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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 203

impossible to avoid _vain Thoughts_.
I was permitted once to visit her: She was chearful and polite, and
convers'd pleasantly. The Room was clean, but had no other Furniture
than a Matras, a Table with a Crucifix and Book, a Stool, which she gave
me to sit on, and a Picture over the Chimney of St. _Veronica_,
displaying her Handkerchief with the miraculous Figure of Christ's
bleeding Face on it, which she explain'd to me with great Seriousness.
She look'd pale, but was never sick, and I give it as another Instance
on how small an Income Life and Health may be supported.

At Watts's Printinghouse I contracted an Acquaintance with an ingenious
young Man, one Wygate, who having wealthy Relations, had been better
educated than most Printers, was a tolerable Latinist, spoke French, and
lov'd Reading. I taught him and a Friend of his, to swim, at twice going
into the River, and they soon became good Swimmers. They introduc'd me
to some Gentlemen from the Country who went to Chelsea by Water to see
the College and Don Saltero's Curiosities.[5] In our Return, at the
Request of the Company, whose Curiosity Wygate had excited, I stript and
leapt into the River, and swam from near Chelsea to Blackfryars,
performing on the Way many Feats of Activity both upon and under Water,
that surpriz'd and pleas'd those to whom they were Novelties.--I had
from a Child been ever delighted with this Exercise, had studied and
practis'd all Thevenot's Motions and Positions, added some of my own,
aiming at the graceful and easy, as well as the Useful. All these I took
this Occasion of exhibiting to the Company, and was much flatter'd by
their Admiration.--And Wygate, who was desirous of becoming a Master,
grew more and more attach'd to me, on that account, as well as from the
Similarity of our Studies. He at length propos'd to me travelling all
over Europe together, supporting ourselves everywhere by working at our
Business. I was once inclin'd to it. But mentioning it to my good Friend
Mr. Denham, with whom I often spent an Hour, when I had Leisure. He
dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only of returning to
Pensilvania, which he was now about to do.

I must record one Trait of this good Man's Character. He had formerly
been in Business at Bristol, but fail'd in Debt to a Number of People,
compounded and went to America. There, by a close Application to
Business as a Merchant, he acquir'd a plentiful Fortune in a few Years.
Returning to England in the Ship

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
as well confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity.
Page 19
My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an order of the House (a very odd one), that "James Franklin should no longer print the paper called the New England Courant.
Page 25
So there being no copy, but one pair of cases, and the Elegy likely to require all the letter, no one could help him.
Page 27
About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offer'd for Boston.
Page 37
Page 53
They had me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, and show'd me much civility; while he, tho' the master, was a little neglected.
Page 72
Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd to render the benefit from books more common, by commencing a public subscription library.
Page 75
This respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contributions, my mite for such purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.
Page 76
It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection.
Page 85
in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax was best"; for something, that pretended to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.
Page 97
The city watch was one of the first things that I conceiv'd to want regulation.
Page 103
With respect to defense, Spain having been several years at war against Great Britain, and being at length join'd by France, which brought us into great danger; and the laboured and long-continued endeavour of our governor, Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker Assembly to pass a militia law, and make other provisions for the security of the province, having proved abortive, I determined to try what might be done by a voluntary association of the people.
Page 129
" I received of the general about eight hundred pounds, to be disbursed in advance-money to the waggon owners, etc.
Page 137
It seems they were either deceiv'd in themselves, or deceiv'd the Parliament; but common sense, aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.
Page 140
I understood that their sermons were not usually preached to mixed congregations of men, women, and children, as is our common practice, but that they assembled sometimes the married men, at other times their wives, then the young men, the young women, and the little children, each division by itself.
Page 141
Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the association went on swimmingly, the inhabitants that were not Quakers having pretty generally come into it, formed themselves into companies, and chose their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, according to the new law.
Page 144
His lectures were well attended, and gave great satisfaction; and after some time he went thro' the colonies, exhibiting them in every capital town, and pick'd up some money.
Page 148
We met and discuss'd the business.
Page 151
He was asked how long time that would require.
Page 153
It has been remark'd, as an imperfection in the art of ship-building, that it can never be known, till she is tried, whether a.