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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 24

tyrannical forms of
kings and priests. Calvin's forlorn and depraved man became a creature
naturally compassionate. If once man worshipped the Deity through
seeking to parallel the divine laws scripturally revealed, in the
eighteenth century he honored his benevolent God, who was above
demanding worship, through kindnesses shown God's other children. The
individual was lost in society, self-perfection gave way to
humanitarianism, God to Man, theology to morality, and faith to reason.
The colonial seventeenth century was politically oligarchical: when
Thomas Hooker heckled Winthrop on the lack of suffrage, Winthrop with no
compromise asserted that "the best part is always the least, and of that
best part the wiser part is always the lesser."[i-24] If the
seventeenth-century college was a cloister for clerical education, the
Enlightenment sought to train the layman for citizenship.

With the turn of the seventeenth century several forces came into
prominence, undermining New England's Puritan heritage. Among those
relevant for our study are: the ubiquitous frontier, and the rise of
Quakerism, deism, Methodism, and science. The impact of the frontier was
neglected until Professor Turner called attention to its existence; he
writes that "the most important effect of the frontier has been in the
promotion of democracy here and in Europe.... It produces antipathy to
control, and particularly to any direct control.... The frontier
conditions prevalent in the colonies are important factors in the
explanation of the American Revolution...."[i-25] In the period included
in our survey the frontier receded from the coast to the fall line to
the Alleghenies: at each stage it "did indeed furnish a new field of
opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and
freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its
restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have
accompanied the frontier."[i-26] One recalls the spirited satire on
frontier conditions, as the above aspects give birth to violence and
disregard for law, in Hugh Brackenridge's _Modern Chivalry_. Under the
satire one feels the justness of the attack, intensified by our
knowledge that Brackenridge grew up "in a democratic Scotch-Irish
back-country settlement." If the frontiersmen during the eighteenth
century did not place their dirty boots on their governors' desks, they
were partially responsible for an inveterate spirit of revolt, shown so
brutally in the "massacres" provoked by the "Paxton boys" of
Pennsylvania. One is not unprepared to discover resentment against the
forms of authority in a territory in which a strong back is more
immediately important than a knowledge of debates on predestination.
Granting the importance of the frontier in opposing the theocratic Old
Way, it must be considered in terms of other and more

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
From these notes I learned that the family had lived in the same village, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for three hundred years, and how much longer he knew not (perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that before was the name of an order of people, was assumed by them as a surname when others took surnames all over the kingdom), on a freehold of about thirty acres, aided by the smith's business, which had continued in the family till his time, the eldest son being always bred to that business; a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest sons.
Page 13
.
Page 15
While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method.
Page 18
During my brother's confinement, which I resented a good deal, notwithstanding our private differences, I had the management of the paper; and I made bold to give our rulers some rubs in.
Page 35
As language and expression were what we had in view, we excluded all.
Page 45
She was lame in her knees with the gout, and, therefore, seldom stirred out of her room, so sometimes wanted company; and hers was so highly amusing to me, that I was sure to spend an evening with her whenever she desired it.
Page 49
My distemper was a pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off.
Page 52
bring them to my lodgings.
Page 58
By this means the attention of the publick was fixed on that paper, and Keimer's proposals, which we burlesqu'd and ridicul'd, were disregarded.
Page 69
Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for here again I will suppose the subject of my.
Page 70
I am earnestly desirous, then, my dear sir, that you should let the world into the traits of your genuine character, as civil broils may otherwise tend to disguise or traduce it.
Page 80
This my little book had for its motto these lines from Addison's Cato: "Here will I hold.
Page 86
--[Marg.
Page 88
] ["I am now about to write at home, August, 1788, but can not have the help expected from my papers, many of them being lost in the war.
Page 97
It was managed by the constables of the respective wards in turn; the constable warned a number of housekeepers to attend him for the night.
Page 111
Writings were accordingly drawn, and on paying the debts the trustees of the academy were put in possession of the premises; and by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and different rooms above and below for the several schools, and purchasing some additional ground, the whole was soon made fit for our purpose, and the scholars remov'd into the building.
Page 132
" I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his profession, and said no more.
Page 135
The bill expressed "that all estates, real and personal, were to be taxed, those of the proprietaries not excepted.
Page 150
He told me he was order'd to call to-morrow at nine for the general's answer to the governor, and should set off immediately.
Page 163
1788 Retires from public life.