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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 172

thought bore me down more by
his Fluency than by the Strength of his Reasons. As we parted without
settling the Point, and were not to see one another again for some time,
I sat down to put my Arguments in Writing, which I copied fair and sent
to him. He answer'd and I reply'd. Three of [or] four Letters of a Side
had pass'd, when my Father happen'd to find my Papers, and read them.
Without ent'ring into the Discussion, he took occasion to talk to me
about the Manner of my Writing, observ'd that tho' I had the Advantage
of my Antagonist in correct Spelling and pointing (which I ow'd to the
Printing House) I fell far short in elegance of Expression, in Method
and in Perspicuity, of which he convinc'd me by several Instances. I saw
the Justice of his Remarks, and thence grew more attentive to the
_Manner_ in writing, and determin'd to endeavour at Improvement.--

About this time I met with an odd Volume of the Spectator. It was the
Third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over
and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the Writing
excellent, and wish'd if possible to imitate it. With that View, I took
some of the Papers, and making short Hints of the Sentiment in each
Sentence, laid them by a few Days, and then without looking at the Book,
try'd to compleat the Papers again, by expressing each hinted Sentiment
at length, and as fully as it had been express'd before, in any suitable
Words, that should come to hand.

Then I compar'd my Spectator with the Original, discover'd some of my
Faults and corrected them. But I found I wanted a Stock of Words or a
Readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have
acquir'd before that time, if I had gone on making Verses, since the
continual Occasion for Words of the same Import but of different Length,
to suit the Measure, or of different Sound for the Rhyme, would have
laid me under a constant Necessity of searching for Variety, and also
have tended to fix that Variety in my Mind, and make me Master of it.
Therefore I took some of the Tales and turn'd them into Verse: And after
a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the Prose, turn'd them back
again. I also sometimes jumbled my Collections of Hints into Confusion,
and after some Weeks, endeavour'd to reduce them into the best Order,
before I began to form the full

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Franklin, wishing to collect into one piece all the sayings upon the following subjects, which he had dropped in the course of publishing the Almanacks called "Poor Richard," introduces Father Abraham for this purpose.
Page 1
DARTON_, And of most Booksellers in the United Kingdom.
Page 2
' They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and, gathering round him, he proceeded as follows: 'Friends,' says he, 'the taxes are indeed very heavy; and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us.
Page 3
] 'So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make these times better, if we bestir ourselves.
Page 4
" II.
Page 5
Page 6
" Again, "It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance;" and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanack.
Page 7
" And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.
Page 8
Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.
Page 9
--I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacks, and digested all I had dropt on those topics during the course of twenty-five years.