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station required, he readily sustained, limiting them by the strictest rules of propriety. Many public institutions experienced his well-timed liberality: and he manifested sensibility of heart by numerous acts of private charity. By a judicious division and appropriation of time, Dr. Franklin acquired the art of doing every thing advantageously; and his amusements were of a nature that mever militated with the main object of his pursuits. From every situation he extracted something useful for himself and others. He turned every incident of his life to some valuable account, deriving therefrom experience and caution. The maxims which he has formed or applied, evince a discerning mind, and they apply to innumerable cases in life. His manners were easy and accommodating, and his address winning and respectful. . A man thus prudent, amiable, and wise, could not but have many friends, and while memory endures will have many admirers.
I HAVE amused myself with collecting some little anecdotes of my family. You may remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among such of my relations as were then living; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted with the particulars of my Fo and life, many of which are unknown to you. I flatter myself will afford the same pleasure to you as to me. I shall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted leisure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath, and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of opulence and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me through every period of life to my present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning what were the means of which l made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be placed in a similar situation, derive some advantage from my 1arrative. - When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have onjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would o to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask, should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, ertain errors of the first. I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, to change some trivial incidents and vents for others more favourable. Were this, however, enied me, still would I not decline the offer. But, since repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing *hich, in my opinion, so mearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to render their remem*rance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus
employing myself, I shall yield to the inclination, so matural in old men, to talk of themselves and their ey. ploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age, miglit think themselves, obliged to listem to me; as they will b at liberty to read me or not as they please. In fine — and I may as well avow it, since nobody would believe me were 1 to deny it — I shall, perhaps, by this employment,
ratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever read or #. the introductory F. “I may say, without vanity... but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves: for myself. I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who aie within the sphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would, in o cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence for the blessing.
And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has furnish. ed me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the elose of iife, or by giving me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. , My future fortune is unknown but to Him in whose hand is our destiny, and who cau make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.
One of my uncles, desirous, like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton, in Northamptonshire), upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had resided there prior to that pe. Fiod, my uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, which had formerly been the name :Fo particular order of individuals”).
*) Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank on England, and is thus amiably characterized by Chaucer: