The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 153

commission for my service, "O,
sir," says he, "you must not think of persuading us that you are no
gainer; we understand better those affairs, and know that every one
concerned in supplying the army finds means, in the doing it, to fill
his own pockets." I assur'd him that was not my case, and that I had
not pocketed a farthing; but he appear'd clearly not to believe me;
and, indeed, I have since learnt that immense fortunes are often made
in such employments. As to my ballance, I am not paid it to this day,
of which more hereafter.

Our captain of the paquet had boasted much, before we sailed, of the
swiftness of his ship; unfortunately, when we came to sea, she proved
the dullest of ninety-six sail, to his no small mortification. After
many conjectures respecting the cause, when we were near another ship
almost as dull as ours, which, however, gain'd upon us, the captain
ordered all hands to come aft, and stand as near the ensign staff as
possible. We were, passengers included, about forty persons. While we
stood there, the ship mended her pace, and soon left her neighbour far
behind, which prov'd clearly what our captain suspected, that she was
loaded too much by the head. The casks of water, it seems, had been
all plac'd forward; these he therefore order'd to be mov'd further aft,
on which the ship recover'd her character, and proved the sailer in the

The captain said she had once gone at the rate of thirteen knots, which
is accounted thirteen miles per hour. We had on board, as a passenger,
Captain Kennedy, of the Navy, who contended that it was impossible, and
that no ship ever sailed so fast, and that there must have been some
error in the division of the log-line, or some mistake in heaving the
log. A wager ensu'd between the two captains, to be decided when there
should be sufficient wind. Kennedy thereupon examin'd rigorously the
log-line, and, being satisfi'd with that, he determin'd to throw the
log himself. Accordingly some days after, when the wind blew very fair
and fresh, and the captain of the paquet, Lutwidge, said he believ'd
she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made the
experiment, and own'd his wager lost.

The above fact I give for the sake of the following observation. It
has been remark'd, as an imperfection in the art of ship-building, that
it can never be known, till she is tried, whether a

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

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_ The best in the world.
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My proposal was to build a wharf there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large heap of stones which were intended for a new house near the marsh and which would very well suit our purpose.
Page 14
'Tis perhaps only negligence.
Page 20
I think, less properly: "For want of modesty is want of sense.
Page 23
] [Footnote 16: The persecution which the first settlers practiced against all who differed with them in religious doctrines.
Page 25
Page 31
He being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, heard there of me, and wrote me a letter, mentioning the concern of my friends in Boston at my abrupt departure, assuring me of their good will to me and that everything would be accommodated to my mind if I would return, to which he exhorted me very earnestly.
Page 55
Thence he was sent to Oxford, where he continued about a year, but not well satisfied, wishing of all things to see London, and become a player.
Page 62
Breintnal particularly procured us from the Quakers the printing forty sheets of their history, the rest being to be done by Keimer; and upon this we worked exceedingly hard, for the price was low.
Page 64
We gave bail, but saw that, if the money could not be raised in time, the suit must soon come to a judgment and execution, and our hopeful prospects must, with us, be ruined, as the press and letters must be sold for payment, perhaps at half price.
Page 77
, waste nothing.
Page 87
I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it.
Page 96
] [Footnote 115: Thus far written at Passy, 1784.
Page 103
the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by retiring backward down the street toward the river; and I found his voice distinct till I came near Front Street, when some noise in that street obscured it.
Page 105
When the company separated and the papers were collected, we found above twelve hundred hands; and, other copies being dispersed in the country, the subscribers amounted at length to upward of ten thousand.
Page 106
It was thought by some of my friends that by my activity in these affairs I should offend that sect, and thereby lose my interest in the Assembly of the province, where they formed a great majority.
Page 111
] [Footnote 128: This institution was established in Savannah, and called Bethesda.
Page 113
; those, in case of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election from among the contributors.
Page 146
from Sir Everard a gentle admonition.
Page 173
Matthews' statement, "Franklin was the first of American humorists, and to this day he has not been surpassed in his own line.