Abbildungen der Seite

The opposite page presents a correct view of the press which Dr. Franke lin recognized as that at which he worked in London, in the years 1725-6. (See p. 56 of this Life.) This rude and venerable memorial of his fame and fortune, is now deposited with the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, an institution, the establishment of which was proposed and effected by the Doctor in 1744; and the result of the transference of the press from the place of its original existence is this that, while America has been put in possession of the interesting relic, England has obtained a sum of money which is now appropriated to the relief of one pensioner, called the “Franklin Pensioner,” to which a disabled printer, of any country, is eligible if there be a vacancy, upon his application.

A fac-simile of Franklin's Autograph, in the year 1756, is given below, being another memorial which will be cherished by all his admirers, and indeed by every one who entertains a genuine taste for observing even the slightest records and traces of transcendant worth and achievement..

[blocks in formation]





WHETHER contemplated as a successful tradesman, an experimental philosopher, or a distinguished politician, Benjamin Franklin's career presents points of very remarkable interest, and importance; and happily we possess ample details for gratifying our curiosity concerning him, some of the most valuable of these having been furnished by himself, in his highly entertaining and instructive autobiography.

Franklin was sprung from a family that had been settled for a long series of years, in the village of Ecton, in Northamptonshire, on a freehold of their own, of about thirty acres ; and from time immemorial the eldest son had been brought up a smith, a business which his own elder brother followed. It is also worthy of notice, that the subject of the present sketch found that he was himself the youngest son of the youngest son for five succeeding generations.

The family early embraced the reformed religion, continuing protestants through the reign of Mary, when they were sometimes in danger of persecution on account of their zeal against popery. Franklin relates an anecdote which supplies a striking picture of the most intolerant times." Qur forefathers," says he, “hud an English bible, and to conceal it and place it in safety, it was fastened open with tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool. When my great grandfather

« ZurückWeiter »