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Authors: Walter Isaacson

A Benjamin Franklin Reader

BOOK: A Benjamin Franklin Reader
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Also by Walter Isaacson

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Pro and Con

Rockefeller Center
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Copyright © 2003 by Walter Isaacson
All rights reserved,
including the right of reproduction
in whole or in part in any form.

First Simon & Schuster paperback edition 2005

and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Designed by Jaime Putorti

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows: Franklin, Benjamin, 1706–1790.

[Selections. 2003]

A Benjamin Franklin reader / edited and annotated by Walter Isaacson.

    p.  cm.

“Including: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Poor Richard’s Almanac, Silence Dogood’s letters, Polly Baker’s trial, bagatelles to his French girlfriends, the closing speech at the Constitutional Convention, letters to Jefferson and Adams and Washington, and many other wonderful writings from America’s favorite Founder.”

1. Franklin, Benjamin, 1706–1790—Archives. 2. United States—Politics and government—To 1775—Sources. 3. United States—Politics and government—1775–1783—Sources. 4. Franklin, Benjamin, 1706–1790. 5. Statesmen—United States—Biography. 6. Scientists—United States—Biography. 7. Printers—United States—Biography. I. Isaacson, Walter. II. Title.

E302.F82 2003

973.3’092—dc22                      2003055788

ISBN 13: 978-0-7432-7483-8
ISBN 10: 0-7432-7483-0

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Key Characters


Part 1: The Young Apprentice

Silence Dogood Introduces Herself

Silence Dogood on Courtship

Silence Dogood Attacks Harvard

Silence Dogood’s Recipe for Poetry

Silence Dogood Attacks the Puritan Theocracy

Silence Dogood Proposes Civic Improvements

A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity

Plan of Conduct

Advice to His Sister on Her Marriage

A New Creed and Liturgy

Part 2: The Philadelphia Printer

The First Abortion Controversy

The Busy-Body

Franklin the Editor

The Lessons of Misprints

Rules for Marriage

A Scolding Wife

A Witch Trial at Mount Holly

A Printer’s Creed

Sex Sells

Anthony Afterwit on Marriage

Celia Single Responds

In Praise of Gossip

The Discussion Club

How to Please in Conversation

Part 3: Poor Richard and Friends

Introducing Poor Richard

Poor Richard vs. Mr. Leeds

On the Death of Infants

Poor Richard Denies He Is Franklin

Faith Versus Good Works

Poor Richard Blames His Printer

The Drinker’s Dictionary

How to Write an Almanac

Poor Richard’s Wife Takes Her Turn

Poor Richard Defends Astrology and Wit

A Defense of Religious Tolerance

A Ballad for Deborah

Reasons to Choose an Older Mistress

Polly Baker’s Trial

Part 4: The Public Citizen

A Call to Arms for the Middling People

The University of Pennsylvania

How to Be a Good Tradesman

Rattlesnakes for Felons

Magical Squares

On Welfare Dependency

The Albany Plan for an American Union

Catherine Ray

A Parable on Intolerance

The Way to Wealth: The Sayings of Poor Richard

Part 5: Lobbyist in London

Reasons for Restoring Canada to France

Mary Stevenson

David Hume

On Observing the Sabbath

When Oil Does Not Calm Troubled Waters

Race and Slavery

Propaganda Agent

A Paean to Deborah

The Grumpy Boarder

More on Welfare Dependency

Cold Air Baths

The Fable of the Lion and the Dog

Polly Gets Married

The Cravenstreet Gazette

A Showdown with Lord Hillsborough

The Seeds of a Total Disunion

How to Weigh a Decision

Ode to a Squirrel

The Cause of Colds

Parody Rules and an Edict Directed at Britain

Part 6: American Rebel

You Are My Enemy

Proposed Articles of Confederation

The Rattlesnake as America’s Symbol

Part 7: Ambassador in Paris

An Appeal to France’s Interests

The Sale of the Hessians

A Form Letter of Recommendation

The Twelve Commandments, to Madame Brillon

A Proposed Treaty with Madame Brillon

Bagatelle of the Ephemera

Madame Helvétius and Elysian Fields

John Paul Jones

To His Daughter on Fame, Frugality, and Grandchildren

The Morals of Chess

Bagatelle on St. Peter’s Tolerance

On Wine and the Elbow

To George Washington on Reputation

John Adams

Dialogue Between the Gout and Mr. Franklin

The Science of Farts

A Fable About Misguided Loyalists

Seducing the French

To Polly on Her Mother and the Futility of War

A Critique of Excess Wealth

On Hereditary Honors and the Turkey

A Vision of America

No Longer His Enemy

Daylight Savings Time

The Prodigal William

On Wishes, Age, and Bifocals

Part 8: Constitutional Sage

The Constitutional Convention

Motion for Prayers

Franklin’s Closing Speech

A Miffy Family

Webster’s Dictionary

On the Abolition of Slavery

The Final Parody, on Slavery

On Jesus Christ

To Thomas Jefferson

Last Will and Codicil

Part 9: The Autobiography

The Autobiography

BOOK: A Benjamin Franklin Reader
8.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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