Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 44

I think his generous offers insincere? I believ'd him one of the
best men in the world.

I presented him an inventory of a little print'-house, amounting by my
computation to about one hundred pounds sterling. He lik'd it, but
ask'd me if my being on the spot in England to chuse the types, and
see that everything was good of the kind, might not be of some
advantage. "Then," says he, "when there, you may make acquaintances,
and establish correspondences in the bookselling and stationery way."
I agreed that this might be advantageous. "Then," says he, "get
yourself ready to go with Annis;" which was the annual ship, and the
only one at that time usually passing between London and Philadelphia.
But it would be some months before Annis sail'd, so I continued
working with Keimer, fretting about the money Collins had got from me,
and in daily apprehensions of being call'd upon by Vernon, which,
however, did not happen for some years after.

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first voyage from
Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our people set about catching
cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution
of not eating animal food, and on this occasion I consider'd, with my
master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder,
since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might
justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had
formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of
the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between
principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were
opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought
I, "If you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you." So I
din'd upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people,
returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet. So
convenient a thing is it to be a _reasonable creature_, since it
enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to



Keimer and I liv'd on a pretty good familiar footing, and agreed
tolerably well, for he suspected nothing of my setting up. He retained
a great deal of his old enthusiasms and lov'd argumentation. We
therefore had many disputations. I used to work him so with my
Socratic method, and had trepann'd him so often by questions
apparently so distant from any point we had in hand,

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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, in December, 1905, and previously had belonged to G.
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