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

By Benjamin Franklin

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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate...

Page 1

...up of short words; and the strong sense, clear information, and
obvious conviction of the author...

Page 2

... ...

Page 3

...Pennsylvania, 1764 ...

Page 4

...choice, I should have no
objection to go over the same life from its beginning to...

Page 5

...Northamptonshire, on a
freehold of about thirty acres, for at least three hundred years, and
how much...

Page 6

...an
apprenticeship in London. He was an ingenious man. I remember, when I
was a boy, he...

Page 7

...in
Northamptonshire, my uncle Benjamin and father Josiah adhered to them,
and so continued all their lives:...

Page 8

...I was
put to the grammar-school at eight years of age; my father intended to
devote me,...

Page 9

...not then justly conducted.

There was a salt-marsh which bounded part of the millpond, on the...

Page 10

...to what was good, just, and prudent
in the conduct of life; and little or no...

Page 11

... From this instance, reader,
...

Page 12

...intention of making them was warm in my mind. My father
determined at last for the...

Page 13

...I sat up
in my chamber the greatest part of the night, when the book was...

Page 14

...it. I took
the contrary side, perhaps for dispute' sake. He was naturally more
eloquent, having a...

Page 15

...collection of
hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavoured to reduce them
into the best order,...

Page 16

...book on arithmetic, and went through the whole by myself with
the greatest ease. I also...

Page 17

...if you wish to instruct others, a positive and dogmatical
manner in advancing your sentiments may...

Page 18

...mine, I
contrived to disguise my hand, and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it
at night...

Page 19

...brother's confinement, which I resented a good deal
notwithstanding our differences, I had the management of...

Page 20

...I stayed, soon bring myself
into scrapes; and farther, that my indiscreet disputations about
religion began to...

Page 21

...Bible. Honest John was the first that I know of
who mixed narration and dialogue; a...

Page 22

...to
be some runaway indentured servant, and in danger of being taken up on
that suspicion. However,...

Page 23

...be
Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we
got out of...

Page 24

...of my
rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came down...

Page 25

..."I have brought to see you a
young man of your business; perhaps you may want...

Page 26

...this time he did not profess any particular
religion, but something of all on occasion; was...

Page 27

...told me in Boston,
but I knew as yet nothing of it; when one day, Keimer...

Page 28

...had been absent seven
months, and my friends had heard nothing of me; for my brother...

Page 29

...companion, Collins, who was a clerk in the postoffice, pleased
with the account I gave him...

Page 30

...exposed to: depend upon it, these
are very bad women. I can see it by all...

Page 31

...had he been sober. The
governor received me with great civility, showed me his library, which
was...

Page 32

...the sons of a
gentleman at Barbadoes, met with him, and proposed to carry him thither
to...

Page 33

...this, however, did
not happen for some years after.

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in...

Page 34

...these two points were
essential with him. I disliked both; but agreed to them on condition...

Page 35

...Collins, had been
unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer. Osborne was
sensible, candid,...

Page 36

...in my own
hand. We met: Watson's performance was read; there were some beauties in
it, but...

Page 37

...Thus we went on till the ship (whose
departure, too, had been several times postponed) was...

Page 38

...sociable company in the cabin, and
lived uncommonly well, having the addition of all Mr. Hamilton's...

Page 39

...be acquainted with it; so, when he
arrived in England, which was soon after, partly from...

Page 40

...to return. This was another of the
great _errata_ of my life which I could wish...

Page 41

...only
water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great drinkers of
beer. On occasion, I...

Page 42

...left their muddling breakfast of beer, bread and cheese, finding
they could with me be supplied...

Page 43

...part with me;
so that, when I talked of a lodging I had heard of nearer...

Page 44

...by water, to see
the college and Don Saltero's curiosities. In our return, at the request
of...

Page 45

...of London; remembered with
pleasure the happy months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and wished again
to...

Page 46

...important part of that journal is the
_plan_ to be found in it, which I formed...

Page 47

...My brother-in-law, Holmes, being now at Philadelphia, advised
my return to my business; and Keimer tempted...

Page 48

...Wit's club there, and had written some pieces in prose
and verse, which were printed in...

Page 49

...airs of
master, frequently found fault, was captious, and seemed ready for an
outbreaking. I went on,...

Page 50

...his son; had prevailed on him to abstain long from
dram-drinking, and he hoped might break...

Page 51

...surveyor-general.
The latter was a shrewd, sagacious old man, who told me that he began
for himself,...

Page 52

...distinctions, no such things
existing--appeared now not so clever a performance as I once thought it;
and...

Page 53

...made me often more
ready than perhaps I otherwise should have been, to assist young
beginners.

There are...

Page 54

...was
tolerable; very ingenious in making little knickknackeries, and of
sensible conversation.

Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, great...

Page 55

...put us back. But so determined I was to continue doing a sheet a
day of...

Page 56

...public was fixed on that paper, and Keimer's proposals,
which we burlesqued and ridiculed, were disregarded....

Page 57

...upon me which I had never the least
reason to expect. Mr. Meredith's father, who was...

Page 58

...old
employment: you may find friends to assist you: if you will take the
debts of the...

Page 59

...have
no writers among them that were able to answer it, their opposition
slackened, and the point...

Page 60

...his printing-house to satisfy his
creditors. He went to Barbadoes, and there lived some years in...

Page 61

...as would pay off my remaining
debt for the printing-house; which I believe was not then...

Page 62

...could not easily be proved, because of the
distance, &c., and though there was a report...

Page 63

...written with the intention expressed in the beginning;
and, getting abroad, it excited great interest on...

Page 64

... opinions; some say that it came from a sort of title of which...

Page 65

...they turned up the stool for fear of the apparitor; for if it was
...

Page 66

...busy just now that he cannot write
you an answer, but...

Page 67

...there were notes, likewise in thy
writing; a copy of which...

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... ...

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...and situation of a _rising_ people; and in this respect
I...

Page 70

...of _a wise man_; and the wisest man will receive lights
...

Page 71

...and
system (its importance and its errors considered) than human life!

...

Page 72

...often the characteristic.

"Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for here again I...

Page 73

...worth
all Plutarch's Lives put together.

"But...

Page 74

... efforts deemed to be hopeless, and, perhaps, think of taking their
...

Page 75

...added so much to the fair side of a life
otherwise...

Page 76

...only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become a
common benefit, each of us...

Page 77

..._number of friends_, who had requested me to
go about and propose it to such as...

Page 78

...in spite of principle; being called one
morning to breakfast, I found it in a china...

Page 79

...his discourses were chiefly either
polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our
sect, and...

Page 80

...to dulness: drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE.--Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself:...

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...a page for each of the
virtues. I ruled each page with red ink, so as...

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...Sinc.| | | ...

Page 83

...keep both lines clear of
spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could get through a...

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...With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!"

The precept...

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... { 5}

_Evening._...

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...in voyages and business abroad, with a
multiplicity of affairs that interfered; but I always carried...

Page 87

...countenance. In truth, I found
myself incorrigible with respect to _Order_; and, now I am grown...

Page 88

..._The Art of Virtue_, because it would have shown the
means and manner of obtaining virtue,...

Page 89

...even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our junto,
the use of every word...

Page 90

...write at home (Philadelphia), August, 1788, but
cannot have the help expected from my papers, many...

Page 91

...prayer, and thanksgiving.

"But that the most acceptable service to God is doing good to man.

"That...

Page 92

...and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand
that I reaped considerable profit...

Page 93

...in which any one who would pay
had a right to a place, my answer was,...

Page 94

...dancing; by
preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling
them to continue, perhaps,...

Page 95

...years without having made any
great proficiency and what they have learned becomes almost useless, so
that...

Page 96

...but, instead of it, made in writing a proposal, that every
member, separately, should endeavour to...

Page 97

...a few days. He sent it
immediately; and I returned it in about a week with...

Page 98

...of the nights spent in tippling: I thereupon wrote a paper, to be
read in Junto,...

Page 99

...which I first formed, called the UNION FIRE
COMPANY, still subsists; though the first members are...

Page 100

...to labour, the only people fit for such an enterprise, it was
with families of broken...

Page 101

...but I, who was
intimately acquainted with him (being employed in printing his sermons,
journals, &c.), never...

Page 102

...time to time gave great advantage to his enemies; unguarded
expressions, and even erroneous opinions delivered...

Page 103

...no provision for defence nor for a complete
education of youth; no militia, nor any college:...

Page 104

...The officers of the companies composing the
Philadelphia regiment, being met, chose me for their colonel;...

Page 105

...admitted was warmed in entering, I
made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace,...

Page 106

...to no less, if I remember right, than
five thousand pounds.

In the introduction to these proposals,...

Page 107

...good
opportunity of negotiating with both and brought them finally to an
agreement, by which the trustees...

Page 108

...the
common council, and soon after alderman; and the citizens at large
elected me a burgess to...

Page 109

...the town. In the evening, hearing a
great noise among them, the commissioners walked to see...

Page 110

...a very
satisfactory explanation, I not only subscribed to it myself, but
engaged heartily in the design...

Page 111

...every man's
donation would be doubled: thus the clause worked both ways. The
subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded...

Page 112

...of ground down the middle of that market was at
length paved with brick, so that,...

Page 113

...the people were first impressed with the idea of lighting all
the city. The honour of...

Page 114

...that the dust would fly into the windows of shops and houses. An
accidental occurrence had...

Page 115

...that seldom happen, as by little advantages
that occur every day. Thus, if you teach a...

Page 116

...of defending both their country and
ours. Governor Hamilton having received this order, acquainted the house
with...

Page 117

...of
Parliament laying a tax on America. My plan, with my reasons in support
of it, is...

Page 118

...will, if possible, avoid
them." He had some reason for loving to dispute, being eloquent, an
acute...

Page 119

...in
return thick upon his own face; so that, finding he was likely to be
_negrofied_ himself,...

Page 120

...paper currency then extant in
the province upon loan, together with the revenue arising from the
excise,...

Page 121

...their stores, baggage, &c.,
not less than one hundred and fifty wagons being necessary. I happened
to...

Page 122

... diem. 2. That the pay commence from the time of their joining the
...

Page 123

...about eight hundred pounds, to be disbursed in
advance-money to the wagon owners, &c.; but that...

Page 124

...procuring him the
wagons, &c., &c., and readily paid my account of disbursements; thanking
me repeatedly, and...

Page 125

...expose it to be attacked by surprise in
its flanks, and to be cut like a...

Page 126

...together, instead
of proceeding and endeavouring to recover some of the lost honour, he
ordered all the...

Page 127

...recommendations were never of any use
to me. As to rewards from himself, I asked only...

Page 128

...gave them the reasons of my
doubting: the subscription was dropped, and the projectors thereby
missed the...

Page 129

...learning their exercise, the governor
prevailed with me to take charge of our northwestern frontier, which...

Page 130

...where
a fort was thought more immediately necessary. The Moravians procured me
five wagons for our tools,...

Page 131

...the two parts of the perch, we had ten carriages, with two
horses each, to bring...

Page 132

...essential point. This kind of fire, so managed, could not
discover them either by its light,...

Page 133

...and the girls conducted by a young woman. The
discourse seemed well adapted to their capacities,...

Page 134

...all our commissions were soon after
broken by a repeal of the law in England.

During this...

Page 135

...he might consider us both as merely advocates
for contending clients in a suit; he for...

Page 136

...some time with persons
who came to see these new wonders. To divide a little this...

Page 137

...offended the Abbe Nollet, preceptor in Natural Philosophy to
the royal family, and an able experimenter,...

Page 138

...a similar one I made soon after with a kite
at Philadelphia, as both are to...

Page 139

...opposition that had been so long continued to
his measures was dropped, and harmony restored between...

Page 140

...with the service of the crown, resolved to
petition the king against them, and appointed me...

Page 141

...New-York before me; and as the time for despatching the
packet-boats was in his disposition, and...

Page 142

...I met him again in the
same place. "So you are soon returned, Innis!" "Returned; no,...

Page 143

...in one day, I give
leave, otherwise not; for you must certainly sail the day after
to-morrow."...

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...in the neighbourhood,
there was one among them very low, which fell to the lot of...

Page 145

...ordered all
hands to come aft, and stand as near the ensign staff as possible. We
were,...

Page 146

...judgments in the officers who
commanded the successive watches, the wind being the same. One would
have...

Page 147

...This deliverance impressed me strong with the utility of
light-houses, and made me resolve to encourage...

Page 148

...bound
in one thousand pounds to the society, which they will...

Page 149

...Franklin to his wife, dated at Falmouth, the
17th July, 1757, after giving her a similar...

Page 150

...the philosophers of Europe. Their
apparatus was large, and by means of it they were enabled...

Page 151

...grand idea of ascertaining the
truth of his doctrine by actually drawing down the lightning, by...

Page 152

...when, suddenly, he observed the loose fibres of
his string to move towards an erect position....

Page 153

...a
joiner, with whom D'Alibard had left directions how to proceed, and by
M. Raulet the prior...

Page 154

...asserted, that the honour of completing the
experiment with the electrical kite does not belong to...

Page 155

...modern date, and has been attributed to the Abbe
Bertholon, who published his memoir on the...

Page 156

...he held a conference with the
proprietaries who then resided in England, and endeavoured to prevail
upon...

Page 157

...ambitious of calling him a member. The University of
St. Andrew, in Scotland, conferred upon him...

Page 158

...which philosophers had endeavoured in vain
to account for, viz., that the temperature of the human...

Page 159

...Indians had resided in the county of
Lancaster, and conducted themselves uniformly as friends to the...

Page 160

...governor
refused to give his assent, unless the Assembly would agree to certain
amendments which he proposed....

Page 161

...facility with which he communicated his
sentiments. He represented facts in so strong a point of...

Page 162

...had repealed the stamp-act, it
was only upon the principle of expediency. They still insisted upon
their...

Page 163

...of
inflexibility scarcely paralleled.

The advantages which Great Britain derived from her colonies was so
great, that nothing...

Page 164

...to America in 1776, vested with power to treat with
the colonists, a correspondence took place...

Page 165

...a philosopher, and his character was held
in the highest estimation. He was received with the...

Page 166

...American independence, and the infirmities of age and
disease coming upon him, he became desirous of...

Page 167

...justify
the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25, there appeared an essay,
signed Historicus, written...

Page 168

...existence. The following
account of his last illness was written by his friend and physician, Dr.
Jones.

"The...

Page 169

...is correct.

"All that was mortal of this great man was interred on the 21st of
April,...

Page 170

...the virtues of
frugality, temperance, and industry.

"As a citizen, we have seen him repelling the efforts...

Page 171

... "Political cabinets have but too long notified the death of those
...

Page 172

...Franklin, by one of his intimate friends,
is so ably and accurately drawn, that we cannot...

Page 173

...assemblies, and discovered an
aptitude in his remarks on all occasions. He was not fond of...

Page 174

...others. His life was remarkably full of incident.
Every circumstance of it turned to some valuable...

Page 175

...Company of
Philadelphia I give to my grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, confiding
that he will permit his...

Page 176

...however, be induced to pay or give them as charity to that
excellent institution. I am...

Page 177

...an opinion, that he who receives an estate from his
ancestors is under some kind of...

Page 178

...willing to become their sureties in a bond, with the applicants,
for the repayment of the...

Page 179

...of the donation to the town of Boston
then lay out, at their discretion, one hundred...

Page 180

...as herein directed with respect to
that of the inhabitants of Boston and the government of...

Page 181

...of Liberty, I give to my friend and the friend of
mankind, General Washington. If it...

Page 182

...have his bed made, "_in order that he might die in a
decent manner_," as was...

Page 183

...Philadelphia.

_Q._ Do the Americans pay any considerable taxes among themselves?

_A._ Certainly, many, and very heavy...

Page 184

...not gold and silver enough in the colonies
to pay the stamp duty for one year.

_Q._...

Page 185

...remittance to Britain; which, together with
all the profits on the industry of our merchants and...

Page 186

...the expense only of a
little pen, ink, and paper: they were led by a thread....

Page 187

...moment?

_A._ No, they will never submit to it.

_Q._ What do you think is the reason...

Page 188

...two
taxes_ to the colony on which they may be laid?

_A._ I think the difference is...

Page 189

...quality?

_A._ No, the wool is very fine and good. * * * *

_Q._ Considering the...

Page 190

...people
have already struck-off, by general agreement, the use of all goods
fashionable in mournings, and many...

Page 191

...aid, which they think ought to be
asked of them and granted by them, if they...

Page 192

...that the stamps should be so
protected as that every one might have them. The act...

Page 193

...Yes; as an oppression of the debtor. * * * *

_Q._ Are there any _slitting-mills_...

Page 194

...the people there, while they
have no representatives in this Legislature, I think it will never...

Page 195

...that; they esteemed their sovereign's approbation of
their zeal and fidelity, and the approbation of this...

Page 196

...therefore, sent for their defence. The
trade with the Indians, though carried on in America, is...

Page 197

...they
know that, by that statute, money is not to be raised on the subject but
by...

Page 198

...do it
themselves.

_Q._ Do not letters often come into the postoffices in America directed
to some inland...

Page 199

...aid as became their
loyalty, and were suitable to their abilities.

_Q._ Did the secretary of state...

Page 200

...it?

_A._ Yes, I think they will; especially if, at the same time, the trade
is open...

Page 201

...House of
Commons._

* ...

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...of life. She was a truly good and an amiable woman, had no
children of her...

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...promised them
protection. They were all put into the workhouse, a strong building as
the place of...

Page 204

...he knows; even the letters from thence are unsigned, in
which any dislike is expressed of...

Page 205

...of what he calls not only the
duties, but the sacred rites of hospitality, exercised towards...

Page 206

...to death;" Eumaeus rejects the proposal,
as what would be attended with both infamy and misfortune,...

Page 207

...prisoners to be tied behind them, and then, in a most cruel and
brutal manner, put...

Page 208

...among the Moors of Africa;
was by them brought into Spain, and there long sacredly observed....

Page 209

...or pays the value whenever the Englishman can safely
demand it.

Justice to that nation, though lately...

Page 210

...some of the blacks, going on board her, were treacherously
seized and carried off as slaves....

Page 211

...hundred years; and that the governing part of those people have had
notions of honour, whatever...

Page 212

...inventions, contrived by bad people, either to
excite each other to join in the murder, or,...

Page 213

...Turks to Scripture Christians!
They would have been safer, though they had been taken in actual...

Page 214

...you will, your consciences will go with you. Talking in your sleep
shall betray you; in...

Page 215

...* * *

_Introduction...

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...any of them all for the celerity of
its growth, unassisted by any human help but...

Page 217

...not, however, to be presumed, that such as have long been
accustomed to consider the colonies...

Page 218

...of the contest with Britain, when we
were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in...

Page 219

...colonies in the way of a tax_;" and to the colony-agents,
"_Write to your several colonies,...

Page 220

...3. p. 84 fifteeen --> fifteen
4. p. 105 6. Moderation....