Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 46

on those subjects, carried me to the Horns, a
pale-ale house in ---- Lane, Cheapside, and introduced me to Dr.
Mandeville, author of the "Fable of the Bees," who had a club there,
of which he was the soul, being a most facetious, entertaining
companion. Lyons, too, introduced me to Dr. Pemberton, at Batson's
Coffee-house, who promised to give me an opportunity, some time or
other, of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extremely desirous;
but this never happened.

I had brought over a few curiosities, among which the principal was a
purse made of the asbestos, which purifies by fire. Sir Hans Sloane[68]
heard of it, came to see me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury
Square, where he showed me all his curiosities, and persuaded me to let
him add that to the number, for which he paid me handsomely.

In our house there lodged a young woman, a milliner, who, I think, had
a shop in the Cloisters. She had been genteelly bred, was sensible and
lively, and of most pleasing conversation. Ralph read plays to her in
the evenings; they grew intimate; she took another lodging, and he
followed her. They lived together some time; but, he being still out
of business, and her income not sufficient to maintain them with her
child, he took a resolution of going from London to try for a country
school, which he thought himself well qualified to undertake, as he
wrote an excellent hand, and was a master of arithmetic and accounts.
This, however, he deemed a business below him; and, confident of
future better fortune, when he should be unwilling to have it known
that he once was so meanly employed, he changed his name, and did me
the honor to assume mine; for I soon after had a letter from him,
acquainting me that he was settled in a small village, (in Berkshire,
I think it was, where he taught reading and writing to ten or a dozen
boys, at sixpence each per week,) recommending Mrs. T---- to my care,
and desiring me to write to him, directing for Mr. Franklin,
Schoolmaster, at such a place.

He continued to write frequently, sending me large specimens of an
epic poem which he was then composing, and desiring my remarks and
corrections. These I gave him from time to time, but endeavored rather
to discourage his proceeding. One of Young's[n] satires was then just
published. I copied and sent him a great part of it, which set in a
strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope of

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 8
His political arguments were the joy of his party and the dread of his opponents.
Page 11
His book is the record of that unusual life told in Franklin's own unexcelled conversational style.
Page 15
There are many of his notes in the margins.
Page 19
At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children.
Page 23
We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship.
Page 24
Page 30
When he found I would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting employment in any other printing-house of the town, by going round and speaking to every master, who accordingly refus'd to give me work.
Page 38
I was not a little surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig poison'd.
Page 49
Hamilton and his son (it was James, since governor) return'd from Newcastle to Philadelphia, the father being recall'd by a great fee to plead for a seized ship; and, just before we sail'd, Colonel French coming on board, and showing me great respect, I was more taken notice of, and, with my friend Ralph, invited by the other gentlemen to come into the cabin, there being now room.
Page 63
Meredith came accordingly in the evening, when we talked my affair over.
Page 97
Britain on a broadside, to be stuck up in houses; two translations were made of it in French, and great numbers bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute gratis among their poor parishioners and tenants.
Page 104
Page 105
Page 110
This was much spoken of as a useful piece, and gave rise to a project, which soon followed it, of forming a company for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and mutual assistance in removing and securing of goods when in danger.
Page 114
His writing and printing from time to time gave great advantage to his enemies; unguarded expressions, and even erroneous opinions, delivered in preaching, might have been afterwards explain'd or qualifi'd by supposing others that might have accompani'd them, or they might have been deny'd; but _litera scripta manet_.
Page 142
; but that sum being insufficient, I advanc'd upward of two hundred pounds more, and in two weeks the one hundred and fifty waggons, with two hundred and fifty-nine carrying horses, were on their march for the camp.
Page 148
I undertook this military business, tho' I did not conceive myself well qualified for it.
Page 160
The House had sent up a bill to the governor, granting a sum of sixty thousand pounds for the king's use (ten thousand pounds of which was subjected to the orders of the then general, Lord Loudoun), which the governor absolutely.
Page 164
(See page 308).
Page 180
_ _1773.