Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 51

but they were poor, and
unable to assist him. He now let me know his intentions of remaining
in London, and that he never meant to return to Philadelphia. He had
brought no money with him, the whole he could muster having been
expended in paying his passage. I had fifteen pistoles;[37] so he
borrowed occasionally of me to subsist, while he was looking out for
business. He first endeavoured to get into the play-house, believing
himself qualify'd for an actor; but Wilkes,[38] to whom he apply'd,
advis'd him candidly not to think of that employment, as it was
impossible he should succeed in it. Then he propos'd to Roberts, a
publisher in Paternoster Row,[39] to write for him a weekly paper like
the Spectator, on certain conditions, which Roberts did not approve.
Then he endeavoured to get employment as a hackney writer, to copy for
the stationers and lawyers about the Temple,[40] but could find no

[36] One of the oldest parts of London, north of St.
Paul's Cathedral, called "Little Britain" because the
Dukes of Brittany used to live there. See the essay
entitled "Little Britain" in Washington Irving's _Sketch

[37] A gold coin worth about four dollars in our money.

[38] A popular comedian, manager of Drury Lane Theater.

[39] Street north of St. Paul's, occupied by publishing

[40] Law schools and lawyers' residences situated
southwest of St. Paul's, between Fleet Street and the

I immediately got into work at Palmer's, then a famous printing-house
in Bartholomew Close, and here I continu'd near a year. I was pretty
diligent, but spent with Ralph a good deal of my earnings in going to
plays and other places of amusement. We had together consumed all my
pistoles, and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth. He seem'd quite
to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my engagements with
Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that was to
let her know I was not likely soon to return. This was another of the
great errata of my life, which I should wish to correct if I were to
live it over again. In fact, by our expenses, I was constantly kept
unable to pay my passage.

At Palmer's I was employed in composing for the second

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
They were purchased by me from Dodd, Mead & Co.
Page 1
Care was taken before the Hour to replace what Portion had been lost, of the inflammable Air, or of its Force, by injecting more.
Page 2
Since writing the above, I am favour'd with your kind Letter of the 25th.
Page 3
I just now learn, that some observers say, the Ball was 150 Seconds in rising, from the Cutting of the Cord till hid in the Clouds; that its height was then about 500 Toises, but, being moved out of the Perpendicular by the Wind, it had made a Slant so as to form a Triangle, whose Base on the Earth was about 200 Toises.
Page 4
And that to get Money, it will be contrived to give People an extensive View of the Country, by running them up in an Elbow Chair a Mile high for a Guinea &c.
Page 5
It is to carry up a Man.
Page 6
in passing thro' this Flame rose in the Balloon, swell'd out its sides, and fill'd it.
Page 7
The Gores that compose it are red and white Silk, so that it makes a beautiful appearance.
Page 8
Air, will carry up a greater Weight than the other, which tho' vastly bigger was filled with an Air that could scarcely be more than twice as light.
Page 9
from whence I could well see it rise, & have an extensive View of the Region of Air thro' which, as the Wind sat, it was likely to pass.
Page 10
When it arrived at its height, which I suppose might be 3 or 400 Toises, it appeared to have only horizontal Motion.
Page 11
Beaucoup d'habitants de la campagne et le cure de Nesle et d'Hebouville se sont aussi trouves a leur arrivee.
Page 12
" Both Bigelow and Smyth give another paragraph in the Postscript, beyond the signature "B.
Page 13
Page 14
14, "Carr" corrected to "Car" in "on both Sides their Car,"; p.