Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 53

to try for a country
school, which he thought himself well qualified to undertake, as he
wrote an excellent hand, and was a master of arithmetic and accounts.
This, however, he deemed a business below him, and confident of future
better fortune, when he should be unwilling to have it known that he
once was so meanly employed, he changed his name, and did me the
honour to assume mine; for I soon after had a letter from him,
acquainting me that he was settled in a small village (in Berkshire, I
think it was, where he taught reading and writing to ten or a dozen
boys, at sixpence each per week), recommending Mrs. T---- to my care,
and desiring me to write to him, directing for Mr. Franklin,
schoolmaster, at such a place.

He continued to write frequently, sending me large specimens of an
epic poem which he was then composing, and desiring my remarks and
corrections. These I gave him from time to time, but endeavour'd
rather to discourage his proceeding. One of Young's Satires[41] was
then just published. I copy'd and sent him a great part of it, which
set in a strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope of
advancement by them. All was in vain; sheets of the poem continued to
come by every post. In the meantime, Mrs. T----, having on his account
lost her friends and business, was often in distresses, and us'd to
send for me and borrow what I could spare to help her out of them. I
grew fond of her company, and, being at that time under no religious
restraint, and presuming upon my importance to her, I attempted
familiarities (another erratum) which she repuls'd with a proper
resentment, and acquainted him with my behaviour. This made a breach
between us; and, when he returned again to London, he let me know he
thought I had cancell'd all the obligations he had been under to me.
So I found I was never to expect his repaying me what I lent to him or
advanc'd for him. This, however, was not then of much consequence, as
he was totally unable; and in the loss of his friendship I found
myself relieved from a burthen. I now began to think of getting a
little money beforehand, and, expecting better work, I left Palmer's
to work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still greater
printing-house.[42] Here I continued all the rest of my stay in London.

[41] Edward Young (1681-1765), an English poet. See his

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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

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But one does not dress for private company as for a public ball.
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book on arithmetic, and went through the whole by myself with the greatest ease.
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Denham, a Quaker merchant, and Messrs.
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These friends were afterward of great use to me, as I occasionally was to some of them.
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We had scarce opened our letters and put our press in order, before George House, an acquaintance of mine, brought a countryman to us, whom he had met in the street inquiring for a printer.
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However, our circumstances have been such as that it hath hardly been worth while to concern ourselves much about these things, any farther than to tickle the fancy a little.
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"Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for here again I will suppose the subject of my letter to resemble Dr.
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My scheme of _Order_ gave me the most trouble; and I found that though it might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman-printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours.
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The character of observing such a conduct is the most powerful of recommendations to new employments and increase of business.
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I went to their church, where I was entertained with good music, the organ being accompanied with violins, haut-boys, flutes, clarinets, &c.
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"While attending this affair, I had an opportunity of looking over the old council books and journals of the society; and having a curiosity to see how I came in (of which I had never been informed), I looked back for the minutes relating to it.
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His conduct, in this situation, was such as rendered him still more dear to his countrymen.
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But this only tended to aggravate.
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It furnished, too, a no less convincing proof of his power of imitating the style of other times and nations than his celebrated parable against persecution.
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Considering the accidents to which all human affairs and projects are subject in such a length of time, I have, perhaps, too much flattered myself with a vain fancy that these dispositions, if carried into execution, will be continued without interruption, and have the effects proposed; I hope, however, that if the inhabitants of the two cities should not think fit to undertake the execution, they will at least accept the offer of these donations as a mark of my good-will, a token of my gratitude, and a testimony of my earnest desire to be useful to them even after my departure.
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_ How many white men do you suppose there are in North America? _A.
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How would the gods my righteous toils succeed, And bless the hand that made a stranger bleed? No more.
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FOOTNOTES: [18] The following appears to be the history of this celebrated Act: Until 1763, whenever Great Britain wanted supplies directly from the colonies, the secretary of state, in the king's name, sent them a letter of requisition, in which the occasion for the supplies was expressed; and the colonies returned a _free gift_, the mode of levying which _they_ wholly prescribed.
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