Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 46

same for me; but, as I was about to take a long voyage, and we
were both very young, only a little above eighteen, it was thought
most prudent by her mother to prevent our going too far at present, as
a marriage, if it was to take place, would be more convenient after my
return, when I should be, as I expected, set up in my business.
Perhaps, too, she thought my expectations not so well founded as I
imagined them to be.

My chief acquaintances at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph
Watson, and James Ralph, all lovers of reading. The two first were
clerks to an eminent scrivener or conveyancer in the town, Charles
Brockden; the other was clerk to a merchant. Watson was a pious,
sensible young man, of great integrity; the others rather more lax in
their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, as well as
Collins, had been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer.
Osborne was sensible, candid, frank; sincere and affectionate to his
friends; but, in literary matters, too fond of criticizing. Ralph was
ingenious, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I
never knew a prettier talker. Both of them were great admirers of
poetry, and began to try their hands in little pieces. Many pleasant
walks we four had together on Sundays into the woods, near
Schuylkill, where we read to one another, and conferr'd on what we

[Illustration: "Many pleasant walks we four had together"]

Ralph was inclin'd to pursue the study of poetry, not doubting but he
might become eminent in it, and make his fortune by it, alleging that
the best poets must, when they first began to write, make as many
faults as he did. Osborne dissuaded him, assur'd him he had no genius
for poetry, and advis'd him to think of nothing beyond the business he
was bred to; that, in the mercantile way, tho' he had no stock, he
might, by his diligence and punctuality, recommend himself to
employment as a factor, and in time acquire wherewith to trade on his
own account. I approv'd the amusing one's self with poetry now and
then, so far as to improve one's language, but no farther.

On this it was propos'd that we should each of us, at our next
meeting, produce a piece of our own composing, in order to improve by
our mutual observations, criticisms, and corrections. As language and
expression were what we had in view, we excluded all considerations of
invention by agreeing that the task should be a version of the
eighteenth Psalm,

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 2
DEAR SON: I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors.
Page 17
" If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines, "Immodest words admit of no defense, For want of modesty is want of sense.
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now that I was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were not really so very good ones as I then esteem'd them.
Page 20
He could give me no employment, having little to do, and help enough already; but says he, "My son at Philadelphia has lately lost his principal hand, Aquila Rose, by death; if you go thither, I believe he may employ you.
Page 22
He had some letters, and was ingenious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some years after, to travestie the Bible in doggrel verse, as Cotton had done Virgil.
Page 39
He let me into Keith's character; told me there was not the least probability that he had written any letters for me; that no one, who knew him, had the smallest dependence on him; and he laught at the notion of the governor's giving me a letter of credit, having, as he said, no credit to give.
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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 49
I forget what his distemper was; it held him a long time, and at length carried him off.
Page 68
But your biography will not merely teach self-education, but the education of a wise man; and the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress, by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man.
Page 73
The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be suppos'd to raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's neighbors, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project.
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My circumstances, however, grew daily easier.
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| | | | | | | | | C.
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"But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.
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On his decease, the business was continued by his widow, who, being born and bred in Holland, where, as I have been inform'd, the knowledge of accounts makes a part of female education, she not only sent me as clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but continued to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter afterwards, and managed the business with such success, that she not only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and establish her son in it.
Page 109
, That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of.
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The subscriptions afterwards were more free and generous; but, beginning to flag, I saw they would be insufficient without some assistance from the Assembly, and therefore propos'd to petition for it, which was done.
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I found at my door in Craven-street, one morning, a poor woman sweeping my pavement with a birch broom; she appeared very pale and feeble, as just come out of a fit of sickness.
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1746 Publishes a pamphlet, "Plain Truth," on the necessity for disciplined defense, and forms a military company; begins electrical experiments.
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