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 14

it. I took
the contrary side, perhaps for dispute' sake. He was naturally more
eloquent, having a greater plenty of words; and sometimes, as I thought,
I was vanquished more by his fluency than by the strength of his
reasons. As we parted without settling the point, and were not to see
one another again for some time, I sat down to put my arguments in
writing, which I copied fair and sent to him. He answered, and I
replied. Three or four letters on a side had passed, when my father
happened to find my papers and read them. Without entering into the
subject in dispute, he took occasion to talk to me about my manner of
writing; observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist in
correct spelling and pointing (which he attributed to the
printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method,
and perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances. I saw
the justice of his remarks, and thence grew more attentive to my manner
of writing, and determined to endeavour to improve my style.

About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. I had never
before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was
much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if
possible, to imitate it. With that view I took some of the papers, and,
making short hints of the sentiments in each sentence, laid them by a
few days, and then, without looking at the book, tried to complete the
papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length and as fully
as it had been expressed before in any suitable words that should occur
to me. Then I compared my Spectator with an original, discovered some of
my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or
a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should
have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the
continual search for words of the same import, but of different lengths,
to suit the measure, or of different sounds for the rhyme, would have
laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also
have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.
Therefore I took some of the tales in the Spectator, and turned them
into verse: and after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the
prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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" [Illustration: Published by W.
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coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
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The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, 'Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?'----Father Abraham stood up, and replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard says.
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on diseases, absolutely shortens life.
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Darton, Junr.
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The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her out-goes are greater than her incomes.
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" And again, "At a great pennyworth pause a while:" he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good.
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" It is, however, a folly soon punished: for, as Poor Richard says, "Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt;--Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty and supped with Infamy.
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Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
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--I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacks, and digested all I had dropt on those topics during the course of twenty-five years.