Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 160

proprietary, and that,
whenever the public measures he propos'd should appear to be for the
good of the people, no one should espouse and forward them more
zealously than myself; my past opposition having been founded on this,
that the measures which had been urged were evidently intended to
serve the proprietary interest, with great prejudice to that of the
people; that I was much obliged to him (the governor) for his
professions of regard to me, and that he might rely on everything in
my power to make his administration as easy as possible, hoping at the
same time that he had not brought with him the same unfortunate
instruction his predecessor had been hampered with.

On this he did not then explain himself; but when he afterwards came
to do business with the Assembly, they appear'd again, the disputes
were renewed, and I was as active as ever in the opposition, being the
penman, first, of the request to have a communication of the
instructions, and then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in
the votes of the time, and in the Historical Review I afterward
publish'd. But between us personally no enmity arose; we were often
together; he was a man of letters, had seen much of the world, and was
very entertaining and pleasing in conversation. He gave me the first
information that my old friend Jas. Ralph was still alive; that he was
esteem'd one of the best political writers in England; had been
employed in the dispute[111] between Prince Frederic and the king, and
had obtain'd a pension of three hundred a year; that his reputation
was indeed small as a poet, Pope having damned his poetry in the
_Dunciad_,[112] but his prose was thought as good as any man's.

[111] Quarrel between George II and his son, Frederick,
Prince of Wales, who died before his father.

[112] A satirical poem by Alexander Pope directed against
various contemporary writers.

The Assembly finally finding the proprietary obstinately persisted in
manacling their deputies with instructions inconsistent not only with
the privileges of the people, but with the service of the crown,
resolv'd to petition the king against them, and appointed me their
agent to go over to England, to present and support the petition. The
House had sent up a bill to the governor, granting a sum of sixty
thousand pounds for the king's use (ten thousand pounds of which was
subjected to the orders of the then general, Lord Loudoun), which the
governor absolutely

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He could not be said to write them, for his Manner was to compose them in the Types directly out of his Head; so there being no Copy, but one Pair of Cases, and the Elegy likely to require all the Letter[s], no one could help him.
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you have continued ever since in that monastery [Block Island]; or have broke into the world again, doing pretty mischief; how the lady Wards do, and how many of them are married, or about it; what is become of Mr.
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Joy touch'd the Hero's tender Soul, to find So just Reception from a Heart so kind: And [']Oh, ye Gods! with all your Blessings grace' (He thus broke forth) 'this Friend of human Race!['] The Swain reply'd.
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[99] If I should ever recover the Pieces that were in the Hands of my Son, and those I left among my Papers in America, I think there may be enough to make three more such Volumes, of which a great part would be more interesting.
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[128] But, were you to succeed, do you imagine any Good would be done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous Life, without the Assistance afforded by Religion; you having a clear Perception of the Advantages of Virtue, and the Disadvantages of Vice, and possessing a Strength of Resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common Temptations.