The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 85

in other points of vice and
virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax
was best"; for something, that pretended to be reason, was every now
and then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of
myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known,
would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended
with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent
man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to Order; and now I
am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it.
But, on the whole, tho' I never arrived at the perfection I had been so
ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the
endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been
if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by
imitating the engraved copies, tho' they never reach the wish'd-for
excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavor, and
is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little
artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor ow'd the constant
felicity of his life, down to his 79th year, in which this is written.
What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence;
but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to
help his bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he ascribes
his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good
constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his
circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge
that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some
degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the
confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon
him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even
in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness
of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his
company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger
acquaintance. I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may
follow the example and reap the benefit.

It will be remark'd that, tho' my scheme was not wholly without
religion, there was in it no mark of any of

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 1
He died on April 17, 1790.
Page 3
From these notes I learned that the family had lived in the same village, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for three hundred years, and how much longer he knew not (perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that before was the name of an order of people, was assumed by them as a surname when others took surnames all over the kingdom), on a freehold of about thirty acres, aided by the smith's business, which had continued in the family till his time, the eldest son being always bred to that business; a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest sons.
Page 9
This has been a convenience to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, tastes and appetites.
Page 21
So we dropt anchor, and swung round towards the shore.
Page 27
About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offer'd for Boston.
Page 32
I knew he was a good swimmer, and so was under little concern about him; but before he could get round to lay hold of the boat, we had with a few strokes pull'd her out of his reach; and ever when he drew near the boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few strokes to slide her away from him.
Page 41
This I esteem'd a great advantage, and I made as much use of it as I could.
Page 47
him with, and, when they expected nothing but the treat, every man at the first remove found under his plate an order on a banker for the full amount of the unpaid remainder with interest.
Page 61
As soon as he was gone, I recurr'd to my two friends; and because I would not give an unkind preference to either, I took half of what each had offered and I wanted of one, and half of the other; paid off the company's debts, and went on with the business in my own name, advertising that the partnership was dissolved.
Page 64
Read's family, who all had a regard for me from the time of my first lodging in their house.
Page 79
| | | * | | | | | | S.
Page 82
{ 12 } Read, or overlook my { 1 } accounts, and dine.
Page 86
In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore, every one's interest to be virtuous who wish'd to be happy even in this world; and I should, from this circumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich merchants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest instruments for the management of their affairs, and such being so rare), have endeavored to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man's fortune as those of probity and integrity.
Page 93
I then undertook the Italian.
Page 103
my being established in Pennsylvania.
Page 108
" "I see," says he, "you have improv'd by being so long in the Assembly; your equivocal project would be just a match for their wheat or other grain.
Page 110
Peace being concluded, and the association business therefore at an end, I turn'd my thoughts again to the affair of establishing an academy.
Page 112
I would not, however, insinuate that my ambition was not flatter'd by all these promotions; it certainly was; for, considering my low beginning, they were great things to me; and they were still more pleasing, as being so many spontaneous testimonies of the public good opinion, and by me entirely unsolicited.
Page 119
"That the mud, when rak'd up, be not left in heaps to be spread abroad again by the wheels of carriages and trampling of horses, but that the scavengers be provided with bodies of carts, not plac'd high upon wheels, but low upon sliders, with lattice bottoms, which,.
Page 124
One of his friends, who sat next to me, says, "Franklin, why do you continue to side with these damn'd Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The proprietor would give you a good price.