The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 72

that is innocent to man, has added so much to the
fair side of a life otherwise too much darkened by anxiety and too much
injured by pain. In the hope, therefore, that you will listen to the
prayer addressed to you in this letter, I beg to subscribe myself, my
dearest sir, etc., etc.,

"Signed, BENJ. VAUGHAN."



Continuation of the Account of my Life, begun at Passy, near Paris,
1784.

It is some time since I receiv'd the above letters, but I have been too
busy till now to think of complying with the request they contain. It
might, too, be much better done if I were at home among my papers,
which would aid my memory, and help to ascertain dates; but my return
being uncertain and having just now a little leisure, I will endeavor
to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get home, it may there
be corrected and improv'd.

Not having any copy here of what is already written, I know not whether
an account is given of the means I used to establish the Philadelphia
public library, which, from a small beginning, is now become so
considerable, though I remember to have come down to near the time of
that transaction (1730). I will therefore begin here with an account of
it, which may be struck out if found to have been already given.

At the time I establish'd myself in Pennsylvania, there was not a good
bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston.
In New York and Philad'a the printers were indeed stationers; they sold
only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books.
Those who lov'd reading were oblig'd to send for their books from
England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had left the
alehouse, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in. I
propos'd that we should all of us bring our books to that room, where
they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become
a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he
wish'd to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time
contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd to render
the benefit from books more common, by commencing a public subscription
library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be
necessary, and got a skilful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put
the whole

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 22
So I sold some of my books to raise a little money, was taken on board privately, and, as we had a fair wind, in three days I found myself in New York, near three hundred.
Page 29
Walking down again toward the river, and looking in the faces of people, I met a young Quaker man, whose countenance I liked, and, accosting him, requested he would tell me where a stranger could get lodging.
Page 38
I used to work him so with my Socratic method, and had trepanned[56] him so often by questions apparently so distant from any point we had in hand and yet by degrees led to the point, and brought him into difficulties and contradictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and would hardly answer me the most common question without asking first, "What do you intend to infer from that?" However, it gave him so high an opinion of my abilities in the confuting way that he seriously proposed my being his colleague in a project he had of setting up a new sect.
Page 46
They lived together some time; but, he being still out of business, and her income not sufficient to maintain them with her child, he took a resolution of going from London to try for a country school, which he thought himself well qualified to undertake, as he wrote an excellent hand, and was a master of arithmetic and accounts.
Page 47
I endeavored to convince him that the bodily strength afforded by beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of the barley dissolved in the water of which it was made; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread; and therefore, if he would eat that with a pint of water, it would give him more strength than a quart of beer.
Page 49
She was a widow, an elderly woman; had been bred a Protestant, being a clergyman's daughter, but was converted to the Catholic religion by her husband, whose memory she much revered; had lived much among people of distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far back as the time of Charles II.
Page 62
It was a folio, pro patria size, in pica, with long primer notes.
Page 64
He interested himself for me strongly in that instance, as he did in many others afterward, continuing his patronage till his death.
Page 87
I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner: the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly; the modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong; and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.
Page 92
In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, South Carolina, where a printer was wanting.
Page 102
His answer was: "At any other time, friend Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but not now, for thee seems to be out of thy right senses.
Page 110
Like a man traveling in foggy weather; those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them.
Page 117
He then desired I would furnish him with a list of the names of persons I knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited.
Page 127
Andrew Ellicott," says Mr.
Page 129
The British government, not choosing to permit the union of the colonies as proposed at Albany, and to trust that union with their defense, lest they should thereby grow too military and feel their own strength, suspicions and jealousies at this time being entertained of them, sent over General Braddock with two regiments of regular English troops for that purpose.
Page 133
If this method of obtaining the wagons and horses is not likely to succeed, I am obliged to send word to the general in fourteen days; and I suppose Sir John St.
Page 134
good butter, 2 doz.
Page 159
He was against an immediate complaint to government, and thought the proprietaries should first be personally applied to, who might possibly be induced by the interposition and persuasion of some private friends, to accommodate matters amicably.
Page 175
The convention, though much given to acting on Franklin's advice, was all but unanimous in defeating this motion.
Page 176
On this basis how do you rank the _Autobiography_ in usefulness? ECLECTIC ENGLISH CLASSICS =Addison's= Sir Roger de Coverley Papers (Underwood) =Arnold's= Sohrab and Rustum (Tanner) =Bunyan's= Pilgrim's Progress (Jones and Arnold) =Burke's= Conciliation with America (Clark) Speeches at Bristol (Bergin) =Burns's= Poems--Selections (Venable) =Byron's= Childe Harold (Canto IV), Prisoner of Chillon, Mazeppa, and other Selections (Venable) =Carlyle's= Essay on Burns (Miller) =Chaucer's= Prologue and Knighte's Tale (Van Dyke) =Coleridge's= Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Garrigues) =Cooper's= Pilot (Watrous) The Spy (Barnes) =Defoe's= History of the Plague in London (Syle) Robinson Crusoe (Stephens) =De Quincey's= Revolt of the Tartars =Dickens's= Christmas Carol and Cricket on the Hearth (Wannamaker) Tale of Two Cities (Pearce) =Dryden's= Palamon and Arcite (Bates) =Eliot's= Silas Marner (McKitrick) =Emerson's= American Scholar, Self-Reliance, Compensation (Smith) =Franklin's= Autobiography (Reid) =Goldsmith's= Vicar of Wakefield (Hansen) Deserted Village (See Gray's Elegy) =Gray's= Elegy in a Country Churchyard, and =Goldsmith's= Deserted Village (Van Dyke) =Hughes's= Tom Brown's School Days (Gosling).