Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 4

the temper of America toward Great Britain before
the year 1763?[3]

_A._ The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the
government of the Crown, and paid, in their courts, obedience to
the acts of Parliament. Numerous as the people are in the several
old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons,
or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were governed by this
country at the expense only of a little pen, ink, and paper; they
were led by a thread. They had not only a respect but an affection
for Great Britain, for its laws, its customs and manners, and even
a fondness for its fashions that greatly increased the commerce.
Natives of Britain were always treated with particular regard; to
be an "Old England man" was, of itself, a character of some
respect, and gave a kind of rank among us.

_Q._ And what is their temper now?

_A._ Oh, very much altered....

_Q._ If the Stamp Act should be repealed, would it induce the
assemblies of America to acknowledge the right of Parliament to
tax them, and would they erase their resolutions?

_A._ No, never.

_Q._ Are there no means of obliging them to erase those

_A._ None that I know of; they will never do it unless compelled
by force of arms.

_Q._ Is there a power on earth that can force them to erase them?

_A._ No power, how great soever, can force men to change their

_Q._ What used to be the pride of the Americans?

_A._ To indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great Britain.

_Q._ What is now their pride?

_A._ To wear their

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 14
By comparing my work afterwards 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.
Page 17
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.
Page 30
I had shown an obliging readiness to do her some little services, which impress'd her I suppose with a degree of good will toward me; therefore, when she saw a daily growing familiarity between me and the two young women, which they appear'd to encourage, she took me aside, and said: "Young man, I am concern'd for thee, as thou has no friend with thee, and seems not to know much of the world, or of the snares youth is expos'd to; depend upon it, those are very bad women; I can see it in all their actions; and if thee art not upon thy guard, they will draw thee into some danger; they are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, in a friendly concern for thy welfare, to have no acquaintance with them.
Page 37
More of him hereafter.
Page 38
Denham, a Quaker merchant, and Messrs.
Page 41
He took great notice of me, called on me often to converse on those subjects, carried me to the Horns, a pale alehouse in ---- Lane, Cheapside, and introduced me to Dr.
Page 47
Denham among the tradesmen to purchase various articles, and seeing them pack'd up, doing errands, calling upon workmen to dispatch, etc.
Page 49
Denham took a store in Water-street, where we open'd our goods; I attended the business diligently, studied accounts, and grew, in a little time, expert at selling.
Page 61
We had discuss'd this point in our Junto, where I was on the side of an addition, being persuaded that the first small sum struck in 1723 had done much good by increasing the trade, employment, and number of inhabitants in the province, since I now saw all the old houses inhabited, and many new ones building; whereas I remembered well, that when I first walk'd about the streets of Philadelphia, eating my roll, I saw most of the houses in Walnut-street, between Second and Front streets, with bills on their doors, "To be let"; and many likewise in Chestnut-street and other streets, which made me then think the inhabitants of the city were deserting it one after another.
Page 62
His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I work'd with him, set up in his place at Philadelphia, having bought his materials.
Page 70
But being tired of figuring to myself a character of which every feature suits only one man in the world, without giving him the praise of it, I shall end my letter, my dear Dr.
Page 77
My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd them with that view, as they stand above.
Page 89
My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun and spread at first among young and single men only; that each person to be initiated should not only declare his assent to such creed, but should have exercised himself with the thirteen weeks' examination and practice of the virtues, as in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of such a society should be kept a secret, till it was become considerable, to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper persons, but that the members should each of them search among his acquaintance for ingenuous, well-disposed youths, to whom, with prudent caution, the scheme should be gradually communicated; that the members should engage to afford their advice, assistance, and support to each other in promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement in life; that, for distinction, we should be call'd The Society of the Free and Easy: free, as being, by the general practice and habit of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice; and particularly by the practice of industry and frugality, free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, and a species of slavery to his creditors.
Page 102
, which are attended often with breach of friendship and of the connection, perhaps with lawsuits and other disagreeable consequences.
Page 135
to satisfy, and some began to sue me.
Page 141
The discourse seem'd well adapted to their capacities, and was deliver'd in a pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them, as it were, to be good.
Page 153
We were, passengers included, about forty persons.
Page 155
I set out immediately, with my son, for London, and we only stopt a little by the way to view Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, and Lord Pembroke's house and gardens, with his very curious antiquities at Wilton.
Page 159
They gave me their thanks in form when I return'd.
Page 162
from Oxford and Edinburgh; returns to America.