That noble thing, an English sentence: was Sir Winston Churchill's phrase, and it is ennobled here in a highly original and masterfully written study of Benjamin Franklin's political philosophy. Franklin left no treatise on his political philosophy, so the author was left to the miscellany of Franklin's writings, from which he has constructed a thoroughly convincing and inventive interpretation of Franklin's politics. Franklin, a social evolutionary, not a revolutionist, had a philosophy that stemmed from four basic concepts: virtue, order, benevolence, and happy mediocrity. This was all part of his idea of the peaceful ""harmonious order,"" the end to which American society should aspire. In this study Franklin emerges as one who was well supplied with the theory of benevolence, but one who nevertheless managed to foster social harmony while considerably fostering his own self interest as well. In the final pages the author provides some interesting psychological interpretations, and also ventures some provocative speculations about the influence of Graeco-Roman thought on the ideology of early American republicanism, much of which was developed by Benjamin Franklin.