Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 94

to play
any more, unless on this condition: that the victor in every game
should have a right to impose a task, either in parts of the grammar
to be got by heart, or in translations, etc., which task the
vanquished was to perform on honor before our next meeting. As we
played pretty equally, we thus beat one another into that language. I
afterward, with a little painstaking, acquired as much of the Spanish
as to read their books also.

I have already mentioned that I had only one year's instruction in a
Latin school, and that when very young, after which I neglected that
language entirely. But, when I had attained an acquaintance with the
French, Italian, and Spanish, I was surprised to find, on looking over
a Latin Testament, that I understood so much more of that language
than I had imagined, which encouraged me to apply myself again to the
study of it, and I met with more success, as those preceding languages
had greatly smoothed my way.

From these circumstances, I have thought that there is some
inconsistency in our common mode of teaching languages.[n] We are told
that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and, having acquired
that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are
derived from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek in order more
easily to acquire the Latin. It is true that, if you can clamber and
get to the top of the staircase without using the steps, you will more
easily gain them in descending; but certainly, if you begin with the
lowest you will with more ease ascend to the top; and I would
therefore offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the
education of our youth, whether,--since many of those who begin with
the Latin quit the same after spending some years without having made
any great proficiency, and what they have learned becomes almost
useless, so that their time has been lost,--it would not have been
better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian, etc.;
for, though, after spending the same time, they should quit the study
of languages and never arrive at the Latin, they would, however, have
acquired another tongue or two, that, being in modern use, might be
serviceable to them in common life.

After ten years' absence from Boston, and having become easy in my
circumstances, I made a journey thither to visit my relations, which I
could not sooner well afford. In returning, I called at Newport to see
my brother, then settled

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 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

Page 1
Great care has been taken in selecting the matter of which these volumes are composed; and, it is believed, that they will be found to comprise nearly all that is most entertaining and useful to the general reader, in the writings of Franklin.
Page 13
A question was once some how or other started, between Collins and me, on the propriety of educating the female sex in learning, and their abilities for study.
Page 17
The only one before it was the _Boston News-Letter_.
Page 37
Understanding that Colonel French had brought on board the governor's despatches, I asked the captain for those letters that were to be under my care; he said all were put into the bag together, and he could not then come at them, but before we landed in England I should have an opportunity of picking them out; so I was satisfied for the present, and we proceeded on our voyage.
Page 46
Keimer had got a better house, a shop well supplied with stationary, plenty of new types, and a number of hands, though none good, and seemed to have a great deal of business.
Page 59
One Whitemash, a compositor I had known in London, an excellent workman, now came to me, and worked with me constantly and diligently; and I took an apprentice, the son of Aquilla Rose.
Page 60
Page 63
As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank in England, see Judge Fortescue, _De laudibus Legum Angliae_, written about the year 1412, in which is the following passage, to show that good juries might easily be formed in any part of England: "Regio etiam illa, ita respersa refertaque est _possessoribus terrarum_ et agrorum, quod in ea, villula tam parva reperiri non poterit, in qua non est _miles_, _armiger_, vel pater-familias, qualis ibidem _Frankleri_ vulgariter nuncupatur, magnis ditatus possessionibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii _valecti_ plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum juratam, in forma praenotata.
Page 93
Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neighbouring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences.
Page 101
Ours was a mere civil friendship, sincere on both sides, and lasted to his death.
Page 113
They were found inconvenient in these respects: they admitted no air below; the smoke, therefore, did not readily go out above, but circulated in the globe, lodged on its inside, and soon obstructed the light they were intended to afford; giving, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean: and an accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and render it totally useless.
Page 126
In their first march, too, from their landing till they got beyond the settlements, they had plundered and stripped the inhabitants, totally ruining some poor families, besides insulting, abusing, and confining the people if they remonstrated.
Page 139
On this he did not then explain himself; but when he afterward came to do business with the Assembly, they appeared 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 Times, and in the HISTORICAL REVIEW I afterward published: but between us personally no enmity arose; we were often together; he was a man of letters, and had seen much of the world, and was entertaining and pleasing in conversation.
Page 140
This his lordship did not choose to do, though I once thought I had nearly prevailed with him to do it; but finally he rather chose to urge the compliance of the Assembly; and he entreated me to use my endeavours with them for that purpose, declaring that he would spare none of the king's troops for the defence of our frontiers, and that, if we did not continue to provide for that defence ourselves, they must remain exposed to the enemy.
Page 169
He is dressed in a Roman toga.
Page 176
, and Mr.
Page 179
I also recommend making the Schuylkill completely navigable.
Page 186
_ Oh, very much altered.
Page 197
_ Suppose the king should require the colonies to grant a revenue, and the Parliament should be against their doing it, do they think they can grant a revenue to the king _without_ the consent of the Parliament of Great Britain? _A.
Page 208
" The Spaniards caught from the Moors this _punto_ of honour, the effects of which remain, in a degree, to this day.