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Old 03-24-2011, 01:14 AM   #16
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I found the noncompetitive attitude of Franklin to be refreshing. Reading Franklin reminds me of how far our own philosophies about information, knowledge, technology, and commerce have changed. Although, it could be said that Franklin was peculiar even for his time, so maybe his ideas are singular and not representative of his own times. But reading the U.S. constitution or other works of his time, I think there was a certain enlightenment ethic that Franklin shared with others of his time.

What I mean by a noncompetitive ethic is that Franklin did not see the world through a prism of winners and losers, of victors and vanquished. We can clearly see that in his debating style, or what would more appropriately be called his discussing style. This is how he debates:

“when I advanced anything that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat everyone of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire.”

From this passage you can see that for Franklin the goal of any discussion is not to win the debate, as is taught in debating today, but in the exchange of information and knowledge. It is not just a tactic for subtly influencing or manipulating others; Franklin approaches a discussion with another not just to impart or proselytize, but to make a mutual exchange. This mindset is a far cry from the politics and cultural wars of today (although there were irreconcilable political divisions in Franklin's time as well) where political debate consists either of yelling or snide asides and where political philosophies are expressed in immutable and self-evident slogans. But this isn't a politics forum, so I will not go further into that.

I must reiterate, however, that Franklin's mindset was not unique to him, but a part of the times that he lived in. Even though he professed to not be a deist, it can be seen by the quote provided by WT Sharpe that Franklin had the beliefs of a deist. He denies being a deist, but that was for what he thought was more practical reasons, and I think in all things Franklin tried to be practical. He mistakenly interprets deism as moral relativism, when in fact deists believed morality, common decency, and kindness were eternal truths built into the structure of the universe. Thomas Paine, a self-avowed deist in the eighteenth century, says in the Age of Reason that the morality taught by any religion are “the natural dictates of conscience, and the bonds by which society is held together, and without which it cannot exist; and are nearly the same in all religions, and in all societies.” Deist philosophy says that all knowledge already exists and was been created by the maker. Humans do not create knowledge; they are vessels through which knowledge is passed through, in the same way that a prophet is the vessel through which a god communicates truths to a people. Just as it is the prophets duty and responsibility to communicate the word of god to as many people as possible, a deist believes that it is the duty of men to share knowledge with all that they can. We see this principle enshrined in the U.S. Constitution: the copyright clause gives authors and inventors control over their works for limited times only to promote the useful arts for the public gain. Most of the founding fathers did not see knowledge or information as property of the individual. Some time between Franklin's time and our own time our notions of knowledge and information changed, so that today we generally see a creation of an author as their personal property that they can do with as they please.

I cannot say for certain when or why this change occurred, but I can speculate. As I have already stated, deists believed that knowledge was universal. In 1886 the Berne convention established copyright as life of the author plus fifty years. The idea of this kind of copyright was that an authors work was his property, and therefore he should not only own it for his entire lifetime, but he should also be able to bequeath that property to his descendants (for up to two subsequent generations, estimated at an average of 50 years at the time). This new notion of copyright represents an important philosophical development, and I think it has to do with changing notions of property and knowledge in the nineteenth, and more specifically, with the emergence of Darwinism and atheism. Before the nineteenth century it was inconceivable that the world, and that people, could exist without some form of divine creation. The term atheist was a pejorative for those who had different worship practices than the norm, not for people who believed that there was no god. Darwinism, however, introduced the notion that man and society could have formed outside of a divine creation. This allowed for the emergence of atheism, because it provided the means for which man could have emerged without some form of divine creator. If man evolved and was not created, then it could also be argued that knowledge and information is not eternal, but something that is created by individuals, or that it could be something that forms through the process of natural selection. Since individuals created knowledge and information, it is not only a form of personal property, but also that individual has no obligation or moral imperative to share what he has created with others.

There were social darwinist undertones in the Berne convention. If natural selection was how species advanced (a misinterpretation of Darwin), then competition, and not cooperation, was the best way to improve and progress society. Whereas in the eighteenth century enlightenment it was believed that the free flow and sharing of universal knowledge was the best way to better mankind, in the nineteenth century industrial world knowledge was seen as a means for an individual to compete more effectively in society; essentially, knowledge became something to compete over, rather than something to share. Whereas the eighteenth century enlightenment approach to knowledge was, “how can I best share what I know with others,” the nineteenth century industrial mindset was, “how can I make the biggest profit off my works,” and for the consumer it was “how can I get creative works for as cheap as possible.” Thus, the interests of the producer and the consumer came to be mutually exclusive, one seeking to get the most, whereas the other seeking to give up the least. Whereas the eighteenth century perceived knowledge as a means of bettering all of mankind, the nineteenth century mindset was that the creation of knowledge is a competition in which an individual try to use it as a means to surpass others or move up in society.

Of course, it could also be argued that the belief that knowledge is personal property predates the Darwinist era. Indeed, publishing companies argued for perpetual publishing rights in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but I think that had to do more with the philosophy of privilege than it did with the philosophy of property, i.e., the prevailing philosophy that said that different sections of society had different rights and privileges bestowed by god. Publishers argued that it was their god given right to exclusive publishing rights, not that authors were owners of their works.

I think Franklin expresses the spirit of the enlightenment best in this quote about why he did not patent his stove: “That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.”

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Old 03-24-2011, 02:29 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by spellbanisher View Post
I found the noncompetitive attitude of Franklin to be refreshing. Reading Franklin reminds me of how far our own philosophies about information, knowledge, technology, and commerce have changed. ...[F]or Franklin the goal of any discussion is not to win the debate, as is taught in debating today, but in the exchange of information and knowledge. It is not just a tactic for subtly influencing or manipulating others; Franklin approaches a discussion with another not just to impart or proselytize, but to make a mutual exchange. This mindset is a far cry from the politics and cultural wars of today....
Excellent observation. Truly his diplomatic skills served him well, and not only in his official capacity as our ambassador to France. I agree with you that his non-dogmatic style of discourse is much more welcome than much of what we hear today; and, I believe, much more effective as a tool of persuasion. Franklin certainly believed it was, as can be seen from this rather lengthy but worthwhile passage:

Spoiler:
.....While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method. I was charm'd with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it, practis'd it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved. I continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so; for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously:

.........."Men should be taught as if you taught them not,
...........And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;"


farther recommending to us

.........."To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence."

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly,

.........."For want of modesty is want of sense."

If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,

.........."Immodest words admit of no defense,
...........For want of modesty is want of sense."

Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus?

.........."Immodest words admit but this defense,
...........That want of modesty is want of sense."

This, however, I should submit to better judgments.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:08 PM   #18
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Perhaps noncompetitive is not descriptive enough. The word implies passivity, a mere abstinence from competition, whereas Franklin was a believer in actively doing good. Maybe the term cooperative would be more appropriate, but I think that does not quite encompass Franklin's philosophy. Perhaps he can be described as a proto-utilitarian, whose first principle was the greatest happiness produced for the community that he lived in. Franklin does not have any inviolable principles; the only principle that he adheres to is that whatever does the greatest good is best. That is why he is tolerant of all religions, and why he does not piously follow the one he professes to believe in.

Most people have absolute beliefs or principles that the adhere to no matter the greater results, either for personal gain or for some notion of universal right. A conservative or libertarian, in their most candid moments, will argue that it is wrong to impose income taxes, not because they do no good, but because it is wrong to take property under any conditions. In the same way a liberal might believe that redistributing wealth is the just and fair thing to do, no matter whether this does good for society or not.

Franklin's utilitarianism is evidence that he still lives in a social, or communal age. He does not seem to think in terms of individualism, or in any notion of a solitary person. Instead, he lives in a time where people's identified more with their local community than anything else. Thus, Franklin's mindset never seems to be self-gain, but how he can best improve or contribute to the greater good of his community. This does not mean that he does not act in his self-interest, only that he did not separate his self-interest from the interests of the community. I don't think he ever evokes the notion of the self-made man, although I could be mistaken about that.

Franklin's utilitarianism has implications for everything he does, both good and bad. Just look at his philosophy of reading, for instance. Today reading is viewed as a personal or solitary activity, as an activity that you do for your own pleasure or for expanding your own knowledge. But Franklin seemed to view reading as a social activity. He notes the advantages that he got from reading in this passage:

“My mind having been much more improv'd by reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my conversation seem'd to be more valu'd. They had me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, and show'd me much civility.

He indirectly talks about the social purposes of reading when discussing the benefits of the library he created:

“These libraries have improved the general conversation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.”

There are probably better passages that can be used, but these will suffice. In the first passage, we see that the improvement of his mind by reading makes him more valuable to others. Reading makes him more knowledgeable and interesting, and that makes him more useful or pleasurable to others. His ability to please or pleasure others, along with his reputation for integrity, enables him to do a tremendous amount of good in society, such as starting libraries and hospitals. In fact, whenever there is some need in Philadelphia it seems that Franklin is the first person that they turn to. Far from being an activity of personal entertainment or escapism, reading is a highly useful activity for Franklin. He uses reading of poetry and of essays from the Spectator to improve his own writing style, which enables him to be more persuasive and more effective in actuating communal projects when he writes in his newspaper. His variety of reading in religious and didactic texts, such as the Pilgrims Progress, helps him develop a broad and nonalienating form of morality.

In the second passage he talks about the effect that libraries, and therefore reading, has on society in general. First, he says that it improves the general conversation, again implying the social component of reading; reading makes you a more interesting person, which enables you to give more pleasure to others. But I like his final implication; reading “contributed in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.” The more knowledgeable or intelligent the general populace is, the more able they are to see the advantage of their rights, liberties, and privileges, and the more able they are to defend these things. By making books available to everyone in Philadelphia, Franklin benefits himself, first by making everyone else he might meet or talk to more interesting, but by also bolstering the general belief in universal liberties. Essentially, when everyone else is more well read, his own liberties are better protected.

There are limitations to Franklins utilitarianim, however. Franklin tends to think too much of maximizing productivity, even if it does not do the greatest good. What comes to mind is how he treated that poor woman who he found sweeping his pavement. When he asked her who had employed her to sweep pavement, she replied:

“Nobody, but I am very poor an in distress, and I sweeps before gentle-folkses doors, and hopes they will give me something.”

Franklin then pays her to sweep the whole street. So far so good. But then, he writes,

“I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could sweep such a street in three hours, a strong, active man might have done it in half the time.”

Note that Franklin does not seem to care that the woman is impoverished; his only concern is that he can make the street sweeping even more efficient by hiring a strong and able man. The street sweeping job does a lot more good for the woman than it does for an able young man. It provides work for a woman who might has no other means of making a living. An able young man can always find work, and there are probably better uses for his vigor than sweeping streets. Additionally, society probably benefits greater from the old woman doing the street sweeping, since otherwise she might become a nuisance or burden to society. In both instances the work will be done in a reasonable amount of time; does society really gain that much added benefit from the streets being swept in 1.5 hours instead of three? But Franklin seems to see only in terms of maximum productivity, which one could say is the blindspot in his utilitarianism.

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Old 03-24-2011, 02:30 PM   #19
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Thanks much Spellbanisher for the insightful analyzes of Franklin and his times.

Yes, I believe that almost all of the well known founding fathers were deists, with Franklin and Jefferson in particular rejecting much of the magic aspects of Christianity.

I really like your analysis of social/economic times of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is my opinion the individualistic (Darwinian if you will ) economic model of economic competition as opposed to cooperation did not really take hold until the mid-19th century reaching its peak during the “Gilded Age.”. This “Gilded Age” lasted basically right up until the Great Depression. That in unison, with WWII, ushered in a revised period of a sense of economic community as a nation that flourished for a while before declining until almost exactly a century later Reagan's election ushered in the “Gilded Age” redux we find ourselves in now.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:24 AM   #20
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might be onto something...

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Originally Posted by Hamlet53 View Post
So I'm the first?

My first comment concerns the scope of this “autobiography.” Anyone expecting a complete biography of Franklin will be disappointed. A more appropriate title might have been “How I Became the Man I Am,” as the book is pretty much limited to his youth and young manhood during which he becomes a successful printer. There is basically no mention of his years from the time of the American Revolution and on.

That said I found the work very informative in what it reveals about Franklin as a man of his time. He reveals him self to be the prototype of the sort of man who formed the American Republic, a man of the Enlightenment who sees one of the primary purposes of a successful man to work to better society. The sort of Puritan ethic is also revealed in him in his proposal that he achieve moral perfection and that by making a list of the characters of the perfectly moral man and one by one achieving each item on the list.

I will put my other comments in spoiler tags both for not revealing to much to those who have not yet read this and to keep this post at reasonable length.

Spoiler:
Franklin on religion (from Chapter VIII):

“I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and though some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contribution, my mite for such purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.”

Franklin reveals himself to be a deist like so many of the 'Founding Fathers” but does not subscribe to any sect, or even to just Christianity, and definitely not dogmatic or fundamentalist.


Spoiler:
Franklin on achieving moral perfection (from Chapter IX):

“T was about this time I conceived 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. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined.[66] While my care was employ'd in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the following method. . . .

. . . then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.”

How like a Puritan to set a goal of moral perfection. Also how like Franklin to come to the realization of the impossibility and his acknowledging anyone who who claimed to have achieved this would thought a prig.


Spoiler:
Franklin on freedom of the press and responsibility of the press (from Chapter IX):

“In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully excluded all libeling and personal abuse, which is of late years become so disgraceful to our country. Whenever I was solicited to insert anything of that kind, and the writers pleaded, as they generally did, the liberty of the press, and that a newspaper was like a stage-coach, in which anyone who would pay had a right to a place, my answer was, that I would print the piece separately if desired, and the author might have as many copies as he pleased to distribute himself, but that I would not take upon me to spread his detraction; and that, having contracted with my subscribers to furnish them with what might be either useful or entertaining, I could not fill their papers with private altercation, in which they had no concern, without doing them manifest injustice. Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neighboring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences. These things I mention as a caution to young printers, and that they may be encouraged not to pollute their presses and disgrace their profession by such infamous practices, but refuse steadily, as they may see by my example that such a course of conduct will not, on the whole, be injurious to their interests.”

If only current news outlets like FOX News would adhere.


Spoiler:
Franklin on the role of women in society and education of women (from Chapter X):

“In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, South Carolina, where a printer was wanting. I furnish'd him with a press and letters, on an agreement of partnership, by which I was to receive one-third of the profits of the business, paying one-third of the expense. He was a man of learning, and honest but ignorant in matters of account; and, tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no account from him, nor any satisfactory state of our partnership while he lived. On his decease, the business was continued by his widow, who, being born and bred in Holland, where, as I have been inform'd, the knowledge of accounts makes a part of female education, she not only sent me as clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but continued to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter afterwards, and managed the business with such success, that she not only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and establish her son in it.

I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommending that branch of education for our young females, as likely to be of more use to them and their children, in case of widowhood, than either music or dancing, by preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, with establish'd correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to undertake and go on with it, to the lasting advantage and enriching of the family.”

Very enlightened for his time?


Spoiler:

Franklin on the benefits of childhood innoculations (from Chapter X):

“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”


Spoiler:
Franklin favors progressive taxation (from Chapter XI):

“BEGAN now to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs, beginning, however, with small matters. The city watch was one of the first things that I conceiv'd to want regulation. It was managed by the constables of the respective wards in turn; the constable warned a number of housekeepers to attend him for the night. Those who chose never to attend, paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, which was suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reality, much more than was necessary for that purpose, and made the constableship a place of profit; and the constable, for a little drink, often got such ragamuffins about him as a watch, that respectable housekeepers did not choose to mix with. Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and most of the nights spent in tippling. I thereupon wrote a paper to be read in Junto, representing these irregularities, but insisting more particularly on the inequality of this six-shilling tax of the constables, respecting the circumstances of those who paid it, since a poor widow housekeeper, all whose property to be guarded by the watch did not perhaps exceed the value of fifty pounds, paid as much as the wealthiest merchant, who had thousands of pounds' worth of goods in his stores.”


Spoiler:
Franklin on freedom of religion and separation of government and religion (from Chapter XI):

“And it being found inconvenient to assemble in the open air, subject to its inclemencies, the building of a house to meet in was no sooner propos'd, and persons appointed to receive contributions, but sufficient sums were soon receiv'd to procure the ground and erect the building, which was one hundred feet long and seventy broad, about the size of Westminster Hall;[80] and the work was carried on with such spirit as to be finished in a much shorter time than could have been expected. Both house and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people at Philadelphia; the design in building not being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”
if only i could have something like this sent to me for other books... PEOPLE TOO, for that matter. LOL
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:41 PM   #21
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Sorry, Hamlet, but about 2 pages in, I hated it and deleted it. The guy was an SOB to his son, so I was not a fan going into the selection. That is why I can not discuss it.

I'm looking forward to April. almost all of the nominees look interesting. Lots to discuss there.
Where do you see this? I re-read the first part thinking I am a very inattentive reader but I still don't see it.
Also, does anyone know what "...a purse made of asbestos, that purifies by fire." is?

BenF. just got moved to the TB Finished Later list!
Guess I'm in the mood for some laughter and right now Hal Spacejocks fits in fine with my present sour mood.
d
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:53 PM   #22
WT Sharpe
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I believe it was the Greeks who used asbestos table cloths. The advantage was that after the meal, the cloth could be thrown into the fire for cleaning.

EDIT: Here it says, "Roman restaurants used tablecloths and napkins made of asbestos," and further, "The Roman Emperor Charlemagne, reportedly used an asbestos tablecloth to convince some barbarian guests that he had supernatural powers. In a well-known story, Charlemagne demonstrated his "powers" by throwing the asbestos tablecloth into a fire, and then pulling it out without any singe marks."

http://www.ringsurf.com/online/2061-..._asbestos.html

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Old 03-30-2011, 09:48 AM   #23
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Was there a lot of Mesothelioma in Rome?

BOb
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:19 AM   #24
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I imagine there was, but it probably went by another name.
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:59 PM   #25
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Exclamation Autobiography Of Ben Franklin

Less than 50 % completed however finding it thus far to be interesting & somewhat inspiring. The formula for success in the 17th Century seems to me to be just as valid in our time.....a diligent & focused driven work ethic.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:46 PM   #26
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I was reading Flashman and the Angel of the Lord a few months ago and, as a aside, Flashman makes a snide remark about Franklin being a British spy. I had never heard anything, but it sounds like MacDonald used something that may have been published about it. Have there been any rumors?
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:43 PM   #27
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Downloadable eBook?

Can anyone share their copy of this book in any ebook format?
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:05 PM   #28
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Can anyone share their copy of this book in any ebook format?
Amazon has it as part of their "Classics", Public Domain collection for free.
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