The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 93

whether a single copy of them now exists.

During the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause exceedingly.
One of our adversaries having heard him preach a sermon that was much
admired, thought he had somewhere read the sermon before, or at least a
part of it. On search he found that part quoted at length, in one of
the British Reviews, from a discourse of Dr. Foster's. This detection
gave many of our party disgust, who accordingly abandoned his cause,
and occasion'd our more speedy discomfiture in the synod. I stuck by
him, however, as I rather approv'd his giving us good sermons compos'd
by others, than bad ones of his own manufacture, tho' the latter was
the practice of our common teachers. He afterward acknowledg'd to me
that none of those he preach'd were his own; adding, that his memory
was such as enabled him to retain and repeat any sermon after one
reading only. On our defeat, he left us in search elsewhere of better
fortune, and I quitted the congregation, never joining it after, tho' I
continu'd many years my subscription for the support of its ministers.

I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made myself so much a
master of the French as to be able to read the books with ease. I then
undertook the Italian. An acquaintance, who was also learning it, us'd
often to tempt me to play chess with him. Finding this took up too
much of the time I had to spare for study, I at length refus'd to play
any more, unless on this condition, that the victor in every game
should have a right to impose a task, either in parts of the grammar to
be got by heart, or in translations, etc., which tasks the vanquish'd
was to perform upon honour, before our next meeting. As we play'd
pretty equally, we thus beat one another into that language. I
afterwards with a little painstaking, acquir'd as much of the Spanish
as to read their books also.

I have already mention'd that I had only one year's instruction in a
Latin school, and that when very young, after which I neglected that
language entirely. But, when I had attained an acquaintance with the
French, Italian, and Spanish, I was surpriz'd to find, on looking over
a Latin Testament, that I understood so much more of that language than
I had imagined, which encouraged me to apply myself again to the study
of it, and I met with more success,

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Page 1
In London he actively opposed the proposed Stamp Act, but lost the credit for this and much of his popularity through his securing for a friend the office of stamp agent in America.
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young, and carried his wife with three children into New England, about 1682.
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" And he might have coupled with.
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Hamilton and his son (it was James, since governor) return'd from Newcastle to Philadelphia, the father being recall'd by a great fee to plead for a seized ship; and, just before we sail'd, Colonel French coming on board, and showing me great respect, I was more taken notice of, and, with my friend Ralph, invited by the other gentlemen to come into the cabin, there being now room.
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" Some of his reasonings not appearing to me well founded, I wrote a little metaphysical piece in which I made remarks on them.
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In the mean time, Keimer's credit and business declining daily, he was at last forc'd to sell his printing house to satisfy his creditors.
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Godfrey manag'd our little treaty.
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All that has happened to you is also connected with the detail of the manners and situation of a rising people; and in this respect I do not think that the writings of Caesar and Tacitus can be more interesting to a true judge of human nature and.
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"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest! strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates.
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8 } 9 } Work.
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"[9] [9] In the Middle Ages, Franklin, if such a phenomenon as Franklin were possible in the Middle Ages, would probably have been the founder of a monastic order.
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I did not, however, aim at gaining his favour by paying any servile respect to him, but, after some time, took this other method.
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colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently strong to have defended themselves; there would then have been no need of troops from England; of course, the subsequent pretence for taxing America, and the bloody contest it occasioned, would have been avoided.
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Quincy labored hard with the governor to obtain his assent, but he was obstinate.
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I commiserated their case, and resolved to endeavor procuring them some relief.
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I had had the vanity to ascribe all to my Dialogue; however, not knowing but that he might be in the right, I let him enjoy his opinion, which I take to be generally the best way in such cases.
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I thought so; but I was not then so well acquainted with his lordship's character, of which indecision was one of the strongest features.
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I set out immediately, with my son, for London, and we only stopt a little by the way to view Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, and Lord Pembroke's house and gardens, with his very curious antiquities at Wilton.
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from Yale and Harvard.