Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 86

the virtues
successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid
every the least offense against _Temperance_, leaving the other
virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the
faults of the day. Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first
line, marked T, clear of spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so
much strengthen'd, and its opposite weaken'd, that I might venture
extending my attention to include the next, and for the following week
keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could
go thro' a course compleat in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a
year. And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to
eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and
his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having
accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I
hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I
made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till
in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a
clean book, after a thirteen weeks' daily examination.

This my little book had for its motto these lines from Addison's
_Cato_:

"Here will I hold. If there's a power above us
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Thro' all her works), He must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy."

Another from Cicero,

"O vitae Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix expultrixque
vitiorum! Unus dies, bene et ex praeceptis tuis
actus, peccanti immortalitati est anteponendus."[69]

[69] "O philosophy, guide of life! O searcher out of
virtue and exterminator of vice! One day spent well and
in accordance with thy precepts is worth an immortality
of sin."--_Tusculan Inquiries_, Book V.

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of wisdom or virtue:

"Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand
riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace." iii. 16, 17.

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right
and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end
I formed the following little prayer, which was prefix'd to my tables
of examination, for daily use.

"_O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful
Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which

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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

Page 2
Letter from Mr.
Page 26
He did not like my lodging at Bradford's while I worked with him.
Page 44
The thing pleased me, for I was grown tired.
Page 46
Keith was no longer governor, being superseded by Major Gordon; I met him walking the streets as a common citizen; he seemed a little ashamed at seeing me, and passed without saying anything.
Page 51
Though purblind man Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link, His eye not carrying to that equal beam That poises all above--" and which, 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.
Page 88
But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this comment was never fulfilled.
Page 117
Mr.
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3.
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Raisins.
Page 131
Finding ourselves now posted securely, and having a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventured out in parties to scour the adjacent country.
Page 145
The foregoing fact I give for the sake of the following observation: it has been remarked, as an imperfection in the art of shipbuilding, that it can never be known till she is tried whether a new ship will or will not be a good sailer; for that the model of a good sailing ship has been exactly followed in a new one, which has been proved, on the contrary, remarkably dull.
Page 158
, that the temperature of the human body, when in health, never exceeds 96 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer, although the atmosphere which surrounds it may be heated to a much greater degree.
Page 166
Jefferson was appointed to succeed him in 1785.
Page 183
_ Those for discharging the debt are to continue till 1772, and longer if the debt should not be then all discharged.
Page 184
_Q.
Page 190
_Q.
Page 195
that; they esteemed their sovereign's approbation of their zeal and fidelity, and the approbation of this house, far beyond any other kind of compensation; therefore there was no occasion for this act to force money from a willing people: they had not refused giving money for the _purposes_ of the act, no requisition had been made, they were always willing and ready to do what could reasonably be expected from them, and in this light they wish to be considered.
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He frequently speaks.
Page 210
some of the blacks, going on board her, were treacherously seized and carried off as slaves.
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[Note by Dr.