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MS Record, Boston Births, V , 113: City Registry, Boston Benjamen Son     of Josiah Frankling & Abiah his     Wife    born 6 Janry 1706 This entry is taken from an official compilation, made at some later time, from the original book of record. The clerk used the year dates of the New Style calendar (adopted by Great Britain in 1752), recording the year of BF ’s birth as a simple 1706 instead...
MS Baptismal Records of the Clerk of Old South Church in Boston [1705/6] Jan. 6.   Benjamin, of Josiah & Abiah Franklin Printed in facsimile in Col. Soc. Mass., Pubs. , X (1907), facing p. 228.
MS Commonplace Book of Benjamin Franklin (the Elder): American Antiquarian Society Benjamin Franklin’s uncle Benjamin Franklin (1650–1727), born at Ecton in Northamptonshire, was for many years a silk-dyer in London. After years of sickness and adversity, he settled at Boston in October 1715, He lived four years in Josiah Franklin’s household, then in November 1719 moved to the house of his...
MS Commonplace Book of Benjamin Franklin (the Elder): American Antiquarian Society Sent To B.F. in N. E. 15 July 1710
MS Commonplace Book of Benjamin Franklin (the Elder): American Antiquarian Society To My Name 1713. Edward Cocker (1631–1675), author of several arithmetical works, of poems and distichs, and of a number of quaintly titled books on calligraphy. DNB. When he was 16, “asham’d of my Ignorance in Figures,” BF took Cocker’s Arithmetic and went through the whole book “with great Ease.” This...
6The Lighthouse Tragedy, 1718 (Franklin Papers)
Not found As a lad of twelve or thirteen Franklin “took a Fancy to Poetry, and made some little Pieces.” One of these was a ballad he remembered as “the Light House Tragedy ,” inspired by the drowning on November 3, 1718, of George Worthylake, keeper of the light on Beacon Island, with his wife and daughter. (In the autobiography he remembered it incorrectly as Worthylake and his two...
Not found The second ballad which Franklin wrote and hawked through the streets of Boston was “a Sailor Song on the Taking of Teach or Blackbeard the Pirate.” This may have been written in March 1719, after the Boston News-Letter carried a full account of the last fight and death of Captain Edward Teach on November 22, 1718. In the middle of the nineteenth century the Boston physician George...
Copy: University of Pennsylvania Library The University of Pennsylvania acquired in 1934 an eighty-six line “Elegy on my Sister Franklin,” undated but written in an eighteenth-century hand, and signed “B.F.” The Elegy opens as follows: The manuscript is a sheet of four pages and appears to be a copy of an earlier version, for the penman inadvertently skipped lines 35 and 36, but put them in at...
Printed in The New-England Courant , April 2, 1722. The first issue of James Franklin’s New-England Courant appeared on August 7, 1721, at the height of the inoculation controversy in Boston. Because the Mathers supported inoculation, the Courant opposed it; and the paper’s lively, combative essays and verses were soon directed also against the clergy, the magistrates, the postmaster, Harvard...
Printed in The New-England Courant , April 16, 1722. Histories of Lives are seldom entertaining, unless they contain something either admirable or exemplar: And since there is little or nothing of this Nature in my own Adventures, I will not tire your Readers with tedious Particulars of no Consequence, but will briefly, and in as few Words as possible, relate the most material Occurrences of...
Printed in The New-England Courant , April 30, 1722. It is undoubtedly the Duty of all Persons to serve the Country they live in, according to their Abilities; yet I sincerely acknowledge, that I have hitherto been very deficient in this Particular; whether it was for want of Will or Opportunity, I will not at present stand to determine: Let it suffice, that I now take up a Resolution, to do...
Printed in The New-England Courant , May 14, 1722. An sum etiam nunc vel Graecè loqui vel Latinè docendus? Cicero. Discoursing the other Day at Dinner with my Reverend Boarder, formerly mention’d, (whom for Distinction sake we will call by the Name of Clericus,) concerning the Education of Children, I ask’d his Advice about my young Son William, whether or no I had best bestow upon him...
Printed in The New-England Courant , May 28, 1722. Mulier Mulieri magis congruet. Ter. I shall here present your Readers with a Letter from one, who informs me that I have begun at the wrong End of my Business, and that I ought to begin at Home, and censure the Vices and Follies of my own Sex, before I venture to meddle with your’s: Nevertheless, I am resolved to dedicate this Speculation to...
Printed in The New-England Courant , June 11, 1722. Quem Dies videt veniens Superbum, Hunc Dies vidit fugiens jacentem. Seneca. Among the many reigning Vices of the Town which may at any Time come under my Consideration and Reprehension, there is none which I am more inclin’d to expose than that of Pride . It is acknowledg’d by all to be a Vice the most hateful to God and Man. Even those who...
Printed in The New-England Courant , June 25, 1722. It has been the Complaint of many Ingenious Foreigners, who have travell’d amongst us, That good Poetry is not to be expected in New-England . I am apt to Fancy, the Reason is, not because our Countreymen are altogether void of a Poetical Genius, nor yet because we have not those Advantages of Education which other Countries have, but purely...
Printed in The New-England Courant , July 9, 1722. On June 11 the Courant had insinuated that the Massachusetts authorities were not making proper exertions to capture a pirate vessel reported to be off the coast. Exasperated by this “High Affront,” the latest of many, the General Court the next day ordered James Franklin to be confined in jail for the remainder of the legislative session....
Printed in The New-England Courant , July 23, 1722. Corruptio optimi est pessima. It has been for some Time a Question with me, Whether a Commonwealth suffers more by hypocritical Pretenders to Religion, or by the openly Profane? But some late Thoughts of this Nature, have inclined me to think, that the Hypocrite is the most dangerous Person of the Two, especially if he sustains a Post in the...
Printed in The New-England Courant , August 13, 1722. Optimè societas hominum servabitur. Cic. Discoursing lately with an intimate Friend of mine of the lamentable Condition of Widows, he put into my Hands a Book, wherein the ingenious Author proposes (I think) a certain Method for their Relief. I have often thought of some such Project for their Benefit my self, and intended to communicate my...
Printed in The New-England Courant , August 20, 1722. Neque licitum interea est meam amicam visere. From a natural Compassion to my Fellow-Creatures, I have sometimes been betray’d into Tears at the Sight of an Object of Charity, who by a bear [ sic ] Relation of his Circumstances, seem’d to demand the Assistance of those about him. The following Petition represents in so lively a Manner the...
Printed in The New-England Courant , September 10, 1722. Quod est in cordi sobrii, est in ore ebrii. It is no unprofitable tho’ unpleasant Pursuit, diligently to inspect and consider the Manners and Conversation of Men, who, insensible of the greatest Enjoyments of humane Life, abandon themselves to Vice from a false Notion of Pleasure and good Fellowship . A true and natural Representation of...
Printed in The New-England Courant , September 24, 1722. In Persons of a contemplative Disposition, the most indifferent Things provoke the Exercise of the Imagination; and the Satisfactions which often arise to them thereby, are a certain Relief to the Labour of the Mind (when it has been intensely fix’d on more substantial Subjects) as well as to that of the Body. In one of the late pleasant...
Printed in The New-England Courant , October 8, 1722. Earum causarum quantum quaeque valeat, videamus. Cicero. It often happens, that the most zealous Advocates for any Cause find themselves disappointed in the first Appearance of Success in the Propagation of their Opinion; and the Disappointment appears unavoidable, when their easy Proselytes too suddenly start into Extreams, and are...
Franklin’s contributions to the New-England Courant were not limited to the fourteen letters of Mrs. Silence Dogood. After he had revealed himself as their author and “began to be considered a little more by my Brother’s Acquaintance,” he was doubtless occasionally invited or emboldened to do another piece. When James Franklin was in prison, Franklin “had the Management of the Paper,” which...
Printed in The New-England Courant , February 11, 1723. Arrest and imprisonment had not intimidated James Franklin. Probably encouraged by the refusal of the House of Representatives to concur in the Council’s proposal to reestablish press censorship, he printed, July 30, Chapter XXIX of Magna Carta, with glosses, on the freeman’s right to trial by jury according to the law. On September 17,...
Printed in The New-England Courant , February 18, 1723. Mero meridie si dixerit illi tenebras esse, credit. There is nothing in which Mankind reproach themselves more than in their Diversity of Opinions. Every Man sets himself above another in his own Opinion, and there are not two Men in the World whose Sentiments are alike in every thing. Hence it comes to pass, that the same Passages in the...
DS : Historical Society of Pennsylvania I Promise to Pay or Cause to be paid unto John Phillips Bookseller The Just Sum of Three pounds Three Shilling In money by January next as witness my hand John Phillips (1701–1763), opened a bookshop on the south side of Boston Town House, 1723. He was subsequently deacon of Brattle Street Church, colonel of the Boston Regiment, captain and treasurer of...
A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. London: Printed in the Year MDCCXXV . (Yale University Library) As a journeyman in Samuel Palmer’s printing house in Bartholomew’s Close Franklin worked on the third edition of William Wollaston’s The Religion of Nature Delineated . Some of the author’s arguments “not appearing ... well-founded,” he composed “a little metaphysical...
ALS : British Museum Having lately been in the Nothern Parts of America, I have brought from thence a Purse made of the Stone Asbestus, a Piece of the Stone, and a Piece of Wood, the Pithy Part of which is of the same Nature, and call’d by the Inhabitants, Salamander Cotton. As you are noted to be a Lover of Curiosities, I have inform’d you of these; and if you have any Inclination to purchase...
29Plan of Conduct, 1726 (Franklin Papers)
MS not found; reprinted from Robert Walsh, “Life of Benjamin Franklin,” Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (Philadelphia, 1815–17), II , 51–2. “Perhaps the most important Part” of the foregoing Journal, Franklin wrote in his autobiography, was “the Plan to be found in it which I formed at Sea, for regulating my future Conduct in Life.” The plan does...
30Journal of a Voyage, 1726 (Franklin Papers)
MS not found; reprinted from WTF, Memoirs , 4to edit., I , Appendix, i-xix; also transcript: Library of Congress. The transcript of this Journal was made from Franklin’s manuscript, and from it William Temple Franklin printed the text. Thus the transcript is one step closer to the lost original. The printed text is followed here, however, because of the mutilated state and uncertain...