Imatges de pÓgina



Birth of Franklin. Early Education. Anecdote.

Choice of a Trade. He is placed with a Culler. His Fondness for Reiding. Bound Apprentice to his Brother. Makes a couple of Ballads. His Friend Collins. Reads the Spectator.

1. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Boston, New England, on the seventeenth of January, 1706. He was the youngest son in a family of seventeen children. His elder brothers were, at an early age, put apprentices to different trades; for their father was a man of honest industry, but with little or no property, and unable to support the expense of keeping them long at school.

2. Benjamin, however, was intended for the church, and at eight years of age was put to a gram

1. Where was Franklin born? When? 2. For what profession did his parents intend to eclucate him?

mar school.

His readiness in learning, and his attention to study, confirmed the first intention of his parents. The plan also met with the approbation of his uncle Benjamin, who promised to give him some volumes of sermons that he had taken down in short hand, from the lips of the most eminent preachers of the day.

3. He continued at the grammar school, however, only about a year, though he had risen to the head of his class, and promised to be a very fine scholar. His father was burthened with a numerous family, and could not carry him through a course of college education. He accordingly changed his first purpose, and sent Benjamin to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by Mr. George Brownwell.

4. This master was quite skilful in his profession, being mild and kind to his scholars, but very successful in teaching them. Benjamin learned to write a good hand in a short time, but he could not manage arithmetic so easily. At ten years of age he was taken from school to help his father in the business of a tallow-chandler; and was employed in cutting the wick for the candles, going errands, and tending the shop.

5. Benjamin disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination to go to sea; but his father opposed his wishes in this respect, and determined to keep him at home. The house in which he lived happened

3. What induced his father to change his intention ? 4. To what trade was Benjamin put, and when ?

to be near the water, and Benjamin was always playing with boats, and swimming. When sailing with other boys, he was usually the leader, and he confesses that he sometimes led them into difficulties.

6. There was a salt marsh which bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge of which the boys used to stand to fish for minnows. They had trampled it so much, however, as to make it a mere quagmire. Franklin proposed to his friends to build a wharf there, for them to stand upon ; and showed them a large heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and would answer their purpose exactly.

7. Accordingly, that evening, when the workmen were gone home, he assembled a number of his playfellows, and they worked diligently, like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, till they had brought them all to make their little wharf. On the next morning, the workmen were surprised on missing the stones. The authors of the removal were detected, complained of, and punished by their parents. Franklin attempted to show the usefulness of their work; but his father took that occasion to convince him, that that which was not truly honest could not be truly useful.

8. Benjamin continued employed in the business

6. Relate the anecdote about Franklin and his companions. 7. What maxim did his father teach him in consequence of this adventure ?

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