The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 11

for private company
as for a publick ball. 'Tis perhaps only negligence.

To return: I continued thus employed in my father's business for two
years, that is, till I was twelve years old; and my brother John, who
was bred to that business, having left my father, married, and set up
for himself at Rhode Island, there was all appearance that I was
destined to supply his place, and become a tallow-chandler. But my
dislike to the trade continuing, my father was under apprehensions that
if he did not find one for me more agreeable, I should break away and
get to sea, as his son Josiah had done, to his great vexation. He
therefore sometimes took me to walk with him, and see joiners,
bricklayers, turners, braziers, etc., at their work, that he might
observe my inclination, and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other
on land. It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen
handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having learnt so much
by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house when a workman
could not readily be got, and to construct little machines for my
experiments, while the intention of making the experiment was fresh and
warm in my mind. My father at last fixed upon the cutler's trade, and
my uncle Benjamin's son Samuel, who was bred to that business in
London, being about that time established in Boston, I was sent to be
with him some time on liking. But his expectations of a fee with me
displeasing my father, I was taken home again.

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came
into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim's
Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate
little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's
Historical Collections; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40
or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in
polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted
that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper
books had not fallen in my way since it was now resolved I should not
be a clergyman. Plutarch's Lives there was in which I read abundantly,
and I still think that time spent to great advantage. There was also a
book of

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Page 6
By the same wife he had four children more born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, and married; I was the youngest son, and the youngest child but two, and was born in Boston, New England.
Page 30
" As I seem'd at first not to think so ill of them as she did, she mentioned some things she had observ'd and heard that had escap'd my notice, but now convinc'd me she was right.
Page 32
I knew he was a good swimmer, and so was under little concern about him; but before he could get round to lay hold of the boat, we had with a few strokes pull'd her out of his reach; and ever when he drew near the boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few strokes to slide her away from him.
Page 34
When he came to explain with me upon the doctrines, I found several conundrums which I objected to, unless I might have my way a little too, and introduce some of mine.
Page 36
It was read and repeated; Watson and Osborne gave up the contest, and join'd in applauding it.
Page 41
T---- to my care, and desiring me to write to him, directing for Mr.
Page 43
a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon about six o'clock, and another when he had done his day's work.
Page 49
I suffered a good deal, gave up the point in my own mind, and was rather disappointed when I found myself recovering, regretting, in some degree, that I must now, some time or other, have all that disagreeable work to do over again.
Page 74
We kept no idle servants, our table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest.
Page 86
[7] Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as virtue.
Page 99
This I advis'd; but he was resolute in his.
Page 110
And this is not the only instance of patents taken out for my inventions by others, tho' not always with the same success, which I never contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes.
Page 111
Writings were accordingly drawn, and on paying the debts the trustees of the academy were put in possession of the premises; and by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and different rooms above and below for the several schools, and purchasing some additional ground, the whole was soon made fit for our purpose, and the scholars remov'd into the building.
Page 126
We found the general at Frederictown, waiting impatiently for the return of those he had sent thro' the back parts of Maryland and Virginia to collect waggons.
Page 128
Page 147
He gave me the first information that my old friend Jas.
Page 149
His answer was, "I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next; but I may let you know, entre nous, that if you are there by Monday morning, you will be in time, but do not delay longer.
Page 151
to besieging Louisburg, and return'd to New York, with all his troops, together with the two paquets above mentioned, and all their passengers! During his absence the French and savages had taken Fort George, on the frontier of that province, and the savages had massacred many of the garrison after capitulation.
Page 155
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.
Page 156
I had always understood from our charters that our laws were to be made by our Assemblies, to be presented indeed to the king for his royal assent, but that being once given the king could not repeal or alter them.