1. The Many-Sided Franklin. Paul L. Ford.

  2. For the division into chapters and the chapter titles, however, the present editor is responsible.

  3. A small village not far from Winchester in Hampshire, southern England. Here was the country seat of the Bishop of St. Asaph, Dr. Jonathan Shipley, the “good Bishop,” as Dr. Franklin used to style him. Their relations were intimate and confidential. In his pulpit, and in the House of Lords, as well as in society, the bishop always opposed the harsh measures of the Crown toward the Colonies. —⁠Bigelow

  4. In this connection Woodrow Wilson says, “And yet the surprising and delightful thing about this book (the Autobiography) is that, take it all in all, it has not the low tone of conceit, but is a staunch man’s sober and unaffected assessment of himself and the circumstances of his career.”

    Gibbon and Hume, the great British historians, who were contemporaries of Franklin, express in their autobiographies the same feeling about the propriety of just self-praise.

  5. See introduction.

  6. A small landowner.

  7. January 17, new style. This change in the calendar was made in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, and adopted in England in 1752. Every year whose number in the common reckoning since Christ is not divisible by 4, as well as every year whose number is divisible by 100 but not by 400, shall have 365 days, and all other years shall have 366 days. In the eighteenth century there was a difference of eleven days between the old and the new style of reckoning, which the English Parliament canceled by making the 3rd of September, 1752, the 14th. The Julian calendar, or “old style,” is still retained in Russia and Greece, whose dates consequently are now 13 days behind those of other Christian countries.

  8. The specimen is not in the manuscript of the Autobiography.

  9. Secret gatherings of dissenters from the established Church.

  10. Franklin was born on Sunday, January 6, old style, 1706, in a house on Milk Street, opposite the Old South Meeting House, where he was baptized on the day of his birth, during a snowstorm. The house where he was born was burned in 1810. —⁠Griffin

  11. Cotton Mather (1663⁠–⁠1728), clergyman, author, and scholar. Pastor of the North Church, Boston. He took an active part in the persecution of witchcraft.

  12. Nantucket.

  13. Tenth.

  14. System of shorthand.

  15. This marble having decayed, the citizens of Boston in 1827 erected in its place a granite obelisk, twenty-one feet high, bearing the original inscription quoted in the text and another explaining the erection of the monument.

  16. Small books, sold by chapmen or peddlers.

  17. Grub-street: famous in English literature as the home of poor writers.

  18. A daily London journal, comprising satirical essays on social subjects, published by Addison and Steele in 1711⁠–⁠1712. The Spectator and its predecessor, the Tatler (1709), marked the beginning of periodical literature.

  19. John Locke (1632⁠–⁠1704), a celebrated English philosopher, founder of the so-called “common sense” school of philosophers. He drew up a constitution for the colonists of Carolina.

  20. A noted society of scholarly and devout men occupying the abbey of Port Royal near Paris, who published learned works, among them the one here referred to, better known as the Port Royal Logic.

  21. Socrates confuted his opponents in argument by asking questions so skillfully devised that the answers would confirm the questioner’s position or show the error of the opponent.

  22. Alexander Pope (1688⁠–⁠1744), the greatest English poet of the first half of the eighteenth century.

  23. Franklin’s memory does not serve him correctly here. The Courant was really the fifth newspaper established in America, although generally called the fourth, because the first, Public Occurrences, published in Boston in 1690, was suppressed after the first issue. Following is the order in which the other four papers were published: Boston News-Letter, 1704; Boston Gazette, December 21, 1719; The American Weekly Mercury, Philadelphia, December 22, 1719; The New England Courant, 1721.

  24. Disclosed.

  25. Kill van Kull, the channel separating Staten Island from New Jersey on the north.

  26. Samuel Richardson, the father of the English novel, wrote Pamela, Clarissa Harlowe, and the History of Sir Charles Grandison, novels published in the form of letters.

  27. Manuscript.

  28. The frames for holding type are in two sections, the upper for capitals and the lower for small letters.

  29. Protestants of the South of France, who became fanatical under the persecutions of Louis XIV, and thought they had the gift of prophecy. They had as mottoes “No Taxes” and “Liberty of Conscience.”

  30. Temple Franklin considered this specific figure vulgar and changed it to “stared with astonishment.”

  31. Pennsylvania and Delaware.

  32. A peepshow in a box.

  33. There were no mints in the colonies, so the metal money was of foreign coinage and not nearly so common as paper money, which was printed in large quantities in America, even in small denominations.

  34. Spanish dollar about equivalent to our dollar.

  35. “In one of the later editions of the Dunciad occur the following lines:

    “ ‘Silence, ye wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
    And makes night hideous⁠—answer him, ye owls.’

    “To this the poet adds the following note:

    “ ‘James Ralph, a name inserted after the first editions, not known till he writ a swearing-piece called Sawney, very abusive of Dr. Swift, Mr. Gay, and myself.’ ”

  36. One of the oldest parts of London, north of St. Paul’s Cathedral, called “Little Britain” because the Dukes of Brittany used to live there. See the essay entitled “Little Britain” in Washington Irving’s Sketch Book.

  37. A gold coin worth about four dollars in our money.

  38. A popular comedian, manager of Drury Lane Theater.

  39. Street north of St. Paul’s, occupied by publishing houses.

  40. Law schools and lawyers’ residences situated southwest of St. Paul’s, between Fleet Street and the Thames.

  41. Edward Young (1681⁠–⁠1765), an English poet. See his satires, Vol. III, Epist. ii, page 70.

  42. The printing press at which Franklin worked is preserved in the Patent Office at Washington.

  43. Franklin now left the work of operating the printing presses, which was largely a matter of manual labor, and began setting type, which required more skill and intelligence.

  44. A printing house is called a chapel because Caxton, the first English printer, did his printing in a chapel connected with Westminster Abbey.

  45. A holiday taken to prolong the dissipation of Saturday’s wages.

  46. The story is that she met Christ on His way to crucifixion and offered Him her handkerchief to wipe the blood from His face, after which the handkerchief always bore the image of Christ’s bleeding face.

  47. James Salter, a former servant of Hans Sloane, lived in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. “His house, a barbershop, was known as ‘Don Saltero’s Coffeehouse.’ The curiosities were in glass cases and constituted an amazing and motley collection⁠—a petrified crab from China, a ‘lignified hog,’ Job’s tears, Madagascar lances, William the Conqueror’s flaming sword, and Henry the Eighth’s coat of mail.” —⁠Smyth

  48. About three miles.

  49. About $167.

  50. “Not found in the manuscript journal, which was left among Franklin’s papers.” —⁠Bigelow

  51. A crimp was the agent of a shipping company. Crimps were sometimes employed to decoy men into such service as is here mentioned.

  52. The creed of an eighteenth century theological sect which, while believing in God, refused to credit the possibility of miracles and to acknowledge the validity of revelation.

  53. A great English poet, dramatist, and critic (1631⁠–⁠1700). The lines are inaccurately quoted from Dryden’s Oedipus, Act III, Scene I, line 293.

  54. A Spanish term meaning a combination for political intrigue; here a club or society.

  55. A sheet 8½ by 13½ inches, having the words pro patria in translucent letters in the body of the paper. Pica⁠—a size of type; as, A B C D: Long Primer⁠—a smaller size of type; as, A B C D.

  56. To arrange and lock up pages or columns of type in a rectangular iron frame, ready for printing.

  57. Reduced to complete disorder.

  58. I got his son once £500. —⁠Marg. note

  59. Recalled to be redeemed.

  60. This part of Philadelphia is now the center of the wholesale business district.

  61. Paper money is a promise to pay its face value in gold or silver. When a state or nation issues more such promises than there is a likelihood of its being able to redeem, the paper representing the promises depreciates in value. Before the success of the Colonies in the Revolution was assured, it took hundreds of dollars of their paper money to buy a pair of boots.

  62. Mrs. Franklin survived her marriage over forty years. Franklin’s correspondence abounds with evidence that their union was a happy one. “We are grown old together, and if she has any faults, I am so used to them that I don’t perceive them.” The following is a stanza from one of Franklin’s own songs written for the Junto:

    “Of their Chloes and Phyllises poets may prate,
    I sing my plain country Joan,
    These twelve years my wife, still the joy of my life,
    Blest day that I made her my own.”

  63. Here the first part of the Autobiography, written at Twyford in 1771, ends. The second part, which follows, was written at Passy in 1784.

  64. After this memorandum, Franklin inserted letters from Abel James and Benjamin Vaughan, urging him to continue his Autobiography.

  65. Franklin expressed a different view about the duty of attending church later.

  66. Compare Philippians 4:8.

  67. A famous Greek philosopher, who lived about 582⁠–⁠500 BC. The Golden Verses here ascribed to him are probably of later origin. “The time which he recommends for this work is about even or bedtime, that we may conclude the action of the day with the judgment of conscience, making the examination of our conversation an evening song to God.”

  68. This “little book” is dated July 1, 1733. —⁠W. T. F.

  69. “O philosophy, guide of life! O searcher out of virtue and exterminator of vice! One day spent well and in accordance with thy precepts is worth an immortality of sin.” —⁠Tusculan Inquiries, Book V

  70. Professor McMaster tells us that when Franklin was American Agent in France, his lack of business order was a source of annoyance to his colleagues and friends. “Strangers who came to see him were amazed to behold papers of the greatest importance scattered in the most careless way over the table and floor.”

  71. While there can be no question that Franklin’s moral improvement and happiness were due to the practice of these virtues, yet most people will agree that we shall have to go back of his plan for the impelling motive to a virtuous life. Franklin’s own suggestion that the scheme smacks of “foppery in morals” seems justified. Woodrow Wilson well puts it: “Men do not take fire from such thoughts, unless something deeper, which is missing here, shine through them. What may have seemed to the eighteenth century a system of morals seems to us nothing more vital than a collection of the precepts of good sense and sound conduct. What redeems it from pettiness in this book is the scope of power and of usefulness to be seen in Franklin himself, who set these standards up in all seriousness and candor for his own life.” See Galatians, chapter V, for the Christian plan of moral perfection.

  72. Nothing so likely to make a man’s fortune as virtue. —⁠Marg. note

  73. This is a marginal memorandum. —⁠B.

  74. The almanac at that time was a kind of periodical as well as a guide to natural phenomena and the weather. Franklin took his title from Poor Robin, a famous English almanac, and from Richard Saunders, a well-known almanac publisher.

  75. June 23 and July 7, 1730. —⁠Smyth

  76. See “A List of Books written by, or relating to Benjamin Franklin,” by Paul Leicester Ford. 1889. p. 15. —⁠Smyth

  77. Dr. James Foster (1697⁠–⁠1753):⁠—

    “Let modest Foster, if he will excel
    Ten metropolitans in preaching well.”

    —⁠Pope (Epilogue to the Satires, I, 132)

    “Those who had not heard Farinelli sing and Foster preach were not qualified to appear in genteel company,”

    Hawkins, History of Music


  78. “The authority of Franklin, the most eminently practical man of his age, in favor of reserving the study of the dead languages until the mind has reached a certain maturity, is confirmed by the confession of one of the most eminent scholars of any age.

    “ ‘Our seminaries of learning,’ says Gibbon, ‘do not exactly correspond with the precept of a Spartan king, that the child should be instructed in the arts which will be useful to the man; since a finished scholar may emerge from the head of Westminster or Eton, in total ignorance of the business and conversation of English gentlemen in the latter end of the eighteenth century. But these schools may assume the merit of teaching all that they pretend to teach, the Latin and Greek languages.’ ” —⁠Bigelow

  79. George Whitefield, pronounced Hwit’field (1714⁠–⁠1770), a celebrated English clergyman and pulpit orator, one of the founders of Methodism.

  80. A part of the palace of Westminster, now forming the vestibule to the Houses of Parliament in London.

  81. William Penn’s agents sought recruits for the colony of Pennsylvania in the low countries of Germany, and there are still in eastern Pennsylvania many Germans, inaccurately called Pennsylvania Dutch. Many of them use a Germanized English.

  82. James Logan (1674⁠–⁠1751) came to America with William Penn in 1699, and was the business agent for the Penn family. He bequeathed his valuable library, preserved at his country seat, “Senton,” to the city of Philadelphia. —⁠Smyth

  83. See the votes. —⁠Marg. note

  84. The Franklin stove is still in use.

  85. Warwick Furnace, Chester County, Pennsylvania, across the Schuylkill River from Pottstown.

  86. Tench Francis, uncle of Sir Philip Francis, emigrated from England to Maryland, and became attorney for Lord Baltimore. He removed to Philadelphia and was attorney-general of Pennsylvania from 1741 to 1755. He died in Philadelphia August 16, 1758. —⁠Smyth

  87. Later called the University of Pennsylvania.

  88. See the votes to have this more correctly. —⁠Marg. note

  89. Gilbert Tennent (1703⁠–⁠1764) came to America with his father, Rev. William Tennent, and taught for a time in the “Log College,” from which sprang the College of New Jersey. —⁠Smyth

  90. See votes.

  91. Vauxhall Gardens, once a popular and fashionable London resort, situated on the Thames above Lambeth. The Gardens were closed in 1859, but they will always be remembered because of Sir Roger de Coverley’s visit to them in the Spectator and from the descriptions in Smollett’s Humphry Clinker and Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.

  92. A short street near Charing Cross, London.

  93. The “round, selfish, and self-important” squire of Don Quixote in Cervantes’ romance of that name.

  94. My acts in Morris’s time, military, etc. —⁠Marg. note

  95. On Lake Champlain, ninety miles north of Albany. It was captured by the French in 1731, attacked by the English in 1755 and 1756, and abandoned by the French in 1759. It was finally captured from the English by the Americans in 1775.

  96. By chance.

  97. Pittsburg.

  98. Kingston, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

  99. Other accounts of this expedition and defeat may be found in Fiske’s Washington and His Country, or Lodge’s George Washington, Vol. 1.

  100. A famous Scotch philosopher and historian (1711⁠–⁠1776).

  101. Governor of Massachusetts and commander of the British forces in America.

  102. This dialogue and the militia act are in the Gentleman’s Magazine for February and March, 1756. —⁠Marg. note

  103. Pronounced Gna’-den-hoot.

  104. Flintlock guns, discharged by means of a spark struck from flint and steel into powder (priming) in an open pan.

  105. Here the pole connecting the front and rear wheels of a wagon.

  106. The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge was founded in 1660 and holds the foremost place among English societies for the advancement of science.

  107. A celebrated French naturalist (1707⁠–⁠1788).

  108. Dalibard, who had translated Franklin’s letters to Collinson into French, was the first to demonstrate, in a practical application of Franklin’s experiment, that lightning and electricity are the same. “This was May 10th, 1752, one month before Franklin flew his famous kite at Philadelphia and proved the fact himself.” —⁠McMaster

  109. An English baronet (died in 1709), donator of a fund of £100, “in trust for the Royal Society of London for improving natural knowledge.”

  110. Quarrel between George II and his son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, who died before his father.

  111. A satirical poem by Alexander Pope directed against various contemporary writers.

  112. William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham (1708⁠–⁠1778), a great English statesman and orator. Under his able administration, England won Canada from France. He was a friend of America at the time of our Revolution.

  113. This relation illustrates the corruption that characterized English public life in the eighteenth century. (See Chapter XIX.) It was gradually overcome in the early part of the next century.

  114. A piece of wood shaped and weighted so as to keep it stable when in the water. To this is attached a line knotted at regular distances. By these devices it is possible to tell the speed of a ship.

  115. A celebrated prehistoric ruin, probably of a temple built by the early Britons, near Salisbury, England. It consists of inner and outer circles of enormous stones, some of which are connected by stone slabs.

  116. “Here terminates the Autobiography, as published by William Temple Franklin and his successors. What follows was written in the last year of Dr. Franklin’s life, and was never before printed in English.” —⁠Mr. Bigelow’s note in his edition of 1868

  117. George Granville or Grenville (1712⁠–⁠1770). As English premier from 1763 to 1765, he introduced the direct taxation of the American Colonies and has sometimes been called the immediate cause of the Revolution.

  118. This whole passage shows how hopelessly divergent were the English and American views on the relations between the mother country and her colonies. Grenville here made clear that the Americans were to have no voice in making or amending their laws. Parliament and the king were to have absolute power over the colonies. No wonder Franklin was alarmed by this new doctrine.

    With his keen insight into human nature and his consequent knowledge of American character, he foresaw the inevitable result of such an attitude on the part of England. This conversation with Grenville makes these last pages of the Autobiography one of its most important parts.