Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 42

my hours of
leisure for conversation were spent with him, and he continu'd a sober
as well as an industrious lad; was much respected for his learning by
several of the clergy and other gentlemen, and seemed to promise
making a good figure in life. But, during my absence, he had acquir'd
a habit of sotting with brandy; and I found by his own account, and
what I heard from others, that he had been drunk every day since his
arrival at New York, and behav'd very oddly. He had gam'd, too, and
lost his money, so that I was oblig'd to discharge his lodgings, and
defray his expenses to and at Philadelphia, which prov'd extremely
inconvenient to me.

The then governor of New York, Burnet (son of Bishop Burnet), hearing
from the captain that a young man, one of his passengers, had a great
many books, desir'd he would bring me to see him. I waited upon him
accordingly, and should have taken Collins with me but that he was not
sober. The gov'r. treated me with great civility, show'd me his
library, which was a very large one, and we had a good deal of
conversation about books and authors. This was the second governor who
had done me the honour to take notice of me; which, to a poor boy like
me, was very pleasing.

We proceeded to Philadelphia. I received on the way Vernon's money,
without which we could hardly have finish'd our journey. Collins
wished to be employ'd in some counting-house; but, whether they
discover'd his dramming by his breath, or by his behaviour, tho' he
had some recommendations, he met with no success in any application,
and continu'd lodging and boarding at the same house with me, and at
my expense. Knowing I had that money of Vernon's, he was continually
borrowing of me, still promising repayment as soon as he should be in
business. At length he had got so much of it that I was distress'd to
think what I should do in case of being call'd on to remit it.

His drinking continu'd, about which we sometimes quarrel'd; for, when
a little intoxicated, he was very fractious. Once, in a boat on the
Delaware with some other young men, he refused to row in his turn. "I
will be row'd home," says he. "We will not row you," says I. "You
must, or stay all night on the water," says he, "just as you please."
The others said, "Let us row; what signifies it?" But, my mind being
soured with his other conduct, I continu'd to refuse.

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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"This little work is intended as an easy Introduction to the Mythology of ancient Greece and Rome, and is particularly adapted to the use of Schools, being divested of the obscene allegories introduced by the ancients in their usual figurative style.
Page 1
DARTON_, And of most Booksellers in the United Kingdom.
Page 2
I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods.
Page 3
"Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hope will die fasting.
Page 4
Page 5
" And farther, "What maintains one vice, would bring up two children.
Page 6
These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences: and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them?--By these, and other extravagancies, the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who, through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case it appears plainly, that "A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees," as Poor Richard says.
Page 7
"Vessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore.
Page 8
[Illustration] 'And now to conclude, "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other," as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that; for it is true, "We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.
Page 9
Richard says.