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station required, he readily sustained, limiting them by the strictest rules of propriety. Many public institutions experienced his well-timed liberality: and he manifested sensibility of heart by numerous acts of private charity. By a judicious division and appropriation of time, Dr. Franklin acquired the art of doing every thing advantageously; and his amusements were of a nature that never militated with the main object of his pursuits. From every situation he extracted something useful for himself and others. He turned every incident of his life to some valuable account, deriving therefrom experience and caution. The maxims which he has formed or applied, evince a discerning mind, and they apply to innumerable cases in life. His
manners were easy and accommodating, and his address winning and respectful. A man thus prudent, amiable, and wise, could not but have many friends, and while menjory endures will have many admirers.
INTRODUCTION, by the Editor..
On the Art of Swimming.
Best Method of guarding against Lightning
Attempts of Dr. Franklin for Conciliation.
Rules for reducing a Great Empire..
THE L I F E
DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.
MY DEAR SON, I HAVE amused myself with collecting some little anecdotes of my family. You may remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among such of my relations, as were then_living; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you, I flatter myself will afford' the same pleasure to you as
I shall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted leisure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath, and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of opulence and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me through every period of life to my present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning what were the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be placed 'n a similar situation, derive some advantage from my narrative.
When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, sometin say to myself, that, vere the offer
I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask, should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first. I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, to change some trivial incidents and events for others more favourable. Were this, however, denied me, still would I not decline the offer. But, since a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so nearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to render their remem. brance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus
employing myself, I shall yield to the inclination, si natural in old men, to talk of themselves and their ez. ploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age, miglt think themselves obliged to listen to me; as they will be at liberty to read me or not as they please. In fine and I may as well avow it, since nobody would believe me were 1 to deny it - 1 shall, perhaps, by this employment, gratify, my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever read or heard the introductory phrase, “I may say, without vanity: but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has ininiediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it' themselves: for myself, I pay obeisance to it wherever I neet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the sphere of its influence.
Of consequence, would, in many cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence for the blessing.
And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has furnish. ed me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot connt upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the elose of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any mel. ancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to SO many others. My future fortune is unknown but to Him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.
One of my uncles, desirous, like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from whieh I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton, in Northamptonshire), upon a freehold of abont thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had resided there prior to that period, my uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, whi had formerly been the name of a particular order of individuals *).
*) Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rapk us England, and is thus amiably characterized by Chaucer:
This worthy franklin bore a purse of silk,