Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 64

secret was to
be kept till they should arrive, and in the meantime I was to get
work, if I could, at the other printing-house. But I found no vacancy
there, and so remained idle a few days, when Keimer, on a prospect of
being employ'd to print some paper money in New Jersey, which would
require cuts and various types that I only could supply, and
apprehending Bradford might engage me and get the jobb from him, sent
me a very civil message, that old friends should not part for a few
words, the effect of sudden passion, and wishing me to return.
Meredith persuaded me to comply, as it would give more opportunity for
his improvement under my daily instructions; so I return'd, and we
went on more smoothly than for some time before. The New Jersey jobb
was obtained, I contriv'd a copperplate press for it, the first that
had been seen in the country; I cut several ornaments and checks for
the bills. We went together to Burlington, where I executed the whole
to satisfaction; and he received so large a sum for the work as to be
enabled thereby to keep his head much longer above water.

At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many principal people of the
province. Several of them had been appointed by the Assembly a
committee to attend the press, and take care that no more bills were
printed than the law directed. They were therefore, by turns,
constantly with us, and generally he who attended, brought with him a
friend or two for company. My mind having been much more improv'd by
reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my
conversation seem'd to be more valu'd. They had me to their houses,
introduced me to their friends, and show'd me much civility; while he,
tho' the master, was a little neglected. In truth, he was an odd fish;
ignorant of common life, fond of rudely opposing receiv'd opinions,
slovenly to extream dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points of
religion, and a little knavish withal.

We continu'd there near three months; and by that time I could reckon
among my acquired friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustill, the secretary
of the Province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, and several of the
Smiths, members of Assembly, and Isaac Decow, the surveyor-general.
The latter was a shrewd, sagacious old man, who told me that he began
for himself, when young, by wheeling clay for brick-makers, learned to
write after he was of age, carri'd the chain for surveyors, who taught
him surveying, and he had now by his industry,

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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and the Weight of the Air contain'd.
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He was complimented on his Zeal and Courage for the Promotion of Science, but advis'd to wait till the management of these Balls was made by Experience more certain & safe.
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It carried under it a large Lanthorn with inscriptions on its sides.
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I say this in answer to your Question; for I did not indeed write them with a view of their being inserted.
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_Planant sur l'Horizon.
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_ That is, in plain English, _burning more straw_; for tho' there is a little Mystery made, concerning the kind of Air with which the Balloon is filled, I conceive it to be nothing more than hot Smoke or common Air rarify'd, tho' in this I may be mistaken.
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Your Philosophy seems to be too bashful.
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With sincere & great Esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obed^t humble Serv^t B.
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When it arrived at its height, which I suppose might be 3 or 400 Toises, it appeared to have only horizontal Motion.
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Ils y ont ete accueillis par Mrs.
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La Machine n'a eprouve aucun Accident.
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" Minor discrepancies between this and the other press-copies and the letters as printed by Bigelow and Smyth also occur.
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11, added a missing comma after "Robert" in "Mess^rs.