Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 92

it from
pettiness in this book is the scope of power and of
usefulness to be seen in Franklin himself, who set these
standards up in all seriousness and candor for his own
life." See _Galatians_, chapter V, for the Christian
plan of moral perfection.

It will be remark'd that, tho' my scheme was not wholly without
religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets
of any particular sect. I had purposely avoided them; for, being fully
persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it
might be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some
time or other to publish it, I would not have anything in it that
should prejudice anyone, of any sect, against it. I purposed writing a
little comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the
advantages of possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite
vice; and I should have called my book The Art of Virtue,[72] because
it would have shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which
would have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that
does not instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle's
man of verbal charity, who only without showing to the naked and
hungry how or where they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them
to be fed and clothed.--James ii. 15, 16.

[72] Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as
virtue.--_Marg. note_.

But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this
comment was never fulfilled. I did, indeed, from time to time, put
down short hints of the sentiments, reasonings, etc., to be made use
of in it, some of which I have still by me; but the necessary close
attention to private business in the earlier part of my life, and
public business since, have occasioned my postponing it; for, it being
connected in my mind with _a great and extensive project_, that
required the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen succession
of employs prevented my attending to, it has hitherto remain'd

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine,
that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but
forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone
considered; that it was, therefore, everyone's interest to be virtuous
who wish'd to be happy even in this world; and I should, from

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 2
I had been chosen yearly during my absence to represent the city of Philadelphia in our Provincial Assembly; and on my appearance in the House, they voted me three thousand pounds sterling for my services in England, and their thanks, delivered by the Speaker.
Page 22
I then thought of going to New York, as the nearest place where there was a printer; and I was rather inclined to leave Boston when I reflected that I had already made myself a little obnoxious to the governing party, and, from the arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly in my brother's case, it was likely I might, if I stayed, soon bring myself into scrapes; and, further, that my indiscreet disputations about religion began to make me pointed at with horror by good people as an infidel or atheist.
Page 24
" ] [Footnote 19: In Franklin's time the grammar school was a school for teaching Latin, which was begun by committing the grammar to memory.
Page 27
I was dirty from my journey; my pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul, nor where to look for lodging.
Page 35
The governor treated me with great civility, showed me his library, which was a very large one, and we had a good deal of conversation about books and authors.
Page 43
"I don't know such a person," says he; but, opening the letter, "Oh! this is from Riddlesden.
Page 54
My distemper was a pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off.
Page 57
But I found no vacancy there, and so remained idle a few days, when Keimer, on a prospect of being employed 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 job 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.
Page 58
In truth, he was an odd fish; ignorant of common life, fond of rudely opposing received opinions, slovenly to extreme dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points of religion, and a little knavish withal.
Page 63
[98] I perceive that I am apt to speak in the singular number, though our partnership still continued; the reason may be that, in fact, the whole management of the business lay upon me.
Page 65
have undertaken in this affair of ours, and is unwilling to advance for you and me what he would for you alone.
Page 75
"] [Footnote 100: FRANKLIN'S NOTE.
Page 92
About the year 1734 there arrived among us from Ireland a young Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who delivered with a good voice, and apparently extempore, most excellent discourses, which drew together considerable numbers of different persuasions, who joined.
Page 102
Benezet, was removed to Germantown.
Page 117
I thought it would be unbecoming in me, after their kind compliance with my solicitations, to mark.
Page 127
] [Footnote 144: Pleasure gardens in the London of Franklin's day.
Page 146
And, after my return from the frontier, he would have had me undertake the conduct of such an expedition with provincial troops, for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise employed; and he proposed to commission me as general.
Page 165
" COURTEOUS READER: I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors.
Page 170
And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell in order to equal the ox.
Page 176
= Notice Franklin's alertness in suggesting the application of scientific methods to practical affairs.