Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 121

charg'd with abominable principles and practices to which they were
utter strangers. I told him this had always been the case with new
sects, and that, to put a stop to such abuse, I imagin'd it might be
well to publish the articles of their belief, and the rules of their
discipline. He said that it had been propos'd among them, but not
agreed to, for this reason: "When we were first drawn together as a
society," says he, "it had pleased God to enlighten our minds so far
as to see that some doctrines, which we once esteemed truths, were
errors; and that others, which we had esteemed errors, were real
truths. From time to time He has been pleased to afford us farther
light, and our principles have been improving, and our errors
diminishing. Now we are not sure that we are arrived at the end of
this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual or theological
knowledge; and we fear that, if we should once print our confession of
faith, we should feel ourselves as if bound and confin'd by it, and
perhaps be unwilling to receive further improvement, and our
successors still more so, as conceiving what we their elders and
founders had done, to be something sacred, never to be departed from."

This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in the history
of mankind, every other sect supposing itself in possession of all
truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong; like a man
traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the
road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and
also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears
clear, tho' in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them. To avoid
this kind of embarrassment, the Quakers have of late years been
gradually declining the public service in the Assembly and in the
magistracy, choosing rather to quit their power than their principle.

In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that having, in
1742, invented an open stove[84] for the better warming of rooms, and
at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in
entering, I made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my
early friends, who, having an iron-furnace,[85] found the casting of
the plates for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing
in demand. To promote that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet,
entitled "_An

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

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an apprenticeship in London.
Page 9
He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle stature, well set, and very strong: he could draw prettily, was a little skilled in music; his voice was sonorous and agreeable, so that when he played on his violin and sung withal, as he was accustomed to do after the business of the day was over, it was extremely agreeable to hear.
Page 10
This has been a great convenience to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, tastes and appetites.
Page 15
By comparing my work with the original, I discovered many faults and corrected them; but I sometimes had the pleasure to fancy that, in particulars of small consequence, I had been fortunate enough to improve the method or the language, and this encouraged me to think that I might in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious.
Page 23
I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your mind compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since made there.
Page 35
Ralph was ingenuous, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I never knew a prettier talker.
Page 37
Understanding that Colonel French had brought on board the governor's despatches, I asked the captain for those letters that were to be under my care; he said all were put into the bag together, and he could not then come at them, but before we landed in England I should have an opportunity of picking them out; so I was satisfied for the present, and we proceeded on our voyage.
Page 81
| * | * | * | | * | * | * | +------+------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Res.
Page 89
And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member: for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my point.
Page 92
" These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I assembled and formed into a connected discourse, prefixed to the Almanac of 1757 as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an auction: the bringing all these scattered counsels thus into a focus, enabled them to make greater impression.
Page 97
This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, "_He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged_.
Page 159
The governor issued a proclamation, expressing the strongest disapprobation of the action, offering a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the deed, and prohibiting all injuries to the peaceable Indians in future.
Page 162
This language was used even by most strenuous opposers of the stamp-act, and, among others, by Mr.
Page 165
To his exertions in this way may, in no small degree, be ascribed the success of the loans negotiated in Holland and France, which greatly contributed to bringing the war to a happy conclusion.
Page 169
"Never was any funeral so numerously and so respectably attended in any part of the States of America.
Page 188
And the establishing of great manufactories, like those in the clothing towns here, is not necessary, as it is where the business is to be carried on for the purposes of trade.
Page 204
We pretend to be Christians, and, from the superior light we enjoy, ought to exceed heathens, Turks, Saracens, Moors, negroes, and Indians in the knowledge and practice of what is right.
Page 206
The radiant helmet from my brows unlaced, And lo, on earth my shield and javelin cast, I meet the monarch with a suppliant's face, Approach his chariot, and his knees embrace.
Page 209
You have leave, therefore, to unload the ship, if that be necessary to stop the leak; you may refit here, and traffic so far as shall be necessary to pay the charges; you may then depart, and I will give you a pass, to be in force till you are beyond Bermuda.
Page 210
What good man will ever come again under my roof if I let my floor be stained with a good man's blood!" The negroes, seeing his resolution, and being convinced, by his discourse, that they were wrong, went away ashamed.