Wednesday, January 11, 2017
481. Did Benjamin Franklin Like Everything from China?
Readers from reading of Dr. Dave Wang's paper, "Benjamin Franklin and China. ---A Survey of Benjamin Franklin's Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during the Formative Age," have learned that Franklin loved Chinese culture and learned much from it. He made good use of the culture in aiding his efforts to build a new society in North America. For example, he loved Confucian moral philosophy, Chinese technology, Chinese products, such as porcelain wares and silk. He also loved Chinese plants and had some of them transplanted in North America. However, if you make the conclusion that Franklin loved everything from China, you will be wrong. With this post, I would like to point out one thing that Franklin didn't like.
It was the bed bugs. In 1750 in his widely circulated Poor Richard's Almanack , Franklin told his readers, the Bed Bugs was first brought from China in East-India Goods. He showed his fellow colonists how to destroy the bugs. He told them to prepare some boiling Water and "poured from a Teakettle into the Joints, &c. of the Bedstead, or squirted by a Syringe, where it cannot well be poured. The old Ones are scalded to Death, and the Nits spoilt, for a boil’d Egg never hatches. This done once a Fortnight, during the Summer, clears the House"
Nowadays there are many kinds of chemicals available to kill the bugs. However, personally I endorse Franklin's method. It produces no side effects, no pollution to one's own houses and environment in general.