Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 168

the man at the helm, and from the rest of the watch, but by an
accidental yaw of the ship was discover'd, and occasion'd a great
alarm, we being very near it, the light appearing to me as big as a
cartwheel. It was midnight, and our captain fast asleep; but Captain
Kennedy, jumping upon deck, and seeing the danger, ordered the ship to
wear round, all sails standing; an operation dangerous to the masts,
but it carried us clear, and we escaped shipwreck, for we were running
right upon the rocks on which the lighthouse was erected. This
deliverance impressed me strongly with the utility of lighthouses, and
made me resolve to encourage the building more of them in America if I
should live to return there.

In the morning it was found by the soundings, etc., that we were near
our port, but a thick fog hid the land from our sight. About nine
o'clock the fog began to rise, and seem'd to be lifted up from the
water like the curtain at a play-house, discovering underneath, the
town of Falmouth, the vessels in its harbor, and the fields that
surrounded it. This was a most pleasing spectacle to those who had
been so long without any other prospects than the uniform view of a
vacant ocean, and it gave us the more pleasure as we were now free
from the anxieties which the state of war occasion'd.

I set out immediately, with my son, for London, and we only stopt a
little by the way to view Stonehenge[116] on Salisbury Plain, and Lord
Pembroke's house and gardens, with his very curious antiquities at
Wilton. We arrived in London the 27th of July, 1757.[117]

[116] A celebrated prehistoric ruin, probably of a temple
built by the early Britons, near Salisbury, England. It
consists of inner and outer circles of enormous stones,
some of which are connected by stone slabs.

[117] "Here terminates the _Autobiography_, as published
by Wm. Temple Franklin and his successors. What follows
was written in the last year of Dr. Franklin's life, and
was never before printed in English."--Mr. Bigelow's
note in his edition of 1868.

As soon as I was settled in a lodging Mr. Charles had provided for me,
I went to visit Dr. Fothergill, to whom I was strongly recommended,
and whose counsel respecting my proceedings I was advis'd to obtain.

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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The Multitude separated, all well satisfied and delighted with the Success of the Experiment, and amusing one another with discourses of the various uses it may possibly be apply'd to, among which many were very extravagant.
Page 3
He was complimented on his Zeal and Courage for the Promotion of Science, but advis'd to wait till the management of these Balls was made by Experience more certain & safe.
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It was supposed to have risen about 200 Toises: But did not continue long at that height, was carried horizontally by the Wind, and descended gently as the Air within grew cooler.
Page 5
Fond acquainted me yesterday that a Book on the Subject which has been long expected, will be publish'd in a few Days, and I shall send you one of them.
Page 6
If those in the Gallery see it likely to descend in an improper Place, they can by throwing on more Straw, & renewing the Flame, make it rise again, and the Wind carries it farther.
Page 7
_Aiant encor dans leur Galerie les deux tiers de leur Approvisionement.
Page 8
A few Months since the Idea of Witches riding thro' the Air upon a Broomstick, and that of Philosophers upon a Bag of Smoke, would have appeared equally impossible and ridiculous.
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What became of them is not yet known here.
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Ils y ont ete accueillis par Mrs.
Page 12
Smyth says that these additions are not in the University of Pennsylvania draft but that they occur in this press-copy, which is obviously a mistake.
Page 13
As this interesting document has never been published, to my knowledge, I have given it here _literatim_ from my press-copy.
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10, "chearfully" is possibly an older spelling for "cheerfully"; p.