An odd pair of free e-books arrived on my Kindle reader: The Adventures of Pinocchio and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. You don’t have time to read them, so I did — because they have tips for today’s bad news:
- Pinocchio was written in 1883 by the Italian lampoonist Carlo Lorenzini (pen name Collodi) to show how to turn naughty boys into real men— not, Heaven forbid, gun-toting assassins like we have in Chicago.
- Millions of children safely in their beds can follow every reckless whim, foolish impulse and evil rogue in 36 brilliantly written chapters and 32 fabulous line drawings. They are mistreated and cheated, suffer traumatic horrors, are hanged from a tree, are fried in a pan, play in the Land of the Boobies, are turned into a donkey and swallowed by a monstrous dogfish.
- Then comes the resolution, a happy ending, a tuck-in, a prayer, a hug and a kiss.
- Due to his good heart, the Blue Fairy, his love for Geppetto and his own resolve, Pinocchio manages to turn everything around and become the son and hero his ailing father dreamed of having.
As Flotus and POTUS said when they got into the White House, “Read to your children” and “Be good fathers.” What good advice for adults in their hometown of Chicago and everywhere else!
In colonial Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin was the go-to congressman to work out deals diplomatically. He had just two years of schooling but had read John Bunyan‘s Pilgrim’s Progress, drawn up his own list of 15 virtues and rated himself on them daily. This was his personal declaration of independence. He avoided distractions and had no time to listen to preachers.
The British offered to send in their army to defend the colonists in the upcoming war against France in 1754. The Americans agreed to pay a tax to finance it. The British thought their rich owners of American estates (proprietaries) should be excused. Franklin was on alert!
- The British bonded their deputies to support their bill and offered bribes to American congressmen. Franklin replied, ” My circumstances, thanks to God, are such as to make proprietary favors unnecessary to me.”
- The congress rejected the bill, with Franklin deeming it ” incredible meanness”, “an injustice to the people” and “a manacling of the rights of the public”.
- The congress drafted their own bill but the governor changed one word, so that “not exempting the proprietaries” read as “only exempting the proprietaries”.
- Congress rebuffed it, the British asked the king to deny royal assent; then the colonists petitioned the king. The issue was referred to the attorney and solicitor general and stalled.
- Franklin went to England to talk to the proprietaries and their private friends but failed to persuade them. The crux of the problem was they thought they were “in odium” (widespread dislike) to the people. Left to their mercy in proportioning the taxes they would inevitably be ruined.
- A shrewd British deputy advised Franklin to give the British a written guarantee this wouldn’t happen. He wrote a clause which passed unanimously and the governor, who was later replaced because of this action, let it go through.
- Meanwhile, farmers and other citizens supplying the war effort were not paid and Franklin pointed out to the British their rising discontent. A compromise was proposed that they would pay a grant in lieu of taxes and congress accepted it.
- This solution lasted for about 20 years, until the Stamp Act came up.
Does America have a hero who will try to stave off another revolution? It may depend on what books he reads and whether he takes them to heart.
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Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!