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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 20

with my cousin Samuel, son of my
uncle Benjamin, who had learned this trade in London, and had
established himself at Boston. But the premium he required for my
apprenticeship displeasing my father, I was recalled home.

From my earliest years I had been passionately fond of reading, and I
laid out in books all the money I could procure. I was particularly
pleased with accounts of voyages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's
works in small separate volumes. These I afterwards sold in order
to buy an historical collection by R. Burton, which consisted of
small cheap volumes, amounting in all to about forty or fifty. My
father's little library was principally made up of books of practical
and polemical theology. I read the greatest part of them. I have
since often regretted that at a time when I had so great a thirst
for knowledge, more eligible books had not fallen into my hands, as
it was then a point decided that I should not be educated for the
church. There was also among my father's books, Plutarch's Lives,
in which I read continually, and I still regard as advantageously
employed the time devoted to them. I found besides a work of De
Foe's, entitled an Essay on Projects, from which, perhaps, I derived
impressions that have since influenced some of the principal events
of my life.

My inclination for books at last determined my father to make me
a printer, though he had already a son in that profession. My
brother had returned from England in 1717, with a press and types,
in order to establish a printing-house at Boston. This business
pleased me much better than that of my father, though I had still a
predilection for the sea. To prevent the effects which might result
from this inclination, my father was impatient to see me engaged
with my brother. I held back for some time; at length, however, I
suffered myself to be persuaded, and signed my indentures, being then
only twelve years of age. It was agreed that I should serve as an
apprentice to the age of twenty-one, and should receive journeyman's
wages only during the last year.

In a very short time I made great proficiency in this business, and
became very serviceable to my brother. I had now an opportunity of
procuring better books. The acquaintance I necessarily formed with
booksellers' apprentices, enabled me to borrow a volume now and then,
which I never failed to return punctually and without injury. How
often has it happened to me to pass the greater part of the night
in reading by my bed-side,

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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and T.
Page 1
DARTON_, And of most Booksellers in the United Kingdom.
Page 2
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
Page 3
[Illustration: Published by W.
Page 4
" And again, "He that by the plow would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.
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1, 1805.
Page 6
" Again, "It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance;" and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanack.
Page 7
" And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.