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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 193

up in my Business. Perhaps too she thought
my Expectations not so well founded as I imagined them to be.--

My chief Acquaintances at this time were, Charles Osborne, Joseph
Watson, and James Ralph; all Lovers of Reading. The two first were
Clerks to an eminent Scrivener or Conveyancer in the Town, Charles
Brogden; the other was Clerk to a Merchant. Watson was a pious sensible
young Man, of great Integrity.--The others rather more lax in their
Principles of Religion, particularly Ralph, who as well as Collins had
been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer.--Osborne was
sensible, candid, frank, sincere and affectionate to his Friends; but in
literary Matters too fond of Criticising. Ralph, was ingenious, genteel
in his Manners, and extreamly eloquent; I think I never knew a prettier
Talker. Both of them great Admirers of Poetry, and began to try their
Hands in little Pieces. Many pleasant Walks we four had together on
Sundays into the Woods near Schuylkill, where we read to one another and
conferr'd on what we read. Ralph was inclin'd to pursue the Study of
Poetry, not doubting but he might become eminent in it and make his
Fortune by it, alledging that the best Poets must when they first began
to write, make as many Faults as he did.--Osborne dissuaded him, assur'd
him he had no Genius for Poetry, and advis'd him to think of nothing
beyond the Business he was bred to; that in the mercantile way tho' he
had no Stock, he might by his Diligence and Punctuality recommend
himself to Employment as a Factor, and in time acquire wherewith to
trade on his own Account. I approv'd the amusing one's self with Poetry
now and then, so far as to improve one's Language, but no farther. On
this it was propos'd that we should each of us at our next Meeting
produce a Piece of our own Composing, in order to improve by our mutual
Observations, Criticisms and Corrections. As Language and Expression was
what we had in View, we excluded all Considerations of Invention, by
agreeing that the Task should be a Version of the 18^th Psalm, which
describes the Descent of a Deity. When the Time of our Meeting drew
nigh, Ralph call'd on me first, and let me know his Piece was ready. I
told him I had been busy, and having little Inclination had done
nothing. He then show'd me his Piece for my Opinion; and I much approv'd
it, as it appear'd to me to have great Merit. Now, says he, Osborne
never will allow the

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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Although the American owners of these copies did not allow them to be transcribed, Mr.
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Charles, Professor of experimental Philosophy at Paris.
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P.
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One has ordered four of 15 feet Diameter each; I know not with what Purpose; But such is the present Enthusiasm for promoting and improving this Discovery, that probably we shall soon make considerable Progress in the art of constructing and using the Machines.
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F.
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I say this in answer to your Question; for I did not indeed write them with a view of their being inserted.
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The Gallery hitched among the top Boughs of those Trees which had been cut and were stiff while the Body of the Balloon lean'd beyond and seemed likely to overset.
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I know not what it is.
Page 8
But the Emulation between the two Parties running high, the Improvement in the Construction and Management of the Balloons has already made a rapid Progress; and one cannot say how far it may go.
Page 9
With sincere & great Esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obed^t humble Serv^t B.
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What became of them is not yet known here.
Page 11
--I hear farther, that the Travellers had perfect Command of their Carriage, descending as they pleas'd by letting some of the inflammable Air escape, and rising again by discharging some Sand; that they descended over a Field so low as to talk with Labourers in passing and mounted again to pass a Hill.
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La Chute du Jour l'a determine a redescendre une lieue et 1/2 plus loin, aux environs de Fouroy.
Page 13
for "By the emulation," in Smyth, read "But the Emulation;" in paragraph fifteen for the phrase, in Smyth and Bigelow, beginning, "I wish I could see the same emulation," correct to end, "between the two Nations as I see between the two Parties here;" in paragraph sixteen, in both Bigelow and Smyth, for "Experiment," read "Experience;" and for the unintelligible phrase in both Bigelow and Smyth, "Beings of a frank and [sic] nature," read "Beings of a Rank and Nature.
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16, "Bart.