Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 167

another. Besides, it
scarce ever happens that a ship is form'd, fitted for the sea, and
sail'd by the same person. One man builds the hull, another rigs her,
a third lades and sails her. No one of these has the advantage of
knowing all the ideas and experience of the others, and, therefore,
cannot draw just conclusions from a combination of the whole.

Even in the simple operation of sailing when at sea, I have often
observ'd different judgments in the officers who commanded the
successive watches, the wind being the same. One would have the sails
trimm'd sharper or flatter than another, so that they seem'd to have
no certain rule to govern by. Yet I think a set of experiments might
be instituted; first, to determine the most proper form of the hull
for swift sailing; next, the best dimensions and properest place for
the masts; then the form and quantity of sails, and their position, as
the wind may be; and, lastly, the disposition of the lading. This is
an age of experiments, and I think a set accurately made and combin'd
would be of great use. I am persuaded, therefore, that ere long some
ingenious philosopher will undertake it, to whom I wish success.

[Illustration: Sailing ship]

We were several times chas'd in our passage, but out-sail'd every
thing, and in thirty days had soundings. We had a good observation,
and the captain judg'd himself so near our port, Falmouth, that, if we
made a good run in the night, we might be off the mouth of that harbor
in the morning, and by running in the night might escape the notice of
the enemy's privateers, who often cruis'd near the entrance of the
channel. Accordingly, all the sail was set that we could possibly
make, and the wind being very fresh and fair, we went right before it,
and made great way. The captain, after his observation, shap'd his
course, as he thought, so as to pass wide of the Scilly Isles; but it
seems there is sometimes a strong indraught setting up St. George's
Channel, which deceives seamen and caused the loss of Sir Cloudesley
Shovel's squadron. This indraught was probably the cause of what
happened to us.

We had a watchman plac'd in the bow, to whom they often called, "_Look
well out before there_," and he as often answered, "_Ay, ay_"; but
perhaps had his eyes shut, and was half asleep at the time, they
sometimes answering, as is said, mechanically; for he did not see a
light just before us, which had been hid by the studding-sails

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 4
too old to follow business longer, when he went to live with his son John, a dyer at Banbury, in Oxfordshire, with whom my father served an apprenticeship.
Page 10
He was a pious and prudent man; She, a discreet and virtuous woman.
Page 26
I began now to have some acquaintance among the young people of the town, that were lovers of reading, with whom I spent my evenings very pleasantly; and gaining money by my industry and frugality, I lived very agreeably, forgetting Boston as much as I could, and not desiring that any there should know where I resided, except my friend Collins, who was in my secret, and kept it when I wrote to him.
Page 29
This afterwards.
Page 43
I thought it an imposition, as I had paid below; the master thought so too, and forbad my paying it.
Page 44
I watch'd the pay-table on Saturday night, and collected what I stood engag'd for them, having to pay sometimes near thirty shillings a week on their account.
Page 57
And William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, about my age, who had the coolest, dearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals of almost any man I ever met with.
Page 64
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letter resembling Dr.
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Page 80
And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen weeks' daily examination.
Page 91
I furnish'd him with a press and letters, on an agreement of partnership, by which I was to receive one-third of the profits of the business, paying one-third of the expense.
Page 103
The paper I wrote for that purpose will be found among my writings, when collected.
Page 104
by subscriptions among themselves, provided silk colors, which they presented to the companies, painted with different devices and mottos, which I supplied.
Page 107
He came over from England, when a young man, with that proprietary, and as his secretary.
Page 108
an aid to New England of three thousand pounds, to be put into the hands of the governor, and appropriated it for the purchasing of bread, flour, wheat, or other grain.
Page 121
They were conferr'd in consideration of my improvements and discoveries in the electric branch of natural philosophy.
Page 124
In returning, I met at New York with the votes of the Assembly, by which it appear'd that, notwithstanding his promise to me, he and the House were already in high contention; and it was a continual battle between them as long as he retain'd the government.
Page 152
"And you," says he, "when in England, have only to exhibit your accounts at the treasury, and you will be paid immediately.
Page 153
Accordingly some days after, when the wind blew very fair and fresh, and the captain of the paquet, Lutwidge, said he believ'd she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made the experiment, and own'd his wager lost.