Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 124

the building had occasion'd, which embarrass'd them greatly.
Being now a member of both sets of trustees, that for the building and
that for the academy, I had a good opportunity of negotiating with
both, and brought them finally to an agreement, by which the trustees
for the building were to cede it to those of the academy, the latter
undertaking to discharge the debt, to keep forever open in the
building a large hall for occasional preachers, according to the
original intention, and maintain a free-school for the instruction of
poor children. Writings were accordingly drawn, and on paying the
debts the trustees of the academy were put in possession of the
premises; and by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and
different rooms above and below for the several schools, and
purchasing some additional ground, the whole was soon made fit for our
purpose, and the scholars remov'd into the building. The care and
trouble of agreeing with the workmen, purchasing materials, and
superintending the work, fell upon me; and I went thro' it the more
cheerfully, as it did not then interfere with my private business,
having the year before taken a very able, industrious, and honest
partner, Mr. David Hall, with whose character I was well acquainted,
as he had work'd for me four years. He took off my hands all care of
the printing-office, paying me punctually my share of the profits. The
partnership continued eighteen years, successfully for us both.

The trustees of the academy, after a while, were incorporated by a
charter from the governor; their funds were increas'd by contributions
in Britain and grants of land from the proprietaries, to which the
Assembly has since made considerable addition; and thus was
established the present University of Philadelphia.[87] I have been
continued one of its trustees from the beginning, now near forty
years, and have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the
youth who have receiv'd their education in it, distinguish'd by their
improv'd abilities, serviceable in public stations, and ornaments to
their country.

[87] Later called the University of Pennsylvania.

When I disengaged myself, as above mentioned, from private business, I
flatter'd myself that, by the sufficient tho' moderate fortune I had
acquir'd, I had secured leisure during the rest of my life for
philosophical studies and amusements. I purchased all Dr. Spence's
apparatus, who had come from England to lecture here, and I proceeded
in my electrical experiments with great alacrity; but the publick, now
considering me as a man of leisure, laid hold of me for their
purposes, every part

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 9
In fact, the expression is so homely and natural that his grandson, William Temple Franklin, in editing the work changed some of the phrases because he thought them inelegant and vulgar.
Page 11
Imagining it may be equally agreeable to you to know the circumstances of my life, many of which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting the enjoyment of a week's uninterrupted leisure in my present country retirement, I sit down to write them for you.
Page 24
Then I compared my _Spectator_ with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them.
Page 32
There were canoes on the shore, and we made signs, and hallow'd that they should fetch us; but they either did not understand us, or thought it impracticable, so they went away, and night coming on, we had no remedy but to wait till the wind should abate; and, in the meantime, the boatman and I concluded to sleep, if we could; and so crowded into the scuttle, with the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray beating over the head of our boat, leak'd thro' to us, so that we were soon almost as wet as he.
Page 37
He did not like my lodging at Bradford's while I work'd with him.
Page 54
I thought it an imposition, as I had paid below; the master thought so too, and forbade my paying it.
Page 62
[51] A crimp was the agent of a shipping company.
Page 77
"We are grown old together, and if she has any faults, I am so used to them that I don't perceive them.
Page 79
Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd to render the benefit from books more common, by commencing a public subscription library.
Page 82
[65] Franklin expressed a different view about the duty of attending church later.
Page 88
{11} .
Page 96
Franklin took his title from _Poor Robin_, a famous English almanac, and from Richard Saunders, a well-known almanac publisher.
Page 103
I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommending that branch of education for our young females, as likely to be of more use to them and their children, in case of widowhood, than either music or dancing, by preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, with establish'd correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to undertake and go on with it, to the lasting advantage and enriching of the family.
Page 109
About this time I wrote a paper (first to be read in Junto, but it was afterward publish'd) on the different accidents and carelessnesses by which houses were set on fire, with cautions against them,.
Page 110
The small fines that have been paid by members for absence at the monthly meetings have been apply'd to the purchase of fire-engines, ladders, fire-hooks, and other useful implements for each company, so that I question whether there is a city in the world better provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning conflagrations; and, in fact, since these institutions, the city has never lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time, and the flames have often been extinguished before the house in which they began has been half consumed.
Page 146
near seven hundred miles, occasioned not the smallest complaint for the loss of a pig, a chicken, or even an apple.
Page 162
Another packet arriv'd; she too was detain'd; and, before we sail'd, a fourth was expected.
Page 173
And when the rain has wet the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle.
Page 178
Page 185
_To be LET by the above Person.