Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 15

regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for
knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it was
now resolved I should not be a clergyman. "Plutarch's Lives" there
was, in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to
great advantage. There was also a book of Defoe's called an "Essay on
Projects," and another of Dr. Mather's called "Essays to Do Good,"
which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some
of the principal future events of my life.

This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a
printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession. In
1717 my brother James returned from England with a press and letters
to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of
my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. To prevent the
apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father was impatient to
have me bound to my brother. I stood out some time, but at last was
persuaded and signed the indentures[27] when I was yet but twelve
years old. I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years
of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last
year. In a little time I made great proficiency in the business, and
became a useful hand to my brother. I now had access to better books.
An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me
sometimes to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon
and clean. Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the
night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned
early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.

And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. Matthew Adams, who had
a pretty collection of books, and who frequented our printing house,
took notice of me, invited me to his library, and very kindly lent me
such books as I chose to read. I now took a fancy to poetry, and made
some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account,
encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads. One was
called "The Lighthouse Tragedy," and contained an account of the
drowning of Captain Worthilake with his two daughters; the other was a
sailor's song on the taking of Teach (or Blackbeard), the pirate. They
were wretched stuff, in the Grub Street[28] ballad style; and when
they were printed

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons BY ABBOTT LAWRENCE ROTCH Reprinted from the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society Volume XVIII WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS THE DAVIS PRESS 1907 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND THE FIRST BALLOONS.
Page 1
30, 1783.
Page 2
I thought it my Duty, Sir, to send an early Account of this extraordinary Fact, to the Society which does me the honour to reckon me among its Members; and I will endeavour to make it more perfect, as I receive farther Information.
Page 3
Some think Progressive Motion on the Earth may be advanc'd by it, and that a Running Footman or a Horse slung and suspended under such a Globe so as to have no more of Weight pressing the Earth with their Feet, than Perhaps 8 or 10 Pounds, might with a fair Wind run in a straight Line across Countries.
Page 4
(A HOT AIR BALLOON CARRYING ANIMALS.
Page 5
Most is expected from the new one undertaken upon subscription by Messieurs Charles and Robert, who are Men of Science and mechanic Dexterity.
Page 6
Multitudes in Paris saw the Balloon passing; but did not know there were Men with it, it being then.
Page 7
This Method of filling the Balloon with hot Air is cheap and expeditious, and it is supposed may be sufficient for certain purposes, such as elevating an Engineer to take a View of an Enemy's Army, Works, &c.
Page 8
When we have learnt to manage it, we may hope some time or other to find Uses for it, as Men have done for Magnetism and Electricity of which the first Experiments were mere Matters of Amusement.
Page 9
I did hope to have given you to day an Account of Mr.
Page 10
Thus it would sooner arrive at that Region where it would be in Equilibrio with the surrounding Air, and by discharging more Sand afterwards, it might go higher if desired.
Page 11
Sir JOSEPH BANKS, Bar^t.
Page 12
Il avoit perdu son air inflammable par le Robinet qu'on avoit laisse ouvert expres pour empecher l'explosion a trop grande hauteur.
Page 13
27th instead of 27^th).
Page 14
Pilatre de Rozier"; p.