Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 17

the justice of his remarks, and thence grew more attentive to the manner
in writing, and determined to endeavor at improvement.

About this time I met with an odd volume of the "Spectator."[29] It
was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read
it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the
writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this
view, I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the
sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without
looking at the book, tried to complete the papers again, by expressing
each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed
before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I
compared my "Spectator" with the original, discovered some of my
faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or
a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should
have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since
the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different
length to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would
have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and
also have tended to fix that variety in my mind and make me master of
it. Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse;
and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned
them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into
confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the
best order before I began to form the full sentences and complete the
paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts. By
comparing my work afterward with the original, I discovered many
faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying
that in certain particulars of small import I had been lucky enough to
improve the method or the language, and this encouraged me to think I
might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which
I was extremely ambitious. My time for these exercises and for reading
was at night after work, or before it began in the morning, or on
Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing house alone, evading
as much as I could the common attendance on public worship, which my
father used to exact of me when I was under

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Page 1
[2] Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin, compiled and edited by John Bigelow, Volume VIII, New York, 1888.
Page 2
A little Rain had wet it, so that it shone, and made an agreeable Appearance.
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
It fell the next Day on the other side of the same Wood near the Village Boulogne, about half after twelve, having been suspended in the Air eleven hours and a half.
Page 5
Enclosed is a Copy of the _Proces verbal_ taken of the Experiment made yesterday in the Garden of the Queen's Palace la Muette where the Dauphin now resides which being near my House I was present.
Page 6
There was a vast Concourse of Gentry in the Garden, who had great Pleasure in seeing the Adventurers go off so chearfully, & applauded them by clapping &c.
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
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Means were used, I am told, to prevent the great Balloon's rising so high as might indanger its Bursting.
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" Both Bigelow and Smyth give another paragraph in the Postscript, beyond the signature "B.
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28th and first printed in the _Journal de Paris_ but was republished by Faujas de Saint-Fond in his second volume.
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7, added missing "t" to "than" in "more satisfactory than anything"; p.