Benjamin Franklin made the proposition that his friends and himself consider pooling together their respective books in a common place to facilitate ease and convenience of use by all members. Franklin made this suggestion at a meeting that his Book Club was having at Mr. Grace’s house. In explaining the rationale behind his proposal, Franklin added that by placing the books at a single central location, all the members would have the opportunity of having access to every other book that is owned by their colleagues.
After considering this suggestion, Franklins’ Book Club members agreed to it. Consequently, each member brought their books until an entire room was completely filled up with various books. Afterwards, following the apparent halting of the aforementioned book pooling arrangement, Franklin began organizing for the setting up of a subscription library. This entity was soon registered in the name of North American subscription libraries, thus marking the genesis if the library. The following quote illustrates this process.
‘About this 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 altogether 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 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’ (Franklin, 2006). Following the establishment of the library, Franklin as well as his society was able to engage each other on a more informed level. This is because as members read their colleagues’ books, they developed relevant questions that were presented to those colleagues, thus enhancing academic discourse. Explain Franklin’s quest for moral perfection. What process did he use?
How successful was he? Which virtues did he find the most challenging to maintain? What was meant by his saying, “a speckled ax is best? By the term ‘moral perfection,’ Franklin meant the quality of always being able to avoid being engaged in evil things. In addition, the phrase has to do with the humanly habit of always doing what is good or righteous. The succeeding statement illustrates this concept. ‘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’ (Icon Reference, 2006). Considering the arduous process through which Franklin went as he pursued ‘moral perfection,’ I should say that he recorded considerable success in his quest. For instance, he noted that authors and commentators had lumped together numerous words to describe various virtues, thus making the virtues’ meanings blurred. He thus simplified the virtues by having succinct explanations for each.
It is thus evident that Franklin was significantly successful in this endeavor. Franklin found maintaining the virtue of temperance very demanding sine eternal vigilance was required in order to ward off the numerous temptations that keep occurring. By the ‘a speckled ax is best’ phrase, Franklin meant that it is better for someone to be seen to be trying to observe morality despite the many impediments than for one to completely give in to evil inclinations. By struggling against evil, a person will have both bad and good faces, a situation that Franklin lauded.
Was Franklin a religious man? Why, or why not? Provide specific evidence to support your conclusions. Based on his discourse as it is presented through his autobiography, Franklin was a man who valued and respected religious ideas. For example, as he describes his experiences while in England, Franklin mentions a certain traveling doctor who maliciously distorted the Bible’s message. Considering the bad character that Franklin attributes to this doctor, it is evident that Franklin was a spiritual man.
To illustrate, Franklin terms the doctor as ‘an unbeliever’ and a ‘wicked’ man. Such negative terms show that Franklin was unenthusiastic towards this malicious doctor primarily based on what the doctor did to the Bible. This viewpoint, through which Franklin explains his displeasure with the doctor’s action, shows that Franklin had religious roots. The succeeding phrase explains this idea. 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 travestie the Bible in doggrel verse, as Cotton had done Vir gil. 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 published; but it never was (Bigelow, 2009). Further, Franklin mentions that he observed the Christian Lent ritual, thus showing that he had religious foundations. This concept is evident from the fact that Lent is usually celebrated by Christians, especially the Roman Catholic believers.
The ‘I have since kept several Lents most strictly, leaving the common diet for that, and that for the common, abruptly, without the least inconvenience’ illustrates this religious inclination (Franklin, 2006). References Bigelow, J. (2009). The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar, LLC. Franklin B. (2006). The autobiography of Ben Franklin. Sioux Falls, SD: NuVision Publications, LLC. Icon Reference. (2006). The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Webster’s Spanish Thesaurus Edition). San Diego, CA: ICON Group International, Incorporated.