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

Page 13

I sat up
in my chamber the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed
in the evening to be returned in the morning, lest it should be found
missing. After some time a merchant, an ingenious, sensible man, Mr.
Matthew Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, frequented our
printing-office, took notice of me, and invited me to see his library,
and very kindly proposed to lend me such books as I chose to read. I now
took a strong inclination for poetry, and wrote some little pieces; my
brother, supposing it might turn to account, encouraged me, and induced
me to compose two occasional ballads. One was called the _Lighthouse
Tragedy_, and contained an account of the shipwreck of Captain
Worthilake, with his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on
the taking of the famous _Teach_ (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They were
wretched stuff, in street-ballad style; and when they were printed, my
brother sent me about the town to sell them. The first sold
prodigiously, the event being recent, and having made a great noise.
This success flattered my vanity; but my father discouraged me, by
criticising my performances, and telling me verse-makers were generally
beggars. Thus I escaped being a poet, and probably a very bad one: but
as prose writing has been of great use to me in the course of my life,
and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, in
such a situation, I acquired what little ability I may be supposed to
have in that way.

There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins by name, with
whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond
we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which
disputatious turn, by-the-way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making
people often extremely disagreeable in company, by the contradiction
that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring
and spoiling the conversation, it is productive of disgusts and,
perhaps, enmities with those who may have occasion for friendship. I had
caught this by reading my father's books of disputes on religion.
Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it,
except lawyers, university men, and, generally, men of all sorts who
have been bred at Edinburgh. 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. He was of opinion
that it was improper, and that they were naturally unequal to

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
as well confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity.
Page 13
A question was once, somehow or other, started between Collins and me, of the propriety of educating the female sex in learning, and their abilities for study.
Page 22
He had been, I imagine, an itinerant doctor, for there was no town in England, or country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account.
Page 26
He had a house, indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me; but he got me a lodging at Mr.
Page 29
He received me very affectionately, for he always lov'd me.
Page 30
We had been intimate from children, and had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of more time for reading and studying, and a wonderful genius for mathematical learning, in which he far outstript me.
Page 32
You shall repay me when you are able; I am resolv'd to have a good printer here, and I am sure you must succeed.
Page 39
He thank'd me cordially, the information being of importance to him; and from that time he became my friend, greatly to my advantage afterwards on many occasions.
Page 45
A priest visited her to confess her every day.
Page 55
There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin.
Page 56
This man continued to live in this decaying place, and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for when he first began his croaking.
Page 57
It was a folio, pro patria size, in pica, with long primer notes.
Page 59
Their example was follow'd by many, and our number went on growing continually.
Page 65
The match was indeed looked upon as invalid, a preceding wife being said to be living in England; but this could not easily be prov'd, because of the distance; and, tho' there was a report of his death, it was not certain.
Page 75
Page 87
When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear'd or seem'd to me some difference, etc.
Page 88
"That as soon as a party has gain'd its general point, each member becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, and occasions more confusion.
Page 98
In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr.
Page 103
I therefore, in 1743, drew up a proposal for establishing an academy; and at that time, thinking the Reverend Mr.
Page 157
The conversation at first consisted of mutual declarations of disposition to reasonable accommodations, but I suppose each party had its own ideas of what should be meant by reasonable.