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An introduction to the life of ben franklin

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin Introduction WE Americans devour eagerly any piece of writing that purports to tell us the secret of success in life; yet how often we are disappointed to find nothing but commonplace statements, or receipts that we know by heart but never follow. Most of the life stories of our famous and successful men fail to inspire because they lack the human element that makes the record real and brings the story within our grasp.

While we are fascinated by the story, we absorb the human experience through which a strong and helpful character is building. Franklin told the story of his life, as he himself says, an introduction to the life of ben franklin the benefit of his posterity. He wanted to help them by the relation of his own rise from obscurity and poverty to eminence and wealth. He is not unmindful of the importance of his public services and their recognition, yet his accounts of these achievements are given only as a part of the story, and the vanity displayed is incidental and in keeping with the honesty of the recital.

There is nothing of the impossible in the method and practice of Franklin as he sets them forth. The youth who reads the fascinating story is astonished to find that Franklin in his early years struggled with the same everyday passions and difficulties that he himself experiences, and he loses the sense of discouragement that comes from a realization of his own shortcomings and inability to attain.

There are other reasons why the Autobiography should be an intimate friend of American young people. Here they may establish a close relationship with one of the foremost Americans as well as one of the wisest men of his age. The life of Benjamin Franklin is of importance to every American primarily because of the part he played in securing the independence of the United States and in establishing it as a nation. Franklin shares with Washington the honors of the Revolution, and of the events leading to the birth of the new nation.

While Washington was the animating spirit of the struggle in the colonies, Franklin was its ablest champion abroad.

  1. In London he actively opposed the proposed Stamp Act, but lost the credit for this and much of his popularity through his securing for a friend the office of stamp agent in America.
  2. His ideas and values, as Amy Gutmann notes in her remarks, have shaped the modern University of Pennsylvania profoundly, "more profoundly than have the founders of any other major university of college in the United States.
  3. In London he actively opposed the proposed Stamp Act, but lost the credit for this and much of his popularity through his securing for a friend the office of stamp agent in America.
  4. The careful study of the Autobiography is also valuable because of the style in which it is written. The first edition of the Autobiography was published in French at Paris in 1791.

His patience, fortitude, and practical wisdom, coupled with self-sacrificing devotion to the cause of his country, are hardly less noticeable than similar qualities displayed by Washington. In fact, Franklin as a public man was much like Washington, especially in the entire disinterestedness of his public service. Franklin is also interesting to us because by his life and teachings he has done more than any other American to advance the material prosperity of his countrymen.

Franklin is a good type of our American manhood. Although not the wealthiest or the most powerful, he is undoubtedly, in the versatility of his genius and achievements, the greatest of our self-made men.

The simple yet graphic story in the Autobiography of his steady rise from humble boyhood in a tallow-chandler shop, by industry, economy, and perseverance in self-improvement, to eminence, is the most remarkable of all the remarkable histories of our self-made men. Distinguished as a statesman, he was equally great as a philosopher, thus uniting in himself a rare degree of excellence in both these pursuits, to excel an introduction to the life of ben franklin either of which is deemed the highest praise.

He was the Edison of his day, turning his scientific discoveries to the benefit of his fellow-men. He perceived the identity of lightning and electricity and set up the lightning rod. He invented the Franklin stove, still widely used, and refused to patent it. He possessed a masterly shrewdness in business and practical affairs.

Carlyle called him the father of all the Yankees. He founded a fire company, assisted in founding a hospital, and improved the cleaning and lighting of streets. He developed journalism, established the American Philosophical Society, the public library in Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania.

He organized a postal system for the colonies, which was the basis of the present United States Post Office. He received honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale, from Oxford and St. Andrews, and was made a fellow of the Royal Society, which awarded him the Copley gold medal for improving natural knowledge. He was one of the eight foreign associates of the French Academy of Science. The careful study of the Autobiography is also valuable because of the style in which it is written.

Sir Humphry Davy, the celebrated English chemist, himself an excellent literary critic as well an introduction to the life of ben franklin a great scientist, said: The style and manner of his publication on electricity are almost as worthy of admiration as the doctrine it contains.

His aim in his writings as in his life work was to be helpful to his fellow-men. For him writing was never an end in itself, but always a means to an end. Yet his success as a scientist, a statesman, and a diplomat, as well as socially, was in no little part due to his ability as a writer. His political arguments were the joy of his party and the dread of his opponents.

His scientific discoveries were explained in language at once so simple and so clear that plow-boy and exquisite could follow his thought or his experiment to its conclusion. Franklin was the first American author to gain a wide and permanent reputation in Europe. Franklin must also be classed as the first American humorist. English literature of the eighteenth century was characterized by the development of prose.

Benjamin Franklin His Autobiography 1706-1757

Periodical literature reached its perfection early in the century in The Tatler and The Spectator of Addison and Steele. Pamphleteers flourished throughout the period. The homelier prose of Bunyan and Defoe gradually gave place to the more elegant and artificial language of Samuel Johnson, who set the standard for prose writing from 1745 onward.

In the simplicity and vigor of his style Franklin more nearly resembles the earlier group of writers.

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In his first essays he was not an inferior imitator of Addison. But Franklin was essentially a journalist. In his swift, terse style, he is most like Defoe, who was the first great English journalist and master of the newspaper narrative. The style of both writers is marked by homely, vigorous expression, satire, burlesque, repartee. Here the comparison must end. Defoe and his contemporaries were authors.

Their vocation was writing and their success rests on the imaginative or creative power they displayed. To authorship Franklin laid no claim. He wrote no work of the imagination. He developed only incidentally a style in many respects as remarkable as that of his English contemporaries. He wrote the best autobiography in existence, one of the most widely known collections of maxims, and an unsurpassed series of political and social satires, because he was a man of unusual scope of power and usefulness, who knew how to tell his fellow-men the an introduction to the life of ben franklin of that power and that usefulness.

The first part, written as a letter to his son, William Franklin, was not intended for publication; and the composition is more informal and the narrative more personal than in the second part, from 1730 on, which was written with a view to publication. The entire manuscript shows little evidence of revision. In fact, the expression is so homely and natural that his grandson, William Temple Franklin, in editing the work changed some of the phrases because he thought them inelegant and vulgar.

Franklin began the story of his life while on a visit to his friend, Bishop Shipley, at Twyford, in Hampshire, southern England, in 1771. He took the manuscript, completed to 1731, with him when he returned to Philadelphia in 1775. It was left there with his other papers when he went to France in the following year, and disappeared during the confusion incident to the Revolution. Twenty-three pages of closely written manuscript fell into the hands of Abel James, an old friend, who sent a copy to Franklin at Passy, near Paris, urging him to complete the story.

Franklin took up the work at Passy in 1784 and carried the narrative forward a few months. He changed the plan to meet his new purpose of writing to benefit the young reader. His work was soon interrupted and was not resumed until 1788, when he was at home in Philadelphia.

He was now old, infirm, and suffering, and was still engaged in public service. Under these discouraging conditions the work progressed slowly. It finally stopped when the narrative reached the year 1757. The first edition of the Autobiography was published in French at Paris in 1791. It was clumsily and carelessly translated, and was imperfect and unfinished. Where the translator got the manuscript is not known. Le Veillard disclaimed any knowledge of the publication. From this faulty French edition many others were printed, some in Germany, two in England, and another in France, so great was the demand for the work.

In the meantime the original manuscript of the Autobiography had started on an introduction to the life of ben franklin varied and adventurous career. It was left by Franklin with his other works to his grandson, William Temple Franklin, whom Franklin designated as his literary executor. The original manuscript thus found its way to the Le Veillard family and connections, where it remained until sold in 1867 to Mr.

By him it was later sold to Mr.

  1. In his swift, terse style, he is most like Defoe, who was the first great English journalist and master of the newspaper narrative. Periodical literature reached its perfection early in the century in The Tatler and The Spectator of Addison and Steele.
  2. The careful study of the Autobiography is also valuable because of the style in which it is written.
  3. Bigelow says he found more than twelve hundred changes in the text. His schooling ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who published the "New England Courant.
  4. Franklin told the story of his life, as he himself says, for the benefit of his posterity. Their vocation was writing and their success rests on the imaginative or creative power they displayed.

Dwight Church of New York, and passed with the rest of Mr. Bigelow came to examine his purchase, he was astonished to find that what people had been reading for years as the authentic Life of Benjamin Franklin by Himself, was only a garbled and incomplete version of the real Autobiography. Temple Franklin had taken unwarranted liberties with the original. Bigelow says he found more than twelve hundred changes in the text.

In 1868, therefore, Mr. Bigelow republished the Autobiography, with additional interesting matter, in three volumes in 1875, in 1905, and in 1910. The text in this volume is that of Mr. It has never lost its popularity and is still in constant demand at circulating libraries. The reason for this popularity is not far to seek. For in this work Franklin told in a remarkable manner the story of a remarkable life.

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin

He displayed hard common sense and a practical knowledge of the art of living. He selected and arranged his material, perhaps unconsciously, with the unerring instinct of the journalist for the best effects.

His success is not a little due to his plain, clear, vigorous English. He used short sentences and words, homely expressions, apt illustrations, and pointed allusions. Franklin had a most interesting, varied, and unusual life. He was one of the greatest conversationalists of his time.

In the Autobiography a no less remarkable man and talker than Samuel Johnson is telling his own story throughout. Pages 1 and 4 of The Pennsylvania Gazette, the first number after Franklin took control.

  • He organized a postal system for the colonies, which was the basis of the present United States Post Office;
  • Edited by Peter Conn;
  • There are very amusing parts of this — particula This is a curious little book;
  • He is not unmindful of the importance of his public services and their recognition, yet his accounts of these achievements are given only as a part of the story, and the vanity displayed is incidental and in keeping with the honesty of the recital.

Reproduced from a copy at the New York Public Library.