Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 112

eloquence had a wonderful
power over the hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I myself was
an instance.

I did not disapprove of the design, but, as Georgia was then destitute
of materials and workmen, and it was proposed to send them from
Philadelphia at a great expense, I thought it would have been better
to have built the house here, and brought the children to it. This I
advis'd; but he was resolute in his first project, rejected my
counsel, and I therefore refus'd to contribute. I happened soon after
to attend one of his sermons, in the course of which I perceived he
intended to finish with a collection, and I silently resolved he
should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper
money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold. As he
proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the coppers.
Another stroke of his oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd
me to give the silver; and he finish'd so admirably, that I empty'd my
pocket wholly into the collector's dish, gold and all. At this sermon
there was also one of our club, who, being of my sentiments respecting
the building in Georgia, and suspecting a collection might be
intended, had, by precaution, emptied his pockets before he came from
home. Towards the conclusion of the discourse, however, he felt a
strong desire to give, and apply'd to a neighbour who stood near him,
to borrow some money for the purpose. The application was
unfortunately [made] to perhaps the only man in the company who had
the firmness not to be affected by the preacher. His answer was, "_At
any other time, Friend Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but not
now, for thee seems to be out of thy right senses._"

Some of Mr. Whitefield's enemies affected to suppose that he would
apply these collections to his own private emolument; but I, who was
intimately acquainted with him (being employed in printing his Sermons
and Journals, etc.), never had the least suspicion of his integrity,
but am to this day decidedly of opinion that he was in all his conduct
a perfectly _honest man_; and methinks my testimony in his favour
ought to have the more weight, as we had no religious connection. He
us'd, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the
satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard. Ours was a mere
civil friendship, sincere on both sides, and lasted to his death.

The following instance will show something of the

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 25
] Sec.
Page 26
[n] He had been, I imagine, an itinerant doctor; for there was no town in England, or country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account.
Page 27
She was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of ox cheek with great good will, accepting only of a pot of ale in return; and I thought myself fixed till Tuesday should come.
Page 52
called by the inhabitants 'salamander cotton.
Page 57
They were therefore, by turns, constantly with us, and generally he who attended.
Page 59
I say willful, because the instances I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others.
Page 68
Whether this was a real change of sentiment, or only artifice, on a supposition of our being too far engaged in affection to retract, and therefore that we should steal a marriage, which would leave them at liberty to give or withhold what they pleased, I know not; but I suspected the latter, resented it, and went no more.
Page 77
Page 86
a good constitution; to industry and frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to sincerity and justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper and that cheerfulness in conversation which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance.
Page 94
It is true that, if you can clamber and get to the top of the staircase without using the steps, you will more easily gain them in descending; but certainly, if you begin with the lowest you will with more ease ascend to the top; and I would therefore offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the education of our youth, whether,--since many of those who begin with the Latin quit the same after spending some years without having made any great proficiency, and what they have learned becomes almost useless, so that their time has been lost,--it would not have been better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian, etc.
Page 100
Page 121
"That in the dry summer months the dust be all swept up into heaps at proper distances, before the shops and windows of houses are usually opened, when the scavengers, with close-covered carts, shall also carry it all away.
Page 132
The people of these back counties have lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency was wanting.
Page 137
Among these I saw some letters of the general to the ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had rendered the army, and recommending me to their notice.
Page 141
While these were preparing, our other men dug a trench all round, of three feet deep, in which the palisades were to be planted; and our wagons, the bodies being taken off, and the fore and hind wheels separated by taking out the pin which united the two parts of the perch,[180] we had ten carriages, with two horses each, to bring the palisades from the woods to the spot.
Page 151
The drinkers, finding we did not return immediately to the table, sent us a decanter of Madeira, which the governor made liberal use of, and in proportion became more profuse of his solicitations and promises.
Page 155
He told me that, when he had been detained a month, he acquainted his lordship that his ship was grown foul to a degree that must necessarily hinder her fast sailing, a point of consequence for a packet boat, and requested an allowance of time to heave her down and clean her bottom.
Page 161
What it was when they did receive it I never learned, for they did not communicate it to me, but sent a long message to the Assembly, drawn and signed by Paris, reciting my paper, complaining of its want of formality as a rudeness on my part, and giving a flimsy justification of their conduct, adding that they should be willing to accommodate matters if the Assembly would send out "some person of candor" to treat with them for that purpose, intimating thereby that I was not such.
Page 165
many of them put together, who has so much in his power as thyself to promote a greater spirit of industry and early attention to business, frugality, and temperance with the American youth.
Page 170
If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for, The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt, as Poor Richard says; and again to the same purpose, Lying rides upon debt's back; whereas a freeborn Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living.