The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 3

as well
confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps
I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity. Indeed, I scarce ever heard
or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity I may say," &c., but
some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike vanity in
others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair
quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often
productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his
sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be
altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the
other comforts of life.

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to
acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His
kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them
success. My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not
presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in
continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse,
which I may experience as others have done: the complexion of my
future fortune being known to Him only in whose power it is to bless to
us even our afflictions.

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. From these notes I
learned that the family had lived in the same village, Ecton, in
Northamptonshire, for three hundred years, and how much longer he knew
not (perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that before was
the name of an order of people, was assumed by them as a surname when
others took surnames all over the kingdom), on a freehold of about
thirty acres, aided by the smith's business, which had continued in the
family till his time, the eldest son being always bred to that
business; a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest
sons. When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an account of
their births, marriages and burials from the year 1555 only, there
being no registers kept in that parish at any time preceding. By that
register I perceived that I was the youngest son of the youngest son
for five generations back. My grandfather Thomas, who was born in
1598, lived at Ecton till he grew

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

Page 29
--The plan, however, was not approved here; but a _New one_ was formed instead of it; by which it was proposed, that 'the governors of all the colonies, attended by one or two members of their respective councils, should assemble, and concert measures for the defence of the whole, erect forts where they judged proper, and raise what troops they thought necessary, with power to draw on the treasury here for the sums that should be wanted, and the treasury to be reimbursed by a _tax laid on the colonies by act of parliament_.
Page 32
Page 44
to his majesty, as to the mode, measure, and time) that it is impossible for the assembly, should they lose all sense of their most essential rights, and comply with those instructions, to grant sufficient aids for the defence of this his majesty's province from the common enemy.
Page 47
Submitted to the correction of the house.
Page 62
The governor's reply.
Page 64
The author of the Letter, who must be every way best able to support his own sentiments, will, I hope, excuse me, if I seem officiously to interfere; when he considers, that the spirit of patriotism, like other qualities good and bad, is catching; and that his long silence since the Remarks appeared has made us despair of seeing the subject farther discussed by his masterly hand.
Page 75
Those, who would be thought deeply skilled in human nature, affect to discover self-interested views every where at the bottom of the fairest, the most generous conduct.
Page 158
The paper is in Dr.
Page 161
of requisition been continued (a method that left the king's subjects in those remote countries the pleasure of showing their zeal and loyalty, and of imagining that they recommended themselves to their sovereign by the liberality of their voluntary grants) there is no doubt, but all the money that could reasonably be expected to be raised from them in any manner, might have been obtained, without the least heart-burning, offence, or breach of the harmony of affections and interests, that so long subsisted between the two countries.
Page 189
The colonies were recommended to parliament.
Page 219
Page 222
Hence, in some degree, the company's inability to pay their bills; the sinking of their stock, by which millions of property have been annihilated; the lowering of their dividend, whereby so many must be distressed; the loss to government of the stipulated 400,000_l.
Page 225
Permit us humbly to suggest to your majesty, that your subjects here have been inclined to believe, that the grievances which they have suffered, and still continue to suffer, have been occasioned by your majesty's ministers and principal servants being, unfortunately for us, _misinformed_ in certain facts of very interesting importance to us.
Page 250
We are using the utmost industry in endeavouring to make salt-petre, and with daily increasing success.
Page 268
Page 281
Many still retained an affection for Egypt, the land of their nativity, and these, whenever they felt any inconvenience or hardship, though the natural and unavoidable effect of their change of situation, exclaimed against their leaders as the authors of their trouble: and were not only for returning into Egypt, but for stoning their deliverers[164].
Page 300
Few humane characters can be drawn that will not fit some body, in so large a country as this; but one would think, supposing I meant Cretico.
Page 345
This appears to be the original piece.
Page 407
Page 414
may be nicely balanced, 170.