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 166

American independence, and the infirmities of age and
disease coming upon him, he became desirous of returning to his native
country. Upon application to Congress to be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was
appointed to succeed him in 1785. Some time in September of the same
year Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen a
member of the supreme executive council for the city, and soon after was
elected president of the same.

When a convention was called to meet in Philadelphia, in 1787, for the
purpose of giving more energy to the government of the union, by
revising and amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was
appointed a delegate from the State of Pennsylvania. He signed the
constitution which they proposed for the union, and gave it the most
unequivocal marks of his approbation.

A society for political inquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president,
was established about this period. The meetings were held at his house.
Two or three essays read in this society were published. It did not long
continue.

In the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia,
founded on the principles of the most liberal and refined humanity: _The
Philadelphia Society for alleviating the miseries of public prisons: and
the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, the
relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement
of the condition of the African race._ Of each of these Dr. Franklin was
president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with great
success; and they continue to prosecute, with unwearied diligence, the
laudable designs for which they were established.

Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance
at the council chamber, and in 1788 he retired wholly from public life.

His constitution had been a remarkably good one. He had been little
subject to disease, except an attack of the gout occasionally, until
about the year 1781, when he was first attacked with symptoms of the
calculous complaint, which continued during his life. During the
intervals of pain from this grievous disease, he spent many cheerful
hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive manner. His
faculties were entirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.

His name, as president of the abolition society, was signed to the
memorial presented to the House of Representatives of the United States,
on the 12th of February, 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of
power vested in them by the constitution in discouraging the traffic in
the human species. This was his last public act. In the debates to
which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were made to

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Burton's Historical Collections; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40 or 50 in all.
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My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity.
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" This was spoken with such an appearance of cordiality, that I had not the least doubt of his meaning what he said.
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was to teach them, though he knew neither one nor t'other.
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But I found no vacancy there, and so remain'd idle a few days, when Keimer, on a prospect of being employ'd to print some paper money in New Jersey, which would require cuts and various types that I only could supply, and apprehending Bradford might engage me and get the jobb from him, sent me a very civil message, that old friends should not part for a few words, the effect of sudden passion, and wishing me to return.
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William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but loving reading, had acquir'd a considerable share of mathematics, which he first studied with a view to astrology, that he afterwards laught at it.
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I drew up the proposals, got them put into form by our great scrivener, Brockden, and, by the help of my friends in the Junto, procured fifty subscribers of forty shillings each to begin with, and ten shillings a year for fifty years, the term our company was to continue.
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, and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present.
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Towards the conclusion of the discourse, however, he felt a strong desire to give, and apply'd to a neighbour, who stood near him, to borrow some money for the purpose.
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Being among the hindmost in Market-street, I had the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by retiring backwards down the street towards the river; and I found his voice distinct till I came near Front-street, when some noise in that street obscur'd it.
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The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of printed copies, and provided pens and ink dispers'd all over the room.
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I thought it would be unbecoming in me, after their kind compliance with my solicitations, to mark them out to be worried by other beggars, and therefore refus'd also to give such a list.
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After some inquiry I found a poor industrious man, who was willing to undertake keeping the pavement clean, by sweeping it twice a week, carrying off the dirt from before all the neighbours' doors, for the sum of sixpence per month, to be paid by each house.
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Human felicity is produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.
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Our axes, of which we had seventy, were immediately set to work to cut down trees, and, our men being dextrous in the use of them, great despatch was made.
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There was an art in their contrivance of those places, that seems worth mention.
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