The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 35

respect and affection for her, and had some reason to believe she had
the same for me; but, as I was about to take a long voyage, and we were
both very young, only a little above eighteen, it was thought most
prudent by her mother to prevent our going too far at present, as a
marriage, if it was to take place, would be more convenient after my
return, when I should be, as I expected, set up in my business.
Perhaps, too, she thought my expectations not so well founded as I
imagined them to be.

My chief acquaintances at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph
Watson, and James Ralph, all lovers of reading. The two first were
clerks to an eminent scrivener or conveyancer in the town, Charles
Brogden; the other was clerk to a merchant. Watson was a pious,
sensible young man, of great integrity; the others rather more lax in
their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, as well as
Collins, had been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer.
Osborne was sensible, candid, frank; sincere and affectionate to his
friends; but, in literary matters, too fond of criticising. Ralph was
ingenious, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I
never knew a prettier talker. Both of them great admirers of poetry,
and began to try their hands in little pieces. Many pleasant walks we
four had together on Sundays into the woods, near Schuylkill, where we
read to one another, and conferr'd on what we read.

Ralph was inclin'd to pursue the study of poetry, not doubting but he
might become eminent in it, and make his fortune by it, alleging that
the best poets must, when they first began to write, make as many
faults as he did. Osborne dissuaded him, assur'd him he had no genius
for poetry, and advis'd him to think of nothing beyond the business he
was bred to; that, in the mercantile way, tho' he had no stock, he
might, by his diligence and punctuality, recommend himself to
employment as a factor, and in time acquire wherewith to trade on his
own account. I approv'd the amusing one's self with poetry now and
then, so far as to improve one's language, but no farther.

On this it was propos'd that we should each of us, at our next meeting,
produce a piece of our own composing, in order to improve by our mutual
observations, criticisms, and corrections. As language and expression
were what we had in view, we excluded all

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Illustrated by twenty-two Cuts on Wood.
Page 1
half bound 1 0 Wonders of the Horse, recorded in Anecdotes, Prose and Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Tales of the Robin & other Small Birds, in Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Instructive Conversation Cards, consisting .
Page 2
I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods.
Page 3
[Illustration] "If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be" as Poor Richard says, "the greatest prodigality;" since, as he elsewhere tells us, "Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough, always proves little enough.
Page 4
" [Illustration] 'Methinks I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no leisure?" I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, "Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Page 5
'So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful.
Page 6
Remember what poor Richard says, "Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
Page 7
Darton, Junr.
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'This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them.
Page 9
However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and, though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away, resolved to wear my old one a little longer.