The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 8

generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into
scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early
projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge
of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows. By much
trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a
wharff there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large
heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and
which would very well suit our purpose. Accordingly, in the evening,
when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my play-fellows,
and working with them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or
three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharff.
The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones,
which were found in our wharff. Inquiry was made after the removers;
we were discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected by
our fathers; and though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine
convinced me that nothing was useful which was not honest.

I think you may like to know something of his person and character. He
had an excellent constitution of body, was of middle stature, but well
set, and very strong; he was ingenious, could draw prettily, was
skilled a little in music, and had a clear pleasing voice, so that when
he played psalm tunes on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimes
did in an evening after the business of the day was over, it was
extremely agreeable to hear. He had a mechanical genius too, and, on
occasion, was very handy in the use of other tradesmen's tools; but his
great excellence lay in a sound understanding and solid judgment in
prudential matters, both in private and publick affairs. In the
latter, indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had to
educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping him close to
his trade; but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading
people, who consulted him for his opinion in affairs of the town or of
the church he belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his
judgment and advice: he was also much consulted by private persons
about their affairs when any difficulty occurred, and frequently chosen
an arbitrator between contending parties.

At his table he liked to

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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

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Court de Gebelin 156 To Francis Hopkinson 158 To Francis Hopkinson .
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Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of many; _for in the affairs of this world men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it_; but a man's own care is profitable; for, _If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
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If our desires are to the things of this world, they are never to be satisfied.
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a man of true merit; and if you enter upon the government of the republic with a mind more sagacious than usual, I shall not wonder if you succeed in all your designs.
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* * * * * I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with your plan of living there; and I approve much of your conclusion, that, in the mean time, we should draw all the good we can from this world.
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Whereas he who is a votary of truth never hesitates for an answer, has never to rack his invention to make the sequel quadrate with the beginning of his story, nor obliged to burden his memory with minute circumstances, since truth speaks easily what it recollects, and repeats openly and frequently without varying facts, which liars cannot always do, even though gifted with a good memory.
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But when the embargo on wit was taken off, _Sir Richard Steel_ and _Mr.
Page 86
GAZETTEER, I am an honest tradesman, who never meant harm to anybody.
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Edwards's late book, entitled, 'Some Thoughts concerning the present Revival of Religion in New-England,' from 367 to 375; and when you judge of others, if you can perceive the fruit to be good, don't terrify yourself that the tree may be evil; but be assured it is not so, for you know who has said, 'Men do not gather grapes off thorns, and figs off thistles.
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"MY DEAR LORD, "I am now waiting here only for a wind to waft me to America, but cannot leave this happy island and my friends in it without extreme regret, though I am going to a country and a people that I love.
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Geography, Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Astronomy.
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From these _data_ his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense necessary to kill us all and conquer our whole territory.
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wherein, after wishing for a warm house in a country town, an easy horse, some good authors, ingenious and cheerful companions, a pudding on Sundays, with stout ale and a bottle of Burgundy, &c.
Page 179
end of the iron, made denser there and rarer at the other.
Page 180
Besides this, I can conceive, that in the first assemblage of the particles of which the earth is composed, each brought its portion of loose heat that had been connected with it, and the whole, when pressed together, produced the internal fire that still subsists.
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All the houses were thrown down throughout the island.
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of the fluids in an animal quickens the separation, and reproduces more of the fire, as exercise; that all the fire emitted by wood and other combustibles, when burning, existed in them before in a solid state, being only discovered when separating; that some fossils, as sulphur, seacoal, &c.
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What signifies philosophy that does not apply to some use? May we not learn from hence that black clothes are not so fit to wear in.