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 67

hot irons, and to suffer perpetual imprisonment! Thus
these three gentlemen, each of worth and quality in their several
professions, viz., divinity, law, and physic, were, for no other offence
than writing on controverted points of church government, exposed on
public scaffolds, and stigmatized and mutilated as common signal rogues
or the most ordinary malefactors.

Such corporeal punishments, inflicted with all the circumstances of
cruelty and infamy, bound down all other gentlemen under a servile fear
of like treatment; so that, for several years, no one durst publicly
speak or write in defence of the liberties of the people; which the
king's ministers, his privy council, and his judges, had trampled under
their feet. The spirit of the administration looked hideous and
dreadful; the hate and resentment which the people conceived against it,
for a long time lay smothered in their breasts, where those passions
festered and grew venomous, and at last discharged themselves by an
armed and vindictive hand.

King Charles II. aimed at the subversion of the government, but
concealed his designs under a deep hypocrisy: a method which his
predecessor, in the beginning of his reign, scorned to make use of. The
father, who affected a high and rigid gravity, discountenanced all
barefaced immorality. The son, of a gay, luxurious disposition, openly
encouraged it: thus their inclinations being different, the restraint
laid on some authors, and the encouragement given to others, were
managed after a different manner.

In this reign a licenser was appointed for the stage and the press; no
plays were encouraged but what had a tendency to debase the minds of the
people. The original design of comedy was perverted; it appeared in all
the shocking circumstances of immodest _double entendre_, obscure
description, and lewd representation. Religion was sneered out of
countenance, and public spirit ridiculed as an awkward oldfashioned
virtue; the fine gentleman of the comedy, though embroidered over with
wit, was a consummate debauchee; and a fine lady, though set off with a
brilliant imagination, was an impudent coquette. Satire, which in the
hands of _Horace_, _Juvenal_, and _Boileau_, was pointed with a generous
resentment against vice, now became the declared foe of virtue and
innocence. As the city of London, in all ages, as well as the time we
are now speaking of, was remarkable for its opposition to arbitrary
power, the poets levelled all their artillery against the metropolis, in
order to bring the citizens into contempt: an alderman was never
introduced on the theatre but under the complicated character of a
sneaking, canting hypocrite, a miser, and a cuckold; while the
court-wits, with impunity, libelled the most valuable part of

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 13
The notes one of my uncles (who had the same kind of curiosity in collecting family anecdotes) once put into my hands, furnished me with several particulars relating to our ancestors.
Page 26
du Port Royal.
Page 31
I have since found that it has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible.
Page 33
Our acquaintance continu'd as long as he liv'd.
Page 47
I told him I had been busy, and, having little inclination, had done nothing.
Page 51
He first endeavoured to get into the play-house, believing himself qualify'd for an actor; but Wilkes,[38] to whom he apply'd, advis'd him candidly not to think of that employment, as it was impossible he should succeed in it.
Page 60
I forget what his distemper was; it held him a long time, and at length carried him off.
Page 62
He, however, kindly made no demand of it.
Page 68
He also became surveyor-general.
Page 70
My friends lamented my connection with him, but I was to make the best of it.
Page 78
[63] _Mem deg.
Page 80
This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repair'd in some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended for me.
Page 95
This is as much as I can now recollect of the project, except that I communicated it in part to two young men, who adopted it with some enthusiasm; but my then narrow circumstances, and the necessity I was under of sticking close to my business, occasioned my.
Page 129
taught for a time in the "Log College," from which sprang the College of New Jersey.
Page 142
"I have no particular interest in this affair, as, except the satisfaction of endeavouring to do good, I shall have only my labour for my pains.
Page 149
In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those people.
Page 150
[Illustration: "We had not march'd many miles before it began to rain"] The next day being fair, we continu'd our march, and arriv'd at the desolated Gnadenhut.
Page 156
They were imperfectly perform'd, as he was not very expert; but, being on a subject quite new to me, they equally surpris'd and pleased me.
Page 164
I was at the entertainment given by the city of New York to Lord Loudoun, on his taking upon him the command.
Page 168
About nine o'clock the fog began to rise, and seem'd to be lifted up from the water like the curtain at a play-house, discovering underneath, the town of Falmouth, the vessels in its harbor, and the fields that surrounded it.