The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 66

and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other
countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so
generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.

Memo. Thus far was written with the intention express'd in the
beginning and therefore contains several little family anecdotes of no
importance to others. What follows was written many years after in
compliance with the advice contain'd in these letters, and accordingly
intended for the public. The affairs of the Revolution occasion'd the
interruption.

Letter from Mr. Abel James, with Notes of my Life
(received in Paris).

"MY DEAR AND HONORED FRIEND: I have often been desirous of writing to
thee, but could not be reconciled to the thought that the letter might
fall into the hands of the British, lest some printer or busy-body
should publish some part of the contents, and give our friend pain, and
myself censure.

"Some time since there fell into my hands, to my great joy, about
twenty-three sheets in thy own handwriting, containing an account of
the parentage and life of thyself, directed to thy son, ending in the
year 1730, with which there were notes, likewise in thy writing; a copy
of which I inclose, in hopes it may be a means, if thou continued it up
to a later period, that the first and latter part may be put together;
and if it is not yet continued, I hope thee will not delay it. Life is
uncertain, as the preacher tells us; and what will the world say if
kind, humane, and benevolent Ben. Franklin should leave his friends
and the world deprived of so pleasing and profitable a work; a work
which would be useful and entertaining not only to a few, but to
millions? The influence writings under that class have on the minds of
youth is very great, and has nowhere appeared to me so plain, as in our
public friend's journals. It almost insensibly leads the youth into
the resolution of endeavoring to become as good and eminent as the
journalist. Should thine, for instance, when published (and I think it
could not fail of it), lead the youth to equal the industry and
temperance of thy early youth, what a blessing with that class would
such a work be! I know of no character living, nor many of them put
together, who has so much

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 5
Priestley 134 To the same 136 To Mr.
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Vaughan 192 To the President of Congress 193 To Mrs.
Page 15
"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 30
It is by the help of geometry the ingenious mariner is instructed how to guide a ship through the vast ocean, from one part of the.
Page 36
A very large bed, that will admit a removal so distant from the first situation as to be cool and sweet, may in a degree answer the same end.
Page 39
I found, however, by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, one a _cousin_, the other a _moscheto_; in which dispute they spent their time, seemingly as regardless of the shortness of life as if they had been sure of living a month.
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[3] .
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Though there are numbers of shopkeepers who scorn the mean vice of lying, and whose word may very safely be relied on, yet there are too many who will endeavour, and backing their falsities with asseverations, pawn their salvation to raise their prices.
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In this reign a licenser was appointed for the stage and the press; no plays were encouraged but what had a tendency to debase the minds of the people.
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I hope I shall therefore be able to write to you upon it soon after my arrival.
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"This is unexpectedly grown a long letter.
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I only wonder how it happened that they and my other friends in England came to be such good creatures in the midst of so perverse a generation.
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"The Marquis de Lafayette, who loves to be employed in our affairs, and is often very useful, has lately had several conversations with the ministers and persons concerned in forming new regulations respecting the commerce between our two countries, which are not yet concluded.
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' I have no copy of these remarks at hand, and forget how the saying was introduced, that it is better a thousand guilty persons should escape than one innocent suffer.
Page 170
I have great pleasure in the rest of my grandchildren, who are now in number eight, and all promising, the youngest only six months old, but shows signs of great good-nature.
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I had before, in the public papers, met with the afflicting news that letter contained.
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Above twelve miles from the sea the earth gaped and spouted out, with a prodigious force, vast quantities of water into the air, yet the greatest violences were among the mountains and rocks; and it is a general opinion, that the nearer the mountains, the greater the shake, and that the cause thereof lay there.
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* * * * * _To David Rittenhouse.
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of it; but does not extend to the making or creating new matter, or annihilating the old.
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There is another curious question I will just venture to touch upon, viz.