Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 58

brought with him a
friend or two for company. My mind having been much more improved by
reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my
conversation seemed to be more valued. They had me to their houses,
introduced me to their friends, and showed me much civility; while he,
though the master, was a little neglected. In truth, he was an odd
fish; ignorant of common life, fond of rudely opposing received
opinions, slovenly to extreme dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points
of religion, and a little knavish withal.

We continued there near three months; and by that time I could reckon
among my acquired friends Judge Allen, Samuel Bustill, the secretary of
the province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, and several of the Smiths,
members of Assembly, and Isaac Decow, the surveyor general. The latter
was a shrewd, sagacious old man, who told me that he began for himself,
when young, by wheeling clay for the brickmakers, learned to write after
he was of age, carried the chain for surveyors, who taught him
surveying, and he had now by his industry acquired a good estate; and
says he, "I foresee that you will soon work this man out of his
business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia." He had not then the
least intimation of my intention to set up there or anywhere. These
friends were afterward of great use to me, as I occasionally was to some
of them. They all continued their regard for me as long as they lived.

Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it may be well
to let you know the then state of my mind with regard to my principles
and morals, that you may see how far those influenced the future
events of my life. My parents had early given me religious
impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the
Dissenting[90] way. But I was scarce fifteen when, after doubting by
turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different
books I read, I began to doubt of revelation itself. Some books
against Deism[91] fell into my hands; they were said to be the
substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that
they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by
them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be
refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short,
I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others,
particularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of them having afterward
wronged me greatly without the least

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F.
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I cut so miserable a figure, too, that I found, by the questions ask'd me, I was suspected to be some runaway servant, and in danger of being taken up on that suspicion.
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So it was concluded I should return to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor's letter recommending me to my father.
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He first endeavoured to get into the play-house, believing himself qualify'd for an actor; but Wilkes,[38] to whom he apply'd, advis'd him candidly not to think of that employment, as it was impossible he should succeed in it.
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See his .
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I see this is a business I am not fit for.
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| ** | * | * | | * | * | * | +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ | R.
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1 3 _fine weather_, 4 Le 4 36 8 Moon set 10 12 aft 2 4 Ascension Day 5 19 4 35 8 _He that can have_ 3 5 Mars Sat.
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Trin.
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Our articles of agreement oblig'd every member to keep always in good order, and fit for use, a certain number of leather buckets, with strong bags and baskets (for packing and transporting of goods), which were to be brought to every fire; and we agreed to meet once a month and spend a social evening together, in discoursing and communicating such ideas as occurred to us upon the subjects of fires, as might be useful in our conduct on such occasions.
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[79] George Whitefield, pronounced Hwit'field (1714-1770), a celebrated English clergyman and pulpit orator, one of the founders of Methodism.
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Their dark-colour'd bodies, half naked, seen only by the gloomy light of the bonfire, running after and beating one another with firebrands, accompanied by their horrid yellings, form'd a scene the most resembling our ideas of hell that could well be imagin'd; there was no appeasing the tumult, and we retired to our lodging.
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[110] An English baronet (died in 1709), donator of a fund of L100, "in trust for the Royal Society of London for improving natural knowledge.
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On this he did not then explain himself; but when he afterwards came to do business with the Assembly, they appear'd again, the disputes were renewed, and I was as active as ever in the opposition, being the penman, first, of the request to have a communication of the instructions, and then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in the votes of the time, and in the Historical Review I afterward publish'd.
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He delivered to me some letters from my friends there, which occasion'd my inquiring when he was to return, and where he lodg'd, that I might send some letters by him.
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When I saw one too ambitious of court favor, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, _This man gives too much for his whistle_.
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Masks for Women.
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5.