Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 43

So he swore he
would make me row, or throw me overboard; and coming along, stepping
on the thwarts, toward me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapped
my hand under his crutch, and, rising, pitched him head-foremost into
the river. I knew he was a good swimmer, and so was under little
concern about him; but before he could get round to lay hold of the
boat, we had with a few strokes pull'd her out of his reach; and ever
when he drew near the boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few
strokes to slide her away from him. He was ready to die with
vexation, and obstinately would not promise to row. However, seeing
him at last beginning to tire, we lifted him in and brought him home
dripping wet in the evening. We hardly exchang'd a civil word
afterwards, and a West India captain, who had a commission to procure
a tutor for the sons of a gentleman at Barbados, happening to meet
with him, agreed to carry him thither. He left me then, promising to
remit me the first money he should receive in order to discharge the
debt; but I never heard of him after.

The breaking into this money of Vernon's was one of the first great
errata of my life; and this affair show'd that my father was not much
out in his judgment when he suppos'd me too young to manage business
of importance. But Sir William, on reading his letter, said he was too
prudent. There was great difference in persons; and discretion did not
always accompany years, nor was youth always without it. "And since he
will not set you up," says he, "I will do it myself. Give me an
inventory of the things necessary to be had from England, and I will
send for them. You shall repay me when you are able; I am resolv'd to
have a good printer here, and I am sure you must succeed." This was
spoken with such an appearance of cordiality, that I had not the least
doubt of his meaning what he said. I had hitherto kept the proposition
of my setting up, a secret in Philadelphia, and I still kept it. Had
it been known that I depended on the governor, probably some friend,
that knew him better, would have advis'd me not to rely on him, as I
afterwards heard it as his known character to be liberal of promises
which he never meant to keep. Yet, unsolicited as he was by me, how

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 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 35
Ralph was ingenuous, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I never knew a prettier talker.
Page 48
At length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas instead of discharging his debts he went out of town, hid his gown in a furz bush, and walked to London, where, having no friend to advise him, he fell into bad company, soon spent his guineas, found no means of being introduced among the players, grew necessitous, pawned his clothes, and wanted bread.
Page 54
Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterward surveyor-general, who loved books, and sometimes made a few verses.
Page 55
George Webb, who had found a female friend that lent him wherewith to purchase his time of Keimer, now came to offer himself as a journeyman to us.
Page 56
I wrote him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment, craving his forbearance a little longer, which he allowed me; as soon as I was able, I paid the principal with the interest, and many thanks: so that _erratum_ was in some degree corrected.
Page 65
Page 73
"Besides all this, the immense revolution of the present period will necessarily turn our attention towards the author of it; and when virtuous principles have been pretended in it, it will be highly important to show that such have really influenced; and, as your own character will be the principal one to receive a scrutiny, it is proper (even for its effects upon your vast and rising country, as well as upon England and upon Europe) that it should stand respectable and eternal.
Page 79
For this purpose I therefore tried the following method.
Page 84
Page 89
_I am now about to.
Page 99
The multitude of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me (who was one of the number) to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admired and respected him.
Page 100
Whitefield with the idea of building an orphan-house there, in which they might be supported and educated.
Page 110
My allegation, on the contrary, that it met with such approbation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand pounds by voluntary donations, they considered as a most extravagant supposition, and utterly impossible.
Page 151
Electrified clouds passing over this would, he conceived, impart to it a portion of their electricity, which would be rendered evident to the senses by sparks being emitted when a key, the knuckle, or other conductor was presented to it.
Page 174
His life was remarkably full of incident.
Page 184
_ It must be small, as we produce little that is wanted in Britain.
Page 191
But the _sea_ is yours: you maintain, by your fleets, the safety of navigation in it, and keep it clear of pirates: you may have, therefore, a natural and equitable right to some _toll_ or duty on merchandises carried through that part of your dominions, towards defraying the expense you are at in ships to maintain the safety of that carriage.
Page 195
As to the Ohio, the contest there began about your right of trading in the Indian country; a right you had by the treaty of Utrecht, which the French infringed; they seized the traders and their goods, which were your manufactures; they took a fort which a company of your merchants, and their factors and correspondents, had erected there, to secure that trade.
Page 200
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Fly where.