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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 19

procura bientôt un singulier plaisir. Je m'en servois sans
cesse, et je devins très-adroit à obtenir, même des personnes d'un
esprit supérieur, des concessions, dont elles ne prévoyoient pas les
conséquences. Ainsi, je les embarrassois dans des difficultés y dont
elles ne pouvoient pas se dégager, et je remportois des victoires, que
ne méritoient ni ma cause, ni mes raisons.

Je continuai pendant quelques années à me servir de cette méthode. Mais
ensuite je l'abandonnai peu-à-peu, conservant seulement l'habitude de
m'exprimer avec une modeste défiance, et de n'employer jamais, pour une
proposition qui pouvoit être contestée, les mots _certainement_,
_indubitablement_, ou tout autre qui pût me donner l'air d'être
obstinément attaché à mon opinion. Je disois plutôt: j'imagine, je
suppose, il me semble que telle chose est comme cela par telle et telle
raison; ou bien: cela est ainsi, si je ne me trompe.

Cette habitude m'a été, je crois, très-avantageuse, quand j'ai eu besoin
d'inculquer mon opinion dans l'esprit des autres, et de leur persuader
de suivre les mesures que j'avois proposées. Puisque les principaux
objets de la conversation sont de s'instruire ou d'instruire les autres,
de plaire ou de persuader, je désirerois que les hommes intelligens et
bien intentionnés ne diminuassent pas le pouvoir qu'ils ont d'être
utiles, en affectant de s'exprimer d'une manière positive et
présomptueuse, qui ne manque guère de déplaire à ceux qui écoutent, et
n'est propre qu'à exciter des oppositions, et à prévenir les effets pour
lesquels le don de la parole a été accordé à l'homme.

Si vous voulez instruire, un ton dogmatique et affirmatif en avançant
votre opinion, est toujours cause qu'on cherche à vous contredire, et
qu'on ne vous écoute pas avec attention. D'un autre côté, si en désirant
d'être instruit et de profiter des connoissances des autres, vous vous
exprimez comme étant fortement attaché à votre façon de penser, les
hommes modestes et sensibles, qui n'aiment point la dispute, vous
laisseront tranquillement en possession de vos erreurs. En suivant une
méthode orgueilleuse, vous pouvez rarement espérer de plaire à vos
auditeurs, de vous concilier leur bienveillance, et de convaincre ceux
que vous cherchez à faire entrer dans vos vues. Pope dit
judicieusement[7]:

[7] Essai sur la critique.

En donnant des leçons n'affectez point d'instruire.
Plutôt au goût d'autrui soigneux de vous plier,
Feignez de rappeler ce qu'on put oublier.

Ensuite il ajoute:

Quoique certain, parlez d'un air de défiance.

À ces vers, il auroit pu en joindre un autre, qu'il a placé ailleurs
moins convenablement à mon avis. Le voici:

Car

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
PAGE Portrait of Franklin vii Pages 1 and 4 of _The Pennsylvania Gazette_, Number XL, the first number after Franklin took control xxi First page of _The New England Courant_ of December 4-11, 1721 33 "I was employed to carry the papers thro' the streets to the customers" 36 "She, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance" 48 "I took to working at press" 88 "I see him still at work when I go home from club" 120 Two pages from _Poor Richard's Almanac_ for 1736 .
Page 12
Asaph, Dr.
Page 30
I then thought of going to New York, as the nearest place where there was a printer; and I was rather inclin'd to leave Boston when I reflected that I had already made myself a little obnoxious to the governing party, and, from the arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly in my brother's case, it was likely I might, if I stay'd, soon bring myself into scrapes; and farther, that my indiscreet disputations about religion began to make me pointed at with horror by good people as an infidel or atheist.
Page 44
"Then," says he, "get yourself ready to go with Annis;" which was the annual ship, and the only one at that time usually passing between London and Philadelphia.
Page 53
I now began to think of getting a little money beforehand, and, expecting better work, I left Palmer's to work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still greater printing-house.
Page 71
I told them I could not propose a separation while any prospect remain'd of the Meredith's fulfilling their part of our agreement, because I thought myself under great obligations to them for what they had done, and would do if they could; but, if they finally fail'd in their performance, and our partnership must be dissolv'd, I should then think myself at liberty to accept the assistance of my friends.
Page 72
" I agreed to this proposal: it was drawn up in writing, sign'd, and seal'd immediately.
Page 96
X POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC AND OTHER ACTIVITIES In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name of _Richard Saunders_; it was continu'd by me about twenty-five years, commonly call'd _Poor Richard's Almanac_.
Page 109
retaliating his refusal, while postmaster, to permit my papers being carried by the riders.
Page 110
The utility of this institution soon appeared, and many more desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for one company, they were advised to form another, which was accordingly done; and this went on, one new company being formed after another, till they became so numerous as to include most of the inhabitants who were men of property; and now, at the time of my writing this, tho' upward of fifty years since its establishment, that which I first formed, called the Union Fire Company, still subsists and flourishes, tho' the first members are all deceas'd but myself and one, who is older by a year than I am.
Page 116
Meanwhile, Colonel Lawrence, William Allen, Abram Taylor, Esqr.
Page 121
In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that having, in 1742, invented an open stove[84] for the better warming of rooms, and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in entering, I made a present of the model to Mr.
Page 129
I sent one of these papers to each house, and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously sign'd, and for a time well executed.
Page 135
Part of what passed between us on the occasion may also be seen among those papers.
Page 136
In returning, I met at New York with the votes of the Assembly, by which it appear'd that, notwithstanding his promise to me, he and the House were already in high contention; and it was a continual battle between them as long as he retain'd the government.
Page 137
contest, and we often din'd together.
Page 158
M.
Page 171
They then by his advice put the paper into the hands of the Attorney and Solicitor-General for their opinion and counsel upon it, where it lay unanswered a year wanting eight days, during which time I made frequent demands of an answer from the proprietaries, but without obtaining any other than that they had not yet received the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor-General.
Page 177
If I knew a miser who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, _Poor man_, said I, _you pay too much for your whistle_.
Page 181
) 1802.