Vie de Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome I Suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 126

disoient ces
petites créatures: mais comme la vivacité qui leur est propre, les
fesoit parler trois ou quatre à la fois, je ne pus pas entendre bien
clairement leurs discours. Je compris seulement, par quelques
expressions interrompues, que je saisis de temps en temps, qu'elles
disputoient avec chaleur sur le mérite de deux musiciens étrangers, dont
l'un étoit un cousin, et l'autre un maringouin. Elles passoient leur
temps dans cette dispute, en paroissant aussi peu songer à la brièveté
de leur existence, que si elles avoient été sûres de vivre encore un
mois.--«Heureux peuple! dis-je en moi-même, vous vivez certainement sous
un gouvernement sage, équitable et doux, puisque vous n'avez à vous
plaindre d'aucun abus, et que l'unique sujet de vos contestations est la
perfection ou l'imperfection d'une musique étrangère.»

Je les laissai là, pour tourner la tête du côté d'un vieillard à cheveux
blancs, qui, seul sur une autre feuille, se parloit à lui-même. Son
soliloque m'amusa; et je l'ai écrit dans l'espoir qu'il pourra aussi
amuser la femme à qui je dois le plus délicieux de tous les plaisirs,
celui de sa société et de l'harmonie céleste qu'elle me fait entendre.

«L'opinion, dit-il, des savans philosophes de notre espèce, qui ont
fleuri long-temps avant ce temps-ci, étoit que ce vaste monde, qu'on
nomme _le Moulin-Joli_, ne pourroit pas subsister plus de dix-huit
heures; et je pense que cette opinion n'étoit pas sans fondement,
puisque par le mouvement apparent du grand luminaire, qui donne la vie à
toute la nature, et qui depuis que j'existe a, d'une manière sensible,
considérablement décliné vers l'océan[61], qui borne cette terre, il
faut qu'à cette époque, il termine son cours, s'éteigne dans les eaux
qui nous environnent, et laisse le monde dans le froid et dans les
ténèbres, qui produiront nécessairement une mort et une destruction
universelle.

[61] La Seine.

»J'ai déjà vécu sept de ces heures, long âge, qui n'est pas moins de
quatre cent vingt minutes. Combien peu d'entre nous existent aussi
long-temps! J'ai vu des générations naître, fleurir et disparoître. Mes
amis actuels sont les enfans et les petits-enfans de mes premiers amis,
qui, hélas! ne sont plus, et que je suivrai bientôt; car, quoique je me
porte bien, je ne puis pas m'attendre, suivant le cours de la nature, à
vivre encore plus de sept ou huit minutes. À quoi me servent à présent
tous mes travaux, tous mes soins, pour amasser sur cette feuille une
provision de rosée, dont je n'aurai pas le temps de jouir? Qu'importent
toutes les querelles politiques, dans lesquelles je me suis engagé pour
l'avantage de mes compatriotes qui habitent sur ce

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 3
This good fortune, when I reflect on it, which is frequently the case, has induced me sometimes to say, that if it were left to my.
Page 23
He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls.
Page 39
6d.
Page 48
At length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas instead of discharging his debts he went out of town, hid his gown in a furz bush, and walked to London, where, having no friend to advise him, he fell into bad company, soon spent his guineas, found no means of being introduced among the players, grew necessitous, pawned his clothes, and wanted bread.
Page 50
his son; had prevailed on him to abstain long from dram-drinking, and he hoped might break him of that wretched habit entirely when we came to be so closely connected.
Page 51
My London pamphlet (printed in 1725)--which had for its motto these lines of Dryden: "Whatever is, is right.
Page 67
" The foregoing letter, and the minutes accompanying it, being shown to a friend, I received from him the following: _From Mr.
Page 86
I had not been early accustomed to _method_, and having an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method.
Page 87
But, on the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, though they may never reach the wished-for excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavour, and is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.
Page 89
I soon found the advantage of this change in my manners; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly.
Page 93
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 neighbouring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences.
Page 98
Our articles of agreement obliged every member to keep always in good order and fit for use a certain number of leathern buckets, with strong bags and baskets (for packing and transporting goods), which were to be brought to every fire; and we agreed about once a month to spend a social evening together in discoursing and communicating such ideas as occurred to us upon the subject of fires as might be useful in our conduct on such occasions.
Page 99
Whitefield, who had made himself remarkable there as an itinerant preacher.
Page 131
We had one swivel gun, which we mounted on one of the angles, and fired it as soon as fixed, to let the Indians know, if any were within hearing, that we had such pieces; and thus our fort (if that name may be given to so miserable a stockade) was finished in a week, though it rained so hard every other day that the men could not well work.
Page 143
General Shirley, on whom the command of the army devolved upon the death of Braddock, would, in my opinion, if continued in place, have made a much better campaign than that of Loudon in 1756, which was frivolous, expensive, and disgraceful to our nation beyond conception.
Page 144
" I assured him that was not my case, and that I had not pocketed a farthing; but he appeared clearly not to believe me; and, indeed, I afterward learned, that immense fortunes are often made in such employments: as to my balance, I am not paid it to this day, of which more hereafter.
Page 177
But I am also under obligations to the state of Massachusetts for having, unasked, appointed me formerly their agent in England, with a handsome salary, which continued some years; and although I accidentally lost in their service, by transmitting Governor Hutchinson's letters, much more than the amount of what they gave me, I do not think that ought in the least to diminish my gratitude.
Page 199
_ No.
Page 201
House of Commons.
Page 211
The Six Nations will not defile their own land with the blood of men that come unarmed to ask for peace.