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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 54

été élevé
dans une pension, et s'étoit distingué parmi ses camarades, par la
manière supérieure dont il jouoit, lorsqu'on leur fesoit représenter des
pièces de théâtre. Il étoit membre d'un club littéraire, et plusieurs
pièces de vers, et plusieurs morceaux de prose de sa composition,
avoient été insérés dans les journaux de Glocester. De là, il fut envoyé
à Oxford, où il demeura environ un an. Mais il n'y étoit pas content. Ce
qu'il désiroit le plus, c'étoit de voir Londres, et de devenir comédien.
Enfin, ayant reçu quinze guinées pour payer le quartier de sa pension,
il quitta le collège, cacha sa robe d'écolier dans une haie et se rendit
dans la capitale. Là, n'ayant point d'ami qui pût le diriger, il fit de
mauvaises connoissances, dépensa bientôt ses quinze guinées, ne trouva
aucun moyen de se faire présenter aux comédiens, devint méprisable, mit
ses hardes en gage et manqua de pain.

Un jour qu'il marchoit dans la rue, ayant faim et ne sachant que faire,
on lui mit dans la main un billet d'enrôleur, par lequel on offroit un
repas soudain et une prime à ceux qui voudroient aller servir en
Amérique. Aussitôt il se rendit au lieu indiqué dans le billet,
s'engagea, fut mis à bord d'un vaisseau, et conduit à Philadelphie, sans
avoir jamais écrit une ligne à ses parens, pour les informer de ce qu'il
étoit devenu. La vivacité de son esprit et son bon naturel, en fesoient
un excellent compagnon: mais il étoit indolent, étourdi et excessivement

L'irlandais John déserta bientôt. Je commençai à vivre très-agréablement
avec les autres. Ils me respectoient d'autant plus qu'ils voyoient que
Keimer étoit incapable de les instruire, et qu'avec moi ils apprenoient
tous les jours quelque chose. Nous ne travaillions jamais le samedi,
parce que c'étoit le sabbat de Keimer: ainsi nous avions chaque semaine
deux jours à consacrer à la lecture.

Je fis de nouvelles connoissances dans la ville parmi les personnes qui
avoient de l'instruction. Keimer me traitoit avec beaucoup de politesse
et avec une apparente estime; et rien ne me causoit de l'inquiétude,
sinon la créance de Vernon, que j'étois encore hors d'état de payer, mes
épargnes ayant été jusqu'alors très-peu de chose.

Notre imprimerie manquoit souvent de caractères, et il n'y avoit point
en Amérique d'ouvrier qui sût en fondre. J'avois vu pratiquer cet art
dans la maison de James à Londres, sans y faire beaucoup d'attention.
Cependant, je trouvai le moyen de fabriquer un moule. Les lettres que
nous avions me servirent de poinçons; je jetai mes nouveaux caractères
en plomb dans des matrices d'argile, et je pourvus ainsi assez
passablement à

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 7
But my father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain--reasons that he gave to his friends in my hearing--altered his first intention, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr.
Page 15
And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham'd of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at school, I took Cocker's book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole by myself with great ease.
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My father, tho' he did not approve Sir William's proposition, was yet pleas'd that I had been able to obtain so advantageous a character from a person of such note where I had resided, and that I had been so industrious and careful as to equip myself so handsomely in so short a time; therefore, seeing no prospect of an accommodation between my brother and me, he gave his consent to my returning again to Philadelphia, advis'd me to behave respectfully to the people there, endeavor to obtain the general esteem, and avoid lampooning and libeling, to which he thought I had too much inclination; telling me, that by steady industry and a prudent parsimony I might save enough by the time I was one-and-twenty to set me up; and that, if I came near the matter, he would help me out with the rest.
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I thank'd her for her kind advice, and promis'd to follow it.
Page 37
I was to take with me letters recommendatory to a number of his friends, besides the letter of credit to furnish me with the necessary money for purchasing the press and types, paper, etc.
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childhood piously in the Dissenting way.
Page 74
My original habits of frugality continuing, and my father having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently repeated a proverb of Solomon, "Seest thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men," I from thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd me, tho' I did not think that I should ever literally stand before kings, which, however, has since happened; for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner.
Page 89
"And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice either here or hereafter.
Page 90
my postponing the further prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious occupations, public and private, induc'd me to continue postponing, so that it has been omitted till I have no longer strength or activity left sufficient for such an enterprise; tho' I am still of opinion that it was a practicable scheme, and might have been very useful, by forming a great number of good citizens; and I was not discourag'd by the seeming magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, makes the execution of that same plan his sole study and business.
Page 92
Those, however, of our congregation, who considered themselves as orthodox Presbyterians, disapprov'd his doctrine, and were join'd by most of the old clergy, who arraign'd him of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to have him silenc'd.
Page 94
His mother carried on the business till he was grown up, when I assisted him with an assortment of new types, those of his father being in a manner worn out.
Page 95
We had from the beginning made it a rule to keep our institution a secret, which was pretty well observ'd; the intention was to avoid applications of improper persons for admittance, some of whom, perhaps, we might find it difficult to refuse.
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Page 123
Morris, just arriv'd there from England, with whom I had been before intimately acquainted.
Page 132
The only danger I apprehend of obstruction to your march is from ambuscades of Indians, who, by constant practice, are dexterous in laying and executing them; and the slender line, near four miles long, which your army must make, may expose it to be attack'd by surprise in its flanks, and to be cut like a thread into several pieces, which, from their distance, can not come up in time to support each other.
Page 141
I forget how many companies we had, but we paraded about twelve hundred well-looking men, with a company of artillery, who had been furnished with six brass field-pieces, which they had become so expert in the use of as to fire twelve times in a minute.
Page 142
He accused me to the ministry as being the great obstacle to the king's service, preventing, by my influence in the House, the proper form of the bills for raising money, and he instanced this parade with my officers as a proof of my having an intention to take the government of the province out of his hands by force.
Page 156
I then waited on my old friend and correspondent, Mr.
Page 157
I recollected that about 20 years before, a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the ministry had propos'd to make the king's instructions laws in the colonies, but the clause was thrown out by the Commons, for which we adored them as our friends and friends of liberty, till by their conduct towards us in 1765 it seem'd that they had refus'd that point of sovereignty to the king only that they might reserve it for themselves.
Page 160
" The Almanac, which continued for twenty-five years to contain his witty, worldly-wise sayings, played a very large part in bringing together and molding the American character which was at that time made up of so many diverse and scattered types.