Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 20

I think, less properly:

"For want of modesty is want of sense."

If you ask why less properly, I must repeat the lines:

"Immodest words admit of no defense,
For want of modesty is want of sense."[32]

Now, is not "want of sense" (where a man is so unfortunate as to want
it) some apology for his "want of modesty?" and would not the lines
stand more justly thus?

"Immodest words admit _but_ this defense,
That want of modesty is want of sense."

This, however, I should submit to better judgments.

My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a newspaper. It was the
second that appeared in America, and was called the "New England
Courant."[33] The only one before it was the "Boston News-Letter." I
remember his being dissuaded by some of his friends from the
undertaking, as not likely to succeed, one newspaper being, in their
judgment, enough for America. At this time (1771) there are not less
than five and twenty. He went on, however, with the undertaking, and
after having worked in composing the types and printing off the sheets,
I was employed to carry the papers through the streets to the customers.

He had some ingenious men among his friends, who amused themselves by
writing little pieces for this paper, which gained it credit and made
it more in demand; and these gentlemen often visited us. Hearing their
conversations and their accounts of the approbation their papers were
received with, I was excited to try my hand among them; but, being
still a boy, and suspecting that my brother would object to printing
anything of mine in his paper if he knew it to be mine, I contrived to
disguise my hand, and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it in at
night under the door of the printing house. It was found in the
morning, and communicated to his writing friends when they called in
as usual. They read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had the
exquisite pleasure of finding it met with their approbation, and that,
in their different guesses at the author, none were named but men of
some character among us for learning and ingenuity. I suppose now that
I was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were not really
so very good ones as I then esteemed them.

Encouraged, however, by this, I wrote and conveyed in the same way to
the press several more papers, which were

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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--Transcriber's note-- A caret (^) indicates the following character or characters were printed in superscript.
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