Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 90

of the virtues, as in the before-mentioned 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 called "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.

This is as much as I can now recollect of the project, except that I
communicated it in part to two young men, who adopted it with some
enthusiasm; but my then narrow circumstances, and the necessity I was
under of sticking close to my business, occasioned my postponing the
further prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious
occupations, public and private, induced me to continue postponing, so
that it has been omitted till I have no longer strength or activity
left sufficient for such an enterprise; though I am still of opinion
that it was a practicable scheme, and might have been very useful, by
forming a great number of good citizens; and I was not discouraged by
the seeming magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought
that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and
accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan,
and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would
divert his attention, makes the execution of that same plan his sole
study and business.

In 1732 I first published my Almanac,[117] under the name of "Richard
Saunders;" it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and
commonly called "Poor Richard's Almanac." I endeavored to make it both
entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand
that I reaped considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten
thousand. And observing that it was generally read, scarce any
neighborhood in the province being without it, I considered it as a
proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who
bought scarcely any other books. I therefore filled all the little
spaces that occurred between the remarkable days in the calendar with
proverbial sentences,[118] chiefly such as inculcated

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

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86 On the Criminal Laws and the Practice of Privateering 94 Letter from Anthony Afterwit 102 LETTERS.
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114 To the same 115 To the same 116 To Miss Stevenson 119 To Lord Kames 120 To the same 121 To the same 128 To John Alleyne .
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"A certain man, whose name was Glaucon, the son of Ariston, had so fixed it in his mind to govern the republic, that he frequently presented himself before the people to discourse of affairs of state, though all the world laughed at him for it; nor was it in the power of his relations or friends to dissuade him from that design.
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For this little sum (which may be daily wasted either in time or expense unperceived) a man of credit may, on his own security, have the constant possession and use of a hundred pounds.
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Written in 1778.
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He that pays ready money escapes, or may escape, that charge.
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The wife, since that affair, behaves exceeding well: but we conclude to sell them.
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"I am glad that Peter is acquainted with the crown soap business, so as to make what is good of the kind.
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I lent, many years ago, a large glass globe, mounted, to Mr.
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With sincere esteem and affection, I am, my dear friend, ever yours, "B.
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I have public business enough to preserve me from _ennui_, and private amusement besides, in conversation, books, and my garden.
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"I received duly my good old friend's letter of the 19th of February.
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should make no objection, only wishing for leave to do, what authors do in a second edition of their works, correct some of my errata.
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And as we are assured that there are in nature degrees of heat much more considerable than boiling water, it is very possible there may be some whose violence, farther assisted by the exceeding weight of the air, may be more than sufficient to break and overturn this solid orb of 43,528 fathoms, whose weight, compared to that of the included air, would be but a trifle.
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Hence, after gusts, distant objects appear distinct, their figures sharply terminated.
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If the vacuum passes over water, the water may rise in it in a body or column to near the height of thirty-two feet.
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You will likewise observe, that the leaden bar, as it has cooled the melted lead more than the wooden bars have done, so it is itself more heated by the melted lead.
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Hence, in travelling, one may often see where a river runs, by a long bluish mist over it, though we are at such a distance as not to see the river itself.