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The Life of Benjamin Franklin With Many Choice Anecdotes and admirable sayings of this great man never before published by any of his biographers   By:

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HISTORICAL SERIES No. 14

THE LIFE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

BY M. L. WEEMS

STREET & SMITH, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

THE LIFE OF

Benjamin Franklin

WITH MANY

CHOICE ANECDOTES AND ADMIRABLE SAYINGS OF THIS GREAT MAN

NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED BY ANY OF HIS BIOGRAPHERS

BY

M. L. WEEMS

AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE OF WASHINGTON"

"Sage Franklin next arose in cheerful mien, And smil'd, unruffled, o'er the solemn scene; High on his locks of age a wreath was brac'd, Palm of all arts that e'er a mortal grac'd; Beneath him lay the sceptre kings had borne, And crowns and laurels from their temples torn."

NEW YORK STREET & SMITH, PUBLISHERS

238 WILLIAM STREET

To the Reader

We trust that you will be thoroughly satisfied with this book. During the long period of time that the publications of Street & Smith have been familiar to the reading classes (somewhat more than half a century) it has always been our aim to give to the public the very best literary products, regardless of the expenditure involved. Our books and periodicals are today read and re read in a majority of the homes of America, while but few of our original competitors are even known by name to the present generation. No special credit is due for antiquity, but we hold it to be a self evident fact that long experience, coupled with enterprise and the ability to maintain the front rank for so many years, proves our right to the title of leaders. We solicit your further valued patronage.

STREET & SMITH.

LIFE OF FRANKLIN.

CHAPTER I.

DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY; FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH, LONDON AND PARIS; GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA; AND MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE COURT OF FRANCE, was the son of an obscure tallow chandler and soap boiler, of Boston, where he was born on the 17th day of January, 1706.

Some men carry letters of recommendation in their looks, and some in their names. 'Tis the lot but of few to inherit both of these advantages. The hero of this work was one of that favoured number. As to his physiognomy, there was in it such an air of wisdom and philanthropy, and consequently such an expression of majesty and sweetness, as charms, even in the commonest pictures of him. And for his name, every one acquainted with the old English history, must know, that Franklin stands for what we now mean by "Gentleman," or "CLEVER FELLOW."

In the days of AULD LANG SYNE, their neighbours from the continent made a descent " on the fast anchored isle ," and compelled the hardy, red ochred natives to buckle to their yoke. Among the victors were some regiments of Franks, who distinguished themselves by their valor, and still more by their politeness to the vanquished, and especially to the females. By this amiable gallantry the Franks acquired such glory among the brave islanders, that whenever any of their own people achieved any thing uncommonly handsome, he was called, by way of compliment, FRANKLIN, i.e. a little Frank. As the living flame does not more naturally tend upwards than does every virtue to exalt its possessors, these little Franks were soon promoted to be great men, such as justices of the peace, knights of the shire, and other such names of high renown. Hence those pretty lines of the old poet Chaucer

"This worthy Franklin wore a purse of silk Fix'd to his girdle, pure as morning milk; Knight of the shire; first justice of th' assize, To help the poor, the doubtful to advise. In all employments, gen'rous just he prov'd; Renown'd for courtesy; by all belov'd."

But though, according to Dr. Franklin's own account of his family, whose pedigree he looked into with great diligence while he was in England, it appears that they were all of the " well born ," or gentlemen in the best sense of the word; yet they did not deem it beneath them to continue the same useful courses which had at first conferred their titles. On the contrary, the doctor owns, and indeed glories in it, that for three hundred years the eldest son, or heir apparent in this family of old British gentlemen, was invariably brought up a blacksmith... Continue reading book >>




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