Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 27

end of its creation better than I. It was made to
support human nature, and it hath done so. Every crab and oyster I have
ate, and every grain of corn I have devoured, hath filled up its place
in the rank of beings with more propriety and honour than I have done.
Oh shameful waste of life and time!"

In short, he carried on his moral reflections with so just and severe a
force of reason, as constrained him to change his whole course of life,
to break off his follies at once, and to apply himself to gain some
useful knowledge, when he was more than thirty years of age. He lived
many following years with the character of a worthy man and an
excellent Christian; he performed the kind offices of a good neighbour
at home, and made a shining figure as a patriot in the senate-house; he
died with a peaceful conscience, and the tears of his country were
dropped upon his tomb.

The world, that knew the whole series of his life, stood amazed at the
mighty change. They beheld him as a wonder of reformation, while he
himself confessed and adored the Divine power and mercy, which had
transformed him from a brute to a man.

But this was a single instance; and we may almost venture to write
MIRACLE upon it. Are there not numbers of both sexes among our young
gentry, in this degenerate age, whose lives thus run to utter waste,
without the least tendency to usefulness?

When I meet with persons of such a worthless character as this, it
brings to my mind some scraps of Horace:

"Nos numerus sumus, et fruges consumere nati,
. . . . . . . . Alcinoique
. . . . . . . . . juventus,
Cui pulchrum fuit in medios dormire dies," &c.


There are a number of us creep
Into this world, to eat and sleep;
And know no reason why they're born,
But merely to consume the corn,
Devour the cattle, fowl, and fish,

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 1
What an animating example do they present of the power of industry, and of frugality and temperance, of moral rectitude, and unremitting perseverance, to overcome every difficulty! And what youth, fired with the generous love of knowledge, and an ardent desire of honourable distinction, need ever despair of success after reading the memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; who, from the humble station of a printer's apprentice, without fortune or other extraneous aid, through a manly confidence in his own powers, elevated himself to the highest stations of honour and usefulness.
Page 7
Page 10
And without an estate, or any gainful employment, By constant labour and honest industry, maintained a large family comfortably, and brought up thirteen children and seven grandchildren respectably.
Page 18
Encouraged, however, by this attempt, I wrote and sent in the same way to the press several other pieces that were equally approved; and I kept my secret till all my fund of sense for such performances was exhausted, and then discovered it, when I began to be considered with a little more attention by my brother's acquaintance.
Page 35
Osborne was sensible, candid, frank, sincere, and affectionate to his friends; but in literary matters too fond of criticism.
Page 46
important part of that journal is the _plan_ to be found in it, which I formed at sea, for regulating the future conduct of my life.
Page 54
Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, generous, lively, and witty; a lover of punning and of his friends.
Page 57
In this distress two true friends, whose kindness I have never forgotten, nor ever shall forget while I can remember anything, came to me separately, unknown to each other, and without any application from me, offered each of them to advance me all the money that should be necessary to enable me to take the whole business upon myself, if that should be practicable; but they did not like my continuing the partnership with Meredith, who, as they said, was often seen drunk in the street, playing at low games in alehouses much to our discredit; these two friends were _William Coleman_ and _Robert Grace_.
Page 59
In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in _reality_ industrious and frugal, but to avoid the appearances to the contrary.
Page 80
--Lose no time: be always employed in something useful: cut off all unnecessary actions.
Page 84
Page 107
I have been continued one of its trustees from the beginning (now near forty years), and have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the youth who have received their education in it distinguished by their improved abilities, serviceable in public stations, and ornaments to their country.
Page 122
No drivers of wagons or persons taking care of the hired horses are, on any account, to be called upon to do the duty of soldiers, or be otherwise employed than in conducting or taking care of their carriages or horses.
Page 126
The secretary's papers, with all the general's orders, instructions, and correspondence, falling into the enemy's hands, they selected and translated into French a number of the articles, which they printed, to prove the hostile intentions of the British court before the declaration of war.
Page 146
One would have the sails trimmed sharper than another, so that they seemed to have no certain rule to govern by.
Page 149
For several years electricity was entirely neglected, until Mr.
Page 153
Wall and Mr.
Page 170
"He was polite in his manners, and never gave a pointed contradiction to the assertions of his friends or his antagonists, but treated every argument with great calmness, and conquered his adversaries rather by the force of reason than assertion.
Page 190
_ Then no regulation with a tax would be submitted to? _A.
Page 212
Unhappy people! to have lived in such times and by such neighbours.