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Dr. Benjamin Franklin

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Operation Disclosure | Grant Ouellette, Contributing Writer

Submitted on April 17, 2022

“The game of chess is not is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions, for life is a kind of chess.” Benjamin Franklin

The Serpent had God 3 games to 2 when God made a covenant with Benjamin Franklin to ride His beautiful mare and hop all over the board. The independent United States of America appeared and it was 3 wins apiece. Today the 7th and deciding game is near completion.

Benjamin Franklin (BF) lived until 84 years of age; January 17, 1706 to April 17, 1790 (Note: there are 4 17’s in his birth and death dates, so for Ben here’s a Fibonacci sequence: ½ ½ 1 1½ 2½ 4 6½ 10½ 17 …)

Ken Burns’ ‘Benjamin Franklin’ two part documentary began airing on TV 04 – 04 – 2022 with narrators Peter Coyote, Mandy Patinkin and Carolyn McCormick. Description for part 1: Following his success as a printer in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin earns worldwide fame from electricity experiments and then turns to politics. The show opens with the BF quote: “Histories of lives are seldom entertaining; unless they contain something either admirable or exemplar. Know then that I am an enemy to vice, and a friend to virtue, a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country; and the least appearance of encroachment on those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil exceedingly.”

After using a vast selection of adjectives to paint a picture of Franklin the narration continues: “He constantly remade himself, from apprentice to printer, to scientist, to government official, to revolutionary, to abolitionist. He was never finished with himself. He always thought he was a work in progress. He’s a Puritan who then becomes a leading figure in the enlightenment. He embraced the enlightenment belief in the perfectibility of human beings, but no one understood their foibles and failings, including his own, better than he did.”

By age 5 Ben was reading the Bible. His sister Jane recalled that he “studied incessantly” and “was addicted to all kinds of reading.” He had only two years of formal education, from age 8 to 10. His older brother James opened a printing shop in Boston and Ben worked for him where he taught himself to write. James started the first independent American newspaper ‘The New England Courant.’ In 1722 that newspaper began publishing articles submitted by ‘Silence Dogood’ who was secretly an alias of younger brother Ben. Dogood offered advice on many topics and when James was arrested and jailed without trial for articles attacking the Puritan leader Cotton Mather, Dogood could not be silenced and wrote: “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of Every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or control the Right of another. – Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.” Not long after this, Ben confided to James that he was submitting the Dogood articles without his permission. The current events had ruffled James’ feathers and his pride was injured. Maybe Ben said something like ‘Cotton matters’, but in any case there was an angry family squabble which drove Ben, only 17, to move to Philadelphia, at the time America’s third largest city with a population of 6,000.

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In Philadelphia Benjamin worked at a print shop and when the Governor of Pennsylvania, William Keith, noticed his brilliance, he persuaded him to go to London, England (population 600,000). Again Franklin worked at a print shop where his employer was impressed with his physical strength and sobriety. With access to more books Ben read many authors including Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes and John Locke who argued that truths could be found through the study of how things worked in the natural world – life on Earth is perfectible. Offered a job and potential partnership back in Philadelphia, Ben sailed home and on the way he wrote out 4 basic rules for his own conduct: 1) be extremely frugal; 2) endeavor to speak the truth in every instance; 3) apply myself industriously to whatever business I take; and 4) speak ill of no man whatever.

In 1728 he opened his own print shop, often working until 11 p.m. A group of 12 men called ‘The Leather Apron Club’ assembled and discussed deep ideas. At Ben’s suggestion they all brought books to share and the model evolved into the sharing of books with the public for small dues – The Library Company of Philadelphia was America’s first public library. He read every day often stating, “The good that we can do together surpasses the good that we can do alone.” Under suggestion and guidance by ‘The Leather Apron Club’ Philadelphia formed a volunteer firefighters company, a property tax used for city policing, a public academy which later became the University of Pennsylvania, and the building of a hospital. He was contracted to print Pennsylvania’s paper currency. In 1729 he started his own newspaper ‘The Pennsylvania Gazette’ with a format quite like a modern day one, with personal opinions allowed, as long as they weren’t harmful – with some exceptions of the day. He slept with many of the opposite sex resulting in the birth of his son William. In 1730 he entered into a common-law marriage with Deborah Read – God has a sense of humor. Merging their business interests his print shop became more of a general store. He moved away from the Puritan idea of God and wrote a letter: “Honored Father and Mother; I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes that all the doctrines he holds are true; and all he rejects are false. I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. And the Scripture ensures me that at the last day we shall not be examined by what we thought, but what we did.” He became more moral finally dealing with pride: “In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to pursue 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. Even if I could conceive that I have completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”

The human quality of prideis defined as: a sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect; and pleasure or satisfaction taken in one’s work, achievements or possessions; and an excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit. Pride is one of the Seven Cardinal Sins: pride, lust, envy or jealousy, anger, covetousness, greed or avarice or gluttony, and sloth.

In the movie ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ the wise old dwarf Balin tells his King under the Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield, “Your pride will be your downfall.”

Franklin became wealthy from his publishing, earning fame for printing the first novel in America. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” He began Poor Richard’s Almanak with funny and useful aphorisms, for example: “The greatest monarch on the proudest throne is obliged to sit upon his own arse.” In 1748 at 42 he thought of retiring … “Happiness – leisure to read, make experiments and converse at large with ingenious and worthy men on such points as may produce something for the common benefit of mankind.” He loved anatomy and botany; that leaves had veins. He invented the Franklin stove refusing to patent it. In 1751 BF was elected to the Pennsylvania Colonial assembly and the British appointed him Deputy Post Master. He established the first home delivery system and began the first deliveries up and down America’s east coast. He became world famous after his 1752 kite experiment with a metal key on a hemp kite string and discovered that electricity takes the path of least resistance. He advanced science coining the terms ‘positive and negative’ for electrical charges, and ‘conductor’ and ‘battery’. He then invented the lightning rod, but did not patent it. In 1754 the French and Indian War began in the Ohio River valley and BF negotiated with the Indians. He admired them for they had formed a confederation which promoted unity through consensus on matters that concerned them all. He saw that the colonies had to come together on common interests such as regulating trade and building forts for common defense. When he met with British General Braddock, who boasted he would have little trouble defeating the French and Indian alliance, he warned him of overconfidence – pride; soon after the General died at their hands. Next the barbarous Paxton brothers slaughtered peaceful Indians. As they approached Philadelphia Franklin led militia and defeated them. Then he went to London to negotiate with the elite Penn family who saw the colony as only a source of wealth and power for them and refused to pay land taxes to support anything American. He fell into the London lifestyle and its coffee shops where discussion of ideas and playing chess were prevalent. He went to Edinburgh, Scotland and the University at St. Andrews gave him an honorary doctorate and a set of golf clubs. Back in London he attended a glass rim rubbing concert which inspired him to create and have manufactured his famous ‘armonica’ for which Mozart and Beethoven wrote chamber music, stroking his pride. He refused to patent it. By 1761 the French and Indian War erupted into Europe as the Seven Years War. BF was a staunch British citizen when George III was crowned in 1761. A year later he returned to Philadelphia, now the largest American city with a population of 25,000. It is unclear whether he invented cream cheese. As Post Master he traveled through six colonies learning about their differences in culture and geology. After two years he hopped back to London with as an agent for Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Then in 1765 Britain enacted the Stamp Act, taxing colonial legal documents, newspapers, books and playing cards. Virginia’s Patrick Henry called it taxation without representation. Riots resulted and the act was repealed. In London BF came up with a hot water piping system to keep the House of Parliament warm, and with the help of a cousin he created the first chart explaining and identifying the Atlantic’s Gulph Stream. Parliament then imposed import duties on glass, china, paint and tea. When Massachusetts objected the British sent 15 warships and 1,000 troops to Boston. In 1771 Franklin wrote, “The friends of both countries wish a reconciliation; the enemies of either endeavor to widen the breach. God knows how it will end.” The Sons of Liberty dumped 46 tons of English tea into Boston’s harbor. Franklin stood silent as the English solicitor general spent an hour in the King’s Privy Council accusing him of instigating the Boston Tea Party. London newspapers called him a traitor. He was dismissed from his post master position. He was now only an American. He had been in England for 15 of the last 17 years when his wife died back home. It was the Old World versus the New.

“The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. By playing at chess we may learn foresight, circumspection, caution, the habit of not being discouraged by the present bad appearance in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable change, and that of persevering.” Benjamin Franklin

King George III ordered a crackdown on New England. Until the East India Company, chartered by QE1, was compensated for its lost tea, Boston harbor was closed; Massachusetts was placed under martial law. Delegates went to the Continental Congress which banned all British imports. War broke out. A second Congressional Congress was held in Philadelphia and Ben was elected Post Master General. The British destroyed Boston and burned Charlestown. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and before they signed it Franklin changed the wording from “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” to “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

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Franklin was sent to France as an envoy to King Louis XVI’s court to form an alliance. Crowds cheered his arrival in Nantes. A celebrity, his image appeared on medallions and on walls in French homes. France advanced some money for war, but more was needed. Amid early American losses to British troops he played a media information campaign suggesting the Americans could last 30 years. He convinced Lafayette and other military leaders to go to America where they assisted and trained American troops – intelligence in action. Ben found himself surrounded by spies from France, England and other countries.

Carly Simon hit it with ‘You’re So Vain’ fame. Here are adapt-a-tad lyrics to ‘Nobody Does It Better’ from the James Bond ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ soundtrack:

Nobody Does It Better

Makes me feel glad for the rest

Nobody does it half as good as you

How’d you learn to do the things you do?

I wasn’t looking, but somehow you found me

I tried to hide from your love light

But like Heaven above me

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The spy who loved me

Is keeping all my secrets safe tonight

Nobody Does It Better

Makes me feel glad for the rest

Nobody does it half as good as you

Benny, you’re the best

On Dec 4, 1777 British General Burgoyne, surrendered at Saratoga, New York. Earlier the General had stated with pride that he would win and would be home by Christmas. In 1778 France signed treaties of commerce and war alliance with America and now provided significant funding. Franklin enjoyed the French life, with its sexual nuances and lots of parties. He had two sets of glasses, one for reading and one for distance. During one dinner he wore his reading glasses, but couldn’t see those across the table with whom he conversed; so he sawed his glasses in half and glued them together thus inventing bifocals. He met Voltaire.

In the movie ‘The Patriot’ about the American Revolution the Mel Gibson character, Benjamin Martin, having just read the captured personal diaries of British General Cornwallis states that the General knows more about war than anyone, so much so that he is proud of his knowledge. Mel says: “Pride will do”, as a weakness. The militia uses the General’s pride against him and wins the crucial battle.

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Finally, on Oct. 19, 1781, after the French navy arrived and cut off the British navy, French and American troops under George Washington and Lafayette forced British General Lord Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown, Virginia. Franklin’s efforts and patience had paid off. He helped negotiate and then signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War and so America’s independence was recognized by Europe.

In 1785 Ben returned home to cheering crowds and a cannon salute. In May 1787 George Washington and BF attended at what is now called Independence Hall to fix the Articles of Confederation. Franklin promoted compromise and on Sept. 17, 1787 he made the motion to adopt. “I agree to this constitution with all its faults, if they are such, because I think a general government necessary for us. I doubt, too, whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better constitution. For when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all of their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does. And I think it will astonish our enemies who are waving with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded, like the builders of Babel, and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent to this constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.” The delegates signed. In 1790 it was ratified and BF wrote, “I pray to God to bless and guide its operations. If any form of government is capable of making a nation happy, ours I think bids fair for producing that effect. But after all, much depends upon the people who are to be governed.”

His last public act was to write a treatise against slavery.

In 1865, 75 years after Franklin passed, as the American Civil War drew to a close, France’s Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that his country create a statue to give to the United States of America to celebrate the success of building a successful democracy. The Statue of Liberty was established in 1924.

“The chosen protector of the great country,

For endless years shall hold the famed torch,

It will serve to guide this great people,

And in its name they will struggle and triumph.” French Seer Nostradamus

“Here is my creed: I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe, that He governs it by His providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to Him is doing good to His other children; that the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be fundamental principles of all sound religion and I regard them in whatever sect I meet them.” Benjamin Franklin

‘Worshipped’ meaning to be loved, and to be respected and honored as in ‘Honor your Father and Mother’ by the deferring your will to God’s or any parent’s will that is aligned with God, but excluding idolization, for God does not possess the serpent’s qualities of pride (conceit) and vanity. Love God as God loves you.

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Other quotes from Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”

“He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”

“There never was a good war or a bad peace.” (in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks)

“Honesty is the best policy.”

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“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”

“When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.”

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

“What more valuable than Gold? Diamonds. Than Diamonds? Virtue.”

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

“Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.”

“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”

“Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame.”

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“When you are finished changing, you’re finished.”

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!”

“The only thing that is more expensive than education is ignorance.”

“Security without liberty is called prison.”

“You only have the right to pursue happiness; you have to catch it yourself.”

“Genius without education is like silver in the mine.”

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

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“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

Benjamin Do Good

Endeavor for the common good of mankind

Freedoms of thought and of speech grant peace of mind

Speak ill of no man or his livelihood

Be a friend to virtue, strive to do good

If you start feeling smug

Choose then to give a hug

Teach God’s children self-evident truth

Beware of pride and act not uncouth

Honor your Father and Mother, your soul so inclined

Honor the rights of all men, liberty by design

Focus on things to which you agree

Come together like drops in the sea

Pray that in the next press release

Headlines read we have achieved peace

Go through your neighborhood

Intending to do good

Believe in the One True God

And all Heaven will applaud

GO in unconditional love with the blessings of Ascended
Master Lord Jesus

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