Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin by Paul Elmer More

Published:

1900

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Benjamin Franklin

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Book Excerpt

learned so much in the way of handicraft. At length Benjamin's love of books determined his occupation, and like many another famous author he was set to the printing-press. In 1717 his brother James had come back from England with a press and letters, and at the age of twelve Benjamin was bound to his brother as an apprentice.

James soon discovered Benjamin's cleverness with the pen and induced him to compose two ballads, "The Light-House Tragedy," being the story of a recent shipwreck, and "Blackbeard," a sailor's song on the capture of that notorious pirate. These ballads, which the author frankly, and no doubt truthfully, describes as "wretched stuff," were printed and hawked about the streets by the boy. "The Light-House Tragedy" at least sold prodigiously, and the boy's vanity was correspondingly flattered; but the father stepped in and discouraged such work, warning Benjamin that "verse-makers were generally beggars." So, perhaps, we were spared a mediocre poet and given a first-rate prose writ

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