The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 92

honest but ignorant in matters of account; and,
tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no account from him,
nor any satisfactory state of our partnership while he lived. On his
decease, the business was continued by his widow, who, being born and
bred in Holland, where, as I have been inform'd, the knowledge of
accounts makes a part of female education, she not only sent me as
clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but continued
to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter
afterwards, and managed the business with such success, that she not
only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration
of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and
establish her son in it.

I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommending that branch
of education for our young females, as likely to be of more use to them
and their children, in case of widowhood, than either music or dancing,
by preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and
enabling them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, with
establish'd correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to undertake and
go on with it, to the lasting advantage and enriching of the family.

About the year 1734 there arrived among us from Ireland a young
Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who delivered with a good voice,
and apparently extempore, most excellent discourses, which drew
together considerable numbers of different persuasion, who join'd in
admiring them. Among the rest, I became one of his constant hearers,
his sermons pleasing me, as they had little of the dogmatical kind, but
inculcated strongly the practice of virtue, or what in the religious
stile are called good works. Those, however, of our congregation, who
considered themselves as orthodox Presbyterians, disapprov'd his
doctrine, and were join'd by most of the old clergy, who arraign'd him
of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to have him silenc'd. I became
his zealous partisan, and contributed all I could to raise a party in
his favour, and we combated for him a while with some hopes of success.
There was much scribbling pro and con upon the occasion; and finding
that, tho' an elegant preacher, he was but a poor writer, I lent him my
pen and wrote for him two or three pamphlets, and one piece in the
Gazette of April, 1735. Those pamphlets, as is generally the case with
controversial writings, tho' eagerly read at the time, were soon out of
vogue, and I question

Last Page Next Page

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 14
_Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hopes will die fasting_.
Page 24
' "'Indeed, they say the place is very unhealthy, and that may excuse you.
Page 39
Written in 1778.
Page 84
" The race of these Godly men in Scotland are probably extinct, or their principles abandoned, since, as far as that nation had a hand in promoting the war against the colonies, prizes and confiscations are believed to have been a considerable motive.
Page 87
angry, forbid me the house, and told his daughter that if she married me he would not give her a farthing.
Page 97
"I don't doubt but Benny will do very well when he gets to work: but I fear his things from England may be so long a coming as to occasion the loss of the rent.
Page 114
I have always great pleasure in hearing from you, in learning that you are well, and that you continue your experiments.
Page 123
[19] With safety.
Page 130
"B.
Page 134
Is it not the Bible of the Massachusetts language, translated by Elliot, and printed in New-England about the middle of the last century? I know this Bible, but have never heard of one in the Virginian language.
Page 182
starting game for philosophers, let me try if I can start a little for you.
Page 190
We shall only instance the fate of Catania, one of the most famous, ancient, and flourishing cities in the kingdom, the residence of several monarchs, and a university.
Page 191
All the houses were thrown down throughout the island.
Page 195
can drive into it? Is it not thus that the surface of this globe is continually heated by such repeated vibrations in the day, and cooled by the escape of the heat when those vibrations are discontinued in the night, or intercepted and reflected by clouds? Is it not thus that fire is amassed, and makes the greatest part of the substance of combustible bodies? Perhaps, when this globe was first formed, and its original particles took their place at certain distances from the centre, in proportion to their greater or less gravity, the fluid fire, attracted towards that centre, might in great part be obliged, as lightest, to take place above the rest, and thus form the sphere of fire above supposed, which would afterward be continually diminishing by the substance it afforded to organized bodies, and the quantity restored to it again by the burning or other separating of the parts of those bodies? Is not the natural heat of animals thus produced, by separating in digestion the parts of food, and setting their fire at liberty? Is it not this sphere of fire which kindles the wandering globes that sometimes pass through it in our course round the sun, have their surface kindled by it, and burst when their included air is greatly rarefied by the heat on their burning surfaces? May it not have been from such considerations that the ancient philosophers supposed a sphere of fire to exist above the air of our atmosphere? B.
Page 203
If there was a general calm over the face of the globe, it must be by the air's moving in every part as fast as the earth or sea it covers.
Page 205
Philadelphia, Feb.
Page 206
Nothing certainly can be more improving to a searcher into nature than objections judiciously made to his opinion, taken up, perhaps, too hastily: for such objections oblige him to restudy the point, consider every circumstance carefully, compare facts, make experiments, weigh arguments, and be slow in drawing conclusions.
Page 216
What first gave me this idea was the following circumstance.
Page 217
Thus, to produce our northeast storms, I suppose some great heat and rarefaction of the air in or about the Gulf of Mexico; the air, thence rising, has its place supplied by the next more northern, cooler, and, therefore, denser and heavier air; that, being in motion, is followed.
Page 235
100 94 79 2d " 104 93 78 3d " 104 91 77 4th " 106 87 79 5th " .