The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 121

having lived many years in it
very happily, and perhaps to some of our towns in America.

Having been for some time employed by the postmaster-general of America
as his comptroller in regulating several offices, and bringing the
officers to account, I was, upon his death in 1753, appointed, jointly
with Mr. William Hunter, to succeed him, by a commission from the
postmaster-general in England. The American office never had hitherto
paid any thing to that of Britain. We were to have six hundred pounds
a year between us, if we could make that sum out of the profits of the
office. To do this, a variety of improvements were necessary; some of
these were inevitably at first expensive, so that in the first four
years the office became above nine hundred pounds in debt to us. But
it soon after began to repay us; and before I was displac'd by a freak
of the ministers, of which I shall speak hereafter, we had brought it
to yield three times as much clear revenue to the crown as the
postoffice of Ireland. Since that imprudent transaction, they have
receiv'd from it--not one farthing!

The business of the postoffice occasion'd my taking a journey this year
to New England, where the College of Cambridge, of their own motion,
presented me with the degree of Master of Arts. Yale College, in
Connecticut, had before made me a similar compliment. Thus, without
studying in any college, I came to partake of their honours. They were
conferr'd in consideration of my improvements and discoveries in the
electric branch of natural philosophy.

In 1754, war with France being again apprehended, a congress of
commissioners from the different colonies was, by an order of the Lords
of Trade, to be assembled at Albany, there to confer with the chiefs of
the Six Nations concerning the means of defending both their country
and ours. Governor Hamilton, having receiv'd this order, acquainted
the House with it, requesting they would furnish proper presents for
the Indians, to be given on this occasion; and naming the speaker (Mr.
Norris) and myself to join Mr. Thomas Penn and Mr. Secretary Peters as
commissioners to act for Pennsylvania. The House approv'd the
nomination, and provided the goods for the present, and tho' they did
not much like treating out of the provinces; and we met the other
commissioners at Albany about the middle of June.

In our way thither, I projected and drew a plan for the union of all
the colonies under one government, so far as might

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Text Comparison with 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

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114 To the same 115 To the same 116 To Miss Stevenson 119 To Lord Kames 120 To the same 121 To the same 128 To John Alleyne .
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And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person; it creates envy;.
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This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, _Don't give too much for.
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To pursue the thought of this elegant writer, let us suppose one of the most robust of these _Hypanians_, so famed in history, was in a manner coeval with time itself; that he began to exist at break of day, and that, from the uncommon strength of his constitution, he has been able to show himself active in life, through the numberless minutes of ten or twelve hours.
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But you, who are wise, must know that different nations have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss if our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours.
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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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For this purpose he caused a small building, about twelve feet square, to be erected in his garden, and furnished with some ordinary chairs and tables, and a few prints of the cheapest sort were hung against the walls.
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" * * * * * _To the same.
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"Mentioning Colonel Onslow reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of this session in the house between him and Mr.
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That this pretended right is indisputable, as you say, we utterly deny.
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"I intended writing when I sent the eleven books, but lost the time in looking for the first.
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SIR, "I received your kind letter with your excellent advice to the people of the United States, which I read with great pleasure, and hope it will be duly regarded.
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_To the Abbe Soulavie.
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* * * * * _To Dr.
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_ ON THE NATURE OF SEACOAL.
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This premised, 1.
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A wire no bigger than a goosequill has been known to conduct (with safety to the building as far as the wire was continued) a quantity of lightning that did prodigious damage both above and below it; and probably larger rods are not necessary, though it is common in America to make them of half an inch, some of three quarters or an inch diameter.
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_--Read at the Royal Society, June 3, 1756.
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Now, how many rivers that are open to the sea widen much before they arrive at it, not merely by the additional waters they receive, but by having their course stopped by the opposing flood-tide; by being turned back twice in twenty-four hours, and by finding broader beds in the low flat countries to dilate themselves in; hence the evaporation of the fresh water is proportionably increased, so that in some rivers it may equal the springs of supply.
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Craven-street, June 11, 1760.