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SELF-REVEALED

A BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL STUDY

BASED MAINLY ON HIS OWN WRITINGS

BY

WILLIAM CABELL BRUCE

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME I

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK AND LONDON
Tbe knickerbocker Press

1917

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Benjamin Franklin

Self-Revealed

Introduction

N reading the life of Benjamin Franklin, the most

lasting impressions left upon the mind are those of

versatility and abundance. His varied genius lent itself without effort to the minutest details of such commonplace things as the heating and ventilation of rooms, the correction of smoky chimneys and naval architecture and economy. His severely practical turn of mind was disclosed even in the devices with which he is pictured in his old age as relieving the irksomeness of physical effort—the rolling press with which he copied his letters, the fan which he worked with his foot in warm weather as he sat reading, the artificial hand with which he reached the books on the upper shelves of his library. But, sober as Franklin's genius on this side was, it proved itself equal to some of the most exacting demands of physical science; and above all to the sublime task, which created such a world-wide stir, of reducing the wild and mysterious lightning of the heavens to captivity, and bringing it down in fluttering helplessness to the earth. It was a rare mind indeed which could give happy expression to homely maxims of plodding thrift, and yet enter

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