Benjamin Franklin (Bloom's Classic Critical Views) by Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom, Emeritus

By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom, Emeritus Professor Kevin J Hayes

Benjamin Franklin used to be essentially the most dynamic figures in early American background, publishing bad Richard's Almanac in addition to a number of different works. This quantity beneficial properties essays from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that provide scholars ancient insights into certainly one of our country's Founding Fathers.

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He spoke of the talkativeness of the French nation, & told a story of the Abbé Raynal, who was a great talker, who came into a company where a French man talked so long & so incessantly that, he could not 16 Benjamin Franklin get in a word. ” His grandson told another story of a Frenchman, who was dining, complaining to his companions that their noise kept him from tasting his Victuals. —Spent half an hour with Dr. F. in his library. ” He condemned the foreign commerce of the United States, and observed that the greatest part of the trade of the World, was carried on for Luxuries most of which were really injurious to health or Society, such as tea, tobacco, Rum, Sugar, and negro Slaves.

The author notes that there were a few who questioned what Franklin represented. Some Christian readers wondered about his belief in God. ” Leigh Hunt belongs with those who sneered. To understand Hunt’s belligerence toward Franklin, much less to understand the history of Franklin’s critical reception, it is crucial to know about The Way to Wealth, the pamphlet that significantly shaped Franklin’s public perception. Hunt, a British essayist and bon vivant, does not mention The Way to Wealth in his autobiography, the source of the next item in this section, but his willingness to equate Franklin with Poor Richard shows the pamphlet’s influence.

If he was not a constant attendant upon the preaching of his times, it was because that preaching was so unlike the Sermon on the Mount. He could not depart from his own vineyard, to glean 32 Benjamin Franklin the tythes of mint, annise and cumin in the fields of his neighbors. We make no controversy with those who sneer at his personal and systematic efforts to school himself in the Art of Virtue. It was his own way of subduing his own propensities—of fulfilling the great purposes of his moral being; and his tree asks no judgment except by its fruits.

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