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 5

Northamptonshire, on a
freehold of about thirty acres, for at least three hundred years, and
how much longer could not be ascertained.[2]

This small estate would not have sufficed for their maintenance without
the business of a smith, which had continued in the family down to my
uncle's time, the eldest son being always brought up to that employment;
a custom which he and my father followed with regard to their eldest
sons. When I searched the registers at _Ecton_, I found an account of
their marriages and burials from the year 1555 only, as the registers
kept did not commence previous thereto. I however learned from it that I
was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back. My
grandfather Thomas, who was born 1598, lived at Ecton till he was too
old to continue his business, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire,
to the house of his son John, with whom my father served an
apprenticeship. There my uncle died and lies buried. We saw his
gravestone in 1758. His eldest son Thomas lived in the house at Ecton,
and left it with the land to his only daughter, who, with her husband,
one Fisher, of Wellingborough, sold it to Mr. Isted, now lord of the
manor there. My grandfather had four sons, who grew up: viz., Thomas,
John, Benjamin, and Josiah. Being at a distance from my papers, I will
give you what account I can of them from memory: and if my papers are
not lost in my absence, you will find among them many more

Thomas, my eldest uncle, was bred a smith under his father; but, being
ingenious, and encouraged in learning (as all my brothers were) by an
Esquire Palmer, then the principal inhabitant of that parish, he
qualified himself for the bar, and became a considerable man in the
county; was chief mover of all public-spirited enterprises for the
county or town of Northampton, as well as of his own village, of which
many instances were related of him: and he was much taken notice of, and
patronised by Lord Halifax. He died in 1702, the 6th of January; four
years to a day before I was born. The recital which some elderly persons
made to us of his character, I remember, struck you as something
extraordinary, from its similarity with what you knew of me. "Had he
died," said you, "four years later, on the same day, one might have
supposed a transmigration." John, my next uncle, was bred a dyer, I
believe of wool. Benjamin was bred a silk dyer, serving

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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

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I was born in Boston, in New-England.
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to what was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad flavour, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was brought up in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be quite indifferent as to what kind of food was set before me.
Page 12
I have often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen into my way, since it was resolved I should not be bred to divinity; there was among them Plutarch's Lives, which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage.
Page 19
" On a consultation held in our printing-office among his friends, what he should do in this conjuncture, it was proposed to elude the order by changing the name of the paper; but my brother, seeing inconveniences in this, came to a conclusion, as a better way, to let the paper in future be printed in the name of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: and in order to avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall on him as still printing it by his apprentice, he contrived and consented that my old indenture should be returned to me, with a discharge on the back of it, to show in case of necessity; and, in order to secure to him the benefit of my service, I should sign new indentures for the remainder of my time, which was to be kept private.
Page 38
sociable company in the cabin, and lived uncommonly well, having the addition of all Mr.
Page 72
"If this correspondent had known the nature of your reputation as well as I do, he would have said, your former writings and measures would secure attention to your Biography and Art of Virtue; and your Biography and Art of Virtue, in return, would secure attention to them.
Page 73
For the furtherance of human happiness, I have always maintained that it is necessary to prove that man is not even at present a vicious and detestable animal; and still more to prove that good management may greatly amend him; and it is for much the same reason that I am anxious to see the opinion established, that there are fair characters among the individuals of the race; for the moment that all men, without exception, shall be conceived abandoned, good people will cease .
Page 78
He used to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to attend his administrations; and I was now and then prevailed on to do so; once for five Sundays successively.
Page 121
I happened to say, I thought it was a pity they had not been landed in Pennsylvania, as in that country almost every farmer had his wagon.
Page 125
" I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his profession, and said no more.
Page 157
Although Dr.
Page 163
le Roy, in a letter annexed to Abbe Fauchett's eulogium of Dr.
Page 171
de la Rochefoucault and Lafayette immediately rose in order to second this motion.
Page 180
Considering the accidents to which all human affairs and projects are subject in such a length of time, I have, perhaps, too much flattered myself with a vain fancy that these dispositions, if carried into execution, will be continued without interruption, and have the effects proposed; I hope, however, that if the inhabitants of the two cities should not think fit to undertake the execution, they will at least accept the offer of these donations as a mark of my good-will, a token of my gratitude, and a testimony of my earnest desire to be useful to them even after my departure.
Page 184
_ About three hundred thousand, from sixteen to sixty years of age? _Q.
Page 186
_ Don't you think they would submit to the stamp-act if it was modified, the obnoxious parts taken out, and the duty reduced to some particulars of small.
Page 195
I know the _last war_ is commonly spoken of here as entered into for the defence, or for the sake of the people in America.
Page 196
The people of America are chiefly farmers and planters; scarce anything that they raise or produce is an article of commerce with the Indians.
Page 214
They have been hurried from place to place for safety, now concealed in corners, then sent out of the province, refused a passage through a neighbouring colony, and returned, not unkindly, perhaps, but disgracefully, on our hands.
Page 219
colonies in the way of a tax_;" and to the colony-agents, "_Write to your several colonies, and tell them, if they dislike a duty upon_ stamps, _and prefer any other method of raising the money themselves, I shall be content, provided the_ amount _be but raised_.