Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

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state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the
world, and having gone so far through life with a considerable share
of felicity, the conducing means I made use of, which with the
blessing of God so well succeeded, my posterity may like to know, as
they may find some of them suitable to their own situations, and
therefore fit to be imitated.

[3] A small village not far from Winchester in
Hampshire, southern England. Here was the country seat
of the Bishop of St. Asaph, Dr. Jonathan Shipley, the
"good Bishop," as Dr. Franklin used to style him. Their
relations were intimate and confidential. In his pulpit,
and in the House of Lords, as well as in society, the
bishop always opposed the harsh measures of the Crown
toward the Colonies.--Bigelow.

That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced me sometimes to
say, that were it offered to my choice, I should have no objection to
a repetition of the same life from its beginning, only asking the
advantages authors have in a second edition to correct some faults of
the first. So I might, besides correcting the faults, change some
sinister accidents and events of it for others more favourable. But
though this were denied, I should still accept the offer. Since such a
repetition is not to be expected, the next thing most like living
one's life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to
make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in

Hereby, too, I shall indulge the inclination so natural in old men, to
be talking of themselves and their own past actions; and I shall
indulge it without being tiresome to others, who, through respect to
age, might conceive themselves obliged to give me a hearing, since
this may be read or not as anyone pleases. And, lastly (I may as well
confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps
I shall a good deal gratify my own _vanity_.[4] Indeed, I scarce ever
heard or saw the introductory words, "_Without vanity I may say_,"
etc., but some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike
vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I
give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it
is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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Although the American owners of these copies did not allow them to be transcribed, Mr.
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The Champ de Mars being surrounded by Multitudes, and vast Numbers on the opposite Side of the River.
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I am much obliged to you for the Care you have taken.
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They say the filling of it in M.
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a tree, and was torn in getting it down; so that it cannot be ascertained whether it burst when above, or not, tho' that is supposed.
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_ That is against the Trees of one of the Walks.
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so high that they could not see them.
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Thus the great Bulk of one of these Machines, with the short duration of its Power, & the great Expence of filling the other will prevent the Inventions being of so much Use, as some may expect, till Chemistry can invent a cheaper light Air producible with more Expedition.
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Faujas's Book upon the Balloons, which I hope you have receiv'd.
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I am the more anxious for the Event, because I am not well inform'd of the Means provided for letting themselves gently down, and the Loss of these very ingenious Men would not only be a Discouragement to the Progress of the Art, but be a sensible Loss to Science and Society.
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La Machine n'a eprouve aucun Accident.
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" Minor discrepancies between this and the other press-copies and the letters as printed by Bigelow and Smyth also occur.
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The following possible mispellings have been retained: p.