Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 129

taught for a time in
the "Log College," from which sprang the College of New

Our city, tho' laid out with a beautiful regularity, the streets
large, straight, and crossing each other at right angles, had the
disgrace of suffering those streets to remain long unpav'd, and in wet
weather the wheels of heavy carriages plough'd them into a quagmire,
so that it was difficult to cross them; and in dry weather the dust
was offensive. I had liv'd near what was call'd the Jersey Market, and
saw with pain the inhabitants wading in mud while purchasing their
provisions. A strip of ground down the middle of that market was at
length pav'd with brick, so that, being once in the market, they had
firm footing, but were often over shoes in dirt to get there. By
talking and writing on the subject, I was at length instrumental in
getting the street pav'd with stone between the market and the brick'd
foot-pavement, that was on each side next the houses. This, for some
time, gave an easy access to the market dry-shod; but, the rest of the
street not being pav'd, whenever a carriage came out of the mud upon
this pavement, it shook off and left its dirt upon it, and it was soon
cover'd with mire, which was not remov'd, the city as yet having no

After some inquiry, I found a poor, industrious man, who was willing
to undertake keeping the pavement clean, by sweeping it twice a week,
carrying off the dirt from before all the neighbours' doors, for the
sum of sixpence per month, to be paid by each house. I then wrote and
printed a paper setting forth the advantages to the neighbourhood that
might be obtain'd by this small expense; the greater ease in keeping
our houses clean, so much dirt not being brought in by people's feet;
the benefit to the shops by more custom, etc., etc., as buyers could
more easily get at them; and by not having, in windy weather, the dust
blown in upon their goods, etc., etc. I sent one of these papers to
each house, and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe
an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously sign'd, and
for a time well executed. All the inhabitants of the city were
delighted with the cleanliness of the pavement that surrounded the
market, it being a convenience to all, and this rais'd a general
desire to have all the streets paved, and made the

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

Page 2
I accompanied him to his government [New Jersey], where he met with the kindest reception from the people of all ranks, and has lived with them ever since in the greatest harmony.
Page 6
Page 7
Indeed, I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity, I may say," etc.
Page 15
regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman.
Page 21
One of the pieces in our newspaper, on some political point which I have now forgotten, gave offense to the Assembly.
Page 23
See Note, p.
Page 25
Defoe[n] in his "Crusoe," his "Moll Flanders," "Religious Courtship," "Family Instructor," and other pieces, has imitated it with success; and Richardson has done the same in his "Pamela," etc.
Page 27
She, understanding I was a printer, would have had me stay at that town and follow my business, being ignorant of the stock necessary to begin with.
Page 45
We had together consumed all my pistoles, and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth.
Page 61
He also became surveyor general.
Page 76
192), and accordingly intended for the public.
Page 82
{ 5} Rise, wash, and address Powerful _Question.
Page 84
To avoid the trouble of renewing now and then my little book, which, by scraping out the marks on the paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a new course, became full of holes, I transferred my tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, on which the lines were drawn with red ink, that made a durable stain, and on those lines I marked my faults with a black lead pencil, which marks I could easily wipe out with a wet sponge.
Page 88
"That as soon as a party has gained its general point, each member becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, and occasions .
Page 108
He put into my hands sixty pounds to be laid out in lottery tickets for the battery, with directions to apply what prizes might be drawn wholly to that service.
Page 130
Page 132
The people of these back counties have lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency was wanting.
Page 150
Canton, having verified the experiment of procuring lightning from the clouds by a pointed rod,[189] and acquainting them with the success, they soon made me more than amends for the slight with which they had before treated me.
Page 158
and the same vessel, laden by the judgment and orders of one captain, shall sail better or worse than when by the orders of another.
Page 170
And again, Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more saucy.