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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 324

in your profession, and you will be
learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober
and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and
you will be happy. At least, you will, by such conduct, stand the
best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both!
being ever your affectionate friend,

B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

[180] From the Gentleman's Magazine for May 1789. _Editor._




TO DOCTOR MATHER OF BOSTON[181].

_Effect of early Impressions on the Mind._


REV. SIR,

I received your kind letter, with your excellent advice to the people
of the United States, which I read with great pleasure, and hope it
will be duly regarded. Such writings, though they may be lightly
passed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impression on
one active mind in a hundred, the effects may be considerable.

Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates
to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy,
I met with a book entitled, "Essays to do good," which I think was
written by your father. It had been so little regarded by a former
possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder
gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my
conduct through life: for I have always set a greater value on the
character of a doer of good, than any other kind of reputation; and
if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public
owes the advantage of it to that book.

You mention your being in your seventy-eighth year. I am in my
seventy ninth. We are grown old together. It is now more than sixty
years since I left Boston; but I remember well both your father and
grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them in
their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning
of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pensylvania. He
received me in his library; and, on my taking leave, showed me a
shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was
crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew,
he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when
he said hastily, "Stoop, stoop!" I did not understand him, till I
felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any
occasion of giving instruction; and upon this he said

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