Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 71

consult in our
conferences, but become a common benefit, each of us being at liberty
to borrow such as he wished to read at home. This was accordingly
done, and for some time contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to render
the benefit from books more common by commencing a public subscription
library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be
necessary, and got a skillful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to
put the whole in form of articles of agreement to be subscribed, by
which each subscriber engaged to pay a certain sum down for the first
purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So
few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of
us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to find more
than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for
this purpose forty shillings each and ten shillings per annum.

On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was
opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their
promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The
institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns
and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations;
reading became fashionable; and our people, having no public
amusements to divert their attention from study, became better
acquainted with books, and in a few years were observed by strangers
to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same
rank generally are in other countries.

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned articles, which were to
be binding on us, our heirs, etc., for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the
scrivener, said to us: "You are young men, but it is scarcely probable
that any of you will live to see the expiration of the term fixed in
the instrument." A number of us, however, are yet living; but the
instrument was, after a few years, rendered null by a charter that
incorporated and gave perpetuity to the company.[109]

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the
subscriptions made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's self
as the proposer of any useful project that might be supposed to raise
one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's neighbors,
when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project. I
therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated it as a
scheme of a "number of friends," who had requested me

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

Page 32
Let us adore HIM with praise and thanksgiving! By some accounts of seamen, it seems the column of water W W, sometimes falls suddenly; and if it be, as some say, fifteen or twenty yards diameter, it must fall with great force, and they may well fear for their ships.
Page 38
But, after all, should we allow the under region to be ever so much the hottest, and a whirlwind to take place in it: suppose then the sea-water to ascend, it would certainly cool the spout, and then, query, whether it would not very much, if not wholly, obstruct its progress.
Page 78
commonly runs during the flood at the rate of two miles in an hour, and that the flood runs five hours, you see that it can bring at most into our canal only a quantity of water equal to the space included in the breadth of the canal, ten miles of its length, and the depth between low and high-water mark; which is but a fourteenth part of what would be necessary to fill all the space between low and high-water mark, for one hundred and forty miles, the whole length of the canal.
Page 95
If it miscarried, I will send another.
Page 125
Our cable held, and we got up our anchor; but the shocks the ship felt before the anchor got loose from the ground, made me reflect on what might possibly have caused the breaking of the other cables; and I imagined it might be the short bending of the cable just without the hause-hole, from a horizontal to an almost vertical position, and the sudden violent jerk it receives by the rising of the head of the ship on the swell of a wave while in that position.
Page 131
They are so light that two men may carry one of them over land, which is capable of carrying a dozen upon the water; and in heeling they are not so subject to take in water as our boats, the sides of which are lowest in the middle where it is most likely to enter, this being highest in that part, as in figure 11.
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| | --| | 1 | | 76 | | | 194 |36 26|58 8| | | --| | 4 | 68 | 76 | | | | | | | | --| | 8 | | 78 | | | | | | | | 5| 8 | | 68 | 76 | | NE | | | |Ditto.
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| | 9 | | 4 | | 71 | | | | | | | | 10 | 8 | | 70 | 68 | | | | | | | | -- | 12 | | | 64 | E |N 17 E| 64 |40 39|46 27| | | 11 | 8 | | | 63 | | | | | | | | -- | 12 | | | 61 |S E |N 8 E | 41 |41 19|46 19| | | 12 | 8 | | 56 | 59 | | | | | | | | -- | | 4 | | 69 |NNW |N 80 E| 120 |41 39|43 42| | | 13 | all day | | 68 | E |S 82 E| 69 |41 29|42 10| .
Page 179
The third continued lifeless till sunset, when, losing all hopes of him, he was thrown away.
Page 196
cold bed.
Page 206
What is it then which makes a _smoky chimney_, that is, a chimney which, instead of conveying up all the smoke, discharges a part of it into the room, offending the eyes and damaging the furniture? The causes of this effect, which have fallen under my observation, amount to _nine_, differing from each other, and therefore requiring different remedies.
Page 260
_ _July 20, 1762.
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26, 1789.
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_Adams_, Mr.
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_Loyalty_ of America before the troubles, iii.
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proposed at the Junto club, ii.
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