The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin Character Analysis

The author of the Autobiography. He was the youngest son of Josiah Franklin, began in life as poor printer’s apprentice and went on to be one of the most important founding figures in American history. He was an inventor and scientist as well as an industrious businessman and dedicated philanthropist.

Benjamin Franklin Quotes in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin quotes below are all either spoken by Benjamin Franklin or refer to Benjamin Franklin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Industriousness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Random House edition of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin published in 1950.
Part 1 Quotes

You may remember the inquiries I made among the remains of my relations when you were with me in England, and the journey I undertook for that purpose. Imagining it may be equally agreeable to you to know the circumstances of my life, many of which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting the enjoyment of a week’s uninterrupted leisure in my present country retirement, I sit down to write them for you.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker), William Franklin
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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And, lastly (I may as well confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity. Indeed, I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory words, “Without vanity I may say,” &c., but some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his sphere of action…

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 7
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That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced me sometimes to say, that were it offered to my choice, I should have no objection to a repetition of the same life from its beginning, only asking the advantages authors have in a second edition to correct some faults of the first. So I might, besides correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Related Symbols: Errata
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Since such a repetition is not to be expected, the next thing most like living one’s life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 7
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The first [poem] sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having made a great noise. This flattered my vanity; but my father discouraged me by ridiculing my performances, and telling me verse-makers were generally beggars.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 17
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I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 19
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My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 20
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…despatching presently my light repast, which often was no more than a bisket or a slice of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry-cook’s, and a glass of water, [I] had the rest of the time till their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 20
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I procur’d Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the [Socratic Method]. I was charm’d with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 21
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So I sold some of my books to raise a little money, was taken on board privately, and as we had a fair wind, in three days I found myself in New York, near 300 miles from home, a boy of but 17, without the least recommendation to, or knowledge of any person in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 26
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My brother’s discharge was accompany’d with an order of the House (a very odd one), that “James Franklin should no longer print the paper called the New England Courant.”

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker), James Franklin
Page Number: 25
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So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 41
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I continu’d [the Socratic Method] some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 21
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Part 2 Quotes

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 104
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Part 3 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 107-8
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When I disengaged myself, as above mentioned, from private business, I flatter’d myself that, by the sufficient tho’ moderate fortune I had acquir’d, I had secured leisure during the rest of my life for philosophical studies and amusements… but the publick, now considering me as a man of leisure, laid hold of me for their purposes, every part of our civil government, and almost at the same time, imposing some duty upon me.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 135
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Thus, if you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret only remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors; he shaves when most convenient to him, and enjoys daily the pleasure of its being done with a good instrument.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 145
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The colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently strong to have defended themselves; there would then have been no need of troops from England; of course, the subsequent pretence for taxing America, and the bloody contest it occasioned, would have been avoided. But such mistakes are not new; history is full of the errors of states and princes.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 148
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The British government, not chusing to permit the union of the colonies as propos’d at Albany, and to trust that union with their defense, lest they should thereby grow too military, and feel their own strength, suspicions and jealousies at this time being entertain’d of them, sent over General Braddock with two regiments of regular English troops for that purpose.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 152
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…common sense, aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 165
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One paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness of lightning with electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an acquaintance of mine, and one of the members also of that society [the Royal Society], who wrote me word that it had been read, but was laughed at by the connoisseurs.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 174
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There was a great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, and, some chairs having been borrowed in the neighborhood, there was one among them very low, which fell to the lot of Mr. Shirley. Perceiving it as I sat by him, I said, “They have given you, sir, too low a seat.” “No matter,” says he, “Mr. Franklin, I find a low seat the easiest.”

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker)
Page Number: 183
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On the whole, I wonder’d much how such a man [Lord Loudoun] came to be entrusted with so important a business as the conduct of a great army; but, having since seen more of the great world, and the means of obtaining, and motives for giving places, my wonder is diminished.

Related Characters: Benjamin Franklin (speaker), Lord Loudoun
Page Number: 182
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Benjamin Franklin Character Timeline in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The timeline below shows where the character Benjamin Franklin appears in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
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Self-Improvement and Self-Education Theme Icon
Benjamin Franklin begins writing Part One of his Autobiography in 1771 at the age of 65... (full context)
Industriousness Theme Icon
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Public Projects, Communality, and Civic Duty Theme Icon
Franklin goes on to remark that his life trajectory, from obscure tradesman to renowned statesman, is... (full context)
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The thing most like living one’s life over, Franklin continues, is recollecting it and writing it down. He admits that one of the reasons... (full context)
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Franklin describes seeing the gravestone of his grandfather, Thomas (sr.), who died at Banbury in Oxfordsire.... (full context)
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John, the next of Thomas sr.’s sons, was a silk dyer. Franklin says he was an ingenious man, and gives an example of an acrostic that John... (full context)
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Franklin notes that his “obscure” family was composed of Protestants, so they were sometimes in danger... (full context)
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Franklin describes how his father, Josiah, and his uncle Benjamin broke away from the Episcopal (Anglican)... (full context)
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All of Franklin’s elder brothers were apprenticed to various trades, but Franklin was sent to grammar school at... (full context)
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At the age of ten, Franklin was removed from school to assist Josiah who was a “Tallow Chandler and Sope-Boiler” (a... (full context)
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Franklin relates an anecdote from his boyhood because he says it “shows an early projecting public... (full context)
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Franklin thinks William might like to hear more about Josiah, who, Franklin says, had a strong... (full context)
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...and chose ingenious topics of conversation in order to improve the minds of his children. Franklin said his interest in the conversations kept him from being a picky eater because his... (full context)
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Franklin goes on to describe his mother, Abiah. She too had a strong bodily constitution. He... (full context)
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Franklin says he can tell he’s grown old because of his rambling digressions. He returns to... (full context)
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Franklin was briefly apprenticed to his cousin Samuel, a cutler, but, because Franklin’s father wouldn’t pay... (full context)
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His “bookish inclination” caused his father to apprentice Franklin to his brother James, a printer. Franklin signed the indentures (binding agreements for a term... (full context)
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Franklin took a fancy to poetry and wrote a few pieces of it. James found out... (full context)
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Franklin says the poems were wretched but the “Light House Tragedy” sold well, which flattered his... (full context)
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Franklin recounts how he had a bookish friend, John Collins. The two of them liked to... (full context)
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Collins was more fluid and eloquent than Franklin in his arguments. The two were to be apart for some time, so they exchanged... (full context)
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Franklin found a volume of Samuel Johnson’s The Spectator and tried to improve his writing by... (full context)
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At the age of 16, Franklin read a book by a man named Tryon that recommended a vegetarian diet. He immediately... (full context)
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There was another advantage to Franklin of preparing his own meals, namely that he remained in the printing house alone when... (full context)
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Still intent on improving his language and writing, Franklin studied from an English grammar book that concluded with two sketches on the art of... (full context)
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Franklin loved the Socratic Method, became less argumentative and contradictory, and took on the air of... (full context)
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Franklin says that what he learned from the Socratic Method—his reserved style—was very helpful to him... (full context)
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Franklin’s brother, James, began to print a newspaper, The New England Courant, in 1720 or 1721.... (full context)
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Franklin says James had skilled and intelligent friends who composed short pieces for his paper. Franklin... (full context)
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James and his friends read Franklin’s anonymously submitted essay and, within Franklin’s hearing, said how much they liked it. They guessed... (full context)
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Franklin and James often took their disputes before Josiah and, Franklin says, either he was generally... (full context)
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...imprisoned for a month because he would not reveal the author of the offending paper. Franklin went unpunished. When James was released the Assembly ordered that “James Franklin should no longer... (full context)
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...be better if the paper kept its name but was published instead under the name Benjamin Franklin. Accordingly, Franklin was released from his apprenticeship so that the assembly couldn’t censure him... (full context)
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Soon, another quarrel arose between Franklin and James, and Franklin, guessing that his brother wouldn’t produce the private contract for fear... (full context)
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Josiah sided with James in the dispute, so Franklin decided it was best if he ran away without telling anybody. His friend, Collins, helped... (full context)
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Franklin offered his services to the printer in New York, a man named William Bradford, who... (full context)
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A drunken Dutchman fell overboard during the storm. Franklin reached into the water and drew the man back into the boat. The man sobered... (full context)
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...wind and surf were so loud that neither party could hear or understand the other. Franklin’s party made signs that the party on shore should fetch them in canoes but they... (full context)
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The wind let up the next day and Franklin’s party decided to make for Amboy before night, having already been thirty hours on the... (full context)
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It rained the whole day of Franklin’s journey and he stopped to spend the night at an inn where he wished he... (full context)
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Franklin spent the night at Dr. Brown’s inn and reached Burlington in the morning only to... (full context)
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Franklin’s new boating party rowed until midnight when some men in the party said they thought... (full context)
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Franklin addresses William, saying he has been so detailed in this account of his journey so... (full context)
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Franklin walked up Market St. until he met a boy with bread and asked him to... (full context)
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Refreshed, Franklin walked up the street again. He joined the well-dressed people of the town and followed... (full context)
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Franklin went back out on the street and met a young Quaker man he liked. He... (full context)
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After his meal, Franklin grew weary once more, went to his room and slept until 6:00 in the evening... (full context)
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William Bradford introduced Franklin to his son, who gave Franklin breakfast but told him he had no employment to... (full context)
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William Bradford took Franklin to Keimer’s. Keimer asked Franklin some questions and gave him a task to see how... (full context)
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...promising poet. Keimer composed the elegy in the types without first writing it down, so Franklin couldn’t help him. Franklin got Keimer’s press, which had not yet been used, into order.... (full context)
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A few days later, Keimer sent for Franklin to print off the elegy for Aquila Rose. In the meantime, Keimer had gotten another... (full context)
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Keimer did not want Franklin lodging at Bradford’s while Franklin worked for him, but his house was without furniture so... (full context)
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Franklin made some money due to his industry working for Bradford and Keimer and so lived... (full context)
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Sir William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania, was then at Newcastle where Holmes received Franklin’s letter. He spoke to Keith of Franklin and showed him the letter. Keith read it... (full context)
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One day, Keimer and Franklin were working together (Franklin, as yet, knew nothing of the governor’s interest in him) when... (full context)
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Keith was very kind to Franklin and asked why Franklin hadn’t made himself known to him when he first arrived in... (full context)
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Franklin, Keith, and French went to a tavern on the corner of 3rd St. and Keith... (full context)
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A ship was setting out for Boston at the end of April 1724 and Franklin took it with Keith’s letter in hand. The ship struck a shoal and sprung a... (full context)
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Everyone was glad to see Franklin except his brother James. Franklin visited James’s shop in a new, elegant suit. James received... (full context)
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Franklin showed James’s workmen the silver money that they used in Philadelphia at the time, and... (full context)
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Franklin’s friend Collins was working as a post office clerk and, being pleased with Franklin’s description... (full context)
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Josiah advised Franklin to be well-behaved and respectful and to gain the esteem of the people in Philadelphia.... (full context)
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Franklin set out again in a sloop that stopped in Newport, Rhode Island where he visited... (full context)
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...number of passengers joined the ship, including two young women and grave, matron-like Quaker woman. Franklin did the Quaker woman some good deeds and she advised him to avoid the company... (full context)
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When the sloop arrived at New York, the women invited Franklin to where they lived, but he turned down the offer. It was discovered that a... (full context)
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In New York, Franklin found his friend Collins. The two had read many of the same books but Collins... (full context)
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...one the young passengers had a great deal of books and asked after the boy (Franklin). Franklin went to visit him and Burnet treated him with great civility. It was the... (full context)
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The sloop proceeded to Philadelphia where Franklin received Vernon’s money. Collins was unable to find work due to his obvious alcoholism and... (full context)
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Collins drinking continued and Franklin and he sometimes quarreled about it. Franklin tells an anecdote about throwing Collins overboard on... (full context)
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Franklin calls dipping into Vernon’s money one of the first great errata of his life and... (full context)
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Franklin presented Keith an inventory of the things he’d need, amounting to one hundred pounds sterling.... (full context)
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Franklin says he believes he forgot to mention that he had ended his vegetarian diet and... (full context)
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Before Franklin’s voyage to England, Franklin and Keimer got along well together because Keimer didn’t know Franklin... (full context)
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...day (Saturday) as the sabbath. He thought these should be tenants of their new sect. Franklin disliked both of these points, which were essential to Keimer, but he agreed to adopt... (full context)
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Franklin and Keimer lived by the tenants of their new faith for three months. Franklin faired... (full context)
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Franklin had been courting Ms. Read, but because he was soon to travel and they were... (full context)
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...One day, the four friends decided to each compose a piece for their next meeting. Franklin failed to produce one and Ralph suggested he take his (Ralph’s) and pretend it was... (full context)
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Governor Keith had Franklin to his house frequently and set up a plan to give Franklin letters of recommendation... (full context)
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Ralph, though married and with a young child, decided to go with Franklin on the journey. Franklin discovered only afterward that Ralph intended to (and did) abandon his... (full context)
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Then Franklin’s friend Colonel French came on board and invited Franklin and Ralph into the first class... (full context)
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When the ship arrived in the British channel, the captain let Franklin examine the bag of letters. Franklin found none put under his name, but six or... (full context)
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Perplexed and frustrated, Franklin found and confided in his friend Denham, who told him that there wasn’t the slightest... (full context)
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Ralph and Franklin were inseparable at first. They lodged together in the district called Little Britain and Ralph... (full context)
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Franklin found work immediately at a printer’s called Palmer’s in Bartholomew Close (a neighborhood) where he... (full context)
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In response to a piece he set at Palmer’s, Wallaston’s “Religion of Nature,” Franklin wrote a philosophical piece called “A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain” which... (full context)
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While in Little Britain, Franklin made friends with a Mr. Wilcox, who had a considerable library and allowed Franklin to... (full context)
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Franklin and Lyons became friends and Lyons introduced franklin to Dr. Mandeville, author of “Fable of... (full context)
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Franklin had brought with him several “curiosities” including a purse made of asbestos, which, he says,... (full context)
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A young woman, Mrs. T—, a milliner, lived in the same house as Franklin and Ralph. Ralph read her plays in the evening. They became intimate and moved in... (full context)
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Ralph wrote Franklin frequently, including excerpts from an epic poem he was writing. Franklin tried to discourage him... (full context)
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Franklin left Palmer’s to work at a printer called Watts’s near Lincon’s Inn Fields where he... (full context)
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Franklin reached good standing with the other men and proposed some alterations to their chapel (printing-house)... (full context)
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Franklin moved from Little Britain to Duke St. The landlady was an elderly widow and Franklin... (full context)
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Franklin’s landlady told him about the maiden woman of 70 who lived in the garret. She,... (full context)
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At Watts’s, Franklin became friends with a young man named Wygate whom he describes as ingenious. Wygate spoke... (full context)
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Franklin tells how Denham accrued debts years previously in England, moved to the United States and... (full context)
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On one of his days off, Franklin was sent for by a man named Sir William Wyndham. He had heard of Franklin’s... (full context)
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In total, Franklin says, he spent 18 months in London, mostly working at his business, sometimes seeing plays,... (full context)
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Mr. Denham took a shop on Water St. Franklin attended business diligently, studied accounts, and grew expert at sailing. Franklin tells how much he... (full context)
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Franklin accepted and began to oversee workmen Hugh Meredith and Stephen Potts, who were employed at... (full context)
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Franklin found it remarkable that the Oxford scholar Webb (a boy of 18) was there and... (full context)
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Because there was no place to cast types in America, Franklin contrived a mold to do some himself. He engraved on occasion and even made the... (full context)
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Meredith loved Franklin and didn’t want him to leave. Meredith spoke to Franklin of Keimer’s debts, told him... (full context)
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While Franklin and Meredith waited for their capital to arrive, Keimer got a prospect to print some... (full context)
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Franklin digresses to tell about his principles and morals before going on to narrate his public... (full context)
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Franklin says, for the most part, his constitution was suited toward treating others well and that... (full context)
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Franklin wasn’t back in Philadelphia long before Meredith and his types arrived from London. The two... (full context)
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Franklin tells of an old man with a wise look and grave manner who was constantly... (full context)
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Franklin pauses to tell how, the autumn of the previous year, he formed his friends into... (full context)
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Franklin says he mentions the club because it was among the numerous interests he had that... (full context)
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When people predicted Franklin and Meredith would fail, Franklin says, eminent citizens praised Franklin’s industry and said he was... (full context)
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...Webb found a “female friend” who purchased his time of Keimer and he came to Franklin looking for work. Franklin said he couldn’t employ him, but that he planned on starting... (full context)
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Keimer started a paper, which, after nine months, had little success. Franklin bought it for “a trifle” and it proved extremely profitable to him. Franklin says he... (full context)
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Franklin says his first newspapers looked better than any that had been published in the colonies... (full context)
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At this time, Vernon wrote to Franklin of his debt. Franklin asked for a little time, then paid the balance with interest,... (full context)
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Meredith acknowledged to Franklin that he wasn’t fit to be a printer and allowed Franklin to buy him out... (full context)
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...paper money. The wealthy opposed any addition, because they worried that the currency would depreciate. Franklin wrote and argued for more paper money, even publishing a pamphlet entitled “The Nature and... (full context)
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Eventually, partly due to the success of Franklin’s pamphlet, the Assembly resolved to print more paper money. His friends in the House gave... (full context)
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With these jobs in hand, Franklin opened a stationary shop. A man named Whitemarsh, a compositor Franklin knew in London, came... (full context)
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Franklin took care both to be and seem industrious. Because people saw this, they were more... (full context)
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Keimer’s apprentice, David Harry, set up in Keimer’s place. At first Franklin feared Harry as a rival and proposed a partnership which, thankfully for Franklin, Harry refused.... (full context)
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...office, people thought he got news faster, so his paper got more advertisers. Bradford kept Franklin from getting and sending his newspapers by the post, so Franklin bribed the riders and... (full context)
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The Godfreys, Franklin’s boarders, tried to set Franklin up with one of their relative's daughters, but the proposal... (full context)
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The affair turned Franklin’s thoughts to marriage, but, because the printing business was thought poor, he felt he couldn’t... (full context)
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Meanwhile, a neighborly correspondence had been kept up between Franklin and the Reads. He pitied Ms. Read’s situation, considered himself partially the cause of it,... (full context)
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The Junto began to meet in a little room of Mr. Grace’s and Franklin proposed that they bring their books in to start a small lending library. The small... (full context)
Part 2
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The first letter Franklin includes to show why he is continuing his Autobiography is from a man named Abel... (full context)
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Abel James read over 23 pages of Franklin’s handwritten draft of Part One of the Autobiography. He includes a copy of it so... (full context)
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The second, longer letter Franklin includes to demonstrate why he’s undertaken to complete his Autobiography was sent by Benjamin Vaughn... (full context)
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Vaughn says he solicits the history of Franklin’s life because: (1) His life is remarkable (2) It will be a valuable document of... (full context)
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Franklin’s Autobiography, Vaughn continues, will not only teach self-education, but the education of a wise man.... (full context)
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Vaughn praises what he calls Franklin’s modesty and disinterestedness. Yet another reason, Vaughn continues, is that Franklin’s style of writing is... (full context)
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Franklin continues the account of his life, writing from Passy, near Paris, in 1784. He says... (full context)
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Franklin recounts how the Junto formed a small library, and he transformed this into a subscription... (full context)
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Franklin says his attempts to gain subscribers showed him that soliciting his fellows was more easily... (full context)
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Reading, Franklin adds, was his only amusement. He says he became industrious to provide for the family... (full context)
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Franklin tells how he was raised Presbyterian, didn’t attend service, but never doubted God existed. The... (full context)
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It was about this time, Franklin writes, he conceived the “bold and arduous plan of arriving at moral perfection.” He wished... (full context)
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Franklin wanted to achieve all these virtues, but thought it best to focus on one at... (full context)
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Franklin chose quotations from Cato, Cicero, and King Solomon to preface his book of charts, wrote... (full context)
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One page of Franklin’s notebook contained a daily schedule which entailed: (1) rising at 5:00 A.M., washing, addressing the... (full context)
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Franklin said he went through with the plan for several cycles of thirteen weeks, with occasional... (full context)
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Franklin says he owes all his happiness, right down to his 79th year (his age at... (full context)
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Franklin says that vicious or immoral actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden by various... (full context)
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Franklin says it is more important, perhaps, to seem to others to practice humility than actually... (full context)
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Pride and vanity, Franklin adds, are the hardest passions to overcome. Even if he could get rid of them,... (full context)
Part 3
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Franklin begins Part three with a note that he is beginning it from home (Philadelphia) in... (full context)
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...could bring into effect great good in the world. These notes were the inception of Franklin’s idea, which he added to from time to time. He lays out his religious creed... (full context)
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Franklin says they should have been called “The Society for the Free and Easy,” but of... (full context)
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In 1732, Franklin first published his almanac (Poor Richard’s Almanac) under the name Richard Saunders and continued it... (full context)
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Franklin used his newspaper to instruct the people as well. He reprinted excerpts from Samuel Johnson’s... (full context)
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In 1733, Franklin sent one of his workers to Charleston, South Carolina, where there was no printer. He... (full context)
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...had memorized the sermons of others. Many of Hemphill’s supporters then abandoned his cause, but Franklin continued with him, thinking it was better to receive good sermons composed by others rather... (full context)
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Franklin had begun studying languages in 1733, learning French, Italian, and Spanish. Then, returning to Latin... (full context)
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After being away from Boston ten years, Franklin returned to visit his relations. He called at Newport to see his brother James, the... (full context)
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Franklin goes on to tell how he lost one of his young sons in 1736 to... (full context)
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Franklin was chosen as clerk of the General Assembly in 1736 without opposition and again the... (full context)
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After receiving the commission as postmaster in Philadelphia, Franklin began to turn his attention to public affairs. As usual, he thought it best to... (full context)
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In all, Franklin proposed “a more effectual watch, the hiring of proper men to serve constantly [rather than... (full context)
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Next, Franklin proposed establishing the first company of firemen. Thirty men were found for the task of... (full context)
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At the time of his writing, “The Union Fire Company” that Franklin formed still existed, flourished and had since acquired fire-engines, ladders, fire-hooks and other useful implements.... (full context)
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...to preach because the local preachers took a dislike to him. Multitudes attended his services, Franklin says, noting on the growing zealotry (religious fervor) in the colonies around that time. Franklin... (full context)
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...colony for the first time. Whitefield proposed the project of building an orphanage there to Franklin, who resolved not to contribute because he thought that the orphanage should be built in... (full context)
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Some people doubted Whitefield’s integrity, but Franklin thought him an upright man. They had a civil rather than religious friendship. Franklin tells... (full context)
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Franklin also notes that Whitefield’s writing and printing gave his enemies the advantage of attacking his... (full context)
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Franklin’s business was now growing continually and his circumstances became easier every day. He says money... (full context)
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Franklin says there were two things about living in Pennsylvania that troubled him: that there was... (full context)
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Franklin thought it wise to establish a militia because Spain and France had recently gone to... (full context)
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The officers of the Philadelphia company chose Franklin as their Colonel but he declined and suggested a Mr. Lawrence in his stead. He... (full context)
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The Governor of Pennsylvania and council took Franklin into confidence. Franklin proposed a fast to ask God’s blessing in the establishment of their... (full context)
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...a militia among the numerous Quakers because of their doctrine of passivity. Some men advised Franklin to step down from his position in the Assembly because the Quakers held a majority... (full context)
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Franklin tells an anecdote that shed light on the feelings of the Quakers. In the fire... (full context)
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Franklin says the Quakers suffered many embarrassments for having once published as one of their principles... (full context)
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Franklin goes back in his narrative to tell how he invented a stove for the better... (full context)
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Peace having been declared between Britain, Spain, and France, Franklin turned his thoughts back to establishing an academy. He published another pamphlet, this one called... (full context)
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...chose out of their number 24 trustees and appointed Mr. Francis, the attorney general, and Franklin to draw up the academy’s constitution. When it was done, the academy was started in... (full context)
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Franklin had to supervise the work that had to be done on the building, which he... (full context)
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Governor Thomas put Franklin into the commission of the peace, the city chose him for council, and he was... (full context)
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Franklin gradually withdrew from his position as justice of the peace because he felt he lacked... (full context)
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...to serve as commissioners of peace for the treaty being drawn with the Carlisle Indians. Franklin was commissioned and went with the speaker of the House. They forbade the Native Americans... (full context)
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In 1751, Dr. Thomas Bond, Franklin’s friend, had the idea to establish a public hospital in Philadelphia. He had difficulty getting... (full context)
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A Rev. Gilbert Tennent asked Franklin for help in getting subscriptions for a Presbyterian meeting house. Franklin refused because he did... (full context)
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Franklin notes that Philadelphia lacked paved streets, an inconvenience for everybody. At length, Franklin was successful... (full context)
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...streetlamp at his door, desired to have the streets lit by gas lamps at night. Franklin designed a superior model of lamp with four panes of glass and a vent at... (full context)
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While he was inn London, Franklin had proposed to a Dr. Fothergill that the streets be swept when the dust on... (full context)
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Franklin became joint postmaster-general in 1753. Franklin and his partner made improvements to the office, which,... (full context)
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As postmaster-general Franklin had to take a trip to New England where the College of Cambridge (Harvard) presented... (full context)
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On his way to Albany Franklin drew a plan for the union of all the colonies under one government for the... (full context)
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Therefore the Board of Trade did not approve Franklin’s plan and an alternative plan, where the governors would draw on the treasury of Great... (full context)
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Franklin pauses to talk about the man who became governor of Pennsylvania after James Hamilton, Mr.... (full context)
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Franklin managed to skirt the governor’s dissent by drawing the money from the Loan Office, which... (full context)
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...He landed in Alexandria, Virginia and marched to Frederictown, Maryland where he waited on carriages. Franklin was sent to advise him on how best to procure them from the governors. He... (full context)
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Braddock’s men were only able to secure 25 wagons when they needed 150. Franklin said there were many in Pennsylvania and drafted the terms for which he felt the... (full context)
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When Franklin returned to Braddock’s camp, a Colonel Dunbar spoke to him of how the troops lacked... (full context)
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The parcels were very graciously received and General Braddock was very grateful to Franklin for supplying him the necessary wagons and continuing to help him until his defeat. Franklin... (full context)
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Franklin tells how the Native Americans massacred Braddock’s troops after they crossed a river and were... (full context)
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Furthermore, the army had robbed the inhabitants during its marches through the country. Franklin contrasts this with the behavior of the Americans’ French allies during the Revolution. (The French... (full context)
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...of the British before the war and which contained some notes that spoke highly of Franklin and recommended him. But those recommendations, due to the failure of the campaign, were never... (full context)
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The only thing Franklin had asked Braddock was that he not enlist any more of the Americans’ bought servants... (full context)
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Men had come to Franklin in Philadelphia before Braddock’s defeat with a subscription paper for raising money for a celebratory... (full context)
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...tax, eventually the Assembly’s friends in Britain pressured the proprietary governors into paying the tax. Franklin was appointed to allocate the defense money, some sixty thousand pounds. Franklin proposed a bill... (full context)
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Governor Morris applied to Franklin to take charge of Pennsylvania’s northwestern frontier, which was infested with the enemy. Franklin accepted... (full context)
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Franklin and his troops left from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania which he found exceptionally well-prepared for defense even... (full context)
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Franklin sent men to build forts along the Minisink River and resolved to go himself to... (full context)
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At Gnadenhut, Franklin and his men built themselves huts and buried the dead. The next morning they planned... (full context)
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Franklin arranged with the chaplain of his company that he should preach before the men received... (full context)
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While at Bethlehem, Franklin had learned more about the Moravians (the sect that had settled the country there). He... (full context)
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When he returned to Philadelphia, Franklin found the war efforts to be coming along nicely. The officers of the militia there... (full context)
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Governor Morris wanted to set up Franklin as a general, but Franklin refused, not thinking as highly of his military abilities as... (full context)
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Franklin pauses his narrative of the war to relate some of his scientific achievements. He says... (full context)
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Franklin had more glass tubes made, and Philadelphia soon had several experimenters, the foremost being a... (full context)
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Franklin wrote a paper to the Royal Society on the sameness of lightning with electricity, but... (full context)
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...an American had done such admirable work. Nollet wrote a volume of letters addressed to Franklin decrying Franklin’s work. Franklin decided against answering Nollet because, he says, his experiments could be... (full context)
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Franklin’s book became famous when one of its proposed experiments, drawing lightning from the clouds, was... (full context)
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News of the success of Franklin’s experiments in France soon came back to the Royal Society in London, a summary of... (full context)
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Governor Denny presented Franklin with the medal at a special ceremony in Philadelphia, drew Franklin aside, and assured Franklin... (full context)
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Franklin made ready to travel to London and paid passage on a ship, but Lord Loudoun... (full context)
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Franklin, still wanting to make the journey, went to New York to catch another ship. He... (full context)
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Franklin says he wondered how such a man came to be entrusted with the affairs of... (full context)
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While waiting in New York, Franklin received the accounts for provisions, etc., which he had furnished Braddock. He was unable to... (full context)
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Franklin’s captain on his ship boasted of the speed of the ship, but it proved to... (full context)
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Franklin tells of an incident that occurred when they were nearing their destination-port, Fallmouth. The watchman... (full context)
Part 4
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After arriving in Fallmouth, Franklin set out with William for London, stopping to see Stonehenge and Lord Pembroke’s house and... (full context)
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Next Franklin met with his friend in the Society, Collinson. They went together with a Virginian merchant... (full context)
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Dr. Fothergill arranged a meeting between Franklin and the proprietary governors. Franklin presented the Assembly’s position and found that their opinions were... (full context)
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Neither Paris nor the proprietary governors ever responded to Franklin directly, but drafted a long letter to the Assembly criticizing the lack of formality in... (full context)
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The proprietary governors petitioned the king to oppose the resolution passed in Philadelphia. Paris and Franklin each hired lawyers to argue their case, and at last the Assembly’s proposal was allowed... (full context)
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The Assembly saw Franklin’s service as essential to the province and thanked him when he returned, but the proprietaries... (full context)