Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 142

and thus our fort, if such a magnificent name may be
given to so miserable a stockade, was finished in a week, though it
rained so hard every other day that the men could not work.

This gave me occasion to observe that, when men are employed, they
are best contented; for on the days they worked they were good-natured
and cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done a good day's
work, they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days they were
mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their pork, the bread,
etc., and in continual ill humor, which put me in mind of a sea
captain, whose rule it was to keep his men constantly at work; and,
when his mate once told him that they had done everything, and there
was nothing further to employ them about, "Oh," says he, "make them
scour the anchor."

This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a sufficient defense
against Indians, who have no cannon. Finding ourselves now posted
securely, and having a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventured
out in parties to scour the adjacent country. We met with no Indians,
but we found the places on the neighboring hills where they had lain
to watch our proceedings. There was an art in their contrivance of
those places that seems worth mention. It being winter, a fire was
necessary for them; but a common fire on the surface of the ground
would, by its light, have discovered their position at a distance.
They had therefore dug holes in the ground about three feet in
diameter, and somewhat deeper. We saw where they had with their
hatchets cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in
the woods. With these coals they had made small fires in the bottom of
the holes, and we observed among the weeds and grass the prints of
their bodies, made by their lying all round, with their legs hanging
down in the holes to keep their feet warm, which, with them, is an
essential point. This kind of fire, so managed, could not discover
them, either by its light, flame, sparks, or even smoke. It appeared
that their number was not great, and it seems they saw we were too
many to be attacked by them with prospect of advantage.

We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister, Mr. Beatty,
who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers
and exhortations. When they enlisted, they were promised, besides pay
and provisions, a gill of rum a day, which was

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 33
A number of persons crowded into a small room thus spoil the air in a few minutes and even render it mortal, as in the Black Hole at Calcutta.
Page 38
In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the way to market.
Page 49
Those who.
Page 61
It is mere civility.
Page 78
The defendant was strongly impressed with an idea that he had discharged the debt and taken a receipt; but, as the transaction was of long standing, he knew not where to find the receipt.
Page 86
GAZETTEER, I am an honest tradesman, who never meant harm to anybody.
Page 97
"DEAR SISTER, "I received your kind letter of the 9th instant, in which you acquainted me with some of your late troubles.
Page 110
Page 122
_ "Passy, near Paris, April 6, 1777.
Page 128
But you will give us PENSIONS; probably to be paid, too, out of your expected American revenue; and which none of us can accept without deserving, and, perhaps, obtaining a _suspension_.
Page 132
For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years.
Page 144
_ "Passy, May 8, 1783.
Page 152
his master that he would break his leg.
Page 171
Page 173
That excellent man has then left us! his departure is a loss, not to his family and friends only, but to his nation and to the world: for he was intent on doing good, had wisdom to devise the means, and talents to promote them.
Page 198
A person apprehensive of danger from lightning, happening during the time of thunder to be in a house not so secured, will do well to avoid sitting near the chimney, near a looking-glass, or any gilt pictures or wainscot; the safest place is the middle of the room (so it be not under a metal lustre suspended by a chain), sitting on one chair and laying the feet up in another.
Page 211
Now I suppose this whirl of air will at first be as invisible as the air itself, though reaching, in reality, from the water to the region of cool air, in which our low summer thunder-clouds commonly float: but presently it will become visible at its extremities.
Page 239
Page 243
Page 244
Nay, the possession of books was to be obtained by copying what the art he himself exercised furnished easily to others.