The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 46

matras, a table
with a crucifix and book, a stool which she gave me to sit on, and a
picture over the chimney of Saint Veronica displaying her handkerchief,
with the miraculous figure of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she
explained to me with great seriousness. She look'd pale, but was never
sick; and I give it as another instance on how small an income life and
health may be supported.

At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaintance with an
ingenious young man, one Wygate, who, having wealthy relations, had
been better educated than most printers; was a tolerable Latinist,
spoke French, and lov'd reading. I taught him and a friend of his to
swim at twice going into the river, and they soon became good swimmers.
They introduc'd me to some gentlemen from the country, who went to
Chelsea by water to see the College and Don Saltero's curiosities. In
our return, at the request of the company, whose curiosity Wygate had
excited, I stripped and leaped into the river, and swam from near
Chelsea to Blackfryar's, performing on the way many feats of activity,
both upon and under water, that surpris'd and pleas'd those to whom
they were novelties.

I had from a child been ever delighted with this exercise, had studied
and practis'd all Thevenot's motions and positions, added some of my
own, aiming at the graceful and easy as well as the useful. All these
I took this occasion of exhibiting to the company, and was much
flatter'd by their admiration; and Wygate, who was desirous of becoming
a master, grew more and more attach'd to me on that account, as well as
from the similarity of our studies. He at length proposed to me
travelling all over Europe together, supporting ourselves everywhere by
working at our business. I was once inclined to it; but, mentioning it
to my good friend Mr. Denham, with whom I often spent an hour when I
had leisure, he dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only of
returning to Pennsilvania, which he was now about to do.

I must record one trait of this good man's character. He had formerly
been in business at Bristol, but failed in debt to a number of people,
compounded and went to America. There, by a close application to
business as a merchant, he acquir'd a plentiful fortune in a few years.
Returning to England in the ship with me, he invited his old creditors
to an entertainment, at which he thank'd them for the easy composition
they had favored

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

Page 0
" _This Day is Published, Price 5s.
Page 1
DARTON_, And of most Booksellers in the United Kingdom.
Page 2
I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods.
Page 3
Darton, Junr.
Page 4
" II.
Page 5
" You may think perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; but remember, "Many a little makes a mickle.
Page 6
"If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing," as Poor Richard says; and, indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again.
Page 7
But, ah! think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty, If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor pitiful sneaking excuses, and, by degrees, come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for, "The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt," as Poor Richard says; and again, to the same purpose, "Lying rides upon Debt's back:" whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living.
Page 8
When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as Poor Richard says, "Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.
Page 9
Page 9, "grevious" changed to "grievous" (much more grievous) Page 11, "waisting" changed to "wasting" (wasting time must be) Page 12, "mak" changed to "make" (We may make).