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 86

in voyages and business abroad, with a
multiplicity of affairs that interfered; but I always carried my little
book with me. My scheme of _Order_ gave me the most trouble; and I found
that though it might be practicable where a man's business was such as
to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman-printer,
for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master,
who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at
their own hours. Order, too, with regard to places for things, papers,
&c., I found it extremely difficult to acquire. I had not been early
accustomed to _method_, and having an exceeding good memory, I was not
so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method. This article,
therefore, cost me much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed me
so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such
frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and
content myself with a faulty character in that respect. Like the man
who, in buying an axe of a smith my neighbour, desired to have the whole
of its surface as bright as the edge, the smith consented to grind it
bright for him if he would turn the wheel: he turned while the smith
pressed the broad face of the axe hard and heavily on the stone, which
made the turning of it very fatiguing. The man came every now and then
from the wheel to see how the work went on; and at length would take his
axe as it was, without farther grinding. "No," said the smith, "turn on,
we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet 'tis only speckled." "Yes,"
said the man, "but _I think I like a speckled axe best_." And I believe
this may have been the case with many, who having, for the want of some
such means as I employed, found the difficulty of obtaining good and
breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up
the struggle, and concluded that "_a speckled axe was best_." For
something that pretended to be reason was every now and then suggesting
to me, that such extreme nicety as I exacted of myself, might be a kind
of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous;
that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of
being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few
faults in himself, to keep his friends in

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 21
I have since remarked, that men of sense seldom fall into this error: lawyers, fellows of universities, and persons of every profession educated at Edinburgh, excepted.
Page 28
The inclination I had felt for a sea-faring life had entirely subsided, or I should now have been able to gratify it; but having another trade, and believing myself to be a tolerable workman, I hesitated not to offer my services to old Mr.
Page 33
Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well-dressed people, all going the same way.
Page 37
This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly after, my mother spoke to him of a reconciliation, and a desire to see us upon good terms, he told her that I had so insulted him before his men, that he would never forget or forgive it: in this, however, he was mistaken.
Page 52
I offered myself, and was accepted; and in this house I continued during the remainder of my stay in London.
Page 58
I was attacked with a pleurisy, which had nearly carried me off; I suffered terribly, and considered it as all over with me.
Page 59
The following were the persons I found in his printing-house: Hugh Meredith, a Pennsylvanian, about thirty-five years of age.
Page 66
Thomas Godfrey, a skilful, though self-taught mathematician, and who was afterwards the inventor of what now goes by the name of Hadley's quadrant; but he had little knowledge out of his own line, and was insupportable in company, always requiring, like the majority of mathematicians that had fallen in my way, an unusual precision in every thing that is.
Page 75
I regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune, though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault to herself, rather than to me, because after having prevented our marriage previously to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence.
Page 128
But here we have a bottle containing at the same time a _plenum_ of electrical fire, and a _vacuum_ of the same fire; and yet the equilibrium cannot be restored between them but by a communication _without!_ though the _plenum_ presses violently to expand, and the hungry vacuum seems to attract as violently in order to be filled.
Page 142
England, Holland, France, and Germany are to be drank in _electrified bumpers_[43], under the discharge of guns from the _electrical battery_.
Page 147
35.
Page 159
From the middle of the stand let an iron rod rise and pass bending out of the door, and then upright 20 or 30 feet, pointed very sharp at the end.
Page 200
When the apparatus has lost part of its natural share of this fluid, by the approach of excited wax to one end of it, or is electrified negatively; the electrical fire is attracted and imbibed by the balls to supply the deficiency; and that more plentifully at the approach of excited glass; or a body positively electrified, than before; whence the distance between the balls will be increased, as the fluid surrounding them is augmented.
Page 206
Attempt to touch it with the finger of the other hand, and it will be repelled by the finger.
Page 257
I am, &c.
Page 285
It is not unreasonable to presume, that between the period of their death and that of their putrefaction, a time intervened in which the flesh might be only tender, and only sufficiently so to be served at table.
Page 301
Matthew, offers the use of his library to Franklin, i.
Page 314
machine; simple and.
Page 323
_Invention_, the faculty of, its inconveniences, i.