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my neighbours, good-natured to my companions, and hospitable to strangers, - Help me, O Father!
That I may be averse to craft and over-reaching, abhor extortion, perjury, and every kind of wickedness, — Help me, O Father!
That I may be honest and open-hearted, gentle, merciful, and good, cheerful in spirit, rejoicing in the good of others, — Help me, O Father! · That I may have a constant regard to honor and probity, that I may possess a perfect innocence and a good conscience, and at length become truly virtuous and magnanimous, -Help me, good God; help me, O Father!
And, forasmuch as ingratitude is one of the most odious of vices, let me not be unmindful gratefully to acknowledge the favors I receive from Heaven.
For peace and liberty, for food and raiment, for corn, and wine, and milk, and every kind of healthful nourishment, -Good God, I thank thee !
For the common benefits of air and light; for useful fire and delicious water, — Good God, I thank thee!
For knowledge, and literature, and every useful art. for my friends and their prosperity, and for the fewness of my enemies, -Good God, I thank thee!
For all thy innumerable benefits; for life, and reason, and the use of speech; for health, and joy, and every pleasant hour, — My good God, I thank thee!
RULES FOR A CLUB
- PREVIOUS QUESTION, TO BE ANSWERED AT EVERY MEETING.
Have you read over these queries this morning, in order to consider what you might have to offer the Junto touching any one of them ? viz.
1. Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physic, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge.
2. What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in conversation ?
3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately, and what have you heard of the cause?
Chiconsisting he had lost
* These Rules were drawn up in the year 1728, and designed as general regulations for a Club, called The Junto, consisting of a select number of Franklin's acquaintances in Philadelphia, whom he had induced to associate and hold weekly meetings for mutual improvement The plan was to propose and discuss queries on points of morals, politics, and natural philosophy. “Our debates," says Franklin, “were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were, after some time, made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.” This association produced all the advantages anticipated from it. Forty years after its establishment, it became the basis of the AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL Society, of which Franklin was the first president, and the published Transactions of which have contributed largely to the advancement of science and the diffusion of valuable knowledge in the United States...
When the Philosophical Society was instituted, a book containing many of the questions discussed by the JUNTO was put into the hands of Dr. William Smith, who selected from it, and published in his “ Eulogium on Franklin,” (p. 13,) the following specimens.-EDITOR. “ Is sound an entity or body ? “How may the phenomena of vapors be explained?
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 ?
“ Which is least criminal, a bad action joined with a good intention, or a gvod 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
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.