Imatges de pÓgina


This he had learned in the printing office, but he had never before been taught any thing about manner and style.

20. About this time, he met with an odd volume of the Spectator, a very famous work, published by several English wits in the year 1711. He bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. This book was now his continual study, and he himself tried to write as inuch as possible in its very pleasant and popular style. The improvement which he made was encouraging, and led him to hope he might some day become a good English writer; a distinction of which he was very ambitious.


Franklin gives up eating Meat. His Economy of Time,

Studies Arithmetic. James Franklin establishes a Newspaper. Benjamin writes for it. His Brother is imprisoned. Benjamin manages the Paper. Leaves his Brother. Goes to New York. Sails thence for Philadelphia. Anecdote of the Dutchman.

1. When about sixteen years of age, Franklin happened to meet with a book that recommended a vegetable diet. He determined to adopt it. His brother, being unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family. By refusing to eat meat, Franklin occasioned a good deal of inconvenience; and he was frequently chid for his singularity. He accordingly learned the manner of boiling potatoes and rice, and of making hasty-pudding, and then proposed to his brother, if he would give him, weekly, half the money he paid for his board, to board himself. His brother instantly agreed to it, and Franklin soon found that he could save half of what he received.

20. With what book was Franklin at this time so much pleased ? Did he attempt to imitate it ?

1. What induced Franklin to adopt a vegetable diet ?

2. This was a new fund for buying books. But this was not the only advantage. When his brother and the apprentices had gone to their meals, he was left in the printing office alone. He immediately despatched his slight repast, which was often no more than a biscuit, or a slice of bread and a handful of raisins, or a tart from the pastry cook's, and a glass of water, and had the rest of the time till their return for study. By being thus economical of his time, he was able to make considerable progress in his books.

3. He now began to feel the want of a knowledge of figures, and was once very much mortified by his ignorance of them. As he had entirely failed of learning them at school, he took Cocker's Arithmetic, and went through the whole of it by himself

What arrangement did he make with his brother on this account? 2. What advantage resulted from this ? Describe Benjamin's economy of time. 3. How did he learn arithmetic ?

with the greatest ease.

The mortification he had met with induced him to make great exertions; and we can succeed in any thing to which we give our earnest attention.

4. While he was intent on improving his language and style, Franklin met with an English grammar, at the end of which were two little sketches on the arts of rhetoric and logic. The latter of these finished with a dispute in the manner of Socrates, a very famous philosopher of Greece. Franklin was charmed with this modest and artful manner, and cured himself of the tricks of contradiction and too much positiveness. These habits are very disagreeable, and no one should allow himself to fall into them.

5. “ In fact, if you wish to instruct others," says Franklin, “a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may occasion opposition, and prevent a candid attention. If you desire improvement from others, you should not at the same time express yourself fixed in your present opinions. Modest and sensible men, who do not love disputation, will leave you undisturbed in the possession of your errors.

In adopting such a manner, you can seldom expect to please your hearers, or obtain the concurrence you desire."

6. In the year 1720, or '21, James Franklin began to print a newspaper. It was the second that appeared in America, and was called the New England Courant. The only one before it was the Boston News Letter. Some of his friends endeavored to dissuade him from the undertaking. They thought it would not succeed, as, in their opinion, one newspaper was sufficient for all America. There are now in the United States alone, over eight hundred newspapers.

4. With what treatise was Franklin so much pleased ? Of what disagreeable habits did it cure him ? 5. What advice does he give on the manner of conversation ?

7. The undertaking, however, went on. Benjamin assisted in setting the types, helped to print off the sheets, and was then employed in carrying the papers to the subscribers. Several men of information and talents wrote little pieces for the paper, which were amusing, and gained considerable credit. These gentlemen often visited the printing office.

8. Hearing their conversations, and their accounts of the praise their pieces received from the public, Benjamin was excited to try his fortune among them. He was afraid, however, as he was still a boy, his brother would object to print any thing of his composition in the paper. It was necessary, therefore, to disguise his hand-writing, and to send his piece to the office in such a way that it should not be known from whom it came.

9. When his friends came in, James showed them the communication from an unknown writer. They

6. Who printed the second newspaper in New England ? What was it called ? 7. How was Benjamin connected with it? 8. What first induced him to write for it ? Describe his first attempt.

read it, praised it, and made several guesses as to the author. In these guesses none were named but men of some character for talents and learning. They never once suspected it was written by the little printer's boy who stood at their elbows, chuckling in silence over the secret.

10. Encouraged by the success of this attempt, he continued to write, and send other pieces in the same way to the press. He kept his secret as long as he saw fit, and then confessed himself the author of the writings they had been so long guessing about. Benjamin now began to be more noticed by his brother's acquaintance, which made him a little vain, and led to some serious difficulties.

11. His brother, notwithstanding the relationship between them, considered himself as master,

and Benjamin as his apprentice, and accordingly expected the same services from him that he would from another. In some of these services the young printer felt himself degraded, and thought that he should receive greater indulgence. His brother was passionate, and frequently beat him; and, finding the apprenticeship exceedingly tedious, Benjamin was looking forward for an opportunity to shorten it. This at length happened in a very unexpected


12. One of the pieces in the paper, on some po

9. How was his communication received ? 10. What was the consequence of his success ? 11. What were the difficulties between the brothers ?

« AnteriorContinua »