Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 78

as intelligent as most gentlemen from other
countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so
generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their
privileges.[63]

_Mem deg.._ Thus far was written with the intention express'd in the
beginning and therefore contains several little family anecdotes of no
importance to others. What follows was written many years after in
compliance with the advice contain'd in these letters, and accordingly
intended for the public. The affairs of the Revolution occasion'd the
interruption.[64]

[63] Here the first part of the _Autobiography_, written
at Twyford in 1771, ends. The second part, which
follows, was written at Passy in 1784.

[64] After this memorandum, Franklin inserted letters
from Abel James and Benjamin Vaughan, urging him to
continue his _Autobiography_.

[_Continuation of the Account of my Life, begun at Passy, near Paris,
1784._]

It is some time since I receiv'd the above letters, but I have been
too busy till now to think of complying with the request they contain.
It might, too, be much better done if I were at home among my papers,
which would aid my memory, and help to ascertain dates; but my return
being uncertain, and having just now a little leisure, I will
endeavour to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get home, it
may there be corrected and improv'd.

Not having any copy here of what is already written, I know not
whether an account is given of the means I used to establish the
Philadelphia public library, which, from a small beginning, is now
become so considerable, though I remember to have come down to near
the time of that transaction (1730). I will therefore begin here with
an account of it, which may be struck out if found to have been
already given.

At the time I establish'd myself in Pennsylvania, there was not a good
bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston.
In New York and Philad'a the printers were indeed stationers; they
sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common
school-books. Those who lov'd reading were obliged to send for their
books from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had
left the alehouse, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our
club in. I propos'd that we should all of us bring our books to that
room, where they would not only be ready to consult in our
conferences,

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