Ben Franklin - Newspaper Columnist - Part II
Gentle Readers, Thank you for granting me a second week in your company as substitute columnist. As the first half of my tale explained, I've had experience in this capacity. With your kind indulgence, I thus conclude my biography. Your humble servant, Ben Franklin.
In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continu'd by me about twenty-five years, commonly call'd Poor Richard's Almanac. I consider'd it as a proper vehicle for conveying instruction of temperance, frugality, industry, and humility among the common people, who bought scarcely any other books. I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of communication. In its conduct, I carefully excluded all libelling and personal abuse, which is of late years become so disgraceful to our country.
In 1736, I formed America's pioneer company for extinguishing of fires called the Union Fire Company. That same year, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation.
In 1737, Colonel Spotswood, late governor of Virginia, offered me postmaster-general. I accepted it readily, and found it of great advantage; for, tho' the salary was small, it facilitated the correspondence that improv'd my newspaper. In 1742, I invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms and saving fuel. To promote that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet, entitled "An Account of the new-invented Pennsylvania Fireplaces."
At mid-century, having helped in the establishment of paved streets, street lamps, a defence militia, Pennsylvania Hospital, and the University of Philadelphia, I flatter'd myself that, by the sufficient tho' moderate fortune I had acquir'd, I had secured leisure during the rest of my life for philosophical studies and amusements. However, the publick, now considering me as a man of leisure, laid hold of me. The governor put me into the commission of soldier and treaty arbitrator in the French-Indian War. The corporation of the city chose me of the common council, and soon after an alderman. The citizens chose me to represent them in Assembly.
On October 19, my first accounts of the "Electrical Kite" and "How to Secure Houses, etc, from Lightning by means of pointed rods" appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette.
I was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and there said, "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hand separately."
And now to conclude, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. I leave you with a few of maxims from Poor Richard:
Innocence is its own defence.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
Hunger never saw bad bread. He that drink fast pays slow.
Do good to thy friend to keep him, to thy enemy to gain him.
An old young man will be a young old man.
Now I have a sheep and cow, everybody bids me good morrow.
Fish and visitors smell in three days.
A country-man between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
Time is the herb that cures all diseases.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.
Keep thy shop and it will keep thee.
God helps them that help themselves.
Little strokes fell great oaks.
Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.
An egg today is better than a hen tomorrow.
In the affairs of this world, men are not saved by faith but by the want of it.