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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 77

adolescence, felt the impacts of the age of reason.
Scholars before and since M. M. Curtis have explained that "in religion
he was a Deist of the type of Lord Herbert of Cherbury."[i-385] M. Fay
has sought, without convincing documentary evidence, to interpret
Franklin's philosophic mind in terms of Pythagoreanism.[i-386] We may
find that these views are over simple and historically inadequate--even
wrong.

Franklin was reared "piously in the Dissenting way"[i-387] by a "pious
and prudent" Calvinistic father who died as he lived, with "entire
Dependence on his Redeemer."[i-388] "Religiously educated as a
Presbyterian,"[i-389] young Benjamin was taught that _Major est
Scripturae auctoritas quam omnis humani ingenue capacitas_. He was
nurtured on the Bible and "books in polemic divinity," and he regularly
attended services at the Old South Church. Doubtless without reflection
he was led to identify goodness with the church and its worship. He was
a part of New England's bibliolatry. Not long before he was apprenticed
to his brother James he read Cotton Mather's _Bonifacius--An Essay upon
the Good that is to be Devised and Designed by those who desire to
Answer the Great End of Life, and to do good while they live_, and
Defoe's _Essays upon Several Projects: or Effectual Ways for Advancing
the Interests of the Nation_. He confessed in 1784 that _Bonifacius_
"gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct
through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of
a _doer of good_ than on any other kind of reputation."[i-390] Mather,
as an exponent of Christian charity, urged that man help his neighbors
"with a rapturous assiduity,"[i-391] that he may discover the "ravishing
satisfaction which he might find in relieving the distresses of a poor
miserable neighbor."[i-392] It is ironic that Mather should have
apparently aided a young man to divorce himself from the strenuous
subtleties of theology. (Franklin was too young to gather that Mather
circumspectly warned against a covenant of works, and hence was Pauline
in his advocacy of _charity_ rather than of humanitarianism.) And from
Defoe's _Essays_ Franklin received more than a penchant for projects.
Like Mather, Defoe observed that "God Almighty has commanded us to
relieve and help one another in distress."[i-393] Defoe seemed to young
Franklin to dwell on fellow-service--to promise that the good man need
not have understood all of the dogma of Old South meetinghouse.

Apprenticed to James, Franklin admitted that he "now had access to
better books."[i-394] Whatever the extent of James's library in 1718, by
1722 the _New England Courant_ collection included Burnet's _History of
the Reformation_, _Theory of the Earth_, the _Spectator_

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

Page 29
I found in the shop the old man, his father, whom I had seen at New York, and who, traveling on horseback, had got to Philadelphia before me.
Page 30
These two printers I found poorly qualified for their business.
Page 52
] [Footnote 65: A hackney writer, or hack writer, is one employed to write according to direction.
Page 55
We never worked on Saturday, that being Keimer's Sabbath, so I had two days for reading.
Page 63
My friends lamented my connection with him, but I was to make the best of it.
Page 65
" "No," said he, "my father has really been disappointed, and is really unable; and I am unwilling to distress him further.
Page 69
The number was not so great as we expected; and though they had been of great use, yet, some inconveniences occurring for want of due care of them, the collection, after about a year, was separated, and.
Page 80
| * | * | * | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | R[esolution] | | | * | | | * | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | F[rugality] | | * | | | * | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | I[ndustry] | | | * | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | S[incerity] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | J[ustice] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | M[oderation] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | C[leanliness] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | T[ranquillity] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | C[hastity] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | H[umility] | | | | .
Page 83
Examination of { 9} the day.
Page 88
Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself.
Page 92
On his decease the business was continued by his widow, who, being born and bred in Holland, where, as I have been informed, the knowledge of accounts makes a part of female education,[n] she not only sent me as clear a state[121] as she could find of the transactions past, but continued to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter afterward, and managed the business with such success that she not only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing house, and establish her son in it.
Page 111
And this is not the only instance of patents taken out for my inventions by others,--though not always with the same success,--which I never contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes.
Page 124
Of course the subsequent pretense for taxing America, and the bloody contest it occasioned, would have been avoided.
Page 131
--My son, William Franklin, is empowered to enter into like contracts with any person in Cumberland County.
Page 147
] [Footnote 179: The powder used to fire the charge.
Page 153
Passengers were engaged in all, and some extremely impatient to be gone, and the merchants uneasy about their letters and the orders they had given for insurance (it being war time) for fall goods; but their anxiety availed nothing; his lordship's letters were not ready; and yet whoever waited on him found him always at his desk, pen in hand, and concluded he must needs write abundantly.
Page 156
There was a great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, and, some chairs having been borrowed in the neighborhood, there was one among them very low, which fell to the lot of Mr.
Page 167
Handle your tools without mittens; remember that The cat in gloves catches no mice, as Poor Richard says.
Page 168
And again, Three removes are as bad as a fire; and again, Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee; and again, If you would have your business done, go; if not, send; and again: He that by the plow would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.
Page 170
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.