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Portraits and Hlustrations in this Volume.
OLD SKETCH OF FRANKLIN'S BIRTHPLACE, Boston, Mass.
4 50 66 91 114 122 146 182 184 194 214 224 236 266 278
286 288 296 326 362 404 429 436 464 483 504
VAY spirit, Independence, let me share,
Lord of the liou-heart and eagle-eye;
Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky.
TOBIAS GEORGE SMOLLETT.
ON THE WAR WITH AMERICA.
THE THE people whom they affect to call contemptible rebels, but whose growing power has at last cbtained the name of enemies,
are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, their interests consulted, and their embassadors entertained, by your inveterate enemy; and our ministers dare not interpose with dignity or effect.
I love and honor the English troops: I know their virtues and their valor: I know they can achieve anything except impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility. .. My lords, you cannot conquer America ! .. You may swell every expense, and every effort, still more extravagantly; pile and accumulate every assistapce you can buy or borrow; traffic and barter with every little pitiful German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign prince: your efforts are for ever vain and impotent–doubly so from this mercenary aid on which you rely.
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms--never-never-never !
WILLIAX PITT, EARL OF CHATHAM. A.D. 1777.
BORN to Boston, Mass., 1706. Dies in Philadelphia, Penn., 1790.
PASSAGES FROM HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
[The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Written by flimself. Edited, from Original MSS.,
by John Bigelow. 2d. Edition. 1880.]
A BOOKISH LAD.
my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim's Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's Historical Collections; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40 or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman. Plutarch's Lives there was, in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage. There was also a book of De Foe's, called an Essay on Projects, and ancther of Dr. Mather's, called Essays to do Good, which perhaps gave me a turn
of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events of my life.
This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession. In 1717 my brother James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. To prevent the apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father was impatient to have me bound to my
brother. I stood out some time, but at last was persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old. I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last year. In a little time I made great proficiency in the business, and became a useful hand to my brother. I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean. Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.
And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. Matthew Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, and who frequented our printing. house, took notice of me, invited me to his library, and very kindly lent me such books as I chose to read. I now took a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads.
One was called “The Lighthouse Tragedy,” and contained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake, with his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on the taking of Teach (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They were wretched stuff, in the Grub-street-ballad style; and when they were printed he sent me about the town to sell them. The first 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. So I escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose writing has been of great use to me in the course of my life, and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, in such a situation, I acquired what little ability I have in that way.
About this time I met with an odd volume of the “Spectator.” It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the