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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?
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?
"Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind, the universal monarch to whom all are tributaries?
"Which is the best form of government, and what was that form which first prevailed among mankind?
"Can any one particular form of government suit all mankind?
"What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the Bay of Fundy, than the Bay of Delaware?
"Is the emission of paper money safe?
"What is the reason that men of the greatest knowledge are not the most happy?
"How may the possessions of the Lakes be improved to our advantage? "Why are tumultuous, uneasy sensations, united with our desires? "Whether it ought to be the aim of philosophy to eradicate the passions?
"How may smoky chimneys be best cured?
"Why does the flame of a candle tend upwards in a spire?
"Which is least criminal, a bad action joined with a good intention,
or a good action with a bad intention?
"Is it inconsistent with the principles of liberty in a free government, to punish a man as a libeller, when he speaks the truth?"
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 honorable 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, 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.
AFTER Franklin's return from his first visit to England, he enpaged in the printing business on his own account at Philadelphia, and formed the project of setting up a newspaper. There were at this time two other printers in the city, Keimer and Bradford, and the latter published a gazette, called The Weekly Mercury, being the first newspaper printed in Pennsylvania. Having but a poor opinion of this paper as then conducted, and yet perceiving that it was profitable to the proprietor, Franklin thought there was a fair opportunity for a successful rivalship. He intended to keep his design a secret, however, till he should be ready to put it in execution; but in the mean time he unguardedly communicated it to George Webb, a journeyman printer, who applied to him for employment, and who made haste to convey the news to Keimer.
Stimulated by jealousy, or by a temper ill suited to gain or preserve friends, Keimer immediately resolved, in concert with Webb, to take advantage of this hint, and issued proposals for publishing a paper himself. Franklin was piqued at this ungenerous interference, and he conceived it justifiable by proper means to defeat Keimer's plan. With this aim he commenced writing a series of pieces in Bradford's paper, under the title of THE BUSY-BODY, which were of an amusing cast, and designed to draw the attention of the public to that paper. He and his friend Breintnal, at the same time, united their wits in burlesquing and ridiculing Keimer's proposals. The effect was such as he desired. Keimer set his paper on foot; but it was so ill supported, that it languished from the beginning, and before the end of the year he was glad to sell it to Franklin for a small consideration.
The Essays of THE BUSY-BODY are curious, as being the earliest regular compositions, which are known to have come from the pen of Franklin. They were written at the beginning of his twentythird year. The style is marked by the peculiar characteristics, which prevail in all his subsequent writings; ease, simplicity, clearness, and a pure English idiom; and these qualities, indeed, in which he is everywhere unrivalled, seem to have been scarcely less
a gift of nature than the effect of study. Without any display of ornament, or labored flights of fancy, his thoughts flow smoothly onward, and are conveyed in a language so lucid and expressive, that the reader's mind is never for a moment embarrassed with obscurity or doubt. In judging of the merits of these essays, in regard to the topics upon which they turn, and the mode of treating them, it would be unjust to the author not to keep in mind his pursuits and habits of life up to the time when they were written, and the forms of society with which his circumstances had necessarily made him familiar. And it should equally be remembered, that he did not write for literary fame, nor to win the applause of refined circles, but merely to amuse himself and effect a temporary purpose.
The first five numbers and the eighth of THE BUSY-BODY are considered as having been unquestionably written by Franklin, Whether he wrote more is uncertain. The series was continued to thirty-two numbers, chiefly if not wholly by Breintnal. - EDITOR.
THE BUSY-BODY. - No. I.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1728-9.
MR. ANDREW BRADFORD,
I DESIGN this to acquaint you, that I, who have long been one of your courteous readers, have lately entertained some thought 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 observed 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 trade. With more concern have I continually observed the growing vices and follies of my country-folk; and, though reformation is properly the concern of every man, that is, every one ought to mend one; yet it is