Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 88

on with some violence to natural
inclination, became at length so easy and so habitual to me, that
perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical
expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of
integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much
weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or
alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when
I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent,
subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in
language, and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to
subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it,
mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now
and then peep out and show itself. You will see it, perhaps, often in
this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely
overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.[115]

["I AM NOW ABOUT TO WRITE AT HOME, AUGUST, 1788, BUT CANNOT HAVE
THE HELP EXPECTED FROM MY PAPERS, MANY OF THEM BEING LOST IN THE
WAR.[116] I HAVE, HOWEVER, FOUND THE FOLLOWING."]

Having mentioned a great and extensive project which I had conceived,
it seems proper that some account should be here given of that project
and its object. Its first rise in my mind appears in the following
little paper, accidentally preserved:

_Observations on my Reading History, in Library, May 19, 1731._

"That the great affairs of the world,--the wars, revolutions,
etc.,--are carried on and effected by parties.

"That the view of these parties is their present general
interest, or what they take to be such.

"That the different views of these different parties occasion all
confusion.

"That while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has
his particular private interest in view.

"That as soon as a party has gained its general point, each
member becomes intent upon his particular interest; which,
thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, and occasions

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
In.
Page 1
) PASSY, Aug.
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I thought it my Duty, Sir, to send an early Account of this extraordinary Fact, to the Society which does me the honour to reckon me among its Members; and I will endeavour to make it more perfect, as I receive farther Information.
Page 3
One has ordered four of 15 feet Diameter each; I know not with what Purpose; But such is the present Enthusiasm for promoting and improving this Discovery, that probably we shall soon make considerable Progress in the art of constructing and using the Machines.
Page 4
I waited for it to send it to you, expecting it would be more satisfactory than anything I could write; but it does not appear.
Page 5
Fond acquainted me yesterday that a Book on the Subject which has been long expected, will be publish'd in a few Days, and I shall send you one of them.
Page 6
Multitudes in Paris saw the Balloon passing; but did not know there were Men with it, it being then.
Page 7
_Aiant encor dans leur Galerie les deux tiers de leur Approvisionement.
Page 8
This Experience is by no means a trifling one.
Page 9
Dear Sir, In mine of yesterday, I promis'd to give you an Account of Mess^rs.
Page 10
The Persons embark'd were Mr.
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Ils y ont ete accueillis par Mrs.
Page 12
In paragraph three, for "Post," in Smyth, read "Port;" in paragraph six for "Adventures," in Smyth, read "Adventurers;" in paragraph thirteen.
Page 13
Faujas' work, published in 1784.
Page 14
" "Aiant encor" might be "Ayant encore", as printed in the "Journal des scavans" of January 1784, but was not corrected here; p.