Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters

By Leonard W. Labaree; Benjamin Franklin et al. | Go to book overview
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For my own Part, at present I pass my time agreeably enough. I enjoy (thro' Mercy) a tolerable Share of Health; I read a great deal, ride a little; do a little Business for my self, more for others; retire when I can, and go [into] Company when I please; so the Years roll round, and the last will come; when I would rather have it said, He lived usefully, than, He died rich.

Cousins Josiah and Sally are well, and I believe will do well, for they are an industrious saving young Couple: But they want a little more Stock to go on smoothly with their Business.

My love to Brother and Sister Mecom and their Children, and to all my Relations in general. I am Your dutiful Son

B. Franklin


EVERY man's conduct provided Franklin with the data of morality and politics. Similarly he found the data of science everywhere. Because his eye was accurate and his words precise, Franklin made daily occurrences seem the prototypes of the grand and timeless. A wind gust swirling up the road was to most travelers only an annoyance that irritated their eyes and frightened their horses; but to Franklin it was a phenomenon to be observed, experimented on, recorded, and communicated to his fellow philosophers. Peter Collinson, an English merchant and naturalist, was for many years Franklin's most regular scientific correspondent in the mother country.

To Peter Collinson

Philadelphia, August 25, 1755

Dear Sir,

As you have my former papers on Whirlwinds, etc. I now send you an account of one which I had lately an opportunity of seeing and examining myself.


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