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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 23

them into verse; and after a time, when I had sufficiently
forgotten them, I again converted them into prose.

Sometimes also I mingled all my summaries together; and a few weeks
after, endeavoured to arrange them in the best order, before I
attempted to form the periods and complete the essays. This I did
with a view of acquiring method in the arrangement of my thoughts.
On comparing afterwards my performance with the original, many
faults were apparent, which I corrected; but I had sometimes the
satisfaction to think, that, in certain particulars of little
importance, I had been fortunate enough to improve the order of
thought or the style; and this encouraged me to hope that I should
succeed, in time, in writing decently in the English language, which
was one of the great objects of my ambition.

The time which I devoted to these exercises, and to reading, was
the evening after my day's labour was finished, the morning before
it began, and Sundays when I could escape attending divine service.
While I lived with my father, he had insisted on my punctual
attendance on public worship, and I still indeed considered it as a
duty, but a duty which I thought I had no time to practise.

When about sixteen years of age, a work of Tyron's fell into my
hands, in which he recommends vegetable diet. I determined to observe
it. My brother being a bachelor, did not keep house, but boarded
with his apprentices in a neighbouring family. My refusing to eat
animal food was found inconvenient, and I was often scolded for my
singularity. I attended to the mode in which Tryon prepared some of
his dishes, particularly how to boil potatoes and rice, and make
hasty puddings. I then said to my brother, that if he would allow
me per week half what he paid for my board, I would undertake to
maintain myself. The offer was instantly embraced, and I soon found
that of what he gave me, I was able to save half. This was a new fund
for the purchase of books; and other advantages resulted to me from
the plan. When my brother and his workmen left the printing-house
to go to dinner, I remained behind; and dispatching my frugal meal,
which frequently consisted of a biscuit only, or a slice of bread and
a bunch of raisins, or a bun from the pastry-cook's, with a glass of
water, I had the rest of the time, till their return, for study; and
my progress therein was proportioned to that clearness of ideas, and
quickness of conception,

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As a discoverer of nature's laws and their application to man's use, Franklin, the Newton of electricity, appealed to fact and experiment rather than authority and suggested that education in science may serve, in addition to making the world more comfortable, to make it more.
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" (_Works of Robert Boyle_, London, 1772, I, clxvii.
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I continu'd thus employ'd in my Father's Business for two Years, that is till I was 12 Years old; and my Brother John, who was bred to that Business having left my Father, married and set up for himself at Rhodeisland, there was all Appearance that I was destin'd to supply his Place and be a Tallow Chandler.
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Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condition! Of thy self thou wouldst do no Harm, but much Harm is done with thee! Thou art accused of many Mischiefs; thou art said to administer Drunkenness, Poison, and broken Heads: But none praise thee for the good Things thou yieldest! Shouldest thou produce double Beer, nappy Ale, stallcop Cyder, or Cyder mull'd, fine Punch, or cordial Tiff; yet for all these.
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I am, my dear child, your affectionate father, B.
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I think this is a moderate allowance, taking one family with another; for though I believe some consume less, I know that many consume a great deal more.
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