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blo 'Things of Socrates, in which are various examples of the same method. Charned to a degree of enthusiasın with this mode of disputing, I adopted it, and renruncing blunt contradiction, and direct and positive argument, I assumed the character of a humble questioner. The perusal of Shaftsbury and Collins had marle me a sceptic; and, being previously so As to many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socra. es' method to be both the safest for myself, as we! as the most embarrassing w those against whom I employed it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I incessantly practised it; and became very adroil in obtaining, even froin persons of superior understand. ing, concessions of which they did not foresee the consequence. Thus I involved them in difficulties from which they were unable to extricale themselves, and sometimes obtained victories, which neither my cause nor my arguments merited. . This method I continued to employ for some years; but I afteru ardis abamlonert it by riegrees, retaming only the habit of expressing myself with nodest riit hdence, and never making vise, when I advanced any proposition which might be controverted, of the words Certainly, undinubtedly, or any others which might give the appearance of being obstina:ely attached to my opinion. I rather sani, Tiinagine, I suppose, or it appears to me, that such a thing is so or so, for such and such reasons; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit has, i think, been of considerable advantage to me, when I have had occasion to it:spress my opinion on the minils of others, and pexsuade them to the adoption of the measures I have suggested. And bilice the chief ends of conversation are, to inform or ole informed, to please or to persuade, I could wish bat intelligent and well-meaining men would no themselves diminish the power they possess of beng usefuil, by a positive and presumptuouis miamner of expressing theinselves, which scarcel; ever fails to disgust the hearer, and is only calculated to excite opposition, and defeat every purpose for which the faculty of speech has been bestowed on man. In short, If you wish to infom, a positive and dogmatical Manner of advancing your opinion may provoke cons tradiction, arıd prevent your being heard with attention. On the other hard, if, with a desire of being informed, and of benefitng by the knowiedge of others, you express yourself as being strongly attached to your own opinions, modest and sensible nien, who do nut love disputation, will leave you in tranquil possession of your errors. By following such a me inod, you can rarely hope to please your auditors conciliate their goodi-will, or work conviction on those whom you may be desirous of gaining over to you views. 'Pope judiciously observes,
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And in the same poem he afterwards advises us,
To speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence.
He might have added to these lines, one that he has coupled elsewhere, in my opinion, with less proprety. It is thus:
For want of modesty is want of sense. If you ask why I say with less propriety, I must give you the two lines together :
Immodest words admit of no defence,
Now, want of sense, when a man has the inisfortune to be so circumstanced, is it not a kind of excuse tor want of modesty ? And would not the verses have been more accurate, if they had been constiucted tus:
Immodest words admit out the defence,
But I leave the decision of this to better judges than mysell.
In 1720, or 1721, my brother began to print a new public paper. It was the second that made its apo
pearance in America, and was entitled the “New England Courant." The only one that existed before was the “ Boston News Letter.” Some of his frier:ds, I reinember, would have dissuaded him from this undertaking, as a thing that was not likely te gucceed ; a single newspaper being, in their opinion, sufficient for al America. At present, however, in 1771, t'ero are no less than twenty-five. But he carried his lunes jert into execution, and I was employed in distri. buting the copies to his customers, after having assisted m composing and working them off..
Among his friends he had a number of literary characters, who, as an amusement, wrote short essays for the paper, which gave it reputation, and increased the sale. "These gentlemen frequently came to our house. I heard the conversation that passed, and tho accounts they gave of the favourable reception of their writings with the public. I was tempted to try my hand among them; but, being still a child as it were, I was fearful that iny brother might be unwilling to print in his paper any performance of which he should know me to be the author. I therefore contrived w disguise my hand, and having written an anonymous, piece, I placed it at night under the door of the print. ing-house, where it was found the next morning. My brother communicated it to his friends, when they came as usual to see him, who read it, conimentei upon it within my hearing, and I had thu exquisita pleasure to find that it met with their approhation, and that in their various conjectures they made respecting the author, no one was njentioned who dirt not enjoy a high reputation ir. the country for talents and genius. I now supposed myself fortunate in niy jucces, and began to suspect that they were not such excellent writers as I had hitherto supposed thein. Be this as it may, encouraged by this liule adventure, I wrote and sent to press, in the sa:ne way, many (ither picces, which were equally approved keeping the secret till ny slender stock of information aria knowledge for such performances was prevy oom pleteig exhausted, when I niade myself knorun
My brullien, upon this discovery, began er entortain a Mulle more respect for me ; but he still regarded Powder
self as my inaster, and treated me as an apprentice. He thought himself entitled to tl:e same services from me as from any other person. On the contrary, I conceived that, in many instances, he was 100 rigorous, and that, on the part of a brother, 1 liad a right 10 expect greater indulgence. Our disputes were free quently brought before my father; and either niy brother was generally in the wrong, or I was the hetter • pleader of the two, for judgment was commonly given
in my favour. But my brother was passionate, and often had recourse to blows, a circunstance which I took in very ill part. This severe and tyrannical treatment contributed, I believe, to imprint on my mind that aversion to arbitrary power, which, during my whole life, I have ever preserved. My apprenticeship became insupportable to me, and I continually sigheri for an opportunity of shortening it, which at 'ength unexpectedly offered. .
An article inserted in our paper, upon soine roliti. ml subject which I have now forgotten, gave offence to the Assembly. My brother was taken into custody, zensured, and orilered into confinement for a month, because, I presume, he would not discover the a sthor. I was also taken up, and examined before the council; but, though I gave thein no satisfactio , they contented themselves with reprimanding, ani then dismissing me; considering me probably as bo.nd, in quality of apprentice, to keep my master's ser als.
The imprisonment of any brother kindled my re. : entment, notwithstanding cur private quarrel. Dur. ing its continuance, the managenyent of 1b paper was entrusted to me, and I was bolit enough no insert some pasquiades against the governors, whi h liighy pleased my brother, while others began to look upon me in an unfavourable point of view, considering me as a young wit, inclined to satire and lantpoon)
My brother's enlargement was accompanied with an arbitary order froin the House of Assembly, "'That James Franklin should no longer printilhe newspaper entitled tne •New Engiand Courant.!" In this can. juncture, we held a consultation of our friends at the prining xiouse, un order to determine what was in the
me. Some proposed to evade the order, bi hang. ing the :tle of the paper : but my brother forseeing in. conveniences that would result from this step, thought it better that it should in future be printed in the name of Benjanin Franklin; and, to avoid the cengure of the Assembly, who might charge him with still printing the paper himself, under the pame of his apprentice, it was resolved that my old indenture shoud be given up to me, with a full and entire dis charge written on the back, in order to be produce upon an emergency: but that, to secure to niy brothe the benefit of iny service, I should sign a new contract, which should be kept secret during the remainder of The term. This was a very shallow arrangement. It was, however, warried into immediate execution, and the paper continued, in consequence, i) make its appearance for some mouths in my name. A: length a new difference arising between my brother and me, I ventured to take advantage of my liberty, presuni. ing that he would not dare in produce the new con. tract. It was undoulitedly dishonourable to avail myself of this circumstance, and I reckon this action as one of the first eniors of my life; but I was little capable of estimating it at its true value, en bittered as my mind had been by the recollection of the blows I had received. Exclusive of his passionate treatment to me, my brother was by no means a man of an ill temper, and perhaps niy manncrs had too much im. pertinence not to afford it a very natural pretext.
When he knew that it was my detennination to quit him, he wished to prevent my finding empluvinent elsewhere. He weni to all the printing-houses in the town, and prejudiced the masters against me; who accordingly refused 10 employ me. The idea than uggested itself to me of going to New-York, the near est town in which there was a printing office. Farther reflection confirme:' me in the design of leaving Bose ton, where I had already endered niyself an object of suspicion to the governing party. It was probable, from the ar'itary proceedings of the Assenbly m the affair of my broiher, that, by remaining, I skinuld soon
have been exposed to difficulties, which I had this r greaser reason to apprehend, as, from my inertestreet