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 76

only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become a
common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wished
to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time contented
us: finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to
render the benefit from the books more common, by commencing a public
subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would
be necessary, and got a skilful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to
put the whole in form of articles of agreement to be subscribed; by
which each subscriber engaged to pay a certain sum down for the first
purchase of the books, and an annual contribution for increasing them.
So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority
of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to find more
than fifty persons (mostly young tradesmen) willing to pay down for this
purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum; with this
little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was open one
day in the week for lending them to subscribers, on their promissory
notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon
manifested its utility; was imitated by other towns and in other
provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became
fashionable; and our people, having no public amusements to divert their
attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few
years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more
intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned articles, which were to
be binding on us, our heirs, &c., for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the
scrivener, said to us: "You are young men, but it is scarce probable
that any of you will live to see the expiration of the term fixed in the
instrument." A number of us, however, are yet living; but the instrument
was, after a few years, rendered null by a charter that incorporated and
gave perpetuity to the company.

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the
subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's
self as the proposer of any useful project that might be supposed to
raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's
neighbours, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that
project. I therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and
stated it as a scheme of a

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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PAGE Portrait of Franklin vii Pages 1 and 4 of _The Pennsylvania Gazette_, Number XL, the first number after Franklin took control xxi First page of _The New England Courant_ of December 4-11, 1721 33 "I was employed to carry the papers thro' the streets to the customers" 36 "She, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance" 48 "I took to working at press" 88 "I see him still at work when I go home from club" 120 Two pages from _Poor Richard's Almanac_ for 1736 .
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were immediately set to work to cut down trees" 278 "We now appeared very wide, and so far from each other in our opinions as to discourage all hope of agreement" 318 "You will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle" 328 Father Abraham in his study 330 The end papers show, at the front, the Franklin arms and the Franklin seal; at the back, the medal given by the Boston public schools from the fund left by Franklin for that purpose as provided in the following extract from his will: "I was born in Boston,.
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By this means he turned our attention 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 flavor, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was bro't up in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and so unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can scarce tell a few hours after dinner what I dined upon.
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knave in his composition.
Page 45
"I doubt," said he, "my constitution will not bear that.
Page 48
'" VI FIRST VISIT TO LONDON The governor, seeming to like my company, had me frequently to his house, and his setting me up was always mention'd as a fixed thing.
Page 66
All our cash was now expended in the variety of particulars we had been obliged to procure, and this countryman's five shillings, being our first-fruits, and coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than.
Page 76
was a real change of sentiment or only artifice, on a supposition of our being too far engaged in affection to retract, and therefore that we should steal a marriage, which would leave them at liberty to give or withhold what they pleas'd, I know not; but I suspected the latter, resented it, and went no more.
Page 92
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7 19 4 57 8 Moon rise 11 52 af 21 4 7* rise 11 18 8 Gm 4 57 8 _If wind blows on_ 22 5 _then high_ 9 14 4 58 8 _you thro' a hole,_ 23 6 _wind.
Page 106
He was fast declining in his health, and requested of me that, in case of his death, which he apprehended not far distant, I would take home his son, then but ten years of age, and bring him up to the printing business.
Page 116
[Illustration: One of the flags of the Pennsylvania Association, 1747.
Page 117
It was thought by some of my friends that, by my activity in these affairs, I should offend that sect, and thereby lose my interest in the Assembly of the province, where they formed a great majority.
Page 146
Among these I saw some letters of the general to the ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had rendered the army, and recommending me to their notice.
Page 149
In conversation with the bishop, Spangenberg, I mention'd this my surprise; for, knowing they had obtained an act of Parliament exempting them from military duties in the colonies, I had suppos'd they were conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms.
Page 173
At this key the phial may be charged; and from electric fire thus obtained, spirits may be kindled,.
Page 177
When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl married to an ill-natured brute of a husband, _What a pity_, say I, _that she should pay so much for a whistle_! In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by.
Page 181
_ 1780? _The Handsome and Deformed Leg.
Page 188
However, an Express gone by from Stockholm, doth not confirm.