The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 159

soliciting such a general catastrophe, merely from a groundless fear
of their estate being taxed too highly, was insisted on in the
strongest terms. On this, Lord Mansfield, one of the counsel rose, and
beckoning me took me into the clerk's chamber, while the lawyers were
pleading, and asked me if I was really of opinion that no injury would
be done the proprietary estate in the execution of the act. I said
certainly. "Then," says he, "you can have little objection to enter
into an engagement to assure that point." I answer'd, "None at all."
He then call'd in Paris, and after some discourse, his lordship's
proposition was accepted on both sides; a paper to the purpose was
drawn up by the Clerk of the Council, which I sign'd with Mr. Charles,
who was also an Agent of the Province for their ordinary affairs, when
Lord Mansfield returned to the Council Chamber, where finally the law
was allowed to pass. Some changes were however recommended and we also
engaged they should be made by a subsequent law, but the Assembly did
not think them necessary; for one year's tax having been levied by the
act before the order of Council arrived, they appointed a committee to
examine the proceedings of the assessors, and on this committee they
put several particular friends of the proprietaries. After a full
enquiry, they unanimously sign'd a report that they found the tax had
been assess'd with perfect equity.

The Assembly looked into my entering into the first part of the
engagement, as an essential service to the Province, since it secured
the credit of the paper money then spread over all the country. They
gave me their thanks in form when I return'd. But the proprietaries
were enraged at Governor Denny for having pass'd the act, and turn'd
him out with threats of suing him for breach of instructions which he
had given bond to observe. He, however, having done it at the instance
of the General, and for His Majesty's service, and having some powerful
interest at court, despis'd the threats and they were never put in
execution. . . . [Unfinished].


Ending, as it does, with the year 1757, the autobiography leaves
important facts un-recorded. It has seemed advisable, therefore, to
detail the chief events in Franklin's life, from the beginning, in the
following list:

1706 He is born, in Boston, and baptized in the Old South Church.

1714 At the age of eight, enters the Grammar

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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Page 1
30, 1783.
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Some think Progressive Motion on the Earth may be advanc'd by it, and that a Running Footman or a Horse slung and suspended under such a Globe so as to have no more of Weight pressing the Earth with their Feet, than Perhaps 8 or 10 Pounds, might with a fair Wind run in a straight Line across Countries.
Page 4
The Night was quite calm and clear, so that it went right up.
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a tree, and was torn in getting it down; so that it cannot be ascertained whether it burst when above, or not, tho' that is supposed.
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_Planant sur l'Horizon.
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Robert, two Brothers, very ingenious Men, who have made it in concert with Mr.
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These Machines must always be subject to be driven by the Winds.
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I did hope to have given you to day an Account of Mr.
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I hope they descended by Day-light, so as to see & avoid falling among Trees or on Houses, and that the Experiment was completed without any mischievous Accident which the Novelty of it & the want of Experience might well occasion.
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Ils y ont ete accueillis par Mrs.
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* * * * * Le petit Ballon est tombe dans la Cour du Dongeon a Vincennes.
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Faujas' work, published in 1784.
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les deux tiers de leur Approvisionement.