The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 13


This petty estate would not have sufficed for their subsistence, had
they not added the trade of blacksmith, which was perpetuated in the
family down to my uncle's time, the eldest son having been uniformly
brought up to this employment: a custom which both he and my father
observed with respect to their eldest sons.

In the researches I made at Eaton, I found no account of their
births, marriages, and deaths, earlier than the year 1555; the
parish register not extending farther back than that period. This
register informed me, that I was the youngest son of the youngest
branch of the family, counting five generations. My grandfather,
Thomas, who was born in 1598, lived at Eaton till he was too old to
continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where
his son John, who was a dyer, resided, and with whom my father was
apprenticed. He died, and was buried there: we saw his monument in
1758. His eldest son lived in the family house at Eaton, which he
bequeathed, with the land belonging to it, to his only daughter; who,
in concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher of Wellingborough, afterwards
sold it to Mr. Estead, the present proprietor.

My grandfather had four surviving sons, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and
Josias. I shall give you such particulars of them as my memory will
furnish, not having my papers here, in which you will find a more
minute account, if they are not lost during my absence.

Thomas had learned the trade of a blacksmith under his father; but
possessing a good natural understanding, he improved it by study,
at the solicitation of a gentleman of the name of Palmer, who was
at that time the principal inhabitant of the village, and who
encouraged, in like manner, all my uncles to cultivate their minds.
Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions of a country
attorney; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the
village; and was one of the chief movers of every public enterprise,
as well relative to the county as the town of Northampton. A variety
of remarkable incidents were told us of him at Eaton. After enjoying
the esteem and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died, January 6, 1702,
precisely four years before I was born. The recital that was made
us of his life and character, by some aged persons of the village,
struck you, I remember, as extraordinary, from its analogy to what
you knew of myself. "Had he died," said you, "just four years later,
one might have supposed a transmigration of souls."

John, to the

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
My grandfather Thomas, who was born in 1598, lived at Ecton till he grew.
Page 24
He introduc'd me to his son, who receiv'd me civilly, gave me a breakfast, but told me he did not at present want a hand, being lately suppli'd with one; but there was another printer in town, lately set up,.
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All this seemed very reasonable.
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Page 41
They liv'd 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.
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I had by no means improv'd my fortune; but I had picked up some very ingenious acquaintance, whose conversation was of great advantage to me; and I had read considerably.
Page 57
Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb I have characteriz'd before.
Page 60
I am inclin'd to go with them, and follow my old employment.
Page 69
Such a conduct is easy for those who make virtue and themselves in countenance by examples of other truly great men, of whom patience is so often the characteristic.
Page 75
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Partaking of the Sacrament.
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Page 91
Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neighboring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences.
Page 92
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.
Page 105
And I found that a much greater number of them than I could have imagined, tho' against offensive war, were clearly for the defensive.
Page 126
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Page 134
He promised me that, if the masters would come to him at Trenton, where he should be in a few days on his march to New York, he would there deliver their men to them.
Page 143
In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr.
Page 149
Another paquet arriv'd; she too was detain'd; and, before we sail'd, a fourth was expected.
Page 158
When this act however came over, the proprietaries, counselled by Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal assent.