Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 133

summer, when the days are long; for, in
walking thro' the Strand and Fleet-street one morning at seven
o'clock, I observ'd there was not one shop open, tho' it had been
daylight and the sun up above three hours; the inhabitants of London
chusing voluntarily to live much by candle-light, and sleep by
sunshine, and yet often complain, a little absurdly, of the duty on
candles, and the high price of tallow.

Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding or relating;
but when they consider that tho' dust blown into the eyes of a single
person, or into a single shop on a windy day, is but of small
importance, yet the great number of the instances in a populous city,
and its frequent repetitions give it weight and consequence, perhaps
they will not censure very severely those who bestow some attention to
affairs of this seemingly low nature. Human felicity is produced not
so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by
little advantages that occur every day. Thus, if you teach a poor
young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may
contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a
thousand guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret only
remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he
escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their
sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors; he shaves
when most convenient to him, and enjoys daily the pleasure of its
being done with a good instrument. With these sentiments I have
hazarded the few preceding pages, hoping they may afford hints which
some time or other may be useful to a city I love, having lived many
years in it very happily, and perhaps to some of our towns in America.

Having been for some time employed by the postmaster-general of
America as his comptroller in regulating several offices, and bringing
the officers to account, I was, upon his death in 1753, appointed,
jointly with Mr. William Hunter, to succeed him, by a commission from
the postmaster-general in England. The American office never had
hitherto paid anything to that of Britain. We were to have six hundred
pounds a year between us, if we could make that sum out of the profits
of the office. To do this, a variety of improvements were necessary;
some of these were inevitably at first expensive, so that in the first
four years the office became above nine hundred pounds in debt to us.
But it soon after

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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

Page 12
Franklin 285 WRITINGS OF FRANKLIN * * * * * ESSAYS, HUMOROUS, MORAL, ECONOMICAL, AND.
Page 19
However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and, though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a little longer.
Page 35
Here, then, is one great and general cause of unpleasing dreams.
Page 74
You would wonder what this privilege of _whitewashing_ is: I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony, as I have seen it performed.
Page 75
_There_ a closet has disgorged its bowels, cracked tumblers, broken wineglasses, vials of forgotten physic, papers of unknown powders, seeds, and dried herbs, handfuls of old corks, tops of teapots, and stoppers of departed decanters; from the raghole in the garret to the rathole in the cellar, no place escapes unrummaged.
Page 96
The _neglect_ and _slights_ of friends and near relations should never be added; people in her circumstances are apt to suspect this sometimes without cause, _appearances_ should therefore be attended to in our conduct towards them as well as _relatives_.
Page 106
The sovereignty of the king is therefore easily understood.
Page 113
"If our people should follow the Boston example in entering into resolutions of frugality and industry, full as necessary for us as for them, I hope they will, among other things, give this reason, that 'tis to enable them more speedily and effectually to discharge their debts to Great Britain; this will soften a little, and, at the same time, appear honourable,.
Page 114
"DEAR SIR, "I received your kind letter of the 7th April, also one of the 3d of May.
Page 118
During the same time sixty thousand children have been born in America.
Page 140
Your shades are all placed in a row over my fireplace, so that I not only have you always in my mind, but constantly before my eyes.
Page 156
I leave you still in the field, but, having finished my day's task, I am going home _to go to bed_.
Page 158
This is much more agreeable to me, who esteem it the most useful, the most independent, and, therefore, the noblest of employments.
Page 162
* * * * "_Mr.
Page 164
"I received duly my good old friend's letter of the 19th of February.
Page 176
government, pretending that it is the _western_, and not the _eastern_ river of the Bay of Passamaquoddy which was designated by the name of St.
Page 190
The Philosophical Transactions furnish us with abundance of histories of earthquakes, particularly one at Oxford in 1665, by Dr.
Page 197
And, in passing through the house, it follows the direction of these conductors, taking as many in its way as can assist it in its passage, whether in a straight or crooked line, leaping from one to the other, if not far distant from each other, only rending the wall in the spaces where these partial good conductors are too distant from each other.
Page 203
If there was a general calm over the face of the globe, it must be by the air's moving in every part as fast as the earth or sea it covers.
Page 224
Then either the sea has been higher than it now is, and has fallen away from those high lands, or they have been lower than they are, and were lifted up out of the water to their present height by some internal mighty force, such as we still feel some remains of when whole continents are moved by earthquakes In either case it may be supposed that large hollows, or valleys among hills, might be left filled with seawater, which, evaporating, and the fluid part drying away in a course of years, would leave the salt covering the bottom; and that salt, coming afterward to be covered with earth from the neighbouring hills, could only be found by digging through that earth.