiments. In one of his famous letters on the properties and effects of electricity (sent to Peter Collinson, July 29, 1750) he allowed that the principle of repulsion "affords another occasion of adoring that wisdom which has made all things by weight and measure!"[i-466] Investigating—like a Newton—nature's laws, Franklin at first hand added to his philosophic assurance of the existence of a Deity, observable in the physical order.

In 1739 Franklin met Reverend George Whitefield, whose sermons and journals he printed while the evangelist remained in the colonies.[i-467] He first angled public opinion through the Pennsylvania Gazette, promising to print Whitefield's pieces "if I find sufficient Encouragement."[i-468] The Pennsylvania Gazette piously hoped that Whitefield's heavenly discourses would be ever remembered: "May the Impression on all our Souls remain, to the Honour of God, both in Ministers and People!"[i-469][cxxxvi] As editor (perhaps even writer of some of those notices) Franklin must have squirmed in praising the activities of one who daily cast all deists in hell! But it should be observed that if Franklin could not accept Methodistic zeal, he loved Whitefield, the man.[i-470] Even so did Whitefield regard Franklin, the man and printer—though not the scientific deist. Waiting to embark for England in 1740, Whitefield wrote to Franklin from Reedy Island: "Dear Sir, adieu! I do not despair of your seeing the reasonableness of Christianity. Apply to God, be willing to do the Divine Will, and you shall know it."[i-471] Twelve years later Whitefield wrote to his printer-deist friend: "I find that you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mysteries of the new birth."[i-472] When troops had been sent to Boston, Franklin wrote a letter to Whitefield (after January 21, 1768) which offers a significant clue for estimating Franklin's philosophy: "I see with you that our affairs are not well managed by our rulers here below; I wish I could believe with you, that they are well attended to by those above; I rather suspect, from certain circumstances, that though the general government of the universe is well administered, our particular little affairs are perhaps below notice, and left to take the chance of human prudence or imprudence, as either may happen to be uppermost. It is, however, an uncomfortable thought, and I leave it."[i-473] Whitefield "endorsed his friend's letter with the words, 'Uncomfortable indeed! and blessed be God, unscriptural!'"[i-474] If in 1786 Franklin[cxxxvii] wrote to an unknown correspondent (perhaps Tom Paine?)[i-475] that any arguments "against the Doctrines of a particular Providence" strike "at the Foundation of all Religion,"[i-476] he also had written not long before that "the Dispensations of Providence in this World puzzle my weak Reason."[i-477] Beneath the taciturn and allegedly complacent, imperturbable Franklin there is apparent a haunting inquietude. Never dead to his Calvinist heritage, he sought to establish a providential relationship between the Deity and man's fortunes, not a little chilled in the presence of the virtually depersonalized Deity of the Enlightenment. If Calvin's God was wrathful, he was providential; his own Deity, if benevolent and omnipotent, seemed strangely remote from the ken of man's moral experience. Science had shown him a Deity existing at the head of a fagot of immutable laws. If this Creator was picturesquely unlike the fickle gods of Olympus, he was strangely like them to the extent that he seemed to exist apart from man's moral nature. When he wrote to his friend, the Bishop of St. Asaph, "It seems my Fate constantly to wish for Repose, and never to obtain it,"[i-478] was he in part longing for the retirement when he would be able to resolve his doubts as to the workings of Providence?

M. Marbois, discussing Franklin's religion with John Adams, quietly noted that "Mr. Franklin adores only great Nature."[i-479] Joseph Priestley "lamented that a man of Dr. Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done so much as he did to[cxxxviii] make others unbelievers."[i-480] This evidence appears untrustworthy in light of his diffident attitude toward church attendance, even toward scriptures, as it may be discovered in his collected works.[i-481] Even if he did not feel the desire to attend formal services, he seemed, like Voltaire, to feel that they were salutary, if only to furnish the canaille with the will to obey authority. In 1751 Franklin's mother, Abiah Franklin, wrote to her son: "I hope you will lookup to God, and thank Him for all His good providences towards you."[i-482] If he were unable to understand God's providences, it was certain that he did not seek to disturb others by calling the concept of a providential deity into question.

In England and France Franklin was revered as the answer to the Enlightenment's prayer for the ideal philosopher-scientist. Sir John Pringle,[i-483] one of his warmest friends, in a Royal Society lecture in honor of Maskelyne, might well have been describing Franklin's place in eighteenth-century science when he said: "As much then remains to be explored in the celestial regions, you [Maskelyne] are encouraged, Sir, by what has been already attained, to persevere in these hallowed labours, from which have been derived the greatest improvements in the most useful arts, and the loudest declarations of the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of the Supreme Architect in the Spacious and beautiful fabric of the world."[i-484] To his age Franklin was "that judicious philosopher," judicious and "enlightened" to the extent that his experiments showed how men "may perceive[cxxxix] not only the direction of Divine Wisdom, but the goodness of Providence towards mankind, in having so admirably settled all things in the sublime arrangement of the world, that it should be in the power of men to secure themselves and their habitations against the dire effects of lightning."[i-485] Turgot's famous epigram on Franklin, the republican-deist, that he snatched sceptres from kings and lightning from the heavens, in part expressed the extent to which the French public conceived of Franklin, the scientist, as detracting from the terror in the cosmos, hence making their reasonable world more habitable.[i-486] In the popular mind death-dealing lightning had been the visible symbol and proof of Calvin's wrathful and capricious Jehovah. Franklin's dramatic and widely popularized proof that even lightning's secrets were not past finding out, that it acted according to immutable laws and could be made man's captive and menial slave, no doubt had a powerful influence in encouraging the great untheological public to become ultimately more receptive to deism. If Franklin was apotheosized as the apostle of liberty, he was no less sanctified as a "Modern Prometheus." In his own words, he saw science as freeing man "from vain Terrors."[i-487] To Condorcet, his friend and disciple, Franklin was one who "was enabled to wield a power sufficient to disarm the wrath of Heaven."[i-488]

He expressed his creed just before his death in the often-quoted letter to Ezra Stiles.[i-489] Bearing in mind his inveterate scientific deism, we are not surprised that his religion is one created apart from Christian scripture, that Jesus is the conventional, amiable philosopher, respected but not worshipped by[cxl] the Enlightenment. If he seems convinced in this letter that God "governs" the universe "by his Providence," we have seen above that his attitude toward the Deity's relation to man and his world was anything but sure and free from disturbing reflection. Convinced that the Deity "ought to be worshipped," he next observed "that the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children." His a priori concept of a benevolent Deity whose goodness is expressed in the harmony of the creation, in effect challenged him to attempt to approximate this kindness in his relations with his fellow men. Apart from provoking humanitarianism, primarily an ethical experience guided not by sentimentality but by reason and practicality. Franklin's natural religion—like deism in general—failed, as scriptural religion does not, to establish a union between theology, the religious life, and ethical behavior. It must be seen that Franklin had no confidence in achieving the good life through mere fellow-service: he continually urged man to conquer passion through reason, seeming to covet pagan sobriety more than he did the satisfaction of having aided man to achieve greater physical ease. If he felt that "to relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike,"[i-490] he warned against helping those who had failed to help themselves, implying that the inner growth of the individual is more significant than his outward charity to others. Whatever be the ultimate resolution of these antithetic principles, we see that his humanitarianism was the offspring of his a priori conceived Deity, augmented by his experiments in science which led to discovery of nature's laws. His emphasis on the inward and vertical growth of the individual toward perfection, on the other hand, may be viewed as the expression of the introspective force of his Puritan heritage and his knowledge, direct and indirect, of classical literature. As in the polarity of his thoughts concerning Providence, so here we see that the[cxli] modus operandi of his mind is explicable in terms of the interplay of the old and the new, Greek paganism (Socratic self-knowledge) and Christianity and the rationale of the Enlightenment.

Before he became an economist, a statesman, a man of letters, a scientist, he had embraced scientific deism, primarily impelled by Newtonianism. We have observed that it is not improbable that his agrarianism, emphasis on free trade, and tendency toward laissez faire were partially at least the result of his efforts to parallel in economics the harmony of the physical order. Likewise, his views on education were conditioned by his faith in intellectual progress, in the might of Reason, which in turn was in part the result of his scientific deism. Then too, it may well be suggested that his theories of rhetoric were to some degree the result of his rationalistic and scientific habits of mind. We have also seen that his scientific deism was among the motivating factors of his belief in natural rights, which, coupled with his empirical awareness of concrete economic and political abuses issuing from monarchy and imperialistic parliamentarians, made him alive to the sovereignty of the people in their demands for civil and political liberty. This introduction, it is hoped, has made apparent the fact that the growth of Franklin's mind was a complex matter and that it was moulded by a vast multitude of often diverse influences, no one of which alone completely "explains" him. Puritanism, classicism, and neoclassicism were all important influences. Yet perhaps the modus operandi of this myriad-minded colonial, this provincial Leonardo, is best explained in reference to the thought pattern of scientific deism. To see the reflection of Newton and his progeny in Franklin's activities, be they economic, political, literary, or philosophical, lends a compelling organic unity to the several sides of his genius, heretofore seen as unrelated. Franklin's mind represents an intellectual coherence—an imperfect counterpart to the physical harmony of the Newtonian order, of which all through his life he was a disciple.


[i-1] The Works of John Adams, ed. by C. F. Adams (Boston, 1856), f, 660.

[i-2] W. P. Trent, "Benjamin Franklin," McClure's Magazine, VIII, 273 (Jan., 1897).

[i-3] Cited in C. R. Weld's History of the Royal Society (London, 1848), I, 146. For Baconian influence see I, 57 f. See also Edwin Greenlaw, "The New Science and English Literature in the Seventeenth Century," Johns Hopkins Alumni Magazine, XIII, 331-59 (1925). Of dominant tendencies he stresses (a) a "new realism, or sense of fact and reliance on observation and experiment"; (b) the disregard for authority in favor of free inquiry; and (c) the development of faith in progress, inspiring men to improve their worldly condition.

[i-4] E. A. Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, 208. Newtonianism as a method and a philosophy has been ably examined by recent scholars. See, for examples, C. Becker, The Declaration of Independence, especially chap. II, and The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers; and in Bibliography, pp. cli ff., below, W. M. Horton (chap. II); C. S. Duncan; H. Drennon; L. Bloch; E. Halévy. See also Isabel St. John Bliss, "Young's Night Thoughts in Relation to Contemporary Christian Apologetics," Publications of the Modern Language Association, XLIX, 37-70 (March, 1934); J. H. Randall, The Making of the Modern Mind (Boston, 1926), chap. X ff.; H. H. Clark, "An Historical Interpretation of Thomas Paine's Religion," University of California Chronicle, XXXV, 56-87 (Jan., 1933), and "Toward a Reinterpretation of Thomas Paine," American Literature, V, 133-45 (May, 1933).

[i-5] Burtt, op. cit. 223.

[i-6] Article, "Deism."

[i-7] Article, "Nature."

[i-8] P. Smith, A History of Modern Culture (New York, 1934), II, 17-8.

[i-9] See S. Hefelbower, The Relation of John Locke to English Deism.

[i-10] Primitivism and the Idea of Progress in English Popular Literature of the Eighteenth Century, 168-9: "One inference that might be drawn from the theory was that while the infant whose mind is a blank page at birth is not so well off from the primitivistic point of view as the one who comes into the world already equipped with a complete set of the laws of nature and a predisposition to obey them, he is infinitely better off than the infant whose poor little mind had been loaded with original sin by his remote ancestors. For the orthodox baby, born in sin, there is almost no hope, except in supernatural aid; but if we suppose that man's ideas are all derived, as Locke postulated, from sense-impressions, then we may conclude that all men, rich and poor, primitive and civilized, are on an equal footing intellectually at birth. Although the primitive child does not have the help of civilization in the development of his mind, neither does he have its superstitions, prejudices, and corrupting influences; and he might actually be better off than the product of civilization—at least so many a primitivist argued. But one might draw another inference from the tabula rasa theory. Men, however corrupt they are now, may still have a chance of regeneration if their mind is really like blank paper at birth." For eighteenth-century primitivism see also H. N. Fairchild, The Noble Savage (New York, 1928).

[i-11] H. J. Laski, Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham (New York, 1920), 9. See also W. A. Dunning, A History of Political Theories from Luther to Montesquieu; G. S. Veitch, Genesis of Parliamentary Reform; and G. P. Gooch, English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century (2d ed., Cambridge, England, 1927).

[i-12] K. Martin, French Liberal Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 13.

[i-13] See J. B. Bury, The Idea of Progress, chap. VIII; and J. Morley, Diderot and the Encyclopædists, I, 6: "The great central moral of it all was this: that human nature is good, that the world is capable of being made a desirable abiding-place, and that the evil of the world is the fruit of bad education and bad institutions."

[i-14] "Shaftesbury and the Ethical Poets in England, 1700-1760," Publications of the Modern Language Association, XXXI (N. S. XXIV), 277 (June, 1916).

[i-15] See Bury, op. cit.; Whitney, op. cit.; and J. Delvaille, Essai sur l'histoire de l'idée de progrès (Paris, 1910).

[i-16] R. Crane, "Anglican Apologetics and the Idea of Progress, 1699-1745," Modern Philology, XXXI, 273-306 (Feb., 1934), and 349-82 (May, 1934).

[i-17] The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers, 30-1.

[i-18] N. L. Torrey, Voltaire and the English Deists.

[i-19] D. Mornet, French Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 50-1. Also see his Les sciences de la nature en France au XVIIIe siècle (Paris, 1911), and R. L. Cru, Diderot as a Disciple of English Thought (New York, 1913). See Morley, op. cit., I, 31 ff., and Martin, op. cit.

[i-20] An Account of the Destruction of the Jesuits in France (Glasgow, 1766), 61.

[i-21] Consult M. Roustan, The Pioneers of the French Revolution, and L. Ducros, French Society in the Eighteenth Century.

[i-22] Quoted in J. Fiske's The Beginnings of New England, 73. For the seventeenth-century New England way, see especially F. H. Foster, A Genetic History of the New England Theology (Chicago, 1907); P. Miller, Orthodoxy in Massachusetts, 1630-1650: A Genetic Study (Cambridge, Mass., 1933); B. Wendell, Cotton Mather, The Puritan Priest; I. W. Riley, American Philosophy: The Early Schools, 3-58 and passim; H. W. Schneider, The Puritan Mind; J. Haroutunian, Piety versus Moralism; R. and L. Boas, Cotton Mather: Keeper of the Puritan Conscience (New York, 1928). See Bk. V of Mather's Magnalia, "prose epic of New England Puritanism" (B. Wendell, Literary History of America, 50).

[i-23] Prior to the Treaty of Paris (1763) the American colonies were indebted primarily to English liberalism for ideas subversive of colonial orthodoxy. If works of Fénelon, Fontenelle, Bayle, Voltaire, and Rousseau are occasionally found in the colonies prior to 1763, these are dwarfed beside the impact of such English minds as those of Trenchard and Gordon, Collins, Wollaston, Tillotson, Boyle, Shaftesbury, Locke, and Newton. It was only in the twilight of the century that French liberalism, itself nursed on English speculation, began to impinge on the thought-life of the colonies. See H. M. Jones, America and French Culture. Also see L. Rosenthal, "Rousseau at Philadelphia," Magazine of American History, VII, 46-55. See works of Riley, Koch, Gohdes, Morais, in Bibliography, pp. cli ff., below.

[i-24] Fiske, op. cit., 124.

[i-25] F. J. Turner, The Frontier in American History (New York, 1920), 30.

[i-26] Ibid., 38.

[i-27] Whitney, op. cit., 83-4.

[i-28] See R. M. Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies (London, 1921).

[i-29] T. Hornberger's "The Date, the Source, and the Significance of Cotton Mather's Interest in Science," American Literature, VI, 413-20 (Jan., 1935), offers evidence to show that Mather's thought in this work is latent in earlier works.

[i-30] K. Murdock (ed.), Selections from Cotton Mather (New York, 1926), xlix-l; see G. L. Kittredge items (Murdock, lxii), and Hornberger, op. cit.

[i-31] Murdock, op. cit., 286.

[i-32] Ibid., 292.

[i-33] Ibid., 349.

[i-34] Riley, op. cit., 196.

[i-35] Quoted in H. M. Morais, Deism in Eighteenth Century America, 25.

[i-36] Ibid., 17. See also G. A. Koch, Republican Religion.

[i-37] Travels in North America, in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782 (London, 1787), I, 445.

[i-38] F. E. Brasch, "Newton's First Critical Disciple in the American Colonies—John Winthrop," in Sir Isaac Newton, 1727-1927 (Baltimore, 1928), 301.

[i-39] H. and C. Schneider (eds.), Samuel Johnson, President of Kings College: His Career and Writings (New York, 1929), I, 6.

[i-40] Ibid., I, 8-9. It will be remembered that Thomas Young was struck with science and deism while at Yale: he it was who introduced liberal ideas to that militant prince of deists (with Thomas Paine), Ethan Allen.

[i-41] Jacobus Rohaultus physica Latine reddita et annotata ex, Js. Newtonii principiis (1697).

[i-42] Literary Diary, I, 556 (1775).

[i-43] D. Stimson, The Gradual Acceptance of the Copernican Theory, 48.

[i-44] See S. E. Morison, "The Harvard School of Astronomy in the Seventeenth Century," New England Quarterly, VII, 3 (March, 1934).

[i-45] Ibid., 7. In 1672 Harvard received her first telescope. Such men as Winthrop and Thomas Brattle were actively interested in science.

[i-46] F. Cajori, The Teaching and History of Mathematics in the United States, U. S. Bureau of Education, Circular of Information, No. 3, 1890 (Washington, D. C.), 22.

[i-47] Brasch, op. cit., 308.

[i-48] Dictionary of American Biography, VII, 591-2.

[i-49] The Newtonian System of the World ... (Westminster, 1728), 30.

[i-50] Ibid., 6.

[i-51] See J. Quincy, History of Harvard University (Boston, 1860 [1840]), II, 4-21.

[i-52] Jan. 12, 1727, Feb. 23, and others. Also see June 13 and July 11 of 1734.

[i-53] See advertisements in Boston Gazette, June 17-24, 1734, quoted in W. G. Bleyer's Main Currents in the History of American Journalism, 73-4.

[i-54] Op. cit., 25.

[i-55] Literary Diary, II, 334.

[i-56] Through the kindness of the Hollis family, Harvard (by 1764) gained a remarkable collection of scientific instruments, possessed the Boylean lectures, Transactions of the Royal Society and of the Academy of Science in Paris, the works of Boyle and Newton, "with a great variety of other mathematical and philosophical treatises" (Quincy, op. cit., II, 481). Notable among these items are Chambers's Cyclopædia, received in 1743, and Pemberton's View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy, in 1752.

[i-57] A. Bradford, Memoir of the Life and Writings of Rev. Jonathan Mayhew ... (Boston, 1838), 18-9, 46.

[i-58] Ibid., 50.

[i-59] Ibid., 305. Mayhew is on record as saying: "The inspired scriptures are our only rule of faith and conduct" (ibid., 140).

[i-60] Ibid., 75. On the other hand, he reacts against what deism and orthodox rationalism commonly became: "A religion consisting in nothing but a knowledge of God's attributes, and an external conduct agreeable to his laws, would be a lifeless, insipid thing. It would be neither a source of happiness to ourselves, nor recommend us to the approbation of him, who requires us 'to give him our hearts.'"

[i-61] Ibid., 464.

[i-62] Two Discourses Delivered Oct. 9th, 1760 ... (Boston, 1760), 66.

[i-63] Election-Sermon, May 27, 1747 (Boston, 1747), 9.

[i-64] A Sermon [election], May 31, 1769 (Boston, 1769), 5.

[i-65] Election-Sermon, May 30, 1781 (Boston, 1781), 4.

[i-66] Election-Sermon, May 28, 1783 (Boston, 1783), 29.

[i-67] Ibid., 54.

[i-68] Election-Sermon, May 31, 1780 (Boston, 1780), 21.

[i-69] Election-Sermon, May 27, 1778 (Boston, 1778), 7.

[i-70] Election-Sermon, May 29, 1765 (Boston, 1765), 17.

[i-71] Life of Ezra Stiles (Boston, 1798), passim; see especially pp. 34-54.

[i-72] See his United States Elevated to Glory and Honour ..., May 8, 1783 (Worcester, 1785).

[i-73] See Literary Diary for his inveterate interest in science and the laws of nature; see also I. M. Calder (ed.), Letters & Papers of Ezra Stiles ... (New Haven, 1933).

[i-74] See Hornberger, op. cit., 419.

[i-75] For full backgrounds, see G. P. Gooch, English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century, W. A. Dunning, A History of Political Theories from Luther to Montesquieu; H. L. Osgood, "Political Ideas of the Puritans," Political Science Quarterly, VI, 1-29, 201-31; Mellen Chamberlain, John Adams ... with Other Essays (Boston, 1898), especially pp. 19-53, stressing the influence of Puritanism on political liberalism; Alice Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution; J. W. Thornton, The Pulpit of the American Revolution (Boston, 1860), a collection of election sermons edited with an extensive introduction; C. H. Van Tyne, "The Influence of the Clergy ... in the American Revolution," American Historical Review, XIX, 44-64. In stressing the influence on Franklin of European ideas, it is important to remember that, as we shall see, it is probable that some of Franklin's interest in doing good (charity), in science, and in democracy may have been inspired by his exposure during his formative years to American Puritanism.

[i-76] The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. by Albert Henry Smyth (New York, 1905-1907), I, 300; (hereafter referred to as Writings). For a scholarly exposition of backgrounds of educational theory in relation to philosophy, especially the cult of progress, see A. O. Hansen's Liberalism and American Education in the Eighteenth Century, which includes a valuable bibliography. This work, however, slights Franklin and Jefferson.

[i-77] Writings, I, 312.

[i-78] For an exhaustive survey of the means Franklin pursued to educate himself, and suggestive notes on his ideas of education, see F. N. Thorpe's Benjamin Franklin and the University of Pennsylvania, chaps. I-II, 9-203. See also Thomas Woody's Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin (New York, 1931), which in addition to relevant selections from Franklin's works contains stimulating observations by the editor.

[i-79] Writings, I, 323.

[i-80] Essays to do Good, with an Introductory Essay by Andrew Thomson (Glasgow, 1825 [1710]), 189.

[i-81] Ibid., 102.

[i-82] Ibid., 192-3.

[i-83] See his letter to Samuel Mather, May 12, 1784 (Writings, IX, 208-10).

[i-84] The Works of Daniel Defoe, ed. by Wm. Hazlitt (London, 1843), I.

[i-85] Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times, 119. Also see his "Learned Societies in Europe and America in the Eighteenth Century," American Historical Review, XXXVII, 258 (1932), in which he suggests that the Junto "had Masonic leanings."

[i-86] These and others quoted in Woody, op. cit., 45-6 (reprinted from Sparks, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, II, 9-10).

[i-87] Writings, II, 88.

[i-88] Ibid., II, 89.

[i-89] Ibid.

[i-90] Ibid., II, 90.

[i-91] Questions suggestive of the Junto's interest in moral, political, and philosophical topics are: "Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind, the universal monarch to whom all are tributaries?" which causes one to suspect that Franklin had challenged his friends with The Fable of the Bees; "Can any one particular form of government suit all mankind?" which may have stirred controversies in the Junto between logical relativists and historic absolutists, the realists and those motivated by a priori abstractions, as, for example, in the Burke-Paine intellectual duel; "Whether it ought to be the aim of philosophy to eradicate the passions?" which may tend to suggest that Franklin would gear philosophy to moral action rather than to arid metaphysics.

[i-92] Writings, I, 312.

[i-93] Ibid., I, 322.

[i-94] Since writing this the editors have noted Morais's fragmentary use of the Company's catalogues in Deism In Eighteenth Century America. For popular accounts of the general character and function of the Company see L. Stockton, "The Old Philadelphia Library," Our Continent, Oct., 1882, 452-9; J. M. Read, Jr., "The Old Philadelphia Library," Atlantic Monthly, March, 1868, 299-312; B. Samuel, "The Father of American Libraries," Century Magazine, May, 1883, 81-6. The ablest survey is G. M. Abbot's A Short History of the Library Company of Philadelphia. He lists, however, only the first books ordered in 1732 through Peter Collinson.

[i-95] Cited in Abbot, op. cit., 5.

[i-96] Photostat used as source is in the William Smith Mason Collection in Evanston, Ill.

[i-97] "The Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden, Vol. II, 1730-1742," Collections of the New York Historical Society (New York, 1919), II, 146-7. See also A. M. Keys, Cadwallader Colden: A Representative Eighteenth-Century Official (New York, 1906), 6-7.

[i-98] American Philosophy: The Early Schools, 330.

[i-99] An Historical Account of the Origin and Formation of the American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, 1914); J. G. Rosengarten, in "The American Philosophical Society," tends to agree with Du Ponceau.

[i-100] Writings, II, 229.

[i-101] The History of the Royal Society of London ... (2d ed., London, 1702), 61.

[i-102] Ibid., 64.

[i-103] Writings, II, 230.

[i-104] In 1750 he wrote: "Nor is it of much importance to us, to know the manner 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 how it comes to fall, and why it breaks, are matters of speculation. 'Tis a pleasure indeed to know them, but we can preserve our china without it" (Writings, II, 434-5). We remember that even Sir Isaac Newton confessed that "the cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know" (Works of Richard Bentley, London, 1838, III, 210). He observed that "Gravity must be caused by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the consideration of my readers" (ibid., 212).

[i-105] Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XIII, 247-8 (1889).

[i-106] Franklin was unable to prevail upon Johnson to accept the provostship of the Academy. In 1752 he printed Johnson's Elementa Philosophica and suggested in Idea of the English School that it be used in the Academy. In a letter of 1754 Franklin informs Johnson that the grammatical and mathematical parts were already being used—the rest would be when the instructors and pupils were ready for it (E. E. Beardsley, Life and Correspondence of S. Johnson, D. D., 2d ed., New York, 1874, 180-1). In the Elementa Philosophica Johnson stresses the use of mathematics in man's study of nature (p. xv). Through mathematics, an indispensable aid in "considering that wonderful and amazing Power, that All-comprehending Wisdom, that inimitable Beauty, that surprizing Harmony, that immutable Order, which abundantly discover themselves in the Formation and Government of the Universe, we are led to their divine Original, who is the unexhausted Source, the glorious Fountain of all Perfection ..." (ibid., xiii). The Elementa is a rhapsodic manual extolling the discovery of the Deity in his Work, through the study of the physical laws of the creation. Although subordinated to this, there are frequent reactions against Lockian sensationalism, suggesting an ecstatic mystical union between man and God. On the whole, the volume is a treatise on the glories of a natural religion (a religion of course which buttresses rather than refutes scriptural religion).

[i-107] Quoted in T. H. Montgomery's A History of the University of Pennsylvania, 396. Smith's educational principles may be partially seen in his "View of the Philosophy Schools" (1754) printed in H. W. Smith's Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith (Philadelphia, 1879), I, 59 f. Although he conceived Nature as affording only "those fainter exhibitions of the Deity" (I, 156), he was a sturdy orthodox rationalist, tending toward, yet not embracing deism. Emphasizing the principal writings of Barrow, Maclaurin, Watts, Keill, Locke, Hutcheson, 'sGravesande, Martin, Desaguliers, Rohault (Clarke's edition), Ray, Derham, and Sir Isaac Newton, Smith suggests the rationalist who buttresses scriptural revelation with the evidences of Deity through discovery by reason of the Workman in the Work. His Discourses on Public Occasions in America (2d ed., London, 1762) are the result "of his office as Head of a seminary of learning [Philadelphia Academy and College]; in order to advance the interests of Science, and therewith the interests of true Christianity" (p. vi). "A General Idea of the College of Mirania" (1762), though written about 1752 while Smith was in New York, suggests the form of his "View": he observes that "besides his revealed will, God has given intimations of his will to us, by appealing to our senses in the constitution of our nature, and the constitution and harmony of the material universe" (Discourses, 44). The same titles and authors are listed as in the "View." A Newtonian rationalist, Smith meditated: "All thy works, with unceasing voice, echo forth thy wondrous praises. The splendid sun, with the unnumbered orbs of heaven, thro' the pathless void, repeat their unwearied circuits, that, to the uttermost bounds of the universe, they may proclaim Thee the source of justest order and unabating harmony" (ibid., 155). Smith arrived at his principles of rationalism apparently without indebtedness to Franklin: there seems to be no evidence that as provost he was merely attempting to fulfill the scientific and rationalistic ideas latent in Franklin's Proposals, that he was a tool in Franklin's hands. Indeed, they were anything but friendly to one another. Hence, one feels that the credit for the relatively modern curriculum should be given more abundantly to Smith than to Franklin.

[i-108] Writings, II, 388.

[i-109] Montgomery, op. cit., 254 note.

[i-110] Writings, II, 9-14.

[i-111] Writings, X, 29.

[i-112] Ibid., X, 31. Compare similar views in Benjamin Rush's "Observations upon the Study of the Latin and Greek Languages," in Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia, 1798), and Francis Hopkinson's "An Address to the American Philosophical Society," in Miscellaneous Essays and Occasional Writings (Philadelphia, 1792), I.

[i-113] Writings, IV, 22.

[i-114] Ibid., VI, 153.

[i-115] Quoted in J. B. Bury's The Idea of Progress, 104. See also Lois Whitney's Primitivism and the Idea of Progress, especially chap. V.

[i-116] Bury, op. cit., 96.

[i-117] Writings, VIII, 451.

[i-118] For example see ibid., IX, 74, 557.

[i-119] See Writings, VIII, 454.

[i-120] See R. M. Gummere, "Socrates at the Printing Press. Benjamin Franklin and the Classics," Classical Weekly, XXVI, 57-9 (Dec. 5, 1932).

[i-121] Several of the following arguments are included in C. E. Jorgenson's "Sidelights on Benjamin Franklin's Principles of Rhetoric," Revue Anglo-Américaine, Feb., 1934, 208-22.

[i-122] Hume wrote to Franklin: "You are the first philosopher, and indeed the first great man of letters for whom we are beholden to her [America]" (Writings, IV, 154). Cowper exclaimed that Franklin was "one of the most important [men] in the literary world, that the present age can boast of" (Parton, op. cit., II, 439); for other engaging estimates of Franklin as a man of letters consult C. W. Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism ..., IV, 79-106.

[i-123] Franklin found in an appendix to Greenwood's English Grammar and in the Memorabilia specimens of the Socratic method which influenced him to adopt the manner of "the humble inquirer and doubter," to write and harangue with a "modest diffidence." On several occasions he approvingly quotes Pope's rule: "to speak, tho' sure, with seeming Diffidence." Jefferson recognized Franklin's use of this kind of Machiavellian diffidence, noting, "It was one of the rules which, above all others, made Dr. Franklin the most amiable of men in society, never to contradict anybody," and that "if he was urged to announce an opinion, he did it rather by asking questions, as if for information, or by suggesting doubts." In the Autobiography Franklin sees the Socratic method as a necessary ally to "doing good," observing that many who mean to be helpful "lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us."

[i-124] Bunyan's dignified simplicity, his "sound and honest Gospel strains," may have been one of Franklin's incentives to write lucidly and compellingly. For Bunyan's literary ideals, see the prefaces to his works, especially that to Grace Abounding. The best study of Defoe and Swift as literary theorists is W. Gückel and E. Günther, D. Defoes und J. Swifts Belesenheit und literarische Kritik (Leipzig, 1925).

[i-125] E. C. Cook, Literary Influences in Colonial Newspapers, 1704-1750, 15. This scholarly work shows the great influence in America of neoclassical authors.

[i-126] For a generous catalog of the devices borrowed see ibid., 15 f.

[i-127] Spectator, No. 167.

[i-128] For a fuller discussion of Franklin's view of the ancients, see section on "Franklin's Theories of Education," p. xxxii above.

[i-129] Cited in R. F. Jones, "Science and English Prose Style ...," Publications of the Modern Language Association, XLV, 982 (Dec., 1930). On the backgrounds of literary theories underlying the sermons which Franklin heard, see scholarly studies such as Caroline F. Richardson's English Preachers and Preaching, 1640-1670 (New York, 1928), and W. F. Mitchell's English Pulpit Oratory (New York, 1932). From 1750 on, however, the Puritan clergy in America increasingly advocated a simple, clear, and easy style. See Howard M. Jones, "American Prose Style; 1700-1770," Huntington Library Bulletin, No. 6, 115-51 (Nov., 1934).

[i-130] History of the Royal Society ... (2d ed., London, 1702), 113.

[i-131] R. F. Jones, op. cit., 989. Tillotson, whom Franklin suggested as a model worthy of emulation (Writings, II, 391), was "another great exponent of the new style" (R. F. Jones, op. cit., 1002).

[i-132] L. M. MacLaurin (Franklin's Vocabulary, 21) also suggests Franklin's probable indebtedness to the Royal Society program.

[i-133] O. Elton, The Augustan Age, 8-12.

[i-134] A. O. Lovejoy, "The Parallel of Deism and Classicism," Modern Philology, XXIX, 281-99 (Feb., 1932).

[i-135] Franklin's friend Henry Pemberton, in his View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy (London, 1728), had said (pp. 2-3) that the Newtonian thirst for knowledge, especially of the causes of the operations of nature, had become "so general, that all men of letters, I believe, find themselves influenced by it."

[i-136] Writings, II, 157.

[i-137] Ibid., I, 37.

[i-138] Ibid., I, ix.

[i-139] Ibid., III, 121. For his demand that sculpture and music have "beautiful simplicity" of form see ibid., VII, 194; VIII, 578; IV, 210, 377-8, 381; V, 530; VIII, 94. On the basis of confusion of genres, Franklin disliked the opera.

[i-140] Ibid., I, 41. See also X, 33, 51.

[i-141] Miss MacLaurin's research has disclosed that Franklin's vocabulary (4,062 words, between 1722 and 1751) contained only 19 words which "were discovered to be pure 'Americanisms,' and of these, 6 are the names of herbs or grasses; 1 is derived from the name of an American university, and 1 from the name of an American state" (op. cit., 38-9).

[i-142] Quoted in Bruce, op. cit., II, 439. Also see his letters to Noah Webster, Writings, I, 29; X, 75-6.

[i-143] S. A. Leonard, The Doctrine of Correctness in English Usage, 1700-1800, 14.

[i-144] See L. Richardson, A History of Early American Magazines, 1741-1789, index, for the vogue of Swift. In the library of the New England Courant, as early as 1722, there was a copy of The Tale of a Tub (T. G. Wright, Literary Culture in Early New England, 1620-1730, 187-8). Franklin was probably indebted to the Dean for his prophecies of the death of Titan Leeds (although he could have learned the use of this device from Defoe). In Idea of the English School Franklin recommends Swift for use in the sixth class (Writings, III, 28). His Meditation on a Quart Mugg is undoubtedly derived from Swift's Meditation upon a Broomstick, each forced to undergo the indignities of a "dirty wench." In 1757 he made the acquaintance of Dr. John Hawksworth, who in 1755 had edited Swift's works. It is likely that this friendly union may have helped to produce Franklin's 1773 masterpieces of caustic irony and the disarmingly effective hoaxes. Variously he quotes (acknowledged and otherwise) bits from Swift's poetry and prose. See Herbert Davis's "Swift's View of Poetry," in Studies In English by Members of University College, Toronto (1931), collected by M. W. Wallace.

[i-145] Writings, III, 26.

[i-146] To suggest that Franklin knew his Horace, see ibid., VI, 150; VIII, 148.

[i-147] It seems unnecessary to extend a discussion of the didacticism inherent in Franklin's writing. Addison, and the ethical bent of neoclassicism in general, impinging on a mind no small part of which was motivated by its Puritan heritage, help to account for Franklin's ethicism, a lifelong quality. References illustrating his assumed role as Censor Morum are: Writings, I, 37, 243; II, 4, 50, 101, 110-1, 117, 175. Franklin proposes not only to delight, but also, in the Jonsonian and Meredithian sense, to instruct through a mild catharsis brought about by holding up man's excesses and vagaries for ridicule. He is firm in distinguishing good writing by its "tendency to benefit the reader, by improving his virtue or his knowledge." Consonant with Horace's

"To teach—to please—comprise the poet's views,
Or else at once to profit and amuse,"

and with Sidney's "to teach delightfully," Franklin's literary purpose included a basic ethical motivation.

[i-148] Writings, I, 226.

[i-149] Ibid., I, 42-3.

[i-150] Fully aware "that I am no Poet born" (Bruce, op. cit., II, 498), apparently agreeing with his father that poets "were generally beggars" (Writings I, 240), Franklin allowed only that writing poetry may improve one's language. Yet Dogood Paper No. VII and his estimate of Cowper (characterized by easiness in manner, correctness in language, clarity of expression, perspicuity, and justness of the sentiments) (ibid., VIII, 448-9), and the "Tears of Pleasure" he shed over Thomson, all suggest that he was not wholly blind to poetry. He hoped to see Philadelphia "become the Seat of the American Muses" (ibid., II, 245, 110; IV, 181, 184; VI, 437).

[i-151] A. Bosker, Literary Criticism in the Age of Johnson, 34. For important qualifications see the thorough study by Donald F. Bond, "'Distrust' of Imagination in English Neo-Classicism," Philological Quarterly, XIV, 54-69 (Jan., 1935). Those interested in considering Franklin with reference to contemporary literary theory will find full materials in J. W. Draper's Eighteenth-Century English Aesthetics: A Bibliography, and additions to it by R. S. Crane, Modern Philology, XXIX, 25 ff. (1931); W. D. Templeman, ibid., XXX, 309-16; R. D. Havens, Modern Language Notes, XLVII, 118-20 (1932).

[i-152] Writings, II, 24.

[i-153] Ibid., V, 182; also II, 43, and VIII, 128, 163, 604.

[i-154] See G. S. Eddy, "Dr. Benjamin Franklin's Library," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XXXIV, 206-26 (Oct., 1924).

[i-155] See C. E. Jorgenson, "Benjamin Franklin and Rabelais," Classical Journal, XXIX, 538-40 (April, 1934).

[i-156] The Travels of Cyrus.

[i-157] Independent Whig and Cato's Letters.

[i-158] For an interesting summary of Franklin's references to the classics, see R. M. Gummere, op. cit.

[i-159] Add to this, Franklin's use of the Swiftian hoax and complex irony. After writing Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One (1773) he explained to a friend: "These odd ways of presenting Matters to the publick View sometimes occasion them to be more read, talk'd of, and more attended to" (Writings, VI, 137). Parton observes that the Edict of the King of Prussia "was the nine-days' talk of the kingdom." Raynal unsuspectingly used Franklin's Polly Baker, as an authentic document in his Histoire .... Franklin's Exporting of Felons to the Colonies, The Sale of Hessians, and A Dialogue between Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Saxony, and America illustrate these trenchant devices used to achieve a political purpose.

[i-160] Writings, I, 49.

[i-161] The True Benjamin Franklin, 158.

[i-162] Writings, I, 239.

[i-163] Smyth's note, Writings, VIII, 336.

[i-164] Writings, I, 238.

[i-165] Writings, X, 4 (to Mrs. Catherine Greene, March 2, 1789).

[i-166] There were eight towns in the colonies which had presses when Franklin went into business for himself: Cambridge, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Annapolis, New London (Conn.), Woodbridge (N. J.), and Williamsburg. See Isaiah Thomas, The History of Printing in America (Worcester, 1810), II, passim.

[i-167] "A printer of first-rate eminence," according to Charles Henry Timperley's A Dictionary of Printers and Printing (London, 1839), 714 note.

[i-168] R. A. Austen Leigh, "William Strahan and His Ledgers," in Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, N. S. III, 286. For Strahan see also Spottiswoode & Co.'s The Story of a Printing House, Being a Short Account of the Strahans and Spottiswoodes (London, 1911); and Timperley, op. cit., 754-6.

[i-169] See G. S. Eddy, "Correspondence Between Dr. Benjamin Franklin and John Walter, Regarding the Logographic Process of Printing," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XXXVIII, 349-69 (Oct., 1928).

[i-170] Writings, II, 175.

[i-171] See W. P. and J. P. Cutler, Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, I, 269, letter of July 13, 1787; also G. S. Eddy, op. cit.

[i-172] See Thomas, loc. cit.

[i-173] A notable exception was the type of "letter to the editor" which Franklin used as a means of suggesting reforms, such as those affecting the city watch, the fire companies, and the cleaning and lighting of the streets. See J. B. McMaster, Benjamin Franklin as a Man of Letters, 82-5.

[i-174] A correspondent of Franklin's paper commended Zenger's stand (see Pennsylvania Gazette, May 11-18, 1738; reprinted in W. G. Bleyer, Main Currents in the History of American Journalism, 66-7), but Franklin shrewdly kept his own paper free of factional politics. See Livingston Rutherford, John Peter Zenger (New York, 1904).

[i-175] See Clarence S. Brigham, "American Newspapers to 1820," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XXXII, 157-9 (April, 1922), for detailed bibliography of the Gazette.

[i-176] A. H. Smyth, Philadelphia Magazines and Their Contributors, 200.

[i-177] Writings, I, 360.

[i-178] For a list of the printers with whom Franklin had such connections, see M. R. King, "One Link in the First Newspaper Chain, the South Carolina Gazette," Journalism Quarterly, IX, 257 (Sept., 1932).

[i-179] For sketches of both magazines, see L. N. Richardson, A History of Early American Magazines, 17-35, and F. L. Mott, A History of American Magazines, 1741-1850, 71-7. See also Philip Biddison, "The Magazine Franklin Failed to Remember," American Literature, IV, 177 (June, 1932); the writer thinks certain accusations in the Bradford-Franklin controversy over the magazines discreditable to Franklin, so that the latter's lapse of memory saved him "embarrassment."

[i-180] See letter to John Wright, Nov. 4, 1789 (Writings, X, 60-3). For European backgrounds of Franklin's economic views see Gide and Rist, in Bibliography. On American backgrounds the standard work is E. A. J. Johnson's American Economic Thought in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1932), which shows the intimate relation between economic and religious theories.

[i-181] Lewis J. Carey, Franklin's Economic Views (Garden City, N. Y., 1928), 72.

[i-182] Cited in Carey, 73. He had used in this article facts lent by Benezet concerning the "detestable commerce" motivated in part by English "laws for promoting the Guinea trade" (Writings, V, 431-2).

[i-183] Writings, IX, 627.

[i-184] In 1779 he professed mortification that the King of France gave "freedom to Slaves, while a king of England is endeavouring to make Slaves of Freemen" (ibid., VII, 402).

[i-185] Ibid., IX, 404. See also ibid., 6.

[i-186] Suggestive notes on this point may be found in N. Foerster's article in the American Review, IV, 129-46 (Dec., 1934).

[i-187] Writings, VI, 102. See also VI, 39-40.

[i-188] Ibid., III, 66.

[i-189] Ibid., III, 66-7.

[i-190] Ibid., III, 68.

[i-191] Carey, op. cit., 69.

[i-192] Writings, III, 65.

[i-193] Ibid., III, 73.

[i-194] That others in the colonies saw slavery as an economically unsound investment (without any reference to its being malum in se) may be witnessed in an article in the Boston News-Letter (March 3, 1718): "In the previous year there had been eighty burials of Indians and negroes in Boston. The writer argued that the loss of £30 each amounted to £2,400. If white servants had been employed instead, at £15 for the time of each, the 'town had saved £1,200.' A man could procure £12 to £15 to purchase the time of a white servant that could not pay £30 to £50 for a negro or Indian. 'The Whites Strengthens [sic] and Peoples the Country, others do not'" (W. B. Weeden, Economic and Social History of New England, 1620-1789, Boston, 1891, II, 456). Congruent with Franklin's Observations is John Adams's note that "Argument might have some weight in the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts, but the real cause was the multiplication of labouring white people, who would no longer suffer the rich to employ these sable rivals so much to their injury" (ibid., II, 453).

[i-195] In Franklin's view, slavery was also politically subversive. In 1756 he feared that the slaves, along with servants and loose people in general, would desert to the French (Writings, III, 359). Since the danger undoubtedly existed (ibid., VII, 48, 69), Franklin had a right to be sardonic in commenting on Dr. Johnson's advice that slaves be incited "to rise, cut the throats of their purchasers, and resort to the British army, where they should be rewarded with freedom" (ibid., X, 110-1).

[i-196] Printed in Maryland Gazette (Dec. 17, 1728); later as pamphlet (April 3, 1729).

[i-197] Carey, op. cit., 7. See Writings I, 306-7, for Franklin's own account of the effect of this work.

[i-198] C. J. Bullock, Essays on the Monetary History of the United States, 51.

[i-199] Weeden, op. cit., II, 485.

[i-200] Financial History of the United States, 21. Bullock observes another factor: "Sooner or later all the plantations were deeply involved in the mazes of a fluctuating currency, for the burdens attending the various wars of the eighteenth century were so great as to induce even the most conservative colonies to resort to this easy method of meeting public obligations" (op. cit., 33).

[i-201] Writings, II, 133-5.

[i-202] See Carey, op. cit., chap. I, for suggestive survey of this pamphlet. Carey points out Franklin's indebtedness to writings of Sir William Petty.

[i-203] Carey (chap. II, "Value and Interest") quotes Franklin: "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" (Writings, II, 144).

[i-204] See, for example, Plan for Saving One Hundred Thousand Pounds, 1755 (Writings, III, 293-5).

[i-205] Writings, IV, 420: Examination of Benjamin Franklin. He was obliged to admit that Massachusetts colonists had taken a calmer view of the 1751 act (IV, 428).

[i-206] G. L. Beer, British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765, 188.

[i-207] Although it is true that Pennsylvania suffered less from paper money because of better security (Carey, op. cit., 23 note), it seems curious that Franklin should have been blind to the evils of inflation and the operations of Gresham's law.

[i-208] Paper in William Smith Mason Collection; cited in Carey, op. cit., 20. See also Writings, V, 189, in which he repeats the threat. British restraint must hence provoke colonial "industry and frugality."

[i-209] Writings, VII, 294. Cf. ibid., IX, 231-6.

[i-210] See Writings, VII, 275, 335, 341.

[i-211] To Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1783 (Writings, IX, 93-5).

[i-212] In 1779 (see Writings, VII, 294) Franklin explained that the French knew little of paper currency. Mr. Carey offers convincing evidence to show that Franklin helped to predispose the deputies of the first National Assembly to use assignats (op. cit., 27-33). See Of the Paper Money of the United States of America (Writings, IX, 231-6).

[i-213] J. F. Watson, Annals of Philadelphia (1844 ed.), I, 533.

[i-214] Cited by J. Rae in his Life of Adam Smith (London, 1895), 265.

[i-215] Ibid., 266. See Carey's chapter, "Franklin's Influence on Adam Smith," for an exhaustive survey of the personalia linking Adam Smith and Franklin. Both were in London in 1773-1776 and were occasional companions, having in 1759 met in Edinburgh at the home of Dr. Robertson. Probably they again met in Glasgow during the same year. Smith could have received copies of Franklin's works through Hume and Lord Kames; among Franklin's works in Smith's library was Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind; when Smith in the Wealth of Nations observes that colonial population doubles in every twenty to twenty-five years, it seems reasonable to infer that he was beholden to Franklin for the suggestion. It is within the realm of reasonable inference, says Mr. Carey, that Franklin did, as Parton urges, help to educate Smith in the colonial point of view. T. D. Eliot, in "The Relations Between Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin before 1776," Political Science Quarterly, XXXIX, 67-96 (March, 1924), after calling attention to the lack of extant correspondence between them and the silence of their contemporaries concerning a vital relationship, shows a reasonable hesitancy in observing that little is known about Smith's alleged debt to Franklin. Like Wetzel and Carey, Eliot thinks the debt has been exaggerated. He has been unable to prove Dr. Patten's intuition that in 1759 Franklin went to Smith in Scotland to urge him to write a treatise on colonial policy. In 1765 Turgot met Adam Smith. In the following year he published his Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses, antedating Smith's Wealth of Nations by ten years. See J. Delvaille's Essai sur l'histoire de l'idée de progrès (Paris, 1910), chap. IV, on Adam Smith; and Carey, op. cit., 152, 158-9, for the relationship between Turgot and Franklin.

[i-216] Although both Franklin and Smith held to the labor theory of value (Franklin was indebted to Petty for his use of the term), Smith was confirmed in his belief before he knew of Franklin or his works.

[i-217] According to Jacob Viner ("Adam Smith and Laissez Faire," in Adam Smith, 1776-1926. Lectures to Commemorate the Sesqui-Centennial of the Publication of 'The Wealth of Nations,' 116-55), "Smith's major claim to fame ... seems to rest on his elaborate and detailed application to the economic world of the concept of a unified natural order, operating according to natural law, and if left to its own course producing results beneficial to mankind" (p. 118), which suggests, especially in Theory of Moral Sentiments, that self-love and social are the same. When Smith came to write the Wealth of Nations, he tended, Viner asserts, to distrust the operations of the harmonious natural order—yet Viner admits that many passages tend to corroborate his earlier view expressed in Theory of Moral Sentiments and that "There is no possible room for doubt that Smith in general believed that there was, to say the least, a stronger presumption against government activity beyond its fundamental duties of protection against its foreign foes and maintenance of justice" (p. 140). We shall see elsewhere that Franklin seems to have urged a less frugal governmental restraint in activities other than economic.

[i-218] The Colonial Mind, 173. It is generally thought that Principles of Trade is "partly" Franklin's "own composition" (Carey, op. cit., 161).

[i-219] Philadelphia, Sept. 13, 1775: MS letter (unpublished) in W. S. Mason Collection.

[i-220] London, Sept. 29, 1769: MS letter (unpublished) in W. S. Mason Collection.

[i-221] London, Feb. 20, 1768 (Writings, V, 102).

[i-222] Dated April 4, 1769 (ibid., V, 200-2).

[i-223] Writings, V, 202.

[i-224] Cited by F. W. Garrison in "Franklin and the Physiocrats," Freeman, VIII, 154-6 (Oct. 24, 1923).

[i-225] Dupont de Nemours's opinion of Franklin (Writings, V, 153-4).

[i-226] Writings, V, 156. See W. Steell's entertaining "The First Visit to Paris," in Benjamin Franklin of Paris, 3-21; also E. E. Hale and E. E. Hale, Jr., Franklin in France, I, 7-13.

[i-227] C. Gide and C. Rist, A History of Economic Doctrines, 4 note.

[i-228] Writings, V, 155.

[i-229] As an experimental agriculturist Franklin has been given too little honor. He performed many valuable services in introducing Old-World plants, trees, and fruits to the New, and in encouraging others to carry on practical botanical experiments. Particularly from 1747 to 1757 he experimented in agriculture and was in constant communication with that pioneer scientific husbandman, Jared Eliot. See E. D. Ross's "Benjamin Franklin as an Eighteenth-Century Agriculture Leader," Journal of Political Economy, XXXVII, 52-72 (Feb., 1929).

[i-230] Although no scholarly substitute for the works of Quesnay, Mirabeau, Mercier de la Rivière, Dupont de Nemours, Le Trosne, Abbé Bandeau, Abbé Roubaud, and some pieces of the occasional physiocrat Turgot, the following will enable the student to derive adequately for general purposes the thought of the Économistes: H. Higgs, The Physiocrats (1897); Gide and Rist, op. cit.; L. H. Haney, History of Economic Thought (1911), 133-57; G. Weulersse, Le mouvement physiocratique en France (de 1756 à 1770); A. Smith, Wealth of Nations, Bk. IV, chap. IX; J. Bonar, Philosophy and Political Science (1893); in addition see critical and interpretative writings of Oncken, Stem, Kines, Hasbach, Schelle, Bauer, Feilbogen, De Lavergne.

[i-231] An integral idea of the French school was its advocacy of the impôt unique—a single tax on land. It is difficult to find evidence to controvert Mr. Carey's assertion that Franklin seems never to have advocated this tax (op. cit., 154). However, in marginalia on a pamphlet by Allan Ramsay, Franklin held: "Taxes must be paid out of the Produce of the Land. There is no other possible Fund" (cited by Carey, 155). Another reference is found in a letter of 1787 to Alexander Small: "Our Legislators are all Land-holders; and they are not yet persuaded, that all taxes are finally paid by the Land" (Writings, IX, 615). It is probable that he felt that a land tax would be dubiously effective in view of the difficulties of collection in sparse settlements.

[i-232] Writings, II, 313 (July 16, 1747). See also Note Respecting Trade and Manufactures, London, July 7, 1767 (Sparks, II, 366):

"Suppose a country, X, with three manufactures, as cloth, silk, iron, supplying three other countries. A, B, C, but is desirous of increasing the vent, and raising the price of cloth in favor of her own clothiers.

In order to do this, she forbids the importation of foreign cloth from A.

A, in return, forbids silks from X.

Then the silk-workers complain of a decay of trade.

And X, to content them, forbids silks from B.

B, in return, forbids iron ware from X.

Then the iron-workers complain of decay.

And X forbids the importation of iron from C.

C, in return, forbids cloth from X.

What is got by all these prohibitions?

Answer.—All four find their common stock of the enjoyments and conveniences of life diminished."

[i-233] Writings, IV, 469-70.

[i-234] Ibid., V, 155.

[i-235] Passy, May 27, 1779 (Writings, VII, 332).

[i-236] Ibid., IV, 242-5 (April 30, 1764). As Mr. Carey notes. Franklin in several places. On the Labouring Poor and in a letter (IX, 240-8), suggests that private vices—demands for luxuries—make public benefits, hence resembling, if not ultimately derived from, Mandeville's Fable of the Bees. Franklin's sanction of free trade is, however, antithetical to Mandeville's 'dog eat dog' basis. (See Kaye's Intro. to The Fable of the Bees, xcviii ff.) Franklin in no uncertain terms looks upon trade restrictions definitely as the result of "the abominable selfishness" of men (VII, 332). As long as selfishness is the rule, mercantilism, not economic laissez faire, will be king. It is theoretically probable also that belief in man's innate altruism could furnish emotional if not logical sanction for laissez faire—but this abstraction is in Franklin's case futile, since like Swift he was not blind to man's malevolence!

[i-237] Writings, IV, 245; see also ibid., VIII, 107-8, 261, 19.

[i-238] Ibid., IX, 41; also 63, 578, 588.

[i-239] Cited in Carey, op. cit., 160-1.

[i-240] See Gide and Rist, op. cit., 7 note.

[i-241] Ibid., 7 note.

[i-242] Ibid.

[i-243] Mercier de la Rivière, cited in ibid., 8 note.

[i-244] Ibid., 9-10.

[i-245] "Economics and the Idea of Natural Law," Quarterly Journal of Economics, XLIV, 16 (1929). See also O. H. Taylor's valuable dissertation, "The Idea of a 'Natural Order' in Early Modern Economic Thought," summarized in Harvard University Summaries of Theses, 1928, 102-6, and available in manuscript at the Harvard University Library.

[i-246] Taylor, "Economics and the Idea of Natural Law," loc. cit., 16.

[i-247] Even this fragmentary view of the more obvious economic principles held by Franklin offers convincing evidence that had he been less incidentally an economist he would have been at least a lesser Adam Smith. Mr. Wetzel, in Benjamin Franklin as an Economist, offers a convenient summary of Franklin as an economist, some items suggesting aspects of his views which, had space permitted, we should have included in this study: "1. Money as coin may have a value higher than its bullion value. 2. Natural interest is determined by the rent of so much land as the money loaned will buy. 3. High wages are not inconsistent with a large foreign trade. 4. Population will increase as the means of gaining a living increase. 5. A high standard of living serves to prolong single life, and thus acts as a check upon the increase of population. 6. People are adjusted among the different countries according to the comparative well-being of mankind. 7. The value of an article is determined by the amount of labor necessary to produce the food consumed in making the article. 8. While manufactures are advantageous, only agriculture is truly productive. 9. Manufactures will naturally spring up in a country as the country becomes ripe for them. 10. Free trade with the world will give the greatest return at the least expense. 11. Wherever practicable, State revenue should be raised by direct taxes."

[i-248] Writings, II, 110.

[i-249] Ibid., II, 295. In 1736 Franklin wrote: "Faction, if not timely suppressed, may overturn the balance, the palladium of liberty, and crush us under its ruins" (cited in R. G. Gettell, History of American Political Thought, 149).

[i-250] W. R. Shepherd, History of Proprietary Government in Pennsylvania (New York, 1896), 5.

[i-251] Writings, II, 351.

[i-252] Ibid.

[i-253] Ibid., II, 352.

[i-254] Ibid., II, 347.

[i-255] Shepherd, op. cit., 222. In 1764 Penn thought that Franklin was one "who may lose the government of a post office by grasping at that of a province" (ibid., 564). In turn one of the proprietors wrote to him: "Franklin is certainly destined to be our plague" (ibid., 566). Penn professed not to fear "your mighty Goliath." For proof that Franklin's fear expressed in Plain Truth was not idle see Extracts from Chief Justice William Allen's Letter Book, 17, 22-3, 25, 31-2.

[i-256] Plain Truth inspirited the colonists to defend themselves, even if it failed in its larger purpose; see Writings, II, 354, 362.

[i-257] To James Parker, March 20, 1750/51 (Writings, III, 40-5). L. C. Wroth, in An American Bookshelf, 1755 (Philadelphia, 1934), 12 ff., reviews A. Kennedy's The Importance of Gaining the Friendship of the Indians to the British Interest (1751), to which was appended a letter, prefiguring the Albany Plan of Union. This letter, Mr. Wroth observes, was by Franklin. C. E. Merriam states that "The storm centre of the democratic movement during the colonial period was the conflict between the governors and the colonial legislatures or assemblies" (A History of American Political Theories, 34). Also see E. B. Greene, The Provincial Governor in the English Colonies of North America.

[i-258] Writings, III, 71.

[i-259] Cited in G. L. Beer, British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765, 17.

[i-260] Writings, III, 197.

[i-261] For a suggestive source study see Mrs. L. K. Mathews's "Benjamin Franklin's Plans for a Colonial Union, 1750-1775," American Political Science Review, VIII, 393-412 (Aug., 1914).

[i-262] Cited in Beer, op. cit., 49.

[i-263] Writings, III, 242.

[i-264] Ibid., III, 226. As Beer has pointed out (op. cit., 23 note), since the plan was not ratified, it never went before the Crown; hence Franklin's retrospective glance is misleading: "The Crown disapproved it, as having placed too much Weight in the Democratic Part of the Constitution; and every Assembly as having allowed too much to Prerogative. So it was totally rejected" (Writings, III, 227).

[i-265] Ibid., III, 233.

[i-266] To Peter Collinson, Nov. 22, 1756 (Writings, III, 351).

[i-267] As A. H. Smyth says, this was probably inspired by Franklin although not written by him; at any rate "it undoubtedly reflects" his opinions (III, vi). Isaac Sharpless observes that Franklin "had sympathy with their [Quakers'] demands for political freedom, but none for their non-military spirit" (Political Leaders of Provincial Pennsylvania, New York, 1919, 178).

[i-268] Writings, III, 372.

[i-269] A. Bradford, Memoir of the Life and Writings of Rev. J. Mayhew (Boston, 1838), 119.

[i-270] See for capable studies: B. F. Wright, American Interpretations of Natural Law; C. F. Mullett, Fundamental Law and the American Revolution; D. G. Ritchie, Natural Rights (London, 1895), and his "Contributions to the History of the Social Contract Theory," Political Science Quarterly, VI, 656-76 (1891); C. Becker, The Declaration of Independence, chap. II; C. E. Merriam, op. cit., chap. II; H. J. Laski, Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham (New York, 1920).

[i-271] Becker, op. cit., 24.

[i-272] Ibid., 27.

[i-273] Burke said that nearly as many copies of this work were sold in the colonies as in Great Britain. It will be remembered that Hamilton leaned heavily on Blackstone in The Farmer Refuted (1773).

[i-274] Cited in Wright, op. cit., 11.

[i-275] The Farmer Refuted. For discussion of changes in Hamilton's political theory see F. C. Prescott's Introduction to Hamilton and Jefferson (American Writers Series, New York, 1934).

[i-276] Franklin acknowledges his close reading of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Writings, I, 243). In 1749 he urges that Locke be read in the Philadelphia Academy (II, 387) and refers again to the great logician in Idea of the English School (III, 28). He is supposed to have defended in spirited debate Locke's treatise on Toleration (I, 179). The catalogues of the Philadelphia Library Company disclose that by 1757 all of Locke's works had been obtained. One may ask how an alert eighteenth-century mind could have escaped the impact of Locke's thought.

It is more difficult to establish satisfactorily a nexus between Rousseau's and Franklin's minds. Mr. George Simpson Eddy has kindly allowed us to consult his "Catalogue of Pamphlets, Once a Part of the Library of Benjamin Franklin, and now owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania" in which are included Rousseau's Preface de la Nouvelle Hélöise ... (1761) and Discours sur l'économie politique ... (1760). Even if Rousseau's mistress, Countess d'Houdetot, feted Franklin in 1781, and Franklin was acquainted with Rousseau's physician, Achille-Guillaume le Bègue de Presle, and directly in 1785 mentions Rousseau on child-education (Writings, IX, 334), one can not be sure to what extent Rousseau's writings may have aided Franklin in formulating notions similar to the social contract theory (IX, 138).

[i-277] Cited in A. M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution, 6.

[i-278] Ibid., xii. See also C. H. Van Tyne's able study, "The Influence of the Clergy, and of Religious and Sectarian Forces, on the American Revolution," American Historical Review, XIX, 44-64 (Oct., 1913). He takes issue with the economic determinists and concludes that of all the causes of the Revolution, religious causes are "among the most important" (p. 64). The Revolution was in large measure caused by a conflict of political ideas, and these were disseminated mostly by the clergy.

[i-279] An Oration, Delivered March 5, 1773 (Boston, 1773), 6.

[i-280] Ibid., 10-11.

[i-281] Ibid., 8. Also see S. Stillman, Election-Sermon, May 26, 1779 (Boston, 1779); J. Clarke, Election-Sermon, May 30, 1781 (Boston, 1781).

[i-282] Although Franklin denied having written it (Writings, IV, 82), Mr. Ford (Franklin Bibliography, III) asserts that "this work must still be treated as from Franklin's pen." He sent 500 copies to Pennsylvania consigned to his partner, David Hall, for distribution.

[i-283] To Joseph Galloway, April 11, 1757 (unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection). For a description of the unpublished Franklin-Galloway correspondence see W. S. Mason's article in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society for Oct., 1924.

[i-284] To Joseph Galloway, Feb. 17, 1758 (unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection).

[i-285] June 10, 1758 (unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection).

[i-286] April 7, 1759 (unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection).

[i-287] The Works of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia, 1809), II, 147.

[i-288] Ibid., II, 7.

[i-289] Ibid., II, 1.

[i-290] Ibid., II, vii.

[i-291] Ibid., II, xvi.

[i-292] Apropos of many colonial ferments, not unlike the one we have considered above, Carl Becker writes: "Throughout the eighteenth century, little colonial aristocracies played their part, in imagination clothing their governor in the decaying vesture of Old-World tyrants and themselves assuming the homespun garb, half Roman and half Puritan, of a virtuous republicanism.... It was the illusion of sharing in great events rather than any low mercenary motive that made Americans guard with jealous care their legislative independence" (The Eve of the Revolution, New Haven, 1918, 60). Also see C. H. Lincoln, The Revolutionary Movement in Pennsylvania, 1760-1776.

[i-293] Writings, III, 408-9.

[i-294] Ibid., III, 457.

[i-295] V. W. Crane, "Certain Writings of Benjamin Franklin on the British Empire and the American Colonies," Papers of the Bibliographical Society, XXVIII, Pt. 1, 6 (1934). Also see W. L. Grant, "Canada vs. Guadaloupe," American Historical Review, XVII, 735-43, (Oct., 1911-July, 1912).

[i-296] Beer, op. cit., 313.

[i-297] Writings, IV, 224.

[i-298] Ibid., IV, 229.

[i-299] The massacre led by the "Paxton boys."

[i-300] Writings, IV, 314.

[i-301] Writings, IV, 418.

[i-302] Ibid., IV, 419. See Beer, op. cit., 294 f.

[i-303] A History of American Political Theories, 46.

[i-304] Writings, IV, 445-6.

[i-305] To Joseph Galloway, May 20, 1767 (photostat of unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection; original in W. L. Clements Library).

[i-306] To Joseph Galloway, Aug. 20, 1768 (photostat of unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection; original in W. L. Clements Library).

[i-307] To Joseph Galloway, April 14, 1767 (photostat of unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection; original in W. L. Clements Library). Cf. also letter to the same, Jan. 11, 1770, ibid.

[i-308] See, for example, An Edict by the King of Prussia (1773)—for its effect see Writings, VI, 146—and Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One (1773). Crane, op. cit., concludes that Franklin appears as "the chief agent of the American propaganda in England, especially between 1765 and 1770" (p. 26). For treatment of American propagandists see P. G. Davidson, "Whig Propagandists of the American Revolution," American Historical Review, XXXIX, 442-53 (April, 1934), and his Revolutionary Propagandists in New England, New York and Pennsylvania, 1763-1776 (unpublished dissertation, University of Chicago, 1929); summarized in Abstracts of Theses, Humanistic Series VII, 239-42; F. J. Hinkhouse, The Preliminaries of the American Revolution as Seen in the English Press (New York, 1926).

[i-309] Writings, V, 297.

[i-310] See R. G. Adams, Political Ideas of the American Revolution, 35, 62-3.

[i-311] Oct. 2, 1770 (Writings, V, 280). See also Causes of the American Discontents before 1768 (V, 78 f., 160-2). An aspect of his loyalty to the crown may be seen in his hatred of French desire to separate the colonies from England (V, 47, 231, 254, 323). The printing of the Examination and other of Franklin's pieces in Europe buttressed the predisposition of France to hate Great Britain (V, 231). The best comprehensive treatment of backgrounds is C. H. Van Tyne's The Causes of the War of Independence.

[i-312] Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXV, 311 (1901). See also ibid., 307-22, and XXVI, 81-90, 255-64 (1902). See Writings, VI, 144.

[i-313] Writings, VI, 173.

[i-314] Ibid., VI, 319. His unpublished letters of 1775 in the Original Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin with the Bishop of St. Asaph (in the W. S. Mason Collection) emphasize his progressive apathy toward a reconciliation. Especially see letters of May 15 and July 7.

[i-315] Ibid., VI, 460.

[i-316] Cited in Davidson, op. cit., 442.

[i-317] Hugh Williamson claimed that he actually gave Franklin the letters. Apparently another person went to the office where the letters were archived and posing as an authorized person secured the desired correspondence (D. Hosack, Biographical Memoir of Hugh Williamson, New York, 1820, 37 ff.).

[i-318] For an interesting account of this episode see Parton, op. cit., 1, chap. IX.

[i-319] Writings, V, 134. Franklin and Burke were friendly; see their correspondence. The best exposition of Burke's doctrines is that by John MacCunn, The Political Philosophy of Edmund Burke (London, 1913).

[i-320] Ibid., V, 439; see also 527.

[i-321] London, April 20, 1771; unpublished MS letter in W. S. Mason Collection. Compare with Abbé Raynal's opinion that "society is essentially good; government, as is well known, may be, and is but too often evil" (The Revolution of America, Dublin, 1781, 45).

[i-322] M. Eiselen (Franklin's Political Theories, Garden City, N. Y., 1928) observes that Franklin as presiding officer had actually little to do with casting the instrument. From his later paper on the Constitution it is possible, however, to see that he accepted most of its major ideas (pp. 57-8). See S. B. Harding, "Party Struggles over the First Pennsylvania Constitution," Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1894, 371-402.

[i-323] That Franklin "had more to do with the phraseology of the Declaration of Independence than has been recognized up to now" (J. C. Fitzpatrick, Spirit of the Revolution, Boston, 1924, 11) has been shown by Becker, op. cit.

[i-324] See text in S. E. Morison, Sources and Documents Illustrating the American Revolution, 1764-1788, and the Formation of the Federal Constitution (Oxford, 1923, 162-76).

[i-325] C. H. Lincoln, The Revolutionary Movement in Pennsylvania, 1760-1776, 277.

[i-326] Cited in N. G. Goodman, Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia, 1934), 62. Another wrote that the unicameral form is good "if men were wise and virtuous as angels" (Lincoln, op. cit., 282; see also 283). The American Philosophical Society, of which Franklin was president, declared against it.

[i-327] T. F. Moran, The Rise and Development of the Bicameral System in America (Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, 13th ser., V [Baltimore, 1895]), 42. The legislative Council (upper chamber) had been destroyed by the 1701 constitution. See B. A. Konkle, George Bryan and the Constitution of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1922), 114. P. L. Ford ("The Adoption of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776," Political Science Quarterly, X, Sept., 1895, 426-59) observes: "The one-chamber legislature and the annual election were hardly the work of the Convention, for they were merely transferred from the Penn Charter; having yielded such admirable results in the past, it is not strange that they were grafted into the new instrument" (p. 454).

[i-328] Defending (in 1789) the Pennsylvania constitution, Franklin wrote, "Have we not experienced in this Colony, when a Province under the Government of the Proprietors, the Mischiefs of a second Branch existing in the Proprietary Family, countenanced and aided by an Aristocratic Council?" (Writings, X, 56.)

[i-329] In 1775 he submitted to the Second Continental Congress his Articles of Confederation (Writings, VI, 420-6) which called for a "firm League of Friendship" motivated by a unicameral assembly and a plural executive, a Council of twelve. It was democratic also in its "basing representation upon population instead of financial support" (Eiselen, op. cit., 54).

[i-330] Writings, VII, 48.

[i-331] Ibid., VII, 23. No dull sidelight on the quality of Franklin's radicalism during this period is the fact that he brought Thomas Paine to the colonies and was partly responsible for the writing of Common Sense. It is alleged that Franklin considered Paine "his adopted political son" (cited in M. D. Conway's Life of Thomas Paine, 3d ed., New York, 1893, II, 468). For explication of Paine's political theories see C. E. Merriam, "Political Theories of Thomas Paine," Political Science Quarterly, XIV, 389-403.

[i-332] Hale and Hale, op. cit., I, 70; see also 75.

[i-333] Ibid., I, 32.

[i-334] Cited in J. B. Perkins, France in the American Revolution, 140.

[i-335] Ibid., 127.

[i-336] See D. J. Hill, "A Missing Chapter of Franco-American History," American Historical Review, XXI, 709-19, (July, 1916).

[i-337] Ibid., 710.

[i-338] Writings, IX, 132. The Due de la Rochefoucauld translated them into French (IX, 71). Franklin thought they would induce emigration to the colonies. See the scores of requests (on the part of notable Frenchmen) and thanks for copies of the constitutions of the United States listed in Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society.

[i-339] J. S. Schapiro, Condorcet and the Rise of Liberalism, 79-81 and passim.

[i-340] Ibid., 222.

[i-341] Cited in W. T. Franklin's edition, I, 303-4. E. P. Oberholtzer, essentially hostile to Franklin, is obliged to admit that Franklin "seems not to have had more than an advisory part" in making the Constitution of 1776. He adds that if Franklin did not form it, "he was at any rate a loyal defender of its principles," and that he seems to have allowed the French to think that the Constitution was his own (The Referendum in America, New York, 1900, 26-42). For Franklin's later defenses of unicameralism, see Writings, IX, 645, 674; X; 56-8.

[i-342] Cited in B. Faÿ, The Revolutionary Spirit In France and America, 289. Faÿ shows that in France the "revolutionary leaders" who took lessons from Franklin regarded him as "the prophet and saint of a new religion," as the "high priest of Philosophy." See also E. J. Lowell, The Eve of the French Revolution (Boston, 1892), chaps. XVI and XVIII.

[i-343] B. Faÿ, The Revolutionary Spirit in France and America, 302.

[i-344] Writings, VIII, 34.

[i-345] Ibid., VIII, 452; June 7, 1782 (to Joseph Priestley).

[i-346] Ibid., IX, 241.

[i-347] Ibid., IX, 330.

[i-348] Ibid., IX, 521; see also IX, 489.

[i-349] Although the preponderance of evidence bears out the trustworthiness of this assertion, one can not idly dismiss his Some Good Whig Principles or disregard his expressed belief that the people "seldom continue long in the wrong" and if misled they "come right again, and double their former affections" (cited in W. C. Bruce, Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed, II, 100; also see Writings, X, 130). There is a clearly evident polarity in Franklin's mind between ultra-democratic faith and a rigorous observation that if "people" are so constituted, many men are utter rascals. One almost senses a dichotomy between Franklin the politician and Franklin the man and moralist.

[i-350] See his The Constitution of the United States (New York, 1924).

[i-351] The Records of the Federal Convention, ed. by Max Farrand, I, 488; see Writings, IX, 602-3, 595-9.

[i-352] Writings, IX, 596.

[i-353] The Records of the Federal Convention, I, 47.

[i-354] Ibid., I, 165.

[i-355] Writings, IX, 593.

[i-356] The Records of the Federal Convention, I, 109.

[i-357] Ibid., II, 120.

[i-358] Ibid., II, 204.

[i-359] Franklin objected to primogeniture and entail.

[i-360] Ibid., II, 249.

[i-361] Gettell, op. cit., 122.

[i-362] Writings, X, 56-8.

[i-363] Ibid., IX, 698-703.

[i-364] Ibid., IX, 608.

[i-365] Ibid., IX, 638.

[i-366] Writings, X, 7.

[i-367] Letter in American Philosophical Society Library; cited by B. M. Victory, Benjamin Franklin and Germany, 128.

[i-368] Writings, III, 96.

[i-369] Ibid., III, 97.

[i-370] Ibid., III, 107.

[i-371] Ibid., IV, 221.

[i-372] Ibid., IV, 377.

[i-373] Ibid., V, 165. He repeated this thought to Beccaria in 1773 (ibid., VI, 112). Also see V, 206, 410-1, VII, 49.

[i-374] Ibid., VII, 418; also see VIII, 211.

[i-375] Ibid., VIII, 315; also see letter to Priestley, June 7, 1782, VIII, 451; to Comte de Salmes, July 5, 1785, IX, 361.

[i-376] Ibid., IX, 652.

[i-377] Ibid., IX, 621. He wrote this after he was reappointed President of Pennsylvania in 1787. He confessed, however, that this honor gave him "no small pleasure."

[i-378] W. P. and J. P. Cutler, Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, I, 269-70.

[i-379] Joseph and Benjamin, A Conversation, Trans. from a French Manuscript (London, 1787), 72. If this meeting never took place, the reported conversation is anything but "decidedly silly" as Ford opines (Franklin Bibliography, #936, 371).

[i-380] Writings, IV, 143.

[i-381] Ibid., VIII, 601. Also see IX, 53.

[i-382] Ibid., VIII, 593.

[i-383] Brother Potamian and J. J. Walsh, Makers of Electricity, 126.

[i-384] "Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden, IV (1748-54)," Collections of the New York Historical Society (1920), 372.

[i-385] "An Outline of Philosophy in America," Western Reserve University Bulletin (March, 1896). See also I. W. Riley, American Philosophy: The Early Schools, 229-65.

[i-386] Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times, iv.

[i-387] Writings, I, 295.

[i-388] Boston News-Letter, Jan. 17, 1744/5. Also see 1669-1882. An Historical Catalogue of the Old South Church (Third Church), Boston (Boston, 1883), 304.

[i-389] Writings, I, 324.

[i-390] Writings, IX, 208.

[i-391] Essays to do Good, with an Introductory Essay by A. Thomson (Glasgow, 1825), 102.

[i-392] Ibid., 213-4.

[i-393] Works of Daniel Defoe, ed. by Wm. Hazlitt (London, 1843), I, 22.

[i-394] Writings, I, 239.

[i-395] See New England Courant, No. 48, June 25-July 2, 1722.

[i-396] Writings, I, 244.

[i-397] Consecrated to piety, Robert Boyle at his death left £50 per annum, for a clergyman elected to "preach eight sermons in the year for proving the Christian religion against notorious infidels, viz. Atheists, Theists, Pagans, Jews, and Mahometans ..." (Works of Robert Boyle, London, 1772, I, clxvii.)

[i-398] Writings, I, 295.

[i-399] In his Introduction to Selections from Cotton Mather (New York, 1926), xlix-li, K. B. Murdock agrees with I. W. Riley that The Christian Philosopher (1721) represents the first stage of the reaction from scriptural Calvinism to the scientific deism of Paine and Franklin. T. Hornberger's "The Date, the Source, and the Significance of Cotton Mather's Interest in Science" (loc. cit.) shows that "as early as 1693 Cotton Mather was expressing that delight in the wonder and beauty of design in the external world which Professors Murdock and Riley regard as deistic in tendency," that he "was unconsciously vacillating between two points of view."

[i-400] Works of Richard Bentley, ed. by A. Dyce (London, 1838), III, 74-5.

[i-401] Ibid., III, 79.

[i-402] Physico-Theology ... (5th ed., London, 1720), 25-6. God's "exquisite Workmanship" is seen in "every Creature" (p. 27).

[i-403] See A Discourse of Free-Thinking (London, 1713).

[i-404] Priestcraft in Perfection ... (London, 1710).

[i-405] Writings, I, 243.

[i-406] A. C. Fraser ed. (Oxford, 1894), II, 425-6.

[i-407] Ibid., II, 121. For Locke and his place in the age see S. G. Hefelbower's The Relation of John Locke to English Deism. About the time he read Locke, Franklin notes he studied Arnauld and Nicole's La logique ou l'art de penser. Mr. G. S. Eddy has informed one of the editors that the Library Company of Philadelphia owns John Ozell's translation of the work (London, 1718), and that this was the copy owned by Franklin. (See Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual, IV, 1930, and Dictionary of National Biography, "John Ozell.") In accord with the English deistic and rationalistic tendency, La logique admits that Aristotle's authority is not good, that "Men cannot long endure such constraint" (Thomas S. Bayne's trans., 8th ed., Edinburgh and London, n.d., 23). Indebted to Pascal and Descartes, it admits with the latter that geometry and astronomy may help one achieve justness of mind, but it vigorously asserts that this justness of mind is more important than speculative science (p. 1). Anti-sensational, it denies "that all our ideas come through sense" (p. 34), affirming that we have within us ideas of things (p. 31). It is uncertain of the value of induction, which "is never a certain means of acquiring perfect knowledge" (p. 265; see also 304, 307, 308, 350). It accords little praise to the sciences and reason, and seems wary of metaphysical speculation, assuring more humbly that "Piety, wisdom, moderation, are without doubt the most estimable qualities in the world" (p. 291). As we shall discover, this work on the whole seems to have had (with the exception of the last very general principle) little formative influence on the young mind which was fast impregnating itself with scientific deism. Were it not for the recurring implications (particularly in the harvest of editions of the Autobiography) that La logique is as significant for our study as, for example, the works of Locke and Shaftesbury, this note would be pedantic supererogation.

[i-408] A. C. Fraser, op. cit., I, 99. See also 190, 402-3; II, 65, 68, 352.

[i-409] Cited in C. A. Moore, "Shaftesbury and the Ethical Poets in England, 1700-1760," Publications of the Modern Language Association, XXXI (N. S. XXIV), 276 (June, 1916).

[i-410] Ibid., 271.

[i-411] J. M. Robertson, ed., Characteristics ... (New York, 1900), I, 27.

[i-412] Ibid., I, 241-2.

[i-413] Moore, op. cit., 267.

[i-414] In Dogood Paper No. XIV Franklin suggests (autobiographically?): "In Matters of Religion, he that alters his Opinion on a religious Account, must certainly go thro' much Reading, hear many Arguments on both Sides, and undergo many Struggles in his Conscience, before he can come to a full Resolution" (Writings, II, 46).

[i-415] He read Thomas Tryon's The Way to Health, Long Life and Happiness, probably the second edition (London, 1691), a copy of which is in the W. S. Mason Collection. Tryon holds that no "greater Happiness" than Attic sobriety is "attainable upon Earth" (p. 1). Divine Temperance is the "spring head of all Virtues" (p. 33). Inward harmony "is both the Glory and the Happiness, the Joy and Solace of created Beings, the celebrated Musick of the Spheres, the Eccho of Heaven, the Business of Seraphims, and the Imployment of Eternity" (p. 500). From Xenophon he learned that "self-restraint" is "the very corner-stone of virtue." The classic core of the Memorabilia is the love of the moderate contending with the love of the incontinent. Franklin has impressed many as representing an American Socrates. Emerson was certain that Socrates "had a Franklin-like wisdom" (Centenary Ed., IV, 72). Franklin's fondness for Socratic centrality, discipline, and knowledge of self is fragmentarily shown by the aphorisms appropriated in Poor Richard. There are scores of the quality of the following: "He that lives carnally won't live eternally." "Who has deceived thee so oft as thyself?" "Caesar did not merit the triumphal car more than he that conquers himself." "If Passion drives, let Reason hold the Reins." "A man in a Passion rides a mad Horse." "There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond and to know one's self." Consult T. H. Russell's The Sayings of Poor Richard, 1733-1758.

[i-416] See S. Bloore, "Samuel Keimer. A Footnote to the Life of Franklin," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LIV, 255-87 (July, 1930), and "Samuel Keimer," in Dictionary of American Biography, X, 288-9. In 1724 Samuel Keimer (probably with Franklin's aid) reprinted Gordon and Trenchard's The Independent Whig. (See W. J. Campbell's A Short-Title Check List of all the Books, Pamphlets, Broadsides, known to have been printed by Benjamin Franklin.) Franklin also was acquainted with their Cato's Letters, having helped to set up parts from it while working on the New England Courant. The Independent Whig emphasizes humanitarian morality rather than theological dogma, morality which "prompts us to do good to all Men, and to all Men alike" (London, 1721, xlviii). It is fearful of metaphysical vagaries (p. 26). Warring against priests and their "Monkey Tricks at Church" (p. 165)—"One Drop of Priestcraft is enough to contaminate the Ocean" (p. 168)—it sets up a violent antithesis between reason and authority (p. 212), declaring that "we must judge from Scripture what is Orthodoxy" but "we must judge from Reason, what is Scripture" (p. 276). Tilting at a Deity "revengeful, cruel, capricious, impotent, vain, fond of Commendation and Flattery," exalting an "All-powerful, All-wise, and All-merciful God" (p. 413), The Independent Whig, like Franklin's Articles, suggests that "it is absurd to suppose, that we can direct the All-wise Being in the Dispensation of his Providence; or can flatter or persuade him out of his eternal Decrees" (p. 436). In Cato's Letters (3rd ed., 4 vols., London, 1733), which were tremendously popular in the American colonies, Franklin could have read that "The People have no Biass to be Knaves" (I, 178), that man "cannot enter into the Rationale of God's punishing all Mankind for the Sin of their first Parents, which they could not help" (IV, 38), "That we cannot provoke him, when we intend to adore him; that the best Way to serve him, is to be serviceable to one another" (IV, 103). Jesus instituted a natural religion, a worship of One Immutable God, free from priests, sacrifices, and ceremonies, in which one shows through "doing Good to men" his adoration for God (IV, 265-6). Here are observations which could easily have reinforced Franklin's deistic rationale. For interesting evidence of further deistic and rationalistic works available to Franklin, see L. C. Wroth's An American Bookshelf, 1755.

[i-417] One of the editors has examined the photostated New England Courant in the W. S. Mason Collection. For readable accounts of this newspaper see: W. G. Bleyer, Main Currents in the History of American Journalism, chaps. I-II; C. A. Duniway, The Development of Freedom of the Press in Massachusetts, 97-103; W. C. Ford, "Franklin's New England Courant," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, LVII, 336-53 (April, 1924); H. F. Kane, "James Franklin Senior, Printer of Boston and Newport," American Collector, III, 17-26 (Oct., 1926).

[i-418] See Writings, II, 52-3.

[i-419] One of the editors has used the Huth copy now possessed by W. S. Mason. Not included in the Sparks, Bigelow, or Smyth editions of his works, it was printed by Parton as an Appendix to his Life; by I. W. Riley, op. cit., and recently edited by L. C. Wroth for The Facsimile Text Society.

[i-420] Franklin must have been mistaken in his belief that he set up the second edition. The work was privately printed in 1722, reprinted in 1724 and a second time in 1725. Hence Franklin really set up the third edition. For an extensive analysis of this work, see C. G. Thompson's dissertation, The Ethics of William Wollaston (Boston, 1922).

[i-421] Wollaston, op. cit., 15.

[i-422] Ibid., 23.

[i-423] Ibid., 78-9.

[i-424] Ibid., 80.

[i-425] Ibid.

[i-426] Ibid., 83.

[i-427] It would be interesting to know whether Franklin's much discussed prudential virtues (listed in Autobiography) were not in part motivated by Wollaston's pages 173-80.

[i-428] Ibid., 7.

[i-429] Ibid., 26.

[i-430] Ibid., 63 ff.

[i-431] Writings, VII, 412.

[i-432] A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (London, 1725), 4.

[i-433] Ibid., 5.

[i-434] For an incisive exposition of the earlier and contemporary controversy regarding freedom of the will, see C. H. Faust and T. H. Johnson's Introduction to Jonathan Edwards (American Writers Series, New York, 1935), xliii-lxiv.

[i-435] A Dissertation ..., 10-1.

[i-436] In Franklin's liturgy of the '30's (in the Autobiography) he quotes from Thomson's Winter (lines 217 ff.). While the references to Thomson are few in the complete works, his later influence on Franklin need not be underestimated. See Franklin's letter to W. Strahan (Writings, II, 242-3) in which he confesses that "That charming Poet has brought more Tears of Pleasure into my Eyes than all I ever read before." It is not inconceivable that in Thomson Franklin found additional sanction for his humanitarian bias. One remembers the wide differences between the humanitarianism of Thomson and Franklin. Franklin's practical and masculine-humanitarianism keyed to the saving of time and energy was unlike the sentimental warmheartedness often displayed by Thomson. Franklin was never moved to tears at beholding the worm's "convulsive twist in agonizing folds."

[i-437] Phillips Russell has suggested Spectator, No. 183, as Franklin's probable source in Part II of the Dissertation. There, pleasure and pain are "such constant yoke-fellows." This intuitive assertion can hardly be conceived as the elaborate metaphysical rationale upon which this idea rests in Franklin's work.

[i-438] Robertson, op. cit., 239-40.

[i-439] London (4th ed.), 1724. A despiser of authoritarianism in religion, intrigued by the physico-deistic thought of his day, Lyons (with a vituperative force akin to Thomas Paine's) damns those who damn men for revolting against divine and absolute revelation (p. 25). "Men have Reason sufficient to find out proper and regular ways for improving and perfecting their laws." Faith he calls "an unintelligible Chymæra of the Phantasie" (p. 92). The doctrine of the Trinity "is one of the most nice Inventions that ever the subtlest Virtuoso constru'd to puzzle the Wit of Man with" (p. 112). Through faith people make of God "only a confus'd unintelligible Description of a Heterogeneous Monster of their own Making" (p. 117). Deistically he opines that "we shall soon see that the Object of True Religion, and all Rational Mens Speculations, is an Eternal, Unchangeable, Omnipotent Being, infinitely Good, Just and Wise" (p. 123). Like Toland he urges, "To pretend to Believe a Thing or the Working of a Miracle, is a stupid and gaping Astonishment" (p. 195). Although he enjoyed Franklin's dissertation, he does not in his work hold to Franklin's necessitarianism: "Nothing interrupts Men, but only as they interrupt one another" (p. 238). Religion to Lyons is remote from books, but is found in the "unalterable laws of Nature, which no Authority can destroy, or Interpolator corrupt" (p. 252).

[i-440] Although Franklin indicates in his Autobiography that he delighted to listen to Mandeville hold forth at the Horns, there seems to be traceable in his writings no direct influence of Mandeville's thought. (One may wonder whether Franklin's use of the name "Horatio" in his 1730 dialogues between Philocles and Horatio could be traced to Mandeville's use of the name in his dialogues between Cleomenes and Horatio.) Mandeville's empirical view of man's essential egoism would have found sympathetic response from Franklin. On the other hand, Mandeville's ethical rigorism (see Kaye's Introd. to The Fable of the Bees) differs from the utilitarian cast Franklin sheds over his strenuous ethicism. One may suspect that like a Bunyan, a Swift, a Rabelais, Mandeville would have fortified Franklin against accepting too blithely Shaftesbury's faith in man's innate altruism, even if he did not short-circuit Franklin's growing humanitarianism.

[i-441] Writings, I, 278.

[i-442] David Brewster, Life of Sir Isaac Newton (New York, 1831), 258. For fuller treatment see his Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (Edinburgh, 1855), II, 378 ff., and passim.

[i-443] Quoted in C. S. Duncan, op. cit., 16. See Desaguliers's A System of Experimental Philosophy, Prov'd by Mechanicks ... (London, 1719), and his The Newtonian System of the World, The Best Model of Government: An Allegorical Poem (Westminster, 1728). The popularizers of Newton were legion: see especially Watts, Derham, Ray, Huygens, Blackmore, Locke, Thomson, Shaftesbury, S. Clarke, Whiston, Keill, Maclaurin.

[i-444] A View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy (London, 1728), 2-3.

[i-445] Ibid., 405. Cf. also 13, 18, 181, 406.

[i-446] Not to be neglected in a summary of the factors influencing Franklin during his youth is Quakerism. Taught in Boston to suspect the Quakers, in Philadelphia in the midst of their stronghold he came soon, one may imagine, to have a sympathetic regard for them. Quakerism, in its antagonism towards sacraments and ceremonies, in its emphasis on the priesthood of every man and the right of private judgment, in its strenuous effort to promote fellow-service, was congenial to the young printer, reacting against Presbyterianism. Like the radical thought of the age, Quakerism refused first place to scriptural revelation, which became secondary to the light within, the dictates of one's heart. Often, we may suspect, the light within was blended with the concept in deism, that regardless of the promptings of scripture, each man has within him a natural sense which enables him to apprehend the truths of nature. The effort of deism to simplify religion was historically shared by Quakerism. During the years we have under consideration Franklin was endeavoring to make a simple worship out of the subtle theology which had been offered him during his early years. Presbyterianism had frowned upon a covenant of works; Quakerism attempted to express its covenant with God in terms of human kindliness, fellowship, and service.

[i-447] It would be interesting to know if M. Faÿ is able to document his statement that the Junto "had Masonic leanings" ("Learned Societies in Europe and America in the Eighteenth Century," American Historical Review, XXXVII, 258 [1932]). R. F. Gould (The History of Freemasonry, London, 1887, III, 424) conjectures whether where was a lodge in Boston as early as 1720 but can offer no evidence of a real history of Masonry in the colonies until 1730, when colonial Masonry "may be said to have its commencement." Chroniclers of Franklin's Masonic career have found no documentary evidence of his affiliation with Masonry until February, 1731, when he entered St. John's Lodge. See J. F. Sachse, Benjamin Franklin as a Free Mason; J. H. Tatsch, Freemasonry in the Thirteen Colonies (New York, 1924); Early Newspaper Accounts of Free Masonry in Pennsylvania, England, Ireland, and Scotland. From 1730 to 1750 by Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Reprinted from Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia, 1886); Masonic Letters of Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia to H. Price of Boston, ed. by C. P. MacCalla (Philadelphia, 1888); M. M. Johnson, The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America (New York, 1924). See "Prefatory Note" in W. B. Loewy's reprint of Anderson's Constitutions (a reprint of Franklin's imprint of 1734) in Publications of the Masonic Historical Society of New York, No. 3 (New York, 1905). Arriving in London only seven years after the inauguration of the Grand Lodge, Franklin could hardly have been unaware of the broader speculations of Masonry. In London only a year after Anderson's Constitutions were printed (in 1723), he may conceivably have read the volume.

Stressing toleration, the universality of natural religion, morality rather than theology, reason rather than faith, Masonry could easily have augmented these ideas as they were latent or already developed in Franklin's mind. Scholars have yet to work out the extent to which Freemasonry, yokefellow of deism, reinforced free thought and was one of the subversive forces breaking down colonial orthodoxy. B. Faÿ's Revolution and Freemasonry, 1680-1800 neglects non-political influences of Freemasonry.

Although there is no evidence that Franklin as early as 1728 read such works (popular in the colonies) as De Ramsay's The Travels of Cyrus and Rowe's translation of The Golden Sayings of Pythagoras, the manner in which oriental lore augmented science and Masonry in fostering deism is an intriguing problem in eighteenth-century colonial letters.

[i-448] See I. W. Riley, op. cit., 249. Also see C. M. Walsh, "Franklin and Plato," Open Court, XX, 129 ff.

[i-449] See Writings, II, 95-6 (1728).

[i-450] John Ray's The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation (London, 1827; first ed. 1691), 31-2.

[i-451] The Augustan Age, 54-5.

[i-452] Selections from the Writings of Fénelon, ed. by Mrs. Follen (Boston, 1861), 51-2.

[i-453] Ibid., 59.

[i-454] Ibid., 47.

[i-455] In Preface to The Works of the British Poets, ed. by R. Anderson (London, 1795), 592. Since Franklin frequented Batson's in Cornhill, it is possible that through Dr. Pemberton he might have met Sir R. Blackmore, who was one of its best patrons.

[i-456] Ibid., 611.

[i-457] See Ray, op. cit., 143: "I persuade myself, that the beautiful and gracious Author of man's being and faculties, and all things else, delights in the beauty of his creation, and is well pleased with the industry of man, in adorning the earth with beautiful cities and castles...."

[i-458] The Relation of John Locke to English Deism, 133.

[i-459] See P. S. Wood, "Native Elements in English Neo-Classicism," Modern Philology, XXIV, 201-8 (Nov., 1926).

[i-460] See C. E. Jorgenson's "The Source of Benjamin Franklin's Dialogues between Philocles and Horatio (1730)," American Literature, VI, 337-9 (Nov., 1934).

[i-461] Writings, II, 203.

[i-462] Ibid., II, 467.

[i-463] Facsimile reprint by W. Pepper (Philadelphia, 1931), 27 note.

[i-464] See Almanac for 1753.

[i-465] Writings, II, 288.

[i-466] Ibid., II, 429. See also II, 434-5.

[i-467] See W. J. Campbell, op. cit.

[i-468] No. 570 (Nov. 15, 1739), No. 565 (Oct. 11, 1739), and No. 628 (Dec. 25, 1740), for example, are loaded with tributes to the effective preaching and contagious saintliness of this preacher of the Great Awakening.

[i-469] No. 618 (Oct. 16, 1740). Franklin's General Magazine and Historical Chronicle contains many Whitefield references.

[i-470] Writings, II, 316. In general, emotional Methodism was not responsive to science as a basis for rationalistic deism, although to a considerable extent Methodism and deism synchronized in their endeavor to relieve social suffering. See U. Lee's able study, The Historical Backgrounds of Early Methodist Enthusiasm (New York, 1931).

[i-471] Rev. L. Tyerman, Life of the Reverend George Whitefield (London, 1876), I, 439.

[i-472] Ibid., II, 283-4.

[i-473] Ibid., II, 540-1.

[i-474] Ibid., II, 541.

[i-475] See H. H. Clark's "An Historical Interpretation of Thomas Paine's Religion," University of California Chronicle, XXXV, 56-87 (Jan., 1933), and "Toward a Reinterpretation of Thomas Paine," American Literature, V, 133-45 (May, 1933).

[i-476] Writings, IX, 520.

[i-477] Ibid., VIII, 561. See also IX, 506.

[i-478] Aug. 22, 1784; unpublished letter in W. S. Mason Collection. Also see Writings, VIII, 113; IX, 476, 488, 621.

[i-479] I. W. Riley, American Thought from Puritanism to Pragmatism, 76.

[i-480] Parton, op. cit., I, 546.

[i-481] He admonished Deborah, his wife, that she "should go oftener to Church" (Writings, IV, 202), and his daughter, Sarah, "Go constantly to Church, whoever preaches" (Ibid., IV, 287).

[i-482] Letters to Benjamin Franklin from His Family and Friends, 1751-1790 (New York, 1859), 10.

[i-483] Franklin's English friends, Dr. Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Rev. David Williams, Dr. John Fothergill, Peter Collinson, Sir Joseph Banks, Jonathan Shipley, Lord Kames, Sir William Jones, et cetera, though not all deists, found Newtonian science useful in augmenting their philosophies.

[i-484] A Discourse ... (London, 1775), 33. For background material on the history of this concept see L. E. Hicks, A Critique of Design-Arguments (New York, 1883).

[i-485] N. Meredith, Considerations on the Utility of Conductors for Lightning ... (London, 1789), 44-5. See especially the characteristic notice in Monthly Review ..., XLII (London, 1770), 199-210, 298-308.

[i-486] For references see B. Faÿ, The Revolutionary Spirit in France and America; E. E. Hale and E. E. Hale, Jr., Franklin in France; L. Amiable, Un loge maçonnique d'avant 1789 ....

[i-487] Writings, IX, 436.

[i-488] W. T. Franklin ed. of Franklin's Writings (London, 1818), I, 433.

[i-489] See similar expression in letter to Mme Brillon, cited in J. M. Stifler, The Religion of Benjamin Franklin, 55-6.

[i-490] Writings, III, 135.



1706. Benjamin Franklin born in Boston, January 17 (January 6, 1705, O. S.).

1714-16. After a year in Boston Grammar School is sent to learn writing and arithmetic in school kept by George Brownell, from which, after a year, he is taken to assist his father, Josiah, a candlemaker.

1717. James Franklin returns from England, following apprenticeship as printer.

1718. Benjamin is apprenticed to brother James.

1718-23. Period of assiduous reading in Anthony Collins, Shaftesbury, Locke, Addison and Steele, Cotton Mather, Bunyan, Defoe, etc.

1719. Writes and hawks ballads of the "Grub-Street" style, "The Lighthouse Tragedy" and "The Taking of Teach the Pirate."

1721-23. Aids brother in publishing the New England Courant. During 1722-23 in charge of paper after James is declared objectionable by the authorities.

1722. His Dogood Papers printed anonymously in the New England Courant.

1723. Breaks his indentures and leaves for New York; eventually arrives in Philadelphia.

1723-24. Employed by Samuel Keimer, a printer in Philadelphia.

1724. Visits Cotton Mather and Governor Burnet (New York). Meets James Ralph, Grub-Street pamphleteer, historian, and poet in the Thomson tradition. Patronized by Governor Keith. Leaves for London in November on the London-Hope to buy type, etc., for printing shop to be set up in his behalf by Keith. Upon arrival he and Ralph take lodgings in Little Britain.

1725-26. Employed in Palmer's and Watts's printing houses.


1725. Publishes A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. One result of this is acquaintance with Lyons, author of The Infallibility of Human Judgement. Through him Franklin meets Bernard Mandeville and Dr. Henry Pemberton, who is preparing a third edition of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia. Is received by Sir Hans Sloane in Bloomsbury Square. Conceives of setting up a swimming school in London.

1726. On July 21, with Mr. Denham, merchant and Quaker, leaves for Philadelphia on the Berkshire. Between July 22 and October 11 writes Journal of a Voyage from London to Philadelphia. Employed by Denham until latter's death in 1727.

1727. Ill of pleurisy and composes his epitaph. After recovery returns to Keimer's printing house. Forms his Junto club. Employed in Burlington, New Jersey, on a job of printing paper money.

1728. Forms partnership with Hugh Meredith. Writes Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion, and Rules for a Club—his Junto club "Constitution."

1729. Buys Keimer's The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette (begun December 24, 1728). Changes name to Pennsylvania Gazette, first issue, XL, September 25-October 2, 1729. (Published by Franklin until 1748, by Franklin and David Hall from 1748 to 1766, after which Hall, until his death, and others publish it until 1815.) Contributes to American Weekly Mercury six papers of The Busy-Body, February 4, 1729-March 27, 1729. Writes and prints A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency.

1730. Appointed Public Printer by Pennsylvania Assembly (incumbent until 1764). Partnership with Meredith dissolved. Marries Deborah Read (Mrs. Rogers). Prints in Pennsylvania Gazette his Dialogues between Philocles and Horatio.


1731. First public venture: founds the Philadelphia Library Company, first subscription library in America. Begins partnership with Thomas Whitemarsh, Charleston, S. C. (1732, publishes South Carolina Gazette.) Begins Masonic affiliations: enters St. John's Lodge in February. William Franklin born.

1732. Begins Poor Richard's Almanack (for 1733). His son Francis Folger Franklin born (dies of smallpox in 1736). Elected junior grand warden of St. John's Lodge.

1733. Begins to study languages, French, Italian, Spanish, and continues Latin.

1734. Elected grand master of Masons of Pennsylvania for 1734-35. Reprints Anderson's Constitutions, first Masonic book printed in America.

1735. Writes and prints three pamphlets in defense of Rev. Mr. Hemphill. Prints, in the Pennsylvania Gazette, Protection of Towns from Fire. Secretary of St. John's Lodge until 1738. Writes introduction for and prints Logan's Cato's Moral Distiches, first classic translated and printed in the colonies.

1736. Establishes the Union Fire Company, the first in Philadelphia. Chosen clerk of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

1737. Appointed postmaster of Philadelphia (incumbent until 1753); also justice of the peace.

1739. Beginning of friendship with the Reverend George Whitefield.

1740. Announces (November 13) The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle.

1741. Six issues (January-June) of this magazine (the first planned and the second issued in the colonies). With J. Parker establishes a printing house in New York.

1742. Invents Franklin open stove.

1743. A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America (circular letter sent to his friends).


1744. Establishes the American Philosophical Society and becomes its first secretary. Daughter Sarah born. An Account of the New Invented Pennsylvanian Fire-places. Writes preface to and prints Logan's translation of Cicero's Cato Major. Reprints Richardson's Pamela. Father dies.

1746. Reflections on Courtship and Marriage, first of his writings reprinted in Europe. Peter Collinson sends a Leyden vial as gift to Library Company of Philadelphia. Having witnessed Dr. Spence's experiments, Franklin now begins his study of electricity.

1747. Plain Truth: or, Serious Considerations on the Present State of the City of Philadelphia, and Province of Pennsylvania.

1748. Withdraws from active service in his printing and bookselling house (Franklin and Hall). Advice to a Young Tradesman. Chosen member of the Council of Philadelphia.

1749. Appointed provincial grand master of colonial Masons (through 1750). Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. Founds academy which later develops into University of Pennsylvania. Reprints Bolingbroke's On the Spirit of Patriotism.

1750. Appointed as one of the commissioners to make treaty with the Indians at Carlisle.

1751. Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America, By Mr. Benjamin Franklin, and Communicated in several Letters to Mr. P. Collinson, of London, F. R. S. (London.) Idea of the English School, Sketch'd out for the Consideration of the Trustees of the Philadelphia Academy. Member of Assembly from Philadelphia (incumbent until 1764). Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, Etc. Aids Dr. Bond to establish Pennsylvania hospital.

1752. Collinson edition of Franklin's works translated into French. Alleged kite experiment proves identity of lightning and electricity. Invents lightning rod; in September raises one over his own house. Mother dies. Aids in establishing the first fire insurance company in the colonies.


1753. Appointed (jointly with William Hunter) deputy postmaster general of North America Post, a position he held until 1774. Makes ten-weeks' survey of roads and post offices in northern colonies. Abbé Nollet attacks Franklin in Lettres sur l'électricité (Paris). Beccaria defends Franklin's electrical theories against Abbé Nollet. Receives M. A. from Harvard and from Yale. Receives Sir Godfrey Copley medal from the Royal Society.

1754. Proposes Albany Plan of Union. Second edition of Experiments and Observations on Electricity.

1755. An Act for the Better Ordering and Regulating such as are Willing and Desirous to be United for Military Purposes within the Province of Pennsylvania. A Dialogue Between X, Y, & Z, concerning the Present State of Affairs in Pennsylvania. Aids General Braddock in getting supplies and transportation.

1756. Supervises construction efforts in province of Pennsylvania (a task begun in 1755). Chosen Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Chosen a member of the London Society of Arts. Plan for Settling the Western Colonies in North America, with Reasons for the Plan. M. D'Alibard's edition of Franklin's electrical experiments (French translation). Receives M. A. from William and Mary College.

1757. Appointed colonial agent for Province of Pennsylvania (arrives in London July 26). The Way to Wealth (for 1758). (In 1889 Ford noted: "Seventy editions of it have been printed in English, fifty-six in French, eleven in German, and nine in Italian. It has been translated into Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Welsh, Polish, Gaelic, Russian, Bohemian, Dutch, Catalan, Chinese, Modern Greek and Phonetic writing. It has been printed at least four hundred times, and is today as popular as ever.")


1759. Receives Doctor of Laws degree from University of St. Andrews. September 5, made burgess and guild-brother of Edinburgh. An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. (See Ford, pp. 110-111, where he suggests that this "must still be treated as from Franklin's pen.") Parable against Persecution. Meets Adam Smith, Hume, Lord Kames, etc., in home of Dr. Robertson at Edinburgh. Makes many electrical experiments. Chosen honorary member of Philosophical Society of Edinburgh.

1760. Provincial grand master of Pennsylvania Masons. The Interest of Great Britain Considered with Regard to Her Colonies. Elected to society of Dr. Bray's Associates. (Corresponding member until 1790.) Successful close of his issue with the proprietaries.

1761. Tour of Holland and Belgium.

1762. Receives degree of Doctor of Civil Law from Oxford. Leaves England in August, arrives in America in October.

1763. Travels through colonies to inspect and regulate post offices.

1764. Appointed agent for Province of Pennsylvania to petition king for change from proprietary to royal government. Leaves for London in November. Cool Thoughts on the Present Situation of Our Public Affairs. A Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County. Preface to the Speech of Joseph Galloway, Esq.

1765. Presents Grenville with resolution of Pennsylvania Assembly against Stamp Act.

1766. Examined in House of Commons relative to repeal of the Stamp Act. Physical and Meteorological Observations. With Sir John Pringle visits Germany and Holland (June-August). Chosen foreign member of the Royal Society of Sciences, Göttingen.

1767. With Sir John Pringle visits France (August 28-October 8). Meets French Physiocrats. Remarks and Facts Concerning American Paper Money.

1768. Preface to Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (J. Dickinson). A Scheme for a New Alphabet and Reformed Mode of Spelling. Causes of the American Discontents before 1768. Art of Swimming. Appointed London agent for colony of Georgia.


1769. Visits France (July-August). Appointed New Jersey agent in London. Elected first president of the American Philosophical Society.

1770. Appointed London agent for Massachusetts Assembly.

1771. Begins Autobiography (from 1706 to 1731) while visiting the Bishop of St. Asaph at Twyford. Three-months' tour of Ireland and Scotland. Entertained by Hume and Lord Kames. Chosen corresponding member of Learned Society of Sciences, Rotterdam.

1772. Chosen foreign member of Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris.

1773. Abridgement of the Book of Common Prayer (with Sir Francis Dashwood). Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One. M. Barbeu Dubourg's edition of Œuvres de M. Franklin. Sends Hutchinson-Oliver letters to Massachusetts.

1774. Examined by Wedderburn before the Privy Council (January 29) in regard to the Hutchinson-Oliver correspondence. Contributes notes to George Whately's second edition of Principles of Trade. Dismissed as deputy postmaster general of North America. Deborah Franklin dies December 19.

1775. First postmaster general under Confederation. Returns to America in May. Member of Philadelphia Committee of Safety. Chosen a delegate to second Continental Congress. An Account of Negotiations in London for Effecting a Reconciliation between Great Britain and the American Colonies. Appointed member of Committee of Secret Correspondence.

1776. A commissioner to Canada. Presides over Constitutional Convention of Pennsylvania. Appointed one of committee to frame Declaration of Independence. In September appointed one of three commissioners from Congress to the French court. Leaves Philadelphia October 27; reaches Paris December 21.

1777. Elected member of Loge des Neuf Sœurs. Chosen associate member of Royal Medical Society of Paris.


1778. Assists at initiation of Voltaire in Loge des Neuf Sœurs. Officiates at Masonic funeral service of Voltaire. Signs commercial treaty and alliance for mutual defense with France. The Ephemera. Altercation with Arthur Lee.

1779. Minister plenipotentiary to French court. The Whistle. Morals of Chess. B. Vaughan edits Franklin's Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces.

1780. Dialogue between Franklin and the Gout.

1781. Chosen Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences: elected foreign member of Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts of Padua, for work in natural philosophy and politics. Appointed one of the peace commissioners to negotiate treaty of peace between England and United States.

1782. Elected Venerable of Loge des Neuf Sœurs.

1783. Signs treaty with Sweden. Prints Constitutions of the United States. Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Interest in balloons. Signs the Treaty of Paris with John Jay and John Adams.

1784. With Le Roy, Bailly, Guillotin, Lavoisier, and others, investigates Mesmer's animal magnetism (results in numerous pamphlet reports). Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America. Advice to Such as Would Remove to America. Chosen member of Royal Academy of History, Madrid. At Passy resumes work on Autobiography, beyond 1731.

1785. Maritime Observations. On the Causes and Cure of Smoky Chimneys. Signs treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia. Resigns as minister to French Court, and returns to Philadelphia. President of Council of Pennsylvania (incumbent for three years). Associate member of Academy of Sciences, Literature, and Arts of Lyons. Councillor for Philadelphia until 1788. Member of Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, and Royal Society of Physics, National History and Arts of Orleans, and honorary member of Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society.


1786. Chosen corresponding member of Society of Agriculture of Milan.

1787. President of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery (incumbent until death). Pennsylvania delegate to Constitutional Convention. Chosen honorary member of Medical Society of London. Aids in establishing the Society for Political Enquiry; elected its first president.

1788. At Philadelphia works on Autobiography, from 1731-1757.

1789. Observations Relative to the Intentions of the Original Founders of the Academy in Philadelphia and several papers in behalf of abolition of slavery. At Philadelphia resumes Autobiography, from 1757 to 1759. Chosen member of Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg.

1790. Paper on the slave trade, To the Editor of the Federal Gazette, March 23. Dies, April 17, in Philadelphia.



Starred items are of primary importance.


Only the most useful and historically significant editions are here listed. The student interested in other editions of Franklin's works, the publication of his separate pamphlets, his contributions to newspapers and periodicals, and his editorial activities should consult P. L. Ford's Franklin Bibliography. Many of these items are conveniently listed in The Cambridge History of American Literature, I, 442 ff.

Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America, By Mr. Benjamin Franklin, and Communicated in several Letters to P. Collinson, of London, F. R. S. London: 1751. (For various editions and translations of this and the supplementary letters added to first edition, consult Ford's Bibliography.)

Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces; ... Written by Benj. Franklin, LL. D. and F. R. S.... Now first collected, With Explanatory Plates, Notes, ... [ed. by Benjamin Vaughan]. London: 1779. ("The work is ably performed, many pieces being for the first time printed as Franklin's; and contains valuable notes. But what gives a special value to this collection is that it is the only edition of Franklin's writings [other than his scientific], which was printed during his life time; was done with Franklin's knowledge and consent, and contains an 'errata' made by him for it" [Ford, p. 161]. Review in Monthly Review, LXII, 199-210, 298-308, describes his electrical experiments as constituting a "principia" of electricity. See also Smyth, VII, 410-13, for Franklin's own opinion.)


Mémoires de la vie privée de Benjamin Franklin, écrits par luimême, et adressés à son fils; suivis d'un précis historique de sa vie politique, et de plusieurs pièces, relatives à ce père de la liberté. Paris: 1791. (First edition of Franklin's Autobiography to the year 1731; translation attributed to Dr. Jacques Gibelin. "The remainder of his life is a translation from Wilmer's Memoirs of Franklin, with the most objectionable statements omitted" [Ford, p. 183]. For a succinct history of Autobiography, editions, printing, translation, and fortunes of the MS see Bigelow's introduction to Autobiography.)

Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, LL. D. F. R. S. &c.... Written by himself to a late period, and continued to the time of his death, by his Grandson; William Temple Franklin. Now first published from the original MSS.... 3 vols. London: 1818. (The standard collection, according to A. H. Smyth, until Sparks's edition. Representative review in Analectic Magazine, XI, 449-84, June, 1818.)

The Works of Benjamin Franklin; containing several political and historical tracts not included in any former edition, and many letters official and private not hitherto published; with notes and a life of the author, by Jared Sparks. 10 vols. Boston: 1836-1840. (Although Sparks took undesirable editorial liberties with the MSS, rephrasing, emending, and deleting, this edition still possesses value for its notes and inclusion of pieces which Smyth does not include, but which may have been written by Franklin. Includes many valuable letters to Franklin. For reviews see North American Review, LIX, 446, and LXXXIII, 402.)

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Edited from his Manuscript, with Notes and an Introduction, by John Bigelow. Philadelphia: 1868. (To quote Ford: "This is not only the first appearance of the autobiography from Franklin's own copy, but also the first publication in English of the four parts, and the first publication of the very important 'outline' autobiography. It is therefore the first edition of the autobiography" [p. 199].)


The Life of Benjamin Franklin, written by himself. Now first edited from original manuscripts and from his printed correspondence and other writings, by John Bigelow. 3 vols. Philadelphia: 1874. (Bigelow text of Autobiography and extracts from Franklin's other works.)

The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin including his private as well as his official and scientific correspondence, and numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed with many others not included in any former collection, also the unmutilated and correct version of his autobiography. Comp. and ed. by John Bigelow. 10 vols. New York: 1887-1889. (Corrects many of Sparks's errors and adds "some six hundred new pieces." For first time works are chronologically arranged.)

*The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, collected and edited with a Life and Introduction, by Albert Henry Smyth. 10 vols. New York: 1905-1907. (The standard edition. It is unfortunate that the editor has omitted pieces which are either too Rabelaisian or too metaphysically radical, such as the Dissertation of 1725, or are, in his mind, probably not written by Franklin.)


No attempt has been made to include the learned journal articles which reprint occasional letters not in Smyth. Letters which aid in understanding Franklin's mind have been referred to in the Introduction and Notes.

Chinard, Gilbert. Les amitiés américaines de Madame d'Houdetot, d'après sa correspondance inédite avec Benjamin Franklin et Thomas Jefferson. Paris: 1924.

Diller, Theodore. Franklin's Contribution to Medicine. Brooklyn: 1912. (Able collection of Franklin's letters bearing on medicine. Franklin is described "as one of the greatest benefactors, friends, and patrons of the medical profession as well as a most substantial contributor to the science and art of medicine.")


[Franklin, Benjamin.] A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. Reproduced from the first edition, with a bibliographical note by Lawrence C. Wroth. The Facsimile Text Society, New York: 1930. (Although A. H. Smyth omitted this work from his Writings of Benjamin Franklin, suggesting that "the work has no value," it is difficult to see how a study of the modus operandi of Franklin's mind could be thoroughly made without it. Parton in his Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, and I. W. Riley in his American Philosophy: The Early Schools have reprinted it in appendices.)

Franklin, Benjamin. Poor Richard's Almanack. Being the Almanacks of 1733, 1749, 1756, 1757, 1758, first written under the name of Richard Saunders. With a foreword by Phillips Russell. Garden City, N. Y.: 1928. ("First facsimile edition of a group of the Almanacks to be published.")

Franklin, Benjamin. The Prefaces, Proverbs, and Poems of Benjamin Franklin Originally Printed in Poor Richard's Almanacs for 1733-1758. Collected and ed. by P. L. Ford. Brooklyn: 1890. (Best collection of its kind; in addition contains account of popularity and function of almanacs in colonial period.)

Franklin, Benjamin. Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. Facsimile reprint, with an introduction by William Pepper. Philadelphia: 1931. (Franklin's notes omitted in Smyth. Proposals also reprinted by the William L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan: 1927; "though not a facsimile reprint," it does include the notes. Thomas Woody in his Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin [New York: 1931] reprints it with the notes.)

Franklin, Benjamin. The Sayings of Poor Richard, 1733-1758. Condensed and ed. by T. H. Russell. N.p.: n.d. (Best aphorisms chronologically arranged.)

Goodman, N. G., ed. The Ingenious Dr. Franklin; Selected Scientific Letters of Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: 1931. (Includes several items not published in Smyth edition.)

Letters to Benjamin Franklin, from his Family and Friends, 1751-1790. [Ed. by William Duane.] New York: 1859.

Pepper, William. The Medical Side of Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: 1911. (Essentially quotations from the A. H. Smyth edition. Franklin is viewed as "an early and great hygienist.")


Stifler, J. M., ed. "My Dear Girl." The Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin with Polly Stevenson, Georgiana and Catherine Shipley. New York: 1927. (Engaging collection showing Franklin's "capacity for lively and enduring friendship" [p. vii]. Many of the letters to Franklin "printed now for the first time." Contains several of Franklin's letters hitherto unpublished.)


Becker, Carl. "Benjamin Franklin," in Dictionary of American Biography. New York: 1931. VI, 585-98. (The most authoritative brief biography.)

*Bruce, W. C. Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed. 2 vols. New York: 1917. (In spite of occasional extravagant statements and a conservative temperament preventing him from discussing Franklin's religion with sympathetic and historical insight, Mr. Bruce has provided a brilliant and perspicuous survey. "Self-revealed" fails to do justice to Bruce's incisive commentary.)

*Faÿ, Bernard. Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times. Boston: 1929. (A readable critical biography said to be based on "six hundred to nine hundred unpublished letters." Would have been more useful had it been given scholarly documentation. Some new light on Franklin's Masonic activities and his efforts during 1757-1762 to effect the growth of a British empire. [Faÿ used the Franklin-Galloway correspondence in the W. S. Mason and W. L. Clements collections.] Believes that Franklin was a "follower of the seventeenth-century English Pythagoreans": since this belief is largely undocumented, one feels it curious that Pythagoreanism should bulk larger than the pattern of thought provoked by Locke and Newton. See very critical reviews by H. M. Jones in American Literature, II, 306-12 [Nov., 1930], and W. C. Bruce, American Historical Review, XXXV, 634 ff. [April, 1930]. The latter concludes that "there is very little, indeed, in the text of the book under review that makes any unquestionably substantial addition to our pre-existing knowledge of Franklin, or is marked by anything that can be termed freshness of interpretation.")


Faÿ, Bernard. The Two Franklins: Fathers of American Democracy. Boston: 1933. (Charmingly spirited portrait of patriarchal Franklin of Passy [reworking of materials in Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times]. Faÿ's habit of mingling quotation, paraphrase, and intuition in use of Bache's Diary suggests untrustworthy documentation. The second Franklin is, of course, Benjamin Franklin Bache [1769-1798, son of Sally Franklin and Richard Bache], editor of the republican Aurora General Advertiser. For a judicial, unsympathetic review see A. Guerard's in the New York Herald Tribune Books, Oct. 22, 1933. J. A. Krout, in the American Historical Review, XXXIX, 741-2 [July, 1934], observes that Faÿ "fails to establish the elder Franklin's paternal relation to the democratic forces of the 'revolutionary' decade after 1790.")

Fisher, S. G. The True Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: 1899. (Highly prejudiced interpretation with disproportionate attention to Franklin's acknowledged shortcomings.)

*Ford, P. L. The Many-Sided Franklin. New York: 1899. (A gracefully solid and inclusive standard work.)

Hale, E. E., and Hale, E. E., Jr. Franklin in France. From Original Documents, Most of Which Are Now Published for the First Time. 2 vols. Boston: 1887-1888. (Convenient collection of letters to Franklin; authors had access to Stevens and American Philosophical Society collections. Franklin letters and documents here given later published in Smyth. Useful chapters on Franklin's friends, his vogue in France, meetings with Voltaire, his activities in science, his interest in balloons, and investigation of Mesmerism. See reviews in Dial, VIII, 7, IX, 204; Nation, XLIV, 368; Athenaeum, II, 77 [1887]; Atlantic Monthly, LX, 318.)

McMaster, J. B. Benjamin Franklin as a Man of Letters. American Men of Letters series. Boston: 1887. (Fullest account of this aspect of the many-minded Franklin. See also MacLaurin and Jorgenson items, pp. clxv, clxvi below.)


More, P. E. Benjamin Franklin. Riverside Biographical Series. Boston: 1900. (Suggestive of a précis of Parton's Life with judicial, if not historical, penetration. Stimulating notes, such as the following: Franklin was "a great pagan, who lapsed now and then into the pseudo-religious platitudes of the eighteenth-century deists.")

Morse, John Torrey, Jr. Benjamin Franklin. American Statesmen series. Boston: 1889. (Compact account stressing his political and diplomatic career.)

*Parton, James. Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. 2 vols. New York: 1864. (Although not all works ascribed to Franklin by Parton are by his pen, and although new materials have been added to the Franklin canon, he remains the most encyclopedic and often the most penetrating of Franklin's biographers. He deserves credit for printing in an appendix Franklin's Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. For reviews see North American Review [July, 1864]; Atlantic Monthly [Sept., 1864]; London Quarterly, XXIII, 483; Littell's Living Age, LXXXIV, 289.)

Russell, Phillips. Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilised American. New York: 1926. (The esprit and readableness of this popular work do not offset its lack of precision, historical scholarship, and taste.)

Smyth, Albert H. "Life of Benjamin Franklin," in Vol. X, 141-510, of The Writings of Benjamin Franklin. (Stimulating survey.)

Swift, Lindsay. Benjamin Franklin. Beacon Biographies of Eminent Americans. Boston: 1910. (Brief series of biographical "impressions" arranged chronologically.)

Weems, Mason L. The Life of Benjamin Franklin, with many Choice Anecdotes and Admirable Sayings of this Great Man. Baltimore: 1815. (One would think it unfair to smile at a writer who had the wit to describe Franklin as one who "with such equal ease, could play the Newton or the Chesterfield, and charm alike the lightnings and the ladies." Contains some imaginative, though intuitive, remarks on Franklin's religion.)



Abbe, C. "Benjamin Franklin as Meteorologist," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, XLV, 117-28 (1906). ("Worthy co-laborer" with Newton, Huygens, Descartes, Boyle, and Gay-Lussac. He is "the first meteorologist of America," "pioneer of the rational long-range forecasters.")

Abbot, G. M. A Short History of the Library Company of Philadelphia: Compiled from the Minutes, together with some personal reminiscences. Philadelphia: 1913.

Amiable, L. Une loge maçonnique d'avant 1789. La R.·. L.·. Les Neuf Sœurs. Paris: 1897. (Fullest account of Franklin's activities in French Freemasonry.)

Analectic Magazine, XI, 449-84 (June, 1818). (Review of W. T. Franklin's edition of Franklin's works. Complexion of this eulogy suggested by: "His name is now exalted in Europe above any others of the eighteenth century.")

Angoff, Charles. A Literary History of the American People. New York: 1931. II, 295-310. (It would be difficult to match the debonair ignorance of this violently hostile essay.)

"A Poem on the Death of Franklin," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, XV, 109 (Jan., 1930). (A typical elegy based on theme suggested by Turgot's epigram on Franklin.)

Bache, R. M. "Smoky Torches in Franklin's Honor," Critic, XLVIII, 561-6 (June, 1906). (Charming in its caustic though just view that "articles on Franklin have verged on superfluity.")

Bache, R. M. "The So-Called 'Franklin Prayer-Book,'" Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXI, 225-34 (1897). (See Rev. John Wright's account of the same in Early Prayer Books of America [St. Paul: 1896], pp. 386-99.)

Biddison, P. "The Magazine Franklin Failed to Remember," American Literature, IV, 177-80 (May, 1932). (Survey of the Franklin-Webbe altercation concerning the inauguration of Franklin's General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle ..., 1741.)


Bigelow, John. "Franklin as the Man," Independent, LX, 69-72 (Jan. 11, 1906). (Stresses his tolerance, common sense, and "constitutional unwillingness to dogmatize.")

Bleyer, W. G. Main Currents in the History of American Journalism. Boston: 1927. (Chapters I-II contain excellent survey of the New England Courant, and the Pennsylvania Gazette during its formative years. Bibliography, pp. 431-41.)

Bloore, Stephen. "Joseph Breintnall, First Secretary of the Library Company," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LIX, 42-56 (Jan., 1935). (Valuable notes on Franklin's collaborator in Busy-Body series.)

Bloore, Stephen. "Samuel Keimer. A Foot-note to the Life of Franklin," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LIV, 255-87 (July, 1930). (Readers of the Autobiography will appreciate this excellent study of one who figures prominently in its pages.)

Brett-James, N. G. The Life of Peter Collinson. London: [1917]. (Many notes on Franklin-Collinson friendship. Collinson, it is remembered, "started Franklin on his career as a researcher in electricity.")

Buckingham, J. T. Specimens of Newspaper Literature; with Personal Memoirs, Anecdotes, and Reminiscences. 2 vols. Boston: 1850. (Vol. I, 49-88, discusses New England Courant. Identifies Dogood Papers as Franklin's.)

Bullen, H. L. "Benjamin Franklin and What Printing Did for Him," American Collector, II, 284-91 (May, 1926).

Butler, Ruth L. Doctor Franklin, Postmaster General. Garden City, N. Y.: 1928. (A sturdily documented study illustrating that Franklin "furnished the most highly efficient administration to the postal system during the colonial period.")

Canby, H. S. "Benjamin Franklin," in Classic Americans. New York: 1931, pp. 34-45. (Spirited estimate partly vitiated by excessive emphasis on influence of Quakerism; Canby observes that Franklin's mind represents "Quakerism conventionalized, stylized, and Deicized.")

*Carey, Lewis J. Franklin's Economic Views. Garden City, N. Y.: 1928. (Excellent survey.)


Cestre, Charles. "Franklin, homme représentatif," Revue Anglo-Américaine, 409-23, 505-22 (June, August, 1928).

Choate, J. H. "Benjamin Franklin," in Abraham Lincoln, and Other Addresses in England. New York: 1910, pp. 47-94. (Sanely eulogistic biographical survey.)

Condorcet, Marquis de. Éloge de M. Franklin, lu à la séance publique de l'Académie des Sciences, le 13 Nov., 1790 ... Paris: 1791. (Both a eulogy, and an interpretation of why France, as representative of the Enlightenment, eulogized the Philadelphia tradesman. By the most sublime of the philosophes.)

Cook, E. C. Literary Influences in Colonial Newspapers, 1704-1750. New York: 1912. (Trenchant analysis of Franklin's indebtedness to Addison and Steele—especially in the Dogood Papers—the character of the New England Courant, advertisements of books in Pennsylvania Gazette, etc. "Benjamin Franklin was the only prominent man of the period who deliberately attempted to spread the knowledge and love of literature among his countrymen.")

Crane, V. W. "Certain Writings of Benjamin Franklin on the British Empire and the American Colonies," Papers of the Bibliographical Society, XXVIII, Pt. 1, 1-27 (1934). (Newly identified Franklin papers more than double existing canon. He becomes "the chief agent of the American propaganda in England, especially between 1765 and 1770." New canon promises to "illuminate the development of Franklin's political ideas." Very significant.)

Cumston, C. G. "Benjamin Franklin from the Medical Viewpoint," New York Medical Journal, LXXXIX, 3-12 (Jan. 2, 1909). (Useful survey.)

Cutler, W. P., and Cutler, J. P. Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler. 2 vols. Cincinnati: 1888. (Portrait of patriarchal Franklin at age of eighty-four.)

Dickinson, A. D. "Benjamin Franklin, Bookman," Bookman, LIII, 197-205 (May, 1921). (Brief account of Franklin imprints.)


Discours du Comte de Mirabeau. Dans la séance du 11 Juin, sur la mort de Benjamin Francklin [sic]. Imprimé par ordre de l'Assemblée National. Paris: 1790.

Draper, J. W. "Franklin's Place in the Science of the Last Century," Harper's Magazine, LXI, 265-75 (July, 1880). (Franklin's discoveries "were only embellishments of his life." Superficial.)

Duniway, C. A. The Development of Freedom of the Press in Massachusetts. Cambridge, Mass.: 1906. (Chapter VI includes account of James Franklin and the New England Courant.)

Eddy, G. S. "Dr. Benjamin Franklin's Library," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XXXIV, 206-26 (Oct., 1924). (This indefatigable scholar has ascertained the titles of 1350 volumes in Franklin's library. This survey article does not list the titles.)

*Eiselen, M. R. Franklin's Political Theories. Garden City, N. Y.: 1928. (Thoughtful survey.)

Eiselen, M. R. The Rise of Pennsylvania Protectionism. Philadelphia: 1932. (University of Pennsylvania dissertation. Chapter I describes Franklin's holding to laissez faire in a state dominantly protectionist.)

Eliot, T. D. "The Relations Between Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin before 1776," Political Science Quarterly, XXXIX, 67-96 (March, 1924). (Exhaustive documentary data which fails to establish specific and incontrovertible Franklin influence on Smith.)

"Excerpts from the Papers of Dr. Benjamin Rush," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXIX, 15-30 (Jan., 1905). (Includes "Conversations with Franklin," pp. 23-8: Franklin terms Latin and Greek the "quackery of literature"; is alleged to have reprobated the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, in that it placed "the Supreme power of the State in the hands of a Single legislature." Other interesting sidelights.)


Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. 3 vols. New Haven: 1911. (Records show Franklin as a sober moderator: when rival factions tended to render the convention impotent, he said, "When a broad table is to be made, and the edges <of planks do not fit> the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint.")

Fauchet, Claude. Éloge civique de Benjamin Franklin, prononcé, le 21 Juillet 1790, dans la Rotonde, au nom de la Commune de Paris. Paris: 1790.

Faÿ, Bernard. "Franklin et Mirabeau collaborateurs," Revue de Littérature Comparée, VIII, 5-28 (1928). (Franklin furnished materials for Mirabeau's Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus.)

Faÿ, Bernard. "Learned Societies in Europe and America in the Eighteenth Century," American Historical Review, XXXVII, 255-66 (Jan., 1932). (Urges that like all learned societies in the eighteenth century, Franklin's Junto and American Philosophical Society "had Masonic leanings.")

Faÿ, Bernard. "Le credo de Franklin," Correspondant, 570-8 (Feb. 25, 1930).

Faÿ, Bernard. "Les débuts de Franklin en France," Revue de Paris, 577-605 (Feb. 1, 1931).

Faÿ, Bernard. "Les dernières amours d'un philosophe," Correspondant, 381-96 (May 10, 1930).

Faÿ, Bernard. "Le triomphe de Franklin en France," Revue de Paris, 872-96 (Feb. 15, 1931).

Ford, P. L. "Franklin as Printer and Publisher," Century Magazine, LVII, 803-17 (April, 1899).

Ford, W. C. "Franklin and Chatham," Independent, LX, 94-7 (Jan. 11, 1906).

Ford, W. C. "Franklin's New England Courant," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, LVII, 336-53 (April, 1924).

Ford, W. C. "One of Franklin's Friendships. From Hitherto Unpublished Correspondence between Madame de Brillon and Benjamin Franklin, 1776-1789," Harper's Magazine, CXIII, 626-33 (Sept., 1906).

Foster, J. W. "Franklin as a Diplomat," Independent, LX, 84-9 (Jan. 11, 1906).


Fox, R. H. Dr. John Fothergill and His Friends; Chapters in Eighteenth Century Life. London: 1919. (Franklin and Fothergill, "lovers of nature and keen students of physical science," met in 1757. See also J. C. Lettsom, Memoirs of John Fothergill, 4th ed., London: 1786.)

Garrison, F. W. "Franklin and the Physiocrats," Freeman, VIII, 154-6 (Oct. 24, 1923). (Transcended by Carey's chapter in Franklin's Economic Views, but has quotation from Dupont de Nemours [1769]: "Who does not know that the English have today their Benjamin Franklin, who has adopted the principles and the doctrines of our French economists?")

Goggio, E. "Benjamin Franklin and Italy," Romanic Review, XIX, 302-8 (Oct., 1928). (Largely through the efforts of G. Beccaria, "Benjamin Franklin was one of the first Americans to gain eminence and popularity among the people of Italy.")

Goode, G. B. "The Literary Labors of Benjamin Franklin," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, XXVIII, 177-97 (1890).

Grandgent, C. H. "Benjamin Franklin the Reformer," in Prunes and Prisms, with Other Odds and Ends. Cambridge, Mass.: 1928, pp. 86-97. ("The principles advocated in his unfinished exposition [on spelling reform] are those which phoneticians now advocate.")

Greene, S. A. "The Story of a Famous Book," Atlantic Monthly, XXVII, 207-12 (Feb., 1871). (A kind of précis of Bigelow's Introduction to Autobiography.)

Griswold, A. W. "Three Puritans on Prosperity," New England Quarterly, VII, 475-93 (Sept., 1934). (Cotton Mather, Timothy Dwight, and Franklin. One wonders by what right Franklin is dubbed the "soul of Puritanism.")

Guedalla, Philip. "Dr. Franklin," in Fathers of the Revolution. New York: 1926, pp. 215-34. (Chatty popular review of "the first high-priest of the religion of efficiency.")

Guillois, Antoine. Le salon de Madame Helvétius. Paris: 1894.

Gummere, R. M. "Socrates at the Printing Press. Benjamin Franklin and the Classics," Classical Weekly, XXVI, 57-9 (Dec. 5, 1932). (Survey of his references to the classics, with occasional estimates of impact on his mind.)


Hale, E. E. "Ben Franklin's Ballads," New England Magazine, N. S. XVIII, 505-7 (1898). (Thinks "The Downfall of Piracy," found in Ashton's Real Sea-Songs, is "one of the two lost ballads" Franklin mentions in Autobiography.)

Hale, E. E. "Franklin as Philosopher and Moralist," Independent, LX, 89-93 (Jan. 11, 1906). (Does not go beyond terming Franklin's philosophy common sense.)

Harrison, Frederic. "Benjamin Franklin," in Memories and Thoughts. New York: 1906, pp. 119-23. (Keen appraisal.)

Hart, C. H. "Benjamin Franklin in Allegory," Century Magazine, XLI (N. S. XIX), 197-204 (Dec., 1890). (The French sanctify Franklin in allegory.)

Hart, C. H. "Who Was the Mother of Franklin's Son? An Inquiry Demonstrating that She Was Deborah Read, Wife of Benjamin Franklin," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXXV, 308-14 (July, 1911). (Plausible circumstantial evidence is offered.)

Hays, I. M. The Chronology of Benjamin Franklin, Founder of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia: 1904.

Hill, D. J. "A Missing Chapter of Franco-American History," American Historical Review, XXI, 709-19 (July, 1916). (Political interests of Masonic "Lodge of the Nine Sisters," Paris, of which Franklin was an active member. Franklin described as "creator of constitutionalism in Europe.")

Houston, E. J. "Franklin as a Man of Science and an Inventor," Journal of the Franklin Institute, CLXI, Nos. 4-5, 241-383 (April-May, 1906).

Hulbert, C. Biographical Sketches of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, General Washington, and Thomas Paine; with an Essay on Atheism and Infidelity. London: 1820. (Franklin and Washington made almost saintly to contrast with Paine, "a notorious Unbeliever." Quotes one who sees Franklin as "the patriot of the world, the playmate of the lightning, the philosopher of liberty.")

Jackson, M. K. Outlines of the Literary History of Colonial Pennsylvania. Lancaster, Pa.: 1906. (Especially chapter III, which surveys Franklin as man of letters.)


Jernegan, M. W. "Benjamin Franklin's 'Electrical Kite' and Lightning Rod," New England Quarterly, I, 180-96 (April, 1928). ("The question still remains however whether Franklin flew his kite before he heard of the French experiments, and thus discovered the identity of lightning and electricity independently." Summarizes and supersedes: McAdie, A., "The Date of Franklin's Kite Experiment," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XXXIV, 188-205; Rotch, A. L., "Did Benjamin Franklin Fly His Electrical Kite before He Invented the Lightning Rod?" Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XVIII, 115-23.)

Jordan, J. W. "Franklin as a Genealogist," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXIII, 1-22 (April, 1899).

Jorgenson, C. E. "A Brand Flung at Colonial Orthodoxy. Samuel Keimer's 'Universal Instructor in All Arts and Sciences,'" Journalism Quarterly, XII, 272-7 (Sept., 1935). (Shows deistic tendencies.)

Jorgenson, C. E. "The New Science in the Almanacs of Ames and Franklin," New England Quarterly, VIII, 555-61 (Dec., 1935). (Newtonianism and scientific deism diffused through these popular almanacs.)

Jorgenson, C. E. "Sidelights on Benjamin Franklin's Principles of Rhetoric," Revue Anglo-Américaine, 208-22 (Feb., 1934). (Franklin's principles in general are consonant with the eighteenth-century neoclassic ideals.)

Jorgenson, C. E. "The Source of Benjamin Franklin's Dialogues between Philocles and Horatio (1730)," American Literature, VI, 337-9 (Nov., 1934). (The source is Shaftesbury's "The Moralists," in the Characteristics.)

*Jusserand, J. J. "Franklin in France," in Essays Offered to Herbert Putnam ... Ed. by W. W. Bishop and A. Keogh. New Haven: 1929, pp. 226-47. (Delightful summary.)

Kane, Hope F. "James Franklin Senior, Printer of Boston and Newport," American Collector, III, 17-26 (Oct., 1926). (A study of his New England Courant and his place in the development of freedom of the press.)


King, M. R. "One Link in the First Newspaper Chain, The South Carolina Gazette," Journalism Quarterly, IX, 257-68 (Sept., 1932). (Franklin's partnership with Thomas Whitemarsh in 1731 is here alleged to have begun the first American newspaper "chain.")

Kite, Elizabeth S. "Benjamin Franklin—Diplomat," Catholic World, CXLII, 28-37 (Oct., 1935). (An intelligent and appreciative brief survey of the subject, with a considerable preface showing the extent to which Franklin's worldly success grew out of his religious views.)

Lees, F. "The Parisian Suburb of Passy: Its Architecture in the Days of Franklin," Architectural Record, XII, 669-83 (Dec., 1902). (Several good illustrations included.)

Livingston, L. S. Franklin and His Press at Passy; An Account of the Books, Pamphlets, and Leaflets Printed There, including the Long-Lost Bagatelles. The Grolier Club, New York: 1914. (For additions to this work begun by L. S. Livingston, see R. G. Adams, "The 'Passy-ports' and Their Press," American Collector, IV, 177-80 [Aug., 1927], which includes bibliography useful to study of the Passy imprints.)

MacDonald, William. "The Fame of Franklin," Atlantic Monthly, XCVI. 450-62 (Oct., 1905).

Mackay, Constance D'A. Franklin. A Play. New York: 1922.

MacLaurin, Lois M. Franklin's Vocabulary. Garden City, N. Y.: 1928. (His "conservative ideas about linguistic innovations" are to a notable degree achieved in his practices. For example, of a vocabulary of 4062 words used in his writings between 1722 and 1751, "only 19 were discovered to be pure 'Americanisms.'")

McMaster, J. B. "Franklin in France," Atlantic Monthly, LX, 318-26 (Sept., 1887). (Good survey, based on Hale and Hale, Franklin in France.)

Malone, Kemp. "Benjamin Franklin on Spelling Reform," American Speech, I, 96-100 (Nov., 1925). (Franklin was the "first American to tackle English phonetics scientifically.")


Mason, W. S. "Franklin and Galloway: Some Unpublished Letters," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N. S. XXXIV, 227-58 (Oct., 1924). (Significant sidelights cast on "the problems of Pennsylvania colonial history from 1757 to 1760." Excellent summary of Franklin's and Galloway's victory over the Proprietors. Mr. Mason's collection includes many valuable letters [Franklin-Galloway] between 1757 and 1772, not published in Smyth.)

Mathews, Mrs. L. K. "Benjamin Franklin's Plans for a Colonial Union, 1750-1775," American Political Science Review, VIII, 393-412 (Aug., 1914).

Melville, Herman. Israel Potter. London: 1923. (Graphic intuitive portrait of Franklin: he lives as a "household Plato," "a practical Magian in linsey-woolsey," a "didactically waggish," prudent courtier who "was everything but a poet.")

Mémoires de l'Abbé Morellet, de l'Académie Française, sur le dixhuitième siècle et sur la Révolution. 2 vols. Paris: 1821. (Especially II, 286-311. Franklin viewed as very emblem of Liberty.)

Montgomery, T. H. A History of the University of Pennsylvania from Its Foundation to A. D. 1770. Philadelphia: 1900.

Monthly Review; or Literary Journal: By Several Hands. London: 1770. XLII, 199-210, 298-308. ("The experiments and observations of Dr. Franklin constitute the principia of electricity, and form the basis of a system equally simple and profound.")

*More, P. E. "Benjamin Franklin," in Shelburne Essays, Fourth Series. New York: 1906, pp. 129-55. (Provocative appraisal: stresses Franklin's "contemporaneity," his tendency to be oblivious to the past—a suggestive, if a moot point.)

Morgan, W. Memoirs of the Life of Rev. Richard Price. London: 1815. (Notes on Franklin's relations with Price during early 1760's; meetings at Royal Society and London Coffee-house.)

Mottay, F. Benjamin Franklin et la philosophie pratique. Paris: 1886. (Good model for citizens of a free nation and "le véritable catechisme de l'homme vertueux." Also several just remarks on his style which possesses "les mots épiques d'un Corneille et les élégantes périphrases d'un Racine.")


Moulton, C. W., ed. Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors. Buffalo, N. Y.: 1901. IV, 79-106. (Stimulating assembly of extracts which aids student in discovering the history of Franklin's reputation.)

Mustard, W. P. "Poor Richard's Poetry," Nation, LXXXII, 239, 279 (March 22, April 5, 1906). (Indicates Franklin's borrowings from Dryden, Pope, Prior, Gay, Swift, and others.)

Nichols, E. L. "Franklin as a Man of Science," Independent, LX, 79-84 (Jan. 11, 1906). (Franklin's mind "turned ever by preference to the utilitarian and away from the theoretical and speculative aspects of things.")

"Notice sur Benjamin Franklin," in Œuvres posthumes de Cabanis. Paris: 1825, pp. 219-74. (Representative in its rapturous eulogy.)

Oberholtzer, E. P. The Literary History of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: 1906. (Chap. II, "The Age of Franklin," written with conservative bias, belabors Franklin who as a statesman "was almost as wrong as Paine and Mirabeau." What Voltaire was to France, Franklin was to his native city and state.)

Oswald, J. C. Benjamin Franklin in Oil and Bronze. New York: 1926. ("Probably the features and form of no man who ever lived were delineated so frequently and in such a variety of ways as were those of Benjamin Franklin." Best survey of its kind, including many excellent reproductions.)

Oswald, J. C. Benjamin Franklin, Printer. Garden City, N. Y.: 1917. (Fullest and ablest account of this phase of Franklin's life.)

Owen, E. D. "Where Did Benjamin Franklin Get the Idea for His Academy?" Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LVIII, 86-94 (Jan., 1934). (Inconclusive evidence attributing it to Dr. Philip Doddridge.)


*Parker, Theodore. "Benjamin Franklin," in Historic Americans. Ed. with notes by S. A. Eliot. Boston: 1908 [written in 1858]. (Franklin "thinks, investigates, theorizes, invents, but never does he dream." Although Parker, an idealist and reformer, exalts "the sharp outline of his [Franklin's] exact idea," his humanitarianism, his combining the "rare excellence of Socrates and Bacon" in making things "easy for all to handle and comprehend," he concludes that Franklin is "a saint devoted to the almighty dollar." There are few more readable estimates.)

*Parrington, V. L. "Benjamin Franklin," in The Colonial Mind, 1620-1800. New York: 1927, pp. 164-78. (Emphasizes Franklin's tendencies toward agrarian democracy; Parrington's indifference to the genetic approach and his chronic economic determinism lead him to slight the primary importance of Franklin's religious and philosophic views in conditioning his other activities.)

Pennington, E. L. "The Work of the Bray Associates in Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LVIII, 1-25 (Jan., 1934). (Franklin's humanitarian interest in negro education. In 1758 he writes from London urging school for instructing young Negroes in Philadelphia.)

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XXV, 307-22, 516-26 (1901), XXVI, 81-90, 255-64 (1902). (Reprints one of Dean Tucker's pamphlets with Franklin's annotations. Casts light on Franklin's loyalty to the Crown, while rebellious against Parliament.)

Potamian, Brother, and Walsh, J. J. Makers of Electricity. New York: 1909. ("Franklin and Some Contemporaries," chapter II, pp. 68-132, by Brother Potamian, is an excellent survey of Franklin's contributions to the science of electricity.)

Powell, E. P. "A Study of Benjamin Franklin," Arena, VIII, 477-91 (Sept., 1893). (Fair survey of Franklin as a diplomatist.)

Priestley, J. The History and Present State of Electricity, with Original Experiments. London: 1767. (Many notes observing Franklin's "truly philosophical greatness of mind." Preface contains suggestive generalizations concerning function of the natural philosopher: especially, he who experiments in electricity discerns laws of nature, "that is, of the God of nature himself.")


Rava, Luigi. "La fortuna di Beniamino Franklin in Italia," Prefazione al volume Beniamino Franklin di Lawrence Shaw Mayo. Firenze: n.d.

Repplier, Emma. "Franklin's Trials as a Benefactor," Lippincott's Magazine, LXXVII, 63-70 (Jan., 1906). (Concerning those who during the Revolution wrote Franklin for favors and places.)

Riddell, W. R. "Benjamin Franklin and Colonial Money," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LIV, 52-64 (Jan., 1930).

Riddell, W. R. "Benjamin Franklin's Mission to Canada and the Causes of Its Failure," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XLVIII, 111-58 (April, 1924).

*Riley, I. W. American Philosophy: The Early Schools. New York: 1907, pp. 229-65. (Conventional view of Franklin's deism; with C. M. Walsh [see below], Riley overemphasizes influence of Plato on Franklin's thought.)

Riley, I. W. American Thought from Puritanism to Pragmatism and Beyond. New York: 1915, pp. 68-77. (Graphic glimpses of "most precocious of the American skeptics.")

Rosengarten, J. G. "The American Philosophical Society," reprinted from Founders' Week Memorial Volume. Philadelphia: 1908.

Ross, E. D. "Benjamin Franklin as an Eighteenth-Century Agriculture Leader," Journal of Political Economy, XXXVII, 52-72 (Feb., 1929). (No "rural sentimentalist," Franklin experimented in agriculture, particularly during 1747-1755, as a utilitarian idealist. Quotes one who suggests Franklin was "half physiocratic before the rise of the physiocratic school." Excellent and well-documented survey.)

Sachse, J. F. Benjamin Franklin as a Free Mason. Philadelphia: 1906. ("To write the history of Franklin as a Freemason is virtually to chronicle the early Masonic history of America." Soundly documented survey. Includes useful chronological table of Franklin's Masonic activities.)


*Sainte-Beuve, C. A. Portraits of the Eighteenth Century. Tr. by K. P. Wormeley, with a critical introduction by E. Scherer. New York: 1905. I, 311-75. (The two essays on Franklin in Causeries du lundi are "here put together," though with no important omissions from either. Brilliant portrait of the "most gracious, smiling, and persuasive utilitarian," one who assigned "no part to human imagination.")

Seipp, Erika. Benjamin Franklins Religion und Ethik. Darmstadt: 1932. (Suggestive, though brief, view of Franklin's deism and utilitarianism. Attempts to see his thought in reference to various representative deists. This is not, however, a "source" study.)

Shepherd, W. R. History of Proprietary Government in Pennsylvania. New York: 1896. (Franklin emerges as "a sort of tribune to the people," a "mighty Goliath," a "plague" in the eyes of the feudalistic rulers of Pennsylvania, "a huge fief." Author relatively unsympathetic to Franklin.)

*Sherman, S. P. "Franklin and the Age of Enlightenment," in Americans. New York: 1922, pp. 28-62. (Penetrating survey and estimate.)

Smith, William, D.D. Eulogium on Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: 1792. (One agrees with P. L. Ford, that this work "forms a somewhat amusing contrast to the savageness of the Doctor's earlier writings against Franklin." Bombastic in its rhetoric and eulogy.)

Smythe, J. H., Jr., comp. The Amazing Benjamin Franklin. New York: 1929. (Anthology of brief, popular estimates. If individual notes are trivial, the collection illustrates Franklin's many-mindedness, a Renaissance versatility.)

Sonneck, O. G. "Benjamin Franklin's Relation to Music," Music, XIX, 1-14 (Nov., 1900).

Steell, Willis. Benjamin Franklin of Paris, 1776-1785. New York: 1928. (An undocumented, partly imaginative, popular account.)

Stifler, J. M. The Religion of Benjamin Franklin. New York: 1925. (Popular survey. Warm appreciation of Franklin's penchant for projects of a humanitarian sort.)


Stuber, Henry. "Life of Franklin" [a biography meant as a continuation of Franklin's Autobiography], in Columbian Magazine and Universal Asylum, May, July, September, October, November, 1790, and February, March, May, June, 1791.

*Thorpe, F. N., ed. Benjamin Franklin and the University of Pennsylvania. U. S. Bureau of Education, Circular of Information, No. 2 (1892). Washington: 1893. (See especially chapters I, II, written by Thorpe, which deal particularly with Franklin's ideas of self and formal education.)

Titus, Rev. Anson. "Boston When Ben Franklin Was a Boy," Proceedings of the Bostonian Society, pp. 55-72 (1906). (Brief suggestive view of the climate of opinion with regard to inoculation, Newtonianism, and Lockian sensationalism.)

Trent, W. P. "Benjamin Franklin," McClure's Magazine, VIII, 273-7 (Jan., 1897). ("The most complete representative of his century that any nation can point to." Franklin "thoroughly represents his age in its practicality, in its devotion to science, in its intellectual curiosity, in its humanitarianism, in its lack of spirituality, in its calm self-content—in short, in its exaltation of prose and reason over poetry and faith." An enthusiastic and wise account.)

Trowbridge, John. "Franklin as a Scientist," Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, XVIII (1917). (Excellent appreciation of Franklin's capacity for inductive reasoning.)

Tuckerman, H. T. "Character of Franklin," North American Review, LXXXIII, 402-22 (Oct., 1856). (Praises disinterestedness of Franklin as a scientist, as "one whom Bacon would have hailed as a disciple," although he "is not adapted to beguile us 'along the line of infinite desires.'")

Tudury, M. "Poor Richard," Bookman, LXIV, 581-4 (Jan., 1927). (Popular glance at "cynical patriarch of American letters.")

Typothetae Bulletin, XXII, No. 15 (Jan. 11, 1926). (Issue devoted to the printer Franklin.)

Vicq d'Azyr, Félix. Éloge de Franklin. N.p.: 1791.


Victory, Beatrice M. Benjamin Franklin and Germany. Americana Germanica series, No. 21. Press of the University of Pennsylvania: 1915. (Sources reflecting Franklin's reputation in Germany of particular interest.)

Walsh, C. M. "Franklin and Plato," Open Court, XX, 129-33 (March, 1906). (An attempt to interpret his Articles of Belief, 1728, in terms of the Timaeus, Protagoras, Republic, and Euthyphro.)

Webster, Noah. Dissertations on the English Language: With Notes, Historical and Critical. To which is added, By Way of Appendix, an Essay on a Reformed Mode of Spelling, with Dr. Franklins Arguments on that Subject. Boston: 1789. (Notable remarks on Franklin's perspicuous and correct style which is "plain and elegantly neat": he "writes for the child as well as the philosopher.")

Wendell, Barrett. A Literary History of America. New York: 1900. (Franklin estimate, pp. 92-103.)

Wetzel, W. A. Benjamin Franklin as an Economist. Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Thirteenth Series, IX, 421-76. Baltimore: 1895. (Useful summary, but superseded by Carey's Franklin's Economic Views.)

Wharton, A. H. "The American Philosophical Society," Atlantic Monthly, LXI, 611-24 (May, 1888).

Bibliographical suggestions relating to Franklin's American friends and contemporaries will be found following the brief but scholarly studies in the Dictionary of American Biography. Of these see especially John Adams (also G. Chinard, Honest John Adams, Boston, 1933); Samuel Adams; Ethan Allen; Nathaniel Ames; Joel Barlow (also V. C. Miller, Joel Barlow: Revolutionist, London, 1791-92, Hamburg, 1932, and T. A. Zunder, Early Days of Joel Barlow, New Haven, 1934); John Bartram; William Bartram (also N. Fagin, William Bartram, Baltimore, 1933); Hugh H. Brackenridge (also C. Newlin, Brackenridge, Princeton, 1933); Cadwallader Colden; John Dickinson; Philip Freneau; Francis Hopkinson; T. Jefferson; Cotton Mather; Jonathan Mayhew; Thomas Paine; David Rittenhouse; Dr. Benjamin Rush (also N. Goodman, Rush, Philadelphia, 1934); Rev. William Smith; Ezra Stiles; John Trumbull; Noah Webster.



Adams, J. T. Provincial Society, 1690-1763. (Volume III of A History of American Life, ed. Fox and Schlesinger.) New York: 1927. (Contains useful "Critical Essay on Authorities" consulted, pp. 324-56, which serves as a guide for further study of many phases of the social history of the period.)

Adams, R. G. Political Ideas of the American Revolution. Durham, N. C.: 1922.

Andrews, C. M. The Colonial Background of the American Revolution. New Haven: 1924. (Stresses economic factors and the need of viewing the subject from the European angle; profitably used as companion study to Beer's British Colonial Policy.)

Baldwin, Alice M. The New England Clergy and the American Revolution. Durham, N. C.: 1928. (Prior to 1763 the clergy popularized "doctrines of natural right, the social contract, and the right of resistance" and principles of American constitutional law.)

Beard, C. A. The Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. New York: 1915. (Suggestive, if other factors are not neglected. See C. H. Hull's review in American Historical Review, XXII, 401-3.)

Becker, Carl. The Declaration of Independence; A Study in the History of Political Ideas. New York: 1922. (Excellent survey of natural rights, and the extent to which this concept was influenced by Newtonianism.)

Becker, Carl. The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers. New Haven: 1932. (R. S. Crane observes, after calling attention to certain obscurities and confusions: "The description of the general temper of the 'philosophers,' the characterization of the principal eighteenth-century historians, much at least of the final chapter on the idea of progress—these can be read with general approval for their content and with a satisfaction in Becker's prose style that is unalloyed by considerations of exegesis or terminology" [Philological Quarterly, XIII, 104-6].)


Beer, George L. British Colonial Policy, 1754-1765. New York: 1933 [1907].

Bemis, S. F. The Diplomacy of the American Revolution. New York; 1935. (Brilliant exposition of French, Spanish, Austrian, and other diplomacy relative to the Revolution. Should be supplemented by Frank Monaghan's John Jay.)

Bloch, Léon. La philosophie de Newton. Paris: 1908. (A comprehensive, standard exposition.)

Bosker, Aisso. Literary Criticism in the Age of Johnson. Groningen: 1930. (Reviewed by N. Foerster in Philological Quarterly, XI, 216-7.)

Brasch, F. E. "The Royal Society of London and Its Influence upon Scientific Thought in the American Colonies," Scientific Monthly, XXXIII, 336-55, 448-69 (1931). (Useful survey.)

Brinton, Crane. A Decade of Revolutions, 1789-1799. New York: 1934. (Useful on the pattern of ideas associated with the French Revolution; has a full and up-to-date "Bibliographical Essay," pp. 293-322, with critical commentary.)

Bullock, C. J. Essays on the Monetary History of the United States. New York: 1900. (Useful bibliography, pp. 275-88.)

Burnett, E. C., ed. Letters of Members of the Continental Congress. Washington, D. C.: 1921. (Seven volumes now published include letters to 1784. Contain a mass of new material of first importance, edited with notes, cross-references, and introductions.)

Burtt, E. A. The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science; A Historical and Critical Essay. New York: 1925.

Bury, J. B. The Idea of Progress. New York: 1932 (new edition). (Standard English work on the topic. See also Jules Delvaille, Essai sur l'histoire de l'idée de progrès [Paris, 1910], a more encyclopedic book.)

Channing, Edward. A History of the United States. New York: 1912. (Volumes II-III.)


Clark, H. H. "Factors to be Investigated in American Literary History from 1787 to 1800," English Journal, XXIII, 481-7 (June, 1934). (Suggests the genetic interrelations of classical ideas; neoclassicism; the scientific spirit, rationalism, and deism; primitivism and the idea of progress; physical America and the frontier spirit; agrarianism and laissez faire; Federalism versus Democracy, whether Jeffersonian or French; sentimentalism and humanitarianism; Gothicism; and conflicting currents of aesthetic theory.)

Clark, H. H., ed. Poems of Freneau. New York: 1929. (F. L. Pattee says of the Introduction, "No one has ever traced out better the ramifications of French Revolution deism in America and the effects of its clash with Puritanism" [American Literature, II, 316-7]. Also see Clark's "Thomas Paine's Theories of Rhetoric," Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, XXVIII, 307-39 [1933], which discusses relationships between deism and literary theory.)

Clark, J. M., Viner, J., and others. Adam Smith, 1776-1926. Chicago: 1928. (Brilliant essays on various aspects of Smith's thought and influence. See especially Jacob Viner's "Adam Smith and Laissez-Faire," pp. 116-55, which shows the relations in Smith's mind between economics and religion, between laissez faire and "the harmonious order of nature" posited by the scientific deists.)

Crane, R. S. "Anglican Apologetics and the Idea of Progress, 1699-1745," Modern Philology, XXXI, 273-306 (Feb., 1934), 349-82 (May, 1934). (Demonstrates in masterly fashion how the idea of progress grew out of orthodox defenses of revealed religion, current in Franklin's formative years. Modifies the conventional view that the Church was hostile to the idea of progress and that it derived exclusively from the scientific spirit.)

Davidson, P. G., Jr. "Whig Propagandists of the American Revolution," American Historical Review, XXXIX, 442-53 (April, 1934). (Also see Revolutionary Propaganda in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, 1763-1776. Unpublished dissertation, University of Chicago, 1929.)

"Deism," in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, III, 391-7 (by Ernst Troeltsch).


De la Fontainerie, F., tr. and ed. French Liberalism and Education in the Eighteenth Century: The Writings of La Chalotais, Turgot, Diderot, and Condorcet on National Education. New York: 1932. (Convenient source book.)

Dewey, D. R. Financial History of the United States. New York: 1924 (9th ed.). (Bristles with bibliographical aids for study of eighteenth century.)

Draper, J. W. Eighteenth Century English Aesthetics: A Bibliography. Heidelberg: 1931. (Source materials, pp. 61-128, for aesthetics of literature and drama: includes in appendix, pp. 129-40, ablest secondary works to 1931. An invaluable guide. See additions by R. S. Crane, Modern Philology, XXIX, 251 ff. [1931], W. D. Templeman, ibid., XXX, 309-16, R. D. Havens, Modern Language Notes, XLVII, 118-20 [1932].)

Drennon, Herbert. "Newtonianism: Its Method, Theology, and Metaphysics," Englische Studien, LXVIII, 397-409 (1933-1934). (Other parts of Mr. Drennon's brilliant doctoral dissertation, James Thomson and Newtonianism [University of Chicago, 1928], have been published in Publications of the Modern Language Association, XLIX, 71-80, March, 1934; in Studies in Philology, XXXI, 453-71, July, 1934; and in Philological Quarterly, XIV, 70-82, Jan., 1935.)

Ducros, Louis. French Society in the Eighteenth Century. Tr. from the French by W. de Geijer; with a Foreword by J. A. Higgs-Walker. London: 1927.

Duncan, C. S. The New Science and English Literature in the Classical Period. Menasha, Wis.: 1913. (Scholarly.)

Dunning, W. A. A History of Political Theories from Luther to Montesquieu. New York: 1905, and A History of Political Theories from Rousseau to Spencer. New York: 1920. (Standard works.)

Elton, Oliver. The Augustan Age. New York: 1899, and A Survey of English Literature, 1730-1780. 2 vols. London: 1928. (Acute on literary trends, though hardly adequate on ideas.)

Evans, Charles. American Bibliography. Chicago: 1903-1934. (Volumes I-XII, 1639-1799.)


Faÿ, Bernard. Revolution and Freemasonry, 1680-1800. Boston: 1935. (Stimulating conjectures vitiated by extravagant and undocumented conclusions.)

Faÿ, Bernard. The Revolutionary Spirit in France and America. Tr. by R. Guthrie. New York: 1927. (Especially valuable for notes on the vogue of Franklin in France. Highly important comprehensive survey of French influence in America, and the impetus our revolution gave to French liberalism.)

Fisher, S. G. The Quaker Colonies. A Chronicle of the Proprietors of the Delaware. New Haven: 1921. (Useful bibliography, pp. 231-4.)

Fiske, John. The Beginnings of New England, or the Puritan Theocracy in Its Relations to Civil and Religious Liberty. Boston: 1896 [1889]. (See also Perry Miller's Orthodoxy in Massachusetts, 1630-1650. A Genetic Study. Cambridge, Mass.: 1933.)

Gettell, R. G. History of American Political Thought. New York: 1928. (The standard comprehensive treatment of its subject. Has good bibliographies.)

Gide, Charles, and Rist, Charles. A History of Economic Doctrines from the Time of the Physiocrats to the Present Day. Authorized translation from the second revised and augmented edition of 1913 under the direction of the late Professor Wm. Smart, by R. Richards. Boston: 1915. (Excellent survey of physiocracy.)

Gierke, Otto. Natural Law and the Theory of Society, 1500 to 1800. With a Lecture on The Ideas of Natural Law and Humanity, by Ernst Troeltsch. Tr. with an introduction by E. Barker. 2 vols. Cambridge, England: 1934. (A standard work, with excellent notes, especially valuable on European backgrounds.)

Gohdes, Clarence. "Ethan Allen and his Magnum Opus," Open Court, XLIII, 128-51 (March, 1929). (Suggests the eighteenth-century battle between revelation and reason, the latter as buttressed by Lockian sensationalism and Newtonian science.)


Greene, E. B. The Provincial Governor in the English Colonies of North America. Cambridge, Mass.: 1898. (Inveterate divergence between provincial governor and provincial assemblies foreshadowed the American Revolution.)

Halévy, E. The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism. Tr. by M. Morris, with a preface by A. D. Lindsay. London: 1928. (A comprehensive, authoritative work.)

Hansen, A. O. Liberalism and American Education in the Eighteenth Century. With an introduction by E. H. Reisner. New York: 1926. (A good bibliography of primary sources and a poor bibliography of secondary sources, pp. 265-96. Although this slights Franklin and deals especially with plans following Franklin's death, it surveys educational ideals with reference to the ideas of the Enlightenment, ideas latent in Franklin's writings.)

Haroutunian, Joseph. Piety versus Moralism, the Passing of the New England Theology. New York: 1932. (An important scholarly work arguing reluctantly that Puritanism declined because it was theocentric and inadequate to the social needs of the time. Has an excellent bibliography.)

Hefelbower, S. G. The Relation of John Locke to English Deism. Chicago: 1918. (The relation between Locke and the English deists is "not causal, nor do they mark different stages of the same movement"; they are "related as coordinate parts of the larger progressive movement of the age." Stresses Locke's tolerance, rationalism, and natural religion.)

Higgs, Henry. The Physiocrats. Six Lectures on the French Économistes of the Eighteenth Century. London: 1897. (Gide and Rist term this a "succinct account" of the physiocratic system.)

Hildeburn, C. R. Issues of the Pennsylvania Press. A Century of Printing, 1685-1784. 2 vols. Philadelphia: 1885-1886. (A highly useful guide to what was being read in Pennsylvania year by year.)

Horton, W. M. Theism and the Scientific Spirit. New York: 1933. (Popular accounts of "Copernican world" and "God in the Newtonian world" in chapters I-II.)


Humphrey, Edward. Nationalism and Religion in America, 1774-1789. Boston: 1924.

Jameson, J. F. The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement. Princeton, N. J.: 1926. (Brief and general, but suggestive.)

Jones, H. M. America and French Culture, 1750-1848. Chapel Hill, N. C.: 1927. (A monumental, elaborately documented comprehensive work, containing an excellent bibliography.)

Jones, H. M. "American Prose Style: 1700-1770," Huntington Library Bulletin, No. 6, 115-51 (Nov., 1934). (Shows that Puritan preachings inculcated the ideal of a simple, lucid, and dignified style.)

Kaye, F. B., ed. The Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits. With a Commentary Critical, Historical, and Explanatory. 2 vols. Oxford: 1924. (The introduction is the most lucid and penetrating commentary on Mandeville in relation to the pattern of ideas of his age. See L. I. Bredvold's review in Journal of English and Germanic Philology, XXIV, 586-9, Oct., 1925.)

Koch, G. A. Republican Religion: The American Revolution and the Cult of Reason. New York: 1933. ("A vast body of facts about a host of obscure figures"—reviewed by H. H. Clark in Journal of Philosophy, XXXI, 135-8. Contains an elaborate bibliography.)

Kraus, M. Intercolonial Aspects of American Culture on the Eve of the Revolution. New York: 1928. (Scholarly.)

Lecky, W. E. H. A History of England in the Eighteenth Century. 7 vols. New York: 1892-1893 (new ed.). (A standard work, containing a finely documented treatment of the political aspects of the American Revolution.)

Leonard, S. A. The Doctrine of Correctness in English Usage, 1700-1800. Madison, Wis.: 1929. (Authoritative.)

Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien. History of Modern Philosophy in France. Chicago: 1899.


Lincoln, C. H. The Revolutionary Movement in Pennsylvania, 1760-1776. Philadelphia: 1901. (A highly important study showing that local sectional strife which would have eventually led to conflict synchronized with the strife between the colony and England.)

Lovejoy, A. O. "The Parallel of Deism and Classicism," Modern Philology, XXIX, 281-99 (Feb., 1932). ("A systematic statement of the rationalistic preconceptions which, when applied in matters of religion terminated in Deism, when applied in aesthetics produced Classicism. An illuminating synthesis, done throughout with characteristic finesse and discrimination" [Philological Quarterly, XII, 106, April, 1933].)

McIlwain, C. H. The American Revolution: A Constitutional Interpretation. New York: 1923. (Offers defense of revolution on English constitutional grounds.)

Martin, Kingsley. French Liberal Thought in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of Political Ideas from Bayle to Condorcet. Boston: 1929. (Stimulating survey of ideology motivating the French revolution, "a dramatic moment when feudalism, clericalism and divine monarchy collapsed.")

Merriam, C. E. A History of American Political Theories. New York: 1924 [1903]. (Authoritative, brief treatment.)

Monaghan, Frank. John Jay, Defender of Liberty. New York: 1935. (A brilliant biography and a fully documented study of the activities and diplomacy of the Continental Congress. Supplements S. F. Bemis; see above.)

Moore, C. A. "Shaftesbury and the Ethical Poets in England, 1700-1760," Publications of the Modern Language Association, XXXI (N. S. XXIV), 264-325 (June, 1916). (Penetrating and brilliant survey of the growth of altruism, to be supplemented by R. S. Crane's studies of earlier sources.)

Morais, H. M. Deism in Eighteenth Century America. New York: 1934. (If little space is given to the implications of Deism in terms of political, economic, and literary theory, and if the leaders of deistic thought, such as Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine are too lightly dealt with, this work is "substantial, precise, well-documented, modest, cautious, and objective." Has a good bibliography. Reviewed by H. H. Clark, American Literature, VI, 467-9, Jan., 1935. See also Morais's "Deism in Revolutionary America, 1763-89," International Journal of Ethics, XLII, 434-53, July, 1932.)


Morley, John. Diderot and the Encyclopædists. 2 vols. London: 1923. (A suggestive survey, parts of which have been superseded by more recent studies.)

Mornet, Daniel. French Thought in the Eighteenth Century. Tr. by L. M. Levin. New York: 1929. (Lucid and penetrating survey; suggestive notes on the influence of speculation motivated by science.)

Mornet, Daniel. Les origines intellectuelles de la Révolution française (1715-1787). Paris: 1933. (A brilliant work, concluding that without the extraordinary diffusion of radical ideas in all classes in France, the States-General in 1789 would not have adopted revolutionary measures. See C. Brinton's review, American Historical Review, XXXIX, 726-7, 1934.)

Morse, W. N. "Lectures on Electricity in Colonial Times," New England Quarterly, VII, 364-74 (June, 1934). (Presents fourteen items on the vogue of electrical experiments, 1747-1765.)

Mott, F. L. A History of American Magazines, 1741-1850. New York: 1930.

Mullett, C. F. Fundamental Law and the American Revolution, 1760-1776. New York: 1933. (A highly important scholarly study, with excellent bibliography of relevant investigations of recent date. Supplements B. F. Wright.)

Ornstein, Martha. The Rôle of Scientific Societies in the Seventeenth Century. New York: 1913. Reprinted, University of Chicago Press: 1928. (Shows their radical influence. See suggestive reviews in American Historical Review, XXXIV, 386-7, 1929; and Times Literary Supplement [London], 679, Sept. 27, 1928.)

Osgood, H. L. The American Colonies in the Eighteenth Century. 4 vols. New York: 1924-1925. (Standard work on political aspects.)

Perkins, J. B. France in the American Revolution. Boston: 1911. (Includes able survey of Franklin's efforts in behalf of colonies.)


Richardson, L. N. A History of Early American Magazines, 1741-1789. New York: 1931. (An encyclopedic survey indispensable to all students of the period. Enormously documented.)

Robertson, J. M. A Short History of Free Thought, Ancient and Modern. 2 vols. London: 1915. (Third edition, revised and expanded. An important survey, if somewhat militantly partisan.)

Roustan, Marius. The Pioneers of the French Revolution. Tr. by F. Whyte, with an Introduction by H. J. Laski. Boston: 1926. (Thesis: "The spirit of the philosophes was the spirit of the Revolution." Highly readable, but inferior to parallel studies by Martin and Mornet in incisive analysis of patterns of ideas. Stresses picturesque social aspects.)

Schapiro, J. S. Condorcet and the Rise of Liberalism in France. New York: 1934. (Condorcet is the "almost perfect expression of the pioneer liberalism of the period"; he is viewed as the "last of the encyclopedists and the most universal of all." A lucid scholarly study, although hardly superseding Alengry's Condorcet.)

Schlesinger, A. M. "The American Revolution," in New Viewpoints in American History. New York: 1922, pp. 160-83. (A brief but excellent interpretation, stressing economic factors, and presenting a useful "Bibliographical Note," pp. 181-3, including references to studies of political and religious factors. See also studies of the latter by R. G. Adams, Alice Baldwin, Carl Becker, B. F. Wright, C. F. Mullett, C. H. Van Tyne, and Edward Humphrey.)

Schneider, H. W. The Puritan Mind. New York: 1930. (An acute scholarly study, with excellent bibliography. The stress on ideas supplements and balances Parrington's tendency to dismiss ideas as by-products of economic factors.)

Smith, T. V. The American Philosophy of Equality. Chicago: 1927. (Chapter I includes discussion of "natural rights," with recognition of the influence of European theorists.)


Smyth, A. H. The Philadelphia Magazines and Their Contributors, 1741-1850. Philadelphia: 1892. (Brief descriptive account, mostly superseded by the relevant sections in F. L. Mott's and L. N. Richardson's histories.)

Stephen, Leslie. A History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century. 2 vols. London: 1902 (3rd ed.). (As J. L. Laski observes, it is "almost insolent to praise such work." In certain aspects, however, it has been superseded by studies by such men as R. S. Crane, A. O. Lovejoy, H. M. Jones, etc.)

Stimson, Dorothy. The Gradual Acceptance of the Copernican Theory of the Universe. Hanover, N. H.: 1917.

Taylor, O. H. "Economics and the Idea of Natural Law," Quarterly Journal of Economics, XLIV, 1-39 (Nov., 1929). ("The evolution of the idea of 'law' in economics" paralleling "its evolution in the natural sciences" led to belief in an economic mechanism which "was regarded as a wise device of the Creator for causing individuals, while pursuing only their own interests, to promote the prosperity of society, and for causing the right adjustment to one another of supplies, demands, prices, and incomes, to take place automatically, in consequence of the free action of all individuals." The author suggests that there is evident an incongruous dichotomy between the mechanistic idea of the physiocrats and their assumption that enlightened men "would be able to use government as a scientific tool for carrying out purely rationalistic measures in the common interest." See also outline of his doctoral thesis on this subject. Harvard University Summaries of Theses [1928], 102-6. An authoritative study of an important subject.)

Torrey, N. L. Voltaire and the English Deists. New Haven: 1930. (Shows Voltaire's great indebtedness to Newtonianism, which he popularized in France, and to earlier deists than Bolingbroke. Authoritative.)

Turberville, A. S., ed. Johnson's England. An Account of the Life and Manners of His Age. 2 vols. Oxford University Press: 1933. (Although this collaborative work neglects political, religious, economic, and aesthetic ideas, it embodies readable and authoritative surveys of external aspects of social history, viewed from many angles. Contains useful bibliographies. See review by H. H. Clark, American Review, II, No. 4 [Feb., 1934].)


Tyler, M. C. A History of American Literature, 1607-1765 (2 vols. New York: 1878), and The Literary History of the American Revolution (2 vols. New York: 1897). (Somewhat grandiloquent but very full survey, including Loyalists. Excellent on literary aspects but partly superseded on ideas. Contains excellent bibliography of primary sources.)

Van Tyne, C. H. The Causes of the War of Independence. Boston: 1922. (Brilliant both in interpretation and style, and well balanced in considering economic, political, social, religious, and philosophic factors.)

Veitch, G. S. The Genesis of Parliamentary Reform. London: 1913. (Useful for English backgrounds.)

Weld, C. R. A History of the Royal Society with Memoirs of the Presidents. 2 vols. London: 1848.

Wendell, Barrett. Cotton Mather, the Puritan Priest. Cambridge, Mass.: 1926 [1891]. (A sympathetic study of one of Franklin's masters, based on a deep knowledge of the Puritan spirit.)

Weulersse, Georges. Le mouvement physiocratique en France (de 1756 à 1770). 2 vols. Paris: 1910. (The standard treatment.)

White, A. D. A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. 2 vols. New York: 1897. (Prominent attention given to colonial eighteenth century.)

Whitney, Lois. Primitivism and the Idea of Progress in English Popular Literature of the Eighteenth Century. Baltimore: 1934. (An acute study of the history of an important idea, especially as embodied in novels. Occasionally misleading because Miss Whitney does not always pay necessary attention to the major individuals' change of attitude, to their genetic development. Contains no bibliography. See Bury, above.)

Williams, David. "The Influence of Rousseau on Political Opinion, 1760-1795," English Historical Review, XLVIII, 414-30 (1933).


Winsor, Justin, ed. Narrative and Critical History of America. 8 vols. Boston: [1884-] 1889. (Especially valuable for bibliographical notes.)

Wright, B. F. American Interpretations of Natural Law. A Study in the History of Political Thought. Cambridge, Mass.: 1931. (An able outline of main trends, although it neglects evidence both in eighteenth-century sermons and in legal papers of colonial attorneys. Shows strong influence of Grotius, Puffendorf, and Locke on Revolutionary theories. Should be supplemented by C. F. Mullett's parallel book. Reviewed by R. B. Morris, American Historical Review, XXXVII, 561-2, April, 1932.)

Wright, T. G. Literary Culture in Early New England, 1620-1730. New Haven: 1920. (Valuable for its check lists of colonial libraries, suggesting books current in Franklin's formative years. The best treatment of its subject although it neglects the literary and aesthetic theories of the period. To be supplemented by books by C. F. Richardson, W. F. Mitchell, and E. C. Cook.)

Further background studies may be found in The Cambridge History of English Literature, Cambridge and New York, 1912-1914, VIII-XI, and The Cambridge History of American Literature, New York, 1917, Vol. I. See also the more up-to-date bibliographies in P. Smith's A History of Modern Culture, New York, 1934, II, 647-76; R. S. Crane's A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800, New York, 1932, pp. 1115-42; and especially O. Shepard and P. S. Wood, English Prose and Poetry, 1660-1800, Boston, 1934, pp. xxxiii-xxxviii and pp. 937-1067. For bibliographical guides, see note following, p. clxxxviii.


Boggess, A. C., and Witmer, E. R. Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the University of Pennsylvania. (Being the Appendix to the Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, edited by I. M. Hays.) Philadelphia: 1908. (This valuable work lists letters to Franklin, letters from Franklin, and miscellaneous letters, with brief notes on the topics discussed in each letter and place of publication in cases where the letters have been published.)


Books Printed by Benjamin Franklin. Born Jan. 17, 1706. New York: 1906. (Lists best known imprints; useful although eclipsed by Campbell.)

*The Cambridge History of American Literature. New York: 1917. I, 442-52. (Lists of "Collected Works," "Separate Works," and "Contributions to Periodicals" constitute a convenient abridgment of Ford, but the list, "Biographical and Critical," limited to two pages, is at best inadequately suggestive.)

Campbell, W. J. The Collection of Franklin Imprints in the Museum of the Curtis Publishing Company. With a Short-Title Check List of All the Books, Pamphlets, Broadsides, &c., known to have been printed by Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: 1918.

Campbell, W. J. A Short-Title Check List of All the Books, Pamphlets, Broadsides, &c., known to have been printed by Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: 1918.

*Faÿ, B. Benjamin Franklin bibliographie et étude sur les sources historiques relatives à sa vie (Vol. III of Benjamin Franklin, bourgeois d'Amérique et citoyen du monde.) Paris: 1931. (Faÿ, in Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times, pp. 517-33, has furnished "only a summary bibliography," which, in spite of its occasional inaccuracies and infelicities in form, contains many useful items, American, English, and French; especially valuable for notes on several manuscript collections. In this French edition the bibliography is more detailed.)

*Ford, P. L. Franklin Bibliography. A List of Books Written by, or Relating to Benjamin Franklin. Brooklyn, N. Y.: 1889. (The standard, time-honored work, unfortunately not superseded.)

Ford, W. C. List of the Benjamin Franklin Papers in the Library of Congress. Washington, D. C.: 1905.


Hays, I. M. Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society. Vols. II-VI in The Record of the Celebration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Benjamin Franklin, under the Auspices of the American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge, April 17 to 20, 1906. Philadelphia: 1908. (A. H. Smyth purports to have printed in his ten-volume edition all of Franklin's letters in this collection. Valuable especially for letters addressed to Franklin.)

"List of Works in the New York Public Library by or Relating to Benjamin Franklin," Bulletin of New York Public Library, X, No. 1. New York: 1906, pp. 29-83.

Rosengarten, J. G. "Some New Franklin Papers," University of Pennsylvania Alumni Register, 1-7 (July, 1903). (A report to the Board of Trustees saying "there are over five hundred pieces of MS among the collection of Franklin papers recently added to the Library of the University." These range from 1731 to Franklin's latest correspondence. Only a few of these pieces are described.)

Stevens, Henry. Benjamin Franklin's Life and Writings. A Bibliographical Essay on the Stevens Collection of Books and Manuscripts Relating to Doctor Franklin. London: 1881. (Pp. 21-40 contain a list of "Franklin's Printed Works.")

Swift, Lindsay. "Catalogue of Works Relating to Benjamin Franklin in the Boston Public Library," Bulletin of the Boston Public Library, V, 217-31, 276-84, 420-33. Boston: 1883. (Including Dr. S. A. Green's collection, this was the "immediate predecessor" to Ford.)

For current articles the student should consult especially the bibliographies in Philological Quarterly, American Literature, Publications of the Modern Language Association, bibliographical bulletins of the Modern Humanities Research Association, and Grace G. Griffin's annual bibliography, Writings on American History.



Selections from




NOTE: Superior figures through the text refer to notes in pp. 529 ff.


Twyford, at the Bishop of St. Asaph's, 1771.

Dear Son, I have ever had a Pleasure in obtaining any little Anecdotes of my Ancestors. You may remember the Enquiries I made among the Remains of my Relations when you were with me in England; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. Now imagining it may be equally agreable to you to know the Circumstances of my Life, many of which you are yet unacquainted with; and expecting a Weeks uninterrupted Leisure in my present Country Retirement, I sit down to write them for you. To which I have besides some other Inducements. Having emerg'd from the Poverty and Obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a State of Affluence and some Degree of Reputation in the World, and having gone so far thro' Life with a considerable Share of Felicity, the conducing Means I made use of, which, with the Blessing of God, so well succeeded, my Posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own Situations, and therefore fit to be imitated. That Felicity, when I reflected on it, has induc'd me sometimes to say, that were it offer'd to my Choice, I should have no Objection to a Repetition of the same Life from its Beginning, only asking the Advantages Authors have in a second Edition to correct some Faults of the first. So would I if I might, besides corr[ecting] the Faults, change some sinister Accidents and Events of it for others more favourable, but tho' this were deny'd, I should still accept the Offer. However, since such a Repetition is not to be expected, the next Thing most like living one's Life over again, seems to be a Recollection of that Life; and to make that Recollection as durable as possible, the putting it down in Writing. Hereby, too, I shall indulge the Inclination so natural in old Men, to be talking of themselves and their own past Actions, and I shall indulge it, without being troublesome to others who thro' respect to Age might think themselves oblig'd[4] to give me a Hearing, since this may be read or not as any one pleases. And lastly (I may as well confess it, since my Denial of it will be believ'd by no Body) perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own Vanity. Indeed I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory Words, Without vanity I may say, &c. but some vain thing immediately follow'd. Most People dislike Vanity in others whatever share they have of it themselves, but I give it fair Quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of Good to the Possessor and to others that are within his Sphere of Action: And therefore in many Cases it would not be quite absurd if a Man were to thank God for his Vanity among the other Comforts of Life.—

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all Humility to acknowledge, that I owe the mention'd Happiness of my past Life to his kind Providence, which led me to the Means I us'd and gave them Success. My Belief of this, induces me to hope, tho' I must not presume, that the same Goodness will still be exercis'd towards me in continuing that Happiness, or in enabling me to bear a fatal Reverse, which I may experience as others have done, the Complexion of my future Fortune being known to him only: in whose Power it is to bless to us even our Afflictions.

The Notes one of my Uncles (who had the same kind of Curiosity in collecting Family Anecdotes) once put into my Hands, furnish'd me with several Particulars relating to our Ancestors. From these Notes I learnt that the Family had liv'd in the same Village, Ecton in Northamptonshire, for 300 Years, and how much longer he knew not (perhaps from the Time when the Name Franklin that before was the name of an Order of People, was assum'd by them for a Surname, when others took surnames all over the kingdom)[,] on a Freehold of about 30 Acres, aided by the Smith's Business, which had continued in the Family till his Time, the eldest son being always bred to that Business[.] A Custom which he and my Father both followed as to their eldest Sons.—When I search'd the Register at Ecton, I found an Account of their Births, Marriages and Burials, from the Year 1555 only, there being no Register kept in that Parish at any time preceding.—By that Register I perceiv'd[5] that I was the youngest Son of the youngest Son for 5 Generations back. My Grandfather Thomas, who was born in 1598, lived at Ecton till he grew too old to follow Business longer, when he went to live with his Son John, a Dyer at Banbury in Oxfordshire, with whom my Father serv'd an Apprenticeship. There my Grandfather died and lies buried. We saw his Gravestone in 1758. His eldest Son Thomas liv'd in the House at Ecton, and left it with the Land to his only Child, a Daughter, who, with her Husband, one Fisher of Wellingborough sold it to Mr. Isted, now Lord of the Manor there. My Grandfather had 4 Sons that grew up, viz Thomas, John, Benjamin and Josiah. I will give you what Account I can of them at this distance from my Papers, and if these are not lost in my Absence, you will among them find many more Particulars. Thomas was bred a Smith under his Father, but being ingenious, and encourag'd in Learning (as all his Brothers likewise were) by an Esquire Palmer then the principal Gentleman in that Parish, he qualify'd himself for the Business of Scrivener, became a considerable Man in the County Affairs, was a chief Mover of all publick Spirited Undertakings for the County or Town of Northampton and his own village, of which many instances were told us; and he was at Ecton much taken Notice of and patroniz'd by the then Lord Halifax. He died in 1702, Jan. 6, old Stile, just 4 Years to a Day before I was born. The Account we receiv'd of his Life and Character from some old People at Ecton, I remember struck you as something extraordinary, from its Similarity to what you knew of mine. Had he died on the same Day, you said one might have suppos'd a Transmigration.—John was bred a Dyer, I believe of Woollens. Benjamin, was bred a Silk Dyer, serving an Apprenticeship at London. He was an ingenious Man, I remember him well, for when I was a Boy he came over to my Father in Boston, and lived in the House with us some Years. He lived to a great Age. His Grandson Samuel Franklin now lives in Boston. He left behind him two Quarto Volumes, MS of his own Poetry, consisting of little occasional Pieces address'd to his Friends and Relations, of which the following sent to me, is a Specimen. [Although[6] Franklin wrote in the margin "Here insert it," the poetry is not given.] He had form'd a Shorthand of his own, which he taught me, but, never practising it I have now forgot it. I was nam'd after this Uncle, there being a particular Affection between him and my Father. He was very pious, a great Attender of Sermons of the best Preachers, which he took down in his Shorthand and had with him many Volumes of them. He was also much of a Politician, too much perhaps for his Station. There fell lately into my Hands in London a Collection he had made of all the principal Pamphlets relating to Publick Affairs from 1641 to 1717. Many of the Volumes are wanting, as appears by the Numbering, but there still remains 8 Vols. Folio, and 24 in and 8.vo.—A Dealer in old Books met with them, and knowing me by my sometimes buying of him, he brought them to me. It seems my Uncle must have left them here when he went to America, which was above 50 years since. There are many of his Notes in the Margins.—

This obscure Family of ours was early in the Reformation, and continu'd Protestants thro' the Reign of Queen Mary, when they were sometimes in Danger of Trouble on Account of their Zeal against Popery. They had got an English Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened open with Tapes under and within the Frame of a Joint Stool. When my Great Great Grandfather read it [it] to his Family, he turn'd up the joint Stool upon his Knees, turning over the Leaves then under the Tapes. One of the Children stood at the Door to give Notice if he saw the Apparitor coming, who was an Officer of the Spiritual Court. In that Case the Stool was turn'd down again upon its feet, when the Bible remain'd conceal'd under it as before. This Anecdote I had from my Uncle Benjamin.—The Family continu'd all of the Church of England till about the End of Charles the 2ds Reign, when some of the Ministers that had been outed for Nonconformity, holding Conventicles in Northamptonshire, Benjamin and Josiah adher'd to them, and so continu'd all their Lives. The rest of the Family remain'd with the Episcopal Church.

Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his Wife with[7] three Children into New England, about 1682. The Conventicles having been forbidden by Law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable Men of his Acquaintance to remove to that Country, and he was prevail'd with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their Mode of Religion with Freedom.—By the same Wife he had 4 Children more born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all 17, of which I remember 13 sitting at one time at his Table, who all grew up to be Men and Women, and married. I was the youngest Son, and the youngest Child but two, and was born in Boston, N. England. My mother, the 2d wife was Abiah Folger, a daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first Settlers of New England, of whom honourable mention is made by Cotton Mather, in his Church History of that Country, (entitled Magnalia Christi Americana) as a godly learned Englishman, if I remember the Words rightly. I have heard that he wrote sundry small occasional Pieces, but only one of them was printed which I saw now many years since. It was written in 1675, in the home-spun Verse of that Time and People, and address'd to those then concern'd in the Government there. It was in favour of Liberty of Conscience, and in behalf of the Baptists, Quakers, and other Sectaries, that had been under Persecution; ascribing the Indian Wars and other Distresses, that had befallen the Country to that Persecution, as so many Judgments of God, to punish so heinous an Offense; and exhorting a Repeal of those uncharitable Laws. The whole appear'd to me as written with a good deal of Decent Plainness and manly Freedom. The six last concluding Lines I remember, tho' I have forgotten the two first of the Stanza, but the Purport of them was that his Censures proceeded from Good will, and therefore he would be known as the Author,

"Because to be a Libeller, (says he)
I hate it with my Heart.
From[A] Sherburne Town where now I dwell,
My Name I do put here,
Without Offense, your real Friend,
It is Peter Folgier."

[A] In MS Franklin notes, "In the Island of Nantucket."


My elder Brothers were all put Apprentices to different Trades. I was put to the Grammar School at Eight Years of Age, my Father intending to devote me as the Tithe of his Sons to the Service of the Church. My early Readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read) and the Opinion of all his Friends that I should certainly make a good Scholar, encourag'd him in this Purpose of his. My Uncle Benjamin too approv'd of it, and propos'd to give me all his Shorthand Volumes of Sermons I suppose as a Stock to set up with, if I would learn his Character. I continu'd however at the Grammar School not quite one Year, tho' in that time I had risen gradually from the Middle of the Class of that Year to be the Head of it, and farther was remov'd into the next Class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the End of the Year. But my Father in the mean time, from a View of the Expence of a College Education which, having so large a Family, he could not well afford, and the mean Living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain, Reasons that he gave to his Friends in my Hearing, altered his first Intention, took me from the Grammar School, and sent me to a School for Writing and Arithmetic kept by a then famous Man, Mr. Geo. Brownell, very successful in his Profession generally, and that by mild encouraging Methods. Under him I acquired fair Writing pretty soon, but I fail'd in the Arithmetic, and made no Progress in it.—At Ten Years old, I was taken home to assist my Father in his Business, which was that of a Tallow Chandler and Sope Boiler. A Business he was not bred to, but had assumed on his Arrival in New England and on finding his Dying Trade would not maintain his Family, being in little Request. Accordingly I was employed in cutting Wick for the Candles, filling the Dipping Mold, and the Molds for cast Candles, attending the Shop, going of Errands, etc.—I dislik'd the Trade and had a strong Inclination for the Sea; but my Father declar'd against it; however, living near the Water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim well, and to manage Boats, and when in a Boat or Canoe with other Boys I was commonly allow'd to govern, especially in any case of Difficulty; and upon[9] other Occasions I was generally a Leader among the Boys, and sometimes led them into Scrapes, of wch I will mention one Instance, as it shows an early projecting public Spirit, tho' not then justly conducted. There was a salt Marsh that bounded part of the Mill Pond, on the Edge of which at Highwater, we us'd to stand to fish for Min[n]ows. By much Trampling, we had made it a mere Quagmire. My Proposal was to build a Wharff there fit for us to stand upon, and I show'd my Comrades a large Heap of Stones which were intended for a new House near the Marsh, and which would very well suit our Purpose. Accordingly in the Evening when the Workmen were gone, I assembled a Number of my Playfellows; and working with them diligently like so many Emmets, sometimes two or three to a Stone, we brought them all away and built our little Wharff.—The next Morning the Workmen were surpriz'd at Missing the Stones; which were found in our Wharff; Enquiry was made after the Removers; we were discovered and complain'd of; several of us were corrected by our Fathers; and tho' I pleaded the Usefulness of the Work, mine convinc'd me that nothing was useful which was not honest.

I think you may like to know something of his Person and Character. He had an excellent Constitution of Body, was of middle Stature, but well set and very strong. He was ingenious, could draw prettily, was skill'd a little in Music and had a clear pleasing Voice, so that when he play'd Psalm Tunes on his Violin and sung withal as he sometimes did in an Evening after the Business of the Day was over, it was extreamly agreable to hear. He had a mechanical Genius too, and on occasion was very handy in the Use of other Tradesmen's Tools. But his great Excellence lay in a sound Understanding, and solid Judgment in prudential Matters, both in private and publick Affairs. In the latter indeed he was never employed, the numerous Family he had to educate and the straitness of his Circumstances, keeping him close to his Trade, but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading People, who consulted him for his Opinion in Affairs of the Town or of the Church he belong'd to and show'd a good deal of Respect for his Judgment and advice. He[10] was also much consulted by private Persons about their affairs when any Difficulty occurr'd, and frequently chosen an Arbitrator between contending Parties.—At his Table he lik'd to have as often as he could, some sensible Friend or Neighbour to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful Topic for Discourse, which might tend to improve the Minds of his Children. By this means he turn'd our Attention to what was good, just, and prudent in the Conduct of Life; and little or no Notice was ever taken of what related to the Victuals on the Table, whether it was well or ill drest, in or out of season, of good or bad flavour, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind; so that I was bro't up in such a perfect Inattention to those Matters as to be quite Indifferent what kind of Food was set before me, and so unobservant of it, that to this Day, if I am ask'd I can scarce tell a few Hours after Dinner, what I din'd upon. This has been a Convenience to me in travelling, where my Companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable Gratification of their more delicate[,] because better instructed[,] tastes and appetites.

My Mother had likewise an excellent Constitution. She suckled all her 10 Children. I never knew either my Father or Mother to have any Sickness but that of which they dy'd he at 89, and she at 85 years of age. They lie buried together at Boston, where I some years since placed a Marble Stone over their Grave with this Inscription:

Josiah Franklin
And Abiah his Wife
Lie here interred.
They lived lovingly together in Wedlock
Fifty-five Years.
Without an Estate or any gainful Employment,
By constant labour and Industry,
With God's blessing,
They maintained a large Family
And brought up thirteen Children,
And seven Grandchildren


From this Instance, Reader,
Be encouraged to Diligence in thy Calling,
And Distrust not Providence.
He was a pious and prudent Man,
She a discreet and virtuous Woman.
Their youngest Son,
In filial Regard to their Memory,
Places this Stone.
J. F. born 1655—Died 1744—Ætat 89.
A. F. born 1667—Died 1752——85.

By my rambling Digressions I perceive myself to be grown old. I us'd to write more methodically.—But one does not dress for private Company as for a publick Ball. 'Tis perhaps only Negligence.—

To return. I continu'd thus employ'd in my Father's Business for two Years, that is till I was 12 Years old; and my Brother John, who was bred to that Business having left my Father, married and set up for himself at Rhodeisland, there was all Appearance that I was destin'd to supply his Place and be a Tallow Chandler. But my Dislike to the Trade continuing, my Father was under Apprehensions that if he did not find one for me more agreable, I should break away and get to Sea, as his Son Josiah had done to his great Vexation. He therefore sometimes took me to walk with him, and see Joiners, Bricklayers, Turners, Braziers, etc. at their Work, that he might observe my Inclination, and endeavour to fix it on some Trade or other on Land. It has ever since been a Pleasure to me to see good Workmen handle their Tools; and it has been useful to me, having learnt so much by it, as to be able to do little Jobs myself in my House, when a Workman could not readily be got; and to construct little Machines for my Experiments while the Intention of making the Experiment was fresh and warm in my Mind. My Father at last fix'd upon the Cutler's Trade, and my Uncle Benjamin's Son Samuel who was bred to that Business in London[,] being about that time establish'd in Boston, I was sent to be with him some time on liking. But his Expectations of a Fee with me displeasing my Father, I was taken home again.[12]

From a Child I was fond of Reading, and all the little Money that came into my Hands was ever laid out in Books. Pleas'd with the Pilgrim's Progress, my first Collection was of John Bunyan's Works, in separate little Volumes. I afterwards sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's Historical Collections; they were small Chapmen's Books and cheap, 40 or 50 in all.—My Father's little Library consisted chiefly of Books in polemic Divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted, that at a time when I had such a Thirst for Knowledge, more proper Books had not fallen in my Way, since it was now resolv'd I should not be a Clergyman. Plutarch's Lives there was, in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great ["Great" seems to have been deleted.] Advantage. There was also a Book of Defoe's, called an Essay on Projects, and another of Dr. Mather's, called Essays to do Good which perhaps gave me a Turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future Events of my Life.

This Bookish inclination at length determin'd my Father to make me a Printer, tho' he had already one Son (James) of that Profession. In 1717 my Brother James return'd from England with a Press and Letters to set up his Business in Boston. I lik'd it much better than that of my Father, but still had a Hankering for the Sea.—To prevent the apprehended Effect of such an Inclination, my Father was impatient to have me bound to my Brother. I stood out some time, but at last was persuaded and signed the Indentures, when I was yet but 12 Years old.—I was to serve as an Apprentice till I was 21 Years of Age, only I was to be allow'd Journeyman's Wages during the last Year. In a little time I made great Proficiency in the Business, and became a useful Hand to my Brother. I now had Access to better Books. An Acquaintance with the Apprentices of Booksellers, enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean. Often I sat up in my Room reading the greatest Part of the Night, when the Book was borrow'd in the Evening and to be return'd early in the Morning[,] lest it should be miss'd or wanted. And after some time an ingenious Tradesman Mr. Matthew Adams who had a pretty Collection of[13] Books, and who frequented our Printing House, took Notice of me, invited me to his Library, and very kindly lent me such Books as I chose to read. I now took a Fancy to Poetry, and made some little Pieces. My Brother, thinking it might turn to account encourag'd me, and put me on composing two occasional Ballads. One was called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and contained an Acct of the drowning of Capt. Worthilake with his Two Daughters; the other was a Sailor Song on the Taking of Teach or Blackbeard the Pirate. They were wretched Stuff, in the Grub-street Ballad Stile, and when they were printed he sent me about the Town to sell them. The first sold wonderfully, the Event being recent, having made a great Noise. This flatter'd my Vanity. But my Father discourag'd me, by ridiculing my Performances, and telling me Verse-makers were generally Beggars; so I escap'd being a Poet, most probably a very bad one. But as Prose Writing has been of great Use to me in the Course of my Life, and was a principal Means of my Advancement, I shall tell you how in such a Situation I acquir'd what little Ability I have in that Way.

There was another Bookish Lad in the Town, John Collins by Name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of Argument, and very desirous of confuting one another. Which disputacious Turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad Habit, making People often extreamly disagreeable in Company, by the Contradiction that is necessary to bring it into Practice, and thence, besides souring and spoiling the Conversation, is productive of Disgusts and perhaps Enmities where you may have occasion for Friendship. I had caught it by reading my Father's Books of Dispute about Religion. Persons of good Sense, I have since observ'd, seldom fall into it, except Lawyers, University Men, and Men of all Sorts that have been bred at Edinborough. A Question was once somehow or other started between Collins and me, of the Propriety of educating the Female Sex in Learning, and their Abilities for Study. He was of Opinion that it was improper, and that they were naturally unequal to it. I took the contrary Side, perhaps a little for Dispute['s] sake. He was[14] naturally more eloquent, had a ready Plenty of Words, and sometimes as I thought bore me down more by his Fluency than by the Strength of his Reasons. As we parted without settling the Point, and were not to see one another again for some time, I sat down to put my Arguments in Writing, which I copied fair and sent to him. He answer'd and I reply'd. Three of [or] four Letters of a Side had pass'd, when my Father happen'd to find my Papers, and read them. Without ent'ring into the Discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about the Manner of my Writing, observ'd that tho' I had the Advantage of my Antagonist in correct Spelling and pointing (which I ow'd to the Printing House) I fell far short in elegance of Expression, in Method and in Perspicuity, of which he convinc'd me by several Instances. I saw the Justice of his Remarks, and thence grew more attentive to the Manner in writing, and determin'd to endeavour at Improvement.—

About this time I met with an odd Volume of the Spectator. It was the Third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the Writing excellent, and wish'd if possible to imitate it. With that View, I took some of the Papers, and making short Hints of the Sentiment in each Sentence, laid them by a few Days, and then without looking at the Book, try'd to compleat the Papers again, by expressing each hinted Sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been express'd before, in any suitable Words, that should come to hand.

Then I compar'd my Spectator with the Original, discover'd some of my Faults and corrected them. But I found I wanted a Stock of Words or a Readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquir'd before that time, if I had gone on making Verses, since the continual Occasion for Words of the same Import but of different Length, to suit the Measure, or of different Sound for the Rhyme, would have laid me under a constant Necessity of searching for Variety, and also have tended to fix that Variety in my Mind, and make me Master of it. Therefore I took some of the Tales and turn'd them into Verse: And after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the Prose,[15] turn'd them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my Collections of Hints into Confusion, and after some Weeks, endeavour'd to reduce them into the best Order, before I began to form the full Sentences, and compleat the Paper. This was to teach me Method in the Arrangement of Thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discover'd many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the Pleasure of Fancying that in certain Particulars of small Import, I had been lucky enough to improve the Method or the Language and this encourag'd me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English Writer, of which I was extreamly ambitious.

My Time for these Exercises and for Reading, was at Night, after Work or before it began in the Morning; or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the Printing House alone, evading as much as I could the common Attendance on publick Worship, which my Father used to exact of me when I was under his Care: And which indeed I still thought a Duty; tho' I could not, as it seemed to me, afford the Time to practise it.

When about 16 Years of Age, I happen'd to meet with a Book, written by one Tryon, recommending a Vegetable Diet. I determined to go into it. My Brother being yet unmarried, did not keep House, but boarded himself and his Apprentices in another Family. My refusing to eat Flesh occasioned an Inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon's Manner of preparing some of his Dishes, such as Boiling Potatoes or Rice, making Hasty Pudding, and a few others, and then propos'd to my Brother, that if he would give me Weekly half the Money he paid for my Board I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional Fund for buying Books. But I had another Advantage in it. My Brother and the rest going from the Printing House to their Meals, I remain'd there alone, and dispatching presently my light Repast, (which often was no more than a Bisket or a Slice of Bread, a Handful of Raisins or a Tart from the Pastry Cook's, and a Glass of Water) had the rest of the Time till their Return, for Study, in which I made the greater[16] Progress from that greater Clearness of Head and quicker Apprehension which usually attend Temperance in Eating and Drinking. And now it was that being on some Occasion made asham'd of my Ignorance in Figures, which I had twice failed in Learning when at School, I took Cocker's Book of Arithmetick, and went thro' the whole by myself with great Ease. I also read Seller's and Sturmy's Books of Navigation, and became acquainted with the little Geometry they contain, but never proceeded far in that Science.—And I read about this Time Locke on Human Understanding, and the Art of Thinking by Messrs du Port Royal.

While I was intent on improving my Language, I met with an English Grammar (I think it was Greenwood's) at the End of which there were two little Sketches of the Arts of Rhetoric and Logic, the latter finishing with a Specimen of a Dispute in the Socratic Method. And soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many Instances of the same Method. I was charm'd with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt Contradiction, and positive Argumentation, and put on the humble Enquirer and Doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real Doubter in many Points of our religious Doctrine, I found this Method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I us'd it, therefore I took a Delight in it, practis'd it continually and grew very artful and expert in drawing People even of superior Knowledge into Concessions the Consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in Difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining Victories that neither myself nor my Cause always deserved.—I continu'd this Method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the Habit of expressing myself in Terms of modest Diffidence, never using when I advance any thing that may possibly be disputed, the Words, Certainly, undoubtedly; or any others that give the Air of Positiveness to an Opinion; but rather say, I conceive, or I apprehend a Thing to be so or so, It appears to me, or I should think it so or so for such and such Reasons, or I imagine it to be so, or it is so if I am not mistaken. This Habit I believe[17] has been of great Advantage to me, when I have had occasion to inculcate my Opinions and persuade Men into Measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting.—And as the chief Ends of Conversation are to inform, or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish wellmeaning sensible Men would not lessen their Power of doing Good by a Positive assuming Manner that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create Opposition, and to defeat every one of those Purposes for which Speech was given us, to wit, giving or receiving Information, or Pleasure: For if you would inform, a positive dogmatical Manner in advancing your Sentiments, may provoke Contradiction and prevent a candid Attention. If you wish Information and Improvement from the Knowledge of others and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present Opinions, modest sensible Men, who do not love Disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the Possession of your Error; and by such a Manner you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your Hearers, or to persuade those whose Concurrence you desire.—Pope says, judiciously,

Men should be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot,—

farther recommending it to us,

To speak tho' sure, with seeming Diffidence.

And he might have coupled with this Line that which he has coupled with another, I think less properly,

For want of Modesty is want of Sense.

If you ask why less properly, I must repeat the lines;

"Immodest Words admit of no Defence;
For Want of Modesty is Want of Sense."

Now is not Want of Sense (where a Man is so unfortunate as to want it) some Apology for his Want of Modesty? and would not the Lines stand more justly thus?[18]

Immodest Words admit but this Defence,
That Want of Modesty is Want of Sense.

This however I should submit to better Judgments.—

My Brother had in 1720 or 21, begun to print a Newspaper. It was the second that appear'd in America, and was called The New England Courant.[2] The only one before it, was the Boston News Letter. I remember his being dissuaded by some of his Friends from the Undertaking, as not likely to succeed, one Newspaper being in their Judgment enough for America.—At this time 1771 there are not less than five and twenty.—He went on however with the Undertaking, and after having work'd in composing the Types and printing off the Sheets, I was employ'd to carry the Papers thro' the Streets to the Customers.—He had some ingenious Men among his Friends who amus'd themselves by writing little Pieces for this Paper, which gain'd it Credit, and made it more in Demand; and these Gentlemen often visited us.—Hearing their Conversations, and their Accounts of the Approbation their Papers were receiv'd with, I was excited to try my Hand among them. But being still a Boy, and suspecting that my Brother would object to printing any Thing of mine in his Paper if he knew it to be mine, I contriv'd to disguise my Hand, and writing an anonymous Paper I put it in at Night under the Door of the Printing House. It was found in the Morning and communicated to his Writing Friends when they call'd in as usual. They read it, commented on it in my Hearing, and I had the exquisite Pleasure, of finding it met with their Approbation, and that in their different Guesses at the Author none were named but Men of some Character among us for Learning and Ingenuity.—I suppose now that I was rather lucky in my Judges: And that perhaps they were not really so very good ones as I then esteem'd them. Encourag'd however by this, I wrote and convey'd in the same Way to the Press several more Papers, which were equally approv'd, and I kept my Secret till my small Fund of Sense for such Performances was pretty well exhausted, and then I discovered it; when I began to be considered a little more by my Brother's Acquaintance, and in a manner that did not quite please him, as he thought,[19] probably with reason, that it tended to make me too vain. And perhaps this might be one Occasion of the Differences that we began to have about this Time. Tho' a Brother, he considered himself as my Master, and me as his Apprentice; and accordingly expected the same Services from me as he would from another; while I thought he demean'd me too much in some he requir'd of me, who from a Brother expected more Indulgence. Our Disputes were often brought before our Father, and I fancy I was either generally in the right, or else a better Pleader, because the Judgment was generally in my favour: But my Brother was passionate and had often beaten me, which I took extreamly amiss; and thinking my Apprenticeship very tedious, I was continually wishing for some Opportunity of shortening it, which at length offered in a manner unexpected.[B]

[B] I fancy his harsh and tyrannical Treatment of me, might be a means of impressing me with that Aversion to arbitrary Power that has stuck to me thro' my whole life [Franklin's note.]

One of the Pieces in our Newspaper, on some political Point which I have now forgotten, gave Offence to the Assembly. He was taken up, censur'd and imprison'd for a Month by the Speaker's Warrant, I suppose because he would not discover his Author. I too was taken up and examin'd before the Council; but tho' I did not give them any Satisfaction, they contented themselves with admonishing me, and dismiss'd me; considering me perhaps as an Apprentice who was bound to keep his Master's Secrets. During my Brother's Confinement, which I resented a good deal, notwithstanding our private Differences, I had the Management of the Paper, and I made bold to give our Rulers some Rubs in it, which my Brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me in an unfavourable Light, as a young Genius that had a Turn for Libelling and Satyr. My Brother's Discharge was accompany'd with an Order of the House, (a very odd one) that James Franklin should no longer print the Paper called the New England Courant. There was a Consultation held in our Printing House among his Friends what he should do in this Case. Some propos'd to evade the Order by changing the Name of the Paper; but my Brother seeing[20] Inconveniences in that, it was finally concluded on as a better Way, to let it be printed for the future under the Name of Benjamin Franklin. And to avoid the Censure of the Assembly that might fall on him, as still printing it by his Apprentice, the Contrivance was, that my old Indenture should be return'd to me with a full Discharge on the Back of it, to be shown on Occasion; but to secure to him the Benefit of my Service I was to sign new Indentures for the Remainder of the Term, wch were to be kept private. A very flimsy Scheme it was, but however it was immediately executed, and the Paper went on accordingly under my Name for several Months. At length a fresh Difference arising between my Brother and me, I took upon me to assert my Freedom, presuming that he would not venture to produce the new Indentures. It was not fair in me to take this Advantage, and this I therefore reckon one of the first Errata of my life: But the Unfairness of it weighed little with me, when under the Impressions of Resentment, for the Blows his Passion too often urg'd him to bestow upon me. Tho' he was otherwise not an ill-natur'd Man: Perhaps I was too saucy and provoking.

When he found I would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting Employment in any other Printing-House of the Town, by going round and speaking to every Master, who accordingly refus'd to give me Work. I then thought of going to New York as the nearest Place where there was a Printer: and I was the rather inclin'd to leave Boston, when I reflected that I had already made myself a little obnoxious to the governing Party; and from the arbitrary Proceedings of the Assembly in my Brother's Case it was likely I might if I stay'd soon bring myself into Scrapes; and farther that my indiscrete Disputations about Religion began to make me pointed at with Horror by good People, as an Infidel or Atheist. I determin'd on the Point: but my Father now siding with my Brother, I was sensible that if I attempted to go openly, Means would be used to prevent me. My Friend Collins therefore undertook to manage a little for me. He agreed with the Captain of a New York Sloop for my Passage, under the Notion of my being a young Acquaintance of his that had got a naughty Girl with Child, whose Friends[21] would compel me to marry her, and therefore I could not appear or come away publickly. So I sold some of my Books to raise a little Money, Was taken on board privately, and as we had a fair Wind[,] in three Days I found myself in New York near 300 Miles from home, a Boy of but 17, without the least Recommendation to or Knowledge of any Person in the Place, and with very little Money in my Pocket.

My Inclinations for the Sea, were by this time worne out, or I might now have gratify'd them. But having a Trade, and supposing myself a pretty good Workman, I offer'd my Service to the Printer in the Place, old Mr Wm Bradford, who had been the first Printer in Pensilvania, but remov'd from thence upon the Quarrel of Geo. Keith.—He could give me no Employment, having little to do, and Help enough already: But, says he, my Son at Philadelphia has lately lost his principal Hand, Aquila Rose, by Death. If you go thither I believe he may employ you.—Philadelphia was 100 Miles farther. I set out, however, in a Boat for Amboy, leaving my Chest and Things to follow me round by Sea. In crossing the Bay we met with a Squall that tore our rotten Sails to pieces, prevented our getting into the Kill, and drove us upon Long Island. In our Way a drunken Dutchman, who was a Passenger too, fell overboard; when he was sinking I reach'd thro' the Water to his shock Pate and drew him up so that we got him in again. His ducking sober'd him a little, and he went to sleep, taking first out of his Pocket a Book which he desir'd I would dry for him. It prov'd to be my old favourite Author Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in Dutch, finely printed on good Paper with copper Cuts, a Dress better than I had ever seen it wear in its own Language. I have since found that it has been translated into most of the Languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other Book except perhaps the Bible. Honest John was the first that I know of who mix'd Narration and Dialogue, a Method of Writing very engaging to the Reader, who in the most interesting Parts finds himself, as it were brought into the Company, and present at the Discourse. Defoe in his Cruso, his Moll Flanders, Religious Courtship, Family Instructor, and other[22] Pieces, has imitated it with Success. And Richardson has done the same in his Pamela, etc.—

When we drew near the Island we found it was at a Place where there could be no Landing, there being a great Surff on the stony Beach. So we dropt Anchor and swung round towards the Shore. Some People came down to the Water Edge and hallow'd to us, as we did to them. But the Wind was so high and the Surff so loud, that we could not hear so as to understand each other. There were Canoes on the Shore, and we made Signs and hallow'd that they should fetch us, but they either did not understand us, or thought it impracticable. So they went away, and Night coming on, we had no Remedy but to wait till the Wind should abate, and in the mean time the Boatman and I concluded to sleep if we could, and so crouded into the Scuttle with the Dutchman who was still wet, and the Spray beating over the Head of our Boat, leak'd thro' to us, so that we were soon almost as wet as he. In this Manner we lay all Night with very little Rest. But the Wind abating the next Day, we made a Shift to reach Amboy before Night, having been 30 Hours on the Water without Victuals, or any Drink but a Bottle of filthy Rum: The Water we sail'd on being salt.—

In the Evening I found myself very feverish, and went in to Bed. But having read somewhere that cold Water drank plentifully was good for a Fever, I follow'd the Prescription, sweat plentifully most of the Night, my Fever left me, and in the Morning crossing the Ferry, I proceeded on my Journey, on foot, having 50 Miles to Burlington, where I was told I should find Boats that would carry me the rest of the Way to Philadelphia.

It rain'd very hard all the Day, I was thoroughly soak'd, and by Noon a good deal tir'd, so I stopt at a poor Inn, where I staid all Night, beginning now to wish I had never left home. I cut so miserable a Figure too, that I found by the Questions ask'd me I was suspected to be some runaway Servant, and in danger of being taken up on that Suspicion. However I proceeded the next Day, and got in the Evening to an Inn within 8 or 10 Miles of Burlington, kept by one Dr Brown.—

He ent[e]red into Conversation with me while I took some[23] Refreshment, and finding I had read a little, became very sociable and friendly. Our Acquaintance continu'd as long as he liv'd. He had been, I imagine, an itinerant Doctor, for there was no Town in England, or Country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular Account. He had some Letters, and was ingenious, but much of an Unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some Years after to travesty the Bible in doggrel Verse as Cotton had done Virgil. By this means he set many of the Facts in a very ridiculous Light, and might have hurt weak minds if his Work had been publish'd:—but it never was.—At his House I lay that Night, and the next Morning reach'd Burlington.—But had the Mortification to find that the regular Boats were gone, a little before my coming, and no other expected to go till Tuesday, this being Saturday. Wherefore I returned to an old Woman in the Town of whom I had bought Gingerbread to eat on the Water, and ask'd her Advice; she invited me to lodge at her House till a Passage by Water should offer: and being tired with my foot Travelling, I accepted the Invitation. She understanding I was a Printer, would have had me stay at that Town and follow my Business, being ignorant of the Stock necessary to begin with. She was very hospitable, gave me a Dinner of Ox Cheek with great Goodwill, accepting only of a Pot of Ale in return. And I thought myself fix'd till Tuesday should come. However walking in the Evening by the Side of the River, a Boat came by, which I found was going towards Philadelphia, with several People in her. They took me in, and as there was no wind, we row'd all the Way; and about Midnight not having yet seen the City, some of the Company were confident we must have pass'd it, and would row no farther, the others knew not where we were, so we put towards the Shore, got into a Creek, landed near an old Fence[,] with the Rails of which we made a Fire, the Night being cold, in October, and there we remain'd till Daylight. Then one of the Company knew the Place to be Cooper's Creek a little above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got out of the Creek, and arriv'd there about 8 or 9 o'Clock, on the Sunday morning, and landed at the Market street Wharff.[24]

I have been the more particular in this Description of my Journey, and shall be so of my first Entry into that City, that you may in your Mind compare such unlikely Beginnings with the Figure I have since made there. I was in my Working Dress, my best Cloaths being to come round by Sea. I was dirty from my Journey; my Pockets were stuff'd out with Shirts and Stockings; I knew no Soul, nor where to look for Lodging. I was fatigued with Travelling, Rowing and Want of Rest. I was very hungry, and my whole Stock of Cash consisted of a Dutch Dollar and about a Shilling in Copper. The latter I gave the People of the Boat for my Passage, who at first refus'd it on Acct of my Rowing; but I insisted on their taking it, a Man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little Money than when he has plenty, perhaps thro' Fear of being thought to have but little. Then I walk'd up the Street, gazing about, till near the Market House I met a Boy with Bread. I had made many a Meal on Bread, and inquiring where he got it, I went immediately to the Baker's he directed me to in Second Street; and ask'd for Bisket, intending such as we had in Boston, but they it seems were not made in Philadelphia, then I ask'd for a threepenny Loaf, and was told they had none such: so not considering or knowing the Difference of Money and the greater Cheapness nor the Names of his Bread, I bad[e] him give me threepenny worth of any sort. He gave me accordingly three great Puffy Rolls. I was surpriz'd at the Quantity, but took it, and having no room in my Pockets, walk'd off, with a Roll under each Arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market Street as far as fourth Street, passing by the Door of Mr. Read, my future Wife's Father, when she standing at the Door saw me, and thought I made as I certainly did a most awkward ridiculous Appearance. Then I turn'd and went down Chestnut Street and part of Walnut Street, eating my Roll all the Way, and coming round found myself again at Market Street Wharff, near the Boat I came in, to which I went for a Draught of the River Water, and being fill'd with one of my Rolls, gave the other two to a Woman and her Child that came down the River in the Boat with us and were waiting to go farther. Thus refresh'd[25] I walk'd again, up the Street, which by this time had many clean dress'd People in it who were all walking the same Way; I join'd them, and thereby was led into the great Meeting House of the Quakers near the Market. I sat down among them, and after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said; being very drowsy thro' Labour and want of Rest the preceding Night, I fell fast asleep, and continu'd so till the Meeting broke up, when one was kind enough to rouse me. This was therefore the first House I was in or slept in, in Philadelphia.—

Walking again down towards the River, and looking in the Faces of People, I met a young Quaker Man whose Countenance I lik'd, and accosting him requested he would tell me where a Stranger could get Lodging. We were then near the Sign of the Three Mariners. Here, says he, is one Place that entertains Strangers, but it is not a reputable House; if thee wilt walk with me, I'll show thee a better. He brought me to the Crooked Billet in Water Street. Here I got a Dinner. And while I was eating it, several sly Questions were ask'd me, as it seem'd to be suspected from my youth and Appearance, that I might be some Runaway. After Dinner my Sleepiness return'd: and being shown to a Bed, I lay down without undressing, and slept till Six in the Evening; was call'd to Supper; went to Bed again very early and slept soundly till next Morning. Then I made myself as tidy as I could, and went to Andrew Bradford the Printer's. I found in the Shop the old Man his Father, whom I had seen at New York, and who travelling on horseback had got to Philadelphia before me. He introduc'd me to his Son, who receiv'd me civilly, gave me a Breakfast, but told me he did not at present want a Hand, being lately supply'd with one. But there was another Printer in town lately set up, one Keimer, who perhaps might employ me; if not, I should be welcome to lodge at his House, and he would give me a little Work to do now and then till fuller Business should offer.

The old Gentleman said, he would go with me to the new Printer: And when we found him, Neighbor, says Bradford, I have brought to see you a young Man of your Business, perhaps you may want such a One. He ask'd me a few Questions, put a[26] Composing Stick in my Hand to see how I work'd, and then said he would employ me soon, tho' he had just then nothing for me to do. And taking old Bradford whom he had never seen before, to be one of the Towns People that had a Good Will for him, enter'd into a Conversation on his present Undertaking and Prospects; while Bradford not discovering that he was the other Printer's Father, on Keimer's saying he expected soon to get the greatest Part of the Business into his own Hands, drew him on by artful Questions and starting little Doubts, to explain all his Views, what Interest he rely'd on, and in what manner he intended to proceed.—I who stood by and heard all, saw immediately that one of them was a crafty old Sophister, and the other a mere Novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was greatly surpriz'd when I told him who the old Man was.

Keimer's Printing House I found, consisted of an old shatter'd Press, and one small worn-out Fount of English, which he was then using himself, composing in it an Elegy on Aquila Rose before-mentioned, an ingenious young Man of excellent Character much respected in the Town, Clerk of the Assembly, and a pretty Poet. Keimer made Verses, too, but very indifferently. He could not be said to write them, for his Manner was to compose them in the Types directly out of his Head; so there being no Copy, but one Pair of Cases, and the Elegy likely to require all the Letter[s], no one could help him.—I endeavour'd to put his Press (which he had not yet us'd, and of which he understood nothing) into Order fit to be work'd with; and promising to come and print off his Elegy as soon as he should have got it ready, I return'd to Bradford's who gave me a little Job to do for the present, [and] there I lodged and dieted. A few Days after[,] Keimer sent for me to print off the Elegy. And now he had got another Pair of Cases, and a Pamphlet to reprint, on which he set me to work.—

These two Printers I found poorly Qualified for their Business. Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very illiterate; and Keimer tho' something of a Scholar, was a mere Compositor, knowing nothing of Presswork. He had been one of the French Prophets and could act their enthusiastic Agitations. At[27] this time he did not profess any particular Religion, but something of all on occasion; was very ignorant of the World, and had, as I afterward found, a good deal of the Knave in his Composition. He did not like my Lodging at Bradford's while I work'd with him. He had a House indeed, but without Furniture, so he could not lodge me: But he got me a Lodging at Mr. Read's beforementioned, who was the Owner of his House. And my Chest and Clothes being come by this time, I made rather a more respectable Appearance in the Eyes of Miss Read than I had done when she first happen'd to see me eating my Roll in the Street.—

I began now to have some Acquaintance among the young People of the Town, that were Lovers of Reading with whom I spent my Evenings very pleasantly and gaining Money by my Industry and Frugality, I lived very agreably, forgetting Boston as much as I could, and not desiring that any there should know where I resided, except my Friend Collins who was in my Secret, and kept it when I wrote to him. At length an Incident happened that sent me back again much sooner than I had intended.—

I had a Brother-in-law, Robert Holmes, Master of a Sloop, that traded between Boston and Delaware. He being at New Castle 40 Miles below Philadelphia, heard there of me, and wrote me a Letter, mentioning the Concern of my Friends in Boston at my abrupt Departure, assuring me of their Good will to me, and that every thing would be accommodated to my Mind if I would return, to which he exhorted me very earnestly. I wrote an Answer to his Letter, thank'd him for his Advice, but stated my Reasons for quitting Boston fully, and in such a Light as to convince him I was not so wrong as he had apprehended. Sir William Keith[3] Governor of the Province, was then at New Castle, and Capt. Holmes happening to be in Company with him when my Letter came to hand, spoke to him of me, and show'd him the Letter. The Governor read it, and seem'd surpriz'd when he was told my Age. He said I appear'd a young Man of promising Parts, and therefore should be encouraged: The Printers at Philadelphia were wretched ones, and if I would[28] set up there, he made no doubt I should succeed; for his Part, he would procure me the publick Business, and do me every other Service in his Power. This my Brother-in-law afterwards told me in Boston. But I knew as yet nothing of it; when one Day Keimer and I being at Work together near the Window, we saw the Governor and another Gentleman (which prov'd to be Col. French, of New Castle) finely dress'd, come directly across the Street to our House, and heard them at the Door. Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a Visit to him. But the Governor enquir'd for me, came up, and with a Condescension and Politeness I had been quite unus'd to, made me many Compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, blam'd me kindly for not having made myself known to him when I first came to the Place, and would have me away with him to the Tavern where he was going with Col. French to taste as he said some excellent Madeira. I was not a little surpriz'd, and Keimer star'd like a Pig poison'd. I went however with the Governor and Col. French, to a Tavern [at] the Corner of Third Street, and over the Madeira he propos'd my Setting up my Business, laid before me the Probabilities of Success, and both he and Col. French, assur'd me I should have their Interest and Influence in procuring the Publick Business of both Governments. On my doubting whether my Father would assist me in it, Sir William said he would give me a Letter to him, in which he would state the Advantages, and he did not doubt of prevailing with him. So it was concluded I should return to Boston in the first Vessel with the Governor's Letter recommending me to my Father. In the mean time the Intention was to be kept secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the Governor sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great Honour I thought it, and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly manner imaginable. About the End of April 1724 a little Vessel offer'd for Boston. I took leave of Keimer as going to see my Friends. The Governor gave me an ample Letter, saying many flattering things of me to my Father, and strongly recommending the Project of my setting up at Philadelphia, as a Thing that must make my Fortune. We struck on a Shoal in going[29] down the Bay and sprung a Leak, we had a blustering time at Sea, and were oblig'd to pump almost continually, at which I took my Turn. We arriv'd safe however at Boston in about a Fortnight.—I had been absent Seven Months and my Friends had heard nothing of me; for my Br. Holmes was not yet return'd; and had not written about me. My unexpected Appearance surpriz'd the Family; all were however very glad to see me and made me Welcome, except my Brother. I went to see him at his Printing-House: I was better dress'd than ever while in his Service, having a genteel new Suit from Head to foot, a Watch, and my Pockets lin'd with near Five Pounds Sterling in Silver. He receiv'd me not very frankly, look'd me all over, and turn'd to his Work again. The JourneyMen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a Country it was, and how I lik'd it? I prais'd it much, and the happy Life I led in it; expressing strongly my Intention of returning to it; and one of them asking what kind of Money we had there, I produc'd a handful of Silver and spread it before them, which was a kind of Raree Show they had not been us'd to, Paper being the Money of Boston. Then I took an Opportunity of letting them see my Watch: and lastly, (my Brother still grum and sullen) I gave them a Piece of Eight to drink, and took my Leave.—This Visit of mine offended him extreamly. For when my Mother some time after spoke to him of a Reconciliation, and of her Wishes to see us on good Terms together, and that we might live for the future as Brothers, he said, I had insulted him in such a Manner before his People that he could never forget or forgive it. In this however he was mistaken.—

My Father received the Governor's Letter with some apparent Surprize; but said little of it to me for some Days; when Capt. Holmes returning, he show'd it to him, ask'd if he knew Keith, and what kind of a Man he was: Adding his Opinion that he must be of small Discretion, to think of setting a Boy up in Business who wanted yet 3 Years of being at Man's Estate. Holmes said what he could in favr of the Project; but my Father was clear in the Impropriety of it; and at last gave a flat Denial to it. Then he wrote a civil Letter to Sir William thanking him for the[30] Patronage he had so kindly offered me, but declining to assist me as yet in Setting up, I being in his Opinion too young to be trusted with the Management of a Business so important, and for which the Preparation must be so expensive.—

My Friend and Companion Collins, who was a Clerk at the Post-Office, pleas'd with the Account I gave him of my new Country, determin'd to go thither also: And while I waited for my Fathers Determination, he set out before me by Land to Rhodeisland, leaving his Books which were a pretty Collection of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy, to come with mine and me to New York where he propos'd to wait for me. My Father, tho' he did not approve Sir William's Proposition was yet pleas'd that I had been able to obtain so advantageous a Character from a Person of such Note where I had resided, and that I had been so industrious and careful as to equip myself so handsomely in so short a time: therefore seeing no Prospect of an Accommodation between my Brother and me, he gave his Consent to my Returning again to Philadelphia, advis'd me to behave respectfully to the People there, endeavour to obtain the general Esteem, and avoid lampooning and libelling to which he thought I had too much Inclination; telling me, that by steady Industry and a prudent Parsimony, I might save enough by the time I was One and Twenty to set me up, and that if I came near the Matter he would help me out with the rest. This was all I could obtain, except some small Gifts as Tokens of his and my Mother's Love, when I embark'd again for New-York, now with their Approbation and their Blessing.—

The Sloop putting in at Newport, Rhodeisland, I visited my Brother John, who had been married and settled there some Years. He received me very affectionately, for he always lov'd me. A Friend of his, one Vernon, having some Money due to him in Pensilvania, about 35 Pounds Currency, desired I would receive it for him, and keep it till I had his Directions what to remit it in. Accordingly he gave me an Order.—This afterwards occasion'd me a good deal of Uneasiness. At Newport we took in a Number of Passengers for New York: Among which were two young Women, Companions, and a grave, sensible[31] Matron-like Quaker-Woman with her Attendants.—I had shown an obliging readiness to do her some little Services which impress'd her I suppose with a degree of Good-will towards me.—Therefore when she saw a daily growing Familiarity between me and the two Young Women, which they appear'd to encourage, she took me aside and said, Young Man, I am concern'd for thee, as thou has no Friend with thee, and seems not to know much of the World, or of the Snares Youth is expos'd to; depend upon it those are very bad Women, I can see it in all their Actions, and if thee art not upon thy Guard, they will draw thee into some Danger: they are Strangers to thee, and I advise thee in a friendly Concern for thy Welfare, to have no Acquaintance with them. As I seem'd at first not to think so ill of them as she did, she mention'd some Things she had observ'd and heard that had escap'd my Notice; but now convinc'd me she was right. I thank'd her for her kind Advice, and promis'd to follow it.—When we arriv'd at New York, they told me where they liv'd, and invited me to come and see them: but I avoided it. And it was well I did: For the next Day, the Captain miss'd a Silver Spoon and some other Things that had been taken out of his Cabbin, and knowing that these were a Couple of Strumpets, he got a Warrant to search their Lodgings, found the stolen Goods, and had the Thieves punish'd. So tho' we had escap'd a sunken Rock which we scrap'd upon in the Passage, I thought this Escape of rather more Importance to me. At New York I found my Friend Collins, who had arriv'd there some Time before me. We had been intimate from Children, and had read the same Books together: But he had the Advantage of more time for reading, and Studying and a wonderful Genius for Mathematical Learning in which he far outstript me. While I liv'd in Boston most of my Hours of Leisure for Conversation were spent with him, and he continu'd a sober as well as an industrious Lad; was much respected for his Learning by several of the Clergy and other Gentlemen, and seem'd to promise making a good Figure in Life: but during my Absence he had acquir'd a Habit of Sotting with Brandy; and I found by his own Account and what I heard from others, that he had been drunk every day[32] since his Arrival at New York, and behav'd very oddly. He had gam'd too and lost his Money, so that I was oblig'd to discharge his Lodgings, and defray his Expenses to and at Philadelphia: Which prov'd extreamly inconvenient to me. The then Governor of N[ew] York, Burnet, Son of Bishop Burnet hearing from the Captain that a young Man, one of his Passengers, had a great many Books, desired he would bring me to see him. I waited upon him accordingly, and should have taken Collins with me but that he was not sober. The Govr treated me with great Civility, show'd me his Library, which was a very large one, and we had a good deal of Conversation about Books and Authors. This was the second Governor who had done me the Honour to take Notice of me, which to a poor Boy like me was very pleasing.—We proceeded to Philadelphia. I received on the Way Vernon's Money, without which we could hardly have finish'd our Journey. Collins wish'd to be employ'd in some Counting House; but whether they discover'd his Dramming by his Breath, or by his Behaviour, tho' he had some Recommendations, he met with no Success in any Application, and continu'd Lodging and Boarding at the same House with me and at my Expense. Knowing I had that Money of Vernon's he was continually borrowing of me, still promising Repayment as soon as he should be in Business. At length he had got so much of it, that I was distress'd to think what I should do, in case of being call'd on to remit it. His Drinking continu'd, about which we sometimes quarrel'd, for when a little intoxicated he was very fractious. Once in a Boat on the Delaware with some other young Men, he refused to row in his Turn: I will be row'd home, says he. We will not row you, says I. You must or stay all Night on the Water, says he, just as you please. The others said, Let us row; what signifies it? But my Mind being soured with his other Conduct, I continu'd to refuse. So he swore he would make me row, or throw me overboard; and coming along stepping on the Thwarts towards me, when he came up and struck at me I clapt my Hand under his Crutch, and rising pitch'd him head-foremost into the River. I knew he was a good Swimmer, and so was under little Concern about him; but before he could get[33] round to lay hold of the Boat, we had with a few Strokes pull'd her out of his Reach. And ever when he drew near the Boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few Strokes to slide her away from him.—He was ready to die with Vexation, and obstinately would not promise to row; however seeing him at last beginning to tire, we lifted him in; and brought him home dripping wet in the Evening. We hardly exchang'd a civil Word afterwards; and a West India Captain who had a Commission to procure a Tutor for the Sons of a Gentleman at Barbadoes, happening to meet with him, agreed to carry him thither. He left me then, promising to remit me the first Money he should receive in order to discharge the Debt. But I never heard of him after. The Breaking into this Money of Vernon's was one of the first great Errata of my Life[.] And this Affair show'd that my Father was not much out in his Judgment when he suppos'd me too Young to manage Business of Importance. But Sir William, on reading his Letter, said he was too prudent. There was great Difference in Persons, and Discretion did not always accompany Years, nor was Youth always without it. And since he will not set you up, says he, I will do it myself. Give me an Inventory of the Things necessary to be had from England, and I will send for them. You shall repay me when you are able; I am resolv'd to have a good Printer here, and I am sure you must succeed. This was spoken with such an Appearance of Cordiality, that I had not the least doubt of his meaning what he said. I had hitherto kept the Proposition of my Setting up[,] a Secret in Philadelphia, and I still kept it. Had it been known that I depended on the Governor, probably some Friend that knew him better would have advis'd me not to rely on him, as I afterwards heard it as his known Character to be liberal of Promises which he never meant to keep.—Yet unsolicited as he was by me, how could I think his generous Offers insincere? I believ'd him one of the best Men in the World.—

I presented him an Inventory of a little Print[8] House, amounting by my Computation to about 100£ Sterling. He lik'd it, but ask'd me if my being on the Spot in England to chuse the Types and see that every thing was good of the kind,[34] might not be of some Advantage. Then, says he, when there, you may make Acquaintances and establish Correspondencies in the Bookselling and Stationary Way. I agreed that this might be advantageous. Then, says he, get yourself ready to go with Annis; which was the annual Ship, and the only one at that Time usually passing between London and Philadelphia. But it would be some Months before Annis sail'd, so I continu'd working with Keimer, fretting about the Money Collins had got from me; and in daily Apprehensions of being call'd upon by Vernon, which however did not happen for some Years after.—

I believe I have omitted mentioning that in my first Voyage from Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our People set about catching Cod and haul'd up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my Resolution of not eating animal Food; and on this Occasion, I consider'd with my Master Tryon, the taking every Fish as a kind of unprovoked Murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any Injury that might justify the Slaughter. All this seem'd very reasonable.—But I had formerly been a great Lover of Fish, and when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between Principle and Inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you. So I din'd upon Cod very heartily and continu'd to eat with other People, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.

Keimer and I liv'd on a pretty good familiar Footing and agreed tolerably well: for he suspected nothing of my Setting up. He retain'd a great deal of his old Enthusiasms, and lov'd Argumentation. We therefore had many Disputations. I used to work him so with my Socratic Method, and had trepann'd him so often by Questions apparently so distant from any Point we had in hand, and yet by degrees led to the Point, and brought him into Difficulties and Contradictions that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and would hardly answer me the most[35] common Question, without asking first, What do you intend to infer from that? However it gave him so high an Opinion of my Abilities in the Confuting Way, that he seriously propos'd my being his Colleague in a Project he had of setting up a new Sect. He was to preach the Doctrines, and I was to confound all Opponents. When he came to explain with me upon the Doctrines, I found several Conundrums which I objected to, unless I might have my Way a little too, and introduce some of mine. Keimer wore his Beard at full Length, because somewhere in the Mosaic Law it is said, thou shalt not mar the Corners of thy beard. He likewise kept the seventh day Sabbath; and these two Points were Essentials with him. I dislik'd both, but agreed to admit them upon Condition of his adopting the Doctrine of using no animal Food. I doubt, says he, my Constitution will not bear that. I assur'd him it would, and that he would be the better for it. He was usually a great Glutton, and I promis'd myself some Diversion in half-starving him. He agreed to try the Practice if I would keep him Company. I did so and we held it for three Months. We had our Victuals dress'd and brought to us regularly by a Woman in the Neighbourhood, who had from me a List of 40 Dishes to be prepar'd for us at different times, in all which there was neither Fish Flesh nor Fowl, and the whim suited me the better at this time from the Cheapness of it, not costing us above 18d Sterling each, per Week. I have since kept several Lents most strictly, leaving the common Diet for that, and that for the common, abruptly, without the least Inconvenience: So that I think there is little in the Advice of making those Changes by easy Gradations. I went on pleasantly, but Poor Keimer suffer'd grievously, tir'd of the Project, long'd for the Flesh Pots of Egypt, and order'd a roast Pig. He invited me and two Women Friends to dine with him, but it being brought too soon upon the table, he could not resist the Temptation, and ate it all up before we came.—

I had made some Courtship during this time to Miss Read. I had a great Respect and Affection for her, and had some Reason to believe she had the same for me: but as I was about to take a long Voyage, and we were both very young, only a little above[36] 18, it was thought most prudent by her Mother to prevent our going too far at present, as a Marriage if it was to take place would be more convenient after my Return, when I should be as I expected set up in my Business. Perhaps too she thought my Expectations not so well founded as I imagined them to be.—

My chief Acquaintances at this time were, Charles Osborne, Joseph Watson, and James Ralph; all Lovers of Reading. The two first were Clerks to an eminent Scrivener or Conveyancer in the Town, Charles Brogden; the other was Clerk to a Merchant. Watson was a pious sensible young Man, of great Integrity.—The others rather more lax in their Principles of Religion, particularly Ralph, who as well as Collins had been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer.—Osborne was sensible, candid, frank, sincere and affectionate to his Friends; but in literary Matters too fond of Criticising. Ralph, was ingenious, genteel in his Manners, and extreamly eloquent; I think I never knew a prettier Talker. Both of them great Admirers of Poetry, and began to try their Hands in little Pieces. Many pleasant Walks we four had together on Sundays into the Woods near Schuylkill, where we read to one another and conferr'd on what we read. Ralph was inclin'd to pursue the Study of Poetry, not doubting but he might become eminent in it and make his Fortune by it, alledging that the best Poets must when they first began to write, make as many Faults as he did.—Osborne dissuaded him, assur'd him he had no Genius for Poetry, and advis'd him to think of nothing beyond the Business he was bred to; that in the mercantile way tho' he had no Stock, he might by his Diligence and Punctuality recommend himself to Employment as a Factor, and in time acquire wherewith to trade on his own Account. I approv'd the amusing one's self with Poetry now and then, so far as to improve one's Language, but no farther. On this it was propos'd that we should each of us at our next Meeting produce a Piece of our own Composing, in order to improve by our mutual Observations, Criticisms and Corrections. As Language and Expression was what we had in View, we excluded all Considerations of Invention, by agreeing that the Task should be a Version of the 18th Psalm, which describes[37] the Descent of a Deity. When the Time of our Meeting drew nigh, Ralph call'd on me first, and let me know his Piece was ready. I told him I had been busy, and having little Inclination had done nothing. He then show'd me his Piece for my Opinion; and I much approv'd it, as it appear'd to me to have great Merit. Now, says he, Osborne never will allow the least Merit in any thing of mine, but makes 1000 Criticisms out of mere Envy. He is not so jealous of you. I wish therefore you would take this Piece, and produce it as yours. I will pretend not to have had time, and so produce nothing: We shall then see what he will say to it. It was agreed, and I immediately transcrib'd it that it might appear in my own hand. We met. Watson's Performance was read: there were some Beauties in it: but many Defects. Osborne's was read: It was much better. Ralph did it Justice, remark'd some Faults, but applauded the Beauties. He himself had nothing to produce. I was backward, seem'd desirous of being excused, had not had sufficient Time to correct, etc. but no Excuse could be admitted, produce I must. It was read and repeated; Watson and Osborne gave up the Contest; and join'd in applauding it immoderately. Ralph only made some Criticisms and propos'd some Amendments, but I defended my Text. Osborne was against Ralph, and told him he was no better a Critic than Poet; so he dropt the Argument. As they two went home together, Osborne express'd himself still more strongly in favour of what he thought my Production, having restrain'd himself before as he said, lest I should think it Flattery. But who would have imagin'd, says he, that Franklin had been capable of such a Performance; such Painting, such Force! such Fire! he has even improv'd the Original! In his common Conversation, he seems to have no Choice of Words; he hesitates and blunders; and yet, good God, how he writes!—When we next met, Ralph discover'd the Trick we had plaid him, and Osborne was a little laught at. This Transaction fix'd Ralph in his Resolution of becoming a Poet. I did all I could to dissuade him from it, but he continued scribbling Verses, till Pope cur'd him. He became however a pretty good Prose Writer. More of him hereafter. But as I may not have occasion[38] again to mention the other two, I shall just remark here, that Watson died in my Arms a few Years after, much lamented, being the best of our Set. Osborne went to the West Indies, where he became an eminent Lawyer and made Money, but died young. He and I had made a serious Agreement, that the one who happen'd first to die, should if possible make a friendly Visit to the other, and acquaint him how he found things in that Separate State. But he never fulfill'd his Promise.

The Governor, seeming to like my Company, had me frequently to his House; and his Setting me up was always mention'd as a fix'd thing. I was to take with me Letters recommendatory to a Number of his Friends, besides the Letter of Credit to furnish me with the necessary Money for purchasing the Press and Types, Paper, etc. For these Letters I was appointed to call at different times, when they were to be ready, but a future time was still named.—Thus we went on till the Ship whose Departure too had been several times postponed was on the Point of sailing. Then when I call'd to take my Leave and receive the Letters, his Secretary, Dr. Bard, came out to me and said the Governor was extreamly busy, in writing, but would be down at Newcastle before the Ship, and there the Letters would be delivered to me.

Ralph, tho' married and having one Child, had determined to accompany me in this Voyage. It was thought he intended to establish a Correspondence, and obtain Goods to sell on Commission. But I found afterwards, that thro' some Discontent with his Wife's Relations, he purposed to leave her on their Hands, and never return again.—Having taken leave of my Friends, and interchang'd some Promises with Miss Read, I left Philadelphia in the Ship, which anchor'd at Newcastle. The Governor was there. But when I went to his Lodging, the Secretary came to me from him with the civillest Message in the World, that he could not then see me being engag'd in Business of the utmost Importance, but should send the Letters to me on board, wish'd me heartily a good Voyage and a speedy Return, etc. I return'd on board, a little puzzled, but still not doubting.[39]

Mr. Andrew Hamilton, a famous Lawyer of Philadelphia, had taken Passage in the same Ship for himself and Son: and with Mr. Denham a Quaker Merchant, and Messrs. Onion and Russell[,] Masters of an Iron Work in Maryland, had engag'd the Great Cabin; so that Ralph and I were forc'd to take up with a Birth in the Steerage: And none on board knowing us, were considered as ordinary Persons.—But Mr. Hamilton and his Son (it was James, since Governor) return'd from New Castle to Philadelphia, the Father being recall'd by a great Fee to plead for a seized Ship.—And just before we sail'd Col. French coming on board, and showing me great Respect, I was more taken Notice of, and with my Friend Ralph invited by the other Gentlemen to come into the Cabin, there being now Room. Accordingly we remov'd thither.

Understanding that Col. French had brought on board the Governor's Dispatches, I ask'd the Captain for those Letters that were to be under my Care. He said all were put into the Bag together; and he could not then come at them; but before we landed in England, I should have an Opportunity of picking them out. So I was satisfy'd for the present, and we proceeded on our Voyage. We had a sociable Company in the Cabin, and lived uncommonly well, having the Addition of all Mr. Hamilton's Stores, who had laid in plentifully. In this Passage Mr. Denham contracted a Friendship for me that continued during his Life. The Voyage was otherwise not a pleasant one, as we had a great deal of bad Weather.

When we came into the Channel, the Captain kept his Word with me, and gave me an Opportunity of examining the Bag for the Governor's Letters. I found none upon which my Name was put, as under my Care; I pick'd out 6 or 7 that by the Hand writing I thought might be the promis'd Letters, especially as one of them was directed to Basket the King's printer, and another to some Stationer. We arriv'd in London the 24th of December, 1724.—I waited upon the Stationer who came first in my Way, delivering the Letter as from Gov. Keith. I don't know such a Person, says he: but opening the Letter, O, this is from Riddlesden; I have lately found him to be a compleat Rascal,[40] and I will have nothing to do with him, nor receive any Letters from him. So putting the Letter into my Hand, he turn'd on his Heel and left me to serve some Customer. I was surprized to find these were not the Governor's Letters. And after recollecting and comparing Circumstances, I began to doubt his Sincerity.—I found my Friend Denham, and opened the whole Affair to him. He let me into Keith's Character, told me there was not the least Probability that he had written any Letters for me, that no one who knew him had the smallest Dependence on him, and he laught at the Notion of the Governor's giving me a Letter of Credit, having as he said no Credit to give.—On my expressing some Concern about what I should do: He advis'd me to endeavour getting some Employment in the Way of my Business. Among the Printers here, says he, you will improve yourself; and when you return to America, you will set up to greater Advantage.—

We both of us happen'd to know, as well as the Stationer, that Riddlesden the Attorney, was a very Knave. He had half ruin'd Miss Read's Father by acquiring his note he bound for him. By his Letter it appear'd, there was a secret Scheme on foot to the Prejudice of Hamilton, (suppos'd to be then coming over with us,) and that Keith was concern'd in it with Riddlesden. Denham, who was a Friend of Hamilton's, thought he ought to be acquainted with it. So when he arriv'd in England, which was soon after, partly from Resentment and Ill-Will to Keith and Riddlesden, and partly from Good Will to him: I waited on him, and gave him the Letter. He thank'd me cordially, the Information being of Importance to him. And from that time he became my Friend, greatly to my Advantage afterwards on many Occasions.

But what shall we think of a Governor's playing such pitiful Tricks, and imposing so grossly on a poor ignorant Boy! It was a Habit he had acquired. He wish'd to please every body; and, having little to give, he gave Expectations. He was otherwise an ingenious sensible Man, a pretty good Writer, and a good Governor for the People, tho' not for his Constituents the Proprietaries, whose Instructions he sometimes disregarded.—Several[41] of our best Laws were of his Planning, and pass'd during his Administration.—

Ralph and I were inseparable Companions. We took Lodgings together in Little Britain at 3/6 p[er] Week, as much as we could then afford. He found some Relations, but they were poor and unable to assist him. He now let me know his Intentions of remaining in London, and that he never meant to return to Philada—He had brought no Money with him, the whole he could muster having been expended in paying his Passage. I had 15 Pistoles: So he borrowed occasionally of me, to subsist while he was looking out for Business.—He first endeavoured to get into the Playhouse, believing himself qualify'd for an Actor; but Wilkes to whom he apply'd, advis'd him candidly not to think of that Employment, as it was impossible he should succeed in it.—Then he propos'd to Roberts, a Publisher in Paternoster Row, to write for him a Weekly Paper like the Spectator, on certain Conditions, which Roberts did not approve. Then he endeavour'd to get Employmt as a Hackney Writer to copy for the Stationers and Lawyers about the Temple: but could find no Vacancy.—

I immediately got into Work at Palmer's then a famous Printing House in Bartholomew Close; and here I continu'd near a Year. I was pretty diligent; but spent with Ralph a good deal of my Earnings in going to Plays and other Places of Amusement. We had together consum'd all my Pistoles, and now just rubb'd on from hand to mouth. He seem'd quite to forget his Wife and Child, and I by degrees my Engagements wth Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one Letter, and that was to let her know I was not likely soon to return. This was another of the great Errata of my Life, which I should wish to correct if I were to live it over again.—In fact, by our Expences, I was constantly kept unable to pay my Passage.

At Palmer's I was employ'd in composing for the second Edition of Woollaston's [sic] Religion of Nature. Some of his Reasonings not appearing to me well-founded, I wrote a little metaphysical Piece, in which I made Remarks on them. It was entitled, A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and[42] pain. I inscrib'd it to my Friend Ralph.—I printed a small Number. It occasion'd my being more consider'd by Mr. Palmer, as a young Man of some Ingenuity, tho' he seriously Expostulated with me upon the Principles of my Pamphlet which to him appear'd abominable. My printing this Pamphlet was another Erratum.

In our House there lodg'd a young Woman; a Millener, who I think had a Shop in the Cloisters. She had been genteelly bred, was sensible and lively, and of most pleasing Conversation. Ralph read Plays to her in the Evenings, they grew intimate, she took another Lodging, and he follow'd her. They liv'd together some time, but he being still out of Business, and her Income not sufficient to maintain them with her Child, he took a Resolution of going from London, to try for a Country School, which bethought himself well qualify'd to undertake, as he wrote an excellent Hand, and was a Master of Arithmetic and Accounts.—This however he deem'd a Business below him, and confident of future better Fortune when he should be unwilling to have it known that he once was so meanly employ'd, he chang'd his Name, and did me the Honour to assume mine.—For I soon after had a Letter from him, acquainting me, that he was settled in a small Village in Berkshire, I think it was, where he taught reading and writing to 10 or a dozen Boys at 6 pence each p[er] Week, recommending Mrs. T. to my Care, and desiring me to write to him directing for Mr. Franklin Schoolmaster at such a Place. He continu'd to write frequently, sending me large Specimens of an Epic Poem, which he was then composing, and desiring my Remarks and Corrections.—These I gave him from time to time, but endeavour'd rather to discourage his Proceeding. One of Young's Satires was then just publish'd. I copy'd and sent him a great Part of it, which set in a strong Light the Folly of pursuing the Muses with any Hope of Advancement by them. All was in vain. Sheets of the Poem continu'd to come by every Post. In the mean time Mrs. T. having on his Account lost her Friends and Business, was often in Distresses, and us'd to send for me, and borrow what I could spare to help her out of them. I grew fond of her Company, and being[43] at this time under no Religious Restraints, and presuming on my Importance to her, I attempted Familiarities, (another Erratum) which she repuls'd with a proper Resentment, and acquainted him with my Behaviour. This made a Breach between us, and when he return'd again to London, he let me know he thought I had cancell'd all the Obligations he had been under to me.—So I found I was never to expect his Repaying me what I lent to him or advanc'd for him. This was however not then of much Consequence, as he was totally unable: And in the Loss of his Friendship I found myself reliev'd from a Burthen. I now began to think of getting a little Money beforehand; and expecting better Work, I left Palmer's to work at Watts's near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still greater Printing House. Here I continu'd all the rest of my Stay in London.

While I lodg'd in Little Britain I made an Acquaintance with one Wilcox a Bookseller, whose Shop was at the next Door. He had an immense Collection of second-hand Books. Circulating Libraries were not then in Use; but we agreed that on certain reasonable Terms which I have now forgotten, I might take, read and return any of his Books. This I esteem'd a great Advantage, and I made as much use of it as I could.—

My Pamphlet by some means falling into the Hands of one Lyons, a Surgeon, Author of a Book intitled The Infallibility of Human Judgment, it occasioned an Acquaintance between us; he took great Notice of me, call'd on me often, to converse on those Subjects, carried me to the Horns a pale Alehouse in —— Lane, Cheapside, and introduc'd me to Dr. Mandevil[l]e, Author of the Fable of the Bees who had a Club there, of which he was the Soul, being a most facetious entertaining Companion. Lyons too introduced me to Dr. Pemberton, at Batson's Coffee House, who promis'd to give me an Opportunity some time or other of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extreamly desirous; but this never happened.

I had brought over a few Curiosities among which the principal was a Purse made of the Asbestos, which purifies by Fire. Sir Hans Sloane heard of it, came to see me, and invited me to his House in Bloomsbury Square; where he show'd me all his[44] Curiosities, and persuaded me to let him add that to the Number, for which he paid me handsomely.[4]

At my first Admission into this Printing House, I took to working at Press, imagining I felt a Want of the Bodily Exercise I had been us'd to in America, where Presswork is mix'd with Composing, I drank only Water, the other Workmen, near 50 in Number, were great Guzzlers of Beer. On occasion I carried up and down Stairs a large Form of Types in each hand, when others carried but one in both Hands. They wonder'd to see from this and several Instances that the water-American as they call'd me was stronger than themselves who drank strong beer. We had an Alehouse Boy who attended always in the House to supply the Workmen. My Companion at the Press, drank every day a Pint before Breakfast, a Pint at Breakfast with his Bread and Cheese; a Pint between Breakfast and Dinner; a Pint at Dinner; a Pint in the Afternoon about Six o'Clock, and another when he had done his Day's-Work. I thought it a detestable Custom.—But it was necessary, he suppos'd, to drink strong Beer that he might be strong to labour. I endeavour'd to convince him that the Bodily Strength afforded by Beer could only be in proportion to the Grain or Flour of the Barley dissolved in the Water of which it was made; that there was more Flour in a Penny-worth of Bread, and therefore if he would eat that with a Pint of Water, it would give him more Strength than a Quart of Beer.—He drank on however, and had 4 or 5 Shillings to pay out of his Wages every Saturday Night for that muddling Liquor; an Expence I was free from.—And thus these poor Devils keep themselves always under.

Watts after some Weeks desiring to have me in the Composing-Room, I left the Pressmen. A new Bienvenu or Sum for Drink; being 5/, was demanded of me by the Compositors. I thought it an Imposition, as I had paid below. The Master thought so too, and forbad[e] my Paying it. I stood out two or three Weeks, was accordingly considered as an Excommunicate, and had so many little Pieces of private Mischief done me, by mixing my Sorts, transposing my Pages, breaking my Matter, etc. etc. and if I were ever so little out of the Room, and all[45] ascrib'd to the Chapel Ghost, which they said ever haunted those not regularly admitted, that notwithstanding the Master's Protection, I found myself oblig'd to comply and pay the Money; convinc'd of the Folly of being on ill Terms with those one is to live with continually. I was now on a fair Footing with them, and soon acquir'd considerable Influence. I propos'd some reasonable Alterations in their Chapel[C] Laws, and carried them against all Opposition. From my Example a great Part of them, left their muddling Breakfast of Beer and Bread and Cheese, finding they could with me be supply'd from a neighbouring House with a large Porringer of hot Water-gruel, sprinkled with Pepper, crumb'd with Bread, and a Bit of Butter in it, for the Price of a Pint of Beer, viz., three halfpence. This was a more comfortable as well as cheaper Breakfast, and kept their Heads clearer.—Those who continu'd sotting with Beer all day, were often, by not paying, out of Credit at the Alehouse, and us'd to make Interest with me to get Beer, their Light, as they phras'd it, being out. I watch'd the Pay table on Saturday Night, and collected what I stood engag'd for them, having to pay some times near Thirty Shillings a Week on their Accounts.—This, and my being esteem'd a pretty good Riggite, that is a jocular verbal Satyrist, supported my Consequence in the Society.—My constant Attendance, (I never making a St. Monday), recommended me to the Master; and my uncommon Quickness at Composing, occasion'd my being put upon all Work of Dispatch which was generally better paid. So I went on now very agreably.—

[C] A Printing House is always called a Chappel [sic], by the Workmen. [Franklin's note.]

My Lodging in Little Britain being too remote, I found another in Duke-street opposite to the Romish Chapel. It was two pair of Stairs backwards at an Italian Warehouse. A Widow Lady kept the House; she had a Daughter and a Maid Servant, and a Journey-man who attended the Warehouse, but lodg'd abroad. After sending to enquire my Character at the House where I last lodg'd, she agreed to take me in at the same Rate 3/6 p[er] Week, cheaper as she said from the Protection she expected[46] in having a Man lodge in the House. She was a Widow, an elderly Woman, had been bred a Protestant, being a Clergyman's Daughter, but was converted to the Catholic Religion by her Husband, whose Memory she much revered[;] had lived much among People of Distinction, and knew a 1000 Anecdotes of them as far back as the Times of Charles the Second. She was lame in her Knees with the Gout, and therefore seldom stirr'd out of her Room, so sometimes wanted Company; and hers was so highly amusing [Franklin first wrote "agreable"; both it and "amusing" are deleted in the MS.] to me; that I was sure to spend an Evening with her whenever she desired it. Our Supper was only half an Anchovy each, on a very little Strip of Bread and Butter, and half a Pint of Ale between us. But the Entertainment was in her Conversation. My always keeping good Hours, and giving little Trouble in the Family, made her unwilling to part with me; so that when I talk'd of a Lodging I had heard of, nearer my Business, for 2/ a Week, which, intent as I now was on saving Money, made some Difference; she bid me not think of it, for she would abate me two Shillings a Week for the future, so I remain'd with her at 1/6 as long as I staid in London.—

In a Garret of her House there lived a Maiden Lady of 70 in the most retired Manner, of whom my Landlady gave me this Account, that she was a Roman Catholic, had been sent abroad when young and lodg'd in a Nunnery with an Intent of becoming a Nun: but the Country not agreeing with her, she return'd to England, where there being no Nunnery, she had vow'd to lead the Life of a Nun as near as might be done in those Circumstances: Accordingly she had given all her Estate to charitable Uses, reserving only Twelve Pounds a Year to live on, and out of this Sum she still gave a great deal in Charity, living herself on Watergruel only, and using no Fire but to boil it.—She had lived many Years in that Garret, being permitted to remain there gratis by successive Catholic Tenants of the House below, as they deem'd it a Blessing to have her there. A Priest visited her, to confess her every Day. I have ask'd her, says my Landlady, how she, as she liv'd, could possibly find so much Employment[47] for a Confessor? O, says she, it is impossible to avoid vain Thoughts. I was permitted once to visit her: She was chearful and polite, and convers'd pleasantly. The Room was clean, but had no other Furniture than a Matras, a Table with a Crucifix and Book, a Stool, which she gave me to sit on, and a Picture over the Chimney of St. Veronica, displaying her Handkerchief with the miraculous Figure of Christ's bleeding Face on it, which she explain'd to me with great Seriousness. She look'd pale, but was never sick, and I give it as another Instance on how small an Income Life and Health may be supported.

At Watts's Printinghouse I contracted an Acquaintance with an ingenious young Man, one Wygate, who having wealthy Relations, had been better educated than most Printers, was a tolerable Latinist, spoke French, and lov'd Reading. I taught him and a Friend of his, to swim, at twice going into the River, and they soon became good Swimmers. They introduc'd me to some Gentlemen from the Country who went to Chelsea by Water to see the College and Don Saltero's Curiosities.[5] In our Return, at the Request of the Company, whose Curiosity Wygate had excited, I stript and leapt into the River, and swam from near Chelsea to Blackfryars, performing on the Way many Feats of Activity both upon and under Water, that surpriz'd and pleas'd those to whom they were Novelties.—I had from a Child been ever delighted with this Exercise, had studied and practis'd all Thevenot's Motions and Positions, added some of my own, aiming at the graceful and easy, as well as the Useful. All these I took this Occasion of exhibiting to the Company, and was much flatter'd by their Admiration.—And Wygate, who was desirous of becoming a Master, grew more and more attach'd to me, on that account, as well as from the Similarity of our Studies. He at length propos'd to me travelling all over Europe together, supporting ourselves everywhere by working at our Business. I was once inclin'd to it. But mentioning it to my good Friend Mr. Denham, with whom I often spent an Hour, when I had Leisure. He dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only of returning to Pensilvania, which he was now about to do.[48]

I must record one Trait of this good Man's Character. He had formerly been in Business at Bristol, but fail'd in Debt to a Number of People, compounded and went to America. There, by a close Application to Business as a Merchant, he acquir'd a plentiful Fortune in a few Years. Returning to England in the Ship with me, He invited his old Creditors to an Entertainment, at which he thank'd them for the easy Composition they had favour'd him with, and when they expected nothing but the Treat, every Man at the first Remove, found under his Plate an Order on a Banker for the full Amount of the unpaid Remainder with Interest.

He now told me he was about to return to Philadelphia, and should carry over a great Quantity of Goods in order to open a Store there: He propos'd to take me over as his Clerk, to keep his Books (in which he would instruct me) copy his Letters, and attend the Store. He added, that as soon as I should be acquainted with mercantile Business he would promote me by sending me with a Cargo of Flour and Bread etc to the West Indies, and procure me Commissions from others; which would be profitable, and if I manag'd well, would establish me handsomely. The Thing pleas'd me, for I was grown tired of London, remember'd with Pleasure the happy Months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and wish'd again to see it. Therefore I immediately agreed, on the Terms of Fifty Pounds a Year, Pensylvania Money less indeed than my then present Gettings as a Compositor, but affording a better Prospect.—

I now took leave of Printing; as I thought for ever, and was daily employ'd in my new Business; going about with Mr. Denham among the Tradesmen, to purchase various Articles, and seeing them pack'd up, doing Errands, calling upon Workmen to dispatch, etc. and when all was on board, I had a few Days Leisure. On one of these Days I was to my Surprise sent for by a great Man I knew only by Name, a Sir William Wyndham and I waited upon him. He had heard by some means or other of my Swimming from Chelsey to Blackfryars, and of my teaching Wygate and another young Man to swim in a few Hours. He had two Sons about to set out on their Travels; he wish'd to[49] have them first taught Swimming; and propos'd to gratify me handsomely if I would teach them.—They were not yet come to Town and my Stay was uncertain, so I could not undertake it. But from this Incident I thought it likely, that if I were to remain in England and open a Swimming School, I might get a good deal of Money. And it struck me so strongly, that had the Overture been sooner made me, probably I should not so soon have returned to America.—After many Years, you and I had something of more Importance to do with one of these Sons of Sir William Wyndham, become Earl of Egremont, which I shall mention in its Place.—[This promise Franklin did not fulfill.]

Thus I spent about 18 Months in London. Most Part of the Time, I work'd hard at my Business, and spent but little upon myself except in seeing Plays, and in Books.—My Friend Ralph had kept me poor. He owed me about 27 Pounds; which I was now never likely to receive; a great Sum out of my small Earnings. I lov'd him notwithstanding, for he had many amiable Qualities.—Tho' I had by no means improv'd my Fortune. But I had pick'd up some very ingenious Acquaintance whose Conversation was of great Advantage to me, and I had read considerably.

We sail'd from Gravesend on the 23d of July 1726. For the Incidents of the Voyage, I refer you to my Journal, where you will find them all minutely related. Perhaps the most important Part of that Journal is the Plan [This Plan is not found in the Journal printed in Writings, II, 53-86.] to be found in it which I formed at Sea, for regulating my future Conduct in Life. It is the more remarkable, as being formed when I was so young, and yet being pretty faithfully adhered to quite thro' to old Age.—We landed in Philadelphia on the 11th of October, where I found sundry Alterations. Keith was no longer Governor, being superceded by Major Gordon: I met him walking the Streets as a common Citizen. He seem'd a little asham'd at seeing me, but pass'd without saying any thing. I should have been as much asham'd at seeing Miss Read, had not her Frds, despairing with Reason of my Return, after the Receipt of my Letter, persuaded[50] her to marry another, one Rogers, a Potter, which was done in my Absence. With him however she was never happy, and soon parted from him, refusing to cohabit with him, or bear his Name[,] it being now said that he had another Wife. He was a worthless Fellow tho' an excellent Workman[,] which was the Temptation to her Friends. He got into Debt, ran away in 1727 or 28. and went to the West Indies, and died there. Keimer had got a better House, a Shop well supply'd with Stationary[,] plenty of new Types, a number of Hands tho' none good, and seem'd to have a great deal of Business.

Mr. Denham took a Store in Water Street, where we open'd our Goods. I attended the Business diligently, studied Accounts, and grew in a little Time expert at selling. We lodg'd and boarded together, he counsell'd me as a Father, having a sincere Regard for me: I respected and lov'd him: and we might have gone on together very happily: But in the Beginning of Feby 172-6/7 when I had just pass'd my 21st Year, we both were taken ill. My Distemper was a Pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off:—I suffered a good deal, gave up the Point in my own mind, and was rather disappointed when I found my Self recovering; regretting in some degree that I must now some time or other have all that disagreeable Work to do over again.—I forget what his Distemper was. It held him a long time, and at length carried him off. He left me a small Legacy in a nuncupative Will, as a Token of his Kindness for me, and he left me once more to the wide World. For the Store was taken into the Care of his Executors, and my Employment under him ended:—My Brother-in-law Holmes, being now at Philadelphia, advised my Return to my Business. And Keimer tempted me with an Offer of large Wages by the Year to come and take the Management of his Printing-House, that he might better attend his Stationer's Shop.—I had heard a bad Character of him in London, from his Wife and her Friends, and was not fond of having any more to do with him. I try'd for farther Employment as a Merchant's Clerk; but not readily meeting with any, I clos'd again with Keimer.—

I found in his House these Hands; Hugh Meredith a Welsh-Pensilvanian,[51] 30 Years of Age, bred to Country Work: honest, sensible, had a great deal of solid Observation, was something of a Reader, but given to drink: Stephen Potts, a young Country Man of full Age, bred to the Same:—of uncommon natural Parts, and great Wit and Humour, but a little idle. These he had agreed with at extream low Wages, p[er] Week, to be rais'd a Shilling every 3 Months, as they would deserve by improving in their Business, and the Expectation of these high Wages to come on hereafter was what he had drawn them in with. Meredith was to work at Press, Potts at Bookbinding, which he by Agreement, was to teach them, tho' he knew neither one nor t'other. John —— a wild Irishman brought up to no Business, whose Service for 4 Years Keimer had purchas'd from the Captain of a Ship. He too was to be made a Pressman. George Webb, an Oxford Scholar, whose Time for 4 Years he had likewise bought, intending him for a Compositor: of whom more presently. And David Harry, a Country Boy, whom he had taken Apprentice. I soon perceiv'd that the Intention of engaging me at Wages so much higher than he had been us'd to give, was to have these raw cheap Hands form'd thro' me, and as soon as I had instructed them, then, they being all articled to him, he should be able to do without me.—I went on however, very chearfully; put his Printing House in Order, which had been in great Confusion, and brought his Hands by degrees to mind their Business and to do it better.

It was an odd Thing to find an Oxford Scholar in the Situation of a bought Servant. He was not more than 18 Years of Age, and gave me this Account of himself; that he was born in Gloucester, educated at a Grammar School there, had been distinguish'd among the Scholars for some apparent Superiority in performing his Part when they exhibited Plays; belong'd to the Witty Club there, and had written some Pieces in Prose and Verse which were printed in the Gloucester Newspapers.—Thence he was sent to Oxford; where he continu'd about a Year, but not well-satisfy'd, wishing of all things to see London and become a Player. At length receiving his Quarterly Allowance of 15 Guineas, instead of discharging his Debts, he walk'd out of[52] Town, hid his Gown in a Furz Bush, and footed it to London, where having no Friend to advise him, he fell into bad Company, soon spent his Guineas, found no means of being introduc'd among the Players, grew necessitous, pawn'd his Cloaths and wanted Bread. Walking the Street very hungry, and not knowing what to do with himself, a Crimp's Bill was put into his Hand, offering immediate Entertainment and Encouragement to such as would bind themselves to serve in America. He went directly, sign'd the Indentures, was put into the Ship and came over; never writing a Line to acquaint his Friends what was become of him. He was lively, witty, good-natur'd, and a pleasant Companion, but idle, thoughtless and imprudent to the last Degree.

John the Irishman soon ran away. With the rest I began to live very agreably; for they all respected me, the more as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and that from me they learnt something daily. We never work'd on a Saturday, that being Keimer's Sabbath. So I had two Days for Reading.—My Acquaintance with ingenious People in the Town, increased. Keimer himself treated me with great Civility, and apparent Regard; and nothing now made me uneasy but my Debt to Vernon, which I was yet unable to pay being hitherto but a poor Oeconomist. He however kindly made no Demand of it.

Our Printing-House often wanted Sorts, and there was no Letter Founder in America. I had seen Types cast at James's in London, but without much Attention to the Manner: However I now contriv'd a Mould, made use of the Letters we had, as Puncheons, struck the Matrices in Lead, and thus supply'd in a pretty tolerable way all Deficiencies. I also engrav'd several Things on occasion. I made the Ink, I was Warehouse-man and every thing, in short quite a Factotum.—

But however serviceable I might be, I found that my Services became every Day of less Importance, as the other Hands improv'd in the Business. And when Keimer paid my second Quarter's Wages, he let me know that he felt them too heavy, and thought I should make an Abatement. He grew by degrees less civil, put on more of the Master, frequently found Fault,[53] was captious and seem'd ready for an Out-breaking. I went on nevertheless with a good deal of Patience, thinking that his incumber'd Circumstances were partly the Cause. At length a Trifle snapt our Connexion. For a great Noise happening near the Courthouse, I put my Head out of the Window to see what was the Matter. Keimer being in the Street look'd up and saw me, call'd out to me in a loud voice and angry Tone to mind my Business, adding some reproachful Words, that nettled me the more for their Publicity, all the Neighbours who were looking out on the same Occasion being Witnesses how I was treated. He came up immediately into the Printing-House, continu'd the Quarrel, high Words pass'd on both Sides, he gave me the Quarter's Warning we had stipulated, expressing a Wish that he had not been oblig'd to so long a Warning: I told him his Wish was unnecessary for I would leave him that Instant; and so taking my Hat walk'd out of Doors; desiring Meredith whom I saw below to take care of some Things I left, and bring them to my Lodging.—

Meredith came accordingly in the Evening, when we talk'd my Affair over. He had conceiv'd a great Regard for me, and was very unwilling that I should leave the House while he remain'd in it. He dissuaded me from returning to my native Country which I began to think of. He reminded me that Keimer was in debt for all he possess'd, that his Creditors began to be uneasy, that he kept his Shop miserably, sold often without Profit for ready Money, and often trusted without keeping Accounts. That he must therefore fail; which would make a Vacancy I might profit of.—I objected my Want of Money. He then let me know, that his Father had a high Opinion of me, and from some Discourse that had pass'd between them, he was sure would advance Money to set us up, if I would enter into Partner Ship with him. My Time, says he, will be out with Keimer in the Spring. By that time we may have our Press and Types in from London: I am sensible I am no Workman. If you like it, Your Skill in the Business shall be set against the Stock I furnish; and we will share the Profits equally.—The Proposal was agreable, and I consented. His Father was in Town, and approv'd[54] of it, the more as he saw I had great Influence with his Son, had prevail'd on him to abstain long from Dramdrinking, and he hop'd might break him of that wretched Habit entirely, when we came to be so closely connected. I gave an Inventory to the Father, who carry'd it to a Merchant; the Things were sent for; the Secret was to be kept till they should arrive, and in the mean time I was to get work if I could at the other Printing House. But I found no Vacancy there, and so remain'd idle a few Days, when Keimer, on a Prospect of being employ'd to print some Paper-Money, in New Jersey, which would require Cuts and various Types that I only could supply, and apprehending Bradford might engage me and get the Jobb from him, sent me a very civil Message, that old Friends should not part for a few Words the Effect of sudden Passion, and wishing me to return. Meredith persuaded me to comply, as it would give more Opportunity for his Improvement under my daily Instructions.—So I return'd, and we went on more smoothly than for some time before. The New Jersey Jobb was obtained. I contriv'd a Copper-Plate Press for it, the first that had been seen in the Country. I cut several Ornaments and Checks for the Bills. We went together to Burlington, where I executed the Whole to Satisfaction, and he received so large a Sum for the Work, as to be enabled thereby to keep his Head much longer above Water.

At Burlington I made an Acquaintance with many principal People of the Province. Several of them had been appointed by the Assembly a Committee to attend the Press, and take Care that no more Bills were printed than the Law directed. They were therefore by Turns constantly with us, and generally he who attended brought with him a Friend or two for Company. My Mind having been much more improv'd by Reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that Reason my Conversation seem'd to be more valu'd. They had me to their Houses, introduc'd me to their Friends and show'd me much Civility, while he, tho' the Master, was a little neglected. In truth he was an odd Fish, ignorant of common Life, fond of rudely opposing receiv'd Opinions, slovenly to extream dirtiness, enthusiastic in[55] some Points of Religion, and a little Knavish withal. We continu'd there near 3 Months, and by that time I could reckon among my acquired Friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustill, the Secretary of the Province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper and several of the Smiths, Members of Assembly, and Isaac Decow the Surveyor General. The latter was a shrewd sagacious old Man, who told me that he began for himself when young by wheeling Clay for the Brickmakers, learnt to write after he was of Age, carry'd the Chain for Surveyors, who taught him Surveying, and he had now by his Industry acquir'd a good Estate; and says he, I foresee, that you will soon work this Man out of his Business and make a Fortune in it at Philadelphia. He had not then the least Intimation of my Intention to set up there or any where. These Friends were afterwards of great use to me, as I occasionally was to some of them. They all continued their Regard for me as long as they lived.—

Before I enter upon my public Appearance in Business it may be well to let you know the then State of my Mind, with regard to my Principles and Morals, that you may see how far those influenc'd the future Events of my Life. My Parent's [sic] had early given me religious Impressions, and brought me through my Childhood piously in the Dissenting Way. But I was scarce 15 when, after doubting by turns of several Points as I found them disputed in the different Books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation it self. Some Books against Deism fell into my Hands; they were said to be the Substance of Sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an Effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them: For the Arguments of the Deists which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much Stronger than the Refutations. In short I soon became a thorough Deist. My Arguments perverted some others, particularly Collins and Ralph: but each of them having afterwards wrong'd me greatly without the least Compunction and recollecting Keith's Conduct towards me, (who was another Freethinker) and my own towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at Times gave me great Trouble, I began to suspect that this Doctrine tho' it might be true, was not very useful.—My[56] London Pamphlet, which had for its Motto these Lines of Dryden

Whatever is, is right. Tho' purblind Man
Sees but a Part of the Chain, the nearest Link,
His Eyes not carrying to the equal Beam,
That poises all, above.

And from the Attributes of God, his infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Power concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the World, and that Vice and Virtue were empty Distinctions, no such Things existing: appear'd now not so clever a Performance as I once thought it; and I doubted whether some Error had not insinuated itself unperceiv'd, into my Argument, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is common in metaphysical Reasonings.—I grew convinc'd that Truth, Sincerity and Integrity in Dealings between Man and Man, were of the utmost Importance to the Felicity of Life, and I form'd written Resolutions, (wch still remain in my Journal Book) to practice them everwhile I lived. Revelation had indeed no weight with me as such; but I entertain'd an Opinion, that tho' certain Actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by it, or good because it commanded them; yet probably those Actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own Natures, all the Circumstances of things considered. And this Persuasion, with the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian Angel, or accidental favourable Circumstances and Situations, or all together, preserved me (thro' this dangerous Time of Youth and the hazardous Situations I was sometimes in among Strangers, remote from the Eye and Advice of my Father) without any wilful gross Immorality or Injustice that might have been expected from my Want of Religion. I say wilful, because the Instances I have mentioned, had something of Necessity in them, from my Youth, Inexperience, and the Knavery of others. I had therefore a tolerable Character to begin the World with, I valued it properly, and determin'd to preserve it.—

We had not been long return'd to Philadelphia, before the[57] New Types arriv'd from London. We settled with Keimer, and left him by his Consent before he heard of it.—We found a House to hire near the Market, and took it. To lessen the Rent, (which was then but 24£ a Year tho' I have since known it let for 70) We took in Tho' Godfrey a Glazier and his Family, who were to pay a considerable Part of it to us, and we to board with them. We had scarce opened our Letters and put our Press in Order, before George House, an Acquaintance of mine, brought a Countryman to us, whom he had met in the Street enquiring for a Printer. All our Cash was now expended in the Variety of Particulars we had been obliged to procure and this Countryman's Five Shillings being our first Fruits, and coming so seasonably, gave me more Pleasure than any Crown I have since earned; and from the Gratitude I felt towards House, has made me often more ready, than perhaps I should otherwise have been to assist young Beginners.

There are Croakers in every Country always boding its Ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia, a Person of Note, an elderly Man, with a wise Look, and very grave Manner of speaking. His Name was Samuel Mickle. This Gentleman, a Stranger to me, stopt one Day at my Door, and asked me if I was the young Man who had lately opened a new Printing House: Being answered in the Affirmative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive Undertaking and the Expence would be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking Place, the People already half Bankrupts or near being so; all Appearances to the contrary, such as hew Buildings and the Rise of Rents being to his certain Knowledge fallacious; for they were in fact among the Things that would soon ruin us.—And he gave me such a Detail of Misfortunes, now existing or that were soon to exist, that he left me half melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged in this Business, probably I never should have done it.—This Man continued to live in this decaying Place; and to declaim in the same Strain, refusing for many Years to buy a House there, because all was going to Destruction, and at last I had the Pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for, when he first began his Croaking.[58]

I should have mentioned before, that in the Autumn of the proceeding Year I had formed most of my ingenious Acquaintance into a Club of mutual Improvement, which we called the Junto. We met on Friday Evenings. The Rules I drew up required that every Member in his Turn should produce one or more Queries on any Point of Morals, Politics or Natural Philosophy, to be discussed by the Company, and once in three Months produce and read an Essay of his own Writing on any Subject he pleased. Our Debates were to be under the Direction of a President and to be conducted in the sincere Spirit of Enquiry after Truth, without Fondness for Dispute, or Desire of Victory; and to prevent Warmth all Expressions of Positiveness in Opinions or direct Contradiction, were after some time made contraband and prohibited under small pecuniary Penalties.—The first Members were Joseph Breintnal,[6] a Copyer of Deeds for the Scriveners; a good-natur'd friendly middle-ag'd Man, a great Lover of Poetry, reading all he could meet with, and writing some that was tolerable; very ingenious in many little Nicknackeries, and of sensible Conversation. Thomas Godfrey,[7] a self-taught Mathematician, great in his Way, and afterwards Inventor of what is now call'd Hadley's Quadrant. But he knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing Companion, as like most Great Mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal Precision in every thing said, or was forever denying or distinguishing upon Trifles, to the Disturbance of all Conversation. He soon left us. Nicholas Scull, a Surveyor, afterwards Surveyor-General, who lov'd Books, and sometimes made a few Verses. William Parsons,[8] bred a Shoemaker, but loving Reading, had acquir'd a considerable Share of Mathematics, which he first studied with a View to Astrology that he afterwards laught at. He also became Surveyor General. William Maugridge, a Joiner, a most exquisite Mechanic and a solid sensible Man. Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb, I have Characteris'd before. Robert Grace, a young Gentleman of some Fortune, generous, lively and witty, a Lover of Punning and of his Friends. And William Coleman, then a Merchant's Clerk, about my Age, who had the coolest clearest Head, the best[59] Heart, and the exactest Morals, of almost any Man I ever met with. He became afterwards a Merchant of great Note, and one of our Provincial Judges. Our Friendship continued without Interruption to his death upwards of 40 Years. And the club continu'd almost as long[,] and was the best School of Philosophy, and Politics that then existed in the Province; for our Queries which were read the Week preceding their Discussion, put us on reading with Attention upon the several Subjects, that we might speak more to the purpose: and here too we acquired better Habits of Conversation, every thing being studied in our Rules which might prevent our disgusting each other. From hence the long Continuance of the Club, which I shall have frequent Occasion to speak farther of hereafter; But my giving this Account of it here, is to show something of the Interest I had, every one of these exerting themselves in recommending Business to us.—Brientnal particularly procur'd us from the Quakers, the Printing 40 Sheets of their History [William Sewel's], the rest being to be done by Keimer: and upon this we work'd exceeding hard, for the Price was low. It was a Folio, Pro Patria Size, in Pica with Long Primer Notes. I compos'd of it a Sheet a Day, and Meredith work'd it off at Press. It was often 11 at Night and sometimes later, before I had finish'd my Distribution for the next days Work: For the little Jobbs sent in by our other Friends now and then put us back. But so determin'd I was to continue doing a Sheet a Day of the Folio, that one Night when having impos'd my Forms, I thought my Days Work over, one of them by accident was broken and two Pages reduc'd to pie, I immediately distributed and compos'd it over again before I went to bed. And this Industry visible to our Neighbours began to give us Character and Credit; particularly I was told, that mention being made of the new Printing Office at the Merchants every-night Club, the general Opinion was that it must fail, there being already two Printers in the Place, Keimer and Bradford; but Dr. Baird (whom you and I saw many Years after at his native Place, St. Andrews in Scotland) gave a contrary Opinion; for the Industry of that Franklin, says he, is superior to any thing I ever saw of the kind: I see him still at[60] work when I go home from Club; and he is at Work again before his Neighbours are out of bed. This struck the rest, and we soon after had Offers from one of them to Supply us with Stationary. But as yet we did not chuse to engage in Shop Business.

I mention this Industry the more particularly and the more freely, tho' it seems to be talking in my own Praise, that those of my Posterity who shall read it, may know the Use of that Virtue, when they see its Effects in my Favour throughout this Relation.—

George Webb, who had found a Friend that lent him wherewith to purchase his Time of Keimer, now came to offer himself as a Journeyman to us. We could not then imploy him, but I foolishly let him know, as a Secret, that I soon intended to begin a Newspaper, and might then have Work for him. My Hopes of Success as I told him were founded on this, that the then only Newspaper [the American Weekly Mercury], printed by Bradford was a paltry thing, wretchedly manag'd, no way entertaining; and yet was profitable to him.—I therefore thought a good Paper could scarcely fail of good Encouragemt. I requested Webb not to mention it, but he told it to Keimer, who immediately, to be beforehand with me, published Proposals for Printing one himself, on which Webb was to be employ'd.—I resented this, and to counteract them, as I could not yet begin our Paper, I wrote several Pieces of Entertainment for Bradford's Paper, under the Title of the Busy Body which Brientnal continu'd some Months. By this means the Attention of the Publick was fix'd on that Paper, and Keimer's Proposals which we burlesqu'd and ridicul'd, were disregarded. He began his Paper[9] however, and after carrying it on three Quarters of a Year, with at most only 90 Subscribers, he offer'd it to me for a Trifle, and I having been ready some time to go on with it, took it in hand directly, and it prov'd in a few years extreamly profitable to me.

I perceive that I am apt to speak in the singular Number, though our Partnership still continu'd. The Reason may be, that in fact the whole Management of the Business lay upon me. Meredith was no Compositor, a poor Pressman, and seldom[61] sober. My Friends lamented my Connection with him, but I was to make the best of it.

Our first Papers made a quite different Appearance from any before in the Province, a better Type and better printed [In MS is found: "Insert these Remarks, in a Note."]: but some spirited Remarks of my Writing on the Dispute then going on between Govr Burnet and the Massachusetts Assembly, struck the principal People, occasion'd the Paper and the Manager of it to be much talk'd of, and in a few Weeks brought them all to be our Subscribers. Their Example was follow'd by many, and our Number went on growing continually.—This was one of the first good Effects of my having learnt a little to scribble. Another was, that the leading Men, seeing a News Paper now in the hands of one who could also handle a Pen, thought it convenient to oblige and encourage me. Bradford still printed the Votes and Laws and other Publick Business. He had printed an Address of the House to the Governor in a coarse blundering manner; We reprinted it elegantly and correctly, and sent one to every Member. They were sensible of the Difference, it strengthen'd the Hands of our Friends in the House, and they voted us their Printers for the Year ensuing.

Among my Friends in the House I must not forget Mr. Hamilton before mentioned, who was then returned from England and had a Seat in it. He interested himself for me strongly in that Instance, as he did in many others afterwards, continuing his Patronage till his Death.[D] Mr Vernon about this time put me in mind of the Debt I ow'd him: but did not press me. I wrote him an ingenuous Letter of Acknowledgments, crav'd his Forbearance a little longer which he allow'd me, and as soon as I was able I paid the Principal with Interest and many Thanks.—So that Erratum was in some degree corrected.—

[D] I got his Son once 500 £. [Franklin's note.]

But now another Difficulty came upon me, which I had never the least Reason to expect. Mr. Meredith's Father, who was to have paid for our Printing House according to the Expectations given me, was able to advance only one Hundred Pounds, Currency, which had been paid, and a Hundred more was due to the[62] Merchant; who grew impatient and su'd us all. We gave Bail, but saw that if the Money could not be rais'd in time, the Suit must come to a Judgment and Execution, and our hopeful Prospects must with us be ruined, as the Press and Letters must be sold for Payment, perhaps at half Price.—In this Distress two true Friends whose Kindness I have never forgotten nor ever shall forget while I can remember any thing, came to me separately[,] unknown to each other, and without any Application from me, offering each of them to advance me all the Money that should be necessary to enable me to take the whole Business upon myself if that should be practicable, but they did not like my continuing the Partnership with Meredith, who as they said was often seen drunk in the Streets, and playing at low Games in Alehouses, much to our Discredit. These two Friends were William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them I could not propose a Separation while any Prospect remain'd of the Merediths fulfilling their Part of our Agreement. Because I thought myself under great Obligations to them for what they had done and would do if they could. But if they finally fail'd in their Performance, and our Partnership must be dissolv'd, I should then think myself at Liberty to accept the Assistance of my Friends. Thus the matter rested for some time. When I said to my Partner, perhaps your Father is dissatisfied at the Part you have undertaken in this Affair of ours, and is unwilling to advance for you and me what he would for you alone: If that is the Case, tell me, and I will resign the whole to you and go about my Business. No[,] says he, my Father has really been disappointed and is really unable; and I am unwilling to distress him farther. I see this is a Business I am not fit for. I was bred a Farmer, and it was a Folly in me to come to Town and put my Self at 30 Years of Age an Apprentice to learn a new Trade. Many of our Welsh People are going to settle in North Carolina where Land is cheap: I am inclin'd to go with them, and following my old Employment. You may find Friends to assist you. If you will take the Debts of the Company upon you, return to my Father the hundred Pound he has advanc'd, pay my little personal Debts, and give me Thirty Pounds and a new Saddle,[63] I will relinquish the Partnership and leave the whole in your Hands. I agreed to this Proposal. It was drawn up in Writing, sign'd and seal'd immediately. I gave him what he demanded and he went soon after to Carolina; from whence he sent me next Year two long Letters, containing the best Account that had been given of that Country, the Climate, Soil, Husbandry, etc. for in those Matters he was very judicious. I printed them in the Papers, and they gave grate Satisfaction to the Publick.

As soon as he was gone, I recurr'd to my two Friends; and because I would not give an unkind Preference to either, I took half what each had offered and I wanted, of one, and half of the other; paid off the Company Debts, and went on with the Business in my own Name, advertising that the Partnership was dissolved. I think this was in or about the Year 1729 [July 14, 1730].—

About this Time there was a Cry among the People for more Paper-Money, only 15,000£ being extant in the Province and that soon to be sunk. The wealthy Inhabitants oppos'd any Addition, being against all Paper Currency, from an Apprehension that it would depreciate as it had done in New England to the Prejudice of all Creditors.—We had discuss'd this Point in our Junto, where I was on the Side of an Addition, being persuaded that the first small Sum struck in 1723 had done much good, by increasing the Trade[,] Employment, and Number of Inhabitants in the Province, since I now saw all the old Houses inhabited, and many new ones building, where as I remember'd well, that when I first walk'd about the Streets of Philadelphia, eating my Roll, I saw most of the Houses in Walnut Street between Second and Front Streets with Bills on their Doors, to be let; and many likewise in Chesnut Street, and other Streets; which made me then think the Inhabitants of the City were deserting it, one after another.—Our Debates possess'd me so fully of the Subject, that I wrote and printed an anonymous Pamphlet on it, entituled, The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. It was well receiv'd by the common People in general; but the Rich Men dislik'd it; for it increas'd and strengthen'd the Clamour for more Money; and they happening to have no Writers[64] among them that were able to answer it, their Opposition slacken'd, and the Point was carried by a Majority in the House. My Friends there, who conceiv'd I had been of some Service, thought fit to reward me, by employing me in printing the Money, a very profitable Jobb, and a great Help to me.—This was another Advantage gain'd by my being able to write[.] The Utility of this Currency became by Time and Experience so evident, as never afterwards to be much disputed, so that it grew soon to 55,000£ and in 1739 to 80,000£ since which it arose during War to upwards of 350,000£. Trade, Building and Inhabitants all the while increasing. Tho' I now think there are Limits beyond which the Quantity may be hurtful.—

I soon after obtain'd, thro' my Friend Hamilton, the Printing of the New Castle Paper Money, another profitable Jobb, as I then thought it; small Things appearing great to those in small Circumstances. And these to me were really great Advantages, as they were great Encouragements. He procured me also the Printing of the Laws and Votes of that Government which continu'd in my Hands as long as I follow'd the Business.—

I now open'd a little Stationer's Shop. I had in it Blanks of all Sorts[,] the correctest that ever appear'd among us, being assisted in that by my Friend Brientnal; I had also Paper, Parchment, Chapmen's Books, etc. One Whitema[r]sh[,] a Compositor I had known in London, an excellent Workman now came to me and work'd with me constantly and diligently, and I took an Apprentice the Son of Aquila Rose. I began now gradually to pay off the Debt I was under for the Printing-House. In order to secure my Credit and Character as a Tradesman, I took care not only to be in Reality Industrious and frugal, but to avoid all Appearances of the Contrary. I drest plainly; I was seen at no Places of idle Diversion; I never went out a fishing or Shooting; a Book, indeed, sometimes debauch'd me from my Work; but that was seldom, snug, and gave no Scandal: and to show that I was not above my Business, I sometimes brought home the Paper I purchas'd at the Stores, thro' the Streets on a Wheelbarrow. Thus being esteem'd an industrious thriving young Man, and paying duly for what I bought, the Merchants who imported[65] Stationary solicited my Custom, others propos'd supplying me with Books, I went on swimmingly.—In the mean time Keimer's Credit and Business declining daily, he was at last forc'd to sell his Printing-house to satisfy his Creditors. He went to Barbadoes, there lived some Years, in very poor Circumstances.

His Apprentice David Harry, whom I had instructed while I work'd with him, set up in his place at Philadelphia, having bought his Materials. I was at first apprehensive of a powerful Rival in Harry, as his Friends were very able, and had a good deal of Interest. I therefore propos'd a Partnership to him; which he, fortunately for me, rejected with Scorn. He was very proud, dress'd like a Gentleman, liv'd expensively, took much Diversion and Pleasure abroad, ran in debt, and neglected his Business, upon which all Business left him; and finding nothing to do, he follow'd Keimer to Barbadoes; taking the Printing-house with him[.] There this Apprentice employ'd his former Master as a Journeyman. They quarrel'd often, Harry went continually behindhand, and at length was forc'd to sell his Types, and return to his Country work in Pensilvania. The Person that bought them, employ'd Keimer to use them, but in a few years he died. There remain'd now no Competitor with me at Philadelphia, but the old one, Bradford, who was rich and easy, did a little Printing now and then by straggling Hands, but was not very anxious about it. However, as he kept the Post Office, it was imagined he had better Opportunities of obtaining News, his Paper was thought a better Distributer of Advertisements than mine, and therefore had many more, which was a profitable thing to him and a Disadvantage to me. For tho' I did indeed receive and send Papers by Post, yet the publick Opinion was otherwise; for what I did send was by Bribing the Riders who took them privately: Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it: which occasion'd some Resentment on my Part; and I thought so meanly of him for it, that when I afterwards came into his Situation, I took care never to imitate it.

I had hitherto continu'd to board with Godfrey who lived in Part of my House with his Wife and Children, and had one[66] Side of the Shop for his Glazier's Business, tho' he work'd little, being always absorb'd in his Mathematics.—Mrs. Godfrey projected a Match for me with a Relation's Daughter, took Opportunities of bringing us often together, till a serious Courtship on my Part ensu'd, the Girl being in herself very deserving. The old Folks encourag'd me by continual Invitations to Supper, and by leaving us together, till at length it was time to explain. Mrs. Godfrey manag'd our little Treaty. I let her know that I expected as much Money with their Daughter as would pay off my Remaining Debt for the Printinghouse, which I believe was not then above a Hundred Pounds. She brought me Word they had no such Sum to spare. I said they might mortgage their House in the Loan Office.—The Answer to this after some Days was, that they did not approve the Match; that on Enquiry of Bradford they had been inform'd the Printing Business was not a profitable one, the Types would soon be worn out and more wanted, that S. Keimer and D. Harry had fail'd one after the other, and I should probably soon follow them; and therefore I was forbidden the House, and the Daughter shut up.—Whether this was a real Change of Sentiment, or only Artifice, on a Supposition of our being too far engag'd in Affection to retract, and therefore that we should steal a Marriage, which would leave them at Liberty to give or with[h]old what they pleas'd, I know not: But I suspected the latter, resented it, and went no more. Mrs. Godfrey brought me afterwards some more favourable Accounts of their Disposition, and would have drawn me on again: But I declared absolutely my Resolution to have nothing more to do with that Family. This was resented by the Godfreys, we differ'd, and they removed, leaving me the whole House, and I resolved to take no more Inmates. But this Affair having turn'd my Thoughts to Marriage, I look'd round me, and made Overtures of Acquaintance in other Places; but soon found that the Business of a Printer being generally thought a poor one, I was not to expect Money with a Wife unless with such a one, as I should not otherwise think agreable.—In the mean time, that hard-to-be-govern'd Passion of Youth, had hurried me frequently into Intrigues with low Women that fell in[67] my Way, which were attended with some Expence and great Inconvenience, besides a continual Risque to my Health by a Distemper which of all Things I dreaded, tho' by great good Luck I escaped it.—

A friendly Correspondence as Neighbours and old Acquaintances, had continued between me and Mrs. Read's Family, who all had a Regard for me from the time of my first Lodging in their House. I was often invited there and consulted in their Affairs, wherein I sometimes was of service.—I pity'd poor Miss Read's unfortunate Situation, who was generally dejected, seldom chearful, and avoided Company. I consider'd my Giddiness and Inconstancy when in London as in a great degree the Cause of her Unhappiness; tho' the Mother was good enough to think the Fault more her own than mine, as she had prevented our Marrying before I went thither, and persuaded the other Match in my Absence. Our mutual Affection was revived, but there were now great Objections to our Union. That Match was indeed look'd upon as invalid, a preceding Wife being said to be livin[g] in England; but this could not easily be prov'd, because of the Distance[.] And tho' there was a Report of his Death, it was not certain. The[n] tho' it should be true, he had left many Debts which his Successor might be call'd [on] to pay. We venture['d] however, over all these Difficulties, and I [took] her to Wife Sept. 1. 1730.[10] None of the Inconveniencies happen[ed] that we had apprehended, she prov'd a good and faithful Helpmate, assisted me much by attending the Shop, we throve together, and have ever mutually endeavour'd to make each other happy. Thus I corrected that great Erratum as wel[l] as I could.

About [th]is Time our Club meeting, not at a Tavern, but in a little Room of Mr. Grace's set apart for that Purpose; a Proposition was made by me that since our Books were often referr'd to in our Disquisitions upon the Queries, it might be convenient to us to have them all together where we met, that upon Occasion they might be consulted; and by thus clubbing our Books to a common Library, we should, while we lik'd to keep them together, have each of us the Advantage of using the Books of[68] all the other Members, which would be nearly as beneficial as if each owned the whole. It was lik'd and agreed to, and we fill'd one End of the Room with such Books as we could best spare. The Number was not so great as we expected; and tho' they had been of great Use, yet some Inconveniencies occurring for want of due Care of them, the Collection after about a Year was separated, and each took his Books home again.

And now I sent on foot my first Project of a public Nature, [th]at for a Subscription Library. [I] drew up the Proposals, got them put into Form by our great Scrivener Brockden, and by the help of my Friends in the Junto, procur'd Fifty Subscribers of 40/ each to begin with and 10/ a Year for 50 Years, the Term our Company was to continue. We afterwards obtain'd a Charter, the Company being increas'd to 100. This was the Mother of all the N American Subscription Libraries now so numerous, is become a great thing itself, and continually increasing.—These Libraries have improv'd the general Conversation of the Americans, made the common Tradesmen and Farmers as intelligent as most Gentlemen from other Countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the Stand so generally made throughout the Colonies in Defence of their Privileges.—[11]

This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repair'd in some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended for me. Reading was the only amusement I allow'd myself. I spent no time in taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind; and my industry in my business continu'd as indefatigable as it was necessary. I was indebted for my printing-house; I had a young family coming on to be educated, and I had to contend with for business two printers, who were established in the place before me. My circumstances, however, grew daily easier. My original habits of frugality continuing, and my father having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently repeated a proverb of Solomon, "Seest thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men," I from thence considered industry as[69] a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd me, tho' I did not think that I should ever literally stand before kings, which, however, has since happened; for I have stood before five, and even had the honour of sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner.

We have an English proverb that says, "He that would thrive, must ask his wife." It was lucky for me that I had one as much dispos'd to industry and frugality as myself. She assisted me chearfully in my business, folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing old linen rags for the paper-makers, etc., etc. We kept no idle servants, our table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest. For instance, my breakfast was a long time bread and milk (no tea), and I ate it out of a twopenny earthen porringer, with a pewter spoon. But mark how luxury will enter families, and make a progress, in spite of principle: being call'd one morning to breakfast, I found it in a China bowl, with a spoon of silver! They had been bought for me without my knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the enormous sum of three-and-twenty shillings, for which she had no other excuse or apology to make, but that she thought her husband deserv'd a silver spoon and China bowl as well as any of his neighbors. This was the first appearance of plate and China in our house, which afterward, in a course of years, as our wealth increas'd, augmented gradually to several hundred pounds in value.

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and tho' some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we[70] had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contribution, my mite for such purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.

Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to attend his administrations, and I was now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five Sundays successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; but his discourses were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforc'd, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.

At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any praise, think on these things." And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality. But he confin'd himself to five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz.: 1. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers. These might be all good things; but, as they were not the kind of good things that I expected from[71] that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. I had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), entitled Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I return'd to the use of this, and went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be blameable, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make apologies for them.

It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish'd to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While my care was employ'd in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the following method.

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by some confined to eating and drinking, while by others it was extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appetite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice and ambition. I propos'd to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex'd to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr'd to me as necessary or desirable, and[72] annexed to each a short precept, which fully express'd the extent I gave to its meaning.

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

1. Temperance

Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. Silence

Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order

Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution

Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. Industry

Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity

Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice

Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation

Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.[73]

11. Tranquillity

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity

Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13. Humility

Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquir'd and establish'd, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and considering that in conversation it was obtain'd rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave Silence the second place. This and the next, Order, I expected would allow me more time for attending to my project and my studies. Resolution, once become habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavours to obtain all the subsequent virtues; Frugality and Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc., etc. Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the[74] advice of Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would be necessary, I contrived the following method for conducting that examination.

I made a little book,[12] in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I rul'd each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I cross'd these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.

Form of the Pages

S.** * * 
O.* *** ***
R.  *  * 
F. *  *  
I.  *    

I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid every the least offence against Temperance, leaving[75] the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so much strengthen'd, and its opposite weaken'd, that I might venture-extending my attention to include the next, and for the following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could go thro' a course compleat in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen weeks' daily examination.

This my little book had for its motto these lines from Addison's Cato:

Here will I hold. If there's a power 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.

Another from Cicero,

O vitæ Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix expultrixque vitiorum! Unus dies, bene et ex præceptis tuis actus, peccanti immortalitati est anteponendus.

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of wisdom or virtue:

Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.—iii. 16, 17.

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer, which was prefix'd to my tables of examination, for daily use.[76]

O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me.

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from Thomson's Poems, viz.:

Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme!
O teach me what is good; teach me Thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!

The precept of Order requiring that every part of my business should have its allotted time, one page in my little book contain'd the following scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of a natural day.

The Morning.
Question. What good shall I do this day?
bracket left 5

bracket right
Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive day's business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast.
bracket left
Noon. bracket left 12
bracket right
Read, or overlook my accounts, and dine.
bracket left
Question. What good have I done to-day?
bracket left 6
bracket right
Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day.[77]
Night. bracket left 10
bracket right

I enter'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continu'd it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was surpris'd to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. To avoid the trouble of renewing now and then my little book, which, by scraping out the marks on the paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a new course, became full of holes, I transferr'd my tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, on which the lines were drawn with red ink, that made a durable stain, and on those lines I mark'd my faults with a black-lead pencil, which marks I could easily wipe out with a wet sponge. After a while I went thro' one course only in a year, and afterward only one in several years, till at length I omitted them entirely, being employ'd in voyages and business abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs that interfered; but I always carried my little book with me.

My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I found that, tho' it might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours. Order, too, with regard to places for things, papers, etc., I found extreamly difficult to acquire. I had not been early accustomed to it, and, having an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method. This article, therefore, cost me so much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed me so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty character in that respect, like the man who, in buying an ax of a smith, my[78] neighbour, desired to have the whole of its surface as bright as the edge. The smith consented to grind it bright for him if he would turn the wheel; he turn'd, while the smith press'd the broad face of the ax hard and heavily on the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing. The man came every now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on, and at length would take his ax as it was, without farther grinding. "No," said the smith, "turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet, it is only speckled." "Yes," says the man, "but I think I like a speckled ax best." And I believe this may have been the case with many, who, having, for want of some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax was best"; for something, that pretended to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to Order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it. But, on the whole, tho' I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho' they never reach the wish'd-for excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavour, and is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor ow'd the constant felicity of his life, down to his 79th year in which this is written. What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence; but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to help his bearing them with more[79] resignation. To Temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance. I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.

It will be remark'd that, tho' my scheme was not wholly without religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets of any particular sect. I had purposely avoided them; for, being fully persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it might be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some time or other to publish it, I would not have any thing in it that should prejudice any one, of any sect, against it. I purposed writing a little comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the advantages of possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite vice; and I should have called my book The Art of Virtue,[E] because it would have shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that does not instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle's man of verbal charity, who only, without showing to the naked and hungry how or where they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed.—James ii. 15, 16.

[E] Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as virtue. [Franklin's note.]

But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this comment was never fulfilled. I did, indeed, from time to time, put down short hints of the sentiments, reasonings, etc.,[80] to be made use of in it, some of which I have still by me; but the necessary close attention to private business in the earlier part of my life, and public business since, have occasioned my postponing it; for, it being connected in my mind with a great and extensive project, that required the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen succession of employs prevented my attending to, it has hitherto remain'd unfinish'd.

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore, every one's interest to be virtuous who wish'd to be happy even in this world; and I should, from this circumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich merchants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest instruments for the management of their affairs, and such being so rare), have endeavoured to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man's fortune as those of probity and integrity.

My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny'd myself the[81] pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear'd or seem'd to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag'd in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I propos'd my opinions procur'd them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail'd with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.[13]...

Having mentioned a great and extensive project which I had conceiv'd, it seems proper that some account should be here given of that project and its object. Its first rise in my mind appears in the following little paper, accidentally preserv'd, viz.:

Observations on my reading history, in Library, May 19th, 1731.[82]

"That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions, etc., are carried on and affected by parties.

"That the view of these parties is their present general interest, or what they take to be such.

"That the different views of these different parties occasion all confusion.

"That while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has his particular private interest in view.

"That as soon as a party has gain'd its general point, each member becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, and occasions more confusion.

"That few in public affairs act from a meer view of the good of their country, whatever they may pretend; and, tho' their actings bring real good to their country, yet men primarily considered that their own and their country's interest was united, and did not act from a principle of benevolence.

"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of mankind.

"There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a United Party for Virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of all nations into a regular body, to be govern'd by suitable good and wise rules, which good and wise men may probably be more unanimous in their obedience to, than common people are to common laws.

"I at present think that whoever attempts this aright, and is well qualified, can not fail of pleasing God, and of meeting with success.

B. F."

Revolving this project in my mind, as to be undertaken hereafter, when my circumstances should afford me the necessary leisure, I put down from time to time, on pieces of paper, such thoughts as occurr'd to me respecting it. Most of these are lost; but I find one purporting to be the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the essentials of every known religion, and being free of every thing that might shock the[83] professors of any religion. It is express'd in these words, viz.:

"That there is one God, who made all things.

"That he governs the world by his providence.

"That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving.

"But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.

"That the soul is immortal.

"And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice, either here or hereafter."

My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun and spread at first among young and single men only; that each person to be initiated should not only declare his assent to such creed, but should have exercised himself with the thirteen weeks' examination and practice of the virtues, as in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of such a society should be kept a secret, till it was become considerable, to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper persons, but that the members should each of them search among his acquaintance for ingenuous, well-disposed youths, to whom, with prudent caution, the scheme should be gradually communicated; that the members should engage to afford their advice, assistance, and support to each other in promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement in life; that, for distinction, we should be call'd The Society of the Free and Easy: free, as being, by the general practice and habit of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice; and particularly by the practice of industry and frugality, free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, and a species of slavery to his creditors.

This is as much as I can now recollect of the project, except that I communicated it in part to two young men, who adopted it with some enthusiasm; but my then narrow circumstances, and the necessity I was under of sticking close to my business, occasion'd my postponing the further prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious occupations, public and private, induc'd[84] me to continue postponing, so that it has been omitted till I have no longer strength or activity left sufficient for such an enterprise; tho' I am still of opinion that it was a practicable scheme, and might have been very useful, by forming a great number of good citizens; and I was not discourag'd by the seeming magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, makes the execution of that same plan his sole study and business.

In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continu'd by me about twenty-five years, commonly call'd Poor Richard's Almanack. I endeavour'd to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand, that I reap'd considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand.[14] And observing that it was generally read, scarce any neighborhood in the province being without it, I consider'd it as a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who bought scarcely any other books; I therefore filled all the little spaces that occurr'd between the remarkable days in the calendar with proverbial sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; it being more difficult for a man in want, to act always honestly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.

These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I assembled and form'd into a connected discourse prefix'd to the Almanack of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an auction. The bringing all these scatter'd counsels thus into a focus enabled them to make greater impression. The piece, being universally approved, was copied in all the newspapers of the Continent; reprinted in Britain on a broad side, to be stuck up in houses; two translations were made of it in French, and great numbers bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute gratis among their poor parishioners[85] and tenants. In Pennsylvania, as it discouraged useless expense in foreign superfluities, some thought it had its share of influence in producing that growing plenty of money which was observable for several years after its publication.

I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of communicating instruction, and in that view frequently reprinted in it extracts from the Spectator, and other moral writers; and sometimes publish'd little pieces of my own, which had been first compos'd for reading in our Junto. Of these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, whatever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could not properly be called a man of sense; and a discourse on self-denial, showing that virtue was not secure till its practice became a habitude, and was free from the opposition of contrary inclinations. These may be found in the papers about the beginning of 1735.[15]

In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully excluded all libelling and personal abuse, which is of late years become so disgraceful to our country. Whenever I was solicited to insert any thing of that kind, and the writers pleaded, as they generally did, the liberty of the press, and that a newspaper was like a stage-coach, in which any one who would pay had a right to a place, my answer was, that I would print the piece separately if desired, and the author might have as many copies as he pleased to distribute himself, but that I would not take upon me to spread his detraction; and that, having contracted with my subscribers to furnish them with what might be either useful or entertaining, I could not fill their papers with private altercation, in which they had no concern, without doing them manifest injustice. Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neighboring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences. These things I mention as a caution to young printers, and that they may be encouraged not to pollute their presses and disgrace[86] their profession by such infamous practices, but refuse steadily, as they may see by my example that such a course of conduct will not, on the whole, be injurious to their interests.

I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made myself so much a master of the French as to be able to read the books with ease. I then undertook the Italian. An acquaintance, who was also learning it, us'd often to tempt me to play chess with him. Finding this took up too much of the time I had to spare for study, I at length refus'd to play any more, unless on this condition, that the victor in every game should have a right to impose a task, either in parts of the grammar to be got by heart, or in translations, etc., which tasks the vanquish'd was to perform upon honour, before our next meeting. As we play'd pretty equally, we thus beat one another into that language. I afterwards with a little painstaking, acquir'd as much of the Spanish as to read their books also.

I have already mention'd that I had only one year's instruction in a Latin school, and that when very young, after which I neglected that language entirely. But, when I had attained an acquaintance with the French, Italian, and Spanish, I was surpriz'd to find, on looking over a Latin Testament, that I understood so much more of that language than I had imagined, which encouraged me to apply myself again to the study of it, and I met with more success, as those preceding languages had greatly smooth'd my way.

From these circumstances, I have thought that there is some inconsistency in our common mode of teaching languages. We are told that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and, having acquir'd that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are deriv'd from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek, in order more easily to acquire the Latin. It is true that, if you can clamber and get to the top of a staircase without using the steps, you will more easily gain them in descending; but certainly, if you begin with the lowest you will with more ease ascend to the top; and I would therefore offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the education of our[87] youth, whether, since many of those who begin with the Latin quit the same after spending some years without having made any great proficiency, and what they have learnt becomes almost useless, so that their time has been lost, it would not have been better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian, etc.; for, tho', after spending the same time, they should quit the study of languages and never arrive at the Latin, they would, however, have acquired another tongue or two, that, being in modern use, might be serviceable to them in common life.

Our club, the Junto, was found so useful, and afforded such satisfaction to the members, that several were desirous of introducing their friends, which could not well be done without exceeding what we had settled as a convenient number, viz., twelve. We had from the beginning made it a rule to keep our institution a secret, which was pretty well observ'd; the intention was to avoid applications of improper persons for admittance, some of whom, perhaps, we might find it difficult to refuse. I was one of those who were against any addition to our number, but, instead of it, made in writing a proposal, that every member separately should endeavour to form a subordinate club, with the same rules respecting queries, etc., and without informing them of the connection with the Junto. The advantages proposed were, the improvement of so many more young citizens by the use of our institutions; our better acquaintance with the general sentiments of the inhabitants on any occasion, as the Junto member might propose what queries we should desire, and was to report to the Junto what pass'd in his separate club; the promotion of our particular interests in business by more extensive recommendation, and the increase of our influence in public affairs, and our power of doing good by spreading thro' the several clubs the sentiments of the Junto.

The project was approv'd, and every member undertook to form his club, but they did not all succeed. Five or six only were compleated, which were called by different names, as the Vine, the Union, the Band, etc. They were useful to themselves,[88] and afforded us a good deal of amusement, information, and instruction, besides answering, in some considerable degree, our views of influencing the public opinion on particular occasions, of which I shall give some instances in course of time as they happened.

I began now to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs,[16] beginning, however, with small matters. The city watch was one of the first things that I conceiv'd to want regulation. It was managed by the constables of the respective wards in turn; the constable warned a number of housekeepers to attend him for the night. Those who chose never to attend, paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, which was suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reality, much more than was necessary for that purpose, and made the constableship a place of profit; and the constable, for a little drink, often got such ragamuffins about him as a watch, that respectable housekeepers did not choose to mix with. Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and most of the nights spent in tippling. I thereupon wrote a paper to be read in Junto, representing these irregularities, but insisting more particularly on the inequality of this six-shilling tax of the constables, respecting the circumstances of those who paid it, since a poor widow housekeeper, all whose property to be guarded by the watch did not perhaps exceed the value of fifty pounds, paid as much as the wealthiest merchant, who had thousands of pounds' worth of goods in his stores.

On the whole, I proposed as a more effectual watch, the hiring of proper men to serve constantly in that business; and as a more equitable way of supporting the charge, the levying a tax that should be proportion'd to the property. This idea, being approv'd by the Junto, was communicated to the other clubs, but as arising in each of them; and though the plan was not immediately carried into execution, yet, by preparing the minds of people for the change, it paved the way for the law obtained a few years after, when the members of our clubs were grown into more influence.

About this time I wrote a paper (first to be read in Junto, but[89] it was afterward publish'd) on the different accidents and carelessnesses by which houses were set on fire, with cautions against them, and means proposed of avoiding them. This was much spoken of as a useful piece, and gave rise to a project, which soon followed it, of forming a company for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and mutual assistance in removing and securing of goods when in danger. Associates in this scheme were presently found, amounting to thirty. Our articles of agreement oblig'd every member to keep always in good order, and fit for use, a certain number of leather buckets, with strong bags and baskets (for packing and transporting of goods), which were to be brought to every fire; and we agreed to meet once a month and spend a social evening together, in discoursing and communicating such ideas as occurred to us upon the subject of fires, as might be useful in our conduct on such occasions.

The utility of this institution soon appeared, and many more desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for one company, they were advised to form another, which was accordingly done; and this went on, one new company being formed after another, till they became so numerous as to include most of the inhabitants who were men of property; and now, at the time of my writing this, tho' upward of fifty years since its establishment, that which I first formed, called the Union Fire Company, still subsists and flourishes, tho' the first members are all deceas'd but myself and one, who is older by a year than I am. The small fines that have been paid by members for absence at the monthly meetings have been apply'd to the purchase of fire-engines, ladders, fire-hooks, and other useful implements for each company, so that I question whether there is a city in the world better provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning conflagrations; and, in fact, since these institutions, the city has never lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time, and the flames have often been extinguished before the house in which they began has been half consumed.

In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr. Whitefield, who had made himself remarkable there as an itinerant[90] preacher. He was at first permitted to preach in some of our churches; but the clergy, taking a dislike to him, soon refus'd him their pulpits, and he was oblig'd to preach in the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admir'd and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring them they were naturally half beasts and half devils. It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.

I happened soon after to attend one of his sermons, in the course of which I perceived he intended to finish with a collection, and I silently resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of his oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to give the silver; and he finish'd so admirably, that I empty'd my pocket wholly into the collector's dish, gold and all. At this sermon there was also one of our club, who, being of my sentiments respecting the building in Georgia and, suspecting a collection might be intended, had, by precaution, emptied his pockets before he came from home. Towards the conclusion of the discourse, however, he felt a strong desire to give, and apply'd to a neighbour, who stood near him, to borrow some money for the purpose. The application was unfortunately [made] to perhaps the only man in the company who had the firmness not to be affected by the preacher. His answer was, "At any other time, Friend Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but not now, for thee seems to be out of thy right senses."

He [Rev. Whitefield] us'd, indeed, sometimes to pray for my[91] conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard. Ours was a mere civil friendship, sincere on both sides, and lasted to his death.[17]

The following instance will show something of the terms on which we stood. Upon one of his arrivals from England at Boston, he wrote to me that he should come soon to Philadelphia, but knew not where he could lodge when there, as he understood his old friend and host, Mr. Benezet was removed to Germantown. My answer was, "You know my house, if you can make shift with its scanty accommodations, you will be most heartily welcome." He reply'd, that if I made that kind offer for Christ's sake, I should not miss of a reward. And I returned, "Don't let me be mistaken, it was not for Christ's sake, but for your sake." One of our common acquaintance jocosely remark'd, that, knowing it to be the custom of the saints, when they received any favour, to shift the burden of the obligation from off their own shoulders, and place it in heaven, I had contriv'd to fix it on earth.

The last time I saw Mr. Whitefield was in London, when he consulted me about his Orphan House concern, and his purpose of appropriating it to the establishment of a college.

He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his words and sentences so perfectly, that he might be heard and understood at a great distance, especially as his auditories, however numerous, observ'd the most exact silence. He preach'd one evening from the top of the Court-house steps, which are in the middle of Market-street, and on the west side of Second-street, which crosses it at right angles. Both streets were fill'd with his hearers to a considerable distance. Being among the hindmost in Market-street, I had the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by retiring backwards down the street towards the river; and I found his voice distinct till I came near Front-street, when some noise in that street obscur'd it. Imagining then a semicircle, of which my distance should be the radius, and that it were fill'd with auditors, to each of whom I allow'd two square feet, I computed that he might well be heard by more than thirty thousand. This reconcil'd me to the newspaper accounts of his[92] having preach'd to twenty-five thousand people in the fields, and to the antient histories of generals haranguing whole armies, of which I had some times doubted.

I had, on the whole, abundant reason to be satisfied with my being established in Pennsylvania. There were, however, two things that I regretted, there being no provision for defense, nor for a compleat education of youth; no militia, nor any college. I therefore, in 1743, drew up a proposal for establishing an academy; and at that time, thinking the Reverend Mr. Peters, who was out of employ, a fit person to superintend such an institution, I communicated the project to him; but he, having more profitable views in the service of the proprietaries, which succeeded, declin'd the undertaking; and, not knowing another at that time suitable for such a trust, I let the scheme lie a while dormant. I succeeded better the next year, 1744, in proposing and establishing a Philosophical Society. The paper I wrote for that purpose will be found among my writings, when collected.

Peace being concluded, and the association business therefore at an end, I turn'd my thoughts again to the affair of establishing an academy. The first step I took was to associate in the design a number of active friends, of whom the Junto furnished a good part; the next was to write and publish a pamphlet, entitled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania. This I distributed among the principal inhabitants gratis, and as soon as I could suppose their minds a little prepared by the perusal of it, I set on foot a subscription for opening and supporting an academy; it was to be paid in quotas yearly for five years; by so dividing it, I judg'd the subscription might be larger, and I believe it was so, amounting to no less, if I remember right, than five thousand pounds.

In the introduction to these proposals, I stated their publication, not as an act of mine, but of some publick-spirited gentlemen, avoiding as much as I could, according to my usual rule, the presenting myself to the publick as the author of any scheme for their benefit.[93]

The subscribers, to carry the project into immediate execution, chose out of their number twenty-four trustees, and appointed Mr. Francis, then attorney-general, and myself to draw up constitutions for the government of the academy; which being done and signed, a house was hired, masters engag'd, and the schools opened, I think, in the same year, 1749.

In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence, who was lately arrived from Scotland, and show'd me some electric experiments. They were imperfectly perform'd, as he was not very expert; but, being on a subject quite new to me, they equally surpris'd and pleased me. Soon after my return to Philadelphia, our library company receiv'd from Mr. P. Collinson, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a present of a glass tube, with some account of the use of it in making such experiments. I eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating what I had seen at Boston; and, by much practice, acquir'd great readiness in performing those, also, which we had an account of from England, adding a number of new ones. I say much practice, for my house was continually full, for some time, with people who came to see these new wonders.

To divide a little this incumbrance among my friends, I caused a number of similar tubes to be blown at our glass-house, with which they furnish'd themselves, so that we had at length several performers. Among these, the principal was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbor, who, being out of business, I encouraged to undertake showing the experiments for money, and drew up for him two lectures, in which the experiments were rang'd in such order, and accompanied with such explanations in such method, as that the foregoing should assist in comprehending the following. He procur'd an elegant apparatus for the purpose, in which all the little machines that I had roughly made for myself were nicely form'd by instrument-makers. His lectures were well attended, and gave great satisfaction; and after some time he went thro' the colonies, exhibiting them in every capital town, and pick'd up some money. In the[94] West India Islands, indeed, it was with difficulty the experiments could be made, from the general moisture of the air.

Oblig'd as we were to Mr. Collinson for his present of the tube, etc., I thought it right he should be inform'd of our success in using it, and wrote him several letters containing accounts of our experiments. He got them read in the Royal Society, where they were not at first thought worth so much notice as to be printed in their Transactions. One paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness of lightning with electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an acquaintance of mine, and one of the members also of that society, who wrote me word that it had been read, but was laughed at by the connoisseurs. The papers, however, being shown to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too much value to be stifled, and advis'd the printing of them. Mr. Collinson then gave them to Cave for publication in his Gentleman's Magazine; but he chose to print them separately in a pamphlet, and Dr. Fothergill wrote the preface. Cave, it seems, judged rightly for his profit, for by the additions that arrived afterward they swell'd, to a quarto volume, which has had five editions, and cost him nothing for copy-money.

It was, however, some time before those papers were much taken notice of in England. A copy of them happening to fall into the hands of the Count de Buffon, a philosopher deservedly of great reputation in France, and, indeed, all over Europe, he prevailed with M. Dalibard to translate them into French, and they were printed at Paris. The publication offended the Abbé Nollet, preceptor in Natural Philosophy to the royal family, and an able experimenter, who had form'd and publish'd a theory of electricity, which then had the general vogue. He could not at first believe that such a work came from America, and said it must have been fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to decry his system. Afterwards, having been assur'd that there really existed such a person as Franklin at Philadelphia, which he had doubted, he wrote and published a volume of Letters, chiefly address'd to me, defending his theory, and denying the verity of my experiments, and of the positions deduc'd from them.

I once purpos'd answering the abbé, and actually began the[95] answer; but, on consideration that my writings contain'd a description of experiments which any one might repeat and verify, and if not to be verifi'd, could not be defended; or of observations offer'd as conjectures, and not delivered dogmatically, therefore not laying me under any obligation to defend them; and reflecting that a dispute between two persons, writing in different languages, might be lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and thence misconceptions of one another's meaning, much of one of the abbé's letters being founded on an error in the translation, I concluded to let my papers shift for themselves, believing it was better to spend what time I could spare from public business in making new experiments, than in disputing about those already made. I therefore never answered M. Nollet, and the event gave me no cause to repent my silence; for my friend M. le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up my cause and refuted him; my book was translated into the Italian, German, and Latin languages; and the doctrine it contain'd was by degrees universally adopted by the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of the abbé; so that he lived to see himself the last of his sect, except Monsieur B——, of Paris, his élève and immediate disciple.

What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity, was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made by Messrs. Dalibard and De Lor at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds. This engag'd the public attention every where. M. de Lor, who had an apparatus for experimental philosophy, and lectur'd in that branch of science, undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia Experiments; and, after they were performed before the king and court, all the curious of Paris flocked to see them. I will not swell this narrative with an account of that capital experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure I receiv'd in the success of a similar one I made soon after with a kite at Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of electricity.

Dr. Wright, an English physician, when at Paris, wrote to a friend, who was of the Royal Society, an account of the high esteem my experiments were in among the learned abroad, and[96] of their wonder that my writings had been so little noticed in England. The Society, on this, resum'd the consideration of the letters that had been read to them; and the celebrated Dr. Watson drew up a summary account of them, and of all I had afterwards sent to England on the subject, which he accompanied with some praise of the writer. This summary was then printed in their Transactions; and some members of the Society in London, particularly the very ingenious Mr. Canton, having verified the experiment of procuring lightning from the clouds by a pointed rod, and acquainting them with the success, they soon made me more than amends for the slight with which they had before treated me. Without my having made any application for that honour, they chose me a member, and voted that I should be excus'd the customary payments, which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas; and ever since have given me their Transactions gratis. They also presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by a very handsome speech of the president, Lord Macclesfield, wherein I was highly honoured.


(From Monday March 26. to Monday April 2. 1722.)

To the Author of the New-England Courant.


It may not be improper in the first Place to inform your Readers, that I intend once a Fortnight to present them, by the Help of this Paper, with a short Epistle, which I presume will add somewhat to their Entertainment.

And since it is observed, that the Generality of People, now a days, are unwilling either to commend or dispraise what they read, until they are in some measure informed who or what the Author of it is, whether he be poor or rich, old or young, a Scollar or a Leather Apron Man, &c. and give their Opinion of the Performance, according to the Knowledge which they have of the Author's Circumstances, it may not be amiss to begin with[97] a short Account of my past Life and present Condition, that the Reader may not be at a Loss 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 troublesome World was attended with the Death of my Father, a Misfortune, which tho' I was not then capable of knowing, I shall never be able to forget; for as he, poor Man, stood upon the Deck rejoycing at my Birth, a merciless Wave entred the Ship, and in one Moment carry'd him beyond Reprieve. Thus was the first Day which I saw, the last that was seen by my Father; and thus was my disconsolate Mother at once made both a Parent and a Widow.

When we arrived at Boston (which was not long after) I was put to Nurse in a Country Place, at a small Distance from the Town, where I went to School, and past my Infancy and Childhood in Vanity and Idleness, 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 Master was a Country Minister, a pious good-natur'd young Man, & a Batchelor: He labour'd with all his Might to instil vertuous and godly Principles into my tender Soul, well knowing that it was the most suitable Time to make deep and lasting Impressions on the Mind, while it was yet untainted with Vice, free and unbiass'd. He endeavour'd that I might be instructed in all that Knowledge and Learning which is necessary for our Sex, and deny'd me no Accomplishment that could possibly be attained in a Country Place, such as all Sorts of Needle-Work, Writing, Arithmetick, &c. and observing that I took a more than ordinary Delight in reading ingenious Books, he gave me the free Use of his Library, which tho' it was but small, yet it was well chose, to inform the Understanding 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 self, having no Relation on Earth within my Knowledge.[98]

I will not abuse 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 Discretion, only inform you that I liv'd a chearful Country Life, spending my leisure Time either in some innocent Diversion with the neighbouring Females, or in some shady Retirement, with the best of Company, Books. Thus I past away the Time with a Mixture of Profit and Pleasure, 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 else to grieve for.

As I would not engross too much of your Paper at once, I will defer the Remainder of my Story until my next Letter; in the mean time desiring your Readers to exercise their Patience, and bear with my Humours now and then, because I shall trouble them but seldom. I am not insensible of the Impossibility of pleasing all, but I would not willingly displease any; and for those who will take Offence where none is intended, they are beneath the Notice of

Your Humble Servant,
Silinc Dogood.

As the Favour of Mrs. Dogood's Correspondence is acknowledged by the Publisher of this Paper, lest any of her Letters should miscarry, he desires they may for the future 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.


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

An sum etiam nunc vel Græcè loqui vel Latinè docendus?

To the Author of the New-England Courant.


Discoursing the other Day at Dinner with my Reverend Boarder, formerly mention'd, (whom for Distinction sake we[99] 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 best bestow upon him Academical Learning, or (as our Phrase is) bring him up at our College: He perswaded me to do it by all Means, using many weighty Arguments with me, and answering all the Objections that I could form against it; telling me withal, that he did not doubt but that the Lad would take his Learning very well, and not idle away his Time as too many there now-a-days do. These words of Clericus gave me a Curiosity to inquire a little more strictly into the present Circumstances of that famous Seminary of Learning; but the Information which he gave me, was neither pleasant, nor such as I expected.

As soon as Dinner was over, I took a solitary Walk into my Orchard, still ruminating on Clericus's Discourse with much Consideration, until I came to my usual Place of Retirement under the Great Apple-Tree; where having seated my self, and carelessly laid my Head on a verdant Bank, I fell by Degrees into a soft and undisturbed 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 pleasant and delightful Fields and Meadows, and thro' many small Country Towns and Villages; and as I pass'd along, all Places resounded with the Fame of the Temple of Learning: Every Peasant, who had wherewithal, was preparing to send one of his Children at least to this famous Place; and in this Case most of them consulted their own Purses instead of their Childrens Capacities: So that I observed, a great many, yea, the most part of those who were travelling thither, were little better than Dunces and Blockheads. Alas! Alas!

At length I entred upon a spacious Plain, in the Midst of which was erected a large and stately Edifice: It was to this that a great Company of Youths from all Parts of the Country were going; so stepping in among the Crowd, I passed on with them, and presently arrived at the Gate.

The Passage was Kept by two sturdy Porters named Riches[100] and Poverty, and the latter obstinately refused to give Entrance to any who had not first gain'd the Favour of the former; so that I observed, many who came even to the very Gate, were obliged to travel back again as ignorant as they came, for want of this necessary Qualification. However, as a Spectator I gain'd Admittance, and with the rest entred directly into the Temple.

In the Middle of the great Hall stood a stately and magnificent Throne, which was ascended to by two high and difficult Steps. On the Top of it sat Learning in awful State; she was apparelled wholly in Black, and surrounded almost on every Side with innumerable Volumes in all Languages. She seem'd very busily employ'd in writing something on half a Sheet of Paper, and upon Enquiry, I understood she was preparing a Paper, call'd, The New-England Courant. On her Right Hand sat English, with a pleasant smiling Countenance, and handsomely attir'd; and on her left were seated several Antique Figures with their Faces vail'd. I was considerably puzzl'd to guess who they were, until one informed me, (who stood beside me,) that those Figures on her left Hand were Latin, Greek, Hebrew, &c. and that they were very much reserv'd, and seldom or never unvail'd their Faces here, and then to few or none, tho' most of those who have in this Place acquir'd so much Learning as to distinguish them from English, pretended to an intimate Acquaintance with them. I then enquir'd of him, what could be the Reason why they continued vail'd, in this Place especially: He pointed to the Foot of the Throne, where I saw Idleness, attended with Ignorance, and these (he informed me) were they, who first vail'd them, and still kept them so.

Now I observed, that the whole Tribe who entred into the Temple with me, began to climb the Throne; but the Work; proving troublesome and difficult to most of them, they withdrew their Hands from the Plow, and contented themselves to sit at the Foot, with Madam Idleness and her Maid Ignorance, until those who were assisted by Diligence and a docible Temper, had well nigh got up the first Step: But the Time drawing nigh in which they could no way avoid ascending, they were fain to crave the Assistance of those who had got up before[101] 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 sat them in the Eye of the World, upon a Level with themselves.

The other Step being in the same Manner ascended, and the usual Ceremonies at an End, every Beetle-Scull seem'd well satisfy'd with his own Portion of Learning, tho' perhaps he was e'en just 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 seen all that was to be seen, quitted the Hall likewise, and went to make my Observations on those who were just gone out before me.

Some I perceiv'd took to Merchandizing, others to Travelling, some to one Thing, some to another, and some to Nothing; and many of them from henceforth, for want of Patrimony, liv'd as poor as church Mice, being unable to dig, and asham'd to beg, and to live by their Wits it was impossible. But the most 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 Business of those who were employ'd in this Temple being laborious and painful, I wonder'd exceedingly to see so many go towards it; but while I was pondering this Matter in my Mind, I spy'd Pecunia behind a Curtain, beckoning to them with her Hand, which Sight immediately satisfy'd me for whose Sake it was, that a great Part of them (I will not say all) travel'd that Road. In this Temple I saw nothing worth mentioning, except the ambitious and fraudulent Contrivances of Plagius, who (notwithstanding he had been severely reprehended for such Practices before) was diligently transcribing some eloquent Paragraphs out of Tillotson's Works, &c. to embellish his own.

Now I bethought my self in my Sleep, that it was Time 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 Dulness, and insensible of the Solidity of their Skulls, because they think their Purses can afford it, will needs send them to the Temple of Learning, where, for want[102] of a suitable Genius, they learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, 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.

While I was in the midst of these unpleasant 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, presently interpreted it, assuring me, That it was a lively Representation of Harvard College, Etcetera.

I remain, Sir,
Your Humble Servant,
Silence Dogood.


(From Monday May 21. to Monday May 28. 1722.)

Mulier Muliere magis congruet.Ter.

To the Author of the New-England Courant.


I shall here present your Readers with a Letter from one, who informs me that I have begun at the wrong End of my Business, and that I ought to begin at Home, and censure the Vices and Follies of my own Sex, before I venture to meddle with your's: Nevertheless, I am resolved to dedicate this Speculation to the Fair Tribe, and endeavour to show, that Mr. Ephraim charges Women with being particularly guilty of Pride, Idleness, &c. wrongfully, inasmuch as the Men have not only as great a Share in those Vices as the Women, but are likewise in a great Measure the Cause of that which the Women are guilty of. I think it will be best to produce my Antagonist, before I encounter him.

To Mrs. Dogood.


My Design in troubling you with this Letter is, to desire you would begin with your own Sex first: Let the first Volley of[103] your Resentments be directed against Female Vice; let Female Idleness, Ignorance and Folly, (which are Vices more peculiar to your Sex than to our's,) be the Subject of your Satyrs, but more especially Female Pride, which I think is intollerable. Here is a large Field that wants Cultivation, and which I believe you are able (if willing) to improve with Advantage; and when you have once reformed the Women, you will find it a much easier Task to reform the Men, because Women are the prime Causes of a great many Male Enormities. This is all at present from

Your Friendly Wellwisher,
Ephraim Censorious.

After Thanks to my Correspondent for his Kindness in cutting out Work for me, I must assure him, that I find it a very difficult Matter to reprove Women separate from the Men; for what Vice is there in which the Men have not as great a Share as the Women? and in some have they not a far greater, as in Drunkenness, Swearing, &c.? And if they have, then it follows, that when a Vice is to be reproved, Men, who are most culpable, deserve the most Reprehension, and certainly therefore, ought to have it. But we will wave this point at present, and proceed to a particular Consideration of what my Correspondent calls Female Vice.

As for Idleness, if I should Quære, Where are the greatest Number of its Votaries to be found, with us or the Men? it might I believe be easily and truly answer'd, With the latter. For, notwithstanding the Men are commonly complaining how hard they are forc'd to labour, only to maintain their Wives in Pomp and Idleness, 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 should grant for once, that we are generally more idle than the Men, (without making any Allowance for the Weakness of the Sex,) I desire to know whose Fault it is? Are not the Men to blame for their Folly in maintaining us in Idleness? Who is there that can be handsomely supported in Affluence, Ease and Pleasure by another, that will chuse[104] rather to earn his Bread by the Sweat of his own Brows? And if a Man will be so fond and so foolish, as to labour hard himself for a Livelihood, and suffer his Wife in the mean Time to sit in Ease and Idleness, let him not blame her if she does so, for it is in a great Measure his own Fault.

And now for the Ignorance and Folly which he reproaches us with, let us see (if we are Fools and Ignoramus's) whose 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 (says he) often thought of it as one of the most barbarous Customs in the World, considering us as a civiliz'd and Christian 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 less than our selves. One would wonder indeed how it should happen that Women are conversible at all, since they are only beholding to natural Parts for all their Knowledge. Their Youth is spent to teach them to stitch and sow, or make Baubles. They are taught to read indeed, and perhaps to write their Names, or so; and that is the Heigth of a Womans Education. And I would but ask any who slight the Sex for their Understanding, What is a Man (a Gentleman, I mean) good for that is taught no more? If Knowledge and Understanding had been useless Additions to the Sex, God Almighty would never have given them Capacities, for he made nothing Needless. What has the Woman done to forfeit the Priviledge of being taught? Does she plague us with her Pride and Impertinence? 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 Custom that hindred them being made wiser."

So much for Female Ignorance and Folly; and now let us a little consider the Pride which my Correspondent thinks is intolerable. By this Expression of his, one would think he is some dejected Swain, tyranniz'd over by some cruel haughty[105] Nymph, who (perhaps he thinks) has no more Reason to be proud than himself. Alas-a-day! What shall we say in this Case! Why truly, if Women are proud, it is certainly owing to the Men still; for if they will be such Simpletons as to humble themselves at their Feet, and fill their credulous Ears with extravagant Praises of their Wit, Beauty, and other Accomplishments (perhaps where there are none too,) and when Women are by this Means perswaded that they are Something more than humane, what Wonder is it, if they carry themselves haughtily, and live extravagantly. Notwithstanding, I believe there are more Instances 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 impossible to lash any Vice, of which the Men, are not equally guilty with the Women, and consequently deserve an equal (if not a greater), Share in the Censure. However, I exhort both to amend, where both are culpable, otherwise they may expect to be severely handled by

Your Humble Servant,
Silence Dogood.

N. B. Mrs. Dogood has lately left her Seat in the Country, and come to Boston, where she intends to tarry for the Summer Season, in order to compleat her Observations of the present reigning Vices of the Town.


(From Monday June 18. to Monday June 25. 1722.)

Give me the Muse, whose generous Force,
Impatient of the Reins,
Pursues an unattempted Course,
Breaks all the Criticks Iron Chains.

To the Author of the New-England Courant.


It has been the Complaint of many Ingenious Foreigners,[106] who have travell'd amongst us, That good Poetry is not to be expected in New-England. I am apt to Fancy, the Reason is, not because our Countrymen are altogether void of a Poetical Genius, nor yet because we have not those Advantages of Education which other Countries have, but purely because we do not afford that Praise and Encouragement which is merited, when any thing extraordinary of this Kind is produc'd among us: Upon which Consideration I have determined, when I meet with a Good Piece of New-England Poetry, to give it a suitable Encomium, and thereby endeavour to discover to the World some of its Beautys, in order to encourage the Author to go on, and bless the World with more, and more Excellent Productions.

There has lately appear'd among us a most 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 said in its Praise, without Flattery to the Author, that it is the most Extraordinary Piece that was ever wrote in New-England. The Language is so soft and Easy, the Expression so moving and pathetick, but above all, the Verse and Numbers so Charming and Natural, that it is almost beyond Comparison.

The Muse disdains[F]
Those Links and Chains,
Measures 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, whose Elegies may be compar'd with this, in respect to the Elegance of Stile, or Smoothness of Rhime; and for the affecting Part, I will leave your Readers to judge, if ever they read any Lines, that would sooner make them draw their Breath and Sigh, if not shed Tears, than these following.

Come let us mourn, for we have lost a
Wife, a Daughter, and a Sister,
Who has lately taken Flight, and
greatly we have mist her.

[F] Watts. [Franklin's note.]


In another place,

Some little Time before she yielded up her Breath,
She said, I ne'er shall hear one Sermon more on Earth.
She kist her Husband some little Time before she expir'd,
Then lean'd her Head the Pillow on, just out of Breath and tir'd.

But the Threefold Appellation in the first Line

a Wife, a Daughter, and a Sister,

must not pass unobserved. That Line in the celebrated Watts,

Gunston, the Just, the Generous, and the Young,

is nothing Comparable to it. The latter only mentions three Qualifications of one Person who was deceased, which therefore could raise Grief and Compassion but for One. Whereas the former, (our most excellent Poet) gives his Reader a Sort of an Idea of the Death of Three Persons, viz.

a Wife, a Daughter, and a Sister,

which is Three Times as great a Loss as the Death of One, and consequently must raise Three Times as much Grief and Compassion in the Reader.

I should be very much straitened for Room, if I should attempt to discover even half the Excellencies of this Elegy which are obvious to me. Yet I cannot omit one Observation, 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 muse scorns to be confin'd to the old Measures and Limits, or to observe the dull Rules of Criticks;

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

Now 'tis Pity that such an Excellent Piece should not be dignify'd with a particular Name; and seeing it cannot justly be called, either Epic, Sapphic, Lyric, or Pindaric, nor any other Name yet invented, I presume it may, (in Honour and Remembrance of the Dead) be called the Kitelic. Thus much in the Praise of Kitelic Poetry.[108]

It is certain, that those Elegies which are of our own Growth, (and our Soil seldom produces any other sort of Poetry) are by far the greatest part, wretchedly Dull and Ridiculous. Now since it is imagin'd by many, that our Poets are honest, well-meaning Fellows, who do their best, and that if they had but some Instructions how to govern Fancy with Judgment, they would make indifferent good Elegies; I shall here subjoin a Receipt for that purpose, which was left me as a Legacy, (among other valuable Rarities) by my Reverend Husband. It is as follows,

A Receipt to make a New-England
Funeral Elegy.

For the Title of your Elegy. Of these you may have enough ready made to your Hands, but if you should chuse to make it your self, you must be sure not to omit the words Ætatis Suæ, which will Beautify it exceedingly.

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

Having chose the Person, take all his Virtues, Excellencies, &c. and if he have not enough, you may borrow some to make up a sufficient Quantity: To these add his last Words, dying Expressions, &c. if they are to be had; mix all these together, and be sure you strain them well. Then season all with a Handful or two of Melancholly Expressions, such as, Dreadful, Deadly, cruel cold Death, unhappy Fate, weeping Eyes, &c. Have mixed all these Ingredients well, put them into the empty Scull of some young Harvard; (but in Case you have ne'er a One at Hand, you may use 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, such as Power, Flower; Quiver, Shiver; Grieve us, Leave us; tell you, excel you; Expeditions, Physicians; Fatigue him, Intrigue him; &c. you must spread all upon Paper, and if you can procure a Scrap of Latin to put at the End, it will garnish it[109] mightily, then having affixed your Name at the Bottom, with a Mœstus Composuit, you will have an Excellent Elegy.

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

Your Servant,
Silence Dogood.

P.S. I shall make no other Answer to Hypercarpus's Criticism on my last Letter than this, Mater me genuit, peperit mox filia matrem.


(From Monday September 3. to Monday September 10. 1722.)

Quod est in corde sobrii, est in ore ebrii.

To the Author of the New-England Courant.


It is no unprofitable tho' unpleasant Pursuit, diligently to inspect and consider the Manners & Conversation of Men, who, insensible of the greatest Enjoyments of humane Life, abandon themselves to Vice from a false Notion of Pleasure and good Fellowship. A true and natural Representation of any Enormity, is often the best Argument against it and Means of removing it, when the most severe Reprehensions alone, are found ineffectual.

I would in this Letter improve the little Observation I have made on the Vice of Drunkeness, the better to reclaim the good Fellows who usually pay the Devotions of the Evening to Bacchus.

I doubt not but moderate Drinking has been improv'd for the Diffusion of Knowledge among the ingenious Part of Mankind, who want the Talent of a ready Utterance, in order to discover the Conceptions of their Minds in an entertaining and intelligible Manner. 'Tis true, drinking does not improve our Faculties, but[110] it enables us to use them; and therefore I conclude, that much Study and Experience, and a little Liquor, are of absolute Necessity for some Tempers, in order to make them accomplish'd Orators. Dic. Ponder discovers an excellent Judgment when he is inspir'd with a Glass or two of Claret, but he passes for a Fool among those of small Observation, who never saw him the better for Drink. And here it will not be improper to observe, That the moderate Use of Liquor, and a well plac'd and well regulated Anger, often produce this same Effect; and some who cannot ordinarily talk but in broken Sentences and false Grammar, do in the Heat of Passion express themselves with as much Eloquence as Warmth. Hence it is that my own Sex are generally the most eloquent, because the most passionate. "It has been said in the Praise of some Men," (says an ingenious Author,) "that they could talk whole Hours together upon any thing; but it must 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 Dissertation 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 must be consider'd, that no Pleasure can give Satisfaction or prove advantageous to a reasonable Mind, which is not attended with the Restraints of Reason. Enjoyment is not to be found by Excess in any sensual Gratification; but on the contrary, the immoderate Cravings of the Voluptuary, are always succeeded with Loathing and a palled Apetite. What Pleasure 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 Beast; or that from reasonable Discourse a few Minutes before, he descended to Impertinence and Nonsense?

I cannot pretend to account for the different Effects of Liquor on Persons of different Dispositions, who are guilty of Excess in the Use of it. 'Tis strange to see Men of a regular Conversation become rakish and profane when intoxicated with Drink, and yet more surprizing to observe, that some who appear to be the most profligate Wretches when sober, become mighty[111] religious in their Cups, and will then, and at no other Time address their Maker, but when they are destitute of Reason, and actually affronting him. Some shrink in the Wetting, and others swell to such an unusual Bulk in their Imaginations, that they can in an Instant understand all Arts and Sciences, by the liberal Education of a little vivyfying Punch, or a sufficient Quantity of other exhilerating Liquor.

And as the Effects of Liquor are various, so are the Characters given to its Devourers. It argues some Shame in the Drunkards themselves, in that they have invented numberless Words and Phrases to cover their Folly, whose proper Significations are harmless, or have no Signification at all. They are seldom known to be drunk, tho they are very often boozey, cogey, tipsey, fox'd, merry, mellow, fuddl'd, groatable, Confoundedly cut, See two Moons, are Among the Philistines, In a very good Humour, See the Sun, or, The Sun has shone upon them; they Clip the King's English, are Almost froze, Feavourish, In their Altitudes, Pretty well enter'd, &c.[18] In short, every Day produces some new Word or Phrase which might be added to the Vocabulary of the Tiplers: But I have chose to mention these few, because if at any Time a Man of Sobriety and Temperance happens to cut himself confoundedly, or is almoss froze, or feavourish, or accidentally sees the Sun, &c. he may escape the Imputation of being drunk, when his Misfortune comes to be related.

I am Sir,
Your Humble Servant,
Silence Dogood.


(From Monday, February 4, to Monday, February 11, 1723)

The late Publisher of this Paper,[19] finding so many Inconveniences would arise by his carrying the Manuscripts and publick News to be supervis'd by the Secretary, as to render his carrying it on unprofitable, has intirely dropt the Undertaking.[112] The present Publisher having receiv'd the following Piece, desires the Readers to accept of it as a Preface to what they may hereafter meet with in 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 Representation of the Matter.

No generous and impartial Person then can blame the present Undertaking, which is designed purely for the Diversion 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 entertain the Town with the most comical and diverting Incidents 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 Interspersion 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' we profess ourselves ready to oblige the ingenious and courteous 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.[113]

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 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 Honour, 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.[114]


To Mr. J. R.
[London, 1725]


I have here, according to your Request, given you my present Thoughts of the general State of Things in the Universe. Such as they are, you have them, and are welcome to 'em; and if they yield you any Pleasure or Satisfaction, I shall think my Trouble sufficiently compensated. I know my Scheme will be liable to many Objections from a less discerning Reader than your self; but it is not design'd for those who can't understand it. I need not give you any Caution to distinguish the hypothetical Parts of the Argument from the conclusive: You will easily perceive what I design for Demonstration, and what for Probability only. The whole I leave entirely to you, and shall value my self more or less on this account, in proportion to your Esteem and Approbation.

Sect. I. Of Liberty and Necessity

I. There is said to be a First Mover, who is called God, Maker of the Universe.

II. He is said to be all-wise, all-good, all powerful.

These two Propositions being allow'd and asserted by People of almost every Sect and Opinion; I have here suppos'd them granted, and laid them down as the Foundation of my Argument; What follows then, being a Chain of Consequences truly drawn from them, will stand or fall as they are true or false.

III. If He is all-good, whatsoever He doth must be good.

IV. If He is all-wise, whatsoever He doth must be wise.

The Truth of these Propositions, with relation to the two first, I think may be justly call'd evident; since, either that infinite Goodness will act what is ill, or infinite Wisdom what is, not wise, is too glaring a Contradiction not to be perceiv'd by[115] any Man of common Sense, and deny'd as soon as understood.

V. If He is all-powerful, there can be nothing either existing or acting in the Universe against or without his Consent, and what He consents to must be good, because He is good, therefore Evil doth not exist.

Unde Malum? has been long a Question, and many of the Learned have perplex'd themselves and Readers to little Purpose in Answer to it. That there are both Things and Actions to which we give the Name of Evil, is not here deny'd, as Pain, Sickness, Want, Theft, Murder, &c. but that these and the like are not in reality Evils, Ills, or Defects in the Order of the Universe, is demonstrated in the next Section, as well as by this and the following Proposition. Indeed, to suppose any Thing to exist or be done, contrary to the Will of the Almighty, is to suppose him not almighty; or that Something (the Cause of Evil) is more mighty than the Almighty; an Inconsistence that I think no One will defend: And to deny any Thing or Action, which he consents to the existence of, to be good, is entirely to destroy his two Attributes of Wisdom and Goodness.

There is nothing done in the Universe, say the Philosophers, but what God either does, or permits to be done. This, as He is Almighty, is certainly true: But what need of this Distinction between doing and permitting? Why, first they take it for granted that many Things in the Universe exist in such a Manner as is not for the best, and that many Actions are done which ought not to be done, or would be better undone; these Things or Actions they cannot ascribe to God as His, because they have already attributed to Him infinite Wisdom and Goodness; Here then is the Use of the Word Permit; He permits them to be done, say they. But we will reason thus: If God permits an Action to be done, it is because he wants either Power or Inclination to hinder it; in saying he wants Power, we deny Him to be almighty; and if we say He wants Inclination or Will, it must be, either because He is not Good, or the Action is not evil, (for all Evil is contrary to the Essence of Infinite Goodness.) The former is inconsistent with his before-given Attribute of Goodness, therefore the latter must be true.[116]

It will be said, perhaps, that God permits evil Actions to be done, for wise Ends and Purposes. But this Objection destroys itself; for whatever an infinitely good God hath wise Ends in suffering to be, must be good, is thereby made good, and cannot be otherwise.

VI. If a Creature is made by God, it must depend upon God, and receive all its Power from Him, with which Power the Creature can do nothing contrary to the Will of God, because God is Almighty; what is not contrary to His Will, must be agreeable to it; what is agreeable to it, must be good, because He is Good; therefore a Creature can do nothing but what is good.

This Proposition is much to the same Purpose with the former, but more particular; and its Conclusion is as just and evident. Tho' a Creature may do many Actions which by his Fellow Creatures will be nam'd Evil, and which will naturally and necessarily cause or bring upon the Doer, certain Pains (which will likewise be call'd Punishments;) yet this Proposition proves, that he cannot act what will be in itself really Ill, or displeasing to God. And that the painful Consequences of his evil Actions (so call'd) are not, as indeed they ought not to be, Punishments or Unhappinesses, will be shewn hereafter.

Nevertheless, the late learned Author of The Religion of Nature, (which I send you herewith) has given us a Rule or Scheme, whereby to discover which of our Actions ought to be esteem'd and denominated good, and which evil; It is in short this, "Every Action which is done according to Truth, is good; and every Action contrary to Truth, is evil: To act according to Truth is to use and esteem every Thing as what it is, &c. Thus if A steals a Horse from B, and rides away upon him, he uses him not as what he is in Truth, viz. the Property of another, but as his own, which is contrary to Truth, and therefore evil." But, as this Gentleman himself says, (Sect. I. Prop. VI.) "In order to judge rightly what any Thing is, it must be consider'd, not only what it is in one Respect, but also what it may be in any other Respect; and the whole Description of the Thing ought to be taken in: So in this Case it ought to be consider'd, that A is naturally a covetous Being, feeling an Uneasiness in the[117] want of B's Horse, which produces an Inclination for stealing him, stronger than his Fear of Punishment for so doing. This is Truth likewise, and A acts according to it when he steals the Horse. Besides, if it is prov'd to be a Truth, that A has not Power over his own Actions, it will be indisputable that he acts according to Truth, and impossible he should do otherwise.

I would not be understood by this to encourage or defend Theft; 'tis only for the sake of the Argument, and will certainly have no ill Effect. The Order and Course of Things will not be affected by Reasoning of this Kind; and 'tis as just and necessary, and as much according to Truth, for B to dislike and punish the Theft of his Horse, as it is for A to steal him.

VII. If the Creature is thus limited in his Actions, being able to do only such Things as God would have him to do, and not being able to refuse doing what God would have done; then he can have no such Thing as Liberty, Free-will or Power to do or refrain an Action.

By Liberty is sometimes understood the Absence of Opposition; and in this Sense, indeed, all our Actions may be said to be the Effects of our Liberty: But it is a Liberty of the same Nature with the Fall of a heavy Body to the Ground; it has Liberty to fall, that is, it meets with nothing to hinder its Fall, but at the same Time it is necessitated to fall, and has no Power or Liberty to remain suspended.

But let us take the Argument in another View, and suppose ourselves to be, in the common sense of the Word, Free Agents. As Man is a Part of this great Machine, the Universe, his regular Acting is requisite to the regular moving of the whole. Among the many Things which lie before him to be done, he may, as he is at Liberty and his Choice influenc'd by nothing, (for so it must be, or he is not at Liberty) chuse any one, and refuse the rest. Now there is every Moment something best to be done, which is alone then good, and with respect to which, every Thing else is at that Time evil. In order to know which is best to be done, and which not, it is requisite that we should have at one View all the intricate Consequences of every Action with respect to the general Order and Scheme of the Universe, both present[118] and future; but they are innumerable and incomprehensible by any Thing but Omniscience. As we cannot know these, we have but as one Chance to ten thousand, to hit on the right Action; we should then be perpetually blundering about in the Dark, and putting the Scheme in Disorder; for every wrong Action of a Part, is a Defect or Blemish in the Order of the Whole. Is it not necessary then, that our Actions should be over-rul'd and govern'd by an all-wise Providence?—How exact and regular is every Thing in the natural World! How wisely in every Part contriv'd! We cannot here find the least Defect! Those who have study'd the mere animal and vegetable Creation, demonstrate that nothing can be more harmonious and beautiful! All the heavenly Bodies, the Stars and Planets, are regulated with the utmost Wisdom! And can we suppose less Care to be taken in the Order of the moral than in the natural System? It is as if an ingenious Artificer, having fram'd a curious Machine or Clock, and put its many intricate Wheels and Powers in such a Dependance on one another, that the whole might move in the most exact Order and Regularity, had nevertheless plac'd in it several other Wheels endu'd with an independent Self-Motion, but ignorant of the general Interest of the Clock; and these would every now and then be moving wrong, disordering the true Movement, and making continual Work for the Mender: which might better be prevented, by depriving them of that Power of Self-Motion, and placing them in a Dependance on the regular Part of the Clock.

VIII. If there is no such Thing as Free-Will in Creatures, there can be neither Merit nor Demerit in Creatures.

IX. And therefore every Creature must be equally esteem'd by the Creator.

These Propositions appear to be the necessary Consequences of the former. And certainly no Reason can be given, why the Creator should prefer in his Esteem one Part of His Works to another, if with equal Wisdom and Goodness he design'd and created them all, since all Ill or Defect, as contrary to his Nature, is excluded by his Power. We will sum up the Argument thus, When the Creator first design'd the Universe, either it was His[119] Will and Intention that all Things should exist and be in the Manner they are at this Time; or it was his Will they should be otherwise, i.e. in a different Manner: To say it was His Will Things should be otherwise than they are, is to say Somewhat hath contradicted His Will, and broken His Measures, which is impossible because inconsistent with his Power; therefore we must allow that all Things exist now in a Manner agreeable to His Will, and in consequence of that are all equally Good, and therefore equally esteem'd by Him.

I proceed now to shew, that as all the Works of the Creator are equally esteem'd by Him, so they are, as in Justice they ought to be, equally us'd.

Sect. II. Of Pleasure and Pain.

I. When a Creature is form'd and endu'd with Life, 'tis suppos'd to receive a Capacity of the Sensation of Uneasiness or Pain.

It is this distinguishes Life and Consciousness from unactive unconscious Matter. To know or be sensible of Suffering or being acted upon is to live; and whatsoever is not so, among created Things, is properly and truly dead.

All Pain and Uneasiness proceeds at first from and is caus'd by Somewhat without and distinct from the Mind itself. The Soul must first be acted upon before it can re-act. In the Beginning of Infancy it is as if it were not; it is not conscious of its own Existence, till it has receiv'd the first Sensation of Pain; then, and not before, it begins to feel itself, is rous'd, and put into Action; then it discovers its Powers and Faculties, and exerts them to expel the Uneasiness. Thus is the Machine set on work; this is Life. We are first mov'd by Pain, and the whole succeeding Course of our Lives is but one continu'd Series of Action with a View to be freed from it. As fast as we have excluded one Uneasiness another appears, otherwise the Motion would cease. If a continual Weight is not apply'd, the Clock will stop. And as soon as the Avenues of Uneasiness to the Soul are choak'd up or cut off, we are dead, we think and act no more.[120]

II. This Uneasiness, whenever felt, produces Desire to be freed from it, great in exact proportion to the Uneasiness.

Thus is Uneasiness the first Spring and Cause of all Action; for till we are uneasy in Rest, we can have no Desire to move, and without Desire of moving there can be no voluntary Motion. The Experience of every Man who has observ'd his own Actions will evince the Truth of this; and I think nothing need be said to prove that the Desire will be equal to the Uneasiness, for the very Thing implies as much: It is not Uneasiness unless we desire to be freed from it, nor a great Uneasiness unless the consequent Desire is great.

I might here observe, how necessary a Thing in the Order and Design of the Universe this Pain or Uneasiness is, and how beautiful in its Place! Let us but suppose it just now banish'd the World entirely, and consider the Consequence of it: All the Animal Creation would immediately stand stock still, exactly in the Posture they were in the Moment Uneasiness departed; not a Limb, not a Finger would henceforth move; we should all be reduc'd to the Condition of Statues, dull and unactive: Here I should continue to sit motionless with the Pen in my Hand thus———and neither leave my Seat nor write one Letter more. This may appear odd at first View, but a little Consideration will make it evident; for 'tis impossible to assign any other Cause for the voluntary Motion of an Animal than its uneasiness in Rest. What a different Appearance then would the Face of Nature make, without it! How necessary is it! And how unlikely that the Inhabitants of the World ever were, or that the Creator ever design'd they should be, exempt from it!

I would likewise observe here, that the VIIIth Proposition in the preceding Section, viz. That there is neither Merit nor Demerit, &c. is here again demonstrated, as infallibly, tho' in another manner: For since Freedom from Uneasiness is the End of all our Actions, how is it possible for us to do any Thing disinterested?—How can any Action be meritorious of Praise or Dispraise, Reward or Punishment, when the natural Principle of Self-Love is the only and the irresistible Motive to it?

III. This Desire is always fulfill'd or satisfy'd,[121]

In the Design or End of it, tho' not in the Manner: The first is requisite, the latter not. To exemplify this, let us make a Supposition; A Person is confin'd in a House which appears to be in imminent Danger of Falling, this, as soon as perceiv'd, creates a violent Uneasiness, and that instantly produces an equal strong Desire, the End of which is freedom from the Uneasiness, and the Manner or Way propos'd to gain this End, is to get out of the House. Now if he is convinc'd by any Means, that he is mistaken, and the House is not likely to fall, he is immediately freed from his Uneasiness, and the End of his Desire is attain'd as well as if it had been in the Manner desir'd, viz. leaving the House.

All our different Desires and Passions proceed from and are reducible to this one Point, Uneasiness, tho' the Means we propose to ourselves for expelling of it are infinite. One proposes Fame, another Wealth, a third Power, &c. as the Means to gain this End; but tho' these are never attain'd, if the Uneasiness be remov'd by some other Means, the Desire is satisfy'd. Now during the Course of Life we are ourselves continually removing successive Uneasinesses as they arise, and the last we suffer is remov'd by the sweet Sleep of Death.

IV. The fulfilling or Satisfaction of this Desire, produces the Sensation of Pleasure, great or small in exact proportion to the Desire.

Pleasure is that Satisfaction which arises in the Mind upon, and is caus'd by, the accomplishment of our Desires, and by no other Means at all; and those Desires being above shewn to be caus'd by our Pains or Uneasinesses, it follows that Pleasure is wholly caus'd by Pain, and by no other Thing at all.

V. Therefore the Sensation of Pleasure is equal, or in exact proportion to the Sensation of Pain.

As the Desire of being freed from Uneasiness is equal to the Uneasiness, and the Pleasure of satisfying that Desire equal to the Desire, the Pleasure thereby produc'd must necessarily be equal to the Uneasiness or Pain which produces it: of three Lines, A, B, and C, if A is equal to B, and B to C, C must be equal to A. And as our Uneasinesses are always remov'd by[122] some Means or other, it follows that Pleasure and Pain are in their Nature inseparable: So many Degrees as one Scale of the Ballance descends, so many exactly the other ascends; and one cannot rise or fall without the Fall or Rise of the other: 'Tis impossible to taste of Pleasure, without feeling its preceding proportionate Pain; or to be sensible of Pain, without having its necessary Consequent Pleasure: The highest Pleasure is only Consciousness of Freedom from the deepest Pain, and Pain is not Pain to us unless we ourselves are sensible of it. They go Hand in Hand; they cannot be divided.

You have a View of the whole Argument in a few familiar Examples: The Pain of Abstinence from Food, as it is greater or less, produces a greater or less Desire of Eating, the Accomplishment of this Desire produces a greater or less Pleasure proportionate to it. The Pain of Confinement causes the Desire of Liberty, which accomplish'd, yields a Pleasure equal to that Pain of Confinement. The Pain of Labour and Fatigue causes the Pleasure of Rest, equal to that Pain. The Pain of Absence from Friends, produces the Pleasure of Meeting in exact proportion. &c.

This is the fixt Nature of Pleasure and Pain, and will always be found to be so by those who examine it.

One of the most common Arguments for the future Existence of the Soul, is taken from the generally suppos'd Inequality of Pain and Pleasure in the present; and this, notwithstanding the Difficulty by outward Appearances to make a Judgment of another's Happiness, has been look'd upon as almost unanswerable: but since Pain naturally and infallibly produces a Pleasure in proportion to it, every individual Creature must, in any State of Life, have an equal Quantity of each, so that there is not, on that Account, any Occasion for a future Adjustment.

Thus are all the Works of the Creator equally us'd by him; And no Condition of Life or Being is in itself better or preferable to another: The Monarch is not more happy than the Slave, nor the Beggar more miserable than Crœsus. Suppose A, B, and C, three distinct Beings; A and B, animate, capable of Pleasure and Pain, C an inanimate Piece of Matter, insensible[123] of either. A receives ten Degrees of Pain, which are necessarily succeeded by ten Degrees of Pleasure: B receives fifteen of Pain, and the consequent equal Number of Pleasure: C all the while lies unconcern'd, and as he has not suffer'd the former, has no right to the latter. What can be more equal and just than this? When the Accounts come to be adjusted, A has no Reason to complain that his Portion of Pleasure was five Degrees less than that of B, for his Portion of Pain was five Degrees less likewise: Nor has B any Reason to boast that his Pleasure was five Degrees greater than that of A, for his Pain was proportionate: They are then both on the same Foot with C, that is, they are neither Gainers nor Losers.

It will possibly be objected here, that even common Experience shews us, there is not in Fact this Equality: "Some we see hearty, brisk and chearful perpetually, while others are constantly burden'd with a heavy Load of Maladies and Misfortunes, remaining for Years perhaps in Poverty, Disgrace, or Pain, and die at last without any Appearance of Recompence." Now tho' 'tis not necessary, when a Proposition is demonstrated to be a general Truth, to shew in what manner it agrees with the particular Circumstances of Persons, and indeed ought not to be requir'd; yet, as this is a common Objection, some Notice may be taken of it: And here let it be observ'd, that we cannot be proper Judges of the good or bad Fortune of Others; we are apt to imagine, that what would give us a great Uneasiness or a great Satisfaction, has the same Effect upon others: we think, for Instance, those unhappy, who must depend upon Charity for a mean Subsistence, who go in Rags, fare hardly, and are despis'd and scorn'd by all; not considering that Custom renders all these Things easy, familiar, and even pleasant. When we see Riches, Grandeur and a chearful Countenance, we easily imagine Happiness accompanies them, when oftentimes 'tis quite otherwise: Nor is a constantly sorrowful Look, attended with continual Complaints, an infallible Indication of Unhappiness. In short, we can judge by nothing but Appearances, and they are very apt to deceive us. Some put on a gay chearful Outside, and appear to the World perfectly at Ease, tho' even[124] then, some inward Sting, some secret Pain imbitters all their Joys, and makes the Ballance even: Others appear continually dejected and full of Sorrow; but even Grief itself is sometimes pleasant, and Tears are not always without their Sweetness: Besides, Some take a Satisfaction in being thought unhappy, (as others take a Pride in being thought humble,) these will paint their Misfortunes to others in the strongest Colours, and leave no Means unus'd to make you think them throughly miserable; so great a Pleasure it is to them to be pitied. Others retain the Form and outside Shew of Sorrow, long after the Thing itself, with its Cause, is remov'd from the Mind; it is a Habit they have acquir'd and cannot leave. These, with many others that might be given, are Reasons why we cannot make a true Estimate of the Equality of the Happiness and Unhappiness of others; and unless we could, Matter of Fact cannot be opposed to this Hypothesis. Indeed, we are sometimes apt to think, that the Uneasinesses we ourselves have had, outweigh our Pleasures; but the Reason is this, the Mind takes no Account of the latter, they flip away un-remark'd, when the former leave more lasting Impressions on the Memory. But suppose we pass the greatest part of Life in Pain and Sorrow, suppose we die by Torments and think no more, 'tis no Diminution to the Truth of what is here advanc'd; for the Pain, tho' exquisite, is not so to the last Moments of Life, the Senses are soon benumm'd, and render'd incapable of transmitting it so sharply to the Soul as at first; She perceives it cannot hold long, and 'tis an exquisite Pleasure to behold the immediate Approaches of Rest. This makes an Equivalent tho' Annihilation should follow: For the Quantity of Pleasure and Pain is not to be measur'd by its Duration, any more than the Quantity of Matter by its Extension; and as one cubic Inch may be made to contain, by Condensation, as much Matter as would fill ten thousand cubic Feet, being more expanded, so one single Moment of Pleasure may outweigh and compensate an Age of Pain.

It was owing to their Ignorance of the Nature of Pleasure and Pain that the Antient Heathens believ'd the idle Fable of their Elizium, that State of uninterrupted Ease and Happiness![125] The Thing is intirely impossible in Nature! Are not the Pleasures of the Spring made such by the Disagreeableness of the Winter? Is not the Pleasure of fair Weather owing to the Unpleasantness of foul? Certainly. Were it then always Spring, were the Fields always green and nourishing, and the Weather constantly serene and fair, the Pleasure would pall and die upon our Hands; it would cease to be Pleasure to us, when it is not usher'd in by Uneasiness. Could the Philosopher visit, in reality, every Star and Planet with as much Ease and Swiftness as he can now visit their Ideas, and pass from one to another of them in the Imagination; it would be a Pleasure I grant; but it would be only in proportion to the Desire of accomplishing it, and that would be no greater than the Uneasiness suffer'd in the Want of it. The Accomplishment of a long and difficult Journey yields a great Pleasure; but if we could take a Trip to the Moon and back again, as frequently and with as much Ease as we can go and come from Market, the Satisfaction would be just the same.

The Immateriality of the Soul has been frequently made use of as an Argument for its Immortality; but let us consider, that tho' it should be allow'd to be immaterial, and consequently its Parts incapable of Separation or Destruction by any Thing material, yet by Experience we find, that it is not incapable of Cessation of Thought, which is its Action. When the Body is but a little indispos'd it has an evident Effect upon the Mind; and a right Disposition of the Organs is requisite to a right Manner of Thinking. In a sound Sleep sometimes, or in a Swoon, we cease to think at all; tho' the Soul is not therefore then annihilated, but exists all the while tho' it does not act; and may not this probably be the Case after Death? All our Ideas are first admitted by the Senses and imprinted on the Brain, increasing in Number by Observation and Experience; there they become the Subjects of the Soul's Action. The Soul is a mere Power or Faculty of contemplating on, and comparing those Ideas when it has them; hence springs Reason: But as it can think on nothing but Ideas, it must have them before it can think at all. Therefore as it may exist before it has receiv'd any Ideas, it may exist before[126] it thinks. To remember a Thing, is to have the Idea of it still plainly imprinted on the Brain, which the Soul can turn to and contemplate on Occasion. To forget a Thing, is to have the Idea of it defac'd and destroy'd by some Accident, or the crouding in and imprinting of great variety of other Ideas upon it, so that the Soul cannot find out its Traces and distinguish it. When we have thus lost the Idea of any one Thing, we can think no more, or cease to think, on that Thing; and as we can lose the Idea of one Thing, so we may of ten, twenty, a hundred, &c. and even of all Things, because they are not in their Nature permanent; and often during Life we see that some Men, (by an Accident or Distemper affecting the Brain,) lose the greatest Part of their Ideas, and remember very little of their past Actions and Circumstances. Now upon Death, and the Destruction of the Body, the Ideas contain'd in the Brain, (which are alone the Subjects of the Soul's Action) being then likewise necessarily destroy'd, the Soul, tho' incapable of Destruction itself, must then necessarily cease to think or act, having nothing left to think or act upon. It is reduc'd to its first unconscious State before it receiv'd any Ideas. And to cease to think is but little different from ceasing to be.

Nevertheless, 'tis not impossible that this same Faculty of contemplating Ideas may be hereafter united to a new Body, and receive a new Set of Ideas; but that will no way concern us who are now living; for the Identity will be lost, it is no longer that same Self but a new Being.

I shall here subjoin a short Recapitulation of the Whole, that it may with all its Parts be comprehended at one View.

1. It is suppos'd that God the Maker and Governour of the Universe, is infinitely wise, good, and powerful.

2. In consequence of His Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, it is asserted, that whatever He doth must be infinitely wise and good;

3. Unless He be interrupted, and His Measures broken by some other Being, which is impossible because He is Almighty.

4. In consequence of His infinite Power, it is asserted, that nothing can exist or be done in the Universe which is not agreeable to His Will, and therefore good.[127]

5. Evil is hereby excluded, with all Merit and Demerit; and likewise all preference in the Esteem of God, of one Part of the Creation to another. This is the Summary of the first Part.

Now our common Notions of Justice will tell us, that if all created Things are equally esteem'd by the Creator, they ought to be equally us'd by Him; and that they are therefore equally us'd, we might embrace for Truth upon the Credit, and as the true Consequence of the foregoing Argument. Nevertheless we proceed to confirm it, by shewing how they are equally us'd, and that in the following Manner.

1. A Creature when endu'd with Life or Consciousness, is made capable of Uneasiness or Pain.

2. This Pain produces Desire to be freed from it, in exact proportion to itself.

3. The Accomplishment of this Desire produces an equal Pleasure.

4. Pleasure is consequently equal to Pain.

From these Propositions it is observ'd,

1. That every Creature hath as much Pleasure as Pain.

2. That Life is not preferable to Insensibility; for Pleasure and Pain destroy one another: That Being which has ten Degrees of Pain subtracted from ten of Pleasure, has nothing remaining, and is upon an equality with that Being which is insensible of both.

3. As the first Part proves that all Things must be equally us'd by the Creator because equally esteem'd; so this second Part demonstrates that they are equally esteem'd because equally us'd.

4. Since every Action is the Effect of Self-Uneasiness, the Distinction of Virtue and Vice is excluded; and Prop. VIII. in Sect. I. again demonstrated.

5. No State of Life can be happier than the present, because Pleasure and Pain are inseparable.

Thus both Parts of this Argument agree with and confirm one another, and the Demonstration is reciprocal.

I am sensible that the Doctrine here advanc'd, if it were to be publish'd, would meet with but an indifferent Reception. Mankind naturally and generally love to be flatter'd: Whatever sooths our Pride, and tends to exalt our Species above the rest[128] of the Creation, we are pleas'd with and easily believe, when ungrateful Truths shall be with the utmost Indignation rejected. "What! bring ourselves down to an Equality with the Beasts of the Field! with the meanest part of the Creation! 'Tis insufferable!" But, (to use a Piece of common Sense) our Geese are but Geese tho' we may think 'em Swans, and Truth will be Truth tho' it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful.



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 business 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?

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?[129]

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 legislature for an amendment? Or do you know of any beneficial law that is wanting?

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

16. 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?

18. Have you lately heard any member's character attacked, 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,[130] 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 endeavour impartially to find and receive it yourself, and communicate it to others? Answer. Yes.


In Two Parts[21]

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.

Part I

Philada, Nov. 20: 1728


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.[131]

Also, when I stretch my Imagination thro' and beyond our System of Planets, beyond the visible fix'd Stars themselves, into that Space that is every Way infinite, and conceive 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 suppose, 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 conceive 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 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[132] 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 Passions 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; and as I should be happy to have so wise, good, and powerful 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 Wisdom, 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!


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 wth a kind of Smiling, that Signifies inward Joy, and Satisfaction, and Admiration.

O wise God, my good Father![133]

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

1. O Creator, O Father! I believe that thou art Good, and that thou art pleas'd 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, in 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 Demonstration of the Being of a God, &c., or else spend some Minutes in a serious Silence, contemplating on those Subjects.]

Then sing


"These are thy Glorious Works, Parent of Good!
Almighty, Thine this Universal Frame,
Thus wondrous fair! Thyself how wondrous then!
[134] 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 gain'd, 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,
In honour to the World's Great Author rise;
Whether to deck with Clouds the uncolor'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty Earth wth 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
[135] 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.]


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 Endeavours and Resolutions of eschewing Vice and embracing Virtue; which Kind of Supplications will at least be thus far beneficial, as they remind me in a solemn manner of my Extensive duty.

That I may be preserved from Atheism & Infidelity, Impiety, and Profaneness, and, in 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 Distress, avoiding Cruelty, Harshness, and Oppression, Insolence, and unreasonable Severity,—Help me, O Father![136]

That I may refrain from Censure, Calumny and Detraction; 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!

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, Peaceable 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 Neighbours, good-natured to my Companions, and hospitable to Strangers,—Help me, O Father!

That I may be averse to Talebearing, Backbiting, Detraction, 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, merciful, 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 Probity, that I may possess a perfect innocence and a good Conscience, and at length become truly Virtuous and Magnanimous,—Help me, good God; help me, O Father![G][137]

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.

[G] At this point the original MS ends. The subsequent paragraph, including the "Thanks," is found only in William Temple Franklin's transcript, now in the Library of Congress. [Smyth's note.]


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!

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 pleasant hour,—My good God, I thank thee!


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 not always equally entertaining. The Delay of Ships expected 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 properly the concern of every Man; that is, Every one ought to mend One; yet 'tis too true in this Case, that what is every Body's Business is nobody's Business; and the Business is done accordingly. I therefore, upon mature Deliberation, think fit to take Nobody's Business wholly into[138] 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 in 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 10s. 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 publickly 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 contribute to the Embellishment of their Minds and brightning 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 deliver 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 Entertainment for the Publick that will give a rational Diversion, and at the same Time be instructive[139] to the Readers, I shall think my Leisure Hours well employ'd: And if you publish 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 acquainted 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, 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 Performances, 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 already 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.


Tuesday, February 11, 1728/9

All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.

Monsieur de la Rochefoucault tells us somewhere in his Memoirs, that the Prince of Condé delighted much in ridicule,[140] and used frequently to shut himself up for half a day together in his chamber, with a gentleman that was his 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 discouraged from attempting to make any figure in life; his apprehensions of being out-laughed will force him to continue 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 Ridentius. 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 public notice where any dull stupid rogue may get a quart of four-penny for being laughed at; but it is barbarously unhandsome, 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,[141] 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 artifice 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 gentlemen that write satires, and carry them about in their pockets, 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.


Tuesday, February 18th, 1728/9

Non vultus instantis Tyranni
Mente quatit solidâ,—neque Auster,
Dux inquieti turbidus Adriæ,
Nec fulminantis magna Jovis manus.

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[142] 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 Superfluities; 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 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 Admission. He appear'd in the plainest Country Garb; his Great Coat was coarse, and looked old and threadbare; his Linnen was home-spun; 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 enboldned with Resolution, 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 Powerful, and upon the most extraordinary Occasions. His[143] strict Justice and known Impartiality make him the Arbitrator 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, and therefore is never oblig'd to blush, and feel the Confusion of finding himself detected in the Meanness of a Falsehood. He never contrives Ill against his Neighbour, and therefore is never seen with a lowring, suspicious Aspect. A mixture of Innocence and Wisdom makes him ever seriously 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 Virtue, 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."

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 employ'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 handsome Person; But what is Wit, or Wealth, or Form, or Learning, when compar'd with Virtue?[144] '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 cringing, 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 Gratitude 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 advised 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, 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.[145]


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 Opportunity (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.

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 Ingratitude, 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 mentioned.[146]

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.



"You having set yourself up for a Censuror Morum, (as I think you call it), which is said to mean a Reformer of 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 other 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[147] 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 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 Pesterment of Children, without the Pleasure of—calling them my own; and they are now so us'd to being here, that they will be content 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 terrible 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 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.



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 believe, 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, notwithstanding 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 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 generally, a little Sweetmeat, a Dish of Sherbet, and another of Coffee; all which[149] 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 finishing 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.

"This Ceremony may perhaps seem ridiculous at first hearing, but it passes among the Turks for a high Gratification. 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 presented 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.



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, Circumstances, Characters, Transactions, &c. which will be requisite to the Perfecting and Embellishment of the said Work, 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.


October 2, 1729

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.[23]

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 Publication. There are likewise in those Books continual 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 Publication of those Dictionaries in a regular Alphabetical Method, as has hitherto been done; yet as several Things exhibited from them[151] in the Course of these Papers, have been entertaining 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 Gentlemen 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 Undertaking as many People imagine it to be. The Author of a Gazette (in the Opinion of the Learned) ought to be qualified 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.[152]


[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, June 23, 1730.][24]

Philocles. My friend Horatio! I am very glad to see you; prithee, how came such a Man as you alone? and 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 enchanting is the Game! we can't quit the Chace. How calm and undisturbed is your Life! How free from present Embarrassments 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 judiciously 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.[153]

Phil. What, though it be to the Ruin and Destruction of that very Self which he loves so well! That Man alone 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 in 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 Estate, 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 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[154] never give us Passions, on purpose to subdue 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 affrighted you; so that you decline the Trial of what is Good, by reason: And had rather make a bold Attack upon Providence; 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 Condition indeed; for you say you can't be happy if you controul your Passions; and you feel yourself miserable by an unrestrained Gratification of 'em; so that here's Evil, irremediable Evil, either way.

Hor. That is very true, at least it appears so to me: Pray, what have you to say, Philocles! in Honour of Nature or Providence; methinks I'm in 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 absolutely necessary to produce even your own darling[155] 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, Saint-like 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, Philocles! do not wrap yourself in Allegory 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 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 Perfection 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, Horatio, 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 present Happiness, and not build one upon the Ruins 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[156] have set us; we are then, for our own Sakes, to refrain, or deny ourselves a present momentary Pleasure for a future, constant 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, 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! 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, Philocles! I could be as wise in my Pleasures as you are pleasantly Wise; your Wisdom is agreeable, your Virtue is amiable, and your Philosophy the highest Luxury. Adieu! thou enchanting Reasoner!


[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, July 9, 1730.]

Philocles. 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 Philocles, 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 Misfortunes in my Pleasures had sent me to Philosophy for Relief? 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,[157] 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 beautifully-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 Happiness; 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 momentary Pleasure for a future, constant, and durable Good.

Hor. You have shewn, Philocles, that Self-denial, which weak or interested Men have rendred the most forbidding, is really the most delightful and amiable, the most reasonable and pleasant Thing in the World. In a Word, if I understand you aright, Self-denial is, in Truth, Self-recognising, 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[158] 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, dispassionate 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 Skepticism 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.

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,[159] 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 Possession, 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? Philocles! 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, Generosity, and Benevolence: This is that constant and durable Good, which will afford Contentment and Satisfaction always alike, without Variation or Diminution. I speak to your Experience now, Horatio! Did you ever find yourself 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 Consolation 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[160] 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 Satisfaction, 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 understand 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, Philocles! but, that no Difficulty may remain upon my Mind, pray tell me what is the real Difference between natural Good and Ill, and moral Good and Ill? 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 Ill is Pleasure and Pain: Moral Good and Ill 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 Judgment about the Nature of human Actions, he is immoral and culpable.

Hor. I find, then, that in 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 Happiness or real Good of Men consists in right Action, and right Action cannot[161] be produced without right Opinion, it behoves 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 Tendency, 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 Relation which other Men stand in to you, and you to them; and you'll immediately see what constitutes human Happiness, 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. Be steady, Horatio! Never depart from Reason and Virtue.

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

Phil. Adieu! dear Horatio!


[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, Oct. 22, 1730.]

"Saturday last, at Mount-Holly, about 8 Miles from this Place [Burlington, N. J.] near 300 People were gathered together to see an Experiment 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[162] great Terror and Amazement of the king's good and peaceable 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 1 Man and 1 Woman: and the Accused the same. The Parties being met and the People got together, a grand Consultation 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 Women to search the Women, to see if they had any Thing of Weight about them, particularly Pins. After the Scrutiny 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.[25] 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 Millpond, where both Accused and Accusers being stripped (saving[163] 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 in 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 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 Woman 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 surpriz'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."


[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, June 10, 1731.]

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 Business has hitherto hindered the execution of this Design; but having very lately given extraordinary Offence by printing an Advertisement with[164] a certain N. B. at the End of it, I find an Apology more particularly requisite at this Juncture, 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 Persuasions, 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 suffering the least Censure or Ill will on the Account from any Man whatever.

4. That it is as unreasonable in any one Man or Set of Men to expect to be pleas'd with every thing that is printed, as to think that nobody ought to be pleas'd but themselves.

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,[165] 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 unjustly 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 afterwards 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 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 2s. 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 behalf of a Man's being allow'd to do in the Way of his Business 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[166] 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 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 Advertisement 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 Consideration; 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[167] my Papers, nor have any farther Dealings with me; but will hinder me of all the Custom they can. All this is very hard!

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 Advertisement 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 signified the Clergy of the Church of England, yet I have that confidence in the generous good Temper 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 fruitful 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.

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[168] 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 Inexperience 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 travelling 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 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[169] 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.


Courteous Reader,

I might in this place attempt to gain thy Favour, by declaring 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 spinning 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 considerable 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 extreamly[170] 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 ☌ of ☉ and ☿: By his own Calculation he will survive till the 26th of the same Month.[26] 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 Encouragement; 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.


[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, July 19, 1733.]

Wretched, miserable, and unhappy Mug! I pity thy luckless 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 compell'd 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[171] 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 bestow'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, those whom his Master appoints him to serve will curse him as much, and perhaps threaten him with the Inquisition of the Standard. Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condition! Of thy self thou wouldst do no Harm, but much Harm is done with thee! Thou art accused of many Mischiefs; 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 having thy Lips rudely torn, thy Countenance disfigured, thy Arms dismantled, and[172] 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 in a Battle, or choak'd with a Dishclout, or by a Stroke against a Stone, 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 Casualties, they shall be press'd into their Mother Earth, and be converted to their original Principles.


Courteous Readers,

Your kind and charitable Assistance last Year, in purchasing so large an Impression of my Almanacks, has made my Circumstances much more easy in the World, and requires 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 Petticoat; and for my part, I have bought a second-hand Coat, so good, that I am now not asham'd to go to Town or be seen there. These Things have[173] 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 17th of October, 1733, 3 h. 29 m. P. M. at the very Instant of the ☌ of ☉ and ☿. By his own Calculation he was to survive till the 26th of the same Month, and expire in the Time of the Eclipse, near 11 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 sometimes 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 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 conceited 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 extraordinary: So that it is to be feared that Pamphlet may be only a Contrivance of somebody or other, who hopes perhaps to sell two or three Year's Almanacks still, by the sole Force and Virtue[174] 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 Sobriety, 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,
R. Saunders.

Octob. 30. 1733.


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 Opportunity 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 shall persist in that Resolution: But having receiv'd much Abuse from Titan Leeds deceas'd (Titan Leeds when living would not have us'd me so!) I say,[175] 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 Time I predicted 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 last two Almanacks (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 est) 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 survive until the 26th of the said Month October 1733, which is as untrue as the former." Now if it be, as Leeds says, untrue 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 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 17th 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 presume 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[176] 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

R. Saunders.

Octob. 30. 1734


[October, 1736—From Poor Richard, 1737]

The Use of Money is all the Advantage there is in having Money.

For £6 a Year you may have the Use of £100 if you are a Man of known Prudence and Honesty.

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 5s. worth of time, loses 5s. and might as prudently throw 5s. in the River.

He that loses 5s. 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.[177]

Yet, in buying goods, 'tis best to pay Ready Money, because, 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 for 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.


Philadelphia, April 13, 1738.

Honoured Father,

I have your favours of the 21st of March, in which you both seem concerned lest I have imbibed some erroneous opinions. Doubtless I have my share; and when the natural weakness and imperfection of human understanding is considered, the unavoidable influence of education, custom, books, and company upon our ways of thinking, I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, 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 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[178] 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 in 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 account 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 assure her that they are in general a very harmless sort of people, and have no principles or practices that are inconsistent 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.



Kind Reader,

Encouraged by thy former Generosity, I once more present thee with an Almanack, which is the 7th of my Publication. 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 Stargazer peeps at the Heavens thro' a long Glass: He sees 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 consider'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 in 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[180] 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 Sentences in my Book, thou findest me trifling now and then, and talking idly. In all the Dishes I have hitherto cook'd for thee, there is solid Meat enough for thy Money. There are Scraps from the Table of Wisdom, that will if well digested, yield strong Nourishment to thy Mind. But squeamish 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.



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, producing different[181] plants, mines, and minerals, and capable of different improvements, manufactures, &c.

The first drudgery of settling new colonies, which confines 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 speculation, many hints must from time to time arise, many observations occur, which if well examined, pursued, and improved, might produce discoveries to the advantage of some or all of the British plantations, or to the benefit of mankind in general.

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 discoverers, 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 correspondence.

That Philadelphia, being the city nearest the centre of the continent colonies, communicating with all of them northward 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 secretary.

That these members meet once a month, or oftener, at their own expense, to communicate to each other their observations 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 thereupon.[182]

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 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 improvements 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 countries; 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; introducing other sorts from foreign countries; new improvements 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 quarterly, of every 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 communications pass between the Secretary of the Society and the members, postage-free.

That, for defraying the expense of such experiments as 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[183] with the consent of the majority of the members that can conveniently be consulted thereupon, to such persons 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 communicated yearly to every member.

That, at the first meetings of the members at Philadelphia, such rules be formed for regulating their meetings and transactions 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, correct, 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 himself to serve the Society as their secretary, till they shall be provided with one more capable.


[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, June 23, 1743.]

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.[184]

To Mr. Franklin


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 Observation into other Parts, we shall find the same Passion equally prevalent throughout the whole civilized World; and discover 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.

Antiquity likewise will furnish us with many Confirmations 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 here 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 vacuâ tonsoris in umbrâ.
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[185] 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, &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.?[29] 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 Countenance, with proper Distortions of the Face, and the Addition of a lank Head of Hair, or a long Wig and Band, commands 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[186] their Principles with the Times, may justly 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.
Rowe's 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 Understanding is cultivated among ourselves, and the Chain of Friendship is brightened and perpetuated with our good Allies, the Indians. The Antipathy which these sage Naturalists bear to Shaving and Trimming, is well known.

I am, Yours, &c.


* * * Causis Philippus agendis
Clarus, * * *
S. P. D.

[From the Pennsylvania Gazette, June 30, 1743.]

My Paper on Shavers and Trimmers, in the last Gazette, being generally condemn'd, I at first imputed it to the Want of Taste[187] 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 depend on, I examined myself and to my Shame must confess, that I found myself to be an uncircumcised Jew, whose Excrescencies of Hair, Nails, Flesh, &c. did burthen and disguise 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.


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 Amusement, (being then in his 60th Year, which is said to be nearly the Age of the Author when he wrote it) 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[188] 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 Impression, being confident that the Publick would not unfavourably receive it.

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 Distance 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 be followed with many others, performed with equal Judgment and Success; and be a happy Omen, that Philadelphia shall become the Seat of the American Muses.

Philadelphia, Febr. 29. 1743/4.


Philadelphia [March 10], 1745.

—Our people are extremely impatient to hear of your success at Cape Breton. My shop is filled with thirty inquirers 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[189] 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 in your favour.

If you do not succeed, I fear I shall have but an indifferent 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 kingdom 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.


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,
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
[190] 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 in God.


[Printed in the Gentleman's Magazine, April, 1747.]

The Speech of Miss Polly Baker before a Court of Judicature, at Connecticut near Boston in New England; where she was prosecuted the fifth time, for having a Bastard 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 Sentence from the law, in my favour. All I humbly hope is, that your honours would charitably move the governor's 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 therefore 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 punished, 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 are pleased to allow I don't want sense; but I must be stupified to the last degree, not to[192] 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, fertility, and skill in 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 trusting 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 religi