Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 65

acquir'd a good
estate; and says he, "I foresee that you will soon work this man out
of his business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia." He had not
then the least intimation of my intention to set up there or anywhere.
These friends were afterwards of great use to me, as I occasionally
was to some of them. They all continued their regard for me as long as
they lived.

Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it may be well
to let you know the then state of my mind with regard to my principles
and morals, that you may see how far those influenc'd the future
events of my life. My parents had early given me religious
impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the
Dissenting way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by
turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different
books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books
against Deism[52] fell into my hands; they were said to be the
substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that
they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by
them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be
refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short,
I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others,
particularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of them having afterwards
wrong'd me greatly without the least compunction, and recollecting
Keith's conduct towards me (who was another free-thinker), and my own
towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I
began to suspect that this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not
very useful. My London pamphlet, which had for its motto these lines
of Dryden:[53]

"Whatever is, is right. Though purblind man
Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link:
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam,
That poises all above;"

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness and
power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world,
and that vice and virtue were empty distinctions, no such things
existing, appear'd now not so clever a performance as I once thought
it; and I doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself
unperceiv'd into my argument, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is
common in metaphysical reasonings.

[52] The creed of an eighteenth century theological sect
which, while

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

Page 21
The Deists hold, that, considering the multiplicity of religions, the numerous pretences to revelation, and the precarious arguments generally advanced in proof thereof; the best and surest way is, to return to the simplicity of nature, and the belief of one God, which is the only truth agreed to by all nations.
Page 51
Pennsylvania assembly, Franklin had successfully sponsored issues of paper money; in London, following the 1764 act, he urged that one of the causes breeding disrespect for Parliament was "the prohibition of making paper money among [us].
Page 83
" Desaguliers, coming to London from Oxford in 1713, observed that "he found all Newtonian philosophy generally receiv'd among persons of all ranks and professions, and even among the ladies by the help of experiments.
Page 123
[i-473] _Ibid.
Page 167
other Occasions I was generally a Leader among the Boys, and sometimes led them into Scrapes, of w^ch I will mention one Instance, as it shows an early projecting public Spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.
Page 206
Meredith was to work at Press, Potts at Bookbinding, which he by Agreement, was to teach them, tho' he knew neither one nor t'other.
Page 374
Thus Light and Darkness their fix'd Course maintain, And still the kind Vicissitudes remain: For when pale Night her sable Curtain spreads, And wraps all Nature in her awful Shades, Soft Slumbers gently seal each mortal Eye, Stretch'd at their Ease the weary Lab'rers lie.
Page 377
| 7 2 | 4 58 | | 31 | 4 | .
Page 405
This is known by a Number of dusky Spots, which appear upon the Sun's Face, so as to be seen.
Page 425
0 | | 7 | 17 | 6 | 11 | 9 | 23 | 14 | S.
Page 483
| 1 10 | 4 | 16 | | 28 | 7 9 | 2 3 | 5 | 17 | | 29 | 8 0 | 2 56 | 5 | 18 | | 30 | 8 56 | 3 48 | 6 | 19 | | 31 | 9 42 | 4 39 | 7 | 20 | +----+----------+-----------+----+------+ us and the Sun, we see a small Part of her Body enlightned, and so on still more and more, till she comes to be in Opposition to the Sun, and then we see all that Side of her which the Sun shines upon, when we say she is full; though the Sun does not, in Reality, enlighten any more of her Body at Full than at new Moon; only her enlightened Side is turned towards us in the one Case, and from us in the other.
Page 552
So much by way of commentary.
Page 564
More wonders.
Page 580
Please to acquaint him, then, that the fact is not so; that, every year during the war, requisitions were made by the crown on the colonies for raising money and men; that accordingly they made more extraordinary efforts, in proportion to their abilities, than Britain did; that they raised, paid, and clothed, for five or six years, near twenty-five thousand men, besides providing for other services, as building forts, equipping guardships, paying transports, &c.
Page 610
no more of the song, than you would from its tune played on any other instrument.
Page 616
"And whereas the art and mystery of making hats hath arrived at great perfection in Prussia, and the making of hats by our remoter subjects ought to be as much as possible restrained: And forasmuch as the islanders before mentioned,.
Page 637
We know, that you may do us a great deal of mischief, and are determined to bear it patiently as long as we can.
Page 646
" This will certainly happen, unless your conduct is speedily changed, and the national resentment falls where it ought to [fall] heavily, on your ministry, [or perhaps rather on the King, whose will they only execute].
Page 679
Order your coachman to set them down.
Page 705
If the Merchant demands too much Profit on imported Shoes, they buy of the Shoemaker; and if he asks too high a Price, they take them of the Merchant; thus the two Professions are checks on each other.